SoCal Ta-Ta

Start of the SoCal Ta-Ta off Santa Barbara.

Start of the SoCal Ta-Ta off Santa Barbara.

Last week we sailed south, on a zig-zag course from Santa Barbara, to Santa Cruz Island, to Oxnard, to Malibu, to Catalina.

We were traveling with a group of 50 boats in the SoCal Ta-Ta. It’s a cruising rally organized by Latitude 38, a local sailing magazine. (They also put on the Baja Ha-Ha and the Delta Doo-Dah each year. A real serious bunch.)

Our first leg was Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island. 26 nautical miles. We left the harbor in a light breeze, which built through the afternoon into a 10-knot Easterly — unusual wind for these waters.

Around 4:30pm, we arrived at Smugglers Cove on the East end of Santa Cruz Island. The rally organizers chose Smugglers because it’s the only anchorage large enough for 50 boats. But the contrary wind gave everyone pause — Smugglers is well protected in typical west or northwest winds, but with the east wind it was exposed.

The forecast called for west winds overnight, so the fleet dropped anchors and got settled. Later, as predicted, the breeze swung around to the west and blew 10-15 knots.

At 6:30pm, the rally leaders hosted a potluck happy hour aboard their 63-foot catamaran Profligate. We motored over in our dinghy and brought an artichoke-and-olive dip with Mt Tam cheese and crackers. We chatted with the other crews, including a couple who moved from Chicago to San Francisco around the time we did.

— JZ

We flew the Packers flag all day in Isthmus Cove. Now we're watching the game at the Harbor Reef Saloon.

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Jennifer, Michelle, and Chris check out Cat Harbor.

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The morning after our arrival at Catalina, we made a big brunch of BLTs with egg.

While we were eating, a little girl paddled by with her dad. He said, “look at those people, don’t they look like they’re having fun?”

She responded immediately: “NO!”

Brunch was delicious all the same.

Siblings came up from LA and posed for a photo with Aegea.

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Provisioning at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. See @zeratskymj for photo of one of the stands.

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I was surprised to see this guy anchored outside the Santa Barbara breakwater when I woke up.

At lunch, a pair of lady tourists approached a local couple to ask directions. The locals asked: “Any chance you’re from that cruise ship?”

The tourist responded: “Absolutely no chance!”

She had an English accent. “Well, I’m sorry, but it’s kind of a personal question!!”

Santa Cruz Island


During Labor Day weekend, we sailed out to Santa Cruz Island (part of Channel Islands National Park) and spent two nights anchored in Prisoners Harbor. Big swells made the sailing exciting and the sleeping interesting. On Sunday, we took the dinghy to shore and went for a hike.

This cruise included a few “firsts”:

  • Setting both bow and stern anchors, to keep the boat pointed into the swells
  • Using our new grill, on which we cooked dinner both nights
  • Seeing our anchors on the bottom, from the boat, through 25 feet of very clear water

On Monday morning we motorsailed back to Santa Barbara. We spent the afternoon together, enjoying town before Michelle left for a few more days of work in San Francisco.

— JZ

Sailing to Santa Cruz Island from Santa Barbara. This gentle 3-4 foot swell built into 6-8 feet and made for a wet ride. Classic Southern California conditions.

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After 3 days anchored off Santa Cruz Island, we returned to a very hot Santa Barbara. Decided to hit the beach.

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