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Old 21-08-2010, 12:34   #31
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You've already found part of the problem. High tide or low tide does NOT equate to slack current. You MUST have current tables for this area! Also, off Port Townsend the change in current direction is noticably different in timing (by up to several hours) and speed depending on which side of Admiralty Inlet you come in (i.e. Port Townsend side or Whidbey side)
I imagine this is true for much of the Salish Sea. Here abouts the Gabriola Passage is a good example. It is a mercifully short, gnarly bit of water. Tides flood north here but just because it's flooding doesn't mean the pass isn't running the other way and slack is when the current table says, not the tide table. Get it wrong and it might not be much fun - whirl pools, standing waves and not much room. I was up to Desolation Sound two weeks ago and the tides were 17 feet. Currents weren't bad where I was but I know some of those passes will make you dizzy. I'm checking tides and currents everytime I go anywhere!
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Old 29-08-2010, 14:10   #32
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Yep, that Canadian booklet comes in real handy around here.
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Old 30-08-2010, 10:45   #33
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You won't find current data for the Swinomish Channel. Here is what the locals do:
Use the La Conner tide readings (Seattle + 30 minutes)
Slack water occurs 2 1/2 to 4 hours after either high or low tide
Current flows north 2 1/2 to 4 hours before high tide to 2 1/2 to 4 hours after high tide
Current flows south 2 1/2 to 4 hours before low tide to 2 1/2 to 4 hours after low tide
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Old 30-08-2010, 12:55   #34
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Juan de Fuca vs Swinomish

Newt- I use a Canadian current book, it's out of print but you can find it used. It's invaluable..Sometimes depending on the weather the tide tables are off by as much as an hour anyway.
Years ago before Idora I did the same thing you did in my old boat, a 26' sloop built and designed by my brother. The waves were so steep and short period that making way was very slow indeed. The crew (my sons) were sick (imobile) and I needed to reef but could not leave the helm. Over-powered boat, knee deep water in the cockpit, night time-exhausted by the relentlessness of it all. I thought of heaving to but the lee shore of Whidbey scared me too much. There was no option but to keep on keeping on. The boat was fine but I was a mess. I don't go out there now if the wind is above 15kts unless all other factors, tides, fronts ect. are lined up just right.
You can use the slough but you need to go in on a near max rising tide entering from the north. I made it through with Idora (6' draft) and only barely rubbed the bottom in the center of the channel just north of the railroad bridge. By the time we transited the whole thing there was between 11 and 14 feet of water at the south entrance. No early turns at the south end.... no h20 there.
I guess you got the teeshirt, I know I did. I have heard of several strategies that folks employ to beat that lump up out there and I will try them..carefully.

Todd
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Old 30-08-2010, 13:22   #35
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Schedule -- a double-four-letter word
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Old 31-08-2010, 11:57   #36
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Schedule -- a double-four-letter word
Our "schedule" was to sail home today, but after hearing the wx report and checking the barometer and sky, we sailed home yesterday with great conditions.

This morning with a fire in the woodstove, I'm looking out the window of our house at 25 to 30 knots and heavy rain.

Glad I didn't have a schedule!
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Old 31-08-2010, 12:39   #37
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Our "schedule" was to sail home today, but after hearing the wx report and checking the barometer and sky, we sailed home yesterday with great conditions.

Glad I didn't have a schedule!
And that's exactly why I'm waiting until Thurs. to launch.

Nice summer were having, NOT!


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Old 31-08-2010, 14:22   #38
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Bellingham Bay

I have experienced my worst weather ever on Bellingham Bay. A trough was forecast but not the 40 kt winds, standing waves and three day duration. I was caught just NE of Eliza which I used a a wind break to help my finish up tiding up the main.

I have also been in the rips of Pt Wilson and caught in some nasty winds off Partridge PT on Whidbey.

Once you have sailed in these waters a bit you can probably handle most anything. Hopefully...........
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Old 31-08-2010, 16:03   #39
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My idea for the OP's crossing would have been to time the tides/currents to be at Partridge point near slack. That does 2 things, it gives you boost both before and after the point as that seems to be where the Juan de Fuca flow splits to go north and south. Also it gives you leeway in timing the entrance to Admiralty Inlet with all the potential unhappiness at Pt Wilson.

Alternative #2 would have been the Swinomish channel which has been adaquately discussed.
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Old 31-08-2010, 16:57   #40
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Tides

Of course depending on how fast your boat is, Bellingham to Seattle is a about 70 plus miles. So even in the best of times it is a 10-12 hour trip. With that time span you have more than one time to deal with. A great idea for a software program that would judge the best time to depart based on winds, tides and currents once you figured out your route.
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Old 31-08-2010, 22:15   #41
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Of course depending on how fast your boat is, Bellingham to Seattle is a about 70 plus miles. So even in the best of times it is a 10-12 hour trip. With that time span you have more than one time to deal with. A great idea for a software program that would judge the best time to depart based on winds, tides and currents once you figured out your route.
My chartplotter does that - Nobletec Navigation VNS Max or something like that,
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Old 31-08-2010, 22:27   #42
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We are big fans of going through Deception Pass. IMO there is less to think about than the Swinomish route....either it is slack tide or it isn't, and it is easy to plan being there at slack tide. Also it is very pretty and fun! Often faster, too, depending where in the San Juans you are heading. With the channel, you've got the squirrelly current and the tide. I have an admitted phobia of running aground, and it seems like every time there is a minus tide someone falls victim. The only time we take the channel is if we are heading to points north and there is a strong ebb in the Rosario Strait.
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Old 31-08-2010, 22:28   #43
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You won't find current data for the Swinomish Channel. Here is what the locals do:
Use the La Conner tide readings (Seattle + 30 minutes)
Slack water occurs 2 1/2 to 4 hours after either high or low tide
Current flows north 2 1/2 to 4 hours before high tide to 2 1/2 to 4 hours after high tide
Current flows south 2 1/2 to 4 hours before low tide to 2 1/2 to 4 hours after low tide
This is the same rule of thumb I've heard.
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Old 31-08-2010, 22:36   #44
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What is so funny (now) is that I have the Canadian tide book, and if I look back at the times- sure enough big rips coming off the strait. I planned for low tide off partridge point- but I just didn't take alot of other factors into consideration.
Went back 8 days later- No wind in the middle of the strait- and a alternator overcharging my batteries- but that was another story.
Thank you for the "I did that too" makes me feel not quite so stupid. There is a great bunch of NW sailors on this forum.
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Old 01-09-2010, 23:23   #45
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arghhh!!

This morning with a fire in the woodstove, I'm looking out the window of our house at 25 to 30 knots and heavy rain.

Glad I didn't have a schedule![/QUOTE]


My chain saw won't start--- If I don't get it fixed the wood supply is short.. (That is a schedule) I saw what I thought was a cat way west, almost abeam Squim during July headed south.. I bet I was mistaken and it was a tri.

Todd
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