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Old 05-10-2014, 18:46   #16
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

I left Neah Bay a year ago tomorrow in a lumpy near windless sea trying to beat just the autumn weather to Ventura, Cal. After 18 hours mostly motoring we were about 75 miles offshore when at 2 a.m. the wind abruptly increased in 20 minutes from 3 kts to sustained 50 plus kts for 5 hours, and huge breaking seas and troughs like the Grand Canyon. If I hadn't had so many things to do to not die I am pretty sure I would have been terrified. After the initial burst the wind died down to 35 kts for 2 days and under a triple reefed main and double reefed staysl we made a 172 and a 154 mile . We were in a Cape George 36 and with a near 2 kt current boost I took pictures of the chart plotter showing 14 kts. It was quite exhilarating. I wouldn't do it again. I for sure would avoid the actual winter. Several years ago CruisingWorld had an interview article with 5 cruising couples who each had at least 200,000 of sailing experience. 3 said that they had never been in survival storms and 2 said they had off the coasts of Oregon and Northern California. I can only imagine that given the ocean conditions out where we were ( as recommended by Jimmy Cornell) that every possible harbor would have been far more dangerous.
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Old 05-10-2014, 18:57   #17
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

A couple maybe three Decembers back, a brand new catamaran washed up on the Oregon coast upside down. It was being delivered for the Seattle boat show for January. They never found the delivery crew.

For a couple winters I monitored the N. Pac. ocean and at times the buoys were showing 50' waves. Ya'll should be watching the show 'Dangerous Catch' before venturing out in the N. Pacific.
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Old 05-10-2014, 19:08   #18
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

Well, you could have the boat trucked south.
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Old 05-10-2014, 19:08   #19
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

I am one of the few that tried to go in May, April and October. I first thought you were a troll, but after deciding to ship the boat I see you really were considering it.
I won't again. The North Pacific is an unforgiving place. If you get into a storm like mentioned above, not even the Coast Guard will go out to you without pause. Ask Strait Shooter what Cape Flattery is like with 20 foot confused seas, he was with me, and that was in the "safe" season.
Anyway, enough said. I think the point has been made.
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Old 05-10-2014, 19:11   #20
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

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Originally Posted by bouTimeII View Post
I am just learning here so bear with me....
It seems that people intent on making it to the South Pacific that season are taking off from vancouver and Seattle during those months to make for ideal crossings further on down the line. What am I not seeing?
Thanks, Curt

I think you may confusing something. Folks from "up there" usually first sail to Mexico via California. Many stop in the San Francisco area for the summer, so they leave the PNW in spring or summer, spend the summer in SF, then head for So Cal and Mexico in October and November, since they want to avoid the hurricane season in Mexico which ends about now. They hop off for the So Pacific from Mexico or further south.
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Old 05-10-2014, 20:41   #21
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

I was confused, but as I said previous am still learning this sailing thing...especially the timing involved to have better odds of safe passages. My history with the NoPacific and Bering Sea involved seven years on commercial fishing vessels....We left when we wanted to leave and put up with sea conditions we encountered. I know a 32ft sailboat is not a Bering Sea Crabber and I don't have a death wish. Thank you all for your insight.
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Old 05-10-2014, 21:04   #22
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

I've made the trip in June, July, August, September, October

A minor item that I have not seem mentioned here.

Every harbor of refuge between Neah Bay and Noyo River, except for Port Orford, is protected by an ocean bar. I've been over every one except Columbia and Eureka.

Those bars can only be crossed on slack water +/- an hour or two
The big SW swells that DO CLOSE the bars, make them impassable, arrive 12 to 24 hours ahead of the wind.
If you can not make it over the bar before it closes - you get to experience the 25+ foot swells, breaking waves, and 40 knots that are so common out there

We decided to duck into Westport in mid-September when the favorable forecast for making way south suddenly became SSW 20' swell and 20 knot winds. It took us 12 hours to get to the Westport bar and it was already closed to boats under 20' and closed to all boats 8-hours after we made it in.

The bar was 20' long period with the occasional breaking wave - 18-hours before any significant wind arrived. We were stuck there for 5-days and four other southbound boats limped in after us. One NW bound HC 40 also came in because he said the swell got way too big for fun sailing.

A trip down the coast in mid-winter may not be death wish but it may put an end to your sailing dreams.

Trucking the boat to Long Beach would be so much easier!
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Old 05-10-2014, 21:21   #23
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

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Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post

A minor item that I have not seem mentioned here.

Every harbor of refuge between Neah Bay and Noyo River, except for Port Orford, is protected by an ocean bar. I've been over every one except Columbia and Eureka.

Those bars can only be crossed on slack water +/- an hour or two
The big SW swells that DO CLOSE the bars, make them impassable, arrive 12 to 24 hours ahead of the wind.
If you can not make it over the bar before it closes - you get to experience the 25+ foot swells, breaking waves, and 40 knots that are so common out there
I'm
Actually they close the bars so you don't come in drunk.

But this has been mentioned before in post #4. On my way down last Sept of 2013 all the bars in Oregon were closed but I went into Crescent City to take a break. Then I had to sneak out in the fog the next morning to beat the next low on its way down the coast.
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Old 05-10-2014, 22:38   #24
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

Waves of 100 feet in height have been recorded by buoys located off Vancouver Island.

Extreme Waves - Craig B. Smith - Google Books

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Old 06-10-2014, 08:46   #25
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

Now there's a mental picture. Imagine a 100 foot wave coming up the Strait of Juan de Fuca and getting channelized and bigger as it heads for Widbey. I will stay in my little marina that is two dog legs in from any swell thank you.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:52   #26
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

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Now there's a mental picture. Imagine a 100 foot wave coming up the Strait of Juan de Fuca and getting channelized and bigger as it heads for Widbey. I will stay in my little marina that is two dog legs in from any swell thank you.
It'd never get past that rip tide that goes around Port Townsend.
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Old 06-10-2014, 13:42   #27
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

Even in June this trip can be hairy, as we discovered. Leaving Friday Harbor (WA) on June 1 we encountered 15-20 ft seas and 45 kt winds (60 kt gusts) off Cape Blanco near the OR / CA border. It would have been even worse if we headed offshore, so we came inshore and found some relief.


There's more info and photos from that trip on our blog: The Friday Harbor to San Francisco Delivery in Pictures « VALIS
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Old 06-10-2014, 15:38   #28
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

That's a great picture Paul. Esp. the hand holding on. How did you do in the Pacific Cup?
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Old 06-10-2014, 16:16   #29
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

That part of the coast is dangerous.

Here is a story of capsized boat, sea conditions and reason for survival GPIRB) off that coast.
The trip was in July, not winter.

Lives turned upside down by capsize | Soundings Online.

Here is another capsize, also a cat, took place in December off Oregon coast. Three lives lost. Experienced ocean delivery skipper on a new 44 foot cat.

OREGON / Search ended for lost sailors - SFGate
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:04   #30
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Re: Seattle to San Francisco in winter--crazy idea?

I longlined in AK for Halibut with the Figeurido family out of Ft Bragg for a season on the Sea Valley II. They were new to AK at that time but spent 35 years longlining for cod off the NCal/Oregon Coast. They were from the Azores....hardcore as they come. I heard the stories they told of unpredictable weather in that area....I guess they were right!
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