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Old 11-10-2010, 17:54   #1
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Passage from Golden Gate to Half Moon Bay

I am wanting to sail from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay and back. I am looking for advice as to the best course to take (Sailing) assuming good to moderate weather. I have Brian Fagan's book and it is a help, but not great. If you have suggestions then please fire away.

My boat is a full keel blue water cutter, 35 feet on the deck. Its Hans Christian like.....I have a Alpha Auto pilot with both wind and compass steering
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Old 11-10-2010, 18:16   #2
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It can be an easy trip or the trip from hell. My advice would be to go out the main shipping channel and turn left at buoy number two. It is possible to cut corners but there have been more then a few boats lost in the "South Channel" Both on your way down and back stay in shore of the traffic seperation zone and stay a good three or four miles off of Montara Rock to avoid the "Montara Hole" where there is no wind. When entering Half Moon Bay (HMB) remember that there is a nasty reef that protects the entrance to the harbor. The safest way to enter is to go to the Pillar Point Approach Buoy and then look for the red and green buoys. They will lead you thru the reef entrance and then you can find the harbor entrance by going towards shore until you can see the lighthouse keep going for a bit and then you can turn north toward the jetty entrance. It is not really difficult but you do need to know how to navigate. Also be prepared for fog it is nice to have radar. It can spring up at anytime. Finally check the surf reports before you go and make sure that Mavericks is not going to be big because it is right next to the entrance for HMB. At HMB there are plenty of nice bars and resteraunts (sp?) Have fun but not too much fun because the ride back is usually upwind and it is not uncommon for a sailor to loose his lunch coming back from HMB with a hangover.
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Old 11-10-2010, 18:28   #3
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It can be an easy trip or the trip from hell. My advice would be to go out the main shipping channel and turn left at buoy number two. It is possible to cut corners but there have been more then a few boats lost in the "South Channel" Both on your way down and back stay in shore of the traffic seperation zone and stay a good three or four miles off of Montara Rock to avoid the "Montara Hole" where there is no wind. When entering Half Moon Bay (HMB) remember that there is a nasty reef that protects the entrance to the harbor. The safest way to enter is to go to the Pillar Point Approach Buoy and then look for the red and green buoys. They will lead you thru the reef entrance and then you can find the harbor entrance by going towards shore until you can see the lighthouse keep going for a bit and then you can turn north toward the jetty entrance. It is not really difficult but you do need to know how to navigate. Also be prepared for fog it is nice to have radar. It can spring up at anytime. Finally check the surf reports before you go and make sure that Mavericks is not going to be big because it is right next to the entrance for HMB. At HMB there are plenty of nice bars and resteraunts (sp?) Have fun but not too much fun because the ride back is usually upwind and it is not uncommon for a sailor to loose his lunch coming back from HMB with a hangover.

Thanks for the advice, I am certainly going to avoid the South Channel, but I was unsure of the bouy to set as a waypoint on the main shipping channel.
Going north, I am assuming that I would motor much of the way, unless there is a fair wind and unless my motor failed on the way!!
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Old 11-10-2010, 20:26   #4
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Going north, I am assuming that I would motor much of the way, unless there is a fair wind and unless my motor failed on the way!!
Gosh Bazzer, that's a really bad attitude for a sailor to have. If you and your boat can't handle beating back from HMB, or even attempting it, perhaps another line of entertainment would be better for you.

Cheers,

Jim (who has made that trip quite a lot of times in a previous incarnation)
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Old 11-10-2010, 20:45   #5
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Gosh Bazzer, that's a really bad attitude for a sailor to have. If you and your boat can't handle beating back from HMB, or even attempting it, perhaps another line of entertainment would be better for you.

Cheers,

Jim (who has made that trip quite a lot of times in a previous incarnation)
Jeez, oh great oracle of sailing wisdom,
I didn't expect to get insulted by this question.
So how long would it take you to beat back up in a straight north wind? I imagine your boat doesn't have a motor 'cause you don't need it.

Thanks for the advice

Bazzer
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Old 11-10-2010, 21:16   #6
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OK Bazzer,

Let me try a different tack here.

Why do you "assume that you would motor much of the way"? My point is that if you start out "assuming" this, it's pretty likely that you will in fact motor the whold bloody way. And of course, you are free to do so, and an unfortunate number of folks with nominal sailboats do so whenever faced with an upwind sail. I think that this is sad.

