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Old 18-03-2011, 18:10   #1
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Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Hi. new to the PAC NW. I am in the process of purchasing a 40ft sloop at Orcas Island. My slip is located on Bainbridge Island.

Has anyone out there made this passge before? I am looking for a recommendation on a route, planning the last week of March. Any local tips would be very helpful. I am in the process of researching the tidal currents. At a glance the trip look like about 8-10 hours?
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Old 18-03-2011, 18:51   #2
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Haven't been through there yet but here's my recommendation:

If you are not familiar with the PNW, I highly recommend picking up the current Wagoner Cruising Guide. It's the best $20 you can spend.

Good wind would be nice but this time of year it's pretty damned unpredictable, so you will want to keep a very close eye on the weather, and plan on motoring.

The San Juans are rife with unmarked shoals. Pay very close attention to the charts.

The main routing consideration is whether to go directly south past Point Partridge and Point Wilson, or head East through Deception Pass. If you are feeling comfortable with the boat and the weather is very favorable, Point Wilson is your most direct route. The straight has a reputation for being unpredictable; some people tell me it was three hours of motoring on glass, others thought they were going to die. Pay very close attention to weather. Best to pass Point Wilson near slack or stay well clear, as the eddies currents there are quite strong.

If you opt for the Deception Pass route, remember that it has dangerous currents up to 8kts. Transit the pass at the slack before the flood.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:19   #3
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Are you in Eastsound or Westsound? No matter I guess since a new boat I'd still head east. I don't have charts here, so you'll have to look up passage names. Take the passage between Blakely and Decateur,just like the ferries. If all is going well, turn south, if not keep going east to Anacortes where full repair facilities are available. Ideally you'll head south on the ebb and hit tidal change just south of Smith Island, which is about noon on March 31. Unfortunately it is also the nebb's, so there won't be much help in the way of a push down Admiralty that time of the month. We're headed up to Bell Harbor that weekend, but if you'd like crew I've done this trip many times, I just can't at the end of the month. I'm straight down the peninsula and unemployed, so if your timetable changes I'd come along.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:20   #4
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

RE: Point Wilson -- do note the rips to the N of the point. That can be a nasty place on the ebb. If the wind is also out of N/NW on an ebbing tide, it can be downright dangerous. Much better to wait for slack and then you can ride the flood down to Bainbridge. Figure about 5 hours @ 6 knots from Pt. Wilson to Bainbridge.

You don't say where on Orcas you would be coming from, and that would change your route. I suggest you go on Active Captain, where you can get good descriptions of the local knowledge for your various options.

Arch Stanton is totally right about the Strait. With a boat new to you, I'd want to wait for good weather, even if that meant motoring. You don't want to be in the position of figuring out a strange boat and coping with nasty weather while at the same time trying to keep track of those freighters both coming and going at Admiralty Inlet. Do keep in mind that you are smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest spots in the Salish Sea! Monitor the VTS channel.

If you wait for good weather, then personally I wouldn't go through Deception. While certainly scenic, that would add quite a bit to your overall trip. The water on that side of Whidbey is usually more protected, though and the currents less (once well past Deception, that is) if you're fighting against them. If you enter on the flood, though, you'll get a stronger push down Admiralty Inlet.

By the way, and I'm sure if you've even glanced at a chart, you already know this -- do not even think about taking on Deception at any time other than slack. People get fished out of there on a regular basis who either don't know that or ignore the warnings. People have died there, too.

Enjoy your new boat, and welcome to CF!

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Old 18-03-2011, 19:32   #5
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

I guess that depends on whether you're motoring or sailing, but I would go with the tide. Catch it as it's going out of the islands and time it so you're going in past Pt. Townsend in the slack and catch the tide into the Admiralty Inlet for a free ride in. Tide chart, Pt. Townsend> Tide table for Port Townsend, Washington

The Strait of Juan De Fuca could be a bit rough this time of year so watch your weather and try to pick a good window.

I would avoid Middle channel unless your familiar with it. Head inland and follow the coast, on a reach, possibly.


