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Old 19-12-2015, 00:14   #46
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

I've helped deliver boats from SoCal to San Francisco twice, and we had fairly calm weather both times, just a bit bouncy around Pt. Conception. We motored virtually all the time and did the trip non-stop. Picking the month and weather is important.

I tried to sail my boat north from San Francisco, aiming for the Puget Sound, and ended up turning back at Cape Mendocino because the conditions were lousy and predicted to get worse. Here's the first of several blog posts about that: On Our Way « VALIS

I did sail VALIS south from the Puget Sound area to San Francisco in June, 2014. It was a big adventure, and there is no way I would have wanted to be going northbound! Here is a blog post about that: The Friday Harbor to San Francisco Delivery in Pictures « VALIS
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Old 19-12-2015, 14:05   #47
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

I've done the trip from San Diego to San Francisco several times in late spring and early fall. Enjoyable every time but chose our weather carefully and ended up motoring more than sailing due to light winds (on the way N) each time. Less careful on the WX watching with trips from N to S so have had some wild rides between SF and SoCal. Did one SF to AK (with one stop in Neah Bay WA) round trip 2014. Went up in early spring, March, on a series of southerly gales--sailed the whole way UP the coast. Would only recommend it to someone with a big heavy boat such as ours. Came back down the coast first of September in calms and had a day of southerly winds on the nose--so motored DOWN the coast. My point? it all depends on the weather. If you have both experience with your own boat so you know how it handles different conditions AND time--go for it, you can always duck in somewhere. In our case, between SF and SD, we've anchored many places and rarely sailed overnight. Going north from SF and coming back sourth we just continued our trip until it was over. About 60 nm out and straight up took about 5-1/2 days sailing up and close to the crabpot free lanes coming south from WA to SF took about the same, motoring.
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Old 20-12-2015, 17:29   #48
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

I sailed my boat north from LA to SF a couple of years ago. It was a difficult trip as there is usually a prevailing NW wind and current most of the way. Point Conception can be a difficult obstacle as well because it juts out into the Pacific and tends to accelerate weather conditions and confuse seas. Finally there are Long expanses of coastline without many safe harbors. I did find a pretty good account from a fellow that had made the trip up from San Diego and I used his advice to plan my voyage. The main points that he made were to stay close to shore , harbor hop your way north in good conditions, always wait for good weather Windows and try to round Point Conception about 6am when conditions are the most benign. Even with all of these precautions we got caught a couple of times in rough conditions at Pt. Conception and Pt. Sur. Let me know if you need more details. Good luck!
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Old 20-12-2015, 18:54   #49
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

Once you clear the oil rigs off Pt Conception, Gaviota and Santa Barbara, if you are tight with the shore you can pick up a counter current of .6-.7 knots. Out from the coast, you will find crab pots to about 8 miles. Between the coast and out 15 miles you will find all kinds of vessels traveling north and south. From 10 miles to 20 miles you will find larger commercial fishing vessels, dragger a, trollers, etc. out between 20 miles and 35-40 miles you will find cruise ships, particularly in the spring and fall. Out around 40-50 miles look for tankers from and to Alaska. Anywhere coastwise out to 30 miles you will find all kinds of crap, line, flotsam, jetsam and anything that floats. The farther north you get, the less crap in the water until you hit north of the Columbia then watch out for'widowmakers' (vertical logs that are waterlogged in one end just breaking the surface). They will put a hole in your boat or tear out your rudder and running gear in a heart beat! Have a fun trip! Phil
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Old 20-12-2015, 22:44   #50
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

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north of the Columbia then watch out for'widowmakers' (vertical logs that are waterlogged in one end just breaking the surface). They will put a hole in your boat or tear out your rudder and running gear in a heart beat! Have a fun trip! Phil
Phil, I find plenty of these logs up the straits and inside passage, but none out offshore (thank goodness!!) I think it would be terrifing to hit one of these puppies offshore. Last year there were a ton of them from the Straits of Georgia on up. Something to do with the landsides and tides near the sunshine and broughton islands (thats what the Canadian CG told me when I started to report them- they were too numerous for them to keep track of)
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Old 21-12-2015, 07:34   #51
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

You will find more in The straits of Georgia and Johnson straits no question. But when there is heavy rain and flooding up River on the Columbia and Gray's Harbour area pretty much anywhere off the Olympic Peninsula and lower Vancouver Island during freshette you can find all kinds of crap that has been cut loose and floating around off shore. Much of it comes down the west coast of Van Isld and hangs around in tidal areas at the mouth of the Straits of Just an de Fuca. I recall commercial fishing out of Port Alberni off the Swiftsure Bank and almost being able to walk across the logging debris out there. Just sayin' keep your eyes open! Phil
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Old 21-12-2015, 08:17   #52
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

I did a couple times from SF to Tacoma and Seattle.. It's uncomfortable on small sailboats, a little better in a motoryacht with stabilizer.
Just be careful with weather, there are not too many ports up there.
Best shot is go bluewater and not stick too much at the coast..
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Old 21-12-2015, 09:32   #53
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

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Phil, I find plenty of these logs up the straits and inside passage, but none out offshore (thank goodness!!) I think it would be terrifing to hit one of these puppies offshore. Last year there were a ton of them from the Straits of Georgia on up. Something to do with the landsides and tides near the sunshine and broughton islands (thats what the Canadian CG told me when I started to report them- they were too numerous for them to keep track of)
So you say last year, 2014, was unusual in BC (inside pssage)? That explains a lot to me. When we went up in March we were outside Vancouver Island and up through Hecate Strait b/c we didn't check in to Canada, just got a transit permit, outside was best. Saw a few logs--mostly off the west coast of Vancouver Island--but coming back down from AK in August we went into Prince Rupert to check in and did "inside" as long as we could stand dodging logs. Finally I just couldn't take it anymore and we popped out in to Queen Charlotte Sound and across to go down the west coast of Vancouver Island again. Logs, logs in Canada but not so bad along the west coast of Vancouver Island as inside passage north of there.

