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Thread: Travel from Marina del Rey to Dana Point/San Diego

  1. #1
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    Travel from Marina del Rey to Dana Point/San Diego

    Well, I am moving my boat from MRD to Dana Point, so that I may be closer to her. Right now, 3.5-hrs to get to the boat, depending on traffic is way too much travel time. I'd rather spend it sailing.

    Most of my sailing has been around the marina, practicing tacking and jibbing, and the only instruments I have used on the boat (that are working) is depth. The boat speed is not functional and I am not well-versed in the Navigator Ritchie I have on board.

    Sailing from MRD to Dana Point will take two-days and I will NOT be sailing after dark, as I am not yet experienced for that kind of sailing, and I don't have the electronics on board for me to do it comfortably anyway. So, I will stop somewhere in-bweeen, perhaps Huntington Beach, spend the night on the boat in a guest slip and then continue on to Dana Point in the morning. I will, to the extent possible keep land in sight, assuming winds are favorable. Assuming good winds, I will average 3-6 knots on my E27. I will be doing this with my daughter (we both have been sailing for only 2-years), and a possible friend of hers who is an experienced sailor.

    Have any of you sailed from MRD to Dana Point? Any advice? Also, as I round Palos Verdes, theres all the shipping traffic to contend with...any thoughts on that? And, I understand that there are some kind of 'separation' lanes in the area.

    Any comments or advice is welcome.

    Eric
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

  2. #2
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Have done that trip more times than I can count, either racing or delivering. In general (**), it should be a pleasant trip.

    On your way around the Palos Verdes peninisula, you'll probably want to be a couple miles off the land in order to avoid kelp and potentially adverse currents. Around Point Fermin (aka "Hurricane Gulch"), especially in the afternoon, the local breeze can build significantly, being just a few miles offshore can make things a lot more pleasant.

    Once around Point Fermin, you have a pretty straight shot down the coast. You can duck inside the breakwater at Angel's Gate (the LA entrance) if you want calmer waters, or you can stay outside to take advantage of wind and current. Inside the breakwater, you'll probably have more small-boat traffic; outside you may have shipping traffic. Neither is a particular problem, just keep a good watch and plan ahead - the ships move much faster than you think they do, so you want to act well in advance of any potential crossing, both to make your intentions clear and to give yourself options.

    The current generally (**) goes southward along the coast. The breeze, this time of year, tends to be a light southerly in the morning, clocking and building into a fairly predictable westerly in the afternoon. Inside

    The trip from MDR to Dana Point is roughly 60nm. If you're going to break it up into two segments, somewhere around Alamitos Bay or Huntington Harbor would be a decent halfway point. MDR to Alamitos is about 32nm, Alamitos to Dana Point is about 28. 4 knots might be a reasonable estimate of average speed - that may feel low, but I always like to estimate conservatively. If you go faster, great... but by picking a conservative number you can plan your trip in a way that gives you some buffer time and still get in before dark.

    If you're going to stop, make sure you've arranged for a guest slip at your harbor of choice, they can be at a premium this time of year.

    ** all of this is "generalities". You should, of course, educate yourself before taking on any open-water passage. Check the weather forecasts and know what the wind is going to do throughout the day. There are lots of cellphone apps you can use, both for weather info as well as portable GPS/routing tools. Let me know if you want recommendations. At minimum, you should have the tools you need to determine your position and calculate your course to the next destination. That can be as simple as a hand-bearing compass, a good chart and a pencil. It doesn't have to be an expensive chartplotter.

    Have good charts at a sufficient scale to know where there are hazards (shipping lanes - shown in purple on the chart - oil platforms, sea-bouys, etc.) A good "chart-book", like the MapTech "ChartKit" versions, will have all sorts of useful insights besides just the charts themselves. IIRC, the "Region 12" ChartKit covers southern California. About 100 bucks, but way cheaper and more convenient than buying a set of the equivalent charts.

