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Old 21-09-2020, 16:32   #1
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Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

Hi folks,

I have an offer in on a boat in Southern California. The boat is 50', we want to move the whole family aboard with three kids and start cruising. The plan is to then hang out in California till May 2021, or when ever COVID is over and we can head south. Up till when we head south my hope is to hop from harbor to harbor and cruise around between San Diego and San Francisco. I'm planning on continuing to work remote till May, so ideally we are within cell reception and stay 10-14 days per location. I can use PTO time if there's a weather window to move ports.

Is hopping around for 7 months in Southern California even possibly or should I be looking at getting a permanent slip?


Note: I've sailed Marina Del Rey to SF before, so I know we'll be having fun going past Point Conception in the winter, so likely the cruising area is San Diego to Santa Barbara unless there's a really great weather window....
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Old 21-09-2020, 17:02   #2
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Re: Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

We did it years ago bouncing from Newport, Long Beach, Ventura, MDR, Anchored out in Catalina and one of the Channel Islands, Dana Point, Oceanside, Mission Bay before leaving for SoPac. It was a combination of guest slips and sub leases for the marinas. Longest stay was 3 months in Mission Bay and Long Beach on sub leases. If you are going to use guest slips it can get pretty pricey. Anchoring wasn't good for long periods because of weather in the winter. It would be a lot easier if you could find a permanent slip but that will put you at the mercy of availability.
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Old 21-09-2020, 17:04   #3
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Re: Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

San Diego used to have time restrictions on how long you can remain anchored. Likely, still do. I would get a slip. LA area should be more realistic than SD availability wise. Note that a hurricane season starts in June; may not be a good idea to go South before November or so.
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Old 22-09-2020, 09:56   #4
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Re: Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

Thanks roverhi! Thats a great list of ports. I just ordered a cruising guide book to get a list of places to consider. I'll call the ones you listed out to see what their availability is. I had never thought of long term sub leases. How would you even find something like that? Walk the docks?

A couple of the ones I've called so far don't have guest slips currently. They said boats that normally go south to Mexico haven't due to COVID.

I'm not too worried about price, just about anything is cheaper than my current rent. Once I quit work I'll for sure be focusing on anchoring, but its not necessary yet.
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Old 22-09-2020, 10:36   #5
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Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

We did just that for three years starting in 2013. We spent about half of that time on anchor and the rest on moorings or in slips. We enjoyed time in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Oxnard/Chanel Islands, Paradise Cove, various coves around Catalina Island, Marina Del Rey, Kings Harbor/Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Oceanside, Mission Bay, San Diego, Glorietta Bay and Chula Vista. Anchoring is limited in many places. Often restricted to three days. The trickiest and most enforced rules are for Mission Bay and the various coves in San Diego. Check with the harbor police there for current rules and for permitting. Transient slips are often available but may require reservations and can get expensive. Even moorings can be costly. Donít call yourself live aboard. Instead refer to yourself as transient or in transit. If you are a yacht club member limited reciprocal docking may be available at some clubs.

One suggestion for a cruising guide is Charlie's Charts: U.S. Pacific Coast.
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Old 22-09-2020, 21:16   #6
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Re: Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

Planning to leave from southern Cal for Mexico in May is not that practical. That puts you into the start of hurricane season. Nov is the typical exit month.

The winter rates for moorings on Catalina Island are reasonable.
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Old 22-09-2020, 21:45   #7
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Re: Harbor Hop in Southern California for 7 Months

You'll find 50 foot slips are getting rarer. Newport harbor has moorings, is very central.

Otherwise Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard is about the cheapest in SoCal. There were a few 50's available but they may have filled up. It's also the gateway to the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, a national park with many anchorages and no time restrictions. See Brian Fagan's cruising guide to Central and Southern California.

Check on the Peninsula Yacht Marina. 3700 Peninsula Drive, Oxnard, CA 93035

Big Advantage for you: the ownership runs a number of marinas throughout Cali and has free guest slips at each marina for tenants of their other marinas, although 40 ft max be the limit. Otherwise might be ideal for you.
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