• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

San Pedro to Two Harbors in a 19' Mariner

Dec 28, 2020
22
O'Day 19 Marina Del Rey
Happy Dad.jpg


I have a huge amount to learn, but I think I'm ready to attempt a trip out to Catalina in about three weeks. It would be with my 13-year-old son. We've sailed together for two years, initially in an RS Quest, then a Lido 14, and more recently in a Mariner 19.I normally sail out of Marina Del Rey, but it looks as though I could shave a few hours off the trip by leaving from Cabrillo beach. I anticipate leaving in the morning and motoring southwest until the wind picks up. I've done some online research, and think (weather forecast permitting) this is something within my skills. But like anything else, the first time you do it is a lot different than what you expected. We sail in the Santa Monica Bay about once a week. Last Sunday, we checked hourly fuel consumption with our outboard -- my thinking is to have enough fuel to make it the whole way. I've put together the tools/other-equipment/safety-gear that I THINK I need. But like I say, I have a huge amount to learn.

So I'm interested in any advice anyone might have.
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
May 24, 2004
6,694
CC 30 South Florida
We have taken many trips to different sailing venues in a Starwind 22 with a 9.8 HP 2 stroke Nissan outboard. Our trip planning gives us the basic estimate of range, trip time and fuel needs. We know our boat can sustain an average speed of 4 knots in calm waters and we also know that our engine burns just under 1 gallon per hour. With this information we verify that we can reach our destination at a convenient time and that we will have adequate fuel on board to reach it. Now these are estimates and the only way to get real numbers is on the water at the time of the trip. Depending wind strength and direction and currents our speed may be lower or higher than previously estimated and correspondingly will be our cruising time and fuel needed. We usually carry twice the amount of fuel estimated just to avoid the nuisance of having to divert course to find fuel. Only once did we have a fuel issue and we realized very early but pressed on hoping for a change of speed which did not materialize. More frequent of a problem is loosing speed in a segment of the trip and arriving late to our destination. If plans are made on a too tight schedule a difference of an hour can mean perhaps arriving after dark into an unknown port. My advice is plan the trip with plenty of time to conveniently arrive at your destination, test and know your engine's Average Burn Rate and make frequent calculations of range, fuel adequacy and time of arrival. Some GPS units may give you the best and fastest course to your destination. The best course is not always a straight line. Quite often a course which allows a higher speed will offset any additional distance incurred. Sometimes a change in course provides a more comfortable ride at the expense of fuel and distance. Having information gives you more choices. Oh, during the planning phase always give yourself an alternate destination and backup plan. Get some sun protection and always carry plenty of drinking water.
 
  • Like
Likes: JackOlsen
Oct 19, 2017
6,816
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Jack,
I applaud your plans. I've thought that would make a great trip in a Mariner for a long time. I dream of trailering mine out to the West coast to do just such a trip.
The boat will handle it well, you can probably rely upon 5 knots headway. The nice part about that trip, although I've never sailed there, is it looks well traveled with plenty of help should a problem arise. To that end, have a radio onboard.

Good luck and I hope to read about your trip's successful conclusion and enjoy plenty of pictures after you get back.

-Will
 
  • Like
Likes: JackOlsen
Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I have a huge amount to learn, but I think I'm ready to attempt a trip out to Catalina in about three weeks.
What risks do you anticipate on your 21 mile planned open ocean cruise in a open cockpit center board boat?

You have considered fuel use getting there. How about returning? How do you deal with fog?

Your bio says you have sailed in the bay, have you sailed in the ocean along the coast either to Santa Barbara or San Diego? How did those experiences go?
 
  • Like
Likes: JackOlsen
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Hi. I assume that you also intend to sail home to SMB eventually. Spending the night ashore or aboard? Your Mariner 19 is “day sailor” designed principally for sailing protected waters, such as bays and lakes, etc. Of course, everything is weather dependent. Good weather, good trip; poor weather, not so good, potentially. But “poor weather” for your trip in your daysailor might mean only slightly rougher conditions than forecast. A boat designed to sail in up to Force 4 conditions, maybe, might very well meet those conditions, or more, crossing the San Pedro Channel during a summer day’s afternoon. Also, as you might have noticed, it’s been pretty windy along the coast here nearly every afternoon for weeks on now. SMB may be calmer, however.