    Have a good VHF that allows you to communicate when needed, preferably a "station" (built-in radio with masthead antenna - handhelds don't have the power to carry more than a few miles) and ideally one that has "dual monitoring" - the standard practice is to always monitor channel 16, but shipping traffic will often be on another channel. Up here (Puget Sound), we monitor channel 14 (the channel for the Vessel Traffic System), and sometimes 9 (for bridge-to-bridge comms between vessels). Make sure you know which channels matter in your area. You should be in cellphone range the whole way, so that's a good backup, but if you want to talk to a ship headed your way, a VHF is the way to do it.

    Obviously, make sure you have the appropriate safety gear on board. Running lights that work. Flares. A radar reflector is a good idea. Etc.

    My personal preference is to have a "float plan" in place with someone on shore. There are samples available all over the net, in fact the USCG has one on their site, but it doesn't have to be anything formal. At minimum, a float-plan is simply a description of the boat and your itinerary. The idea is, someone on shore should know what your plan is, and if you're overdue, they should have the information they need in order to communicate to the USCG what to look for and where they should start looking. If you do a float-plan, be sure to check in with your shore-bound contacts when you arrive at your destination and/or if your plan changes.

    Bottom line... it "should" be an easy trip. There are lots of things you can do to help ensure that it stays easy and pleasant. Even in the highly-trafficked waters of SoCal, conditions can change, so it makes good sense to have all the info and tools you can, have a Plan A, and a handful of backup plans if things get weird. Thinking through the things that could make the trip unconfortable - in advance - is a great tool to have in your toolbag. Engine craps out? Wind comes up stronger than you are comfortable in? Someone on board gets sick? Have a plan, and then relax and enjoy the trip, knowing that you have the bases covered as well as you can.

    Hope that helps,
    Bruce

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    Last edited by bgary; 08-04-2018 at 11:20 PM.
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
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  3. #3
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    Lots to Ponder

    Thanks sooo much Bruce. I still have much prep to do and this gives me a lot of food for thought.

    I have the iNavx and NAvionics Boat apps on my phone/iPad, but they don't seem to be easy to use....

    What are your recommendations in this regard?
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

  4. #4
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Bruce is complete.

    Another option is to bring along somebody experienced and do it in one day, which has an added benefit:

    A full day of questions answered and procedures observed, and all on your own boat. Invaluable for both of you. If you don't have a friend in mind, call Steve Curran and say I sent you. He can find somebody and I don't think it would be much tuition money. http://www.cayachtco.com/our-crew/?filter=6

    If you depart at 6 a.m. or earlier and can maintain 5 knots you'd probably arrive before dark. Probably motoring most of the way this time of year. All you need is running lights and a GPS and VHS radio, which you'll need anyhow for any sail anywhere.

    Just an alternative idea that also avoids dealing with a slip reservation in an unfamiliar harbor.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 08-05-2018 at 09:21 AM.
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  5. #5
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    I like that idea

    Thank you Christian. This is an interesting idea. I had planned to bring an experienced person with me anyway and I certainly don't mind paying some $$$ to get that kind of knowledge and tutoring.

    As an aside, the only thing not working is the mast light which I was going to get fixed once Im in Dana Point, the other lights work...which actually, now that I think about it, wouldn't be a problem, particularly if I'm motoring and its daytime.

    So, the wind this time of year is not favorable for a sail down south?
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

  6. #6
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonokai View Post
    I have the iNavx and NAvionics Boat apps on my phone/iPad, but they don't seem to be easy to use....
    I tried both iNavX and Navionics and... landed in the same place. I just don't find them intuitive to use.

    Instead, I use iSailor. Much cleaner interface, easy to use (JMHO) and every bit as powerful. You have to buy the charts, but once you do they are seamless and high-quality - no need to pick which NOAA chart to display, as in iNavX. The set for the pacific coast (San Francisco to Ensenada) is about 15 bucks, if I recall correctly.

