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Old 17-05-2019, 09:24   #16
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Originally Posted by CPierce View Post
we'll have VHF radio--but can we expect coverage across the length of our route?

With an antenna at 40' there is coverage over the whole strait - do you have an external antenna and how high is it?
I often listen to wx channels on my handheld vhf and the reception can be spotty though I can't say for sure for the area your will cross. I reckon if you hit a dead zone that it won't be very long though if you can it would be prudent to rig an antenna.
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Old 17-05-2019, 09:50   #17
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

1. That trip doesn't cross any ferry routes so you should be fine in that regard. However, watch out for tugs and tows - particularly log booms. Tows can often be a LONG way behind the tug and log booms can be so low in the water as to be nearly invisible. A tug going really slowly is the clue. DON'T cross between a tug and tow. There have been fatalities. And DON'T insist on your right-of-way as a sailboat. Call the tug on VHF channel 11 or, failing that, 16 (take a good pair of binoculars so you can read their names) and work out a plan with the skipper. Tugs with tows are HUGE obstacles in the straits because they are so long. Actually it might be a good idea to check in with Vancouver Vessel Traffic Control (VTC) on channel 11 and let them know you are out there with the big boys.

2. Watch out for deep sea traffic (freighters, cruise ships, etc.) early in the trip. You will be crossing the traffic lanes very near the choke point at the Point Grey Bell Buoy - and THEY have the right of way.

3. The weather with a big, nasty chop can come up quickly in the Straits of Georgia. Strong afternoon westerlies are very common in good summer weather. Personally I wouldn't do that trip in a dinghy. And as others have pointed out wind and current can be really nasty at Porlier Pass - even lethal: big standing waves. Timing will be critical, and timing is a challenge for anyone sailing, let alone a dinghy.


4. Area WG should not be a problem as you are well south of it and, with a north-westerly blowing, will be well down wind. (For those not experienced sailing Georgia Strait, Area WG is a torpedo testing range used by the Canadian and US navies. It is smack in the middle of the strait and can be a real pain for some crossings - like when I go to Nanaimo. Listen to the local continuous marine weather broadcast to hear whether it is active or not. And if it is, STAY OUT! I swear I wasn't ten feet into it once before the helicopter with the loudest siren I've ever heard was right on top of me chasing me out).


5. Yes, they used to race bathtubs across there. But each had to have a high-speed escort boat capable of keeping up, and lots and lots of them sank out in the middle. It was deemed so dangerous they don't do it anymore. Now it's just a local race at Nanaimo.



Are you local sailors? If so, you should be familiar with tugs and tows, etc.
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Old 17-05-2019, 09:53   #18
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Uricanejack pretty much laid it out for you. From the bellboy off Pt. Grey, your rhumbline will be 215ēT. The distance is about 18NM to the entrance of Porlier, so I would expect your running time in a dinghy, given a decent wind, to be two hours or a tad more. As Jack sez, the plume above Crofton is your landmark as you near the pass. Remember to allow for set on the crossing. I've seen a set of 2 knots in the middle of the straits and that obviously has a major effect on the Course to Steer in order to stay on the rhumbline. You will obviously be using a hand bearing compass. If you have binoculars with a compass in the reticle, so much the better.

Before setting out I would mark the chart with the coordinates of four or six equidistant points along the rhumbline. Then picking up you coordinates off you iPhone every 15 minutes or so will tell you where you are in relation to those waypoints, and give you a good indication of what corrections to make to your steering course. No need to be particularly precise about this. "We're too far north, Put some south in it" is good enuff for the purpose :-)

I too like to transit the pass on a following tide. From the point where you begin to feel the funnel effect of the pass till you are out of it again and into Trincomalee is a tad over a half mile so at 10 knots STW, plus, say, a five knot flow, you'd be through in 3 or four minutes. But that would be exceptional. You may have to rely on the current only, for the wind can be fickle, and then you need to allow twenty minutes or so. Your major (only) problem, then, will be to stay right in the middle of the channel, which may be a trick due to the whirlpools. You need to stay out of them as much as you can. They can be quite powerful. I think you should be prepared to do some serious paddling to keep yourself correctly positioned in the pass.

