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Old 06-06-2014, 07:58   #76
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Had to revisit and offer sincere apologies for my rude comments. I am crabby. Capt Weavis has correctly diagnosed my mental state.

On the plus side, I too have been all through the PNW and have to say the tradeoff for the sheer beauty is the relentless and unforgiving nature of those waters.

Toss in the fog, the cold, the rain, and the numbers of commercial vessels large and small, plus the difficulty of entering harbors of refuge, it's no place for the noob or NOB even in the summertime. The Coasties themselves use boats that can actually be rolled and keep on tickin'! YMMV. And UToob has some great stuff worth yer time, sir.

IMO a few months daysailing isn't going to provide the genuine seatime the area demands. The PNW is for hairy-chested men and women. I saw, I left for warmer, less arduous, warmer, clearer, and warmer waters.
Warm, clear water and gentle breezes ...the way the gods intended sailing to be.

Ergo, I did in fact offer some advice I consider sound. I suggested making the trip far offshore, well clear of the very real and very well known dangers of longshore travel. While solo sailing is always risky, the offshore route is the less-traveled road. Even while sleeping, there is a decent chance of being seen and avoided by the few others, if any, you'll encounter. Granted it seems scarier offshore but that is illusory at best.

Now we are told you are an excellent navigator. That would have really mattered 100 years ago but not so much now. I can barely spell sextant but I can press a button with the best sailors in the world. As an example, my fricken radio says I'm at 34 43.6662N, 76 40.04897W right this moment. The radio even knows if I go over to the composter for a bit, which ain't all that far! How's that fer navigating?

Peace brother. Inexperienced is not the same as stupid. I yield the floor to Capts Newt, TS and all others who have much better manners, and without the slightest doubt are far better sailors than me. They have to be to survive.

Mind, no EPIRBS please. Take your best shot all the way to Mexico. That's the Accelerated Ocean Sailing course and will earn you some well-deserved beers that you'll probably have to buy yourself.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:36   #77
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF



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Old 06-06-2014, 08:53   #78
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Dang! I hope the IRS isn't reading!!!!! Or the exes ...

I just took a look, and realized that the aerial photo is not realtime as there's only one boat in the anchorage just to the east of me on the composter. Whew! Still a chance to slip away under the cover of day.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:54   #79
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Dang! I hope the IRS isn't reading!!!!! Or the exes ...
if you tell me the name of the marina... I wil lsee if they have you video
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:19   #80
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

No marina ... just a small dock ... no showers, no pool, clubhouse, no bar, no nuthin. Cheap too. A place for neer'dowells with few hopes, no dreams, no plans, no schemes ... but zoom out and see how close that real big ocean is ... and what a nice ocean it is ... usually. Warm and clear. Water temp: 76.3 F. Waiting for 80 to clean bottom.


No wind this morning, apparently nothing left after last night's show of Force majure.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:20   #81
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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nothing left after last night's show of Force majure.
I saw them in concert once.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:22   #82
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
No marina ... just a small dock ... no showers, no pool, clubhouse, no bar, no nuthin. Cheap too. A place for neer'dowells with few hopes, no dreams, no plans, no schemes ....
Yep, I had a close look after I posted.
Cheap is good.
No bar is ok as long as a bar is close.
No clubhouse is brilliant.... darned people go to them.
Showers is an issue coz you have to use your own...

other than that.... its like home!
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:22   #83
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Go into the Straight of Juan de Fuca and sail in the afternoon this time of year. Or soon....July... when the winds pipe up to 35 and the waves are getting somewhat large. Try sailing beam reach in those and try going out the Straight against it. When you become really comfortable in your boat there, and make the amendments to the things you need to.. then consider the coast! .,.. and be prepared for larger water...
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:56   #84
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Cheechako offers great advice!

If you are comfortable and happy sailing from Townsend to Cattle Pass at 2 PM in West 25 knots and then turning around and sailing back to Townsend in the dark and dying breeze you are getting close to being ready for the WA-OR-CA coast.

Better yet sail out to Neah Bay - then head east from there about 6 AM. That will give you a sense of sailing downswell in light winds. As the afternoon sea breeze kicks up around noon or 1 PM you will get a sense of sailing downswell in increasing winds.

Hold your course all afternoon as the wind builds to 25 knots from astern and the swell continues to build. It is 73 NM to Port Townsend so you should arrive there around 7 PM at about the peak of the evening wind.

Continue on SE about 35 NM around Marrowstone Point and down Admiralty Inlet to Eagle Harbor. That will give you the experience of sailing downwind in the dark and in heavy traffic. Going into Eagle Harbor at OhDark 30 with ferry traffic and lots of confusing lights will give you a good sense of entering a coastal port in the dark after a long an tiring sail.

Even better would be to start in Banfield on Vancouver Island and round Cape Beal headed for Neah Bay about 8 AM. Once in the middle of the Straits head more toward Port Townsend. That would add 37 miles to the first leg and really expose you to oceanic swells

Once you are really comfortable with those Strait of Juan de Fuca exercises you are probably ready for the coast.

I sailed back and forth and up and down the Straits for 25+ years and have not experienced worse conditions anywhere between Cape Flattery and Zihuatenejo, Mexico or Annapolis and Virgin Gorda.

If you can deal with the worst of the Straits you are pretty much ready for anything. The TWO BIG differences between the Straits and sailing south from Flattery are:

- the USCG may be many hours away
- the safe harbors you can duck into are many hours away and may close before you get there

Minor Observations based on personal experience

- I was a hard core board sailor who didn't bother launching until the winds hit 25 knots. For many years we drove 90 miles to Klein Spit (east end of Dungeness Spit) to sailboard several afternoons a week in July and August because the 25 - 35 knot West winds and big swell arrived like clockwork between 4 and 6 PM.

