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Old 05-06-2014, 01:02   #31
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

TS you must love those little fishing villages. I don't have the patience to do that coastal hop so all credit to you. Where were you going with so may repeat trips down there??
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:14   #32
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

"Where were you going with so may repeat trips down there??"

I just love to sail at sea so take any opportunity I can generate to go to sea.

The first trip was to help my brother, who had no ocean experience, get his beautiful Tartan 42 down to San Diego.

The 2nd and 4th trips were to get our boat to San Diego and on to Mexico.

The 3rd trip was to teach a novice sailor how to handle the boat he had just purchased. His choice for a FIRST boat was 65 feet long and displaced 87,000 pounds (43 tons!!). The boat was home built by a skilled craftsman but had never been sailed anywhere other than between Olympia and Seattle.

The new owner was a 40 year old commercial pilot so there was no question in his mind that he was perfectly capable of piloting a sailboat. But, his father did want someone "with experience" to come along as an "advisor."

I was supposed to advice them all the way to the eastern Caribbean but "creative differences" caused me to abandon ship in San Diego. They did not believe me that October was hurricane season in western Mexico but the one that caught them near Manzanillo was authentic.

I do love visiting small towns via boat. To me the 2nd best part of cruising is pulling into some small harbor and getting out of the boat to explore.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:41   #33
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Single handed through an area populated by shipping traffic and fish boats.

How long can you stay awake?
We didn't see a single boat by eye or ais for 6 days, but we were taking the offshore route
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:06   #34
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

hey there northoceanbeach
I want to do the same thing....I am in Everett marina. Irwin 28 ft. outboard engine for power..I have a life raft. epirt. 2 gumby suites. gps. working on radio..handheld radio..they are having the seattle to san Francisco haha going in august...contact them and see if you can go with them....the cost is 250 and they are listed in the shilshoe marina in seattle..call them up....they should give u info on the trip....if you want company...try crew on this website...have a buddy to go with u...safety is first..I would like to do the same run...but if I am not ready..my life is worth something.u can figure something out....don't risk your life...wait until u r ready...that is me......tell me if you go or not in august...I am retired and I want to harbor hop down to san diego..mexico and up to north Carolina..I have all the time in the world to do this...my life is worth something...if u know want I mean....good hunting and be safe..
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:04   #35
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

TS well you have had some interesting rides down that coast, good on ya!
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:06   #36
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I'm not talking about coasting which is what you guys seem to be doing with all that traffic..
I'm talking about standing well offshore beyond the 2000metre line which varies between 75 and 100miles offshore.. well beyond the sports fish boats and coastal fishers and traffic..
Lots of advantages to this.. your in the ocean proper with a regular predictable swell well spaced.. plenty of sea room to heave to/play in if the weather goes bad..
You'll be helped by a S setting current of between 10-25 miles a day and largely free of any tidal effect to fight against.. winds are predominantly N-NW.. its a cake walk.. set off at dawn to clear the land with decent visibility.. evening should see you passing the 1000metre line on a SW'ly course till your far enough out to turn S..
But.. in the end its down to your confidence in yourself and your boat that will influence your choice..
Have a fun safe trip...
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:11   #37
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Boatie you are spot on, I have done a similar route 4 times down there but there are times when its not a cake walk. Of the 7 years of offshore sailing I got my butt kicked worse there than anywhere else in my travels.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:22   #38
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
...
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.
One on a Big Ocean ... Bob must be related to the Roths.

This is really a simple issue and this post sums it up. Does one wait til one has all the gear AND experience to go "safely", or just go when your horoscope looks promising?

You don't have enough crew or enough boat/gear to ever appease the normal folk with families, and investments and the like, and possibly never will; so really, it's a silly question to ask any large group of sailors as by definition, most of them are normal god-fearing, pay-their-bills-on-time people.

Without me quoting and retyping, I think it's drop-dead obvious that you need to go offshore in one shot. If it's just this one trip, sheet to tiller steering will suffice as a backup. If it's forever, then IMO, a vane is a must have.

Please do not get an EPIRB or immersion suit or SatFone or any of that other stuff. You are attempting an endeavor that few regard as prudent, please be responsible enough to assume the risks yourself.

