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What's the Smallest Boat You've Taken To Catalina...

Flat Broke

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... and would you do it again?

I'm not talking about ski race runs, but just weekend/day trips to Catalina when the water is average. I was going to ask, "what is the smallest boat you'd take to Catalina?" but that invites armchair QBs. I want to hear from folks that have done it/do it often. I've known people who take 20' trihulls over, and other folks who swear they won't go in anything smaller than a 25 deep vee. What's your experience?

Feel free to add any stories like about the time you took boat X, then the water turned to crap... Should be an interesting thread.

Chris
 

sergeantmike

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Lived on the Island of Romance for two years... depends on the weather and the swell. Been over in an 18' in 45 minutes and came back in 4 hours. (alcohol could have been involved)

Seriously, I have done crossings when it was as flat as a pond morning or afternoon... other days its ugly and you are getting pounded in a 28 or 32.

Easiest crossing.... follow the Catalina Express if its rough. That big cat will make a nice path to ride in.

Night time crossings where there is a full moon are a great time. If you catch the right time of year, the green phosphescent (sp) algae is up and your wake looks like green fire.... really cool.

Watch out for dead whales. We did one trip over at night, flat water, at 50 MPH. Came back the next day and found a dead whale, mid channel. The body of this leviathan was 6 feet out of the water,,, looked like a capsized boat. Cannot imagine how bad it would have been to hit that sucker on the way over in the dark.

Check weather and call the harbor master in Avalon to see what's happening.(310) 510-0535 Brian or J.J. will tell you whats up and what to expect.

The back side of Catalina is a whole other chapter.... and going to San Clemente Island is another book (50 miles... big water).
 
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FREAK JUICE

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20 ft.Whaler. Wind came up on the way there, had to stay the night. Came home early next AM flat glass.

And no, not if its rough...not even in a Whaler!
 
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ductape1000

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I have a 21' Ebbtide and was thinking about this too. A friend of mine told me his story of his 15' Center Console fishing boat and having to stay 2 extra days and almost loosing everything. Still want to go over this year!! I spend many days out in the water in between and can see how it could get ugly. I think the main thing is being close to one side or the other most of your time so that you can take cover, AND dont have an important meeting scheduled for the next day!!! ;)
 

Mondorally

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Skied there today behind a 21' Hallett F2. Thought about throwing in the towel more then once but the ride on the ski was better than the ride in the boat. Lol.
 

sergeantmike

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"the ride on the ski was better than the ride in the boat"

X2

Try it on a stand up jet ski!
 

Skyskier

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We rode over just short of the turn in Avalon, back to the breakwater, waited for Murphy's nephew, figured they'd broke down, rode half way back to Avalon again and spotted the kid............his ski tip had broken off , they were moving really slow.It was a fun day......................till I got off the ski on land, holyshit, :eek: the worst part ? listening to Mrs. Skyskier, " I told ya so, you're NOT 23 years old anymore, :blah::blah::blah: ................:D we ran with a pod of dolphins on the 1st trip over, they stayed with us quite awhile , THAT was awesome :thumbsup
 

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obnoxious001

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... and would you do it again?

I'm not talking about ski race runs, but just weekend/day trips to Catalina when the water is average. I was going to ask, "what is the smallest boat you'd take to Catalina?" but that invites armchair QBs. I want to hear from folks that have done it/do it often. I've known people who take 20' trihulls over, and other folks who swear they won't go in anything smaller than a 25 deep vee. What's your experience?

Feel free to add any stories like about the time you took boat X, then the water turned to crap... Should be an interesting thread.

Chris
No problem going in a smaller boat if you check conditions first. Usually (not always) it's smoother in the morning,, and gets rougher as the day goes.

I have been there plenty of times in boats under 21',, but usually just there and back fairly early for ski practice.

One particular time I skied over with a friend for his first trip on the ski. He admitted that he didn't want to ski alone because of a fear of sharks. I think we didn't hit the water until 10am, behind a 19' outboard, with 3 or 4 people in the boat, besides us skiing. Got to the island, went ashore for lunch, so didn't start the trip back until around 2pm,,, learned a tough lesson that day. We had agreed to let the other two guys ski back,, and riding in the boat may have been one of my worse boat rides ever!
 

