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Cath's Mahina Expedition: Victoria to San Diego

Written by Cathy Siegismund
March 2000

We went through John Neal and Amanda Swan's Offshore Cruising Seminar. I had been offshore once before, but was very worried about the Seattle to San Francisco leg as the West coast of the US is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. There was one spot available on the March expedition from Victoria to San Diego. It was in March, which is hardly the best time to head down the West Coast, but I figured if I could do it in March with the experts, it would be a good confidence boost before I did it on Felicity in August.

The expedition was a great experience and John and Amada were great. We had everything from beating into Southerly winds, to motoring, to running in up to 45 knots of wind. 

Mahina Tiare III, HR 46, waiting for us outside the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC

We made record time, and completed the trip from Victoria to San Francisco in 4 1/2 days. I was sick as a dog for the first 2 1/2 days, but learned a great deal.

Cath and Phil approaching San Francisco

Phil is from Santa Barbara and plans to buy a cruising boat in the next few years.

Ginny and Dave on bow watch nearing San Francisco

Ginny lives in Port Townsend with husband and two daughters. Ginny has a Wauquiez and plan to go cruising with her family in a year or two. Dave Allegre and his wife Linda are part of our Class of 2000 and also sailed their Mason 43 to San Diego in August and plan to go on to Mexico and the South Pacific.

Amanda Swan-Neal raising the Kiwi colors

Looking back at the Golden Gate after arriving in San Francisco

We stayed in Sausalito for 2 nights and then went to Angel Island for one night.

View of Mahina tied up in a small bay on Angel Island

View of Tiburon from Angel Island

View of Tiburon from Angel Island

We then coastal cruised the rest of the way down to San Diego with a series of long day sails to Monterey, San Simeon.

Cath at the helm on our boisterous sail to Monterey - yes that's a wave in the background

Cath continuing her sail in 30+ knot winds to Monterey

Practicing our surf landing at San Simeon

Hearst Castle

We then sailed to Port San Luis where we spent the night tied to a float - a noisy float covered with sea lions. We got an early start and rounded Point Conception on a sunny and completely calm day. Our next stop was in Santa Barbara, where we attended the arts fair.

Warm sunny beach in Santa Barbara

We spent two days in the Channel Islands, one anchored in a remote Smuggler's Cove on Santa Cruz Island and one in the tourist Mecca Avalon on Catalina

Rose and Dave on bow watch motoring along Catalina toward Avalon

Rose is a test pilot at Boeing and has a Hallberg-Rassey 46 on order and should take possession at Christmas 2000. Rose plans to go cruising in about 3 years.


We arrived in San Diego the following day. Ken joined Cath in San Diego where we explored all the local marine stores, marinas and chart stores. The trip was a great experience, and I would strongly recommend it for people considering going cruising and want offshore experience. Not only was the sailing experience and the planned lessons on everything from Radar to deploying a drogue excellent, but all the small things you learn from galley set up to packing and the opportunity to talk to John and Amanda who have forgotten more about cruising than I'll ever know.

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