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Old 04-06-2014, 16:09   #1
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Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I asked over on sailnet, and they say I shouldn't do it. I've asked about this a while back, but now I'm about ready to start sailing around the PNW, so I wanted to go over it again.

Od very much like to get myself and my boat from Neah Bay to San Francisco solo. I have until departure to do whatever I need to do to get ready. I'm willing to take as long as I need to, the really only factor is the coming of fall and winter. I'm planning a mid august departure.

I can either coastal hop, or head straight south and let the coast fall away to the east and do it all in one leg.

I'm hoping to get some open ocean practice in on the west side of Vancouver island before I go.

Tell me this trip isn't as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Are there any positive experiences out there?
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Old 04-06-2014, 16:44   #2
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

Make it from Neah bay to Grays Harbor first. Have people tracking you. How seasick do you get? 26 is kinda small but if you know what your doing....
Also- what is your autopilot? What is your backup autopilot?
I'm not going to encourage you unless you have all your ducks in a row.
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Old 04-06-2014, 16:50   #3
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

I doubt you really want anyone to try to talk you out of it so:


GO MAN GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:04   #4
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

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.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:05   #5
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Make it from Neah bay to Grays Harbor first. Have people tracking you. How seasick do you get? 26 is kinda small but if you know what your doing....
Also- what is your autopilot? What is your backup autopilot?
I'm not going to encourage you unless you have all your ducks in a row.
newt said everything I would say.

I dont think anyone here wants to discourage you from doing it. We all would like you to get their in one piece and have enjoyed it. For that reason, and for your life sake, please make a comprehensive check list and equipment list and experience list that will enable you to follow through.

I took a look at the chart regarding newts suggestion for shakedown/first leg, and in the right weather window its perfect.

addendum: There are only two ways of doing things. The right way and your way.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:13   #6
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You didn't mention epirb.

How much experience do you have?
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:16   #7
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

I have no epirb, but am considering getting a PLB.

Experience. Its hard to describe. I feel like I'm at the level where I could sail myself to Alaska and back, or from San Francisco to San Diego.

I thought I could do Washington to SF, but Ive just been hearing such bad things.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:23   #8
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

If you don't have a liferaft, get a survival suit and a PLB with GPS. You can buy the Survival suit second hand on Craig's List of Ebay. PLBs keep dropping in cost and are pretty affordable. Without these two things, you are almost guaranteed to be a goner if you end up in the water. With them, you'll have some hope lasting long enough to be rescued.

Auto Pilots are nice, wouldn't leave home without my self steering vane, but sail can be done without. Just be prepared for 24/7 on the helm as you'll probably be on a reach the whole way. Without some form of self steering, you'll have to do the sail in stages so can get some sleep unless you are willing to heave to to get some sleep.

A self steering vane will let you make the trip straight through but stay far enough offshore the a change in the wind won't run you into something hard. An auto pilot will eat up a lot of electrons so some means to recharge the batteries is a necessity. Solar panels probably won't work well because of the limited sun along the route. Our local Costco has a Yamaha 2,000 watt generator at a good price right now.

Be very cognizant of the weather. Unless you like a challenge that could kill you, duck in early if bad weather begins to develop. During the summer, should be relatively storm free, but the rest of the year isn't so benign. Have a grew sail. If your Bristol is in good shape, should be a great adventure.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:41   #9
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Re: Give me encouragement to sail from Washington to SF

If you're ready to go, you won't need encouragement.

If we can talk you out of it, you shouldn't go.

If you don't know, we'll be able to talk you out of it.

Cross the Straits first.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:46   #10
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

I've crossed the straits multiple times and in a variety of weather. I will have crossed them many more by the time I leave. It's like the next two months are training.

How hard is it to sleep hove to? Sleep is my number one concern.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:47   #11
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Northoceanbeach,

A few thoughts for you to consider:
How often do weather systems go through at the time of year you propose to go? Because when those few ducking-in points are closed, yes, you might lose your life on one of those bars trying to get in. You'd be safer farther out to sea.

