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Tomales Bay
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Tomales Bay is a pristine bay 11 miles long and 1 mile wide. It is bordered on the south side by the Point Reyes National Seashore while the north shore has rolling pasture land. The south side has many uninhabited coves with golden sand backed with forests of Bishop pine. Herds of elk frequent the shoreline.

Tomales has the strongest winds in the San Francisco Bay Area. 4.0 sails are the norm here and 3.5 to 3.0 days are common. Unlike most Bay sites, the wind does not plateau during the afternoon. Rather it just builds and builds and does not begin to fade until dark.

If you get there at 11am when the wind typically starts, expect to rig for the cycle -- you may need to keep rigging down from 5.0,4.5,4.0, 3.5 during the day. Most sailors get there later in the afternoon and just rig a 4.0 or 3.5. The wind is usually very gusty. Tomales may be a bit weedy in June and too weedy by July.

Tomales has problems with huge holes when the wind is lighter than 5.0. Generally you want a reading of over 20 knots on this very accurate sensor.

There is very strong wind right at beach and in grassy rigging area. Do not make the drive unless you have a 4.0 or smaller sail. The water is cold and clear with 2-4 foot chop and rolling swell. Spectacular port ramps and occasional starboard ramps. Good for slashing top to bottom on swells. The wind gradually gets stronger as you get more than half away across the bay. Generally you end up jibing as you begin to get massively overpowered.

At Tomales, you launch from a sandy/rocky cove. There is a thin layer of mud on the walk to deeper water. At lower tides, watch out for shallow sand bar about 200 feet from shore and a submerged rock about 100 feet out from the point. Usually the wind is so strong you have to waterstart to get going. NOTE: There is a wooden hull from a boat that has washed up on shore very close to the launch site. If you have ever sailed this spot you know about hitting under water obstacles like rocks and deadheads. Well, this wooden boat has scattered debris all over the beach and the remains have real nice sharp nails for fun seekers like us step on!!. Nails can go right through my bootie and deep into your foot. Ouch!

Tomales is a good place to watch and at the tiny beach you are out of the wind. People sometime bring oysters from the nearby oyster farms and have a BBQ. Great hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore. Several restaurants in the town of Point Reyes Station.

Parking is extremely limited on weekends. If you get there early, DO NOT PARK PARALLEL to the road. If Grassy Point is full, head back to Marconi if it was windy there or drive .25 miles west to the next beach past Grassy Point. If that is full, drive 1.4 miles to Nick's Cove and launch at boat ramp.

At Dillon Beach, you launch from a sandy beach in strong side-onshore winds. At the preferred launch there is no shore break since all the swells' energy is spent on the offshore sand bars.

To find the Dillon Beach launch site, drive through the village of Dillon Beach, pass along the private fee beach and go towards Lawson's Landing. At the entrance, pay a $5 fee. Park on the grass at the first restroom. Rig on the lawns and carry your gear over the towering sand dunes. Head out to the surf zone at the mouth of Tomales Bay. There are many breaks in this area. The surf sailing is backside but still fun and it is perfect for jumping. Watch out for shallow sand bars far from shore when the tide is low. Dillon is dangerous sailing due to strong currents, isolation, and many Great Whites. There have been three attacks here in recent years and sightings are common. The wind is similar to Tomales in strength but much steadier.
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 Season: March to June 
 Water: Cold & Clean 
 Ability Level: Advanced 
 Familiness: Hiking, Restaurants 
 Parking: Grassy Point-Very Crowded, Dillon Beach-Lots of parking 
 Launch: Sand, rocks, mud 

To Tomales Grassy Point: From Crissy and Peninsula go north across the Golden Gate on Highwayy 101 and take the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard off ramp and go west on Sir Francis Drake. (From the East Bay go across Richmond/San Rafael Bridge and take the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard off ramp.) Drive for about 40 minutes west on Sir Francis Drake through many Marin County towns. Continue through forests and pastureland to the tiny village of Olema. Turn right on Highway 1 at Olema. Go north through the town of Point Reyes Station. Go about 12 miles on Highway 1 along the north shore of Tomales Bay. Look for a large cypress tree on you left with a strip of parking. Park diagonally above the grassy point. If you miss the launch site you will come to Nick's Cove restaurant. Dillon Beach: Pass Grassy Point and continue on Highway 1 to the town of Tomales. In the center of the town, turn left on the road to Dillon Beach. Continue on this road. When you get to the top of the ridge check out the surf on the bars at the entrance of Tomales Bay. Continue to the town to Dillon Beach. Drive through town along side the beach. At the entrance of Lawson,s Landing, pay the day-use fee. Drive across the pasture campground and park near the first restroom near the dunes and rig on the grass. (Note: getting across the dunes with your rig in 3.0 to 3.5 conditions can be wicked due to blowing sand. Something south of heaven for contact lens wearers.)

In the most common winds (WNW), the sensor is accurate for the first half of the Bay. Wind on the far side can be 5-15 knots stronger. In NW wind it will be lighter than the sensor inside and stronger on the far side. Usually there will be huge wind holes in the middle of the Bay when average wind at the sensor is in the 16-20 range. Good averages are in the 22-35 knot range. In most conditions, the best wind is at Grassy Point. When the wind is more N, the wind will be stronger at Nick's Cove. When the wind is more W, try Marconi or Tony's. kiteboarding lessons and downwinders from dillon norcalkites.com 707-849-5865


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