The Hilton

Formula windsurfing at The Hilton, San Diego

Formula windsurfing at The Hilton, San Diego

Site Name: The Hilton Beach

Location: East side of Mission Bay in San Diego

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced

Typical Sailing Conditions: Wind: 8-12 knots from the W or WSW, typically starting in late mornings and tapering off mid-late afternoon. Best Direction is WNW, but South Winds, typically preceding a storm.

Water: Salt Water, mid to upper 70 degrees in summer, high 50s in winter. Water quality can be poor due to runoff, Sewage spills after heavy rains.

Boards: Early planning/giant slalom, 120l-160l volumes, Shortboardable in storm weather.

Sails: 6.0-10.0 m+

Water Conditions: Flat water sailing with minimal chop even in storm winds. Reaches are only about 200 yards because of the proximity to Fiesta Island, although if the wind clocks around to the NW the reaches get longer since you can parallel the beach. A few hundred yards south of the Hilton Hotel Launch is Enchanted cove (aka. Stinky Cove) which sometimes gets of couple of knots more wind, so it’s not unusual for people to head downwind to check it out. Slogging back upwind to the Hilton Beach can be a drag, though. Water traffic by Enchanted Cove can get busy due to the proximity of the Boy’s Club (lots of canoes, small boats, etc.) as well as kite boarding here. This is a 5 mph boating area, so there isn’t much interference by powerboats or personal watercraft, though there is a PWC area just North of the Hilton Hotel and PWC’s occasionally ignore the 5 mph zone.

Wind notes: As with most of Mission Bay sailing sites, the wind is driven by a standard coastal onshore flow. However the occasional storm in the late fall/winter/spring can bring good winds from the south that clock around as the storm approaches and turn to the North West. Storm winds tend to be gusty, so it’s not unusual for people to be slogging around on a 7.5 one minute and then barely hanging on to a 5.0 ten minutes later as a squall line comes through.

Rigging and Launching Notes: There is a nice grassy rigging area with plenty of room to rig even on the busiest days. The launch itself is a sandy beach, though there is a 2 foot “bluff” to negotiate between the rigging area and the beach low tide means dealing the “Mission Bay Muck” and eel grass. If you beach start close to shore – on minus tide, it is almost impossible to avoid.