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Old 05-06-2014, 12:49   #46
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

This is why I asked about sailing to San Francisco. SF is not my ultimate destination, but I think once there, I can worry about the rest and won't have to worry as much about the rest.

I have no radar. Ais, but no radar. Now, when I say I don't have something now, doesn't mean that over the course of the next couple of months of preparing, doesn't mean I can't get some things that are necessary.

I have no wind vane. I wish I had a windvane, I've always wanted a windvane. For what it's worth, reading this crazy book by the single handed sailing society and some other stuff I have read, has seemed to think electronic are good enough these days. I know years ago they used to break, and have trouble coping with high winds, but I'm led to believe they are stronger and better now. Could be wrong.

I have mixed feelings about how far I should push myself in the testing. I definitely want to go on the outside of Vancouver Island, but if the forecast calls for bad conditions, should I still go out? I know I need gale experience, but it just seems...I can't find the right word....but it's almost, in a way like driving your car on the highway blindfolded, just in case you ever can't see....like taking unnessary risks in case someday you....I don't know how to explain this, like driving without chains in sleet and snow just to prepare yourself...wouldn't you be better off dealing with adverse weather when it comes and you have no choice? That's how I learned to drive on ice, by getting stuck out in storms, I didn't go seek them out to practice. But on the other hand I can totally see the sense in it as well. I see both sides. I know I need the practice, I just feel strange about seeking out dangerous conditions.

I suppose right now I'm leaning towards inshore, and taking my time. I can always get offshore experience south of San Francosco where the weather is much better. It's still windy, still can be foggy, still open ocean. Then again I don't know how bad the weather will be. I've been reading the forecasts for the last couple days, and I plan to read the weather every day until I leave to get more familiar with the weather patterns. If you look at offshore it may be gale, where Florence oregon will be really light.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:58   #47
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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 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.

Lets take votes for offshore or near shore.
No life raft.. No survival suits..... NO GO!!
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Old 05-06-2014, 13:07   #48
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

You are garnering some fine advice here, particularly from Tacomasailor and Boatman. Both are tested offshore and coastal cruising experienced and Boatman, in particular, has thousands of offshore miles under his keel. All of the responses to your question are great and there is little I would add that would increase the advice you have already received. I would stress, however, that poor to non-existent visibility is somehing you should prepare for. There is nothing in life so stressful than spending hour after hour in thick fog, at night, on a lee shore. There is a lot of traffic out to about 50 miles on that part of the coast. Furthest out is the tanker traffic from Alaska to the refineries in SoCal, inside if that are the cruise ships, inside of them you will find a plethera of fishing vessels and between there and the shore heaps of small craft and rocks.. all good reasons to take the offshore route IMHO.
I wouldn't be deterred by these hazards. Although you have a smaller boat, if she is well set up for offshore and singlehanding, it would be a fun trip downhill all the way.
Bar crossings into some of the harbors can be problematic if you don't have experience running them. It is not the place to learn if you are tired, low vis and don't know the local conditions.
Just highlighting a few very good points that have already been made by other posters. Enjoy your passage... Phil
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Old 05-06-2014, 13:21   #49
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Your boat is only 26ft... have it shipped south on a trailer, instead of trying to win the 2014 Darwin Award.
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Old 05-06-2014, 13:27   #50
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
This is why I asked about sailing to San Francisco. SF is not my ultimate destination, but I think once there, I can worry about the rest and won't have to worry as much about the rest.

I have no radar. Ais, but no radar. Now, when I say I don't have something now, doesn't mean that over the course of the next couple of months of preparing, doesn't mean I can't get some things that are necessary.

I have no wind vane. I wish I had a windvane, I've always wanted a windvane. For what it's worth, reading this crazy book by the single handed sailing society and some other stuff I have read, has seemed to think electronic are good enough these days. I know years ago they used to break, and have trouble coping with high winds, but I'm led to believe they are stronger and better now. Could be wrong.

