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Old 29-05-2008, 01:39   #1
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hitching space available - leaving from WA in August

Hi folks,
At the end of August I'll be finishing up all of my undergraduate college work and plan to celebrate by leaving for a year. Dropping off the map, sailing down the coast and hopefully cycling and climbing if the opportunity presents itself. My original plan was to cycle to south america, but I recently bought a sailboat and that has opened its own world of possibilities. I have asked around my preexisting friends and family and gotten a couple regretful no's, many looks of confusion and several insistences that I must be unwell...

If I biked it would be no problem to travel alone, I've done it before and its quite enjoyable. But the boat is something rather new, it would be nice to have somebody to split shifts with.

So, the gist is I'm leaving regardless, but if there are some interested individuals out there I could provide you with transportation partway down the coast. This trip is very much about the journey and I can't promise you any final destinations or time frames its a one-way trip down the americas, you go as far as you want to.

Ah, of course you'll want to know about the boat. What I have right now is a San Juan 26, it has slept five people fairly comfortably but of course we were good friends. I cannot say if that will be the boat I'm leaving in at the end of August but it is the only one I have right now. I think it goes without saying this wouldn't be a paid position and I'd expect you to take care of yourself.

If you're interested please be in touch,
best,
ashleigh
anonymous553@gmail.com

I know I don't have an established history on this forum so if you want to confirm that I am a real person with social history and friends you can visit my somewhat neglected facebook account here:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25902647
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Old 29-05-2008, 03:38   #2
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Congratulations on your great adventure. I hope you find able crew and that your experience bag fills up faster than you luck bag empties...

The trip you propose is no small undertaking...
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Old 29-05-2008, 08:27   #3
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ashleigh, be careful of the time you leave for the trip. do some searches on sailing down the coast because this coast can kill you. The main issue is the inability to get into safe harbor when the weather comes up because of impassible river bars. Also, how much experience do you have? That having been said, good luck with your adventure. Many folks out here would love to be in your shoes.
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Old 29-05-2008, 09:08   #4
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Good luck with your plans. I understand the San Juan 26 to be a solid little boat but don't know much about them. I just made the trip down the coast from Astoria, OR to SF. We had good weather except at the Columbia River Bar itself. This was in a 41' boat that was built for ocean cruising. I know that passages such as you are talking about have been done in small boats and you could probably make the trip but I'd like to point out some options that might make the cruise more pleasant.
1) The San Juan Islands are some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. Take advantage of them and on up thru the Gulf Islands etc. This will help you get a feel for the boat and navigation.
2) Inspect all you standing Rigging.
3) If the thought of going down the coast gets overwhelming remember that the San Juan is a trailerable boat. Put it on a trailer and launch it in a prime cruising ground such as Southern Cal or better yet the Sea of Cortez.
4) If you decide to sail down the coast. Review the Costal Pilot and the North Pacific Pilot charts to find the best time to leave.
5) Factor in Time. It took me five days to sail and motor from Astoria OR to SF. I put about 60 hours on the motor. My boat does 7+ knots probably 1/3 faster than yours does. I am able to carry enough fuel to last motor for 500 nm. I was only able to sail for two of the five days. The other three the wind was very light and the seas confused so sailing would have been really slow. I could easily have added about a week to the trip if I hadn't used the motor. 12/.667 = ~18 days. Conditions vary and you might be able to pull into port depending on the weather.

Points to remember -- Beer is cheaper in Mexico. Food is cheaper in Mexico. It is warmer in Mexico. There are very nice anchorages a days sail away in Mexico.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

A friend of mine bought a Cal 25 and trailered it to Mexico then launched it at the North end and sailed her down to La Paz. Quite the adventure.
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Old 29-05-2008, 14:38   #5
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Thank you so much for the kind words and advice, asking for opinions was my next step. Dan- I hope so too! I know its a big undertaking but I have at least a year from the time I leave before I have to be anywhere specific.

CharlieC - Thank you for pointing out that I hadn't mentioned my experience, it isn't overly impressive (yet). Most of my experience is on a lake in an alpha, which I've been into for four years. Then throw in a couple outings on the bay and that's about it. And a bit of racing but I was just a minor part of the crew. With that moderate background it may seem absurd to you that I would presume to think I could sail down the coast, but I promise I am not actually a reckless person this is just the way I do things and I plan to spend the next three months just sailing and learning more about sailing in my own waters. (I know three months, big deal, there's probably somebody here thats been sailing longer than I've been alive, I probably sound ridiculous to you)

Charlie - Thanks for the pointers and yes the San Juans are beautiful I live right next to them so that is my summer destination before this trip (and I'm pretty excited about Mexico!). While it is true that the San Juan 26 is trailerable I'm really not interested, I don't like being in cars and with gas the way it is I think I'm better off drifting down the coast and being cautious, especially since time isn't an issue. I will certainly be looking at the charts and trying to stay as safe as possible.

