Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 18-06-2013, 19:15   #1
Registered User
 
Salty Fox's Avatar

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: 1935 33' Falmouth Cutter
Posts: 30
Images: 1
Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

October, for 5-6 month passage with happy fun times in the Caribbean.

I'm a novice, and I'm finishing a PhD and selling my house to buy a boat in the early fall, and transport it back home to DC. I can use as much help as I can get!

1935 wooden Falmouth cutter, newly restored by a master boat builder, 33' LOD, heavy, and built for big water.

Looking for experienced sailor(s) to join in all or part of the passage.
__________________

Salty Fox is offline  
Old 18-06-2013, 21:06   #2
Registered User
 
TacomaSailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Punta Gorda Isles, SW Florida
Boat: Caliber 40
Posts: 1,150
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

Leaving Vancouver headed south along the US Pacific West Coast in October is probably an unwise, if not dangerous, idea. October and November on that coast between Vancouver BC and Point Conception in California (~1000 NM) frequently has SW to West storms of over 50 knots and seas over 30'. The bars that protect the entrances to every harbor on the US west coast are unpassable and there is no place to head for shelter.

Your course is SSE and the storms usually blow from the SSW so you would be fighting terrible conditions. I've made the trip four times and have spent about 24 hours beating into 20+ knots and 10' seas along that coast and I really do not want to repeat the experience.

I do know experienced sailors who made the trip successfully but I would not recommend that stretch of water at that time of year for a novice.

I skippered a boat from Gig Habor WA (35 miles south of Seattle) on September 25 and arrived in San Diego on October 7 with almost no problems. But that was in a 68' sailboatboat with a displacement of 85,000 pounds. We had a big crew and only stopped for a few hours in Newport, OR and Monterrey, CA.

Unless you are 100% committed to harbor hopping and are very careful about the weather - I'd suggest leaving before September 20 or wait until June 2014. In mid-September on one trip we were stuck in Westport for 5 days because the wind was SW 20 - 30 knots, the swell was SW 15' and NW 5' and the bars at every harbor from Westport to Coos Bay were closed.

We had left Port Angles four days earlier with an excellent forecast all the way to southern Oregon - by the time we were 12 hours SW of Cape Flattery we were in a terrible cross swell, rolling like crazy with not enough wind to drive the boat. Six hours later the forecast went from benign to dangerous and we beat feet into Westport where we sheltered with five other cruisers who also got stuck.

The USCG closed the bar just hours after we got in - as we surfed over the bar in 15' swells we would lose sight of the 65' long line trawler just 100 yards astern of us - but the 44' USCG rescue boat that insisted on escorting us in was always just 20 yards off our port side.
__________________

TacomaSailor is offline  
Old 18-06-2013, 23:30   #3
Registered User
 
TacomaSailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Punta Gorda Isles, SW Florida
Boat: Caliber 40
Posts: 1,150
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

Here is a little empirical data for October 2012 to help you decide. These are hourly averages and maximums. The wind data is only for those periods in which the wind was 90 to 270 degrees because your course will be 166 magnetic from Cape Flattery to Cape Mendocino and these winds will be forward of the beam. The wave heights are for any direction because the waves are what really cause a problem.

Significant Wave Height is the measured height for the biggest 1/3 of the waves – the thing to always remember about this measurement is that 1 in 1000 waves will be DOUBLE the significant wave height. With a 10 second period that means once every three hours you can expect a wave twice the significant wave height! A breaking wave that is greater than the beam of your boat ( 3.5 meters? ) is capable of capsizing the boat if taken improperly.

Another important consideration, based on hard experience, is that the persistent two to three meter NW swell from the Gulf of Alaska does not end or stop just because the Low pressure system brings up a SW or WSW wave train. What you really end up with is a combination of cancelling and reinforcing waves and swells. At times you will have the odd NW swell sneak in unaltered and suddenly roll you from the stern quarter.

