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Old 12-11-2007, 17:16   #1
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PNW(WA) - Friday Harbor to Seattle

I'm finally getting a west coast boat (Westsail 28) after being boat-less since my move out here from Boston years ago. I was planning on bringing it from Friday Harbor down to Seattle over Thanksgiving. The only boating I've done out here was a delivery from Seattle to San Francisco and a ton of kayaking. Looking for recommendations on anchoring. I'd prefer to avoid the Deception Pass route and come down Admiralty Inlet. I don't have a dinghy and don't plan going to shore - so town access isn't important.

Assuming no 90mph winds like we had to day (or anything over 20) I'm assuming the Stait of Juan de Fuca crossing isn't too bad and I should be able to make Pt. Townsend from Friday Harbor in a day (during day light). Any recommended anchorages? I've read Pt. Townsend can be dicey. I could go south through the canal but would prefer to stick to Admiralty Inlet since I'd need to time currents for the canal ...

What route would those who've done it take? Is two days from Friday too ambitious? I'll be single-handing and avoiding darkness if possible (although I have radar).

Since this is a new-to-me boat I'd prefer to be pretty cautious regarding relying on anything more than sails (thus the no Deception Pass comment) and favor sea room to protected waters.

Sorry for the newby questions... the cruising guides are on order
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Old 12-11-2007, 18:58   #2
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two-days is fine for this trip, provided you don't get hit with a nasty southerly. You need to work the tidal current carefully. It will make all the difference in making distance all the way from leaving the San Juans (say Cattle Pass) and entering Puget Sound at Pt Wilson. Also going from Pt Wilson to Point No Point and past PNP you really want the current with you. Port Ludlow is a large, safe anchorage with easy access. A bit of long run from the San Juans unless you get the currents working with you. If the weather sux when you want to leave, going to Anacortes and down the Swinomish Channel makes sense.

Paul L
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Old 12-11-2007, 20:16   #3
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So - looking at tides around Nov 22nd it doesn't seem possible to hit slack-to-ebb @ Cattle and still make slack-to-flood down through point-no-point and the ebb that day is totally horrendous through there in the afternoon (4+ knots). So it looks like I should anchor around Pt. Townsend that night... looks pretty protected or probably just head south and wait for the tide at Port Townsend Canal

The entrance to Kilisut Harbor looks dicey but do-able - any issues with anchoring there (given the naval base?)

Thanks for the info!
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Old 12-11-2007, 20:36   #4
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So - looking at tides around Nov 22nd it doesn't seem possible to hit slack-to-ebb @ Cattle and still make slack-to-flood down through point-no-point and the ebb that day is totally horrendous through there in the afternoon (4+ knots). So it looks like I should anchor around Pt. Townsend that night... looks pretty protected or probably just head south and wait for the tide at Port Townsend Canal

The entrance to Kilisut Harbor looks dicey but do-able - any issues with anchoring there (given the naval base?)

Thanks for the info!
I concur about crossing the Strait in a nasty Southerly. It is doable but a slog. Tie everything down if you have to do it in those conditions!

I live right across Admiralty Inlet from the North end of Marrowstone Island, so I can give you local knowledge. The entrance to Killisut Harbor is pretty straightforward, and depth is not problem if you keep to the outside curve of the channel. Just follow the markers and you will be OK.

There is a break in the North side of the channel, but don't try going through there. It can be done (I've done it a couple of times, but I have a trimaran with a centerboard) but you REALLY need to know exactly where the channel is located. I've done it but the wife was hollering (to herself) the whole time.

If you want protection from Southerly wind you don't have to go all the way in, just anchor on the South side of the channel. Of course, watch carefully to make sure you have enough swinging room and depth.

There are Washington State Park moorings when you hit the Eastern shoreline of Killisut Harbor.

If you want North wind protection you can either take a mooring or anchor to the West of the mooring buoys just North of the channel near Indian Island. A military cop may come down in a pickup to check you out, but I've never been told to move.

The next decent place to anchor in a Southerly would be West of the bridge to Indian Island and West of the Marina, but it's kind of deep.
With a North wind, assuming current isn't making a mess of the chop under the bridge, you can anchor to the West in a bight South of the bridge.

After that, it's either Mats Mats Bay (Mid to South end) or Pt. Ludlow.

Steve B.
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Old 12-11-2007, 21:06   #5
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I'd prefer to be pretty cautious regarding relying on anything more than sails (thus the no Deception Pass comment) and favor sea room to protected waters.
Smart guy, no joke.
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Old 12-11-2007, 21:51   #6
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Quick question!

