Originally Posted by miketmbt
Thank you for the input. I really am in a learning
only stage at the moment so I will probably ask some silly questions.
Learning here is better than getting beached on the Long Beach breakwater (I almost saw it happen the other day).
So if I was in the San Diego area, it would be easier to sail to Hawaii and back than "uphill" to Washington. I ask about size because when I actually purchase something (based on what i've seen for sale on the internet), I would probably only be able to afford a 30' boat.
Well, I said to Hawaii... I didn't say "back". :-) It's dead downwind in a straight line from SD to Hawaii in remarkably consistent breeze. The route back swings you substantially north to catch trade
winds blowing from the NW. Those trade
winds can bring you back to SoCal (it's a long trip) or it's a beam reach to get to Vancouver/Seattle.
The area south of Pt Conception (Santa Barbara) is much more sheltered than the area further north and is good cruising ground for smaller boats. Sail from SD up to Catalina
isn't terrible and you can go around Catalina
up to the SB channel no problem, though both are usually upwind. The channel islands are great.
Around Pt. Conception may be considered "blue water" by many accounts as there are few sheltered bays and it is almost constantly exposed to open-ocean waves, but like anything, it's not insurmountable. It does get worse as you get further north by most accounts. from SD to SF has been done many times in small boats, but people remark at what a different sea it is once you round the point. You can stop at Morrow Bay and Monterrey, but there are multiple overnight jaunts so plan on having more than one crew. My trip from Long Beach to Ventura was overnight, solo and that really sucked the fun out of it. :-)
I plan to take my Cal
34 up to Vancouver in a year or so. I'm still debating whether to slog up the coast under power, or head
a few hundred nm offshore
on the coastal breezes, looking for the westerlie trade winds for a nice beam reach.
I've heard the route done in two hops, each several days offshore, from Santa Barbara to Portland
and then again out to sea and up to Washington.
I would suggest buying
the Fagan guide to coastal cruising in Southern California
. It is pretty good describing the routes in SoCal anyway, down to the baja
is beautiful in winter - many folks from SD head south rather than north for their cruising time.
P.S. I would consider 30' to be "small" for the trip to Washington, but I know it's been done in much smaller.