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Old 13-09-2015, 11:47   #1
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New member with heavy question

I am a newbie to this forum but not new to cruising/boats. I have dealt with lots of situations but this time I'm really on the fence about a trip across the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria BC. This trip is to begin tomorrow (9/14/15) and return Wednesday the 16th. Monday (14) is not a problem: outlook is for "wind 10 kts easing to light". It's the return trip on the 16th that looks scary. Outlook according to NWS is "wind SE 15-25 knots easing to 10 ... wind waves 2 to 4 feet subsiding to 1 foot or less..."

What they don't say is WHEN the changes will occur -- I need to leave Victoria by around 8:15 to meet the slack water at Deception Pass at 12:15.

So long and short: would this be a dangerous crossing for my 47-foot Vantare, or could I maybe tough it out? I would cancel the whole trip if this becomes too dicey to try. But if it looks do-able I might have a go at it. If you were me, would you ?
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Old 13-09-2015, 12:16   #2
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Re: New member with heavy question

Those conditions wouldn't bother me, but I have a sailboat that is happiest with 15-25 knots of wind.

As they say, "Your boat, your call."

They also say the most dangerous thing on a boat is a schedule.


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Old 13-09-2015, 12:26   #3
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Re: New member with heavy question

If you leave Victoria around 0815 you will be fighting an ebb all the way to Deception Pass along with (if NOAA is to be believed) beam seas.
The tidal change isn't particularly huge, but it still doesn't sound like a fun crossing to me.
That said, I find a lot of times that NOAA gets it wrong. They say between the lines, "You're gonna all die out there!" and then there's no wind.
I tend to believe my barometer and my own interpretation of this:

http://images.intellicast.com/WxImag..._None_anim.gif
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Old 13-09-2015, 13:14   #4
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Re: New member with heavy question

At first glance I was surprised - 25kt wind, 4 ft seas, 47 foot boat? Doesn't set off any alarms.

Then I google image searched "Vantare 47". I'm amazed those things stay upright just sitting at the fuel dock! It just looks so top-heavy. I'm sure they are more stable than they look though.

Hopefully folks with similar boats will chime in with some guidance about what's normal and what they can handle.
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Old 13-09-2015, 13:20   #5
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Re: New member with heavy question

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardhunter View Post
I am a newbie to this forum but not new to cruising/boats. I have dealt with lots of situations but this time I'm really on the fence about a trip across the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria BC. This trip is to begin tomorrow (9/14/15) and return Wednesday the 16th. Monday (14) is not a problem: outlook is for "wind 10 kts easing to light". It's the return trip on the 16th that looks scary. Outlook according to NWS is "wind SE 15-25 knots easing to 10 ... wind waves 2 to 4 feet subsiding to 1 foot or less..."

What they don't say is WHEN the changes will occur -- I need to leave Victoria by around 8:15 to meet the slack water at Deception Pass at 12:15.

So long and short: would this be a dangerous crossing for my 47-foot Vantare, or could I maybe tough it out? I would cancel the whole trip if this becomes too dicey to try. But if it looks do-able I might have a go at it. If you were me, would you ?
With a boat that size it should be no problem
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Old 14-09-2015, 03:46   #6
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Re: New member with heavy question

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Richard, and Brigitte.
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Old 14-09-2015, 09:19   #7
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Re: New member with heavy question

I have NOT checked the tides, but if you will be going against an ebb current out of Victoria you will be burning a lot of fuel. The current can really rip coming down San Juan Channel from the north and then it turns the corner with a vengeance towards Victoria. So timing there is everything. You won't be going really fast if it is a big flow. And it can get really choppy there as well. From south Lopez over it will just be the wind and whatever current but they won't be opposed, until you get to Rosario Straits and then the wind will be going against the tide and it will be choppy and rough. You'll have wind on one side and current on the other. There will be a lot of fetch though the whole way across with nothing blocking the wind. My recommendation would be to go on a flood tide if possible. The wind itself is not the problem, it is the wind against the tide at San Juan Channel and then Rosario Straits. But doable if you pay attention and don't mind getting wet and slammed a bit. You may go really slow in parts so plan accordingly.
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Old 14-09-2015, 09:26   #8
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Re: New member with heavy question

So far I have had pretty good luck with this site and gives a great graphical that you can follow for a few days and see what is going on. Great for flying as well (can change the altitude for wind forecasts), and actually a pilot friend who turned me onto it.

https://www.windyty.com/?40.061,-106.523,5
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Old 14-09-2015, 09:36   #9
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Re: New member with heavy question

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardhunter View Post
"wind 10 kts easing to light". It's the return trip on the 16th that looks scary. Outlook according to NWS is "wind SE 15-25 knots easing to 10 ... wind waves 2 to 4 feet subsiding to 1 foot or less..."
I don't get what is scary about 15-25 knots. That's good sailing I would think. The light winds on the way wouldn't be so good.
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Old 14-09-2015, 09:45   #10
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Re: New member with heavy question

The straits can really get cooking right around race rocks. A 4 knot current against you and a 25 knot with you. Prepare for very steep choppy waves. I would not go on that schedule, and if you have to go up the sound instead of deception- that may be a better way to skin a cat.
BTW: its a m/v not a s/v
Disclaimer: I have only done that section of water a dozen times, the last 2 weeks ago, so I may not qualify as a expert. Take it as what it is: free advice.
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Old 14-09-2015, 10:06   #11
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Re: New member with heavy question

good morning; i suggest you simply go on your cruise and have fun. the conditions you describe are common here and the majority of us sail in them all the time. sadly there are many beautiful boats in my marina that seem to never leave the dock maybe because of owners timidness. a real shame
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Old 14-09-2015, 10:08   #12
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Re: New member with heavy question

I do not want to sound condescending but you really need to get detailed and accurate tide prediction software for navigating that area with your size and type boat. I spent 30 some years operating a variety of boats in the Salish Sea and adjacent waters and was regularly amazed at the impact the tide/current/wind interaction had on the sea state.