Now, as to your question about how long it would take to beat back into the prevailing NW (not N) winds... well from memory it's roughly twenty miles from HMB to the Gate. Your "full keel blue water cutter, 35 feet on the deck " should be able to make good at least 5 to 6 knots through the water hard on the wind in the prevailing 20 or so knots of NW'ly. This should work out to somewhere around 4 knots made good towards your destination, so somewhere around 5 to 6 hours should do it.

As it happens, I did that voyage in several boats: at first in a Catalina 22 trailer sailor, then a Yankee 30, and finally in a Palmer Johnson Standfast 36. They all had motors. Most of the trips were racing, so use of said motor was frowned upon by my competitors, but many trips were cruising, and were not so constrained by the rules. The biggest difference in the cruising passages was that if I arrived back during a big ebb and with inadequate wind to make progress, then I would indeed use the motor to get past the choke point at the bridge.

In your OP you asked us to "fire away" with suggestions. Perhaps my suggestion was couched in a manner that offended you. Oh well, I'll try again:

Don't "assume that you will motor" on the northbound leg. Try assuming that you will be able to sail much if not all of the way. If I may assume something, from your post it would seem that you were somewhat inexperienced at ocean sailing. If you motor into every upwind leg, you will continue to be inexperienced.

I hope that you enjoy your trip, and that it is an educational experience for you and your crew.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Trinity Inlet, CAirns, Qld, Oz
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Old 11-10-2010, 21:23   #7
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Originally Posted by bazzer View Post
Jeez, oh great oracle of sailing wisdom,
I didn't expect to get insulted by this question.
So how long would it take you to beat back up in a straight north wind? I imagine your boat doesn't have a motor 'cause you don't need it.

Thanks for the advice

Bazzer
I don't think anybody wants to insult you, rather there is a kernal of wisdom there. If you want to experience a taste of outside the Bay sailing, then this is an excellant opertunity to do so. Don't use the iron sail until your speed somehow gets below 3.5 knots, after all cruisiers figure on about 100 miles in 24 hours(than's 4.5 knots average).
If the wind is on the nose then tack to a 45* angle to the wind. if you have a problem with that then, yes perhaps you need a power boat.

One more leason from experience, be prepared to shorten sail as you enter the Bay, no matter how calm it is outside the Gate.

I sailed for 12 years on the Bay and the only time I used the motor was to get into and out of the marina and going out the estuary.
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Old 11-10-2010, 22:36   #8
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OK Bazzer,

Let me try a different tack here.

Why do you "assume that you would motor much of the way"? My point is that if you start out "assuming" this, it's pretty likely that you will in fact motor the whold bloody way. And of course, you are free to do so, and an unfortunate number of folks with nominal sailboats do so whenever faced with an upwind sail. I think that this is sad.

Now, as to your question about how long it would take to beat back into the prevailing NW (not N) winds... well from memory it's roughly twenty miles from HMB to the Gate. Your "full keel blue water cutter, 35 feet on the deck " should be able to make good at least 5 to 6 knots through the water hard on the wind in the prevailing 20 or so knots of NW'ly. This should work out to somewhere around 4 knots made good towards your destination, so somewhere around 5 to 6 hours should do it.

As it happens, I did that voyage in several boats: at first in a Catalina 22 trailer sailor, then a Yankee 30, and finally in a Palmer Johnson Standfast 36. They all had motors. Most of the trips were racing, so use of said motor was frowned upon by my competitors, but many trips were cruising, and were not so constrained by the rules. The biggest difference in the cruising passages was that if I arrived back during a big ebb and with inadequate wind to make progress, then I would indeed use the motor to get past the choke point at the bridge.

In your OP you asked us to "fire away" with suggestions. Perhaps my suggestion was couched in a manner that offended you. Oh well, I'll try again:

Don't "assume that you will motor" on the northbound leg. Try assuming that you will be able to sail much if not all of the way. If I may assume something, from your post it would seem that you were somewhat inexperienced at ocean sailing. If you motor into every upwind leg, you will continue to be inexperienced.

