Santa Barbara Harbor
34░23.8'N - 119░43.3'W
Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara HarborSanta Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities on the California coast and has a quaint downtown and a pretty, if not challenging little harbor. As a student at both UCSB and SB City College a while ago, I spent a few memorable evenings strolling down Harbor Way and looking at the lights, the boats and sometimes, even the guy I was walking with....ah, college life. Anyway, back to the harbor....a valiant haven with a long history of fighting the elements...

History: Thanks to a private individual willing to do what it took to get the job done, namely funding, a breakwater was built in the 1920's.  Max Fleishmann wanted a harbor and a safe haven for his 250' yacht, the "Haida", contributing $450,000 before the project was completed in 1928.  This was only the beginning of an on-going battle against sand, tides and weather. Dredging barges are a common site in the harbor.  Until the 1870's, Santa Barbara was isolated from the outside world by the ocean and the mountains.  In 1872, John Stearns built a wharf to provide for his lumber business and opened up Santa Barbara's waterfront.  Stearns Wharf is the oldest working wooden wharf in California, surviving tornadoes, heavy military use and fires like the one in 1973 that closed it for 8 years and the one in '86 that nearly destroyed the Sea Center.  Heavy weather, the "100 year storm" of '83 and the '87 storm that threw a barge and fishing boat into the wharf, has taken its toll. But it survives on......

Today, the harbor is home to over 1000 pleasure and commercial vessels, providing a safe haven and the doorway to the Channel Islands, the open seas and the last harbor before rounding Point Conception on your way up the coast.  Facilities include a hoist, fuel, marine services and repair, restroom and showers, ice and provisions, a chandlery and emergency services.   Restaurants, stores and other retailers are all within walking distance.  It is home to both the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and the Santa Barbara Sailing Club.  Santa Barbara's Sea Center is an interesting look at what's under there and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a testament to the rich maritime history of the Santa Barbara Channel.  The waterfront is bordered by parks, walkways and entertainment centers and downtown is a close taxi or bus ride away.  There is plenty to do and it is a great place to spend a cruising weekend or even a week.

 

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