SKIA36

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16' Tahiti w/115 merc. Lunch at Avalon and then a tour around the Island and home to Long Beach.
 

ka0tyk

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ive gone around in just long beach harbor and it wasnt too bad, but once u hit those rollers it really gets pretty scary. also smaller boats usually dont have the essentials for the ocean, compass and a radio. also they're harder/impossible to spot on a radar.

i would never go to catalina in my 18' tahiti. no way.
 

Crazyhippy

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Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island 3-4 times in a 10' Zodiac w/ a clamp on 15horse...

I was in HS, and had to go surf:skull

No radio, no one knew where we were, no compass, hell, I'm not sure we had life vests...
 

rivermobster

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Other than the express...

Went over on a 32ft sail boat ONE time. In the morning, it was flat as glass. Coming home, we got the shit kicked outa us!!! Took almost 7 hours. That was my first and last trip on a pos sail boat!!!

:thumbsdown:D
 

Mandelon

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21' Lavey

26 minutes from Long Beach to Avalon.

Glassy in the morning on the way out.

Took about an hour coming back....after lunch :rolleyes:


Went another time, took about 50 minutes out, spent two nights. Came home, took about an hour and a half....pretty rough.

No worries, boat handled it easily. Had worse waves on Havasu!
 

Cdog

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Steamin Rice's 34.

Good times!
 

scout57

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17 boston whaler all the time when the winds not howling
 

McRib

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23 laser open bow. 4 times. twice with the lavey fun run to the island. both times over 7ft and 11 to 14 seconds apart with 2 to 3 foot wind chop on top of that. one of those times was a small craft advisory. the other 2 times i did it we left daveys ramp at 6 am spent the day and slept in a hotel then home at 6 am the day. glass both directions those 2 times and 23 min crossing. one time it took an hour to get there but we stopped and fucked with the dolphins :p
 

Tom Brown

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Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island 3-4 times in a 10' Zodiac w/ a clamp on 15horse...

I was in HS, and had to go surf:skull

No radio, no one knew where we were, no compass, hell, I'm not sure we had life vests...
10' is the current boat to beat.

Anyone? Anyone?
 

NoDoz

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Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island 3-4 times in a 10' Zodiac w/ a clamp on 15horse...

I was in HS, and had to go surf:skull

No radio, no one knew where we were, no compass, hell, I'm not sure we had life vests...

Balls!!!
 

NoDoz

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I just can't bring myself to put my boat in the ocean. I would spend a week cleaning and flushing it. I would love to though. The other thing is that I would probably worry about it too much being tied up for the weekend, paranoid about someone messing with it. I think for me, cheaper and more relaxing to take the express and throw a couple back on the way out there :D
 

Tom Brown

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That's going to be difficult to top but JBB told me he once cruised to Avalon on a pair of water wings and a burrito lunch.
 

Flat Broke

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23 laser open bow. 4 times. twice with the lavey fun run to the island. both times over 7ft and 11 to 14 seconds apart with 2 to 3 foot wind chop on top of that. one of those times was a small craft advisory. the other 2 times i did it we left daveys ramp at 6 am spent the day and slept in a hotel then home at 6 am the day. glass both directions those 2 times and 23 min crossing. one time it took an hour to get there but we stopped and fucked with the dolphins :p
Do you at least run a snap on cover over the open bow? Seems like you could take a lot of water over the nose quick in a setup like that in those conditions. I'm not knocking you or anything, just genuinely curious. Was it one of those times when you just "had" to get there, or did it not seem that bad to you?


Chris
 

McRib

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Do you at least run a snap on cover over the open bow? Seems like you could take a lot of water over the nose quick in a setup like that in those conditions. I'm not knocking you or anything, just genuinely curious. Was it one of those times when you just "had" to get there, or did it not seem that bad to you?


