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 Hull 922 - Catalina Island Trip Report - June 2017
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Carl in LA
Navigator

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USA
109 Posts

Initially Posted - 06/26/2017 :  07:15:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Greetings:

After several months of preparation my wife and I made our Catalina Island trip this weekend as guests of the Hurricane Gulch Yacht Club. The destination was Emerald Bay which is about three miles north of Two Harbors - its on google maps for you to see the aerial of the region.

The San Pedro Channel is a lot of water when you don't have a lot of boat. The distance from the Los Angeles Harbor to Emerald is about 22-nautical miles. The NOAA calls the area "Inner Waters" as they are somewhat sheltered by the long westerly coastline bending past Santa Barbara to Point Conception - about 100-miles north... the Outer Waters are not sheltered and typically have twice the seas as the inner waters.

Conditions were about as benign as I could have asked for... forecast was for two to three foot swell from the northwest and one to two foot wind waves... wind was forecast 10 to 15 on both travel days. The buoy reported between three and four feet swell on both legs of the trip. Wind waves were as predicted routinely adding two feet on top of the three foot swell - "just under my limit" of six foot waves.

We had to motor the entire trip outbound as the wind was basically on the nose and when we could maintain course with the sails working the sailing speed was down in the three knot range - not enough by itself - the Honda did fine and did not consume much fuel over the course of a five hour crossing - perhaps a bit under two gallons. Even with the engine on we had to slow for a bit because of pounding the hull into the wind waves... hence a five hour crossing.

The return trip was mixed bliss and more difficult moments... we left at 10 AM from the island anticipating higher winds in the afternoon. The bulk of the downwind return trip was sailing at five knots in easy three to five foot swell. The last few miles became more difficult. In the afternoon at the end of the trip the wind had picked up to over 20-knts and the wind waves dominated the swell - it was a real wash bucket. We reduced sail mid channel as the wind started to pick up and by the time we were racing in the 20-knot wind to the LA Harbor Gate, we were down to no jib and a double reef main. Could have used a triple reef if I had one!

A moment on that return trip at the gate was telling - one of the big boys in town to race in the Transpac was out playing in the chop - he had full main and full jib and just gliding along while we were down to a scrap of sail and bending the tiller to hold course to the gate. Amazing what an additional 40-feet of hull and an additional 50,000 lbs of weight will do a lot for a sailboat... and a number on your wallet too.

Accommodations proved to be adequate for the wife and I... building in a few additions like a better place to keep shoes and clothing would be beneficial. I'll be looking for a way to use one of the Engle coolers and the power supply to back it up in the future. The boat as delivered needs dozens of additional spaces to store stuff to avoid that cluttered look while on the moor. We are also installing a grab-handle to help moving about in the head. We appreciated the open stern design of the 250 as it made climbing into and out of the dinghy almost easy.

Sometimes you just have to prove to yourself what you already know - a small boat is not generally a likely candidate to be a good ocean boat. Even when 80% of a sail is bliss it's the difficult 20% that screws up the rest - the pounding when motoring upwind and the cork-screwing in the 20-knt chop obscured the gloss of easy sliding up and over the swells under sail with less wind... but you can't count on less wind.

The little lady 250 held her own in what would have been benign conditions for a more suitable ocean vessel which is a testament to the quality build that Catalina (the company) has provided. No creaking or groaning - just riding along following what was given by the sea state.

It is said that if you can sail the San Pedro Channel you can sail anywhere - don't know if that holds true for small vessels such as our 250's - but I'm glad I went and learned more about the boundary conditions for the vessel.

Best to all,

Carl












Edited by - Carl in LA on 06/28/2017 06:13:13

Tahoe Cruiser
1st Mate

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USA
72 Posts

Response Posted - 06/27/2017 :  23:41:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I find that towing a dingy in rough conditions makes the boat even more tender to sail as it slows the speed a lot. You want these boats to get moving as the puffs hit so they heel less. We put ours on the front bow while doing passages or rough water. My boat will gain a knot or more when not towing.

1998 250 WK/TR #355 "Trail Break"
Lake Tahoe California
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dvdfishel
Deckhand

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21 Posts

Response Posted - 10/10/2017 :  16:17:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Awesome trip! Good Job.

I was just wondering at what wind speed I should put in a double reef and from your account seems like 20 knots the double worked well without a jib.

Can you explain what your controlling from the cockpit with the triple rope clutches on the starboard side?. Also have you found additional control point back to the cockpit on the port side beneficial?


Thanks



David Fishel
#848 WB250 2005
<b></b>
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Carl in LA
Navigator

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USA
109 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2017 :  11:02:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dvdfishel

Awesome trip! Good Job.

I was just wondering at what wind speed I should put in a double reef and from your account seems like 20 knots the double worked well without a jib.

Can you explain what your controlling from the cockpit with the triple rope clutches on the starboard side?. Also have you found additional control point back to the cockpit on the port side beneficial?

Thanks



I don't have enough experience with the 250 to make a statement about the double reef - I'm a sail-flat kind of sailor too - so if there is any decent wind I don't even leave the dock without being pulled down to the second reef. Also - I have found that the boat requires at least a little bit of jib to have decent forward progress.

Starboard clutches start outboard with the outhaul on the main, then the main halyard, then the vang line...

