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Old 24-12-2008, 11:24   #31
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A few days ago it was 17 degrees with gusts recorded as high as 100 mph here in Washington...
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Old 30-12-2008, 18:49   #32
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Inside passage

The maximum wave size possible is related to fetch. In Georgia Strait , with a maximum fetch of around 100 miles,the maximum wave height is around seven feet, regardless of how strong the wind blows. I've been cruising Georgia Strait 11 months a year for decades and have never seen it higher. I cruise all winter long, and find lack of wind far more common than too much wind. The well sheltered passes north of Georgia Strait have generally far less fetch, and over most of the inside passage wave heights of more than 4 ft are rare to non existent. This is a huge contast with the open ocean. For strong outflow winds , ability to shorten sail and a flexible schedule that lets you wait out strong outflows in the tens of thousands of bulletproof anchorages on the coast is far more important than dealing with huge waves. You simply won't see any.
Keeping warm is the other main challenge. Go to the thrift store and buy a winter coat that is big enough to let you wear a lifejacket under it. That will keep you warm. If you don't have a wheelhouse, rig steering lines that let you sit in the companion way and steer with only your head sticking out.Make as much mileage as possible , motoring if neccessary ,when it is calm.
If it is blowing Southeasterly when you reach Georgia Strait, don't do what so many do and try to beat down the middle. If you get around the south end of Cortes Island, you are protected by Savary Island. When you clear the south end of Savory and Mystery reef, you are protected by Harwood and Texada. It may look like you can lay Comox on one tack , but don't get sucked in. Stay on the east side ,in the lee of Harwood and Texada, till you are on the lattitude of Texada. Then it is a broad reach to Comox.From Comox it is protected water to the south end of Denman Ilsland. A tough bash around Chrome Island and you can lay one tack into the protection of Lasquetti Island. Then down the well protected east side of Lasquetti, and you need a break to get to Smugglers cove. Then you can lay Nanaimo on one tack , close reaching , or a beam reach if you can get thru Welcome pass.Then it's the protected waters of the Gulf Islands. Northeasterlies will blast you into the US.
Use the same route in reverse, northbound in northwesterlies .
Those Vegas look like a great candidate for an outboard rudder on a skeg, eliminating weather helm and greatly simplifying inside steering and self steering. The transom angle is perfect , and the change , putting the rudder at the stern ,where it belongs, intead of almost amidships, would be a huge improvement. The skeg make a great keel cooler for an engine.
Brent
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Old 02-01-2009, 19:19   #33
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Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
If it is blowing Southeasterly when you reach Georgia Strait, don't do what so many do and try to beat down the middle. If you get around the south end of Cortes Island, you are protected by Savary Island. When you clear the south end of Savory and Mystery reef, you are protected by Harwood and Texada. It may look like you can lay Comox on one tack , but don't get sucked in. Stay on the east side ,in the lee of Harwood and Texada, till you are on the lattitude of Texada. Then it is a broad reach to Comox.From Comox it is protected water to the south end of Denman Ilsland. A tough bash around Chrome Island and you can lay one tack into the protection of Lasquetti Island. Then down the well protected east side of Lasquetti, and you need a break to get to Smugglers cove. Then you can lay Nanaimo on one tack , close reaching , or a beam reach if you can get thru Welcome pass.Then it's the protected waters of the Gulf Islands. Northeasterlies will blast you into the US.
Use the same route in reverse, northbound in northwesterlies .
Those Vegas look like a great candidate for an outboard rudder on a skeg, eliminating weather helm and greatly simplifying inside steering and self steering. The transom angle is perfect , and the change , putting the rudder at the stern ,where it belongs, intead of almost amidships, would be a huge improvement. The skeg make a great keel cooler for an engine.
Brent
Brent has great advise, heed it.

My own $.02 (CND)

East of Campbell River, there are some very tricky passes with very strong currents. Get a copy of the Dreamspeaker guides for Desolation Sound. I am going the other direction when I go there here. Seymour Narrows has lots of current and lots of traffic. I would recommend going through Okisollo Channel. After clearing Upper Rapids on the turn, stop at Octopus Islands (beautiful spot) and wait for the turn at Beazeley Passage.

Further north of this area, Johnstone Strait present its own problems. It is to be avoided in strong NW winds which run against its current. SE winds would present you with problems.

Do not cut between Hernando and Savary Island. I watched one boat try to it while I standing in a friend's cabin overlooking the passage. His wife said she had never seen a boat go through there. She still hasn't.

Clearing Mystery Reef at the south end of Savary is crucial . There is a port buoy at the the south end. Then look for the port bifurcation buoy at the south end of Grant Reefs.

Once in this area be wary of SW winds. They can generate a strong Qualicum, that flows up Alberni Inlet, over the Island and then flows out into the Strait.

