Sailing in and around Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

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The Santa Cruz Wharf as seen by SlugVideo! Click for an updated image!


Sitting on the Western end of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz was once a small fishing and agricultural town. Now, thanks to UCSC and the 'Politically-Correct' progressive City Council, Santa Cruz is truly the last bastion of hippydom and a magnet for all things strange and wonderful. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is home to the oldest Roller Coaster on the West coast and at one time was the home for the Miss California Pageant.

Our newly completed 'downtown' area is worth a visit. The reconstruction, necessitated by the 1989 earthquake has wiped out many beloved things, but the result is universally acclaimed as a success! Santa Cruz is arguably the best surfing location on the West coast and is at the center of one of the worlds top windsurfing locations.

Here are four live webcam views from our beloved harbor.


Although there are no 'full service' windsurfing stores in Santa Cruz anymore, there are several excellent custom shapers, including Randy French, founder of Seatrend, Doug Haut of Haut Surf Shop, Stretch, one of the leaders in competition wave and slalom boards, Paul Coffey, and others. Peter Scheibel now makes excellent wave sails in Santa Cruz and of course, Santa Cruz is home to O'Neill, the original wetsuit inventor.

Santa Cruz is a nuclear-free zone and a free port to Nicaragua. In 1994, Columbus Day was proclaimed to be 'Indigenous People's Day', much to the dismay of the local Italian population.

Reggae is the most popular music in Santa Cruz. Dreadlocks are common, as are shaved heads, nose rings, tattoos, alternative medicine, new ageism, vegetarianism, and bicycle riding. Tolerance is the law. In's illegal not to be tolerant!!

The Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival is one of the best around and certainly the most avante gard.

All sailing sites in the Santa Cruz area are within the Monterey Bay Sanctuary centered on the Monterey Bay, one of the world's largest and certainly one of the deepest 'Bays'.

Check out other net stuff in Santa Cruz

Sailing Conditions

The cool, or should I say cold, Pacific water and the hot California Central Valley combine to create a consistent and reliable wind machine between March and October. In the Santa Cruz area, this wind typically starts about 25 miles North, at Anuo Nuevo and blows down the coast, into the Monterey Bay and across the Salinas Valley. It is typically stronger up the coast, losing some of its power as it reaches the outskirts of town, and dissipates to a pleasant breeze at the Santa Cruz Wharf. Often these conditions reverse and it blows stronger 'in town' than 'up the coast'.

When the thermal system really gets going, fog gets sucked into the beaches, shutting down the wind. When the fog is really thick, the sailors head over to San Luis Reservoir at Los Banos in the Central Valley. Hardly anyone heads over to the San Francisco Bay because we don't like sailing in brown water.

Sailing Season

March till October with some winter storm sailing in between. The season comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Stay away from the coast in Spring if you don't know what you are doing! July and August can be foggy. Be prepared to be disappointed. In the winter, the local sailors head off to Baja, but my favorite winter sailing place is Penghu, a group of islands off the South West coast of Taiwan.


Its cold ! Bring your 4/3 full wetsuit if you have one. Temperatures are almost always in the 50's, often in the low 50's. However, our water is very clean.

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Copyright Jim Munro 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999