But none of you are takers?? Come on, free adventurous trip down the coast in a 26ft boat with a stranger... ah I get it. Really though, thanks for the advice, as things come together I'll definitely be asking more questions and its good to know there are people with answers.
cheers,
ashleigh
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Old 29-05-2008, 15:37   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleigh View Post
I think I'm better off drifting down the coast and being cautious, especially since time isn't an issue. I will certainly be looking at the charts and trying to stay as safe as possible.
cheers,
ashleigh
If you had the ability to drift down the coast I wouldn't have tooo much concern. Problem is that the coast from Washington State all the way to Point Conception can be very inhospitable. When you need to get into a harbor the bar (not the drinking kind the river bar) may be closed. The Columbia river bar closed within an hour of me crossing it. From Conception south to the Mexican Border you are in pretty safe waters but North of Conception. Well that is a tough area. Not saying it can't be done but it sure can be unpleasant. And you are going to have to play alot of your luck cards to get it done.

Enjoy and ask away with the questions there are lots of opinions and good advice from the people on this forum.
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Fair Winds,

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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 29-05-2008, 16:02   #7
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I wish you nothing but the best of luck on your adventure. Unfortunately, you may need all the luck you can get. I mean this in the best way, BUT unless you have been offshore in a storm, you don't have a clue. NOTHING, and I'm not making light of your past adventures, that you've done on land, can prepare you for storm survival at sea.

Carry an EPIRB and a life raft.
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Old 29-05-2008, 16:18   #8
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Ashleigh
Love your vision and your dream --- and your enthusiasm. It's not impossible, nor (with a good system in place to check weather and good decision making applied to deciding to stay or go) foolhardy. Having made that journey a few times in small (30-35') sailboats, just to reiterate ---- unlike the San Juans or south of Concepcion, you can't really just head out and go til you want to head in ---- each leg has to be planned and examined in light of:
- what is the distance to the next safe harbor
- what is my 100% motor time to get there, and can I motor that long?
- what is my sail time, slow and fast, to get there?
- what are the tides at my destination, and what is my weather forecast, and when is it daylight for arrival ?
- you not only have to deal with the speed and times enroute, but making landfall anywhere from where you are to Santa Barbara (south of Concepcion) is something that needs to be done with a strong knowledge of tides, winds, their effects on each other, and the ability to see to navigate things --- there can be sailable conditions "out" but those same conditions can prevent you from entering that harbor you thought you were aiming for, adding an additional 24 hours or more to your passage.

Know that we, on this forum, are generally dreamers and always want folks to "go" ---but we also want them to come back, and we have probably all seen the results of unprepared or uninformed boaters when things don't go as one imagined. Thus, our cautions --- and you sound like you want to be informed and conservative, and you are wanting to take steps to address the areas you want to beef up. Good on ya.

Things that we did in preparation that really helped:

- Read a good comprehensive overview of the area to be sailed --- overview of weather, seasons, norms --- as well as understanding of where safe harbors are in differing wind and sea conditions
- Had a good guidebook (for your passage, the one I would not leave home without is: Exploring the Pacific Coast, Seattle to San Diego by Don Douglass &Reanne Hemingway-Douglass )
- Preplan your trip into bite sized legs before you go, so you can look at a page in your logbook and not have to work it out: how far is it between here and here, how long will it take, and what conditions do I need to get into that harbor (daylight/tides/weather) and will I have them throughout my arrival window?
- Ah, and this lesson learned --- we won't head into an strange harbor at night anywhere north of Santa Barbara, even with our nifty chartplotter/moving map. South of there, in the US, we've pulled it off with sharp lookouts, papercharts, and decent weather, but not up north.
- We actually put tide/wind/light at arrival on a higher priority to sailing conditions enroute --- it is that important.

Keep us informed, and good for you for being interested! PM me, and I can possibly direct you to some places where you might find others interested in joining in.
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Old 29-05-2008, 16:25   #9
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And I cannot believe I left this off --- before we left, we purposefully went out into really sh__ty weather a handful of times with someone that knew more than we did, and we practiced employing what we had said we were going to do if things got rough. Reefing, sea anchors, unfouling a prop, launching your liferaft or dinghy, getting into it off of a pitching boat --- the reality of doing them in realistic conditions, even if they aren't the worst you might actually experience, gives you just enough of a taste to do some thoughtful prep or mods.

Don't head off on this venture without knowing you can deal with your boat in BIG seas and big winds, even if it is heaving to and dealing behind a sea anchor (with enough sea room to not end up onshore....)

I think the long and short of what we are all saying --- please don't underestimate how much **** can hit the sea fan when the big wind and waves blow out there. Drifting down the coast is an unreal image. It be lots of work!
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Old 29-05-2008, 16:46   #10
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Quote:
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Ashleigh
Love your vision and your dream --- and your enthusiasm. It's not impossible, nor (with a good system in place to check weather and good decision making applied to deciding to stay or go) foolhardy. Having made that journey a few times in small (30-35') sailboats, just to reiterate ---- unlike the San Juans or south of Concepcion, you can't really just head out and go til you want to head in ---- each leg has to be planned and examined in light of:
- what is the distance to the next safe harbor
- what is my 100% motor time to get there, and can I motor that long?
- what is my sail time, slow and fast, to get there?
- what are the tides at my destination, and what is my weather forecast, and when is it daylight for arrival ?
- you not only have to deal with the speed and times enroute, but making landfall anywhere from where you are to Santa Barbara (south of Concepcion) is something that needs to be done with a strong knowledge of tides, winds, their effects on each other, and the ability to see to navigate things --- there can be sailable conditions "out" but those same conditions can prevent you from entering that harbor you thought you were aiming for, adding an additional 24 hours or more to your passage.

