Weather conditions Sea of Cortez - mid/late March?

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,202
6,396
Canada
Friends have offered us a trip from Cabo to La Paz in the mid/late March timeframe.

I *think* northers aren't too bad that time of year (might get one) but any idea of typical weather in that time of year? (Or weather stats?). It's only a short hop of about 150 miles with a few good bail out points (Los Frailes/Muertos) if the weather gets ugly so not too concerned about bad weather.
 

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
861
290
Santa Cruz
As far as I know it should be warm dry and pleasant. March is still a good time to be there. If you haven't visited the Sea of Cortez before then I definitely recommend you seize the opportunity.
 

Hale Moana

Member
59
57
Morro Bay
Spent 7 years down south. March is a good month. The northers are pretty much done and it will be warming up. Shorts and T shirt weather. The water will still be on the cool side. Three short hops. Cabo to Frailes, Frailes to Muertos, Muertos to La Paz. Current can be pretty strong in the Ceralvo Channel going north from Muertos. You will want to hug the Baja side of the channel. If you get hit with a norther after Muertos you can anchor in the big open bay on the SE corner of Isla Esprito Santo. That adds some distance to the route.

There are some reefs that you will want to look out for in the channel between Baja and Esrito Santo. They are mentioned in the guide books.

All in all not a bad time of year to make that trip.
 

El Borracho

Verified User
6,840
2,799
Pacific Rim
Do it! It may not be warm like the brochures promise. I found some days to feel suspiciously winter-like. I could smell the snowy Arizona air.

Most “northers” are not such a big deal anyways. I think the bad press comes from sissy SoCal sailors who think a breeze is a storm.
 

Hale Moana

Member
59
57
Morro Bay
The wind strength isn't the big deal with northers. Depending where you are the wind will typically range from 25 to 35 with gusts to over 40. The wind is much stronger in the northern half. It is the short period steep chop that is a killer. We called then bricks. 3' to 4' high by almost that wide 10' to 20' apart. A lot of multihulls couldn't even power into them. The Sea of Cortez is like a long narrow lake ringed by high mountains It is at its widest from Frailes to Mazatlan at 160 miles. Only 70 miles across at Guymas/San Carlos. Tides and currents are another problem. These get worse the farther north you go.

Going from Cabo to La Paz you will miss most of this. It will be a fun trip. Go for it.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,202
6,396
Canada
Thanks! I'm pretty familiar with the Sea, having spent 2 summers there. But both times we spent winter months in PV/Z.town/Tenacatita and slowly made our way north, hitting La Paz probably by late April or May.

Thanks for the advice about the current in the Ceravalo channel. Didn't know about hugging the Baja side.

Yes, northers suck for those that haven't experienced them. We've sailed in them DOWNWIND and then it's a fast and wet ride.

We may instead do another canal boat trip, this time in May in Ireland for my wife's work. Tough decisions....
 

TwoLegged

Super Anarchist
5,893
2,257
We may instead do another canal boat trip, this time in May in Ireland for my wife's work. Tough decisions....
May is probably the best month for a holiday in Ireland. May and June are usually as warm as later summer, but they are significantly drier.

And most secondary school terms end at the start of June, so May is quieter.
 

Panope

Super Anarchist
1,546
710
Port Townsend, WA
I did the opposite (La Paz > Cabo) in early May (1989).

Air temps were perfect: 70's and 80's

Water temps were cool: Low to mid 60's

Winds were moderate out of the North. I was in this area for a Month and never saw 20 knots.

A pleasant trip.

img206.jpg
 
Will probably be seeing some light southerlies by then, the big islands in the middle are now open or partially open I believe. Not a perfect route but weather permitting something to check out in it's raw state before it's all hotels or off limits again. I would take a Northerly over the front of a real low and all the lightning shit shows that come later.
 
We spent 5 months per year for the last 22 years on the beach in LaVentana ( Sea of Cortes south of LaPaz). Windsurfing in the early days, then kiting and kite foiling. Mid to late March is usually very different from early March. More no wind days and more days with light onshore easterlies ( light southerlies further out). It is the time when most of us would drive north homeward. It took 22 years to realize that it is never warm in March in the PNW.
There are many weather sources but this fellow is good. https://www.facebook.com/laventanawindmachine.
Goes by

MasViento on FB​

 

TwoLegged

Super Anarchist
5,893
2,257
We spent 5 months per year for the last 22 years on the beach in LaVentana ( Sea of Cortes south of LaPaz). Windsurfing in the early days, then kiting and kite foiling.
It's a tough assignment but somebody's gotta do it ;)
 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
6,563
1,908
Canada
Thanks! I'm pretty familiar with the Sea, having spent 2 summers there. But both times we spent winter months in PV/Z.town/Tenacatita and slowly made our way north, hitting La Paz probably by late April or May.

Wow, you spent two *summers* there? I know someone who recently sailed down there who specifically leaves before summer (sails in the fall/winter/spring there) to escape the summer blast of desert heat (and to return to keep his Canadian health benefits active, I.e., the 6 month rule).

I’ve sailed around San Carlos and over to Santa Rosalia on the Baja, but that was 20 years ago...can’t recall what time of year it was, but it was hot.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,202
6,396
Canada
Yes it was pretty warm but my wife is a cold blooded lizard tends to feeling cold. Lots of shade, lots of swimming. Don't try to do too much mid-day.

At the time Canada was not keeping track of people coming and going so much so we were not too worried about being outside of the country for >6 months. Now that the US keeps track and talks to Canadian customs somewhere there is a record of when I leave the country by a sea or land border and probably by air.

I am not sure how BC Medical gets access to these databases or how they check but if they denied coverage plan a was always get fixed in Mexico first. Their private hospitals are very good. We always kept up residential ties to BC and kept paying our MSP premiums when that was a thing.
 
Sea of Cortez will always be one of our favorite places to have cruised. We have had the best day ever and worse day ever in the same anchorage not a whole lot of days apart. When it's good, nothing compares on the PAC coast, when. It's bad you might as well be in Seattle on I-5 in Dec.
 


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