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first trip to Catalina

Nov 23, 2018
2
Catalina 22' Los Angeles
I am a single-handed on a Catalina 18 looking to make my first trip from Marina Del Rey to Catalina. Looking for any advice on the best course, where to attach a jack line, what type of inflatable dingy is advised and anything else is appreciated!
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Don't. Instead, go to Dana Point or some other local site that is close to land. If you don't have experience, that is a mighty big ocean to navigate even if you can see Catalina Island. By the way, have you ever crossed the shipping lanes?
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,549
Catalina 320 Dana Point
About 20 years ago I ran into a group called "SoCal Potters" at the transient docks in Channel Islands Harbor, they were going out to Anacapa Island that weekend. They have an annual trip to Catalina, June 21 this year, mostly Potters, Montgomery's, Sage's etc. but because it's so informal they accept anyone, they even gave me a Burgee. They trailer to various harbors thru out the year and are probably best source for info on small boat cruising in the area.
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Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
About 20 years ago I ran into a group called "SoCal Potters" at the transient docks in Channel Islands Harbor, they were going out to Anacapa Island that weekend. They have an annual trip to Catalina, June 21 this year, mostly Potters, Montgomery's, Sage's etc. but because it's so informal they accept anyone, they even gave me a Burgee. They trailer to various harbors thru out the year and are probably best source for info on small boat cruising in the area.
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Everything in context. Anacapa Isl. is 9-12 n.mi. from harbor, depending on where you go. Frenchy's has a sand beach. Anacapa is in the mildest portion of the ESB Channel weather zone, save for Santa Ana winds. A group of Potters could safely do this cruise in fair spring weather with experienced cruise leaders. Would be good to talk to 'em, but it's a different thing than sailing solo, single handedly, 30 n.mi., including crossing a 20+ n.mi.-wide channel, in a 3/4 ton sailboat with no experience doing such a trip.:huh:
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
This recount of a small boat voyage to Catalina was posted a while ago in a thread about fog. It would be worth reading before planning your trip. There are some nuggets of wisdom learned by looking back on the trip.

Interesting account. It’s actually possible to learn some of those hard-won facts ahead of time through preparation, etc. That story was but one of several potential unhappy situations that could arise through inexperience and a land-side view of how things “should work” at sea. The root cause is usually not knowing what one does not know, such as the useful life of most HH VHF batteries if transmitting. Duh? What if I actually need to talk on this thing for long? :doh:

I told the story to SBO of a young couple who arrived at Landing Cove, Santa Barbara Island, near dusk in a 17-ft skiff. The “skipper” asked if we were at San Clemente Island (about 35-40 n.mi. SE of SBI)? Apparently, they were heading to Avalon from Long Beach in low visibility and ended up at SBI.:doh: We think the right-hand torque of his OB pulled him to the right of the course that he thought he was following. With less than 10 n.mi.visibility that day, he passed by Catalina Island w/o seeing it. They were lucky they did not end up in the middle of nowhere for the night.:pray: Visibility was no better the next day. They had a HH VHF radio but no way to report their position not having a chart or GPS, and they clearly did not know their location otherwise, etc. No idea if there was a float plan.
 
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DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,178
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
They had a HH VHF radio but no way to report their position not having a chart or GPS, and they clearly did not know their location otherwise, etc.
:yikes: 20 miles offshore with no chart or GPS? They got lucky finding land.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
:yikes: 20 miles offshore with no chart or GPS? They got lucky finding land
Actually, Santa Barbara Island is 46 n.mi. WSW the LA Gate (i.e., the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor, Port of Los Angeles). It’s 20 n.mi. beyond (i.e., west of) the west end of Santa Catalina Island. SBI is only one square mile of area. A speck of rock out there in the mighty ocean, all alone. There’s a flashing white light but with no chart one would not know what it indicated:doh:. On unusually clear days you can see the island from Long Beach.:)
 
