Baja Ha-Ha XXIV 2017 Cruisers Rally
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Baja Ha-Ha XXIV

Berthing in San Diego

PLEASE NOTE:
The Baja Ha-Ha Rally Committee DOES NOT arrange berthing at San Diego.
This page last was updated on 5/3/17.

As of the spring of 2017, there seemed to be a fair amount of berths available in San Diego, particularly the South Bay. However, if the entire Baja Ha-Ha fleet cannot be accommodated in marinas from mid-October on, much of the overflow can anchor in a specially designated anchorage (explained below).

As nice as it can be to spend time in San Diego Bay, though, we’d suggest that you also take advantage of the many berthing opportunities while you’re on your way south. (See notes below.) Once you arrive at San Diego Bay, our advice is as follows:

San Diego Slip Availability — Before you arrive in San Diego Harbor, we suggest you check out this informational website: reservations.portofsandiego.org/boating.

There you can make reservations for the convenient slips at the Shelter Island Police Dock, apply for an anchoring permit for several local anchorages, and access a wealth of info about local boater services, including a list of dock-and-dine locations.

Repeat Ha-Ha’ers, please note, there is no longer a Mooring Office at the Shelter Island Police Dock, as all reservations are taken online. However, you can still access the Mooring Office staff by phone: (619) 686-6227; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon - Fri. The Downwind Marine Cruising Guide — which is excellent in all respect and free — also includes contact info for all San Diego marinas and yacht clubs. People can read their guide online or download it at www.downwindmarine.com.

Harbor Police Docks — These are 26 guest slips located on the northwest tip of Shelter Island. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. In the old days the slips were dirt cheap and thus always full. Now the fee structure is $1.00/foot/day, with a 15-day maximum stay. As such, up until just before the start of the Ha-Ha there are usually lots of vacant slips. Reservations are now accepted online up to 14 days in advance. Each slip has potable water, 30-amp power, and access to restrooms and showers.


Anchoring in San Diego —The San Diego Harbor Police have always been supportive of the Baja Ha-Ha rally. They’ve once again set aside a free ‘special event’ anchorage for exclusive use by the Ha-Ha fleet. (Non-San Diego-based boats only please.) For a necessary permit, you must call the Mooring Office with your Ha-Ha registration number from the fleet list on our website. The anchorage is located near Glorietta Bay, close to the Coronado (Island) Golf Course, and will be open to officially registered Ha-Ha entries October 1 through November 1.

The A9 'Cruiser Anchorage' is also available for longer stays. Information is available online, but permits must be obtained in person. It can get full, however. For two decades, the Harbor Police have bent over backward to accommodate the Ha-Ha’s special needs, so please treat them with the respect they deserve.

Berthing and Anchoring at Cabo — A limited number of slips will be available at the Cabo San Lucas Marina, and will be assigned by the rally committee via radio during Leg Three of the Ha-Ha. Assignments will be based on the chronological order that each boat entered the event. There is no way of knowing how many slips will be available until the day before the fleet arrives, but all skippers should be prepared to anchor out at Cabo. Be forewarned, berthing in Cabo is very expensive, even if you are the third boat out on a raft-up.

There are usually plenty of slips available in Cabo starting on the Sunday after the Ha-Ha ends.

Puerto Los Cabo Marina is about 20 miles past Cabo San Lucas, and each year a number of Ha-Ha boats that can't get a slip in Cabo take one here. There is good transportation to and from Cabo, so it's easy to make the parties and awards ceremonies.

While the above is the latest information we have, remember that facilities, policies and prices all change.


Berthing and Anchoring on the Way South

Usually there is no problem for boats headed south to get a slip or spot in an anchorage in Southern California. That's because the high sailing season will over long before most cruising boats head south in September and October. The exception in the last two weeks in October, which is right before the Ha-Ha, close to the San Diego start.

Latitude encourages southbound boats not to rush by Southern California, as there is a lot to see and enjoy. Here are some suggestions:

Cojo Anchorage — Just around Pt. Conception, it's beautiful, unspoiled and free. Good surfing, too.

Santa Barbara Harbor — This big harbor at one of the most beautiful cities in California usually has space after Labor Day, but it's on a first-come, first-served basis. The last time we checked, the first 14 days were $1.00/foot/night, plus $7 (non-refundable) for a key card. The second 14 days are $2.00/foot/night. You can call (805) 564-5531 or (805) 564-5530 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for availability.

The Santa Barbara YC has a long end-tie with a one-day limit. It's a long shot and you have to pay. Before October 31, it's possible to anchor off Stearns Wharf at no charge. Check with the Harbor Master for dinghy tie-up instructions. Santa Barbara is a lovely city, so you don’t want to miss it. If you’re coming from the northwest, the entrance requires a nearly 180-degree turn, and there is frequently shoaling. Enter slowly and carefully. At night the background lights make seeing the navigation lights extremely difficult, so go even slower or call the Harbor Patrol (VHF 16 or 12) for assistance.

Santa Cruz Island — There are great places to anchor all over the island, but no stores or services — or internet. The anchoring isn't particularly hard, but if you can anchor here, you'll have no trouble in Mexico. The west end of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy, and you need a permit to land. You don't need a permit to land on the east end. Dogs are never allowed anywhere on the island. The weather at the east end of the island is generally warmer and more pleasant than on the west end. If it’s dry and extremely clear, expect a Santa Ana wind, and don't be caught on the north side of the island.

