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Old 06-10-2008, 10:16   #16
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One of the best boats I have ever laid eyes on (one of those that stole my heart)....it sat in Astoria Oregon for 4 years with a fading "for sale" sign on it. Turns out this was a cold molded piece of art that ws 1st class from top to bottom. The owners built it in Eastern Ore. over 6 years. Trucked it to Port Townsend to be rigged by Brion Toss.
Any how they made it as far south as Astoria (200mi?) before encountering a gale that ended there sailing life.
Just a story, sad but true, and I am afraid it is not the only one. This place sucks for anyone new to go sailing. It's like "the major leagues"...so much nicer to start out in San Diego or Florida.
After being pinned down at Shelter cove for 7 days and nights where the gale would not let up, I am of the opinion I want to do the clipper route any time next I do the NW coast.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:03   #17
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If a trip is abandoned because of a little bad weather, they would have bailed quckly in any case. The romance of sailing the open ocean and the reality are not necessarily the same. It's best that you find out early whether you are cut out for it. The toll among those who've built their own boat seems to be particularly high. 2nd only to those who spend an inordinately long time getting ready to cruise.

It's way cheaper and easier to get home from Oregon than Fatu Hiva. If the cruising thing blows up completely, a lot easier and less costly to sell the boat on the West Coast of the US than Baja or points south.

We found that that busted romances and friendships are not unheard of in the cruising community. Tahiti is like musical chairs with crew abandoning ships/relationships and boats looking for crew.

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Old 06-10-2008, 12:04   #18
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One of the best boats I have ever laid eyes on (one of those that stole my heart)....it sat in Astoria Oregon for 4 years with a fading "for sale" sign on it. Turns out this was a cold molded piece of art that ws 1st class from top to bottom. The owners built it in Eastern Ore. over 6 years. Trucked it to Port Townsend to be rigged by Brion Toss.
Any how they made it as far south as Astoria (200mi?) before encountering a gale that ended there sailing life.
Just a story, sad but true, and I am afraid it is not the only one. This place sucks for anyone new to go sailing. It's like "the major leagues"...so much nicer to start out in San Diego or Florida.
After being pinned down at Shelter cove for 7 days and nights where the gale would not let up, I am of the opinion I want to do the clipper route any time next I do the NW coast.
Lots of smashed cruising dreams after a trip down the PNW coast. Not sure what you mean by 'clipper route'. I thought that was for going north bound from way south. Here is a quote from an old edition of the British Admiralty Ocean Passages of the World on the southbound trip from the PNW to San Fran for sailing ships:
"..., at all seasons keep as near the shore as is prudent, in order to avoid the heavy sea felt farther out"

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Old 06-10-2008, 12:15   #19
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"..., at all seasons keep as near the shore as is prudent, in order to avoid the heavy sea felt farther out"

The key word is as "prudent" and not with the plan of harbor hopping or hugging a lee shore
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:32   #20
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"..., at all seasons keep as near the shore as is prudent, in order to avoid the heavy sea felt farther out"

The key word is as "prudent" and not with the plan of harbor hopping or hugging a lee shore
Of course. You hear a lot of folks say they want to be 100 miles offshore the whole way down the PNW. Personally I think that is generally not a good strategy. The old sailing masters apparently agree.

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Old 06-10-2008, 20:46   #21
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The old sailing masters ran big ships that could handle 30 to 40kt outta the NW. They love the stuff actually. My experience has been the closer to land you get the thermals inland and the capes and points pinching that wind into some lousy conditions in places. You may have very good sailing untill you hit Cape Blanco or worse Cape Mendicino. Stuff gets pretty stacked up there.
If I am looking for a quieter and more sane ride down the hill in summer I will sail outside next time. Do google on the clipper route, and there is a number of good discussions on leaving Mexico to go north by the clipper route. I do not see why I would not be able to employ the same conditions south bound.
I would be dealing with warmer water and air. Lighter but favorable winds. And not be tempted to "duck in" every lousy bar crossing because I have had my a** kicked and I am cold and the crew is not over being seasick yet. Hugging the coast invites a very sectional, kind of a "gotta recommit" thinking every time I duck in.
I do not have the sailing passages of the world with me right now, but I will soon as I get back home to Mexico. I am a firm believer in them, but I try to imagine what kind of ships and what conditions they were looking for.
The clipper route was all they could do to go north as they could not point very well and sure could not motor!....:-)
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Old 06-10-2008, 21:51   #22
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Don't do it! It's already too late to go.