Before everyone got so safety-conscious, sails like this were routinely made in small boats. You can likely make it just fine, and if you don't, please keep it to yerself.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:06   #39
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Please do not get an EPIRB or immersion suit or SatFone or any of that other stuff. You are attempting an endeavor that few regard as prudent, please be responsible enough to assume the risks yourself.

Before everyone got so safety-conscious, sails like this were routinely made in small boats. You can likely make it just fine, and if you don't, please keep it to yerself.
Sometimes I just have to give recognition to the wittiest post of the week.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:28   #40
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Sometimes I just have to give recognition to the wittiest post of the week.
High praise. Thanks.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:33   #41
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

The trip from Straits to San Fran is usually filled with a full mix of weather. I've done the trip 4 times. Each time we've had days of motoring, light head winds, nice NW winds and then gale force NW around one of the Capes in southern Oregon or N. Cal. Best time to leave is mid-Aug to mid-Sept. I've had fog on 2 of the trips. But nothing that was too scary. Going way offshore (80-150miles) does not get you out of the traffic. I've marched into large fishing fleets at 3am 100 miles offshore. It looks like a city lit up.
I think the better way to head S is to not make a decision on going straight versus hopping at the start. Head to Neah Bay. Refuel from your motor out the Straits. Leave on a nice NW forecast. Once you clear the rocks near the coast, point toward Cape Mendicino. The land will fall away from you and you would end up 80 miles or so offshore if you kept going. If the wind keeps up and the sailing is nice, then keep on going. If it gets really light -- which it often does -- then change course to stay closer to shore, say 15-25 miles. There is no point in getting 100 miles offshore just to decide you need to head in to refuel. There are good entrances spaced nicely for doing 150-200 mile runs. The CG gives excellent bar reports for the bar entrances along Oregon. Most will be decent that time of year. Be prepared to stay out and not go in if the bar is dicey. As you approach the Capes in S Oregon and Cape Mendocino get the local NOAA weather. Also check the offshore buoy reports both mid-afternoon and mid-morning for wind conditions. NOAA is notorious for under-estimating the wind speeds around the Capes. Predictions of 15-20kts will often turn out to be 20-25kts gusting to 30. Last trip around Mendocino it was high 30's gusting to mid-40's when we went around. The NOAA prediction was 20-25kts. We were 15-20 miles off the Cape at the time. The weather close in to the Cape was much better. I've rounded the Cape close on the seabuoy to 60 miles offshore. Going offshore does not make the conditions better. In my experience the weather is worse further out. There is a string of weather buoys that start close into the Cape and the last one is 600 miles offshore. You can watch those for your armchair to see how the conditions vary. You are just as likely to have to motor around Cape Mendicino as you are to get a spanking.
Heading into Drakes Bay for some rest before continuing onto the SFD entrance is a good plan.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:17   #42
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

The OP mentioned that he was going to get some experience in the open ocean west of Vancouver Island.

Good idea, but do it in gale conditions. Anything less won't mean much in terms of preparing you for what you'll likely encounter in an offshore passage.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:00   #43
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I think TS's advice is gold and is an accurate account of the best of conditions in this water. If you come up to warrenton and I'm around, we'll chat over lunch
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:55   #44
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

To me; the inshore-vs-offshore routing decision, based on the four trips I’ve made and the three trips my dock mate has made, comes down to which risk do you want to assume. Or – what scares you more?

- Being stuck 24 hours from assistance in large dangerous seas with no place to hide and no hope of escape from worse than expected adverse conditions.

- Being stuck in heavy traffic and low visibility but always within six hours of a safe harbor to which you can retreat if conditions deteriorate more than expected.

Here is a summary of what my dock mate or I experienced:

- Early September - Rounded Cape Flattery with reasonably good forecast and headed WSW to get a little distance off the coast. Eighteen hours later, and 70 miles offshore, the weather forecast changed rather dramatically. Strong SW winds and 20’ swells were forecast for the Washington and Oregon coastal and offshore waters – to begin in 24 hours. We headed directly for Westport and crossed the bar inbound just hours before it was closed. During the next three days we met three other sailboats that had retreated to the same harbor – all of them caught by the sudden change in the forecast. The last guy in, (single hander), was headed north but said the seas got so big that his autopilot could not deal with them.

