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Old 21-09-2013, 04:20   #1
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Cali Liveaboard Reality...

In the never ending search for that perfect place to chill until the Grim Reaper calls, the West Coast has seen some attention here (in my household). Not so much by me, but by my partner. She lived in SF for a few years and I think she wants to return, only a bit farther south.

So I was wondering, since I would go stir crazy sitting on a boat in a slip all the time, I know I'd need places to sail to and visit. The East Coast has countless nicely protected places to drop the hook and the Caribbean and the Keys to explore. But what does the West Coast have?

If we can actually make the liveaboard thing work, are there enough places to adventure to for weekend trips and up to a couple of weeks or so?
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Old 21-09-2013, 05:19   #2
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Check out the Sacramento Delta area. Laid back rural area, some great anchorages like "the meadows", and lots to see and do within a few hour radius driving (including SF). Not so good for sailing (liveaboards dont tend to do much of that anyway) but many miles of water ways to explore.
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Old 21-09-2013, 06:41   #3
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
In the never ending search for that perfect place to chill until the Grim Reaper calls, the West Coast has seen some attention here (in my household). Not so much by me, but by my partner. She lived in SF for a few years and I think she wants to return, only a bit farther south.

So I was wondering, since I would go stir crazy sitting on a boat in a slip all the time, I know I'd need places to sail to and visit. The East Coast has countless nicely protected places to drop the hook and the Caribbean and the Keys to explore. But what does the West Coast have?

If we can actually make the liveaboard thing work, are there enough places to adventure to for weekend trips and up to a couple of weeks or so?

Would you be willing to go further north, to the Pacific Northwest? Sequim (I think I spelled that right, but it's pronounced 'Squim') actually has a lovely, relatively mild climate, and it would be a jumping off place for Seattle, the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, etc.

I saw the other post saying the live-aboards don't sail. In my marina, they mostly do. Some take shorter trips every couple of days, some also take intermediate trips, and some go out for months at a time, but I can think of only one live-aboard who never takes his boat out. He has a very big trawler, and a very big, ailing dog, and the dog can't manage at all well when the boat is moving. I don't know what he'll do once the boat is gone.

I think the key ticket for taking your boat out often as a live-aboard is the equivalent of lee cloths over open shelves, so things can't go flying.
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Old 21-09-2013, 07:42   #4
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

Taking about San Diego to Los Angeles you really have three options:

- The Channel Islands (Santa Catalina, San Miguel, Santa Rosalia, Santa Cruz, & Santa Barbara). Some are pretty remote, and all but Catalina are uninhabited. LA to Catalina is roughly 20-30 miles, San Diego to Catalina is roughly 70-90 miles.

- Day sailing. San Diego Bay in particular is huge. It would take more than a day to sail from the mouth to the bottom and back again (depending on boat). A few little coves to anchor in, some restaurant docks.

- Mexico. Ensenada is ~60 miles from San Diego, and if you go about 800 miles you'd be in Cabo San Lucas, 100 more and you're in La Paz. 300 more and you're on the mainland west coast.

The mileage is much higher than east coast sailors are used to and really (except for LA-Catalina) you basically have to choose between daysailing and offshore passages in remote places. North of Point Conception can get hairy, and Baja has a few multi-hundred mile stretches where there is nothing and you stay fairly off shore.

But it's one reason that west coast sailors are better. For us to "head south" it requires 1000 miles traveling through a wasteland.
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Old 21-09-2013, 08:50   #5
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Taking about San Diego to Los Angeles you really have three options:

- The Channel Islands (Santa Catalina, San Miguel, Santa Rosalia, Santa Cruz, & Santa Barbara). Some are pretty remote, and all but Catalina are uninhabited. LA to Catalina is roughly 20-30 miles, San Diego to Catalina is roughly 70-90 miles.

- Day sailing. San Diego Bay in particular is huge. It would take more than a day to sail from the mouth to the bottom and back again (depending on boat). A few little coves to anchor in, some restaurant docks.

- Mexico. Ensenada is ~60 miles from San Diego, and if you go about 800 miles you'd be in Cabo San Lucas, 100 more and you're in La Paz. 300 more and you're on the mainland west coast.

The mileage is much higher than east coast sailors are used to and really (except for LA-Catalina) you basically have to choose between daysailing and offshore passages in remote places. North of Point Conception can get hairy, and Baja has a few multi-hundred mile stretches where there is nothing and you stay fairly off shore.

But it's one reason that west coast sailors are better. For us to "head south" it requires 1000 miles traveling through a wasteland.

Given the conversation we've had in another thread about sailing through lots of commercial traffic, how is it in San Diego Bay, where you have naval as well?

