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Old 25-02-2009, 11:27   #1
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liveaboard: anchoring port townsend in tiny boat

Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere, I have done multiple searches and not found this question answered. I plan on attending the Northwest school of boatbuilding. My boat is a 23 ft Compac, I plan on anchoring out just off the school or in Oak bay. Probable propane heating. Has anyone else done this? I will be going to school for a year. Will dingy in and shop using a bike.
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:39   #2
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Newt, why not ask 'em at the school?
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Old 25-02-2009, 16:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newt View Post
Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere, I have done multiple searches and not found this question answered. I plan on attending the Northwest school of boatbuilding. My boat is a 23 ft Compac, I plan on anchoring out just off the school or in Oak bay. Probable propane heating. Has anyone else done this? I will be going to school for a year. Will dingy in and shop using a bike.

Obama said to go to school for 1 more year.

You are fast!

Serioussly though, congrats!
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Old 25-02-2009, 22:37   #4
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Congratulations!

The school is excellent!

However, your choice of anchorages is not. I was moored in Boathaven for several years, and there are a lot of liveaboards; the rent isn't free, obviously, but it's not bad for what you get. Remember that even anchored out you'll likely want a shower daily.

But if you're determined to liveaboard on the hook, plan on staking out space in the bay on Marrowstone Island. Better/safer anchorage in the winter, and I believe there's a bus to PT. A heckuva chop can build in PT Bay when the wind is over current; it's the only place I've taken solid green water aboard. Another option might be to oscillate between PT and Nordland - near PT when the weather is good and tucked into Nordland when it isn't. Iirc, there's an okay grocery in Port Hadlock which is in easy bicycle range from Nordland.

I hope your Compac has a good heater? I have a Dickinson diesel, excellent but needs a fan to move the warm air down. I can heat canned meals on it, and make espresso, but I wish I had a tiny kettle for tea and other 'just add hot water' instant food. Aboard in the winter my biggest issues have been electricity and drying out below.
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Old 25-02-2009, 22:52   #5
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I would second Amgine's thoughts and recommendations. There will be a good portion of the year that you will not want to be anchored in the bay. We also get some cold weather, last December we had two weeks plus in the teens with a strong northeasterly blowing. Personally, I would worry about my boat left on an anchor unattended every day with the winds that we can get. Talk to the school as Hello suggested and make sure you know what you are getting into. Good luck at the school, I've heard it's excellent.
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Old 26-02-2009, 23:15   #6
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When I went through the school I did ask, they said that some prior students had lived aboard, that they alternated between Port Townsend Bay and Oak bay for anchorage. I am worried about the cold. I really appreciate the advice from someone that has been there.
Questions:
Can someone with a 6 ft(I am thinking about a bigger boat) draft make it into Marrowstone bay/Mystery bay? My charts show a 1-2 foot dept in the channel. Do you just wait for a big tide?
Are there other liveaboards around the Port Hadlock area?
Amgine, when you shipped water, were you at anchor? It didn't appear to be much current along the Port Hadlock area, but I was warned about the current near the Indian Island channel.
Finally, I heard the winds to really watch out for are the southeries. The fetch would not be much if I anchored out around skunk island. But do they get some wicked north winds too? That would make a difference.
Thanks again for your advice- I am a Utah sailor coming for the first time to the PNW (and sailing this summer!)
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Old 26-02-2009, 23:26   #7
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I live on Whidbey Island straight across from Marrowstone Island.
As a matter of fact, my profile pic shows Port Townsend in the background to the Northwest.

We daysail to the areas discussed and have gone through the channel between Marrowstone and Indian Islands many times. Depth is no problem, just don't cut any corners on the way in until you acquire some local knowledge.

Mystery Bay is a great place to hang out, and the Nordland store has a bit of everything.

You won't have any navigational problems with your boat, but I agree with the comments about staying warm and dry!

Steve B.
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Old 27-02-2009, 00:34   #8
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Well, I haven't spent much time in Oak Bay, but the one night I did it was pretty rolly without any wind due to the current. This was just off the point north of Mats Mats Bay entrance.

Cold is something to be concerned about. I can deal with plenty of cold when curled up in a very good quality sleeping bag, but that's not going to do for liveaboard. Relatively speaking, the temperature will probably be warmer than you may have in Northern Utah, but it's going to feel much colder due to the damp. Whatever form of heater you have, if it's a fuel-based heater it absolutely must be vented outside the cabin. If it's bulkhead-mounted, you want it mounted as close to the sole as possible to mix the warm air and draw cool air to the heater.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newt View Post
Can someone with a 6 ft(I am thinking about a bigger boat) draft make it into Marrowstone bay/Mystery bay?
Yes. The channel is 1-2 fathoms, not feet. (And actually I think some portions are deeper, but the inside of the curves is shallow enough to wade so make wide, graceful curves.)