- Early September (10 years later) - Rounded Cape Flattery with reasonably good forecast and headed WSW to get a little distance off the coast as we were headed non-stop for Monterrey, California. Twenty-four hours later and 90 miles offshore the deteriorating 48-hour weather forecast started sounding rather ominous for the Southern Oregon-Northern California offshore area. Forecast was 35 knots gusting to 50 and 16’ seas to last 48 hours. I continued to monitor the forecasts from Pt Reyes, VHF, and Saildocs grib files. Thirty hours after passing Cape Flattery we decided to make a run for the safety of Newport, Oregon where we spent three days. Thirty-six hours after pulling into Newport the buoys North of Mendocino REPORTED conditions were NNW 35+ knots and 16’ seas for more than 12 hours. South of Mendocino NNW 40+ knots and 20’ seas for more than 18 hours.

- early July – headed 200 miles offshore SW of Coos Bay and had great sailing with big smooth oceanic swells. We saw no traffic while hundreds of miles off the coast. Eventually we had to turn back toward the coast where we enjoyed 40+ knots and 12’ breaking seas for 12 hours while about 100 miles offshore. It was great sailing in a Tartan 42 SORC boat with a strong, experienced crew. The forecast had not included any such winds or seas.

- late September about 40 miles west of Point Arena we enjoyed 35 knots gusting to 50 and 10’ breaking seas for about eight hours. We thought about taking a break in Bodega Bay but talking to fisherman north of Arena and friends just entering Bodega Bay we learned that neither of them had any winds over 10 knots. The NWS forecast made no mention of any forecast or reported winds such as we were experiencing.

- late July about 40 miles SW of Cape Mendocino we had nine hours of very strong NE winds and steep choppy seas. Boats very close to the Cape and others a hundred miles out reported light winds.

- My friend in their Norseman 447 with a very strong and experienced crew twice did the offshore route direct from Cape Flattery to the Golden Gate. They were more than 200 miles out in early and late August. Both of those trips included over 12 hours of 50+ knot winds and more than 15’ breaking seas. Both events were well forecast as gales with a chance of storm force gusts. In both situations the boat was more than 32 hours from a safe harbor when the forecasts were upgraded and in neither case did the crew think they could make harbor before the weather caught them.

- During my inshore passages, less than 50 miles or eight hours from harbor, I have had five (5) very close encounters with trans-oceanic ships. In one case the container ship passed us at 100 yards in the middle of the night while overtaking us at 18 knots. The USCG had heard us desperately hailing the ship in VHF 13 and 16. Eventually the USCG told us to fire a white flare at the ship.

- We have encountered large fishing fleets in heavy fog and at night many times while 50 to 100 miles off the coast. Those guys are oblivious to a sailboat and it is very difficult to anticipate their short-term turns and headings.

- We have encountered long strings of fish trap floats while 25 – 45 miles off the Northern California coast. Those strings can extend for miles and are impossible to see at night.

- We ran aground on a 100-yard square kelp raft about 40 miles off the Northern California coast. We were sailing in beautiful 25-knot winds with nothing in sight and came to a slow and gradual stop with the full sails still pulling hard. We left the sails up and full and during the next 30 minutes slowly worked our way through the kelp.

- Late September we left Newport, Oregon for a non-stop run to Monterrey. We left at mid-night and motorsailed in fog with mist for the next 24 hours. The visibility never exceeded ¼ mile but we also never saw another vessel on radar or by eyesight.

My long winded point is that inshore and offshore each have their risks and complications and neither guarantee and easy or uneventful passage.

Is the security of many harbors to duck into worth the extra effort required to stay close to shore, the extra miles and time taken on that inshore route? This value judgement is subjective and and can only be made by YOU!

It is easier and quicker, and probably more fun, to head offshore and get the job done if you enjoy sailing beyond reasonable expectation of assistance.

So the bottom line is which risk is more scary?

REMEMBER - I've done the trip four times and never once, never ever, regretted being out there nor did I have any serious concern for the safety of my boat, my crew, or myself.

My friend on the Norseman 447 has had more dramatic experiences than I but he to has never regretted being there and only, very occasionally, had some minor concerns about safety. He has sailed from Seattle to Mexico three times, the US east coast once, and to Hawaii twice and always says the worst conditions are Cape Flattery to the California Channel Island.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:27   #45
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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?
70 nm that's why I sent you the Geo Benson link. pm me and I'll email you the pdf, no longer available on his website since he started selling it.
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