Chris
No snap cover at all. Took a lot of side splash cause of the direction of the wind. Swells were far enough apart and burying the beak was not a concern. Ive buried my bow on havasu though on a blown out day. Havasu in the wind is worse than ocean swells IMO. I checked conditions each time I went. Mornings are 75% of the time good to go. Its the afternoon winds that can get interesting and change swell and chop conditions in a matter of seconds. Its def intimidating at first and its a great boating ecperiance. I was givin the brass balls award both times I went with the lavey guys :p I was the last one into avalon and they all cheered when I came crusin in :p
PHP:
 

McRib

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11_14 seconds apart is pretty wide. I kept it in the trough and kinda tact my way across at angles
PHP:
 

Gelcoater

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When I was about 14 we(family friends and mine) took a 24 Carrera Pro-AM to the island,while at the gas dock,some guy pulled up in a 18' Hawian jet boat out of LB.:eek: It was easy going on the way out,a little chop/swell on the way back,in the dark.:eek::eek:
 

Flat Broke

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Interesting thread so far. Seems like the experiences here on boards kinda mimmick what I've heard from non-board friends. "it depends" is kinda the rule for the trip. Let me throw a curveball into mix; how would the story change if you were taking your kids over?

The dead whale thing caught my attention, is that something that would show up on radar? If so, what size system would you need to pick that up?

Chris
 

Gelcoater

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Interesting thread so far. Seems like the experiences here on boards kinda mimmick what I've heard from non-board friends. "it depends" is kinda the rule for the trip. Let me throw a curveball into mix; how would the story change if you were taking your kids over?

The dead whale thing caught my attention, is that something that would show up on radar? If so, what size system would you need to pick that up?

Chris
Like I said I was 14,it was cold on the way back,the "adults" decided a sip or 2 of the Jack they were warming up with would help me stay warm too.:cool:

it really does depend on the day,sometimes glass,some days fog can come rather quick,or giant swell/wind/chop. Be prepaired for the worst and hope for the best.
 

sergeantmike

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The dead whale thing caught my attention, is that something that would show up on radar? If so, what size system would you need to pick that up?

Not gonna show on radar.


Catalina is a deal you decide to do and do it. My kids went back and forth on the boat and in the airplane. We lived there, so we commuted, just like anyone on the fwy.

Kinda one of those things you choose to do. Or not. Either way...
 

whiteworks

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Smallest boat I have crossed in was a 42' fountain over and back a little over an hour pulling a skier. It was clean that day for sure, other than that we usually were in a 48' Hunter. Been out there in some nasty shit for a power boat but no big deal for a sail boat.
 

McRib

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Interesting thread so far. Seems like the experiences here on boards kinda mimmick what I've heard from non-board friends. "it depends" is kinda the rule for the trip. Let me throw a curveball into mix; how would the story change if you were taking your kids over?

The dead whale thing caught my attention, is that something that would show up on radar? If so, what size system would you need to pick that up?

Chris
Dead whale will not show up at all. Best time to go imo is the summer months. The water is calmer unless the wind is up. During the winter minths it can get pretty big. May-oct is best I think. I took my kids at 10 and 12 we camped overnight in a cove. I took them again on the last lavey fun run. They were 12 and 14. We wore our vests the whole time. Its kinda freaky knowing the channel is 2600 ft deep and half way is 12 miles out :p we have a ship to shore radio and vessal assist. I also had a raft with me just in case. We were floating eatin lunch one time just north of avalon and we were borded and inspected by the coast guard :p 30' rubber sided boat with 2 browning .50 cal guns mounted fwd and aft. That was an experiance. Thats when I learned about the throw cushion that no one ever told me about (mfg) good times
 

Yellowboat

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Never actually made the trip, but I do know one guy that took a moth.

http://mothna.com/

the heavy models hull only weights 30 lbs the light wieght its only 20 lbs... its about 70 riged for the heavy and about 60 riged for the light.
 

rivermobster

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Interesting thread so far. Seems like the experiences here on boards kinda mimmick what I've heard from non-board friends. "it depends" is kinda the rule for the trip. Let me throw a curveball into mix; how would the story change if you were taking your kids over?

The dead whale thing caught my attention, is that something that would show up on radar? If so, what size system would you need to pick that up?

Chris
I would go over in the morning and come back before noon, or, jus spend the night and come back the next morning.

Like others have said, I've seen it worse on Mead and Havazoo, than I have on the way to the island.

Summer mornings are glass out there. :thumbsup
 

SKIA36

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11_14 seconds apart is pretty wide. I kept it in the trough and kinda tact my way across at angles
PHP:
How to navigate big water in a small boat, find the right speed as well.:D
 

TPC

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Weather conditions are everything.
Used to run across the channel all the time in this, and our kids follow us over on our jet skis.

