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Old 23-07-2014, 09:44   #1
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San Juans To Seattle

Hello! I'm planning on sailing from the San Juans to Seattle this Friday, and this is a trip I've never made before. I was hoping to get some thoughts, as everything I'm finding is about sailing TO the SJ's, and not the return trip. I'm on a 34' sloop. I can leave from anywhere in the San Juans and would like to leave in the morning. The weather is forecasted at S 5 to 15, so it might be a motor sail. One of my concerns is Port Townsend. Low slack shows to be 9:45am there. Any thoughts on this trip?

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Old 23-07-2014, 10:27   #2
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

I've done round trips from Seattle to SJI's the last couple years. Coming home, I have always timed entering Admiralty Head inlet within an hour or so of slack due to nasty rips that have been reported there. Never dealt with much more than mild turbulence there for about 30 minutes of crossing.

Looking at tide change, you will get a 10 ft increase on the flood, so should have a great current to help push you to Seattle. I have gotten up to about 12 knots (GPS) with a light wind behind me as the water was moving pretty good. I stay out near the middle close to shipping lanes (watching for commercial traffic). Had a very large sub and couple of USCG escort ships come around a bend and end up right in front of me, and scolded me to stay further from shipping lanes , so now I try to stay a little closer to shore but still out far enough to get maximum currents.

If I recall, it was a several hour crossing of the Straight of Juan De Fuca from the islands, so you'll need to leave early depending on which end of the islands you start at.

I think it was about 6 hrs from Admiralty Head to Seattle (always went with flood coming in).
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:36   #3
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Thank you. I've heard to beware of Cattle Pass during times of current, so I plan to head out from the East side of the Juans, through Lopez Pass, and then to Admiralty Inlet, hitting the Port Townsend area at slack. I figure it'll take me 3+ hours to get from Lopez Pass to Admiralty, so I plan to leave around 6:30a.

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Old 23-07-2014, 10:37   #4
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

I see no need to go to Port Townsend...?
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:38   #5
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

I won't be going to PT, only past it.

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Old 23-07-2014, 10:43   #6
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Steve, where are you departing from? Cattle pass is fine as long as you time it correctly. The straits may take you a little longer than 3 hours, but as long as you hit Adm. on a little flood you should be OK. Just stay close to the channel away from the lighthouse.
The worst of it is hitting Adm. inlet on a ebb, and it seems to ebb there a little longer than what it shows on the charts.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:52   #7
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Thank you Newt! I think I'll just anchor in Hunter or Mud Bay Thursday night to get through Lopez Pass and out into Rosario early. I'm thinking that timing Cattle would put me into Admiralty at the wrong time. I don't think it would be possible up time both. No?

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Old 23-07-2014, 11:00   #8
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Trying to think if I ever have gone that way out of Cattle pass. I have always been heading home (Oregon). You went through Cattle pass once on my boat. Your plan sounds like a good one. Use the ebb current to get out of the San Juans and the Flood to take you home. Did that with Anacortes to Seattle more than once.
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Old 23-07-2014, 11:18   #9
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Do you have the Smith Island and Hine Bank (Dungeness) NOAA web sites? If not, do a little search while you are at anchor. These will give you realtime data for your crossing, including wave height and period. Shipping traffic is a real factor in reduced visibility. Even cellphone AIS is a help. If you get up early you can catch most of the ebb. Leaving from Lopez there is more room away from shipping if you stay east of Smith Island, and remain on the east side rounding Partridge Point when entering Admiralty inlet. This also avoids the lump up west of Point Hudson if you do get 15knots of wind. Have a good trip.
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Old 23-07-2014, 13:54   #10
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Watch out for tugs along that route, they like it too. I always seem to get in a local no wind condition if I hug Partridge too close. I like closer to Smith. But maybe its just me.
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Old 23-07-2014, 13:58   #11
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Sounds good. I'm used to dodging commercial traffic, as I'm from Seattle.

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Old 23-07-2014, 14:51   #12
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

On that route I like to take the north half of Jaun De Fuca on the ebb, and the southern part of it and Admiralty Inlet on the flood to get to "go with the flow". In light wind conditions the currents are no trouble. Cattle Pass and Admiralty can be swift, 2-4 knots, but they are not turbulent. With strong wind against strong current resulting waves can be annoying. Have fun with it.
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Old 23-07-2014, 17:08   #13
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

A local trick for southbound is to use Deception Pass. The current for the east side of Whidby flows opposite the "prevailing" current in Admiralty.

Your father isn't named Don, is he?
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Old 23-07-2014, 17:26   #14
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
A local trick for southbound is to use Deception Pass. The current for the east side of Whidby flows opposite the "prevailing" current in Admiralty.
Deception Pass???

Isn't that where boaters go to die?
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Old 23-07-2014, 18:20   #15
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Re: San Juans To Seattle

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Deception Pass???

Isn't that where boaters go to die?
No, just out-of-state boaters. Locals use it when the current is flowing the "wrong" way at an inconvenient time.
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