You may want to watch this for a few days! Jason1 on Wave Model - North Pacific (STORMSURF)

And this too! http://www.windbuoy.com/
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Old 07-10-2008, 13:16   #23
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I think the "clipper route" was meant for going north. And that means getting out west of the Pacific High, north over it, and then back in for PNW. (For California, especially up to San Francisco, it doesn't mean quite so far west or north; there are plenty of people on this forum who've experience with *that* particular route.)

And even the clipper route is being challenged by some sailors who find it faster to motor and sail through the western fringe of the High (or even up the middle) avoiding heavy weather thereby.

My anecdotal research of old and new routes suggests staying about 20-40 offshore appears to shave a day or more off travel time on the route south (which doesn't count the number of days spent in port) when compared with boats rock-hopping down the coast from safe harbour to safe harbour. This is during the "safe" months of June-September. The problem lies in that this distance offshore is also popular with coastwise shipping. (I have only one report about the far offshore passage, which was apparently wet and cold and slow.)

I frankly don't trust my research, though, because other than Ocean Passages it's all anecdotal. Somewhere someone should start a database of GPS tracks, so we have some hard evidence to base sailing routes on.
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Old 07-10-2008, 14:22   #24
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Amgine,
Your call of 20-40 miles offshore is a reasonable approach. I've done the passage 3 times now, once going way off at about 100 miles, the other 2 times ranging from near shore to 30-40 miles offshore. I think the best approach is to leave Neah Bay and point down the coast toward Cape Mendicino. This will put you 20 or 30 miles offshore in a day or two. Then take a look at the actual weather you are getting. If it is a nice NW, keep heading to Cape M, taking you further offshore. If it is light, stay closer in, allowing you to duck in and refuel if needed. If it looks like the Capes ahead are going to nail you, then duck in at the appropriate places and wait out the bad stuff. Either way, you will probably spend at least one night/day with some serious wind and seas.

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Old 07-10-2008, 16:55   #25
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My 2-cents - We also were told that if we left Nea Bay by the 1st of September we should be ok. Stayed fairly close in and off the Columbia bar found a building southerly. We were very glad to have gotten in as they closed the bar for 7-days w/ 70k winds & several fishing boats lost. We trucked her home from Portland after a wonderful cruise 200-miles up the Columbia.
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:43   #26
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Some of the worst weather is found off this coast,seems if you can handle the trip to Sanfrancisco,you probably wont encounter anything more uncomfortable beyond.Strongly recomend you sail it in July for lightest conditions.
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Old 06-11-2008, 22:32   #27
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Older thread but, while I have no experiance ocean cruising yet, Offshore Cruising Routes (Jimmy Cornell) says while there is more wind and higher seas offshore, no fog(dangerous for rocks and heavy shipping), no lee shore,harbors mostly having bars, etc says 100 miles offshore is the way to go. It is also a downhill run with favourable current.

Again, just summarizing the book, I have no personal experience with this run.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:32   #28
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I agree but distance off is subject to the prevailing weather system after November
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Old 21-11-2008, 18:34   #29
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Our boat had been in the westcoast of Vancouver Island for several years. The winter storms are nasty. Best time to go is in the summer no later than end of August with a good weather window. We left close to end of August, but at least 2 boats before us had encountered 35-40 ft waves, as measured by the coastguard pilot.
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Old 22-11-2008, 09:09   #30
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Here is a link to the record of my trip. I did it in May from Astoria OR. It was a nice trip. Uneventful. We sailed probably 60 miles offshore b/c thats where the wind was blowing and b/c after coming down the coast and staying 10 to 15 miles off I ran into alot of fishing and commercial traffic. We gybed back in so that we could get closer to land and the wind died. WE ended up pulling into Eureka to fuel up and then after a3/4 of nights sleep took off for SF.


West Coast slide Astoria to SF


Sailing - Astoria to SF
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