Consider. It might prove a “wet trip” in cold water. So you and you son should carry gear that will keep you dry against spray and protect against hypothermia. Once in the middle of the channel you could be two to three hours travel time to shore ahead or behind. Sail with the hatchboards in place, the cabin closed up to keep it as dry as possible. Make sure the cockpit scuppers remain clear of debris, etc., so can drain properly if so needed. Don’t store gasoline below; find a place in the cockpit. It would be best, IMHO, to have a second fuel tank that can be connected quickly to the engine if the first one runs out. It’s very hard to pour fuel from a jerry can into a fuel tank without making a mess when bouncing about. In my experience, small outboards are inherently unreliable. I recommend having yours serviced before leaving.

Take plenty of drinking water. I’d recommend a gallon each. As for sailing the boat in conditions near 15 kt TWS (true wind speed), 2-3 ft seas, you might wish to reef the mainsail. Although I doubt that mainsails of many daysailors have reef points b/c the boats are not really meant to stay out in it, I notice what looks to be a reef cringle in the leech of your mainsail. If so, I’d get the mainsail rigged for reefing. Otherwise if it gets too windy toward mid-afternoon you may opt to bring in your sails. That means going to the engine, and brother it had better start up and run, etc!

As you said, a lot to learn. I suppose you know that a hand-held VHF radio has a range of only a few miles. Put in fresh batteries and take extra. The bats go down pretty fast if transmitting. Also, take an Orion flare set and keep ‘em dry. You should have a compass aboad. Don’t rely on GPS alone. Check your GPS course against your compass course periodically so you’ll know your course if the GPS batteries go out. Take multiple spares there as well. And this probably sounds like overkill, but chart pages of the San Pedro Channel and Catalina Island north coast should be aboard folded to the relevant view and put inside a watertight ziplock bag so you can read it in the cockpit, even if there is water about.

Finally, leave a float plan behind with somebody (not the coast guard) that gives your expected time of departure, destination, and expected time of arrival, for each leg. Do not rely only on a cell phone to “check in” along the way. FYI. There is no cell service at mid-channel for at least five nautical miles either direction, could be a bit more. I’m sure others here will offer other suggestions.
KG
 
Last edited:
Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Jack... If any of this sounds strange, then you are not ready...
@Kings Gambit has outlined the bare minimum to consider on such an adventure.

There is a lot of water out there. There are big boats out there and yours will feel so small. There is an Old Breton Fisherman's prayer...

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.

Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?

Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.

- Winfred Ernest Garrison
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,351
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Check your Windytv app a few days ahead before committing to departure time and place.... . Be aware of shipping traffic. Have a back up vhf radio, at the very least, plenty of spare batteries. Water water water.... also understand the very strict Catalina Island MFD restrictions. If you're leaving early, there's a good chance of limited visibility... how are you going to deal with that? Will other boats be able to see you... i.e. have a fog horn or trumpet. Rig a small canopy to get out of the sun.... at the mooring for sure, and underway, if possible. A handheld gps or two is a must. The Island has a lot of resources online, but I'm sure you guys have checked it all....
Finally, Benny's advice at the end of his piece is very important. Be prepared to change plans. I hope you both will wear a harness and tether, and stay clipped on, during your passage. Much safer if someone wants to take a nap, if you get my meaning. Sounds like a great time... have a blast.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Finally, Benny's advice at the end of his piece is very important. Be prepared to change plans.
The last (most leeward) viable “alternative destination” outbound is effectively Avalon. Should be able to fetch Avalon on the southerly course from San Pedro. But if Avalon is the destination, most alternative destinations (for services) at Catalina Island would lay against the wind and sea in the prevailing SW-W wind and sea conditions. So, likely the best thing to do during this time of the year in that circumstance would be to go back and try to make Long Beach Harbor either via Queens Gate or passing by the east end of the federal breakwater and into Alamitos Bay.
 
