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Old 09-03-2015, 05:40   #1
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Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Folks I've talked to in Mexico are discussing what they are going to do this summer to deal with hurricane season. As an alternative to the Baja Bash I'm considering a modified clipper route - sailing five hundred miles or so from Cabo San Lucas then tack back to Ensenada or San Diego. Probably in late Spring. From Jimmy Cornell's World Atlas the winds could work out right. Has anyone considered doing this or actually had the experience?
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:35   #2
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

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Originally Posted by Annie in WA View Post
Folks I've talked to in Mexico are discussing what they are going to do this summer to deal with hurricane season. As an alternative to the Baja Bash I'm considering a modified clipper route - sailing five hundred miles or so from Cabo San Lucas then tack back to Ensenada or San Diego. Probably in late Spring. From Jimmy Cornell's World Atlas the winds could work out right. Has anyone considered doing this or actually had the experience?
If you do a search of the LATITUDE 38 archives, you should come up with something, I definitely recall some discussion of it there... My rather vague recollection is that it certainly seemed the way to go if your destination was more northerly in CA, or from a departure point further S than Cabo, but perhaps not quite as advantageous for just the length of Baja... Don't take my word for that, however :-)

There was also a report from some guy sailing a Westsail 32, who came back offshore... Can't recall where I saw it, could have been in LAT 38 as well, but that's another search you might try...
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:30   #3
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Hi Jon. Thanks for your reply, I will definitely check out Latitude 38. Our plans are still flexible but the offshore route sounds like a better way to go to us than the Baja Bash. BTW, my husband Tom posts to Cruising World Bulletin Board forum as "Tom in WA" and he wanted me to pass on his thanks to you as well. He always enjoys your posts.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:33   #4
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Take a look at the wind patterns on earth :: an animated map of global wind, weather, and ocean conditions. You can get a good idea of the current situation and time your departure with greater confidence. As of today, March 9th, 2015, the wind isn't going to be too cooperative, but as the Pacific high develops in coming months, you will see that the pattern works wonderfully for your return north.
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:17   #5
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Many have tried and few have found offshore an advantage.

When we were in the Sea of Cortez I had several long discussions with Don Anderson (the Baja weather guru who broadcast from Oxnard) about northbound routes. Don had been doing weather for Baja for 30+ years and had made many trips to and from SoCal to Cabo.

Don's felt it necessary to go "half way to Hawaii" to get out of the NW wind and NW swell pattern when pounding northbound to SoCal, San Francisco, or Seattle.

His strong recommendation was to enjoy the tradewind sail to Hawaii and then do the big loop NE over the top of the North Pacific High to Washington or California.

My only direct experience was the comparison of our trip from Cabo to San Diego in late April in a Tartan 42. 14-miserable days inshore. Leave anchorage at 3 AM and get anchored again by 2 PM. Unhappy time!

Friends in a Swan 50 something left Cabo the same time we did and went 400 miles WNW to get out of the NW swell and wind. They managed to sail all the way but it was always into a NW swell which slowed the boat greatly and made it really uncomfortable. They arrived in San Diego a week after we got there and were beatup, wet, and cold.

OTH - last week I met a pro captain on Shelter Island who had just arrived from Cabo - six days of great sailing on a SE wind and never more than 40 miles offshore. He said the owner told him to 'wait for a window' and was in no hurry to get the boat north.

I've done the trip several times and suspect there is no easy way to do it, unless you get lucky like the captain I mentioned.

Helpful Hint - I did the trip from Cabo to San Diego in great comfort in a 53' stablized trawler that displaced 28 tons. Might you try it that way?
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:25   #6
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

You can download pdf copies of the pilot chart wind roses at:

http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...108/108jun.pdf

just replace the 108jun with whatever month you want e.g. 108dec for December.

What you will see is pretty discouraging for the idea of heading offshore. Here is a quick summary of how I read the charts for February and June. Five hundred miles west of Turtle Bay is 124 degrees West and 27 degrees North.

February
117W 23N 450 miles west of Cabo San Lucas
NE F4 winds 45% of time
N F4 winds 47% of time
NW F2 winds 5% of time
Desired course 300 magnetic or NW magnetic

125W 27N 500 miles west of Turtle Bay
NE F4 winds 34% of time
N F4 winds 32% of time
NW F2 winds 15% of time
Desired course 330 magnetic or NNW magnetic
Wind is from within 60 degrees of desired heading 80% of time

June
117W 23N 450 miles west of Cabo San Lucas
NE F4 winds 5% of time
N F4 winds 50% of time
NW F2 winds 45% of time
Desired course 300 magnetic or NW magnetic

125W 27N 500 miles west of Turtle Bay
NE F4 winds 5% of time
N F4 winds 55% of time
NW F2 winds 45% of time
Desired course 330 magnetic or NNW magnetic
Wind is from within 60 degrees of desired heading 90% of time

You could go out to 123 west from Cabo (770 miles) to pickup the NE trades which blow 39% of the time. BUT, the June chart shows the N winds blow at Force 3 39% of the time. If you did get a good NE wind due west of Cabo you would have to head North eventually. At 127W and 27 N (700 miles west of Turtle Bay) in June you would see NE F4 32% of the time and N F4 48% of the time.