    The other app I use a lot is called WeatherTrack. It allows you to download a "grib" file full of weather predictions for an area you're interested in - you zoom on a map, press the button and get a couple of days worth of predictions in 3-hour intervals. This is, for example, the wind forecast for 5pm today in the area between MDR and Long Beach.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This screenshot shows that the winds at 5pm today are predicted to be about 5 knots, mostly westerly, with some local "wrap" around Point Fermin. If you click on the arrows at the bottom, you move forward or backwards 3 hours at a time, so you can see how things develop throughout the day. You can also zoom in to get a more detailed view of a smaller area. I've found it to be a very good way to get a handle on what the wind (and rain, and barometric pressure) predictions look like, and it's been super-useful.

    $.02
    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  7. #7
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    I've done this many times in the early '90s and it's a pleasant trip. The shipping traffic is unlikely to be anywhere near as intense as you fear it to be; but you'll be best-equipped to handle it during daylight hours under power, and cross the shipping lanes at a right angle to minimize your time in them.

    I would also advise leaving before dawn and doing the trip in a single day. That way you're in familiar waters while it's still darkish, in good light for the rest of the day, and not wasting time or brainpower going into and out of a second unfamiliar port on the trip. Yes, have a plan to enter port if you have a problem but there are plenty to choose from as you meander down the coast and they're all easy to get into. Also, plan to make 4.5 knots no matter what - if the wind isn't cooperative for more than 15 minutes, just plan to motor, end of story. Yeah, you'll probably be motoring the entire time. Strap two jerrycans of fuel onto the port and starboard deck stanchions of your choice, start with a full tank, and you can motor all the way down to San Diego if you want.

    There is a bit an adjustment in going from the visuals that you're used to using to locate yourself, and adjusting that perspective to what you actually see on a chart, and then adjusting that to unfamiliar waters. This is why the navigation app you use is so important; it removes any doubt about what that perspective looks like. I think it's well worth the time to figure out iNavX. For this trip you barely need to understand how it works. Once you have the charts downloaded, just head south and zoom out on the app so you can confirm you aren't headed into shallow or kelpy waters. In daylight you don't need much else than that.

    I concur you need the SoCal paper chartbook, the vinyl waterproof chart to keep it in, a couple of mechanical pencils, and a few erasers (I'm partial to the Staedler erasers in plastic tubes that look a bit like mechanical pencils). These and a bearing-taking tool, though, are mostly for fun and education, you should learn to use them as you're going along.

    As for the bearing-taking tool, though I can't recommend highly enough a set of compass binoculars with 7x50 magnification. These are much more useful life tools than the hand-bearing compass. You will want to have these on deck to look at everything all the time, as opposed to the hand-bearing compass which is a less-precise tool that adds to rather than aids the navigational burden. I have this set, which includes a floating strap and, of course, a night light for the compass:
    https://www.amazon.com/Fujinon-Marin...dp/B00009XVPA/
    ($189)

    but I bought it after I assumed my 25-year-old Bushnell compass binocs had seen their last. These were similarly entry-level and had served me well through 500 days at sea on Navy deck watches and countless days of sailing. They owed me nothing but I gave up on them too soon; Bushnell was happy to adjust them for me to near-new condition for $25 and I now own two pairs of compass binocs. So I'd also point you towards these, which aren't the same design as my 1990 vintage Bushnells:
    https://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-BN13...dp/B00009X3S2/
    ($164)

    Yes you can buy a spectacular pair of Steiner compass binocs for $1000 or more. When you sail to Hawaii you should get them! But these are 90% as functional as those at less than 20% of the price.
    1969 Ericson 32 #112 • Atomic Four
    City Island, NYC
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  8. #8
    kapnkd kapnkd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonokai View Post
    Well, I am moving my boat from MRD to Dana Point, so that I may be closer to her. Right now, 3.5-hrs to get to the boat, depending on traffic is way too much travel time. I'd rather spend it sailing.