Someone mentioned a handheld VHF. Absolutely! When you are at the entrance to the pass, and before you enter, issue a "securitee" to let people, not least Victoria Coastguard, know what your intensions are. Be explicit about your being in a dinghy! VCG will be a bit anxious about you. The nearest SAR station is Ladysmith. From Ladysmith around the top of Thetis Island to Porlier is about 13NM, so the running time for SAR27, a high-powered Zodiac, will be about 20 minutes. IMO your emergency planning should therefore allow for keeping yourselves alive for an hour or so if you have serious misfortune in the pass. Remember that the water is only 48ēC or so, even at the height of summer! Life expectancy for a fit, but protected, man is forty minutes or less in such water.

All the best,

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Old 17-05-2019, 09:57   #19
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

I have crossed the straits many times and usually use Porrier pass. If you have a decent day with 10 to 15 knot winds from the NW you will be across in 4 hours or less with that boat. I usually make it in 5 hours at 6.5 knots. Should be a great ride.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:04   #20
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpius View Post
1. That trip doesn't cross any ferry routes so you should be fine in that regard. However, watch out for tugs and tows - particularly log booms. Tows can often be a LONG way behind the tug and log booms can be so low in the water as to be nearly invisible. A tug going really slowly is the clue. DON'T cross between a tug and tow. There have been fatalities. And DON'T insist on your right-of-way as a sailboat. Call the tug on VHF channel 11 or, failing that, 16 (take a good pair of binoculars so you can read their names) and work out a plan with the skipper. Tugs with tows are HUGE obstacles in the straits because they are so long. Actually it might be a good idea to check in with Vancouver Vessel Traffic Control (VTC) on channel 11 and let them know you are out there with the big boys.

2. Watch out for deep sea traffic (freighters, cruise ships, etc.) early in the trip. You will be crossing the traffic lanes very near the choke point at the Point Grey Bell Buoy - and THEY have the right of way.

3. The weather with a big, nasty chop can come up quickly in the Straits of Georgia. Strong afternoon westerlies are very common in good summer weather. Personally I wouldn't do that trip in a dinghy. And as others have pointed out wind and current can be really nasty at Porlier Pass - even lethal: big standing waves. Timing will be critical, and timing is a challenge for anyone sailing, let alone a dinghy.


4. Area WG should not be a problem as you are well south of it and, with a north-westerly blowing, will be well down wind. (For those not experienced sailing Georgia Strait, Area WG is a torpedo testing range used by the Canadian and US navies. It is smack in the middle of the strait and can be a real pain for some crossings - like when I go to Nanaimo. Listen to the local continuous marine weather broadcast to hear whether it is active or not. And if it is, STAY OUT! I swear I wasn't ten feet into it once before the helicopter with the loudest siren I've ever heard was right on top of me chasing me out).


5. Yes, they used to race bathtubs across there. But each had to have a high-speed escort boat capable of keeping up, and lots and lots of them sank out in the middle. It was deemed so dangerous they don't do it anymore. Now it's just a local race at Nanaimo.



Are you local sailors? If so, you should be familiar with tugs and tows, etc.
Actually you will have to keep a eye out for the ferries travelling from Duke point in Nanaimo to Tsawwassen terminal. Mostly on the hour and they travel at 20 knots.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:17   #21
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

I sail that area often (Not in a dinghy) I plan my trip from gulf islands to van and back based on tides but then second is wind direction. I would look at slack or slight ebb tides at gabriola pass, porlier pass and possibly active pass. Look at the distances for all three options while planning. That gives you the options based on winds and strait current. You can choose the shortest crossing, ( gabriola) or the fastest reachy point of sail. Times vary in all three passes. Good info above except that yes you will be crossing ferries from duke pt to tsawassen.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:41   #22
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Actually you will have to keep a eye out for the ferries travelling from Duke point in Nanaimo to Tsawwassen terminal. Mostly on the hour and they travel at 20 knots.

