A wonderful venue area with water 30 to 100 feet deep, enough to sail the deepest draft boats and shallow enough to set marks without special methods or equipment, of approximately 9 miles by 4 and ½ miles. The area easily accommodates 3 racing circles during major events and can handle 3 to 5 mile W/L courses when needed (passports and a Spanish/English phrase book may be required on the southern courses).
The one drawback to the venue is the distance to the course for the racers and Race Committee and the chance of foul weather making the journey rough in relatively shallow water (15-25 feet) located near the end of the Jetty guarding the east side of the harbor entrance. A long and sometimes difficult tow for Etchells or others without engines (6 ½ to 7 miles from San Diego Yacht Club). Kelp debris drifting down on the prevailing current from the beds located west of Point Loma can also be problematic. Wise racers carry a kelp stick, back down before starting, avoid the patties, etc.
The California Current, a part of the Pacific North Equatorial Current, runs down the California coast and can some times be felt at up to about ¾ of a knot, north to south, along the westerly edge of the venue. The current tends to eddy in the lee of the point and can occasionally be up to ¼ to ½ knot from the south in the typical starting areas. The nearest land to the WNW is San Clemente Island (about 65 N.M.), To the WSW it is Hawaii (about 2,400 N.M.), and to the south the 3 small Mexican Coronado Island group (the largest, 2 miles north to south and ½ mile east to west, is 10 miles from the south end of the racing area). Aside from those islands the nearest land mass of consequence is 7,000+/- miles away, west or south, plenty of fetch for the seas. Winds are typically benign and normally driven by convection heating of the land drawing in cooler air from the relatively cool Pacific. These breezes tend to be 5 to 15 knots and be from the westerly quadrant. Weather system winds are dependant on the system but tend to be of two major types, either storms passing through our area with southeast to south winds, going more west on passage or northwest winds offshore, from storms to the north. The latter sometimes forms a "Catalina Eddy" and while 50 – 60 knots 60 miles offshore may be light and south locally. Storm winds are seldom above 30 knots. Rarely Santa Anna winds, strong to the north in the Los Angeles area, will have some north to east effect locally and can induce days of calm.
Maximum seas in the racing area with a good southerly or westerly will reach a significant height of 8 to 10 feet. In southerlies these swells can be breaking, especially in the harbor and approaches, and create conditions too rough to safely get boats and Race Committee to the racing area.
The area is populated by designated Navy anchor circles and boat lanes (the green rings and rectangles) If a ship is at anchor on arrival, move elsewhere. If the Race is ongoing a radio call to the incoming naval vessel will often prevent problems with a carrier or cruiser ending up parking on your circle.
North to north west winds will affect the area immediately to the south and east of 300+ foot high Point Loma. Closer to the of point the winds will tend to be right more than winds 2 to 3 miles further southeast, the normal starting area. This leads to a banana shaped course and further exacerbates the normal west coast, right side of the course bias.