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Are there other liveaboards around the Port Hadlock area?
The Juan de Fuca is where the wind is. There are plenty of liveaboards and boaters of all stripes. Port Townsend has one of the most lively waterfronts left in the states. You'll find crazies and dreamers, fishermen and mega yachts, and more than a few cruisers ashore for a refit or to fatten the kitty before heading back to summerland.

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Amgine, when you shipped water, were you at anchor?
No, I was stupidly trying to keep to a schedule and get my boat south in the face of a southeaster, so I motored from boat haven toward the lee of Indian Island busting into the waves. My timing wasn't good, and hit the bottom of a trough as that wave decided to break, and it came down on the coachroof. I turned around at that point, and got back without further incident. The wind surfers said it was only blowing 40, but the current was opposing.

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The fetch would not be much if I anchored out around skunk island. But do they get some wicked north winds too?
The winds vary with the season, but primarily from the west in warm weather or when the low is well ashore. Winter weather is often pushed ashore south of the Olympic Mountains, giving some bang-up northers but there never seems to be huge waves near to PT - probably partially protected by Pt Wilson. Oh, and be wary of the tidal rips near that point; I took a wave from behind once there - heavy tides often develop standing waves and the buoy can throw quite the wake. Almost every day the wind will rise along the shore in the afternoon, and the bells of boathaven will start chiming (probably the only bad thing about the marina is how many sailboats with unsecured halyards there are.)

During the most enjoyable warm portion of the sailing season there is often no wind in the bay. However, poke north into Juan de Fuca and you'll find plenty and too much usually; the swell can be well-aged as the westerly blows in unhindered from the Pacific, which makes the strait much more fun than the short chop you might otherwise find.

If you couldn't tell, I really love PT and environs. If you can pick up a paying job (there are some great restaurants, usually in need of a dishwasher) and afford a slip, well, I think you'd be far more comfortable during your year.
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Old 27-02-2009, 19:52   #9
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I am starting to warm up to the mystery bay suggestion. It seems well protected and only about 6-7 miles from the school. I do 20 miles a day now on my bike so that will be no problem. As for a slip- I could but I just want to rough it. Will I get any hassle anchoring out at mystery bay? Thanks about the fathom-markers. The chart is one of those google comgomerates that did not have the legend. I am getting super pumped about this.
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Old 27-02-2009, 20:24   #10
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Hi Newt,
We kept our boat in Port Hadlock Marina and our daughter attended NWSWB. She lived aboard in the marina for awhile, and then moved to the anchorage just off the school. She still calls it the best liveaboard anchorage anywhere. There's a good dinghy dock, public outhouse, and great restaurants and groceries right there. Several other livaboards, too.
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Old 27-02-2009, 22:27   #11
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Hassled in Mystery Bay? not too likely, but it's been a while since I anchored there - about 8 years - so things may have changed. Nowadays I tend to anchor just off the town 'cuz I'm very rarely there, and usually just for a night.

Actually, I think it's been at least three years since I was to PT with the boat. ::adds PT to the summer itinerary:: The furthest I've bin into the states has been Anacortes once, Roche harbour a couple times. Usually I just pop down to Point Roberts to clear in, and spend the night at Sucia... I have to take the boat back into the states at least once every 6 months.
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Old 28-02-2009, 22:45   #12
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Amgine- why the biyearly visits to the states? Is there some tax rule that I am not aware of from Canada on documented vessels?
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Old 28-02-2009, 22:51   #13
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Yep. Foreign documented vessels ain't s'pose to stay more'n 6 months. My boat's US documented. For that matter, so am I.

The hassle factor isn't normally bad. But it seems each time I make the trip south it's getting shorter. It used to be a week or two, now it's one or two nights at most.
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Old 29-03-2009, 19:06   #14
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I am familiar with Mystery Bay. It is an active shellfish producing bay. Polution is a major concern and the state is monitoring the bay. Make sure you have a holding tank and use it. There is a pump out at the marine park in the bay. Also be aware that you can only anchor in an area for 30 days in Washington. It probably isn't a problem and I'm not sure if anyone monitors it, but Mystery Bay is under the states magnifying eye. Just thought you should be aware.
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Old 29-03-2009, 22:22   #15
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Jade,
Where is the shellfish production? I head over there several times a year, and I've not

seen it. Lots of anchored boats though.

Last time I was there I ran into JP Patches!

Steve B.

PS Check out

http://www.mvlotus.org/

She's anchored in Mystery Bay.
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