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Old 21-10-2018, 21:49   #1
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Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

I am thinking about applying for a slip in Santa Cruz harbor to move my Catalina 30 MkII from Brisbane Marina in a few years. What are the differences in wind and waves in Monterey bay compared to San Francisco Bay. I have never been on the water in Monterey, only watched from the beach.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 22-10-2018, 09:17   #2
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

Where do you live? Is that why you're thinking of moving the boat? Brisbane is not the easiest harbor to get back into during the normal summer winds. But sailing SF Bay is always superb, while sailing out of Santa Cruz has its limitations. The harbor gets closed in winter due to storms and silting. You leave SC and where do you go? Monterey is four hours away, and basically there's nothing else, although sailing on MB is wonderful: it's so deep that there are, unlike the coast, no traps. There's a skipper with a C400, ScottyCM, here on CF who sails out of SC. I sailed for 35 years out of the Oakland Estuary and found it delightful. I sailed the Bay, the Delta and the coast up & down from Drakes Bay to Monterey. I recommend you find a better marina than Brisbane, if you can. I figure if you live on the Peninsula it'd be easier to get to SC than Alameda, but think carefully about what you want to do with your boat. Good luck.
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Old 22-10-2018, 09:32   #3
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teebeedee View Post
I am thinking about applying for a slip in Santa Cruz harbor to move my Catalina 30 MkII from Brisbane Marina in a few years. What are the differences in wind and waves in Monterey bay compared to San Francisco Bay. I have never been on the water in Monterey, only watched from the beach.

Thank you in advance.
Santa Cruz: Wave bigger. Winds smaller, or at least smaller than the central part of SF bay. More fog.

Last I heard (a long time ago) the waiting list for a slip in Santa Cruz was measured in generations. Has that changed?

Like TBD says, with some additions:

I love Monterey Bay, but that is because I am as much a fisherman as a sailor. The wildlife is much more interesting in Monterey, awesome in fact, if that is your thing. If your idea of a fun sail is to sail to a bar and down some cold ones before going home, you'll have no real options.
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Old 22-10-2018, 13:07   #4
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

Brisbane, Alameda, and Santa Cruz are equal distance away from where I live. I really appreciate the space Monterey bay allows with minimal boat traffic. I originally decided to stay in Brisbane because I can practically sail into the bay from my slip and it is only a .5 mile motor back to it. I used to keep a Montgomery 17 with a small outboard motor in the estuary, but found it too long to get to good wind. how long does it take you to motor out of the estuary, and where do you motor to for the best wind?
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Old 22-10-2018, 13:35   #5
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

I spent time in Pillar Point Harbor, Treasure Island Marina, and Oakland Estuary. Your choice depends on what you like to do and how you want to sail. You generally won't get much swell in the bay, just wicked chop at times that will wash the decks, and lots of wind. Guests might enjoy the numerous places to stop but watching whales breach in Monterey Bay is heart-stoppingly amazing. Of course, I've seen whales in SF Bay, too. If you like racing, there's way more opportunities in SF Bay, but that's not to say there isn't racing available in Santa Cruz, which has some of the best ocean racers on the planet (IMHO). So, decide what you want to do with your boat and with whom. The ocean freaks out some people who are perfectly happy in 30 knots on SF Bay. You could also try it for a month or two and not give up your current spot to come back to if you don't really like it.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:07   #6
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

As Billknny mentioned, the waiting list for Santa Cruz may make the whole question hypothetical. My sister has a C30 “co-owned” with an elderly gent who could no longer keep up with the boat costs and slip fees. She’s had this arrangement for about 8 years, and all the while been waiting for a slip of her own. She had one past the bridge with her previous boat, which was tabernacle rigged, but the dock broke loose in the Tsunami and her Yorktown was totaled. Point being that slips outside the bridge have a very long wait list.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:08   #7
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

I bought our boat from a guy who had kept her in Santa Cruz, but could not stay for longer than one year. So best to check on availability and prices at the various marinas. After Santa Cruz he took her to Fortman in Alameda which is ok and reasonable. The Oakland/Alamenda Estuary is a fun place and the Bay...well you know about sailing the SF Bay. Great inside, but a long way from other ports. Can't have everything, I guess. I would go for SF Bay and Alameda if I were you. (FWIW)
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:35   #8
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

Santa Cruz pros and cons.