I have mixed feelings about how far I should push myself in the testing. I definitely want to go on the outside of Vancouver Island, but if the forecast calls for bad conditions, should I still go out? I know I need gale experience, but it just seems...I can't find the right word....but it's almost, in a way like driving your car on the highway blindfolded, just in case you ever can't see....like taking unnessary risks in case someday you....I don't know how to explain this, like driving without chains in sleet and snow just to prepare yourself...wouldn't you be better off dealing with adverse weather when it comes and you have no choice? That's how I learned to drive on ice, by getting stuck out in storms, I didn't go seek them out to practice. But on the other hand I can totally see the sense in it as well. I see both sides. I know I need the practice, I just feel strange about seeking out dangerous conditions.

I suppose right now I'm leaning towards inshore, and taking my time. I can always get offshore experience south of San Francosco where the weather is much better. It's still windy, still can be foggy, still open ocean. Then again I don't know how bad the weather will be. I've been reading the forecasts for the last couple days, and I plan to read the weather every day until I leave to get more familiar with the weather patterns. If you look at offshore it may be gale, where Florence oregon will be really light.
Gales are not.. in case.. maybe.. they are for real and can spring up unforecast in 20 minutes..
Take the route YOU feel safer and more confident of.. the advice you've had covers both routes.. now its down to you..
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Old 05-06-2014, 13:52   #51
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Your boat is only 26ft... have it shipped south on a trailer, instead of trying to win the 2014 Darwin Award.
Didn't the Russian on the $500 SJ24 already claim this years prize?

People don't criticize these ideas once accomplished. Nobody is sitting around calling all those famous sailors that sailed around the world, or what not Darwin's. They are sailing heroes.
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Old 05-06-2014, 13:58   #52
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Well if I were you I wouldn't choose to be offshore in a gale for the first time either however I do get the drift of what the other poster was getting at. When you sail those waters the weather doesn't always cooperate and it just might be something you have to deal with but keep in mind that no matter the size of your boat if you are properly prepared then it can be done safely. You can practice heaving to in higher winds without going offshore as well as running off with a small headsail. Pick a time that the winds are up to 25 plus knots and practice. I've made the offshore route twice without radar but not without some anxiety and once I got radar I would not be without it, your choice. I would not recommend a windvane for coastal cruising, crossing oceans, yes but not for coastal sailing. A good autopilot is a much better investment but get a decent one as you are single handing and you need it to work when the going gets tough. And finally you are right that the offshore conditions are much easier going as a rule once you are south of SF.
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:01   #53
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

"I definitely want to go on the outside of Vancouver Island, but if the forecast calls for bad conditions, should I still go out? I know I need gale experience, but it just seems...I can't find the right word....but it's almost, in a way like driving your car on the highway blindfolded, just in case you ever can't see....like taking unnessary risks in case someday you....I don't know how to explain this, like driving without chains in sleet and snow just to prepare yourself...wouldn't you be better off dealing with adverse weather when it comes and you have no choice? "

Let me add a personal perspective to that question.

In 1999 we attempted to sail Mirador (our Caliber 40) 215 NM upwind from Neah Bay to Cape Scott (north tip of Vancouver Island) while staying 50 to 100 miles off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. We then planned to turnaround and sail back south along the same coast and then east thru the Straits of Juan de Fuca to simulate a 280 NM downwind trip south from Cape Flattery.

At time we had owned our boat for over four years and I had done a lot of sailing with her from the south end of Puget Sound to north of Nanimo including crossing the straits dozens of times. Additionally, I had been a hard core yacht racer for 20 years and had competed in many Swiftsures and dozens of the major Puget Sound and Canadian multi-day races.

I felt the west coast of Vancouver Island shakedown cruise would really determine how all my boat modifications worked and how well I worked in an extended offshore cold weather environment.

The 30 day round trip from Tacoma to Cape Scott and back was a valuable addition to my sailing portfolio, gave me a lot of confidence that Mirador was ready for the trip south, and most importantly taught me how hard it is to pound upwind into 6' swells and 20 knots on the nose for days at a time.

I determined that was not cruising and I would not do it again.

I also learned that trying to sail upwind in 10 knots apparent and 15' long period ocean swells was 'kinda fun and really scenic but it was not the way to make any miles. Again, I determined that we would find a new destination rather than try to struggle against the adverse conditions.

And, we learned that Mirador is a treat downwind in 6' swells and 25 knots with a big kite up but we really needed the gyro-rate transducer to control the autopilot and prevent broaches.