Dec 28, 2020
22
O'Day 19 Marina Del Rey
Thanks, everyone. This is exactly the sort of advice I was looking for.

On the safety front, I've got two different GPS devices for navigation, paper charts, a VHF with DSC/GPS onboard charging and spare batteries, a PLB that's registered and less than a year old. We've got all the Coast-Guard mandated stuff. We've sailed in fog before, but not long enough to need to do the horn routine. But we've got the horn and decent lights. I've put together a toolbox with stuff to repair failed rigging, damaged sails, or other failures. I've got bailing gear, two hand pumps and an electric bilge pump. The cockpit is self-bailing and I've got snakes onboard to clean out debris.

Last Sunday, we sailed 17 miles to test things out. As I said, I've tested fuel consumption and should have more than enough for a day with zero wind. If the outboard quits, I've got tools and spares for it, as well as a trolling motor that I could swap out.

The winds SHOULD be predictable in August, but if anything looks amiss I have no problem calling the trip off. If we do go and then get surprised, we'll have foul weather gear and dry clothes. We'll have food and plenty of drinking water.

For context, I'm better with my hands than is typical. If you Google me, you'd find a lot about my shop and my old car. But being capable at one thing doesn't always mean you'll be capable at another. And no one's good at anthing without lots of practice. But I know enough to be humble about this. I still haven't crossed a shipping channel. I know enough to not try to outrun a freighter, but I've never had to deal with a really big ship's wake.

As some of you mention, if everything works and the weather is mild, it should be easy. If a few things go wrong, I hope they'll be on the list of what I've anticipated. If a lot goes wrong, I hope to be able to limp back home or -- in a worst-case scenario -- go to the emergency button on the radio or the PLB. (Beyond a worst-case scenario, if I'm somehow incapacitated, I have clear instructions for the VHF and PLB printed out for my kid.)

Then again, along the way we're going to get passed by drunks on jetskis. But I'd rather land on the side of caution in anything like this.
 
Last edited:
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
One thing about “the bruisers” as we call ‘em. They’re making about 10 kt close to shore, I believe. They stay in the shipping lanes so if you know where you are on a chart, you know what path relative to you they will follow, etc. Where they will turn. Also, their stern wake is not like that of a passing power boat’s. Theirs are flat, consisting of swirls and underwater turbulences. If you are going to pass near one, obviously pass astern. Just be prepared for some jerky movements of the sailboat if close. Also, the rules are to transit the traffic lanes at rt angles. Do not travel in them at oblique angles if you can avoid. Also, we don’t see many jet skis out there.
 
Last edited:
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Thanks, everyone. This is exactly the sort of advice I was looking for.

The winds SHOULD be predictable in August, but if anything looks amiss I have no problem calling the trip off. If we do go and then get surprised, we'll have foul weather gear and dry clothes.
The usual forecast is “winds variable, 10 kt or less in the morning, becoming west 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Combined seas 2 ft or less…” But what you may get are areas of wind @ 16 to18 kt for a time, maybe some gusts to 20 kt; seas to 3 ft, a few higher, etc. (This is where you and the crew get wet.) You normally see this approaching Isthmus Cove starting inside of about 10 to 6 n.mi. distant in the mid-afternoon, and continuing to near sunset. This would not come as a “surprise” to anyone with much experience crossing the channel to western end of the island. But over most of the rest of the forecast zone, one might not see that, etc. Leaving early and arriving destination by, say, 1400, would be good “insurance.”
 
Last edited:
Dec 28, 2020
22
O'Day 19 Marina Del Rey
The last (most leeward) viable “alternative destination” outbound is effectively Avalon. Should be able to fetch Avalon on the southerly course from San Pedro. But if Avalon is the destination, most alternative destinations (for services) at Catalina Island would lay against the wind and sea in the prevailing SW-W wind and sea conditions. So, likely the best thing to do during this time of the year in that circumstance would be to go back and try to make Long Beach Harbor either via Queens Gate or passing by the east end of the federal breakwater and into Alamitos Bay.
Two Harbors is the destination, but my thinking was that Avalon is there as an option if the wind and other circumstances aren't cooperating.

