|Sailing to Catalina Island: routes from Los Angeles|
In my opinion, the most compelling reason to live in Los Angeles instead of San Diego, is the close proximity of Catalina Island. In San Diego, we can drive to Mexico in 30 minutes. This is nice. However, in LA, you can sail a boat to the island, leaving midday on a Friday and arriving sometime Friday evening. That is very nice.
Once you arrive, you'll find sailing Catalina Island is incredibly fun - also there's lots of bays and bights between Avalon and Two Harbors to fish from and drop the anchor.
How long does it take to sail to Catalina Island? I get this question a lot. So, I thought it would be a good resource to have these distances and travel times posted on the site. There are lots of folks sailing to Catalina from Los Angeles, so hopefully this will be of use.
Sail to Catalina Island
Distance in nautical miles: (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)
Dana Point to Avalon: 33
Dana Point to Two Harbors: 38
Newport Beach to Avalon: 26
Newport Beach to Two Harbors: 32
Huntington Harbor to Avalon: 25
Huntington Harbor to Two Harbors: 27
LA Harbor to Avalon: 25
LA Harbor to Two Harbors: 22
Marina del Rey to Avalon: 38
Marina del Rey to Two Harbors: 31
I plotted out these distances based on my route (direct), and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. Each mariner may experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.
|My chart for plotting the waters of Southern California|
Sailing to Catalina Island
At that average speed, the approximate time it would take to get from A to B is:
Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 nautical miles/hr.)
Hours (in decimal)
Dana Point to Avalon: 7
Dana Point to Two Harbors: 8
Newport Beach to Avalon: 5.5
Newport Beach to Two Harbors: 6.8
Huntington Harbor to Avalon: 5.3
Huntington Harbor to Two Harbors: 5.7
LA Harbor to Avalon: 5.3
LA Harbor to Two Harbors: 4.6
Marina del Rey to Avalon: 8.0
Marina del Rey to Two Harbors: 6.6
Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another (either due to some tacking or to unintentional meanderings) and so, it would be wise to plan an hour on top of these estimates.
|Sailing the Alize' into the welcoming glow of Avalon harbor.|
Before you untie the dock lines, you need at least one quality cruising guide on board. Fagan's book is generally regarded as the most comprehensive guide for sailing Central and Southern CA. It has kept me out of trouble a few times.
Plus, this book has a great section on anchorages around Catalina Island and a thorough section on harbors in Los Angeles. Amazon sells cheap used copies.
My sailing blog features posts of similar nautical information for other sailing regions on the west coast, please follow links below:
Sailing from San Diego to Los Angeles: nautical miles and time required for a sailboat trip (Mission Bay, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Harbor, Los Angeles Harbor, Marina del Rey).
Sailing from Seattle to Puget Sound harbors: distance and time for common sailboat trips (Blake Island, Kingston, Edmonds, Bremerton, Port Townsend, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Everett, Oak Harbor, Victoria, Friday Harbor).
Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from San Diego to Santa Cruz Island (Mission Bay, Smuggler's Cove, Avalon, Two Harbors).
And, if you are going to make the journey out to the island, you will want to prepare for some down time in the cabin. Once you lose sight of land, the hours start moving slow. This is a good thing as it gives us a chance to relax and shake out the stress of our regular lives.
However, you're going to need some light entertainment. Bring a book. To stay in the moment, bring a sea-faring book. If you're a history buff, I recommend, "Two Years Before the Mast" by Richard Henry Dana. If you're into single-handed sailing stories, I recommend, "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Joshua Slocum.
And of course, when in doubt...crack a beer and stare off at the horizon.