For those of us transplanted from the midwest, coastal SoCal weather never fails to amaze, and usually in a good way. As snow buries my old Chicago neighborhood, the winter weather here just begs us to come to the beach, go for a sail or just sit in the sun.
And so it was on the first of December: temp in the mid-seventies, gentle breezes and a long-period swell.
What does the winter hold for us sailors?
Surprises as always, but on average it’s sunny and only a few degrees (about 10 in Dec.) cooler than the average June temperatures. Visibility is often unlimited, something you can rarely say about spring. And gale force winds are very rare.
That said, we can get some muscular storms with very muscular winds from the south. Obviously, any foray into the Pacific should be preceded by a careful check of the weather forecasts. They tend to be more accurate in winter than summer. In any event, be cautious entering or leaving Ventura or Channel Islands harbors when the wind/swell are from the south. Check out the video for an example.
Both harbors will be closed a time or two. If in doubt, contact harbor patrol before entering. They can advise you on best tactics for entering. In extreme cases, the local Coast Guard will also assist.
For the entire climatological overview, check the Coast Pilot. Make sure you scroll down to LA.