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Old 02-02-2015, 08:19 PM   #9
Scary's Avatar
City: Walnut Grove Ca
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Cary'D Away
Vessel Model: Hatteras 48 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 887
This isn't the first time

Avalon has a history of disasters just like this one. There used to photographs on the dock of past disasters in the harbor. Cruising guides of the channel Islands all warn of Santa Anna conditions and early warning signs, like surge building in the harbor. The weather reports we received in Northern California two days earlier called out for an extreme high pressure over Eastern Oregon and Nevada extending into Arizona. High winds were predicted in the Sierras. I don't know what local forecasts were but if they didn't indicate a change someone blew it. I think there is a mentality today of relying on authorities to keep you out of trouble, at least here in California. If they aren't moving you out then it must be OK to stay. Catalina is a real cool place to be, and hard to find moorings much of the year, so if you got one I can understand the loathing to give it up. I suspect that there was a strong desire not to lose a weekend by most of the boats in the harbor and possibly a desire to give the town and it's guest what they wanted by the harbor patrol. If your a boater from a area without the support systems available in Southern California your probably going to look at the responsibility of your boat and person differently than someone used to be taken care of by society. There really aren't that many places to really screw up with a boat in Southern California compared with BC or Alaska. Not that you can't do it but help generally is right there at hand. If I had been in the harbor and things started deteriorate I would have got out and moved to the east side in the lee of the island. It just not that far around the corner. I got my lesson at Santa Cruz Island 20 years or so ago when I spent a night in a cove with a lee shore New years week in these kind of conditions. I had two anchors set in sand and didn't want to move out in the dark when the harbor got surgy. By 12pm you could not stand in the boat, we were in breakers, white foam, I spent the night with engine running taking ranges on the rocks on each side of the cove. At first light I was able to pull both anchors and get out. Ears pinned back we made the crossing in 18' swells with wind chop to Channel Island harbor where we surfed into the harbor. You will never find me anchored over night in an exposed harbor or on a lee shore again. In the case of Avalon this year I think there was some complacency involved , memories were a little short. This wasn't the first time nor even the second, my guess is it will happen again.
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