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Old 05-12-2012, 21:48   #1
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Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Hello newfound fellow sailors!

I was wondering if any of you BC boaters could share your favorite sailing route from Victoria to Vancouver? I'm new to this hobby so am a little unfamiliar with these routes outside of taking the BC Ferries so your tips would be greatly appreciated!

I'll be taking a 34' Peterson, and am looking to go within a couple weeks (late December).

Also, can any of you give me a rough idea of the estimated length of journey (which is obviously weather dependent of course!)

Thank you

Rob
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Old 05-12-2012, 22:02   #2
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Two weeks to do a day trip gives you lots of options. I would normally break it into a 2 day trip Victoria to Sidney Spit or Montague, or Ganges then through Active pass or Porlier and across to Vancouver. With 2 weeks you can spend lots of time exploring the Gulf Islands before heading to Vancouver.
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Old 05-12-2012, 22:06   #3
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Make sure you pick your tides when transiting either pass
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Old 05-12-2012, 22:08   #4
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

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Two weeks to do a day trip gives you lots of options. I would normally break it into a 2 day trip Victoria to Sidney Spit or Montague, or Ganges then through Active pass or Porlier and across to Vancouver. With 2 weeks you can spend lots of time exploring the Gulf Islands before heading to Vancouver.
Haha! Yes, that will have to be my summer trip when I have some extra time to cruise!

I guess I should have been more specific - please share with me your quickest, most efficient way to cross from Vic to Van!
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Old 05-12-2012, 22:29   #5
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Whaat? Avoid the Straits and miss out on getting out into big wind and waves and bash your way upwind in 4-6 foot seas all day long?

Of course when I thought that was fun I was in my 20s, it was summer, and it was not my boat. Taking your skipper's racing boat up north so he could climb on in prime cruising grounds for his vacation was fun.

John
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Old 05-12-2012, 23:19   #6
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Pick the pass that gives the best angle with the forcast wind. Time to cross depends on your speed.. Don't forget the south of Saturna route for a south wind, or Nanaimo for the shortest hop. Remembering to time Dodd Narrows right of course. If it is too rough for you turning around is possible at the North and South routes.
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Old 05-12-2012, 23:21   #7
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

It is all about weather, wind direction, and currents. Use the Tide & Current book to see how the tidal currents will influence your trip - travel with the current as much as possible, it is amazing how much difference it will make. Generally you want to cross the Strait of Georgia on a route with the shortest distance and with the most favorable wind direction. For example, in a northwesterly Active Pass to Vancouver would mean bashing into wind and waves whereas Gabriola Pass (Silva Bay) would give you a better wind angle. Try to hit the pass near slack or with a light push. Before entering the pass, check the weather radio to figure out the conditions in the Strait. For example, a flood current in Active Pass encountering strong NW winds in the Strait can generate some really ugly and dangerous waves. If you are on a flood and find yourself in horrible conditions at the other end of the pass, turning around and retreating means fighting your way back through the pass against the current.

On the Strait, watch for shipping and be aware of the shipping lanes, and stay well away from the shallows off Roberts Bank and Point Grey. They extend miles out from the visible land.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:48   #8
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

If it gets cold +clear, watch out for the NE "Outflow" ie:"Squamish" wind ...stay in the Gulf islands at least to Mayne Island , if it's really happening at EastPoint But it'll be pretty obvious in Victoria too. It can spring up at night so watch out for those outflow forecasts. COLD!The direction will fan out from HoweSound but is weaker on the CollingwoodChannel Gibsons Ldg side so, if you detour a bit round it, you could have a nice reach across it to English Bay in which case it doesn't matter how hard it's blowing...
But Warm+wet SE wind is the one you want and it's likely the one you will get so don't stay inside past Gabriola Pass in that normal case or you will be beating and might end up in Gibsons. Not the worst thing to happen-you can tool back through Howe Sound.
Swanson-Trincomali is a pretty easy route and pop through the gaps when the tide is right. Porlier,Gabriola are the easy ways.Active pass is choked with Ferries. Boundary Pass-HaroStrait is fine too but it's actually longer and the BigBadBorder may attract the Black Helicopters to a confused sailboat... and there's the ship traffic as well.

