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Old 16-05-2019, 12:32   #1
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Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Hi there--

New to this forum! I'm planning a somewhat ambitious dinghy trip with my brother: we're looking to cross the Strait of Georgia and shoot Porlier Pass in one day (late June or early July this summer, to maximize daylight).

We'd be departing in a Vanguard 15 from Jericho Beach (English Bay) and, after rounding Wreck Beach, heading southwest across the Strait to Porlier Pass (north end of Galiano island). From there, we'd sail down Trincomali Channel and arrive at our hosts in Retreat Cove (west side of Galiano island).

Together, 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, and overnight keelboat races in freshwater.

We've done lots of research and prep, but would love it if we could run our float plan with someone who's done something similar or, if not in a dinghy, has lots of experience crossing the Strait and shooting Porlier Pass. For instance, we will take both electronic (Navionics) and redundant paper/chart/compass navigation--but laminated vs. non-laminated gov't map for working at water level? Besides some of the usual safety gear, we'll have VHF radio--but can we expect coverage across the length of our route? We will be packing a small (it has to be small) repair kit in our dry bag, but would appreciate recommendations there too.

We plan to give ourselves a multi-day launch window to ensure good weather (generally westerly (hopefully northwesterly) winds with high pressure and clear skies), and will target arrival at Porlier Pass on a day when the slack tide is the evening, turning from flood to ebb. This will give us the advantage of riding through on an ebb if we're late, having high water above Porlier's shoals & reefs (although our draft is only ~1m anyhow!), and having a tide to take us southwest down Trincomali if we lose the wind late in the day. Not sure how strong an ebb we can safely ride through on?

Anyhow, many considerations! Would appreciate feedback and/or contacts.
Thanks!
Cameron
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Old 16-05-2019, 14:15   #2
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Bring passports. You never know when you'll get blown south across the border. Having them with you will make it a routine border crossing, without, you are attempting to enter the country illegally (without proper documentation). Also good idea to file a float plan with the coast guard and a cell phone to let people know when you arrive or a SPOT/Inreach etc. Print a copy of the ferry schedule and make sure you leave in visible weather, the ferries and container ships wont see you in anything other than a good clear day. Sounds like a fun trip, you camping on arrival?
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Old 16-05-2019, 16:56   #3
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Bring
a handheld VHF with DSC -
Wear Dry Suits & PFDs
abort if weather is bad.
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Old 16-05-2019, 17:04   #4
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

I just went through that pass. The commercial traffic is heavy at slack and it moves fast in Some instances. A big tug passed me fulltilt I turned into his wake and buried my bow in a 30 footer twice. Use the VHF to tell them youre coming. Mention your size.
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Old 16-05-2019, 17:44   #5
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

should be fun as long as the winds blowing
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Old 16-05-2019, 17:49   #6
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Don't forget a GoPro!
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Old 16-05-2019, 23:04   #7
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

You won’t need passports. Even in the extremely unlikely event you were blown across the border. It would not be illegal due to it being unavoidable and unintended but due to safety.

Pick a nice day. You can see Polier Pass from Pt Grey. Navigation should be easy. If you can see the cloud forming above Crofton Behind the gap in the islands. You are heading for the right pass.
There is quite a bit of comercial traffic coming to and from TA buoy and Vancouver also ferries tugs ect heading up to and from Nanaimo.
Just be sure you are well seen fit a radar reflector.
Poitier runs up to 9 knots on springs.
Poiler on the slack or the ebb should be fine. Avoid wind against tide. It’s kicks up there.
I like to go with the tide. Slack water often has lots of tug and tows.
Coming south line up the lights and keep them in line until you are really close and open the whole pass up then turn and head through.
Ebbs are ok so long as the winds is not strong and from the south.

Floods tides there is often standing waves between the lights and the bell buoy.
Wind is usualy very fickle in the pass. Wind holes and changes in direction as wind is deflected by the islands.
Tends to blow up or down the straights and trincomalli.
A n ebb wind and an ebb tide will be ideal time. A NW not to strong.
English Bay gets some strong sea breezes in afternoon the often die out further offshore. Outflows from Howe Sound can be quite strong all the way across.

Have fun. Should be a nice days sail.
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Old 16-05-2019, 23:30   #8
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Originally Posted by Uricanejack View Post
You wont need passports. Even in the extremely unlikely event you were blown across the border. It would not be illegal due to it being unavoidable and unintended but due to safety.
Oh for sure theyd get off the hook, but not after being in a holding cell for 12 hours and a long list of questions. They dont take that stuff lightly.
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Old 16-05-2019, 23:50   #9
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

There used to be a race from Nanaimo to English Bay, in outboard powered bathtubs. I think you will have a great time.
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Old 17-05-2019, 02:04   #10
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Cameron.
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Old 17-05-2019, 08:42   #11
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Originally Posted by CPierce View Post
Hi there--

New to this forum! I'm planning a somewhat ambitious dinghy trip with my brother: we're looking to cross the Strait of Georgia and shoot Porlier Pass in one day (late June or early July this summer, to maximize daylight).


Anyhow, many considerations! Would appreciate feedback and/or contacts.
Thanks!
Cameron
Welcome to the forum, Cameron.

Sounds like a good time. Enjoy the adventure.
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Old 17-05-2019, 08:50   #12
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

What about Whiskey Golf? Do sailing dinghies get a pass?
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Old 17-05-2019, 08:56   #13
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

Should be not much an issue for 2 guys with piles of experience and all the electronics you have. What I would watch out for, is wind over tide, in any direction, and on WX weather 3, you will hear the automated buoy reports. Porlier will be over for you in 2 minutes. It will rarely be toast, so as stated, foul weather or survival suits is a good idea. Have fun. Only a tsunami would push you into the US.
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Old 17-05-2019, 09:11   #14
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Only a tsunami would push you into the US.
Or a good north out of Howe or a NW wind against a tide with the only option to run downwind might end up in PR or Blaine; Or make a landing on the flats along the airport or tuck in between the cargo ships/ferry at Tsawwassen. I know plenty of people with loads of bay or inland dingy experience but put them in moderate seas and its another ball game.
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Old 17-05-2019, 09:15   #15
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Re: Crossing the Strait of Georgia in a Dinghy

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
What about Whiskey Golf? Do sailing dinghies get a pass?

they won't be crossing near whiskey golf, it's further north.
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