Oops. I forgot Duke Point to Tsawwassen. But that'll be well out in the middle and should be less of a problem than the freighters, etc. around Point Grey. Again, call them on channel 11 and maybe check in with VTC so the big boys will know you are out there.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:42   #23
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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1. That trip doesn't cross any ferry routes so you should be fine in that regard.
Except the Tawwassen/ Duke Point Route.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:42   #24
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Oops. I forgot Duke Point to Tsawwassen. But that'll be well out in the middle and should be less of a problem than the freighters, etc. around Point Grey. Again, call them on channel 11 and maybe check in with VTC so the big boys will know you are out there.
Haha jinx,
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:59   #25
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

My friend Peter and I nearly crossed the strait by accident in a 12'-2" cutter rig day boat during a small craft warning by getting caught up into the whirlpool that builds off of the Sand Heads. We tried to enter the river several times. On the third trip around We could see the window panes on the houses and the branches on the trees clearly from just off the east coast of Galliano Island before being taken in tow back into Steveston Harbour., Somebody looked at a previous years tide table on a day the daylight savings time changed. and We did not have anymore navigation than a Silva orientation compass.
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Old 18-05-2019, 07:09   #26
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Honestly, I think it's a bad idea. I don't know how fast a V15 actually sails, but I'm guessing the wind needed to plane will equate with a pretty good chop on the Strait. I'd be amazed if you could get across in less than 9 hours. Doing this in open waters without a safety/support boat is foolish IMHO.
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Old 18-05-2019, 08:51   #27
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Quote: "...my brother and I have piles of experience sailing and racing one- and two-handed dinghies (and scows, and cats), including long dinghy day trips near Vancouver..."

Let's give our new friend credit for having a decent amount of nous and a decent amount of knowledge of local wind and water. I, too, think that crossing GS in a dinghy is daft, but, hey, there are people in England, the very home of daft sailors, that circumnavigate England/Scotland in Wayfarer dinghies.

The V15 is unsinkable - HAS to be, given the joys of dinghy racing :-) I assume our friend and his friend will be togged out in wetsuits. Even if they don't dunk, they'll be mighty wet, but they already know that. I'm not sure how easy it would be to right a capsized V15 and get 'er underway again in a 2 foot slop, but as a reference point, I'm gonna make a confession: five and forty years ago, I left Nanaimo Vancouver bound, single handed, in a rented Cal20. As I cleared Snake Island the wind rose to 25 and the seas to a coupla feet. Saving you the sordid details, I'll tell you that is the only time I've ever thought I'd not see the shore again!


For those who are unfamiliar with the V15, here is a clip:

vanguard 15 youtube - Bing video
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Old 18-05-2019, 10:57   #28
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Yeah it pains mean to be the wet blanket, but knowing that area, at that time of year - the weather is quite changeable; this most likely would go off without a hitch, but there's a good chance the wx won't cooperate, they'll end up in the middle of the strait, in the dark, trying to not be mowed down by ferries and freighters, hypothermia setting in, and they'll have to call for help. I don't like to see those resources needlessly called out - and this seems like a pretty good chance of it happening. My 2 cents.
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Old 18-05-2019, 12:00   #29
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Interesting thought tho :-)

With a young wind anywhere from 315ēT to 360ēT (or better still, the reciprocal) in think it'd be doable. The wind needs to be young enuff that the sea hasn't risen. We are talking a summer sail, so there will be windows when the weather is not particularly snarly. You'll agree, Lodesman, that there is many a summer's day when there isn't so much as a catspaw in the middle of the straits. I think the possibility of being becalmed is yet another risk Cameron Pierce needs to plan for.

My best guess is that in 12 knots on wind on flattish water, a V15 is good for about 10 knots, i.e. a crossing time from Point Grey to Porlier of about 2 hours. I wouldn't be up to that sort of fun any more, but, oh, for the folly of youth :-)!

I don't think I mentioned that the V15 is self-bailing as well as sink-proof, so taking slop over the rail is of no consequence. Fill the foot-well and she'll bail herself out in about five minutes at normal speed. The real risk is dumping and not being able right 'er, but any dinghy sailor knows that. I actually think the risk CP and friend would be taking is less than that taken by the nutcase fishing enthusiats I see out there in 14-foot tinnies all the time :-)

VTC and Victoria CG should most certainly be kept in the picture. They'll think Cameron and his friend are outta there minds, but so being is a man's right. A brief "All's well - position XX'XX"N ; XXX'XX"W " on Ch83A every half hour would no doubt be appreciated :-)!

TP
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Old 18-05-2019, 13:16   #30
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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I think the possibility of being becalmed is yet another risk Cameron Pierce needs to plan for.
Ding ding ding. That's what I was implying. If it's not blowing stink, then it tends to be very flukey. It's pretty rare for the strait to be completely flat, but you're right that it's often do-able from a sea-state standpoint - that just tends to occur with the flukey winds.
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