    Most of my sailing has been around the marina, practicing tacking and jibbing, and the only instruments I have used on the boat (that are working) is depth. The boat speed is not functional and I am not well-versed in the Navigator Ritchie I have on board.

    Sailing from MRD to Dana Point will take two-days and I will NOT be sailing after dark, as I am not yet experienced for that kind of sailing, and I don't have the electronics on board for me to do it comfortably anyway. So, I will stop somewhere in-bweeen, perhaps Huntington Beach, spend the night on the boat in a guest slip and then continue on to Dana Point in the morning. I will, to the extent possible keep land in sight, assuming winds are favorable. Assuming good winds, I will average 3-6 knots on my E27. I will be doing this with my daughter (we both have been sailing for only 2-years), and a possible friend of hers who is an experienced sailor.

    Have any of you sailed from MRD to Dana Point? Any advice? Also, as I round Palos Verdes, theres all the shipping traffic to contend with...any thoughts on that? And, I understand that there are some kind of 'separation' lanes in the area.

    Any comments or advice is welcome.

    Eric
    Early on in my sailing I first ventured offshore from Miami to the Bahamas in a Catalina 22. Looking back it was naive - but we did it and the boat even handled a pretty rough Gulf Stream storm between Freeport Bahamas and Bimini. This trip was done together with a good friend on his similar sized boat.

    Food for thought: There is safety in numbers and a huge increase in your confidence level with another boat beside you. Not sure you can find someone else going your way, but maybe worth looking into.

    As you’ve already been told DO plan ahead and be prepared. As with my old Catalina 22 - your Ericson won’t ever give up before the skipper does. Most of all - HAVE FUN and ENJOY YOUR ADVENTURES!

  9. #9
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    Realization

    Thank you all so much for your comments/advuice. Exactly why I love this forum so much!!!

    I think I realize how ill prepared and inexperienced I am for a trip of this sort. That said, I think what I will do is arrange for the slip in Dana Point and have some overlap between the one in MRD and DP while I make sure I have all the gear I need, AND get in some additional practice/lessons/experience, etc... in preparation for the sail.

    Because I have only done the occasional day sail, I haven't really had to deal with Navigation or any of the pitfalls of a longer sail, (albeit a short one in the overall scheme of things).

    More training/planning on my part is necessary, I think.
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

  10. #10
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    So... while we're giving you food for thought, I'll throw this out: if you wait until you're "ready", you'll never go.

    Experience is what you get when you try new things. Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Then.... go do it, and keep track of what worked and what didn't.

    that's how we grow. I've been sailing for over 50 years, and I still - literally - learn something every time I go out. Sometimes it is about technique, sometimes it is about gear or equipment, sometimes it is about routing and navigation, sometimes it is about me, and what I can or cannot do. It's part of the endless reward of this passion.

    So.... yeah, gather the gear you need. If you have someone with more experience to go with you and mentor you, that's awesome. But... go do it.


    $.02
    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  11. #11
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    Point Taken!

    Bruce,

    Point Taken.

    Eric

    PS- By my count, you're at $.33
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

  12. #12
    kapnkd kapnkd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgary View Post
    So... while we're giving you food for thought, I'll throw this out: if you wait until you're "ready", you'll never go.

    Experience is what you get when you try new things. Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Then.... go do it, and keep track of what worked and what didn't.

    that's how we grow. I've been sailing for over 50 years, and I still - literally - learn something every time I go out. Sometimes it is about technique, sometimes it is about gear or equipment, sometimes it is about routing and navigation, sometimes it is about me, and what I can or cannot do. It's part of the endless reward of this passion.

    So.... yeah, gather the gear you need. If you have someone with more experience to go with you and mentor you, that's awesome.

