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Bel Marin Keys
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mitchstark



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:44 am    Post subject: Bel Marin Keys Reply with quote

Anybody ever sail there? Does it ever get shortboardable? Thinking about buying a place there.
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victor



Joined: 03 Aug 1998
Posts: 556

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

never heard of anyone sailing there. not sure where you would launch.

not too far away is bullhead flat, near china camp which was a pretty popular spot for locals early in the season when the nw winds would come through. there were also a few late season days. in the spring we enjoyed quite few <4.0, flat water sessions. it was seldom filled in all the way to bmk. bottom line: forget shortboaring there.

for the last couple of years those days when the nw wind made it over the hills have been rare for some reason or other. this season i don't think there have been more than 5.

but it's still a nice place to live. there are a dozen sailing spots within an hour or less drive, most of them less. if you have a dock and a boat, even better.


Last edited by victor on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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tomg



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 198

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no place to launch and the Bay is very shallow there, so it would only feasible at higher tides.

the lagoons within the development might be fun on light wind gear.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2388

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ridiculous gusty winds there, from the buildings nearby upwind.
Buddah Bros, Roy and Al live up there, along with some buds. They all sailed Rod & Gun or Bullhead after 4 tries.
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bamer



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I presume you are talking about sailing within the keys from your yard or community access point.

If so, there are a few communities in Stockton built around artificial lakes fairly similar to Bel Marin Keys. Bel Marin may be bigger, which is important because of the wind-shadow the buildings present.

If you will indulge me:
We looked at houses on these 'lakes' with water lots because I thought it would be amazing to windsurf from the back yard, in a proper city, even if it was less than epic.

Not knowing if short boarding was remotely realistic, I knocked on some of the neighbors' doors explaining that I was looking at buying a house, windsurfability was a primary factor, and wondered if they would let me launch from their back yard to establish viability. I had a strategy of looking for cars in the driveway indicating the owner was interested in sports or the outdoors (26.2 stickers, ski resort stickers, roof racks, etc.). I only needed to try two houses, both said yes! They had never seen anyone try to windsurf and they were actually excited/ intrigued by the prospect. With the neighbors being so incredibly nice I started to get more excited about things working out.

On a solidly windy day I got in touch with the neighbors and was able to try both houses which were on different areas of the lake. It was a complete non-starter for Formula and therefore any other shortboard. The wind was much too disturbed, gusty, and shifty. It came from multiple directions at the same time depending on the orientation of the land/ houses and varied from 2mph to a twitchy 25mph. Planing was possible only for super shorts bursts at the absolute best locations on the lake. I never felt close to comfortable.

We ended up going a different direction and bought a home in an older, established neighborhood where we can walk to everything including my wife's work.

Since that time we befriended a few people who live on some of the other lakes, including one family that windsurfs. I have since tried Formula on two more of these lakes, including the one that should seemingly have the best chance of working. The results were the same, the wind is just too shifty, gusty, and unstable.

However, these properties can be super fun for other things. From these lakes I have been out on Lasers, Kayaks, SUPs, and paddle boats. All of which work great.

Stockton is very different from Marin. It is surreal to be paddling or sailing just before sunset, in 75 degree air and 70 degree water with the most refreshing cool breeze, only the sound of the wind through the trees and an occasional duck, having just had a fantastic meal; just living life in one of the most depressing cities in America (according to Forbes).

You can have tons of effortless fun because it is so simple to get on the water. It just won't be on a shortboard. Something like a Kona may be the ticket. Depending where you are on the lake you could get one of those windSUP rigs; strap it to the deck, SUP upwind a bit, assemble the rig, sail around, and do a downwinder home. Build a rack on the side of the house and all your storage is figured out.

I think whether to get one these properties depends how much you like getting out on the water in general and your level of motivation. From what I see, 10% of the families that live on these lakes get upwards of 90% of the total time on the water. The rest just get a nice view as their boats and docks sit idle and fall into disrepair.

If I lived in one of these communities I would be in that 10% of heavy users and get some combination of a rowing shell, a race SUP, a Kona, and a turbo Laser with one of Bill Hansen's rigs.

Occasionally I ruminate on whether we made the right decision. But these thoughts fade when I think about the awesome Trappist pub, super affordable wine bar owned by a Sommelier, and Mexican restaurant with outstanding fish tacos and chilaquiles all about 100 yards of my front door. Especially after a good session at Rio.

Point is: Bel Marin may be a great place for you, but not because of windsurfing. It mostly depends how much water access appeals to you, what you have to pay for it (home price, HOA), and what your other options are.

You can reference the size of the lakes I am talking about here: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9932242,-121.3505544,14z
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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1355

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Mitch - you could never hope for a better Forum reply than what Bamer just gave you! And for what it is, sounds like a sweet spot.
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jse



Joined: 17 Apr 1995
Posts: 1298
Location: Marin

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I sailed Bel Marin Keys! Long time ago when I taught my friend Aaron to sail. He was skittish about sailing in the open so we picked that spot, there were some construction sites that you could gain access via. Very short reaches, swirly wind, but it got him over the hump. Might be fun for some light wind freestyle on a SUP. Or just plain old SUP'ing.

Steve
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2388

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy Smokes Ben Bamer...
You got married!
You bought a house.
You're still windsurfing?
I still remember when you worked at Boardsports with me, 17 and quite knowledgeable and adaptable to boot.
What happenned to the kid?
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kevinkan



Joined: 07 Jun 2001
Posts: 1147
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
Holy Smokes Ben Bamer...
You got married!
You bought a house.
You're still windsurfing?
I still remember when you worked at Boardsports with me, 17 and quite knowledgeable and adaptable to boot.
What happenned to the kid?


haha... that was my reaction too! married? Stockton? House? Been quite sometime since I last saw you, Ben. Congratulations on everything. Hope to see you on the water sometime.

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pacspeed



Joined: 14 Sep 2000
Posts: 612

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rented a house in Bel Marin Keys last summer while we remodeled, and got several days in on a Kona. Forget about shortboarding. It MIGHT work a few days a year, but if you got going that fast, your reach would be over in about 15 seconds. The largest lagoon is something like 500 meters across the widest point.

Still, it's a great way to unwind...your gear is all rigged up and ready to go next to your hot tub. Throw it in the water, dork around for 20 minutes, then crack a beer and watch the sunset over Big Rock.

If you are into wakeboarding it's phenomenal. Everyone has a dock, and the water is glassy most of the time. Plus you can go through the locks into the bay, and thence to deep sea fishing, up to the delta, down to a giants game, or just touring the bay. It's a pretty sweet spot, and surprisingly affordable by Marin standards.

Downsides: It's not walkable to any businesses, 5-10 minutes by car to market, freeway, restaurants etc. If you work to the south, the rush hour through Novato and Terra Linda is hellish.
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