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Old 04-06-2014, 19:54   #16
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Of you stay close to shore you need to be very confident of your weather windows for each hop. We did it offshore when we went. 60-100 miles out gets you away from shallow water and reflected waves.

Plan to pull in and anchor in Drake's Bay just north of SF if you arrive in the dark or in bad conditions. You can sleep and wait for a good time to enter. We did this and it is a massive empty Bay. Super easy to anchor solo and sleepy in the dark
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Old 04-06-2014, 20:56   #17
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I might have suggested this to you over on sailnet

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Old 04-06-2014, 21:09   #18
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I do not get seasick.
I have a new Raymarine ST2000+ tiller pilot. Its rated to 10000#, my boat weighs 5400#. I could get a second.

My safety gear is:
Jacklines, Harness, tether
Auto Pfd
All coast guard required gear
Offshore weather gear">Foul Weather gear
VHF with AIS, new masthead antenna
3 GPS
Handheld VHF
All new LED navication lights
New heavy duty sails with deep second reef
New Rigging

I really want to make it. SO that counts as desire.

You're in Astoria. How often is the Columbia Bar closed? I know you have gone north, have you gone south at all? Are the harbor entrances as bad as people say? Honestly, they make it seem like they are constantly closed, so how do boats get in and out?

Lets take votes for offshore or near shore.
Most obvious omission is EPIRB. I would much prefer an EPIRB with an immersion suit rather than PLB.
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Old 04-06-2014, 21:48   #19
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Find someone else to go with you is my only advice, singlehanding is dangerous no matter what equipment or boat you have.
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Old 04-06-2014, 21:53   #20
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Single handed through an area populated by shipping traffic and fish boats.

How long can you stay awake?
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Old 04-06-2014, 22:29   #21
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

About EPIRBs and PLBs read the Cheeki Rafiki thread and then go with the EPIRB.
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:06   #22
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Ok, admittedly haven't done much research into Epirb yet. I will. Does anyone know offhand how far the furthest harbors are apart if I go coastal?
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:21   #23
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Ok, admittedly haven't done much research into Epirb yet. I will. Does anyone know offhand how far the furthest harbors are apart if I go coastal?
NOAA charts are free. I suggest you download the charts for Washington, Oregon and California.

OpenCPN is free chart software.
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:25   #24
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Ok, admittedly haven't done much research into Epirb yet. I will. Does anyone know offhand how far the furthest harbors are apart if I go coastal?
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:38   #25
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I'm glad others have recommended this:

Make friends with someone who loves to
sail as much as you do and who you can
trust and have them along as crew.

Sleeping while singlehanding is
irresponsible.

Flame away! I got my antiflame suit on.
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Old 04-06-2014, 23:49   #26
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

If you can get decent motoring speeds when the wind is light you can day sail that leg. I think the furthest port is about 70 miles so on that one you might be leaving in the dark. The weather reporting is quite good and there is no reason you can't just lolly gag along picking which days to sail and which ones to stay in harbor. Several of my friends who were less than decent sailors have made that leg with no issues.
I have sailed that route 4 times but always offshore about 100-150 miles and it can get damn windy with big seas so while I agree with others to avoid the bars in heavy weather I'd be inclined to suggest you keep to the inshore route.
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Old 05-06-2014, 00:21   #27
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I've done the trip four times but never single handed. And, I have single handed our Caliber 40 for over 5,000 of miles during the last 19 years. That includes a number of single handed overnight passages at sea.

I think the real issue with single handing from Cape Flattery to San Francisco is the high probability of very low visibility in often crowded waters. I have experienced visibility that was below 1/4 mile for up to 60 hours straight. I have seen 50 yard visibility last 12 hours.

There is no conceivable way for a single hander to stand a safe watch for the duration of those lo-vis events. Fairly intense concentration is required to listen for fog horns, motor sounds, fishing lights and to watch the radar. My fairly extensive experience says that one person can keep up the necessary level of concentration for several hours and after that they are not alert enough to stand a solitary fog watch.

Four examples that could be difficult for a single hander:

1) Sailing south from Westport to Newport we heard a boat on VHF 16 asking for help. They were stranded in 25 yard fog and had no radar. The couple on the boat had sailed there from Anchorage so were not rookie sailors. But, the fog was so deep and had been so for 10 hours that they were afraid to get any closer to Newport and the extended Jetty. We met them, via GPS coordinates, and they followed us (VERY Closely) thru the Newport Jetty where the fog suddenly lifted.