    $.02
    Bruce

    AMEN Bruce! ...That FIRST STEP is always filled with trepidation, but DOES need to happen in order to grow with experience - THE ULTIMATE TEACHER OF WISDOM. Do your best - be prepared - AND GO FOR IT!

    ...When we'd leave Miami for the Bahamas, it'd be at 3 or 4 in the morning to make Bimini in the early PM with the sun at our backs to see the shallows (coral) going into Alice Town. Always it was an absolute ink well going East as we left the lighted Miami skyline behind us. Sometimes waves ahead could be heard breaking high above us, but our Ericson always rose to the occasion and left us feeling secure. The welcomed daylight absolved the darkness of the unknown and fueled our sense of confidence and anticipation of the adventures that lay ahead. This perhaps adds to the point that “Knowledge is not the same as the Widom of Experience which comes from DOING.”

    Prepare, read and learn but the best teacher will always be those experiences along the traveled path.

    fair winds and great adventures that will surely follow!
    -kerry


    Your advice of 2 cents is SOLID GOLD!!
    Last edited by kapnkd; 08-05-2018 at 02:49 PM.

  13. #13
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    Rather than thinking of this as a long sail from MDR to Dana Point, think of it as two consecutive day sails. In my youth I twice single-handed an O-Day 17 center boarder without engine from MDR to San Diego, harbor hopping along the way. Only once did I come in after dark, but that was okay after the initial anxiety. I later sailed it with my wife in our E26, which was more low key. In the summer it's usually "downhill" and is a relaxing sail.


    Oh, I just remembered something about the first O'Day 17 voyage. Being a small open boat, my O'Day had no chart table or a flat space to lay out a chart (these were the days before electronic charts). I cut up the chart into one-foot squares and covered the squares in clear plastic. I later learned that I'd not saved the part of the chart with the warning to stay clear of the coast off Camp Pendelton. I became becalmed about a mile offshore and eventually noticed a lot of military ship activity about two miles seaward of my position. Then military helicopters flew over headed for shore, followed by fully-loaded Marine landing craft. I was in the middle of a Marine training exercise, sans only live ammo! Things were a little more relaxed in those days so I was not rammed, strafed, torpedoed or arrested, but I sure was anxious for awhile.


    I'm retired and may be available to help sail your boat from MDR to Dana Point (no charge). If you wish to discuss that possibility, phone or email me. 310-540-7034; jumpy48@aol.com.

  14. #14
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    Alamitos Bay

    Eric,

    If you do decide to break up your trip and want to stop in Alamitos Bay, here is the contact information for a guest slip:

    http://www.longbeach.gov/park/park-a...os-bay-marina/

    Let everyone on here know when you plan to make the trip and I'm sure there will be more than a few eyes keeping a lookout for you.

    Fair winds,
    Matt
    1984 E35-III
    Former Partner S/V "Wind Chaser" #187
    Long Beach, California

  15. #15
    Contributing Partner lonokai's Avatar
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    Planning to go sometime in the next 15-60 days

    So I am on the waiting list for a slip at Dana Point.

    Could be a few weeks or couple months.

    So I have some items to prepare on the boat before then.

    I was looking at charts this evening and Alamitos Bay looks like a good waypoint.

    I was thinking of the following itinerary;

    DAY 1: Marina del Rey to Redondo Beach
    DAY 2: Redondo Beach to Alamitos
    DAY 3: Alamitos to Newport Beach
    DAY 4: Newport Beach to Dana Point

    This will give me a lot of experience in local waters....and I will also then be familiar with some of the harbors in the area. Since I have the time, this will be an opportunity to essentially, just do it!

    As I review the charts, perhaps the biggest fear/concern/challenge will be the leg from Redondo to Alamitos, particularly with all the traffic.

    I'll let you all know when Im leaving and hopefully get to meet whoever is in the ports I call.

    Eric
    Eric Gordon
    1975 Ericson 27, Yanmar 3GM30
    Dana Point, CA
    "Sea Star"
    Hull #721

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