Know that we, on this forum, are generally dreamers and always want folks to "go" ---but we also want them to come back, and we have probably all seen the results of unprepared or uninformed boaters when things don't go as one imagined. Thus, our cautions --- and you sound like you want to be informed and conservative, and you are wanting to take steps to address the areas you want to beef up. Good on ya.

Things that we did in preparation that really helped:

- Read a good comprehensive overview of the area to be sailed --- overview of weather, seasons, norms --- as well as understanding of where safe harbors are in differing wind and sea conditions
- Had a good guidebook (for your passage, the one I would not leave home without is: Exploring the Pacific Coast, Seattle to San Diego by Don Douglass &Reanne Hemingway-Douglass )
- Preplan your trip into bite sized legs before you go, so you can look at a page in your logbook and not have to work it out: how far is it between here and here, how long will it take, and what conditions do I need to get into that harbor (daylight/tides/weather) and will I have them throughout my arrival window?
- Ah, and this lesson learned --- we won't head into an strange harbor at night anywhere north of Santa Barbara, even with our nifty chartplotter/moving map. South of there, in the US, we've pulled it off with sharp lookouts, papercharts, and decent weather, but not up north.
- We actually put tide/wind/light at arrival on a higher priority to sailing conditions enroute --- it is that important.

Keep us informed, and good for you for being interested! PM me, and I can possibly direct you to some places where you might find others interested in joining in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by windsaloft View Post
And I cannot believe I left this off --- before we left, we purposefully went out into really sh__ty weather a handful of times with someone that knew more than we did, and we practiced employing what we had said we were going to do if things got rough. Reefing, sea anchors, unfouling a prop, launching your liferaft or dinghy, getting into it off of a pitching boat --- the reality of doing them in realistic conditions, even if they aren't the worst you might actually experience, gives you just enough of a taste to do some thoughtful prep or mods.

Don't head off on this venture without knowing you can deal with your boat in BIG seas and big winds, even if it is heaving to and dealing behind a sea anchor (with enough sea room to not end up onshore....)

I think the long and short of what we are all saying --- please don't underestimate how much **** can hit the sea fan when the big wind and waves blow out there. Drifting down the coast is an unreal image. It be lots of work!

Here. Here. Excellent post. Spot on target.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 29-05-2008, 18:12   #11
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ah, yes 'drifting down the coast' was a poor choice of words on my part. I really don't expect it to be easy, I just have a habit of understating my fears. I don't ever want to be the stupid kid that took off without any preparation and I have already invested a lot of time looking into weather/tide/land behavior where I'm heading and plan to put in A LOT more.

Windsaloft - thanks for the post, I'll be getting that book you recommended and when I've finished with it I'll probably be asking for more. Also, thanks for pointing out that going out in bad weather on purpose first is necessary, I completely agree and may not have thought of it on my own.

Thank you everyone, I joke a lot, but I'm actually a very safe person, and I know nothing I've done before could prepare me for an intense storm but I'm trying and learning and having a lot of fun with it right now, perhaps I'll come to realize that what I suggested was absurd, in which case plans change, but I hope not.

The advice is great, advice on books or software is especially welcome, keep it coming!
ashleigh
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Old 29-05-2008, 18:27   #12
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ashleigh, I wish I was a younger man, without a ball and chain and living on the left coast . Good luck with your adventure .

Paul
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Old 29-05-2008, 19:52   #13
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ashleig:

How to Sail Around the World by Hal Roth though not particuilar to this trip has a very good section on planning a trip and using the costal pilot and pilot charts.

I think that what your proposing is doable but will take alot of planning. Alot of patience to wait for the right weather window a certain amount of luck and probably won't be all that pleasant until you get around Point Conception.
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Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 30-05-2008, 12:16   #14
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yay, more books, thank you Charlie. And Paul I think I might also wish that you were unattached living on the west coast, sometimes I think men find my assertiveness a bit intimidating, its rather obnoxious really.

I've got some other questions but I think I'll go post them in a more appropriate forum, keep an eye out.
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Old 30-05-2008, 16:46   #15
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Ashleigh,

The above posts are on the money regarding West Coast offshore conditions.
I've done the trip a couple of times, both in August and it didn't get warm and tame until Santa Barbara.

Have you gone out and crossed the Straits of Juan de Fuca or the Strait of Georgia in 30 knots? You might try that first to see if you want to spend a couple of weeks doing the same thing offshore.

Steve B.
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