How much experience do you have with this boat???

The weather this time of year can be unpredictable. And I wouldn't chance a crossing unless the boat is up to it. And rounding the point at Port Townsend can be a bit tricky with the tides flowing.

For a sailboat it's a two day trip. At the end of the first day you could anchor out at Hadlock just S. of Port T., that's if your under 50', 60' at a very minus tide, to get under the bridge between the Islands. Which I'm sure you are on a 28' boat.

BTW we lost a floating bridge on Lk Washington a few years back on a Thanksgiving Day. The weather window is very important.

And going the Deception Pass route WOULD be a bad choice. If a Southerly is blowing you'll be head-on into the wind and will have to motor the whole way between the islands.
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Old 12-11-2007, 23:34   #7
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Del's right about Point Wilson (corner of Port Townsend). The current at the entrance to Admiralty Inlet has rips and if the current is opposing the wind, it can be positively evil. I've seen 10' seas in that section when the wind was not over 25 knots. Thankfully, it's not always that way! Give that corner lots of room.

Also be aware of the rip during a flood which goes Eastward from Marrowstone almost to Whidbey and then Southward (past my place) toward Bush Pt.

Steve B.
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Old 13-11-2007, 07:00   #8
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I've got zero experience in this boat and, worse still, zero experience with cutter rigs. I've done a ton of sailing though, lot's of off shore, 99% single-handing in small boats (many without engines), etc. Gaining experience sailing this new-to-me- boat around in the currents of the San Juans with an unknown engine makes me more nervous than slogging it out in the huge Strait with the ability to sail.

I've seen (many times) just how evil wind against current can be (lots of fun Gulf Stream crossings) ... so I'll be super cautious about that. In general - I'm going to be very conservative about weather, if it looks dicey I'm not leaving Friday. I have all the time I want to do this and learned long ago that sailing on a schedule is about as stupid as it gets.

Thanks for all the info - this information is very helpful.
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Old 13-11-2007, 08:00   #9
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Gonna be a tough trip without an engine. If you have any wind it's going to be on the nose but it's more likely you'll have no wind. Then the current's got you. You may be able to reach across the Strait.

I did a delivery like this four years ago (Anacortes to Tacoma) in a new-to-me boat. It was a great trip with no problems. I had the engine surveyed and minor stuff replaced before I took ownership. Gave me a bit more confidence.

I stopped in Port Townsend the first night. They have marine stores and there was plenty of stuff I needed by then. Came all the way from PT to Tacoma the second day. Motored 11 hours.

Sounds like you know what you're getting into with the tides and currents.
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Old 13-11-2007, 08:31   #10
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Hi wiselyb Your Thanksgiving cruise sounds great and the tips you've gotten are good. The tides are right and will help a lot but that is where the schedule that we hate so badly comes in. The current through the pass at Cattle Point on Thanksgiving Day is in your favor till ten am, and that's about an hour away. It can get frustrating and I wind up motoring a lot in the San Juans and The Gulf Islands to stay on the safe side. Hope you have a good time. Jesse
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Old 13-11-2007, 09:50   #11
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"I'm going to be very conservative about weather, if it looks dicey I'm not leaving Friday. I have all the time I want to do this and learned long ago that sailing on a schedule is about as stupid as it gets."



Good plan.

If you don't really have a schedule, you might try this scenario to start.
From Friday Harbor, go East and anchor for the night at Watmough Bay on the SE corner of Lopez. You can anchor way in by the beach for protection and still see what's happening in Rosario Strait. This way, you don't have to time Cattle Pass current and you can see for yourself what the conditions are rather than what the weather radio is saying (often very different).

Depending on wind and current, you may be better off going around the East side of Smith Island. The West side is relatively shallow for miles and can get lumpy when it's windy. The west side has banks with kelp as well as traffic.

When we come back from SJ's, we time the current to hit slack going past Smith Is.


Steve B.
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:33   #12
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Thanks for the advice!

Put up a trip report on the boat's blog if anyone is interested. Westsail 28
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:41   #13
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Looks like you made it. I nice weather window. Very unusual for Thanksgiving.
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:43   #14
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Totally - I couldn't have hoped for better weather in November around these parts in a 100 years. Even the tides were almost perfect. Nice gentle introduction to the "new" boat.
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Old 26-11-2007, 12:40   #15
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Congrats, Ben!

-Steve
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