But it brings up another question. Normally, we sail out of Marina Del Rey, and it's a straight shot to the south from there, which would work all right with normal winds. But it's a MUCH longer trip that way. I've never heard of people starting from Redondo Beach, but there is a ramp there, and the route would still work with SW winds. My plan is to go from San Pedro, and motor west in the morning to be able to use the afternoon winds as they come up to get to Two Harbors. But maybe that's dumb. I hope someone tells me if that's the case. :)

Are you talking about Long Beach and Alamitos for the trip back? Is there a reason that would work better as a departure point than Cabrillo Beach?

Here's my understanding of the possible routes and the currents.

LA-to-catalina-small.jpeg


Currents.jpg
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
No. Not dumb. If you launch from San Pedro for Isthmus Cove you can see that sailing would be a very close reach on a west wind, but from MdR it would be a beam reach. I think it might be hard for a new sailor, even on a west wind, to sail directly to Isthmus Cove from SP. A strong (15 kt) wind could make it more difficult if in a small boat. If the wind is more SW, you’d have to motor or make one or two tacks to get across under sail as the course is 210 deg M.

My point about alternative destinations is that with Isthmus as the planned destination you could bear off toward Avalon if it got too windy, or approach the Catalina coast between Isthmus and Avalon to get into the island’s lee, then motor back up to Isthmus. But if you can’t make Avalon as the planned destination, which would be unlikely that you could not, there is no place beyond to land on that course. However, I suppose you could if close enough round the eastern tip of Catalina, get into the lee, then come back around under power to Avalon. Otherwise (as an alternative “outbound” destination) turn around and sail NE to Long Beach which would be the lowest course to near your departure. Once inside the breakwater you could motor back up to Cabrillo Beach comfortably. It’s better to depart from San Pedro for Isthmus than from Long Beach. That’s how we go.

What the other guys were saying is that you should have an alternative destination in mind in case conditions keep you from your intended one. But if Avalon was the intended destination that you could not reach in the prevailing wind, there’s nothing much except to turn around and sail back on the lowest reasonable course. It would have to be pretty nasty out there to be forced to do that, however. Not likely.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: JackOlsen
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Another thing about small, light sailboats that sometimes is not foreseen lacking direct experience is that they are virtually stopped by headseas. Basically, every second, third or even fourth “wave”, even if only a ft high, can basically stop a light boat under sail in some conditions. I know this from once owning a 1000# Hotfoot 20. They are slow (VMG) upwind in anything except flat water b/c they carry little momentum. Momentum is mass x velocity. A light, slow boat therefore carries little so are all but stopped even by relatively small waves. Sailing in the kinds of conditions I mention above could reduce your VMG (velocity made good) to as low as 3-4 kt, depending; meaning, about 6-7, maybe 8, hr to cross the channel from San Pedro, etc.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: JackOlsen

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,351
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Your bio says you have sailed in the bay, have you sailed in the ocean along the coast either to Santa Barbara or San Diego? How did those experiences go?
Quick look at a map will explain everything... it's like telling someone you sail in the Bay of Biscay and they ask if you have any big water experience. Redondo Beach, along the wide shores of Santa Monica Bay is a world renowned big surf mecca. Unlike SF and SD bays... the only protection are a few manmade harbors.
JS, I'll apologize in advance for the snarky comment (god, I hate that word) but I think Capt Jack is ready to stretch his legs and venture forth.... I am excited for him and his son. What an adventure it will be.
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Oct 22, 2014
15,311
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Thanks for that. I'll prepare for a long trip. That way we can be pleasantly surprised if it's less than 6 hours.
Good luck.
A lot more information about your prep was shared eventually than at the beginning.
Fair winds. And give us a report on your cruise.