2) 80 miles SW of Coos Bay in the middle of the night my brother woke me from a sound sleep. He could not sort out the radar display, the hundreds of sodium vapor lights glowing in the fog, and the sound of big powerful motors on all sides. Turned out there were four trawlers fishing the area in light to medium fog. We could see the glow of their lights at 1/2 mile but could not make out their shapes until 100 yards.

They were doing circular net sets and haulbacks with big net tenders so there were eight radar targets going in circles.

We turned on our spreader flood lights, my brother went to the bow with a spotlight, and I motored slowly, with a lot of course changes thru the fishing fleet spread over 2 miles.

3) North of the Golden Gate but within the approach traffic lanes. I talked with VTS on the VHF to confirm that no heavy traffic was withing 30 miles. The visibility was up and down from 1/4 mile to close to a mile. VTS told me closest large ship was two hours distant and would cross well ahead of us.

30 minutes later an enormous ship passed 1/4 mile astern of us, based on radar, at 12 knots. We never physically saw the ship but it smeared the target all over the radar.

4) Headed SE out of Noyo River about 25 miles offshore in 25 knots, eight foot seas, and driving rain with light fog. I take pride in my radar skills (at that point 10 years of Puget Sound fog navigation had taught me a lot) and was keeping a very close eye on the radar as well as frequent standup observations over the dodger. The radar showed no targets and my eyeballs saw no targets.

Suddenly, a 65 foot sport fisherman doing 12 knots appears out the mist and fog and crosses my bow at 50 yards. I had absolutely no warning that boat was there until it was way too late to avoid a collision. Maybe they saw me - I sure hope so because I could not see them.

I just don't see how a single hander can stay awake and alert for the length of time required to stay out of trouble in the low visibility that is so common along the US West coast.

On the other hand...

Bob and his beautiful trimaran Pantera has made an annual single handed trip from Victoria, BC to Puerto Vallarta and points beyond for at least 15 years. And, he does it carrying only 20 gallons of gasoline for his Honda outboard.
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Old 05-06-2014, 00:36   #28
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I did not see radar listed as a safety gear item in the original post.

Does the boat have radar?

I would not consider the trip from Cape Flattery to San Francisco if I did not have radar and have a fair amount of real experience using it in fog.

And for a single hander - radar is even more important because you need as much advance warning as possible for approaching conflicts.
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Old 05-06-2014, 00:44   #29
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Radar is of course a nice thing to have. You can reduce your chances of needed it by not sailing that leg in May/June/July as those are the foggiest months. Late August early September are the best times in my opinion.
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Old 05-06-2014, 00:49   #30
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Bar Closings

Trip 1 July 1 - July 15 got stuck in Noyo River. The bar was closed to small craft but we went in anyway to stave off a crew mutiny (apparently what we three racers thought was fun was actually disturbing to the two rookie sailors??) USCG insisted they escort us which was not necessary but we did twice see the depth sounder at 6 feet in a boat that drew 7 feet. We waited two days for the bar to open so we could leave.

Trip 2 - Aug 25 - Oct 1
-stuck in Westport - bar was closed to boats under 30' when we went in with 15' occasional breakers. The bar closed to all boats for three more days but two sailboats under 40' came in anyway to get out of the nasty conditions.
- tried to go into Umpqua but the USCG warned us that if we came in the bar would most likely close behind us and we would be stuck for many days
-got stuck in Coos Bay (Charleston). We went in on a nice easy tide but then the weather caught up and we were there for three more days.
-tried to go into Bandon but the USCG "strongly discouraged us"
- snuck into Rogue River when the USCG was warning vessels without radar to stay out due to very restricted visibility. Radar worked a dream and led us from buoy to buoy - often only yards from the rocks. The USCG escorted at least 20 boats in during the two days we were there

Trip 3 - September - October
Had no problems with bar closures but we only stopped in Newport for six hours and Monterrey for five hours.

Trip 4 - September
snuck into Newport on a good tide ahead of a storm. Bar closed for one day and we went out the third day in very limited visibility and really rolly seas. Every bar from the Columbia to Eureka closed for at least 24 hours during that 50-knot wind episode.

So - in four trips we have had ONE difficult inbound bar crossing (Noyo River) and one dramatic bar crossing (Westport) and have been stuck for about eight days total.

But - that is cruising - if you have a schedule you are not cruising and probably not as safe as with no schedule
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