The Fraser River outflow is strong especially combined with tide at night until the interior freezes up...should be soon. Doesn't signify much unless you happen to be off Sandheads in a N to West wind at night amongst all the traffic too but stranger things happen.
Watch out for log tows vicinity Gabriola Passage ,NorthArm etc...

And while I'm at it, get the up to date ferry schedules for all of em. If you can get online, you can see em. AIS won't work everywhere due to mountains.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:03   #9
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

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Haha! Yes, that will have to be my summer trip when I have some extra time to cruise!

I guess I should have been more specific - please share with me your quickest, most efficient way to cross from Vic to Van!
In August I cleared customs at Victoria just after midnight and made it to the Vancouver Rowing Club at 1330. We dropped a crew member off at Ganges on the way.

Route - Mayor Channel and Bayne Channel > Sidney Channel > Moresby Passage > Captain Passage > Active Pass > Georgia Strait (headed for Sand Heads) > Inside TSS > Point Grey Bell Buoy > Under Lion's Gate

We took Active Pass to avoid an even stronger ebb in Porlier.

The would have been faster to avoid Captain Passage.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:04   #10
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Both Sandheads and Point Atkinson can build heavy seas with an inflow wind and a strong outgoing tide. Plan your route as already indicated, with an eye to wind and tides, but read cruising guides and charts to plan alternate ports in case of any problems. Crossing the strait in winter can be pretty reasonable, but if you are really inexperienced, consider taking along someone who has more experience. If not, stay WELL CLEAR of lee shores, particularly if you arn't very familiar with the vessel.
Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:07   #11
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

And monitor the weather.

If you can get an wifi connection, you can get hourly updates from the Environment Canada web site, rather than waiting for a 4 hour update via VHF.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:30   #12
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

If you have a smartphone with a data plan, you can monitor the Sand Heads Lightstation on an hourly basis. Go to Weather - Environment Canada, look up current weather conditions for Sand Heads, and then hit the 'past 24 hour conditions' tab.
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Old 08-12-2012, 13:40   #13
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

I tell you, this forum has to be the most useful forum on the internet. I can't tell if you've I've seen anything where a person can ask a question and get more helpful and intelligent responses then on here. Thank you all for the info you've shared.

May I burden you all with a couple more questions?

Is this voyage a day trip if I want to avoid sailing at night? Obviously I'd make a contingency plan to assume a few days in case of uncooperative conditions. But should I assume it will be two days - to sail from Victoria to a good anchorage, and then another day to make the Georgia Strait crossing? Or can it be done in one day?

Also, my destination is Shelter Island up the Fraser River. Is there anything less obvious that I should know about going up stream here?

Thanks for all your help!

Rob
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Old 08-12-2012, 15:14   #14
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Re: Favorite route: Victoria to Vancouver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carogan View Post
I tell you, this forum has to be the most useful forum on the internet. I can't tell if you've I've seen anything where a person can ask a question and get more helpful and intelligent responses then on here. Thank you all for the info you've shared.

May I burden you all with a couple more questions?

Is this voyage a day trip if I want to avoid sailing at night? Obviously I'd make a contingency plan to assume a few days in case of uncooperative conditions. But should I assume it will be two days - to sail from Victoria to a good anchorage, and then another day to make the Georgia Strait crossing? Or can it be done in one day?
In December with short days, some time will be spent in the dark if you try a single day trip. I would assume two days. Stop at Montague Harbour. That is close to Active Pass and on the way to Porlier.

Quote:

Also, my destination is Shelter Island up the Fraser River. Is there anything less obvious that I should know about going up stream here?

Thanks for all your help!

Rob
If you get any kind of wind from the south you will get a lot of wave action in the over Robert's Bank.

Follow the buoys, they are there for good reason. Watch the depths as your approach Sand Heads and go between the port and and starboard buoys at the entrance.

Watch out for traffic. Listen to channel 12 - Vancouver Traffic Services.

The route to Shelter Island is well marked and there are ranges to follow.
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Old 08-12-2012, 22:01   #15
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For me at 6.5 kt its a long day from Sidney to False Creek. I expect Shelter Island would be similar. I don't find the current makes much difference further up the Strait - down closer to Victoria it is much more noticeable.
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