- We did the Cape Beal to Townsend trip as an training exercise in Mirador one year. It was one of the best sails I've ever had. We set the spinnaker about 15 miles east of Cape Beal and carried it all the way to Pt Wilson. We set the sail in 12 knots apparent from dead astern and eventually saw 27 knots apparent from dead astern with 8' swells. We had to gype twice which really increased my confidence in how my foredeck equipment was working.

- weather forecasts in the Straits are iffy due to localized wind and tide patterns. The general sense of the wind is usually correct but the local situation is often far different.

My brother and I left Sydney on Vancouver Island headed for Townsend in early April aboard his Tartan 42. The US WX forecast was SCA with west 20 to 25 in the PM with building seas. The Canadian forecast was for a little more wind and a little higher seas. By the time we passed Discovery Island (~ 2 hours) the Canadian forecast had gone to gales with gusts to 50 and 10' seas. The US forecast had not changed.

Half way across the straights we were experiencing full gales with gusts well above 55 knots. The seas were way-steep, very short period, and way overhead while breaking badly. We had to make a bottom turn on almost every wave to keep from stuffing the bow at 11 - 12 knots and then carefully turn back down as the next wave caught up. As a result we ended up getting too close to Dallas Banks where the big east going waves experienced a bottom coming up from 60 fathoms to 6 fathoms in a half mile.

Several waves broke into the cockpit, soaking us and flooding the cockpit. The Tartan 42 does not have a vertical companionway so there was no change of water getting into the boat but we sure got soaked - in 42 degree crystal clear sunshine!

The US forecast never did acknowledge the gales and Smith Island never reported more than 25 knots.

We arrived at Pt Hudson marina wet, tired, and exhilarated - the Tartan had been a dream to sail and we had great fun in manly conditions.
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Old 06-06-2014, 13:34   #85
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

"As a result we ended up getting too close to Dallas Banks"

NOTE for single handers

The conditions were bad enough that neither of us wanted to go below to check the charts and look at the radar. The boat motion was more than either of us wanted to experience below decks and neither of us have ever been seasick. I finally noticed that the land I saw was Protection Island rather than Pt Wilson as I had assumed and it was getting way to close.

And, neither of us wanted to be left alone in the cockpit with the breaking seas and hard work of hand steering a fast boat in short steep following seas.

We both were wearing harnesses with double ended tethers that were attached to big U-bolts in the cockpit floors that had large aluminum backing plates.

This would have been a desparate 3-hours for a single hander.

And, those conditions were not that much different than many days I have experienced along the US west coast - with the exception of the very short and steep 10' waves.
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Old 06-06-2014, 13:55   #86
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Having a test sail/experience builder around Vancouver Island is a great primer for a southern passage from Neah Bay to Mexico. I delivered Black Oil barges from Vancouver refineries in Indian Arm up to Winter Harbor and Sea Otter Cove and points between through the late 50's and early 60's and got a good taste of the weather on the west coast in winter as well as the finer months of late summer. We rarely were held for weather because running meant making $ and laying up we lost $.
You will experience all kinds of weather on the west coast of Vanc. Isld. which will stand you in good stead to Pt Conception. Once you turn that corner, it is truly downhill to Aculpulco and Z'town. There were very few settlements in those days, Uclulute (sp?) and Tofino both had less than 50 people... fewer at Winter Harbor and Sea Otter Cove during the winter but needed fuel for power plants and logging equipment.
There are heaps of places to hide but sea conditions can make access very problematic in many areas. Coast Pilot is a good reference to use planning and sorting out plans A, B and C. I've heard that there are many more Nav aids available now than back in the day when the only lights were the Swiftsure Bank light ship, Cape Beale and at Friendly Cove. Lost a couple of good friends working out there to bad weather and poor judgement so it's not an area to play with or take lightly.
On deliveries south, I would head out 47 nautical miles from Cape Flattery through the 'washing machine' then hang a left which dropped me right on the outer bouy of the Separation Zone off the Golden Gate. Heading to SoCal, I'd just keep heading south southwest which took me outside the rigs off Pt Conception.
Safe passage to you... cheers, Phil
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Old 06-06-2014, 14:04   #87
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Thanks. My first destination will be Tofino. I'll try to get there as quickly from Friday Harbor as I can, or actually, it would probably be easier to check in in Sidney first.

Doesn't the weather ever get nice along this coast? I know you need to expect and prepare for the worst, but can't you hope for the best? People say to go in August, aren't there days of 15-20 steady on end and some sun?
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Old 06-06-2014, 14:14   #88
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Very likely.. but it don't sound as dramatic..
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Old 06-06-2014, 15:18   #89
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Thanks. My first destination will be Tofino. I'll try to get there as quickly from Friday Harbor as I can, or actually, it would probably be easier to check in in Sidney first.

Doesn't the weather ever get nice along this coast? I know you need to expect and prepare for the worst, but can't you hope for the best? People say to go in August, aren't there days of 15-20 steady on end and some sun?
Tofino does not have a customs office. Clear at Victoria.

I have motored a couple a of times because we had no wind. I have waited for hurricane force winds to die and I have turned back twice because of gale /storm force winds and high seas.

Just watch the weather especially the weather fax. Get grib files for longer range forecasts. But listen to the VHF weather at least twice a day.
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Old 06-06-2014, 15:40   #90
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Kenomac and Blue Crab- thank you for being gentlemen and not responding to my flame with additional fire. Although I have not sailed with you, your experience is probably much greater than mine. I was just tired and grumpy. I think we do see eye to eye - at least when I am looking up.
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