 

ONE-A-DAY

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Friends who were young and stupid back in the day would take 550 stand up jet ski's, with 5 gallon cans of fuel bungy corded to the ski behind their feet
 

Sandlord

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when I was a kid my neighbors used to take a 16 foot Deep V with a 35Hp Evinrude outboard from Redondo.
 

Caydens Cat

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13' sea sport (low freeboard whaler knock off). 45 hp Johnson. Oh yeah tri-hull. :skull
 

Ballsdeep

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Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island 3-4 times in a 10' Zodiac w/ a clamp on 15horse...

I was in HS, and had to go surf:skull

No radio, no one knew where we were, no compass, hell, I'm not sure we had life vests...
We did the same thing in my 25' Eliminator after having Sunday champaign brunch in Channel Islands it sounded like a great idea. No radios, no compass, nothing but a styrofoam cooler and beer. The ride out was fine, coming back was another story after the fog rolled in and the swells got bigger. We shit a brick and haven't been back out in the ocean since. I would still like to head to Catalina in my boat one of these days.
 

RiverDave

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When the mini's are done Stan at Schiada and I were going to take them both over there with the 43 as a chase boat.

RD
 

Crazyhippy

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When the mini's are done Stan at Schiada and I were going to take them both over there with the 43 as a chase boat.

RD
Think either of the minis will be able to pull a skier?


Something something Tapatalk
 

dave29

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In the late 50's, I went with my dad to Catalina in a 14' Yellow Jacket ski boat. We followed the Great White Steamer over and back.
 

sirbob

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10' is the current boat to beat.

Anyone? Anyone?
We used to keep our 32 Carver in long beach behind the old brenan's restaurant / bar . Had a few great runs from there to Avalon on an original stand up 440 jet ski in the early 80's

I guess those are about 7' ? give or take a few inches:thumbsup
 

Tremor Therapy

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I have made the trip half a dozen times in an open bow 25' Shockwave Tremor. All 6 trips over in the morning where sheets of glass, and at 70mph you get there in a hurry. A lot of fun, and you could have taken one of the 10' mini's over every one of the times I went.

2 trips back were very calm seas, maybe 1 foot swells every 12-15 seconds. We got back in an hour and a half, and it took that long only because we ran into a pod of dolphins once and a couple of grey whales on another trip.

2 of the trips we came back in fog so thick you only had about 25 feet of visibility. The first time I really relied on my compass and a hand held gps to get me back to Huntington harbor, and that cemented the technology for me. I will never go out in a boat without a hand held gps and fresh batteries again. Even as a passenger I bring my own along.

2 of the trips had rough seas coming back, and 1 of the trips we were in 4-6 foot seas. We decided to head back because the next days forecast was supposed to be worse. Snapped on the bow cover, and proceeded to take 2 1/2 hours to get back to Long Beach. Accelerate up the backside of the swell, and coast down the face. It only took one time of stuffing the bow and taking on about 50 gallons of cold sea water to figure that one out. Although it was not a pleasant ride back, and the large swells made it a bit uncomfortable, I was actually quite surprised how well the boat handled it. After a couple of minutes you just realize your speed will be limited, and you take your time and be safe, and you get home a little later than you expected.
 

schiadastan

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12' alum. skiff a number of time's, always went in pairs. Took are 10' half way over a couple of times just out playing. But the smallest thing i have seen, was Norm Teague took a airplane galley over there with a outboard motor bolted to it.
 

Kylemenz1

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I've taken my 14' inflatable to Catalina camping, diving and fishing dozens of times. Frequently to the backside of the island to Little Harbor for multi-day camping trips.
That looks freaking awesome!!
 

Flat Broke

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How fast were you moving with that kind of limited visibility? It would seem like you probalby wouldn't even be on plane. Asside from freak weather, I think this is my biggest worry; little boat, 0 visibility and likely won't have radar. You could run up on a container ship, and given their length, by the time you see them assuming you're running any kind of speed at all, it's too late.

Chris

...2 of the trips we came back in fog so thick you only had about 25 feet of visibility. The first time I really relied on my compass and a hand held gps to get me back to Huntington harbor, and that cemented the technology for me. I will never go out in a boat without a hand held gps and fresh batteries again. Even as a passenger I bring my own along.
 

RaceTec

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I would love to have something that I could do the shallow water of Parker with and be safe taking the kids to Catalina in... What would be the best of both worlds?
 
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