Here are some details based on my NavSuite tide/current software which I have found to be quite accurate.

The direction is TOWARD which the current is flowing (i.e. 180 is a current flowing from North to South). The first number is time (AM) and the 2nd is tide flow in knots

4 NM WSW of Middle Bank (3.6 NM ESE of Trial Island or SE end of Haro Strait) current flows at 250 degrees magnetic

09:00 1.0
10:00 1.6
10:30 1.9
11:00 2.0

Haro Strait (mid channel a mile East of the Beaumont Shoal buoy) current flows 170 degrees magnetic.

09:00 0.3
10:00 0.9
10:30 1.1
11:00 1.3
11:30 1.4

That current would be flowing INTO the SSE wind and would be quite choppy after 10:30 or so.

Middle Channel (4 NM SSW of Cattle Pass) current flows 187 degrees magnetic.

09:00 0.1
10:00 0.4
10:30 0.5
11:00 0.4
11:30 0.4

I would not get any closer to Cattle Pass than 4 NM because the current is flowing at 2 Knots at 187 degrees from 9:30 AM until after 11 AM. I've been in that area many times on a SE wind and ebb tide and it is nasty.

Davidson Rock ( 1 NM S of Davidson Rock on SE tip of Lopez) current flows 235 degrees magnetic.

09:00 slack
10:00 1.1
10:30 1.5
11:00 1.9
11:30 2.0
12:00 2.0

Rosario Strait (mid channel 1.1 NM NW of Lawson Reef) current flows 190 degrees magnetic.

09:00 slack
10:00 0.9
10:30 1.1
11:00 1.2
11:30 1.2
12:00 1.2

Rosario mid-channel gets very sloppy on a ebb tide with a SSE wind - the dinghy I was towing was pooped by an unusual wave in the area S of Lawson reef during an ebb tide an SE 15-knot wind.

I've crossed that area many times and it is no big deal but you do need to pay a lot of attention to exact tide and current times.

I'd plan to be in the cove off Rosario Beach (NW of Deception Pass and Urchin Head) by 10 AM and then wait for Deception Pass slack water while anchored there.
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Old 14-09-2015, 10:17   #13
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Re: New member with heavy question

"The straits can really get cooking right around race rocks. A 4 knot current against you and a 25 knot with you. Prepare for very steep choppy waves."

Did I misunderstand something in the original post?? I can't imagine why one would consider the conditions at Race Rocks when heading from Victoria to the south end of San Juan and Lopez Islands.

Race Rocks is 8.5 NM SSW of the entrance to Victoria Harbor. Rosario Straits and Deception Pass are almost due EAST from Trial Island which must be passed with the island to port after leaving Victoria Harbor.
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Old 14-09-2015, 10:25   #14
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Re: New member with heavy question

As others have said, that amount of wind wouldn't bother me but wind waves against the current, current against swell, and swell against wind waves can get really uncomfortable quickly. I had my second experience with standing waves a couple weeks ago coming out of Cattle Pass on a 3 kt ebb against a relatively small swell and light wind and the waves were around 5 feet and breaking...wasn't terrible but definitely not comfortable. Timing is everything.


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Old 14-09-2015, 10:42   #15
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Re: New member with heavy question

"Outlook according to NWS is "wind SE 15-25 knots easing to 10 ... wind waves 2 to 4 feet subsiding to 1 foot or less..."

I think the NWS forecast for the 16th has eased a bit - here is what I am finding on the NWS website for Wednesday:

Central Straits:
E WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS.

East Entrance to the Straits:
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS.

Admiralty Inlet (this is what I consider the best indicator for the area west of Whidbey and south of Deception Pass):
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS.

San Juan Islands:
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS.

It sounds like a very easy trip because the Tuesday night forecasts are just as light so you will not be dealing with any residual waves.

HOWEVER - CAUTION

Environment Canada has a very DIFFERENT forecast for Wednesday (as of 4 AM on the 14th)
East Entrance to the Straits
Wind easterly 15 to 25 knots.

The area covered by the East Entrance is Victoria Harbor to Race Rocks then east to Middle Bank and NW to Trial Island.

My experience is that the Canadian forecast for that area is much more accurate than the US NWS forecast. You may have a bumpy ride from Victoria east toward San Juan Island for the first 10-miles of so. But, the current will be flowing with the wind which will help knock down waves.

The forecast east of Middle Bank is still for light winds on Wednesday so there will be little fetch for the waves to build.

Let us know what happens.
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