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Cabrillo - Light E
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Cabrillo Beach, or Hurricane Gulch, as it is nicknamed by locals, is one of the most reliable sailing sites on the south coast. Best and most predictable between April and October, although "June Gloom" fog can lighten or delay the 18-25 mph winds to a light 12-15mph blow. It offers a clean, long sandy beach with a jetty wall at the Southeast end and large cliff wall to the northwest. The prevailing wind direction is Southwest, or WSW. Small waves except for an occasional south swell.

On the harbor side, there is a no-power zone and outside of that, a 5MPH speed limit for the balance the primary inside windsurfing area. On the ocean side, there is no boat traffic closer to shore (except for the Baywatch lifeguard boat) and some further out, but nothing like Crissy or other busy traffic areas. Beginners and low intermediates can sail on the harbor side; a great place to practice uphauling, water starts, and jibes on flat water. On the outside, typical conditions are bump and jump, with the occasional wave day. (Waves are typically 1-2 ft faces rarely to 3-4ft.) There is a "blast zone" on the outside starting 50 yards out from shore and continuing several hundred yards beyond the cliffs, but many sailors continue well out into the open ocean. If the wind is westerly, particularly when there is a clearing wind after a front, the Pt. Fermin cliffs block the wind creating light winds -- typically with larger surf break -- for the first 200-300 yards until you hit the windline.

On the ocean side, launch & return between the flags set up in front of the lifeguard HQ and just west of the parking lot. During winter and early spring, the lifeguards may not set up the flags; the rule then is to keep away from swimmers. On the inside, the most popular launch site is located closer to the fishing pier on the access road parking. There are large rock steps going to the beach here. Wind usually blows side-off here, with the jetty blocking the wind near the beach. On a very crowded windy day on the surfside of Cabrillo Beach there will be about 100 to 150 windsurfers (but no kiters on weekend days between Memorial Day and Labor Day). Stay away from the little rock jetty downwind; beyond it there typically is a no-wind area and the landing on the beach between the small jetty and main breakwater can be tricky. But, if you get into trouble a Baywatch boat typically will come to your rescue; alternatively, the guards may launch a jet ski.

This is an advanced kite surfing area. Kite surfers are asked to launch downwind and stay downwind of windsurfers for the first 300 yards off shore. Watch out for boats beyond the point. As noted above, kites are banned during summer weekends.

Water quality is usually rated A+ for cleanliness for the outer beach, although with beach sand, the water can be cloudy. The inner harbor water quality has been problematic, though the POLA continues to try to find solutions. On the outside, kelp beds are located slightly up wind and are a notable obstacle to work around. Summer water temps 64-68, spring/fall 58-64, winter 52-60. Sail size, 4.5 to an 8.5 depending on size of sailor, ability, type of sail and wind conditions. Wetsuits range from 3/2 shorties (or even just trunks for the brave) during the summer, to 5/3 full suits during the winter. After a good blow, the water temperature can drop dramatically, and there is a cold water upwelling just off-shore.

A small grass area exists near surfside lifeguard building. Restrooms are port-a-lets and interior toilet/shower complex for both men and women (separate, of course). There also are outside rise off showers, but unfortunately, none right at the grassy rigging area.

There are bbqs near the interior beach and fire rings on the outer beach (away from the launch), one of the few places in LA County where you legally can have a fire on the beach. During summer weekends, the beach can become very crowded, especially on Sundays, as it is very popular with families and groups who come down for a day's adventure; you should plan on arriving early (before 11 a.m.) to ensure parking at the beach. There are swings, slides and other play equipment for the kids, extensive tide pools, a buoyed off swimming area on the inside and the Cabrillo Beach Marine Museum (Frank Gehry design) which has lots of interesting displays, including a tide pool touch tank.

There is a several car equipment drop off area for the surfside beach and direct parking access for the intermediate beach area, which is further toward the fishing pier. Beginners can launch from the upper inside beach too. Parking is free on weekdays during late fall/winter/early spring, and otherwise is up to $9/day for passenger vehicles, charged by the hour with the first 20 minutes free. (You take a ticket on the way in and pay on your way out, similar to many airport parking lots.)

IMPORTANT: The Los Angeles County Lifeguards at Cabrillo Beach would like to inform all kite surfers that there is no kite surfing on the outer beach at Cabrillo (San Pedro, Ca.) on weekend and holidays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Beach activity within these time parameters disallow a safe condition for all beachgoers. Weekdays are a go.
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 Season: April - Oct. (and winter clearing winds) 
 Water: Clean (outside beach) 
 Ability Level: Beginner to Advanced 
 Wetsuit: Shorty to Full, H20 Temp 52-68 F 
 Familiness: Restrooms, tables, play equipment 
 Parking: Hourly, $9 Max, exit pay 
 Launch: Sandy (with some stones) 

Maps & Directions (Harbor Route) Take the 405 freeway to 110 Freeway, go South on 110 almost to the end. Take the Harbor Blvd exit toward the Vincent Thomas Bridge to the Love Boat launch area on Harbor Blvd. Go Right on Harbor Blvd to 22nd St. Turn right again to Pacific Ave. Go left on Pacific. Pacific Ave to Stephen White Dr (1st stop light), go Left. Entrance to Cabrillo is 150 yards on the Left. (Gaffey Route - more stoplights, usually more traffic) Head south on the 110 freeway to San Pedro. Freeway will end at Gaffy Street. Go left on Gaffey Street. Continue on Gaffy St all the way to Sheppard St and turn left. Take Sheppard Street 2 blocks, and go left on Pacific. Take Pacific 6 blocks to first stop light and go right on Stephen White Drive to Cabrillo beach entrance. Cabrillo Beach also can be accessed from near the hotel in the Cabrillo marina.


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