Cape Elizabeth Bouy – 45 miles NW of Aberdeen WA
There were 135 hours (spread over 11 days) with an hourly average wind speed over 22 knots and five days with an hourly maximum wind speed over 30 knots. On six days the average wind speed was over 23 knots for more than 10 hours.

There were 42 hours (spread over 4 days) with a significant wave height over 3 meters with an hourly maximum of over 4 meters.

Columbia River Bar 20 miles West of Astoria
There were 123 hours (spread over 9 days) with an hourly average wind speed over 22 knots and seven days with an hourly maximum wind speed over 30 knots. On four days the average wind speed was over 28 knots for more than 10 hours.

There were 100 hours (spread over 7 days) with a significant wave height over 3.4 meters and four days with an hourly maximum of over 4.3 meters. During that 100 hours you can expect to see about 30 waves of more than 7 meters (20')

Stonewall Bank – 50 miles West of Coos Bay
There were 110 hours (spread over 9 days) with an hourly average wind speed over 22 knots and seven days with an hourly maximum wind speed over 30 knots. On five days the average wind speed was over 28 knots for more than 8 hours.

There were 105 hours (spread over 5 days) with a significant wave height over 3.4 meters and four days with an hourly maximum of over 4.0 meters.

Port Orford – 15 miles West of the California/Oregon Border
There were 77 hours (spread over 6 days) with an hourly average wind speed over 22 knots.

There were 103 hours (spread over 4 days) with a significant wave height over 3.4 meters and one day with an hourly maximum of over 4.6 meters.

I am not trying to scare anyone - I am trying to show how important weather window selection will be and how much time you will have to spend sitting in some "quaint" little harbor waiting out a storm - wet and cold.
TacomaSailor is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 05:39   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
s/v Beth's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Boat: Valiant 40 (1975)
Posts: 4,073
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

Good posts TS. I would recommend the Coho Ho Ho followed by the Baha Ha Ha as great times to do the first part, with serious consideration to a hired skipper for the forgotten coast.
s/v Beth is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 05:41   #5
Registered User
 
Salty Fox's Avatar

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: 1935 33' Falmouth Cutter
Posts: 30
Images: 1
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

I'm scared! Ha ha. Thanks- this is very sobering information, and your personal experience is invaluable.
Salty Fox is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 09:28   #6
Registered User
 
TacomaSailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Punta Gorda Isles, SW Florida
Boat: Caliber 40
Posts: 1,150
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

You can read an extended story (I am a retired academic/consultant and can be really long-winded and tedious in my writing) about our September 2000 trip from Puget Sound to San Diego at:
Mirador Log Tacoma to San Diego

and our September 2010 trip over the same route at:
THE VOYGAGES OF MIRADOR
beginning at the heading labeled: SOUTHBOUND TO SAN DIEGO - September 2010. This section of my blog contains a lot of detailed discussion of strategies and tactics for safe passage out of Puget Sound and down the coast. It includes details about an unexpected detour I took into Newport, OR to avoid a storm in Northern California that brought up 20' waves and 45 knot winds. I discuss how we became aware of the possible storm, how we decided what to do, and the actual measured weather data for the storm area IF we had continued. As I said earlier, I like to write and do blather on ... and on.

I do provide some detailed statistics about wind and waves

Don't be scared - be aware - the US National Weather Service provides great, and very detailed, forecasts. If you listen and consider the weather windows you can make the trip in relative comfort and safety.