I like the mention of the windvane. Quiet. Needs no power other than the wind, so that if there is water ingress and you're without power, you can still progress towards the goal. Do you carry a spare rudder? if not, how would you jury rig steering? or do you plan to call for help? Under what circumstances would you call for help? [We used to have auxiliary rudder wind steering, so the windvane answered the spare rudder question.] Have you dealt with the known defects (if any) of the Bristol 26?

Fatigue can be a real enemy, and therefore, being outside the shipping lanes gives you less traffic to concern you.

Plan your entry to SF so that you go with the tide, and also to be well rested. Stay in or immediately adjacent to the shipping lane for the best way in. It's dredged. Even the two potato patch shoals have a bad name in stormy weather.

Remember that you can only control you, not the weather nor the sea, and behave conservatively, plan your moves thoroughly before you do them, question your reasoning till you're sure you've got "it" right. (When I'm doing this, I keep asking myself "what could possibly go wrong with this plan?", fix what I can, then go do it. Waiting around too long can stuff you up, too.)

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Old 04-06-2014, 17:57   #12
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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.

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.
Gee, your in for an interesting ride. Most dangerous, IMHO is Cape Mendocino and Up here north, around Cape Flattery down. During the summer, most banks are open unless a storm is coming in. The Columbia does not usually close for larger boats, but often is gives advisories for boats of your size. Grays Harbor has about the same conditions as the Columbia, but more rocks. Down south you get some harbors with rougher conditions earlier, some are very narrow, but almost all (that support commercial operators) are open most of the summer time. Newport and Coos bay come to mind.

For trip planning I like to use Active Captain and Sail Flow. Both have not let me down so far. I do not trust any forecast more than 3-4 days however.

Do not expect a rescue to come in time. The water is cold (as you know).
I think your boat is tiller controlled. I would know how to use sheet to tiller sailing and have a backup system. Though I rarely agree with that crazy Hawaiian Roverhi I think his advice is sound- a windvane would be worth it if you are going ocean cruising with this tender craft. I would also know how to navigate with line of sight and DR, and keep an active navigation log, should all your electronics get fried. (which is a real possibility should you submarine through a wave)
Also- what are you sea anchor abilities? You will have to heave too when I am just adjusting my sails. So that's an important consideration.
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Old 04-06-2014, 18:45   #13
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

Okay... you heard how you 'should do it'...
This is how Mavericks do it.. grab sleep when ever you can.. sailing, hove to, when ever... don't eat big meals.. carry high calorie snacks and packet soups.. learn how to make pan bread like naans.. lotsa pancake mix and maple syrup.. lotsa carbs and glucose..
Reef early with the main and use the Genoa (Furler..?) to drive the boat.. don't try fighting the weather.. your size of boat I'd be heaving to around F7 or running before with a handkerchief and no main if its from astern..
Also.. I would head for deep water.. get away from land as fast as I can in the window I leave in and do it in one hop..
I don't know the coast but what little I do know is its a bitch in weather.. a bit like W. Portugal in a blow.. most every shelter is behind a bar that can roll and kill you..
Load up a Kindle.. leave on a nice sunny day with a decent window to let you settle into the groove... and then do your thing.
Oh... also I like to carry a spare battery and a 40W solar panel in case everything dies... that way I can still power my TP at least 16hrs a day then heave to and sleep through the dark.
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Old 04-06-2014, 19:33   #14
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Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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I don't know the coast...
Don't let that stop you. This is the internet.
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Old 04-06-2014, 19:46   #15
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pirate Re: Give me Encouragement to Sail from Washington to SF

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Don't let that stop you. This is the internet.
That means I've not sailed it.. did check it out a few years back when my brother was doing a stint as Maths Prof at Oregon Uni...
Thought it sucked and changed my mind about maybe sailing it...
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