This month I had the very rare occasion of having some free time so I wanted to get a few consecutive days of sailing done. How about a mini cruise?! October is typically a great sailing month here on the California coast but November is a bit iffy. As winter approaches, the weather alternates between dangerously large swell and glassy seas, with not too many days in the middle.
Still, I had free time now so best to take advantage of it. On the first week the weather was not good, with swells in the 10-15 ft range and winds gusting to 35 knots. The second week looked good though. Too calm for sailing, but that’s how it goes in the fall here.
My plan was to head north from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and then decide based on weather. I had some hope of making it to Drake’s Bay but the weather forecast decided against that. On the day I would’ve been there, forecast predicted gusty winds from the east which didn’t sound very safe. The anchorage there is best in the usual N or NW winds. So instead, I went to Angel Island which is always nice.
Here are notes and photos from each day:
- Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay – 49 nm
- Half Moon Bay to Pier 39 (SF) – 32 nm
- Pier 39 (SF) to Angel Island – 5.2 nm
- At Angel Island
- Angel Island to Half Moon Bay – 30 nm
- Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz – 50 nm
So 166 nautical miles in total. Unfortunately, most of that was motoring.
Here is some video of the trip: https://youtu.be/Ndyu3lYQSc8
All in all, despite all the motoring, a fun trip! This was the longest continuous cruise I’ve done so that was a nice experience. I was mostly self-sufficient on the boat during these six days. I didn’t plug in to shore power or fill water tanks at any point. I did buy 4.9 gallons of diesel in Half Moon Bay on day 5.
Of all the improvements I’ve made to the boat, the autopilot is the most significant. I never could have attempted a trip like this without it. Standing at the helm for six to ten hours a day would be too much to even consider. Now with the autopilot, I only had to steer a few minutes a day, in and out of the harbors/anchorages.