And what about Long Beach? Or would pleasure craft be faced with a lot of commercial traffic in a more confined space? I haven't been there in several decades.
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Old 21-09-2013, 08:59   #6
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

long beach is very citified and has a lot of shipping--or it did in 1990-1995. san diego has easy sailing---
ensenada has no anchoring allowed and marinas are pricey.
along coastal mexico is decent after you leave baja--it is not quite the vast wasteland rh bespeaks, however--there is turtle bay, magdalena bay, san ignacio, san quintin, if they have a deeper than 6 ft entry yet, and many other bahias--bahia asuncion is close to turtle--many bahias for temporary anchoring as you sail south. along the mexican southwest coast are many beautiful and green bahias--good anchoring--research south west mexico--is tropics and reasonable if you do n0t use marinas.
even cedros island has anchorages ...
mexico is not a vast wasteland by any stretch of ones imagination.
even the desert areas have something for folks.
coastal tropical mexico is gorgeous and sports many anchorages that are easy and semi protected.
there are mayan ruins in mexico to visit once you arrive and plant boat for a day or two--many many interesting things to see and do in mexico, once one leaves the gringo infested areas close to border, inclusive of the golfo de california, aka sea of cortez. omg, and there is even technology!!!! mexico is not a backward nation, as is commonly thunk. omg!! heck they even have 4g interwebs service..occasionally
...rodlmao

san diego is large enough to support traffic and recreational use. funny thing about that--but one best sail using depth sounder--and it takes exactly 1 1/2 hours to get from chula vista marina, in south bay, to the entrance of sd bay--hardly a full days sailing. done that, many times.
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Old 21-09-2013, 09:07   #7
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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long beach is very citified and has a lot of shipping--or it did in 1990-1995. san diego has easy sailing---
ensenada has no anchoring allowed and marinas are pricey.
along coastal mexico is decent after you leave baja--it is not quite the vast wasteland rh bespeaks, however--there is turtle bay, magdalena bay, san ignacio, san quintin, if they have a deeper than 6 ft entry yet, and many other bahias--bahia asuncion is close to turtle--many bahias for temporary anchoring as you sail south. along the mexican southwest coast are many beautiful and green bahias--good anchoring--research south west mexico--is tropics and reasonable f you do n0t use marinas.
even cedros island has anchorages ...
mexico is not a vast wasteland by any stretch of ones imagination.
even the desert areas have something for folks.

Yes, Long Beach is very "citified," and I suspected there was a lot of traffic. I know there's a working port there.

How easy is it to get into Oakland, Sausalito, Morro Bay? Santa Barbara? There are other little coastal towns. All of Monterey Bay is interesting in my opinion. That's where I would have moved to if I could have afforded to, but I would have been so housing poor I wouldn't have had the money to enjoy the area. All those towns are "civilization," but lots of people actually don't mind that. I don't mind paying for a marina slip if the boat has taken me to an interesting place, and Morro Bay is a place I find interesting. So are all the towns around Monterey Bay.

As I think about it, there are a lot of choices north, and if you're that type of sailor you probably could hop-scotch up the coast from town to town.
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Old 21-09-2013, 10:04   #8
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

Summers in the SF bay to delta gives you a wide range of weather. The SF bay has marinas, many are full and the ones that aren't are in less desirable areas. Anchoring in the central bay is limited to about 6 locations including Richardson bay, Clipper cove, Paradise cove and China camp.

The Cali delta is fresh water and 500 miles of waterways. Lots o places to anchor, and many marinas. Most are for power boats

Summer bay temps average 65-70, but the summer 20 knot winds can make that a little chilly on the water. Delta summer temps from 85-105 but its a dry heat... its low humidity. The water is warm enough to swin in during the summer.

Still it can't compare to the east coast at all. But for the west coast its not bad. Plus that does not rain in the summer is nice too. Easy living.
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Old 21-09-2013, 10:40   #9
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

sailing north on pacific side is known well as bashing--not comfortable and a pita--i for one am not a fan of bashing against a 11/2-4 kt southerly current with winds from northwest. southward is good--- lost angeles to catalina and channel islands is ok--- lost angeles to marina del rey is only good on return trip--- water is 53-64 degrees F only..not conducive to comfort.
i sailed lost angeles to mdr---ensenada to sd and sd to lost angeles--and many other northand south runs here---i swore i would not do another north bound slog ever again in 1991 when i moved boats with my son, his jensen wenk 24 was wet even on a good day. sailing with friends --same thing--north sukked and as way wet and south was and still is a breeze. not always with winds on west coast--usually some light breezes on a still day in afternoons, not always on ocean, however. land breezes do not always come out to sea.
look at the mileage between harbors on a map of cali an dsee why , at 3-4 kts downhill an d 1.8-3 kts uphill, one doesnt just go out to morro bay from sf or monterey.
southbound is a breeze--downhill, and much more comfortable.

inside delta of sacramento river is a wondrous place with all kinds of hiding holes--and short bridges i found and levees---i have yet to sail there--beni does that for us. she just doesnt post enough pix of it--is gorgeous there.....

oh yes--kalifornikation has cute lil places all down coast--distance is prohibitive an d the cute lil towns are actually quite citified. kali has a hella large population.
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Old 21-09-2013, 10:56   #10
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

