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Old 01-01-2020, 21:19   #1
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Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

We are planning a northbound passage from Santa Barbara to Morro Bay this Friday. I am aware of Cojo Anchorage and Port San Luis for potential hideouts. While studying Brian Fagan's book, I also saw Point Sal anchorage. I have never anchored there and don't know much about it.

Has anyone tried anchoring there recently? We don't intend to use it unless absolutely required but would like to have information in case needed.
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Old 01-01-2020, 23:52   #2
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

You might check these threads:
Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Threads that are helpful to trip planning

This can be a really rough time of year to head north, but you may know that already. I haven't stayed there, passed by it twice, but I believe Point Sal is only suitable in settled weather.
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Old 02-01-2020, 00:03   #3
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

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This can be a really rough time of year to head north, but you may know that already.
Thanks Don, yes well aware of that. Have been waiting for a window in Santa Barara. Looks like we have a ~30 hour window on Friday, will try that. If it doesn't work, we will head back.
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Old 02-01-2020, 00:34   #4
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

You didn't say what size boat and estimated speed, but if you can maintain 6 knots you should have a pretty good trip if you leave midnite on Thursday.
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Old 02-01-2020, 00:46   #5
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

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You didn't say what size boat and estimated speed, but if you can maintain 6 knots you should have a pretty good trip if you leave midnite on Thursday.
A 32 footer, estimating close to 5 knots on average. It is some 107 miles from Santa Barbara to Morro Bay, so current plan is to leave very early Friday morning and arrive at Morro Bay by Saturday morning. Getting into Port San Luis instead of Morro Bay can shave off some 15 miles and ~3 hours.

Forecast is light Easterly/South Easterly in Santa Barbara Channel and around Pt. Conception at that time but we all know how reliable forecasts are.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:42   #6
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

The forecasts get more accurate as the departure time approaches. Right now Windy has the same pattern for the NAM, GFS and ECMWF models up to midnite Friday, which is far as the NAM goes. The GFS shows the northerly filling a little earlier on Saturday than the ECM. In addition the NOAA point forecast shows the NW swell at 6 ft on Saturday but building to 10 ft by Saturday night, and the Morro Bay entrance gets pretty hairy at 10 ft. Check the updates tomorrow, but it looks like you want to get into MB near dawn Saturday.

I don't think leaving the boat in Port San Luis is a good idea in the winter, as it is open to the south.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:55   #7
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

I have never anchored there , but from the land side it looks like it would be uncomfortable and scary in weather. The moorings in Port San Luis are well protected behind the breakwater and farther inside by the hills.
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Old 02-01-2020, 14:21   #8
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

We do have a good window now, no chance you could leave earlier? Like today and wait at Cojo for the soonest chance to get around Conception and Arguello? The weather forecast improves as you go north and as time goes by, but if it were me I'd be planning to leave from Cojo when things are right. And the coast from SB to Cojo is really nice for an afternoon/evening cruise, especially now with warm offshore breezes... could be excellent! Wish I could do it myself!
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Old 02-01-2020, 17:34   #9
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

I did the passage from MB to SB all the time singlehanded for 3 years on a 31ft mono when I lived in MB and did construction in SB. This was in the 80ís but weather & coastline are the same. Never stopped at Pt Sal cause no protection from NW & if it was blowing from S before a front just kept sailing to MB. I learned to anchor at Govíts and go N around Pt Conc at 1-3am. If it is flat then go for it since you need to get around Arguello before NW wind sets in; it is usually rougher than Pt. Conception! Once you get around Pt Sal you can sail in close to coast at Pismo bight and get some protection to Port San Luis. I probably did this trip at least 30 times at all times of the year. Have a good adventure! Evan, now on a 48íCat in the Philippines
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Old 04-01-2020, 11:55   #10
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

Come on back here and let us know how it went!
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Old 04-01-2020, 17:02   #11
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Re: Anchoring at Point Sal (north of Pt. Conception)

Thank you folks, it went well. We left a little later than I intended (I got a work call!) but we were docked at 9am, well before north westerlies picked up.

There wasn't almost any wind, we motor sailed for maybe 4 or 5 hours, for the rest we motored. Swells were around 7-8 ft past Conception. Without enough wind, we were a little slower than I expected.

I took the opportunity of calm seas to make a close pass to Point Conception to take some photos. But we then stayed out to avoid crab pots at night, there were quite a few out there.

Here is the detailed sail trip info with tracks:

https://saillogger.com/tracks/moonch...-to-morro-bay/
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