I hope that you enjoy your trip, and that it is an educational experience for you and your crew.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Trinity Inlet, CAirns, Qld, Oz
Well you made the trip, but obviously you were not the skipper, nor would I like to sail with you on that trip in a 22 footer. No doubt you took the South Channel.
Just so you know I've been sailing for more than a couple of years, started in Malta in a 8 footer with a square rigged Q flag as a sail, that was in 1958....Been a skipper on the Atlantic for a while and I do know about caution rather than relying on dumb luck. The particular area has claimed many boats, the last one a 35 footer, I think, both sailors were drowned even though they were wearing PFD's, the boat was washed up with sails up. No one knows what happened. Typical story for the Golden Gate, and I assume that you have heard of The Mavericks.....
Hey, stick to the warm waters of Oz mate
I was just looking for some local piloting...

Bazzer
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Old 11-10-2010, 22:57   #9
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I hope I won't be grumpy when I'm cruising.
I'm grumpy now. Will that change?
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Old 11-10-2010, 23:12   #10
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There's some good information already offered here, and I think trying to be under the bridge by the low ebb tide is a good idea...probably mentioned. That will give you enough time to get out to the number two buoy before the tide change, then you can turn southward. Like mentioned check the surf report, and the wind conditioning. Pick the calmest time for your first passage, as the water can get pretty disturbed after leaving the bridge. Depending on the wind direction and when you want to make Pillar Point, don't be afraid to motor sail. Coming back do the same thing, check tides, surf, and weather. You'll have fun!
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Old 11-10-2010, 23:16   #11
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There's some good information already offered here, and I think trying to be under the bridge by the low ebb tide is a good idea...probably mentioned. That will give you enough time to get out to the number two buoy before the tide change, then you can turn southward. Like mentioned check the surf report, and the wind conditioning. Pick the calmest time for your first passage, as the water can get pretty disturbed after leaving the bridge. Depending on the wind direction and when you want to make Pillar Point, don't be afraid to motor sail. Coming back do the same thing, check tides, surf, and weather. You'll have fun!
Thanks for the help, I will post a link to my progress using the Spot and Google system.
As a matter of fact i'm fishing for sea bass in Half Moon Bay with a pal of mine, so I am no stranger to getting in and out of there. He nailed one of 58lbs a couple of days ago.

Bazzer
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Old 11-10-2010, 23:32   #12
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I hope I won't be grumpy when I'm cruising.
I'm grumpy now. Will that change?
Only if you like cruising
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Old 11-10-2010, 23:38   #13
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Well you made the trip, but obviously you were not the skipper,

WTF???

Hey, stick to the warm waters of Oz mate
I was just looking for some local piloting...

Bazzer


OK bazzer, you win. I bow to your knowledge of the area.

Jim
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:51   #14
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OK bazzer, you win. I bow to your knowledge of the area.

Jim
Now Jim, He may have been referring to our Half Moon Bay, just near Trinity Inlet. Good luck in a 22' , one hell of a trip.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:19   #15
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You guys are being unfair to Bazzer. I think you could have been nicer, especially to a new guy like that.

Bazzer, I will be the first to say that if I were making that trip, and the leg home were dead upwind, I would absolutely be motoring, unless it were an absolutely gorgeous day and I really had unlimited time to make it.

You can't make 4 knots dead upwind out of 6 knots of boat speed, unless you are able to tack through 90 degrees on your GPS -- 90 degrees over ground -- and very few cruising boats are able to do this (it means sailing 30 degrees or less to the apparent wind even in a hot boat with little leeway). And that's in a hot racer/cruiser in ideal conditions (that is, flat seas and 15 -- 18 knots of wind).

And Bazzer doesn't have a hot racer/cruiser, he said he's got a heavy long keel cruising boat. I had a boat like that once, and it would tack through about 110 degrees over ground in ideal conditions. That's best case! VMG dead upwind falls off really fast after a tacking angle of 100 degrees. So he's going to get what, 2 or 3 knots out of 6 knots of boat speed? Fuggitaboutid! That's why cruising boats have motors, as far as I'm concerned!

I do a lot more beating upwind now than I did in previous decades because I now have an efficient bulb-keel boat which carries a lot of sail and has a long waterline. Much faster and much more weatherly than my old boat. Still I rarely am able to tack in as little as 90 degrees and so even with this boat destinations dead upwind are more often motored to, than sailed to.

Where I sail, the trick to beating dead upwind is to do it on a fair tide! A couple of knots of tide under you has a magical effect -- cancels all your leeway and then some. You find yourself tacking through 80 degrees, 75 degrees, even less. Makes you feel like Ted Hood!
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