Eventually you have to turn NE toward SoCal. From 130W and 30N (700 miles west of Ensenada) you will find N F4 57% of the time (Yea! Good sailing on the course of ENE toward home) but you’ll have NE winds (right on the nose) of Force 3 about 30% of the time.

The offshore route to me looks to be about 1200 NM and gives you less than a 50% chance of decent sailing winds (more than 60% off the desired course at more than 10 knots).

It seems to me that you have just as good a chance of having decent sailing by staying close to shore and working the diurnal wind shifts.

"as the Pacific high develops in coming months, you will see that the pattern works wonderfully for your return north."

That statement is contrary to everything I have learned, read, and heard about the Baja Bash. The Dec - Feb time frame has the least adverse winds and swells and the most chance of having a decent SW or SW wind. Close perusal of the Pilot Chart windroses will support that assertataion.
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Old 21-04-2015, 11:41   #7
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Did the Baja Bash last year from Cabo to San Diego. Took 13 days with only 4 overnight sails. Beautiful anchorages. Waited out headwinds and fog. A wonderful experience and highly recommended. Just be patient and wait for a weather window. Also know that the worst is often the first 4-6 hours out of Cabo as there is often confused seas.
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Old 21-04-2015, 14:54   #8
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Just a thought, I am hearing that 2015 is an el Niño year, what effect will this have on the "standard" weather patterns in this area?
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Old 21-04-2015, 15:17   #9
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Good question. I've tracked the weather pattern for years and it has always been "leave Cabo, point into the wind until you reach San Diego". The suttleties can change that some. I think seasonality will be more important. I've also noticed geographic influenced patterns. For example, most folks I've talked to have the same problem coming out of Cabo that I have had historically. Very confused seas and a funnelling affect due, I guess, to the convergence of the sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. The other area that also almost always appears to be a problem is North of Turtle Bay accross the Bay of Vizcaino. I've been told it is relatively shallow and a funnelling affect also hurts. Keeps coming back to waiting for the window in my personal experience.
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:38   #10
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

You have to factor in the specific type of boat involved. In our boat, close reaching in
F3-4 is fast and comfortable. In other sorts of vessels, nearly impossible...

But the bottom line is that making predictions for a specific passage from statistical and historical data is fraught with possible errors. Once committed to an offshore passage one is stuck with whatever comes along. In a coastal passage the option of hiding out during bad patches is always there.

Jim, using Ann's computer
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:53   #11
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

there is always the option of remaining in mexico for the summer.
many of us do that also.
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Old 22-04-2015, 08:36   #12
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

"Jim using Anne's computer" is right (even though his/her name is a bit strange perhaps). There are a couple great cruising guides for the baja coast. One is specifically about the Baja Bash. They talk about anchorages, but their discussion of weather patterns have been excellent in my humble opinion. I have found the Baja Pacific anchorages lovely and ssecure. One advantage of going the offshore route, though, is you don't have to have an anchor.
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Old 22-04-2015, 08:49   #13
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
Helpful Hint - I did the trip from Cabo to San Diego in great comfort in a 53' stablized trawler that displaced 28 tons. Might you try it that way?
When you are going straight into 20+ knots of wind and 4-6 foot closely spaced seas, I suspect you would still be miserable; I know that in my boat (64' 100,000 pounds, stabilized) the pitching is bad enough that the forward stateroom is unusable in those conditions. The thing is, the weather seas can be up one day and fine the next three. The solution is to plan to stay in port about 1/3 of the time. There are many fine anchorages coming up baja. (And that same approach works well traveling from San Diego to PNW, in my experience.)
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Old 22-04-2015, 15:07   #14
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

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Originally Posted by Zzmeyer View Post
"Jim using Anne's computer" is right (even though his/her name is a bit strange perhaps). There are a couple great cruising guides for the baja coast. One is specifically about the Baja Bash. They talk about anchorages, but their discussion of weather patterns have been excellent in my humble opinion. I have found the Baja Pacific anchorages lovely and ssecure. One advantage of going the offshore route, though, is you don't have to have an anchor.
Zzmeyer,

Jim and I are full time cruisers, and Jim's computer has died. Therefore, we are sharing mine, so my avatar may have his writing in it, or mine. It, obviously, is not an ideal solution, and is one we hope to remedy within a month's time.

Cheers,

Ann
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Old 23-04-2015, 09:32   #15
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Re: Offshore From Cabo to San Diego - Clipper Route

Ann

I was just kidding. I love reading your and Jim's posts.

Steve
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