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Old 31-08-2010, 07:42   #1
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Sailing Down The West Coast from Oregon (Baja HA Ha)

Was wanting to get some input on sailing to San Diego from Oregon.
We are signed up for the BaJa Ha Ha and are making our way down south.

Plan to leave in another week or so on our Vagabond 47 and was wondering what others have done when they made
a similar passage.
Of course, I have World Cruising Routes and research reveals the opinions are varied...some suggest
going far off the coast...some recommend sticking closer....

Am a bit concerned when we get to San Francisco area with shipping.
How far off do the ships usually travel?
We have Radar and are pretty well equipped overall.

What are some of the hazards?
We dont plan on stopping much, if at all. Just a straight shot.

Yeah, I know Im probably missing out on a lot by not doing so, but we dont have a lot of "real" experience and
want to avoid crossing any

Im not sure what others do, but while planning, I have set my waypoints on the plotter every 25 NM and
basically following the 12 NM mark all the way.
Sound reasonable?
Should I be in closer? Out Further?

Opinions? Suggestions?

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Old 31-08-2010, 09:25   #2
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Hello and welcome SV Gandalf. I sailed down the coast from the PNW. I left The Straights and then went in the Columbia River and wintered in Astoria. On the Way down the coast we kept from 15 to 25 miles off the coast. There were a lot of crab pots when I came down in the spring and lots of fishing vessels. The ships did a good job of keeping an eye on the sailboats when they could see you but the fishing boats were difficult at night. Some of the fisherman were altering course irraticly (sp?).

From Astoria we headed straight offshore on Starboard tack we managed to get about 100 miles offshore which was good because there was no shipping or fishing out that far. When we gybed and came back in we were headed for Humboldt Bay. We had to stop and refuel there because one of the tanks had algae in it and so that tank became suspect. Your idea of being 25 miles offshore is not bad but one of my crew was a Ship's Captain and he said that if he were going down or up the coast that is close to the route he would take. Far enough offshore so that he wouldn't have to worry about the more stringent inshore regulation. If you have radar you should be fine with ship traffic. There was a lot of fog. We had periods of lots of wind (read too much) and then flat calm. As the front overtook us we went from sailing DDW to closehauled. The waves can really treat the boat like a washing machine and your diesel tanks really get shaken up. This causes the accumulated algae, that is coating any tank that hasn't been cleaned in five years, to release and clog up your filters. I think it is very important to physically scrub your diesel tanks before you leave on a trip down to the West Coast. I had to add access ports to my tanks and access panels in my cabinetry but I have had no problems with Algae since then. Good Luck on your trip and let us know how it goes for you.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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baja, oregon

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