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Cabrillo Beach
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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.
HARBOR SIDE
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. Beginners and low intermediates can sail on the harbor side; a great place to practice uphauling, water starts, and jibes on flat water. The water quality on the harbor side was rated "good" by Heal-the-Bay for the first time in 2015; the improvement is attributed to the placement of wires over the beach area that are designed to keep the birds away. This author has sailed the harbor side of Cabrillo for years, and to date, has never gotten sick from the water.
Recent 2014/2015 dregging has resulted in a dramatic loss of harbor-side beach for launching. At high tide, there is no longer a beach down-wind from the jetty. Now, July 2016, at high tide, launching is feasible only from a small section of beach south-west of the swimming area. Wind usually blows from the ocean or over the Palos Verde hill, and the rock jetty casts a significant wind shadow. Hence, at high tide, sailors may face an off-shore wind when returning to the beach. Fortunately, as of July 2016, the water next to the jetty is just shallow enough,even at high tide, to enable one to walk equipment back to the beach.
OCEAN SIDE
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. 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. Water quality on the ocean side is typically rated "A" by Heal-the-Bay.
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.
There 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 on the outside is usually rated A+ for cleanliness, although with beach sand, the water can be cloudy.
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.
The small grass area near surfside lifeguard building is no longer green due to watering restrictions; it is a flat sandy area covered with dead grass. There is a small green grass area near the men's entrance to the bathhouse. The bathhouse has free hot showers & restrooms, but it typically closes at 5 PM. There are port-a-lets at the end of the parking lot and toilets adjacent to the swimming beaches There also are outside rinse off showers, if drought restrictions are not being enforced, but none right at the grassy rigging area.
There are two 15-minute equipment drop off areas for the surfside beach accommondating perhaps a total of twelve vehicles. There is direct parking access for the intermediate beach area, which is now at the bathhouse end of the parking lot.
NON-SAILING ACTIVITIES
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 (This needs to be verified!). 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 near launch area. There are swings, slides and other play equipment for the kids, extensive tide pools, a buoyed off swimming area on the inside. The Cabrillo Beach Marine Museum (Frank Gehry design) is geared toward childen, and it includes a tide pool touch tank; a donation of $5/adult and $1/child is suggested.
PARKING
Parking is currently (July 2016) $1 / hour (except perhaps for holiday weekends); paid in advance at kiosk using coins or credit card. Be warned, machines to take dollar bills are unreliable. The lot nearly always fills up by noon on summer weekends and holidays.
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Shops, Schools, Clubs, Events, Food, Lodging, More,
 Season: Feb. - Oct. 
 Water: clean on outside, inside good in 2015 
 Ability Level: Beginner to adv. 
 Wetsuit: shorty in summer, full in winter 
 Familiness: Restrooms, tables, swings 
 Parking: 1$ / Hour, $9 max, pay at kiosks 
 Launch: Sandy 

(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.

The sensor is on top of the telephone pole at the end of the parking lot about 25 feet above sea level and another 150 feet from the water. Accuracy should be good as there are no obstructions. If you're sailing the bay side I would say subtract 3 from the sensor's reading to get a picture of what the conditions are like. 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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