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Old 30-08-2014, 22:47   #1
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Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

I need to catch a high tide up the Napa River and need to be in Napa by noon. So, I need to find anchorage for a night somewhere close to Vallejo. I've heard China Camp but that seems a bit in the open. But I've been looking at Southampton Bay (Benica) as a good prospect.

Anyone with experience in this area?
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Old 31-08-2014, 00:23   #2
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

I don't think you would find China Camp to open. I used to live pretty close to there and drove by the anchorage almost every morning for a couple of years and it always seemed calm.
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Old 31-08-2014, 06:13   #3
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

We overnighted at China Camp in a 36 Jenneau charter boat (i.e. not great ground tackle). It was a period of unusually light winds on the bay so I don't know if our experience was typical but it was fine. The other concern, current, also did not come into play as the anchorage seems on the edge and slightly protected.

Maybe a local will chime in and tell us we were lucky but there were probably 10-12 boats there along with us.
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Old 31-08-2014, 08:39   #4
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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We overnighted at China Camp in a 36 Jenneau charter boat (i.e. not great ground tackle). It was a period of unusually light winds on the bay so I don't know if our experience was typical but it was fine. The other concern, current, also did not come into play as the anchorage seems on the edge and slightly protected.

Maybe a local will chime in and tell us we were lucky but there were probably 10-12 boats there along with us.
Yeah, I've heard there are some anchorage problems in the thick sticky mud.
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Old 31-08-2014, 10:33   #5
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

Got a late start and missed the operating hours of the lift bridge to Mare Island by 5 minutes. Dropped the hook in front of the Vallejo Marina bulkhead across from Mare Island. Spent the night along with a couple of other boats, one looked like it might have been there awhile. Holding was good which was a comfort as it was a bit windy with the wind blowing up San Pablo Bay. Dropped the anchor as close to the Bulkhead as I dared to stay out of the fairway. With the prevailing wind on to shore, the stern felt a bit close to the bulkhead so was a bit unnerving but that was probably just my poor estimation of distance. There were a couple of other boats anchored, one which looked like it might have been there awhile. Was only a few hundred yards from the bridge so timing for the tide would have been a piece of cake.
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Old 31-08-2014, 11:55   #6
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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Got a late start and missed the operating hours of the lift bridge to Mare Island by 5 minutes. Dropped the hook in front of the Vallejo Marina bulkhead across from Mare Island. Spent the night along with a couple of other boats, one looked like it might have been there awhile. Holding was good which was a comfort as it was a bit windy with the wind blowing up San Pablo Bay. Dropped the anchor as close to the Bulkhead as I dared to stay out of the fairway. With the prevailing wind on to shore, the stern felt a bit close to the bulkhead so was a bit unnerving but that was probably just my poor estimation of distance. There were a couple of other boats anchored, one which looked like it might have been there awhile. Was only a few hundred yards from the bridge so timing for the tide would have been a piece of cake.
It gets pretty windy in that area most of the summer. Not sure I'd want to deal with that being so close to a bulkhead.
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Old 31-08-2014, 12:22   #7
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

When going to or from the delta, I'll normally anchor next to Mare Island, down before the power line crossing outside the channel in about 12 feet of water. Good holding and short fetch unless winds are from the north or south (rare).

China Camp is fine in S to NW wind, which is prevailing wind direction. N, E or SE is open. I've never had a problem with holding, but I've seen a few boats go walkabout now or then. Mainly due to poor anchoring, low scope.

Paradise cove tuberon is nice, except for the $%^&* Ferry's that go by during rush hours and all day on the weekends.

I've anchored off Benicia a time or two. The W winds and counter current means the boat dances at anchor. Really only good in calm weather. Southampton Bay is shallow, though I've seen a boat anchored behind the east hill at the strait.

