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Old 27-04-2007, 20:27   #1
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Alaska to Panama . . .

Will begin a passage May '07 from Juneau Alaska to the Panama Canal (on to Trinidad and then up to Florida) I'll have a person onboard to the San Juans who has made that leg of the trip enough times to be comfortable with the routes / tidal currents / anchorages etc. I would enjoy hearing from anyone with knowledge of preferable options heading south out of the San Juans. My initial thought is to make a straight shot to San Diego and wait for a weather window to go past the Sea of Cortez / Baja and then gunk hole down to the Canal. Time is no factor... any suggestions?
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:31   #2
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Cape Flattery to San Francisco

Your next leg is to get to San Francisco. As usual, there are options. The options are primarily the gunkholing route, and the near-shore route.

The near-shore route is preferred. The general description is sail south within 30-50 miles of shore, or closer if you're comfortable in doing so. This is a moderately heavy shipping route, and a careful watch is required 24 hours per day. You can expect favourable winds and current for the entire route. Seasonal weather is dominated by the Pacific High, which moves north during summer and may cause frustrating calms and varables. Winter has a high incidence of storms or thick weather, steadily less so the further south you go (keeping in mind that south of San Francisco the winter is the rainy season.)

The gunkholing route is not preferred. From Cape Flattery south the west coast of North America has very limited safe harbours or anchorages, and the majority of those are protected by bars which are tricky and often closed by weather. No port should be approached other than with extreme caution, but the Columbia River should be approached with near terror. The effects of the Columbia River extend up to 100 miles out from shore. That said, it is possible with favourable weather windows to work down the coast with day passages.

It is also possible to stand off the coast outside the primary shipping route, and sail south. This route has a reputation for heavier waves, and will skirt the Pacific High more closely.

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Old 01-05-2007, 22:01   #3
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Thanks for the info... it surely helps!
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Old 29-07-2007, 15:37   #4
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Steven,

My wife and I left Seattle on July 3, 2005, went north around the northern tip of Vancouver Island, south to Astoria, spent the winter of 2005-2006 in Portland, and continued south to San Diego in the spring of 2006. From there we did the Baha Ha-Ha to Cabo San Lucas and worked our way south as far as Manzanillo, Mexico. Then we turned around and came back north to the Sea of Cortez.

The hairiest part of the whole trip was between Astoria and San Francisco. The Pacific High gave us 20-30 knot winds most days and up to 12 foot seas. Once we passed San Francisco, gunk-holing to San Diego was relatively calm.

You can read about our trip on our web site: Log of Yachtsman's Dream. If you want more information, please send me a PM on this forum or an e-mail to my private account.
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