I've done it four times, as captain
, in sailboats from 40'/11 tons to 65'/35 tons. I don’t think it possible to generalize. The forecasts change quickly and unexpectedly as you head south. The only thing to do is plan to adapt as necessary.
here is brief description as it pertains to your question:
July1 from Gig Harbor
in well equipped Tartan 42 with 5-person crew
Arrived San Diego July 17
Fantastic sailing most of the time in a very fast boat.
I had been sailing for 30+ years and 2 other crew had a lot of intense sailing experience. Two crewman had NO sailing experience (more about that later)
Stopped in Kingston WA, Newport
OR, Noyo River CA, Santa Cruz
, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara
Worst weather was 10 hours of 45 knots/13’ breaking seas at Cape Mendocino and 6-hours of 35 knots 10’ breaking seas in Santa Barbara Channel
Neither weather event was forecast
USCG demanded they escort us into Noyo River due to waves breaking on bar
Didn’t plan to go into Noyo River but inexperienced crew was pretty shookup by wind/waves at Mendocino
Heavy Rain and NW 25 – 35 knots from Morro Bay to just NW of Pt Conception
We had to make an unexpected stop in Santa Cruz to let a crewman off because they were “tired of being on the boat
This trip was different than the next three because my brother, me, and a close friend were all serious sailors with considerable experience who wanted to push the boat to have fun in the ocean.
August 22 from Gig Harbor
in very well equipped Caliber 40
Arrived San Diego October 3
Me (a lot of offshore experience) and wife (no offshore experience)
Stopped in Kingston, Neah Bay, Grays Harbor, Newport Oregon
, Coos Bay, Port Orford, Brookings, Noyo River, Half Moon Bay, Monterrey, Santa Barbara
No really bad weather but had to stop for 5-days in Grays Harbor because of new forecast
of SW 20-knots and 15’ seas.
Got stuck in Coos Bay for 3-days due to closed bar with big breaking swells
for several long days and nights Grays Harbor to California
storm around Cape Mendocino
heavy rain and 25’ knot
Noyo River to Punta Arena
NE 40 to 50 knots for 6-hours south of Pt Arena with very fast sailing in 10' swells and full moon at midnight. Wife loved it and cooked full dinner while I supervised the double reefed main and staysail!
Very heavy fog
for 12-hours Catalina
toward San Diego
Wife loved the trip and her only unhappiness was the first night out of Neah Bay when we had 6’ beam seas and not enough wind to fill the sails.
The seas were confused as we motored and the boat really rolled. She was thrown to cockpit
floor a couple times while trying to sleep. It was way to rolly to be down below.
September 3 from Tacoma
in our well equipped Caliber 40
arrived San Diego September 16
Myself and my two brothers (one was very experienced offshore and one had quite a bit of inshore sailing experience)
Stopped In Kingston, Port Angeles, Newport OR, Half Moon Bay, Oceanside CA
We did not plan to stop at Newport but a 45-knot 15’ breaking sea forecast from Cape Blanco to Punta Arena forced the stop. We waited 3-days and then continued in decent sailing weather.
The rest of the trip was decent sailing, light winds, or lots of motoring. We had heavy fog during three 12-hour time periods. The wind never exceeded 25-knots and seas never exceeded 8-feet.
Brother with only inshore experience had great fun
except for 36-hours from Cape Flattery to Newport which was somewhat rolly due to a big storm way out in the Pacific that sent us 6’ rollers at right angles to the prevailing NW swell.
September 28 from Gig Harbor
in a newly finished Roberts 65
arrived San Diego October 7
Myself and 4 friends of owner, owner, owners wife (all with NO sailing experience)
Stopped in Newport OR (8-hours) and Monterrey CA (8-hours)
Dead Flat Calm – Port Townsend to just North of Newport OR
NO sailing winds until south of Santa Barbara
The ONLY decent sailing wind was across the west end of Santa Monica Bay and from Dana Pt to Point Loma.
Minor Fog along southern Oregon
and Northern California
1000 miles of motoring in very benign conditions
None of crew had any concerns or problems
If you want more details I have logs
and website describing the two trips on our boat