The ONLY way to learn to sail downwind is to sail downwind. I had a great deal of spinnaker handling and driving experience gained while racing but I discovered learning to sail downwind in a cruiser offshore was a whole new thing. By the time we got our boat to Monterrey I was starting to feel like I understood how to handle her downwind at sea.

I highly recommend you do the west coast of Vancouver Island trip because there are a lot of easy bailout points where you can head inland to escape adverse conditions offshore. It will be a great learning experience!
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:08   #54
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Off shore vs stopping: I'll just say that some of the stops will cost you more time than you might presume. I don't see a big need to go across the Columbia Bar. As suggested Grays Harbor would be easier if you feel the need to stop. If weather is good and you are "in the groove"... keep on keeping on.
What is your experience? Do you have all the necessary tasks down to a "do it in the blind" level with that boat?

There is no "inshore route", the most dangerous parts of the coast are near shore/harbor entrances.

" have mixed feelings about how far I should push myself in the testing. I definitely want to go on the outside of Vancouver Island, but if the forecast calls for bad conditions, should I still go out?"
NO

Not sure why you are talking about the outside of Van Isle...?
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:13   #55
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Didn't the Russian on the $500 SJ24 already claim this years prize?

People don't criticize these ideas once accomplished. Nobody is sitting around calling all those famous sailors that sailed around the world, or what not Darwin's. They are sailing heroes.
Then I say, GO FOR IT... DUDE! BE A HERO...MAN....

BTW... Have you read the San Francisco newspapers lately?
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:22   #56
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

The time of year you will most likely be going, Aug to early Sept dealing with unforecasted lows is pretty unlikely. The heavy winds will be around the capes and especially when the interior of N Cal has heated up. In my trips down these winds have only lasted 6-18hrs. There is more issues with dealing with the light winds. The pilot charts show areas along the coast that have 30% Force 2 or less. You will typically have a 6 foot ground swell along with these really light winds. This makes trying to make any progress under sail really difficult. Most people resort to motoring. In the 4 trips I've done we have always made 1 or 2 stops. Sometimes for fuel, sometimes to wait out some expected weather and sometimes to lick our wounds after a Cape rounding. I know some people head out of the Straits and get a great NW wind all the way to SF. I'm just not one of them.
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:36   #57
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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And, we learned that Mirador is a treat downwind in 6' swells and 25 knots with a big kite up but we really needed the gyro-rate transducer to control the autopilot and prevent broaches.

The ONLY way to learn to sail downwind is to sail downwind.
Good points and most 26 footers don't have them

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Old 05-06-2014, 14:39   #58
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Man, I am just considering making my cross to Catalina from Oceanside.....haha. this sounds so much better.
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:53   #59
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

northoceanbeach:

Do go practice in the worst weather you can find while you can still have safe re-entry to a harbor and a hot shower afterwards to process what you learn. We did this, even going out in storm conditions. What we learned gave us confidence. You might not be asking for encouragement if you had more confidence.

Someday, you will encounter a gale, best it be by your choice, and possibly with a crew, for starters. At the moment, you don't know how strong conditions affect you, and people react differently to different motions. It's great you don't get seasick. However, it could also be you just have yet to discover the cases in which you might get seasick. Diesel fumes does it for some. But the point is, it's not like driving down the highway blinfolded. It's about learning what to do when you're drop dead tired by doing it first when you are at maximum strength.

FWIW, Jim home built our auxiliary rudder windvane. Don't know if you have those sorts of skills, but it cost him about $300, in about 1984, so you'd have to figure inflation.

TS makes an interesting point about choosing your poison, traffic vs. hard bits; possible access to safe harbor vs. the fatigue -- you can rest as and when necessary as Boatie suggested, far offshore.

If Blue Crab's remark about reading the SF newspaper was obscure to you, see the thread about the sinking of a sailboat off the golden gate.

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Old 05-06-2014, 15:03   #60
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Don't know if it's been mentioned yet in this thread, but you might want to line yourself up with these guys: Coho Ho Ho Sailing Rally Seattle - San Francisco - San Diego

I believe they take off mid-August and have a network to track each other and help each other if needed. Plus they hold weekly seminars on subjects pertanent to the run down the NW coast.

Good luck!
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