I've also anchored near the old Reserve fleet which is better protected. But the train freight yard and the delightful smell from the refinery, makes that less then fun.
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Old 31-08-2014, 17:23   #8
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

Thanks Sailorchic,
Mare Is. looks like a good prospect for the night, before heading up stream. I will be showing up right at low tide so 12' would be a good depth but would be swinging just after 1AM so need to set the alarm. Then in the morning I can take my time up thru the shallows to Napa.
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Old 31-08-2014, 19:12   #9
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

Anchoring is fine near the eastern shore of Mare Island Strait. While transiting the lower end of Napa River, don't go too near the channel markers. The navigable channel snakes between the markers, and while the river is wide until Eberley Island, the navigable channel is narrow. In the river's upper region, stay to the middle. Docking in Napa is normally limited to daytime hours. You'll be right in the middle of the interesting part of Napa. And yes, transit at high tide.







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Old 31-08-2014, 20:38   #10
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

Just FYI, The buildings along the Napa dock are ones I had a hand in designing. A nice little mixed use project.
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Old 31-08-2014, 20:56   #11
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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It gets pretty windy in that area most of the summer. Not sure I'd want to deal with that being so close to a bulkhead.

What, no faith in your ground tackle??? Holding seemed to be excellent. Anchor didn't break out till the chain was nearly vertical. Good old California Clay bottom. You could always drop the hook closer to the channel as the wind will blow you away from it. Don't know about anchoring on the Mare Island side. The wind will blow you toward the channel which might upset the powers that be. Then there is always a transient slip in the Vallejo marina if the anchoring seems a bit too iffy. Regret not going to Napa but discovered a mystery influx of water that threatened to sink the boat while anchored. make sure high tied coincides with the bridge operation. IIRC, it's 7am - 5pm but wouldn't quote me on that. Just out of curiosity, what do you draw, 7' or more??
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Old 31-08-2014, 21:15   #12
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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Just FYI, The buildings along the Napa dock are ones I had a hand in designing. A nice little mixed use project.
Unfortunately, I can't get all the way to Napa. I draw 7' 3". I'll be stopping at the Napa marina for so me yard work.

I guess they survived the recent earthquake with just a few boats that slipped off of blocks, but none damaged. I always wondered how a quake would do with boats on the hard. Seattle is a quake area too but nothing big enough hit while I was on the hard in 10 years. But always worried.
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Old 31-08-2014, 21:32   #13
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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What, no faith in your ground tackle??? Holding seemed to be excellent. Anchor didn't break out till the chain was nearly vertical. Good old California Clay bottom. You could always drop the hook closer to the channel as the wind will blow you away from it. Don't know about anchoring on the Mare Island side. The wind will blow you toward the channel which might upset the powers that be. Then there is always a transient slip in the Vallejo marina if the anchoring seems a bit too iffy. Regret not going to Napa but discovered a mystery influx of water that threatened to sink the boat while anchored. make sure high tied coincides with the bridge operation. IIRC, it's 7am - 5pm but wouldn't quote me on that. Just out of curiosity, what do you draw, 7' or more??
It's not the ground tackle but the wifey will be along. And the chop would not suite her well.

Yeah, the bridge is 7-5. I figure I'll pass under at about 9.

Lately here in Vallejo, the wind usually dies down around sunset and starts back up around 9-12.

7' 3" draft w/fin keel.
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Old 31-08-2014, 21:40   #14
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

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... Then there is always a transient slip in the Vallejo marina if the anchoring seems a bit too iffy. ...
The marina office is closed on weekends. One needs a key to enter/exit the docks. ... The strong upstream/downstream tidal currents have the major influence on how a boat lies at anchor. ... Mare Island Strait is much less likely to be choppy compared to China Camp or Southhampton Bay. There are fewer wakes upstream of the Vallejo ferry terminal.
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Old 31-08-2014, 21:49   #15
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Re: Anchoring Regs for SF Bay Area/San Pablo Bay/Carquinez Strait

I'm trying to save a few buck$ Otherwise I'd go over to Glen Cove where I'll be returning to after the yard. I'm leaving Alameda.

And, I'll be going up stream on the 10th.
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