Pros:
Usually windier the further out you go, so you can pick your wind and waves.
When its cold and windy outside, its warm and calm sitting on your boat inside the harbor.
You can anchor at Cowells (1nm)or Capitola (3nm).
Other marinas at Moss Landing (12 nm) and Monterey (20 nm)
Fog usually clears by noon.

Cons:
Its more expensive.
There is a long waiting list for the lower harbor slips. You can get an end tie, but its even more expensive.
The harbor is usually silted in between Jan 15-Mar 15.
The day and weekend cruising destinations are much more limited.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:52   #9
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

For a lot less wind and quicker access to central SF Bay, try Emeryville public marina or Emery Cove. Reasonable rates, no boring Estuary and easier to drive to than Alameda. Assuming you live on Peninsula you'll spend more time in the car of course.

Lowest rates at Oakland marina right next to I880. Been there 6 months, no problems. Just all the junk from Alameda that gets blown into my slip.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:53   #10
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Re: Santa Cruz vs. San Francisco Sailing

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Originally Posted by Teebeedee View Post
Brisbane, Alameda, and Santa Cruz are equal distance away from where I live. I really appreciate the space Monterey bay allows with minimal boat traffic. I originally decided to stay in Brisbane because I can practically sail into the bay from my slip and it is only a .5 mile motor back to it. I used to keep a Montgomery 17 with a small outboard motor in the estuary, but found it too long to get to good wind. how long does it take you to motor out of the estuary, and where do you motor to for the best wind?

I enjoyed the estuary for a lot of reasons. We sailed out of Alameda Marina on our trailered C22 for 5 years and our C25 for 13, and our C34 for 18 before moving here in 2016.

It took less than 45 minutes to get to the Bay south of the Bay Bridge. I also learned how to go out what we called "The Back Door" through San Leandro Channel under four bridges. That also took 45 minutes. Either trip was always interesting. We found that 45 minutes allowed us to get accustomed to the boat, get it set up and ready to sail without having to do everything at the dock and just sit on the boat doing boring motoring for those 45 minutes. There was always something going on: freighters, other boats, stuff on the shoreline, the quiet of SL Channel, etc. It was always an entertaining trip coming & going.

Coming back, we could have the boat ready to put away before we got to the slip, mostly the mainsail cover on and ready to either sit and relax or pack up and go home. We rarely stayed on the boat in the marina, preferring to anchor out.

Coming back, the wind was almost always behind us, which made for a great way to end the day sailing downwind.

I had an acquaintance who moved his C36 from Fortmann to Berkeley. Within a week, he posted "How do I dock my boat singlehanded in the high afternoon winds?" Like he didn't know? He'd been sailing the Bay for ten years!!! Yes, it was nice and calm in the estuary even if it was howling on the Bay.

It took me all of three hours to sail to the Golden Gate, and I mean sailing upwind. Always fun.

"The best wind?" Surely you jest! The wind in the Bay can be in the main bay, the south bay, one or the other, or both. It's where you find it. Some of my really enjoyable sails were out the back door and north on an ebb, where just the current would give me enough to sail on gorgeous winter days with little to no wind. Other days I would sail with my April to September first reef in the main and my 85% jib in honkin' conditions.

I had another friend who had been in Alameda for years and moved his C36 to Loch Lomond. He returned after a year. Not because of the narrow shallow channel, but because there was nothing else there. In Alameda we could walk to chandleries, and shopping on Alameda was great. We weren't bar or restaurant types, but there is no end to those opportunities as well. Not so much for other places. And South Beach had a waiting list as bad as Santa Cruz.

This, again. >>>>> Coming back, the wind was almost always behind us, which made for a great way to end the day sailing downwind. And when we pulled into our slip it wasn't howling like Berkeley, Emeryville and even Richmond. It howls in Richmond in the afternoon. If you sail out of Sausalito, either you beam reach down and back, go out into the ocean, or go downwind first which means upwind at the end of the day. Yuck.

If you haven't yet, get and read Kimball Livingston's great book, Sailing The Bay. A great read, and fun, to boot.

That was my experience, from 1983 to 2016. I loved it there.
Thanks for the memories.
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