Originally Posted by chuck1
Long time reader (two years) first time poster. I want to be a good forum citizen so I tried to do many searches but nothing stuck out and I admit I didn't go through all 11 pages.
Back story. Wife and I got through our certifications and have been flying from SLC down to O.C, CA and chartering out of Newport Beach
(boat sizes 32'-40') for a day here and there. A 3-4 hour sail once a quarter doesn't seem to be doing the trick. We know we need something more challenging to hone our limited skills. Our ultimate goal is to purchase
(~45) by 2018 give or take depending on the health
I would like to charter in the PNW but don't know much and I hear the summer can be calm winds. I have vaca so I can go anytime. Any advice would be appreciated. Company, boat type size, good location for beginers e.t.c. Thanks in advance.
Start to break down your PNW requirements. If you want lots of sailing then you are looking at April-June or September-October. You will still get some sailing in summer months but it will be sporadic and often just in the 5-10 knot
Where do you want to go and what do you want to do? US charter companies out of Anacortes or Bellingham are best for the San Juans, but I would recommend either Nanaimo Yacht Charters or Desolation Sound Yacht Charters (Comox) in Canada
if you want to visit Desolation Sound. I think for the Gulf Islands its a toss up. There are a bunch of other different charter companies and bases as well: Vancouver, Sidney.
Crossing the strait is often the best sail you will get, so have a look at routes and destinations that include a crossing. If you really want to splurge look at a circumnavigation
of Vancouver Island with someone else. OR consider a flotilla. We did a rapid two week trip up to the Broughtons with a Cooper Boating
flotilla as our first big cruise
. It had good and bad aspects but we learned a lot in a "safer" environment
and it was a great introduction
to longer range cruising.
What do you want to sail? Check out the boats. I had to work to find a boat in the size/configuration I wanted without a furling
main. 33-36 ft is great for a couple. 38-40 is better for more depending on how cramped you like to be and how well you get along.
If you are sailing outside the summer months look for at least a bimini
and more is better when its likely to rain or be cold. Again, a heater is great in those months.
If you are flush with time and cash then longer is better; try and get off the beaten path. I know we have experienced huge differences in what we learned when we went from 1 week charters to 3 week charters. And our extended 3 month cruise
was 'nother whole ball of wax.
Oh, and be aware that the PNW is all about the currents. Most charter companies will insist you have a coastal navigation
course and some experience with tidal currents. You can't go anywhere without running into a pass or two that can only be transited at slack...
How's that for random thoughts...