The control points on the port side are not used that much... there is a topping lift, a spinnaker sheet, and reefing (by hook) line, most action occurs on the starboard side...

I very-much find control points from the cockpit beneficial...

If I could build an efficient single line reefing system I would and that would eliminate the need to go the mast and hook the reefing tack on the luff. That sucks a lot in gusty rolling conditions.

Enjoy the day,

Carl
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doublereefed
1st Mate

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99 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2017 :  14:55:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carl, thanks for the travel log. May I ask what kind of communcations/electronics/charting that you need for such a trip? I sail on a lake here in Utah, but next Fall-Spring (2018-2019) I am thinking about taking the boat down to Marina del Rey or Dana Point (or?) for dry storage, rigged, at the ramp. I presume I would need AIS VHF, and a chart plotter/GPS that handles AIS, and DSC VHF? Interested in what I should be planning for.

Thanks,

-Richard

'95 C250 WB #61
Midway, UT
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dvdfishel
Deckhand

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21 Posts

Response Posted - 10/12/2017 :  03:56:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Carl,

Thanks for the reply,

I have successfully run the one line jiffy reef system (from the C250 manual) back to the cockpit. I had to add a additional block in the gromit in the sail luff to reduce friction so I could get it to tighten enough. This system works great and I can add and remove single reef while sailing single handed from the cockpit now.




David Fishel
#848 WB250 2005
<b></b>
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Carl in LA
Navigator

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USA
109 Posts

Response Posted - 10/12/2017 :  07:09:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by doublereefed

Carl, thanks for the travel log. May I ask what kind of communcations/electronics/charting that you need for such a trip? I sail on a lake here in Utah, but next Fall-Spring (2018-2019) I am thinking about taking the boat down to Marina del Rey or Dana Point (or?) for dry storage, rigged, at the ramp. I presume I would need AIS VHF, and a chart plotter/GPS that handles AIS, and DSC VHF? Interested in what I should be planning for.

Thanks,

-Richard



First - the mast up storage I'm in is Cabrillo Dry Storage which is at the southern end of the Cabrillo Way Marina in San Pedro, CA. The boat is stored on the trailer but they use a crane for launch and retrieval. System works but it has noteworthy scheduling issues - such as the crew being late launching at the scheduled time due to backlog from other vessels being attended to.

I believe the dry storage system at Marina Del Rey is a parking lot that you use your truck to hitch up to the boat, launch at a ramp, and then park your trailer in your slot before you go boating. I am told there are several of the mast up storage lots along the So Cal coast although these two are the only ones I have personal knowledge of.

Dana Point is a nice neighborhood ($$$) and would be a good central point for coastal cruising between San Diego to LA... Going to Catalina from Dana Point (and any more southerly locations) tends to be an upwind slog for a relatively lot of miles - of course people do it all the time on small boats.

Electronics... The navigational risk in So Cal is fog... when its socked in - its pretty bad... and yet - a mile away it can be crystal clear... so you would benefit at least from a gps device that would show you a course to a destination or harbor inlet when you can't use dead reckoning. AIS would be helpful to keep from being crushed in the fog by a big boy - but when the fog descends near a port - everybody slows down and goes on high alert. Radar would be the next best assist.

As far as personal safety, years ago I decided that a handheld VHF radio with gps or DSC would be the best rescue solution for the waters between San Pedro and Catalina. The logic being that as the boat sinks and you are clutching a floatie you want to be able to VHF somebody with precise coordinates to where you are - exactly - hence the gps transmission along with the vhf transmission. The two-way communication would also be beneficial - they say "were here where are you?" and you scream into the radio "come south come south - I see you!!!"

It is my habit to keep the VHF radio in my pocket at all times when I'm outside the breakwater assuming I were to fall overboard I would have that means of communication on me.

I bet there are newer solutions such as the Garmin InReach that may get the job done as well.

I use OpenCPN as my chart plotter on a netbook and I use downloaded Google Maps as well on the tablet and the phone.

But the trip to Catalina this summer - dead reckoning both coming and going...
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doublereefed
1st Mate

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99 Posts

Response Posted - 10/12/2017 :  21:15:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carl, thanks for the details. Seems doable preparation goal, and on a reasonable budget. A floating VHF with GPS and DSC... that makes a ton of sense. I just Googled, I had no idea things had come this far. That's an amazing package of communications.

As for the upwind slog... what do most people do? I read a blog where the guy left MdR at dawn, motored a few hours, then wind picks up and sail to Catalina. If farther south, just plan on some really long tacks, watch the wind shifts... or motor? If uphill on the way there... a great downhill ride home? Just wondering...

Thanks Carl,

-Richard

'95 C250 WB #61
Midway, UT
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Akenumber
Navigator

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USA
202 Posts

Response Posted - 11/15/2017 :  17:44:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am in san diego. We leave to head north just before dawn. We can get to oceanside in less than 8 hours and Dana point in less than 12 hours. With a little luck you will have a slight following sea and can keep the outboard barely cracked open or hopefully under sail. In any case your there with enough daylight to get fuel and ice. I would agree the passage to catalina can get a little dicey for a 25 footer. Just be cautious. On the way home we head straight for san diego. We kmow it well and don't mind getting there in the dark.

Ken
San Diego
84 C25 SR/FK 4116
The KRAKEN

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