Ventura — The Commercial Marina will probably be packed because of squid season, so check out Ventura West Marina (805-644-8266); and Ventura Isle Marina (805-644-5858). Sometimes they offer Ha-Ha discounts. Historically, the Ventura YC has been very accommodating, but make arrangements in advance. This can be a tricky if not dangerous harbor to enter during big surf or at night. If you have a problem, the Harbor Patrol can help (805-642-8618 or via VHF 12 or 16).

Channel Islands (Oxnard) Harbor — Channel Islands Harbor has guest slips in two spots, allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. For availability, go to the harbormaster's dock at the mouth of the harbor or call the Harbor Patrol 24/7 (805-382-3007 or VHF 12 or 16). Heads, showers, potable water and shorepower are available. In addition, there are a half-dozen private marinas, our favorites being Channel Islands Marina and Vintage Partners Marina, both of which are huge supporters of the SoCal Ta-Ta. The T-shaped breakwater entrance is safe, but be careful at night. Always use the south entrance.

Paradise Park — This anchorage is around the corner from Pt. Dume, inside Santa Monica Bay. There’s nothing there but a pier, an expensive restaurant, and waves for surfing. At times it can be very rolly for monohulls.

Marina del Rey — The L.A. Department of Beaches and Harbors has over 50 guest slips at Burton Chase Park. You can stay for seven days out of a 30 day period for $1.15/foot/night. It’s first-come, first-served. If you have questions, call (310) 305-9595. Usually there is plenty of room from Sunday afternoon through Thursday night. There are also several yacht clubs and privately run marinas that might have space. Marina del Rey is close to LAX.

King Harbor (Redondo Beach) — There is a well-protected anchorage behind the breakwater, but you must — by regulation — set a bow and stern anchor. The maximum stay is 72 hours, but it’s free. You do, however, need to get a permit from the Harbor Patrol (310-318-0632). The folks at the King Harbor YC have a transient dock — there is a charge — and have always been nice.

Catalina — There are tons of places to anchor for free at Catalina, and some folks live on the hook year ‘round. Moorings are dear on a cruiser budget, at least until Nov. 1. The last time we checked, you could get a 39-ft mooring for about $84-90/week at Two Harbors (310-510-4253 or VHF 9). At Avalon (310-510-0535 VHF 12 & 16, www.cityofavalon.com) 39-ft moorings are $70 a week and 49-ft moorings are $84/week after October 15. However, you cannot leave your boat and fly home, as the harbor patrol might need you to move your boat to another mooring. But if you’re buddyboating with some other folks who can take this responsibility, you’re in there. If you’re starting your cruise and have plenty of time, Catalina is worth a long visit. And a stay there can be quite inexpensive compared to many coastal options.

Long Beach Shoreline Marina and Long Beach Alamitos Bay — These marinas may have some transient slips available. For reservations and information call:
(562) 570-4950.

Newport Beach — Traditionally this has been a great pre-Ha-Ha place to keep a boat on a mooring. There is no maximum stay limit, though payment is accepted for only up to 15 days at a time. They also have a few slips next to the Harbor Patrol office. Call (949) 723-1002 for current pricing. Newport also has a free 5-day anchorage and several yacht clubs with guest slips. Newport is a great place for riding your bike and walking around. It’s a 30 minute taxi ride to John Wayne airport and only 75 miles to San Diego.

Dana Point — Dana Point does have a number of transient slips, and they will take reservations at (949) 496-6137. Check for current pricing. As with all the places we’ve mentioned, you’ll have a much better chance of getting in on a Monday than on a Friday or Saturday, when they frequently fill up. After Labor Day, you can stay up to 90 days. As in many other places, you have to come to the Harbormaster’s Dock and walk up to the office with boat identification and photo I.D. before you’ll be given a berth. Reservations are taken up to six months in advance.

It’s also possible to anchor inside the breakwaters for five days. Anchor bow and stern if it's crowded. These areas are managed by the Dana Point Harbor Patrol (949-248-2222). You’re only supposed to leave your boat for provisioning, not for a weekend at Disneyland. It’s also possible to anchor with some protection outside the breakwater altogether, as it’s often quite calm along this part of the coast.

Oceanside — This harbor frequently has open guest slips, but they mostly cater to smaller boats. They do take reservations in advance. Call (760) 435-4000 for information. The maximum stay is 30 days. The friendly folks at the Oceanside YC have a long dock. Call them for current berthing information.

Mission Bay — We haven’t been to San Diego’s Mission Bay in a long time, but the last time we were there you could anchor for free for 72 hours in Mariners’ Basin, which is in the outer part of Mission Bay.

Ensenada — There are two marinas, Marina Coral and Cruiseport Marina. Check their websites for current rates. It's also possible to anchor out. Every year a small number of Ha-Ha boats start from Ensenada. It's no problem.

The bottom line is that if you are starting your cruise and don’t have to commute back to the Bay Area or Seattle, there are plenty of places to stay in Southern California prior to the start of the Ha-Ha, and lots of them are free. If you do want a slip or mooring, always look for it on a Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.

— Baja Ha-Ha Rally Committee

Baja Ha-Ha, LLC

417 South Hill St., Suite 452
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Please note: This is a mailing address only.


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