Having lived aboard on both coasts, I can tell you that you don't want to do it in California. First, finding a place is hard. Its not easy to anchor anywhere. Slips are exorbitant and often subject to a waiting list. Taxes will kill ya - they'll tax your boat for just sitting in a slip. Second, cruising is limited here. There are a few islands offshore and they are nice. But the coast is generally one long rocky beach with few harbors. The ones that do exist do not make harbor hopping easy - anchoring is limited and, again, slips and moorings are hard to come by and expensive. A lot of anchorages here would just be considered open roadsteads back east. But they are usable here given how settled the summer weather is. Weather is usually a plus, but there is often fog and you will usually awake to a soaking wet boat no matter what the weather. The water is cold and you're not going to do much swimming unless you are in San Diego or even south of it. These things are why you hear so many Ca boaters talk about going to Mexico. Finally, and this applies to anywhere, why focus so much on cruising if you are going to liveaboard? Living aboard and working really make cruising your boat hard. Not too many liveaboards who are not cruising seem to do much sailing. Sorry to disappoint, but apart from the weather, the east coast is much better suited to travelling by boat (if that is what you intend).
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:09   #11
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

Yes! It's so awful here. Don't come. The weather is insufferable. There is no culture, whatsoever. The deserts and mountains are boring. The wine and beer are in very short supply and undrinkable. The diving, surfing, sailing, kayaking, biking, etc. are vastly overrated. This applies to the entire Pacific coast. Stay East, young woman!
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:21   #12
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

neko has it as we stated----harbors here are spaced so you need to plan in advance for a bunch of days in sequence fro any short haha trip.
keeping boat in kali isnt the ideal idea---way pricey and loong wait lists...
lee shore on a not peaceful ocean with goodly swells in peaceful times..lol... a good wind here is in excess of 20 kts and most souls dont sail in them..
day sailing a cruising boat aint gonna happen in my world..
once you get to mexico, and past the desert called baja peninsula, which i renamed gringoville,
mainland mexico south of banderas bay is awesome gorgeous and has many many sweet bays in which to anchor--use all chain or lose your boat. rocky shore goes out to well beyond the anchorage.
why, you ask , does no one frequent this area they do--only when their insurance company dictates it is ok. too bad as it is awesome here and safer than in golfo de california as far as windy days and named storms are concerned---we have had 13 named and more un named storms pass overhead, winds not in excess of 45 kts. not bad for a n imagonnadie place with poor holding--and many mangroves with excellent holding, and good places to hide from storms of any sort.
in banderas bay, there is a sweet cove named yelapa--was formed in 1911 by an earth quake and is essentially bottomless in center, and poor holding but is a great place to visit and splore.
south of banderas bay is wonderful gunkholing an d anchoring..use all chain.
cantinas and restaurants on the beach and beach landings are not always dangerous.... just make sure swell is under 2 meters and find the smoothest area on beach to land. you may not wear dink as a hat --but ye might..lol
why do you think i am so good with rowing!!!!! rodlmao--you must be able to row or to be able to repair engine when it is drowned in surf...same with puters....but these places are not to be missed if you are cruising mexico--if you are merely passing thu , dont bother getting to know this area as you will find it hard to leave, as many have learned--i am merely passing thru but i am enjoying this region while i repair.
and so far, the only thievery with malintent i have seen south of mazatlan has been done by alleged cruisers who have no conscience and will board your boat for items of their choosing as you reprovision.....but i dont use an engine on my dink nor do i exhibit any signs of wealth as i cruise here, and what most folks who suffer loss have done is flaunt their assumed wealth in front of folks without enough to feed their own kids
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:21   #13
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

What SVNeko, says is very true, for the central bay area. The delta is a world away but only 70 miles from SF. The morning fog, which the bay exports I believe, stops about at Benicia. So mornings in the delta are clear and sunny.

The delta is cold in the winter, so I head to the central bay to stay slightly warmer in winter. Spring, summer and fall the weather in the delta is very nice. It gets Hot in the summer, but its oh 7 ish degrees cooler on the water then on land in summer. While it gets up to 100 degrees on the water, a swim in the water will cool you down for hours.

You can sail easily in parts of the delta. The Sacramento river to Rio-Vista can be sailed as its quite wide. Getting to the delta is a easy downwind run.

Going back to the SF bay is directly upwind. Lazy girl I am, I'll motor more then sail back. Singlehanding between Pittsburg and Benicia is a whole lotta tacking. I've done it, but I also don't sweat it and turn the motor on too.

I should note that most slips in the delta are covered powerboat slips. But there are a few marina's that have all open slips on deep water.

With all that said, If I had a choice, I would cruise the east coast is its practically unlimited, when compared to the west coast.
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:26   #14
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Yes! It's so awful here. Don't come. The weather is insufferable. There is no culture, whatsoever. The deserts and mountains are boring. The wine and beer are in very short supply and undrinkable. The diving, surfing, sailing, kayaking, biking, etc. are vastly overrated. This applies to the entire Pacific coast. Stay East, young woman!
i think we need a sarcasm font.

-s
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Old 21-09-2013, 11:33   #15
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

sailing here yields massive sunburn and misery.....dont come. stay home and be neon white with fair weather skills.. no skin cancer that way.
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