In US waters we didn't see the logs at all but that could have just been timing, too.
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Old 21-12-2015, 09:43   #54
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

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Phil, I find plenty of these logs up the straits and inside passage, but none out offshore (thank goodness!!) I think it would be terrifing to hit one of these puppies offshore. Last year there were a ton of them from the Straits of Georgia on up. Something to do with the landsides and tides near the sunshine and broughton islands (thats what the Canadian CG told me when I started to report them- they were too numerous for them to keep track of)
I sailed from Hawaii to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in August 2012, and we encountered quite a few logs a few hundred miles offshore of Vancouver Island. Some of the junk we saw might have been from the Japanese tsunami (old pilings, etc), but there were several that looked like cut logs. One log or piling did give us a pretty good tap, but it was a glancing blow and didn't do any serious damage. It might have been an issue but our boat is pretty tough.
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Old 21-12-2015, 09:56   #55
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

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I've got to disagree with that statement. During our four trips south we've stopped in:
Westport
Newport
Coos Bay
Pt Orford
Gold Bar
Noyo River

They are all deep water, well protected harbors and all within 30 hours (in our Caliber 40) of the next.

Between Noyo River and San Franciso there are three additional well protected anchorages.

South of San Francisco we've used Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Moro Bay, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Twin Harbors, Avalon, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Oceanside, Mission Bay. Again, all within 30-hours of the other.
Yeah, "all within 30 hours" is not exactly quick hops while bashing north. And that is assuming favorable winds, currents and weather. When heading north, you might find your 30 hour estimate turns into three days. And your assuming you can get into these harbors any time you want.
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Old 21-12-2015, 10:41   #56
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

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Yeah, "all within 30 hours" is not exactly quick hops while bashing north. And that is assuming favorable winds, currents and weather. When heading north, you might find your 30 hour estimate turns into three days. And your assuming you can get into these harbors any time you want.
A couple observations:

Noyo River to Eureka 95 NM
Eureka to Brookings 76 NM
Brookings to Coos Bay 99 NM
Coos Bay to Newport 78 NM
Newport to Westport 140 NM
Westport to Neah Bay 114 NM

Assume you can make 4 knots into the swell and wind waves (if you can't you probably should not be out there!) the only legs that are more than 24-hours are the northern two at 35 hours and 29 hours.

The NE Pacific weather forecasting is good enough that you can have a lot of confidence in a 48-hour forecast. So, wait in port till you get a good 2-day forecast and head out with due haste.

Patience and attention to forecasts it key to a safe and not-too-miserable trip up the coast.
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Old 21-12-2015, 10:48   #57
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

Floating logs are a scary prospect but seldom a danger. I've spent hundreds of hours sailing Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca & Georgia, and around Vancouver Island at night and in dark and stormy weather during the last 40+ years. Those floaters are almost impossible to see and one eventually has to assume a fatalistic attitude about hitting them.

I've hit dozens of logs over the years and have only once suffered any damage. At 1 AM we went over a big, really big, floater that bent the prop shaft between the strut and the hull.

Usually one just hits the log and it moves away and the log just brushes the side of the hull. I can't remember any sailing friend who suffered serious damage when their sailboat hit a floating log.

If it is a true "deadhead", i.e. floating vertically with just an inch or two showing above or below the surface, then they can be more damaging but usually the bow wave pushes them aside.

However, a friend lost their 28' express cruiser (planning powerboat) in three minutes when his wife saw a log but did not turn to avoid it at 25-knots. It ripped the bottom out of the boat and down they went, close to shore in Commencement Bay, Tacoma.
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Old 21-12-2015, 10:49   #58
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

Well, good to know that sailboats do not need to tack to weather. We usually figured about 2 nm over ground for about 3-4 nm tacking when we use to bash northwards in our ws43. But guess you can somehow command the seas, currents, and winds to be in your favor.
Btw, one trip north to Seattle we sailed 5nm to make 1 nm to the good. 40 knot winds, contrary currents, and 22 foot seas will do that.
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Old 21-12-2015, 10:49   #59
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
A couple observations:

Noyo River to Eureka 95 NM
Eureka to Brookings 76 NM
Brookings to Coos Bay 99 NM
Coos Bay to Newport 78 NM
Newport to Westport 140 NM
Westport to Neah Bay 114 NM

Assume you can make 4 knots into the swell and wind waves (if you can't you probably should not be out there!) the only legs that are more than 24-hours are the northern two at 35 hours and 29 hours.

The NE Pacific weather forecasting is good enough that you can have a lot of confidence in a 48-hour forecast. So, wait in port till you get a good 2-day forecast and head out with due haste.

Patience and attention to forecasts it key to a safe and not-too-miserable trip up the coast.
So this is just for those motoring the whole way?
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Old 21-12-2015, 11:43   #60
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Re: Sailing NORTH along California coast

This doesn't need to become a "which is bigger" contest. You both sound like competent sailors. I too have spent 3-4 days tacking to get from the Columbia to the Straits, but more often it is about 30-40 hours.
Relax and watch the snow. It will be summer before you know it.
Tacoma, why don't you stop at the river? It really is not bad if you know when to go over the bank, and we have great Tai food. I think it's easier than Grey's Harbor.
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