Comfortable - IF you can ignore:
fog
cool air
cold water
constant rolling
too many small/medium fishing vessels

The trip is a lot of fun and a great way to gain experience. Find a good experienced sailor who is willing to go along and teach/show you the right way to do things. The most important attributes of the experienced crewman would be:

ability to read the weather info and make informed decisions
time and inclination to stay with you and the boat no matter how long you sit in various safe harbors waiting for the right weather windows
TacomaSailor is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 09:31   #7
Registered User
 
TacomaSailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Punta Gorda Isles, SW Florida
Boat: Caliber 40
Posts: 1,150
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

The best quote I've heard about learning to cruise:

"A new cruiser starts their voyage with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. You hope to fill the latter before you empty the former. "
TacomaSailor is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 15:12   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Annapolis, MD
Boat: Sail any boats from 28 to 60 ft
Posts: 570
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

For practical purpose, it would be easier and less expensive to truck the boat to Chesapeake. Of course, it will be not as fun. Even truck it half way say to SoCal is better.

Just a thought.
rockDAWG is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 22:33   #9
Registered User
 
Salty Fox's Avatar

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: 1935 33' Falmouth Cutter
Posts: 30
Images: 1
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

Yup; that is under consideration, too. Can you recommend a shipper?
Salty Fox is offline  
Old 19-06-2013, 22:35   #10
Registered User
 
Salty Fox's Avatar

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: 1935 33' Falmouth Cutter
Posts: 30
Images: 1
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
You can read an extended story (I am a retired academic/consultant and can be really long-winded and tedious in my writing) about our September 2000 trip from Puget Sound to San Diego at:
Mirador Log Tacoma to San Diego

and our September 2010 trip over the same route at:
THE VOYGAGES OF MIRADOR
beginning at the heading labeled: SOUTHBOUND TO SAN DIEGO - September 2010. This section of my blog contains a lot of detailed discussion of strategies and tactics for safe passage out of Puget Sound and down the coast. It includes details about an unexpected detour I took into Newport, OR to avoid a storm in Northern California that brought up 20' waves and 45 knot winds. I discuss how we became aware of the possible storm, how we decided what to do, and the actual measured weather data for the storm area IF we had continued. As I said earlier, I like to write and do blather on ... and on.

I do provide some detailed statistics about wind and waves

Don't be scared - be aware - the US National Weather Service provides great, and very detailed, forecasts. If you listen and consider the weather windows you can make the trip in relative comfort and safety.

Comfortable - IF you can ignore:
fog
cool air
cold water
constant rolling
too many small/medium fishing vessels

The trip is a lot of fun and a great way to gain experience. Find a good experienced sailor who is willing to go along and teach/show you the right way to do things. The most important attributes of the experienced crewman would be:

ability to read the weather info and make informed decisions
time and inclination to stay with you and the boat no matter how long you sit in various safe harbors waiting for the right weather windows
Thanks! I've been reading your blog already!
Salty Fox is offline  
Old 23-06-2013, 04:41   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 324
Re: Vancouver to Chesapeake via Panama

A 1935 Falmouth cutter?
lovely boat, would love to sail it. Gaff? Bow Sprit?
Restored and you are going to do what?
I hate to sound like one of those Doom and gloom predictors. But its not a cunning plan.
Actualy it can be done. Leave sooner. or wait.
The tacoma guy has all sorts of scary stats. break it doen to this. west coast October probabaly nasty weather with ocasional realy nasty weather.
Begining might be OK if indian summer but not a good bet.
once you turn S of Cape Flatery don't bet on Finding a sheltered stop in bad weather until you reach S California. San Fran Bay.
Almost every port along the coast is hazerdous to enter in strong Sly winds.
Every low presure system bring stron Sly winds.
Old gaffers suck going to windward.
Heavy Gaffs swig about high up are easy to break stuff.
Old wood boats leak.
Restored old wood boats probabaly leak maybe not quite as much as old unrestored boats.
The leaking gets worse pounding into heavy seas.
Old gaffers usualy did not have self draining cockpits.

If you can get a week off take boat down to Astoria during the summer. Its nice and moorage is cheeper than PNW. The weather more sutable, wind likly to be at yer back.
Old gaffers like that.

Me I'd want to be well south of Oregon before October. or have lots of time flexability to pick my weather.
__________________

Uricanejack is offline  
 

Tags
Panama

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:30.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.