If the weather turns bad you could pass thru Deception Pass on a slack and motor down the inland passage, which you would want to do on an out going tide. By the time your to Everett the tide will change and help you along. Tides D.P.> Current table for Deception Pass, Washington
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:37   #6
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

These are home waters for me, so if you let me know where on Orcas you are departing from, the course south will be easier to advise.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:41   #7
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Thanks for the tips...the info is just what I needed. I must say I am a bit intimidated by the trip at the moment.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:42   #8
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

I will be departing from the small marina near the ferry terminal.
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Old 18-03-2011, 20:15   #9
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Nothing to be intimidated about, unless it's really soupy with fog you'll be in site of land the whole way. Like most of these posters say, only use Deception as a last resort! Basically it'll add a day to your passage, give or take. Ship traffic isn't really that bad, nothing like the n/w side of the Islands.
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Old 18-03-2011, 20:31   #10
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

I like to use Cornet Bay as an overnighter, making it easy to plan around Deception slack. If you break the trip into two days, they should both be enjoyable and generally stress-free... and Cornet is easy mooring even in an unfamiliar boat.
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Old 18-03-2011, 21:03   #11
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

If you have a little time you might want to consider making a bit of a vacation out of it. If so, your intial run, Day One, could be Orcas to Cap Sante Marina via Thatcher Pass. This is a more protected route, and if anything is amiss with the boat there are ample resources in Anacortes to get them resolved as well as a lot of nice restaurants. Day two could be a very short run to the La Conner Marina via the Swinomish Channel which is totally protected. There are also a lot of support services available there, and again a lot of nice restaurants. Day Three, could be the longer run from La Conner to Bainbridge, and you would be avoiding the greatest exposure to weather by being east of Whidbey Island. By Day Three you would also have more confidence in the boat and be better prepared for a longer run. In my opinion, while the days are still short you should avoid long runs through Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet where conditions could be uncomfortable and you could get caught running in the dark by taking on a long run right off the bat.
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Old 18-03-2011, 21:12   #12
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

I never get up early enough to do La Conner to Bainbridge in one day, but St Elsewhere is right about Anacortes facilities. If you do come down the Swinomish (a little tricky with the current timing and shoal spots when low), look me up (I'm moored right on the channel). This method eliminates the critical choke-point of Deception and adds a good nautical town for the overnighter, but Deception is easy at slack and any repair needs can be met at Skyline.

Whichever route you use as an alternative to the Strait and Admiralty, the 2nd-day distance is similar... and you have a few good bail points if Bainbridge starts to look a bit far (Everett, Edmonds, Langley, and Kingston). Of all those, Everett is the most feature-rich with marine facilities.

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Old 18-03-2011, 21:19   #13
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alm0d0g View Post
I will be departing from the small marina near the ferry terminal.
From there, head east, then directly south between Lopez and Shaw, assuming you can go through Cattle Pass in something other than a flood. Even then, you can make it, just more slowly. If the flood tide is unavoidable, you can go through Thatcher Pass between Burrows and Decatur Island, then head south towards Admiralty Inlet. Around Pt. Wilson, the tides can be a little adverse, or really adverse if the tide is flooding against a prevailing southerly.

That is all worse case, but this is really not a big trek, so unless the wind is greater than 20 knots, you'll have a great time.
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Old 18-03-2011, 22:37   #14
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Delivered a Forty Footer from Friday harbor to Downtown Seattle a few weeks ago . It took about 11 hours. The trick is to play the currents to always be pushing you,try to time your run so you are on an Ebb when you leave with the turn to flood happening at around Point Partridge Stay on the Whidbey side of Smith islands for the best current and on the same side fore the smoothest water down Admiralty , The ebb runs the same weather you choose San Juan channel of Roserio. Nothing to worry about . Have a great run.
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Old 18-03-2011, 22:42   #15
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Re: Recommended passage from Orcas to Bainbridge?

Your route will depend on the winds predicted at the time of your departure. If you are leaving on Sat. 26th you have a good ebb starting around 0930 to take you out of Cattle Pass but unfortunately it lasts until about 1900 which means that you will be fighting a strong current coming out of Admiralty all afternoon and lucky to make it to Pt Townsend the first night (there is usually a counter current if you hug the shore of Whidbey but getting past Pt Wilson is going to be really slow). If the wind is forecast to blow out of the west you don't want to be out there so you will have to get through Deception and go down the inside. It doesn't really take all that much longer unless the currents are perfect to go down the west side of Whidbey. Being a new boat to you I would take the inside route if the weather is dicey in JDFuca. Deception is no big deal if you go at or near slack. I've done the trip numerous times and if you can time the currents to help you it can be done in 8-10 hours, but usually it will take two days especially if you are going to sail and not just motor in a straight line. Here is a link to the currents in Rosario for the 26th. The second day you'll want to get a good early start to take advantage of the flood. Have fun.
http://www.mobilegeographics.com:81/...=2011&m=3&d=26
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