A Sailor's Wonderland
San Diego Bay is considered to be one of the best natural bays in North America for sailing; which is why organizers of the America’s Cup World Series picked it as one of the destinations on their tour. As one of only two cities in California to host this international-caliber sailing competition, San Diego’s harbor will be transformed from November 12 – 20, 2011, into a natural amphitheater filled with state-of-the-art high-speed catamarans. Sailing teams representing 7 nations will complete in high-flying, heart pounding races to determine one champion.
So what makes the San Diego Bay so uniquely suited for sailing and regattas?
- The bay is deep. At approximately 4-5 fathoms (about 20-30 feet deep), the bottom is uniform with no big rocks in the bay or approaches, so ships can sail without a need to worry about hitting the bottom of the vessel.
- The bay is large. With a total area of 22 square miles, the bay is vast enough to accommodate even the largest vessels.
- The bay is calm. Point Loma peninsula hugs around the bay and keeps swells from coming in, with no big tides to build waves against the wind. This mitigates possibilities of people to getting seasick while sailing on the bay. In fact, Warren Allen of Next Level Sailing will tell you that there is almost impossible for people who sail the bay to get seasick. In the 10 years that he has been conducting sailing excursions with visitors, he’s had only 2 people out of about 60,000 people in the over 900 sailing events experience seasickness. And of those 2 people, one was pregnant, and the other was hung over!
- The wind on the bay is consistent. Because the entrance to the bay points almost directly to the south and the predominant breeze flows north to south, the moderate breeze that blows right down the middle of the bay creates a funnel-like effect between Coronado & the city of San Diego. This creates lovely sailing conditions and unless there is a storm in the vicinity you can almost count on having a perfect, gentle breeze perfect for sailing by 10:30 am each day.
- Combine the attributes above with the wonderful Southern California coastal weather conditions - with very little rain, thick fog or haze that can falter visibility – and you can see why San Diego’s bay provides ideal conditions for sailing year-around.
A Natural California Haven for Wildlife
In addition to the wonders on and under the water that make the bay so ideal for sailing, there are other attributes that make it an ideal setting for observing natural wonders while sailing. The southern end of the San Diego Bay is shallower, and is home to the largest contiguous mud-flat in Southern California. This area is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds, supporting numerous endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. So while you’re sailing on the San Diego bay, keep your eyes out for an aviary spectacle. You never know when you’ll spot an endangered bird that may fly by.