I have the good fortune to have one of the most beautiful bays to sail in – Santa Monica Bay – and so far it has been my favorite place to day sail. There is rarely any traffic out on the bay, the winds don’t typically get higher than 15 knots and the seas are usually around the 3 foot mark or less for at least six months of the year.
There are no currents to speak of, no reefs or obstructions, no lobster traps. So once you leave the breakwater in Marina Del Rey and enter the bay, it’s pretty much smooth sailing. The only decision that needs to be made is whether you want to head north to view the coastline up to the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Palisades and Malibu or head south to watch the planes fly overhead, look at the oil tankers, pop into King Harbor or check out the Palos Verdes lighthouse.
And while the wind does tend to shift directions during the course of the day, it is often typically in your favor on the return, no matter which way you opt to sail.
With the shorter days my hope of reach Point Dume has been tabled, but spending what daylight hours there are enjoying the sea, the sun and sometimes the local marine life, is amazing. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Coming back, you head into one of the largest marina’s in the world – and I believe it’s the largest in the U.S. During the sail (or motor sail) back to your slip, you get the chance to see some amazing skies and boats.
There is plenty of room for boat traffic, and during the marina’s off-season it is rarely crowded. So you may find yourself getting rusty about those rules of the road until the summer season rolls in.
But the lack of crowds does have the added benefit of letting you drive the boat and take a few snaps of the marina in front of you…
…and the setting sun behind you.
My crew and I had a great time on the water this particular day. The winds were steady, around 5-7 knots, with gusts maxing out around 10 knots. We were able to hit the Palisades and then turn around and head south to the El Segundo buoy before tacking back around and making for the marina entrance. Not bad for a four hour sail.
We were also able to make it to the dock and get the boat put away before it got dark.
As not all days on the water go as smoothly as this one did, I have really come to appreciate them when they do.