Be very, very careful crossing the Comox Bar. Go as close to the starboard pillar as possible and then stay close to the other two buoys. Go another .5 miles before heading south or turning for Comox. Crossing on a high tide or rising tide is a good thing. There is a range to guide you across, but it is only effective at night.

When entering the Gulf Islands, pay close attention to currents through the passes. If coming from Nanaimo, you will probably go through Dodd Narrows. You can have as little as 15 minutes either side of the turn.

Listen to the weather forecasts on your VHF. If have access to Internet get the Weather fax, Grib files and what ever else you can. Sailflow covers the area south on Comox.

Jack
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Old 02-01-2009, 20:23   #34
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I believe the OP wanted to go to Vancouver, not the Gulf islands. Any recommendations for the Sunshine Coast?
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Old 02-01-2009, 20:56   #35
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For Vancouver:

After clearing Desolation Sound:
Make for Lund, a good overnight stop - go to Nancy's Bakery

Follow the coast of the mainland, leaving Savary and Harwood to starboard, past Powell River and Westview.

Go down Malaspina Strait (anchorages: Harmony Islands, Smuggler's Cove, Secret Cove, Buccaneer Bay if calm; marina's: Pender Harbour or Secret Cove). Go to Jedidiah Island (Deep Bay) between Lasqueti and Texada.
Between Welcome Passage and Gibson's there is little or no chance to seek cover.

Down the Sunshine Coast to Gibson's (marina)or Plumper Cove (anchor or mooring ball). Be wary crossing between Gibson's and Keats Island.
Then on to Vancouver, either way around Bowen Island. Check the weather, for strong outflow in Howe Sound, if present so south of Bowen. Snug Cove on Bowen has a nice marina, i.e. good pub.

Given a choice between Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, I would go the Gulf Islands: more protected, better anchorages, marinas and pubs, better access to San Juan Islands, CHEAPER.

Jack
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Old 02-01-2009, 21:04   #36
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You'll definitely want to watch the weather, but for the most part it'll just be cold, gray and wet. You'll want to check a cruising guide - Waggoner's is good as some places might be shut down for the season. You can start checking the weather here: Text Forecasts - Environment Canada
or here: Marine Weather : Weather Underground
The definitive guide to the weather out there is the Marine Weather Hazards Manual - if you can find one: Marine Weather Hazards Manual

If you do go for it, you won't have to fight the crowds, and if you're dressed for it, it's breathtaking. Fair winds.

Kevin
Great resources.

Deamspeaker guides are among my favourite and expensive guides.

For the weather, just cycle through the WX channels on the VHF. In the Gulf Islands 21B is also weather.

If you Internet access, also check out SailFlow and UGrib (grib.us). The Marine weather forecasts and conditions are available from Enivironment Canada.

Jack
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:06   #37
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... Dreamspeaker guides are among my favourite ... guides...
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Dreamspeaker Guides:
Dreamspeaker - Books
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:03   #38
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I spent 10 years in Southeast Alaska running tugs and barges, made the trip from Seattle to Ketchikan every spring and fall. My family is in Skagway. I now sail a 60 foot ketch between San Diego and Puerto Vallarta Mexico, so I have some understanding of the Inside Passage and sailing. I would not take my boat south down the passage in the winter, much less a boat under 30 ft with an outboard. The channels are tricky in the darkness and 5+ knot currents, but the open straits of which there are several can be very very bad, with seas above 15 feet in height and very steep due to the high currents.

I would recommend putting it on a barge, or even find a seine boat or dragger headed south that would take it as deck cargo. We did that for friends a number of times, they might even let you ride along and help as free crew, which are hard to find in the winter. You would get to see the passage and learn a bit at the same time.

It's beautiful country up there with great water to explore, but is many times harder than even Puget Sound, even in the best of conditions, which winter is not.

Good luck, be bold but be smart
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:08   #39
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Ski goggles arn't just for spray

They help keep your whole face warm. On any open-deck boat I sail, the goggles go on when it gets below 40F, whether there is spray or not. Also a balaclava, often with a fleece hat over it.

Hand-warmer packs, like skiers use. I have spent many seasons as an ice climber, your hands freeze from holding them over your head, and thinner gloves with warmers are better. However, the hand warmer packs ONLY work properly and give 8-hour service in a windproof glove. You need to restrict the oxygen glow and keep the heat in. So you will still be in ski gloves, just not the thickest ones.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:35   #40
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Tradgedy in The Making

IMHO any attempt at a voyage of this magnatude with a very inexperienced crew and untried vessel, in these waters this time of year would be foolhardy. What would the survival time be should anyone fall overboard in these water temps?
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:58   #41
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FWIW.


http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/hypothermia.htm

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Old 03-01-2009, 13:55   #42
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Weather Strategies for the Inside Passage:
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