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Jun 8, 2004
2,549
Catalina 320 Dana Point
Well, circa1971la It seems your plans have been "cancelled" ?
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Well, circa1971la It seems your plans have been "cancelled" ?
If so, perhaps just as well. We came up here to MdR from Long Beach yesterday. There have been strong westerly and northwesterly winds offshore to within about 30 n.mi. of our coast for the past few days, including today, producing an SCA yesterday. We motored early until getting past Pt Vicente and into Santa Monica Bay. At minimum, 4-ft seas were with us the entire way to there. With the north-bound course to MdR after Pt. Vicente, now sailing, we had seas a bit fwd of the port beam with wind increasing to about 15 kt; much less than further out. So the wind was fine, but the 6-ft rollers rising then passing under gave a pretty lumpy ride those 10 n.mi. We took some spray as far aft as the binnacle, which we rarely do. I started thinking about our Catalina/Capri 18 questioner. Man, I would not have wanted to be out there in such a small, light, and doubtlessly wet, boat with outboard auxiliary :pray:! Very “stinky”, and possibly sickening to some. I doubt one would set out in it in a Capri 18, but they might end up in it!! I also would not have liked the idea of depending on assist from an electric auxiliary, outboard or inboard. There is just no way. The yachts are built the way there are b/c that’s the way they need to be built!!! The folks advocating the use of electrics might consider some refresher sea time in rough conditions for a reality check.:huh:
 
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Jan 19, 2010
930
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Don't. Instead, go to Dana Point or some other local site that is close to land. If you don't have experience, that is a mighty big ocean to navigate even if you can see Catalina Island. By the way, have you ever crossed the shipping lanes?
What is that... 22 to 25 nm ?
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
What is that... 22 to 25 nm ?
Not following the question. If regarding the shipping lanes, they are 5nm wide. Each lane is 1nm wide with a separation of 3nm. But container ships will sometimes stray outside their lane.
 
Sep 15, 2016
606
Catalina 22 Minnesota
I am a single-handed on a Catalina 18 looking to make my first trip from Marina Del Rey to Catalina. Looking for any advice on the best course, where to attach a jack line, what type of inflatable dingy is advised and anything else is appreciated!
Ok so to answer the questions asked here you go.

I assume you are not inexperienced making the trip and that you know your in a small boat. MDR to Catalina is not so bad but you need to know where you want to go. Two Harbors or Avalon. People make the trip every year in small crafts. When I lived there for a while we even had a fleet of Hobies that would make the crossing so its doable.

Pick your weather and winds. Fog can be a real pain and make sure you have a good VHF, GPS, and navigation skills. If lost in the fog trust the instruments (trust me on that one long story). There is safety in numbers so finding another trailer sailer to go along always makes for a fun trip. If your draft is shallow enough you may save some $$ grabbing the sand line instead of a fixed mooring. They are close to the beach so you can wade in if you don't mind being wet.

Dingy options are up to you. I prefer a harder floor and on my C22 I use a Mariner 4. Best bang for the buck in my opinion but others will disagree. Don't plan to inflate the dink when you arrive (your boats too small for that) just tow it and keep an eye on your tow line. Not uncommon for a bowline to come undone while towing if not backed up with a half hitch or something.

I have made that crossing a number of times before and it can be done. As for compass heading I assume you can read a chart and incase you cant well.... see @Brian D comment above. If you don't know what your doing dont go. If your confident in your skillset then dont get caught up thinking you need a cruising boat to make the trip. It's a fun trip and being there on a small boat has its advantages. you can anchor closer to shore, there is always room for you even on busy weekends, and you have the same fun as the "big boys" for far less money.

oh and one last note. If you plan to anchor make sure you have plenty of chain and scope. Depending on swell conditions many of the mooring fields can be rocky and anchorages require long rodes to set properly.

Have fun and report back with Pictures!
 
Jan 19, 2010
930
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Not following the question. If regarding the shipping lanes, they are 5nm wide. Each lane is 1nm wide with a separation of 3nm. But container ships will sometimes stray outside their lane.
My bad.... What is the distance from the suggested departure point on the mainland to the island?

Is it around 22 to 25 nautical miles ?
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Thank you !
I was citing the approximate distance from Long Beach to Dana Point b/c of your question to Brian on his recommendation that the OP travel to Dana Point. But the distance from Marina del Rey to Isthmus Cove @ Two Harbors, Catalina Isl is about the same, 31-32 n.mi.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
The OP did not report his experience level. After I shipped my Pearson 30 to Long Beach from FL where we had sailed for 11 yr the SW coast of FL, it was about a year of sailing along the coast of Southern California b/f we went across to Avalon, and even then we took with us an experienced cruising couple who had made the crossing in their own boat. It was in February, light rain going over with SE wind about 10 kt on a south southwesterly course. Overly cautious? Not in my opinion. I call it preparation.
 
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Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
My bad.... What is the distance from the suggested departure point on the mainland to the island?

Is it around 22 to 25 nautical miles ?
Got it. For me it is over 40nm since I am in Oceanside. Rather a long drive for me. LOL
 
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