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Old 15-03-2016, 19:42   #1
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Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Hey there,

My wife and I are sailing down to San Diego to join the Baja Ha Ha this year. The last time I sailed down towards Mexico to catch the trades to Hawaii was in June. This trip puts us offshore running south in early October. I was wondering if anyone has an idea if it might be better cruising to say, head down to San Francisco say early September and hang out for a month plus then run south for Dago?

I don't want my wife bummed by nasty seas her first time offshore, any insites here? If this appears to be a better option, any ideas where to hang in Frisco??

Thanks for your help
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Old 16-03-2016, 01:07   #2
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Insight, eh?

You and some crew deliver the boat to SF in time for the Baja-haha party, wife arrives via air, party, then head on south. The trip from SF to Baja in Oct. was quite pleasant for us.

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Old 16-03-2016, 08:53   #3
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Might also note that there's usually a welcome party in San Diego in mid October and I see boats start showing up in Dana Point at the end of September, so there are boats enroute earlier.
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Old 16-03-2016, 09:01   #4
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

These guys leave late August-ish...Coho Ho Ho Sailing Rally Seattle - San Francisco - San Diego
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Old 16-03-2016, 11:24   #5
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

We were trying to leave this late summer but I think our plans are going to be a little delayed. If it was me, I would not leave later than sep 20th, weather dependent. Typically early October the northerly high shifts and the it starts to blow pretty good offshore NNW. I'm not saying it can't be done, it just may suck a lot or a little. August/early September is usually a great month to leave, with a fairly typical westerly the entire way. You may have to motor in the evening but it will be worth it for your wife if this is her first time out. My two cents, leave August and wait for a good weather window. Take your time on the way down to SF. Hop the rest of the way down the coast. Get to San Diego with plenty of time to rest and relax, repair what's needed and get ready for the haha.
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Old 16-03-2016, 12:35   #6
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

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
Heavy FOG for several long days and nights Grays Harbor to California border
12-hour lightning storm around Cape Mendocino
heavy rain and 25’ knot NW wind 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 coast
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
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Old 16-03-2016, 14:26   #7
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

I have also made the trip 4 times but I can't give you any info on coastal harbors as we went 100-150 miles offshore. Left Nea Bay 3rd week in August to 2nd week in September on the trips. Good time to go as you are out of the fog season and out of the calms. Not a great trip for your wife probably because I have sailed both major oceans and never had seas as big as off Wa/Or...that area can be a butt kicker. Friends of mine have done the same trip coastal cruising and motored most of the way so that's always an option if you have more time. Throw the hook out in Sausalito and have your wife fly in. Never did the Ha Ha but met all kinds of folks that did and most loved it, sounds like your in for a good time.
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Old 16-03-2016, 14:39   #8
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

It IS often a tough first exposure. I've known people who spent years getting ready, got off the boat in San Diego and walked away. One couple separated!
Not sure "bar hopping is great though either.. so much time getting in and out. I like Ann's idea, have her meet you in SD!
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:44   #9
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

This is a lot of good varying info and input. I've had the wife out in some nasty s... on our cruise up to Alasaka, (inside passage, mostly crap weather in the Malaspina Straights, both ways and she did fine, kicked me off the tiller actually. Not open ocean though.

I'm kind of leaning towards end Aug time frame. Thanks for all the good input

If we hang out in Frisco bay area, anyone know of a decent marina not to far from some amenities that won't empty the cruising kitty?
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:59   #10
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Depends on your cruising kitty which is why I suggested dropping a hook off of Sausalito, there is a yacht Club handy and a place to leave your dink. If you want more affordable marinas you'll have to head inland a ways and you have several choices and much better weather. When your cruising do your best to avoid marinas as it will hole your budget as its not just the marina fees but the lifestyle that goes with it. Save your money until you get to San Diego and go to a marina there. One of the cheap ones and cruiser friendly is Chula Vista.
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Old 16-03-2016, 22:06   #11
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Quote:
If we hang out in Frisco bay area, anyone know of a decent marina not to far from some amenities that won't empty the cruising kitty?
Joe, the Bay Area is VERY expensive....and imho, San Diego is, too. Be prepared.
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Old 16-03-2016, 22:56   #12
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kiernan View Post
This is a lot of good varying info and input. I've had the wife out in some nasty s... on our cruise up to Alasaka, (inside passage, mostly crap weather in the Malaspina Straights, both ways and she did fine, kicked me off the tiller actually. Not open ocean though.

I'm kind of leaning towards end Aug time frame. Thanks for all the good input

If we hang out in Frisco bay area, anyone know of a decent marina not to far from some amenities that won't empty the cruising kitty?
Alameda Marina. Backs up to Svendsen Chandlery and Alameda is a fun and safe town.
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Old 16-03-2016, 22:58   #13
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Joe, the Bay Area is VERY expensive....and imho, San Diego is, too. Be prepared.
Chula Vista wasn't too bad. But i always felt like an outsider in SD.
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Old 17-03-2016, 15:31   #14
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Outsider, eh? Sometimes that's sorta lonely, other times, folks are very kind.

Joe, you wrote that your wife has done well in bad weather in the PNW. Maybe you should ask her what SHE wants to do, give her the option of flying to join you, but be aware, she may well prefer to take her chances on the Cape Mendocino gale, and stay/be on the boat with you. It can be really good for your relationship to have these sorts of experiences together. And she might just want to be there to help out when the going gets rough.

At the risk of starting an argument, sometimes you have to ask a woman how you can best fulfill your [honorable] desire to take care of her. Some women would jump at the chance to be off the boat, some are somewhere in the middle, and some would feel insulted by the suggestion that she not come along.

Ann
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Old 17-03-2016, 15:46   #15
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Re: Seattle to San Diego Cruise

Joe, Check Fortman Marina, it's right next door to Alameda Marina and claims to be the lowest priced marina on the estuary. I'll second Celestial's comment, Alameda is very fun and safe. Also, it has convenient access to Svendsens and WM in addition to grocery and restaurants.
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