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Old 10-04-2011, 10:08   #1
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Ventura, CA to Portland, OR

My wife and I are relocating to Portland in the next few months. Is it a nightmare to sail/motor north up the Pacific coast? I may need to temporarily slip the boat somewhere along the way due to time constraints.
I've heard it's a very difficult passage and I may have to motor at night etc
I'm planning to dock in the Portland area.
Any info comments about the passage or sailing/docking on the Columbia would be very welcome.
I have a 41' CT ketch.
Please don't advise me to go via Hawaii! Don't really have time for that!

Colin
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:22   #2
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

How fast can you motor into 15-20 knot winds on the nose, plus an adverse current? It may take just as long to bash your way straight north as to head west out into the Pacific and sail around the No. Pacific high. I didn't exactly say "go to Hawaii" and you don't necessarily have to go that far west to stay far enough from the center of the high to stay in good wind. On that route you can reach all the way to the PNW. The alternative is to hire a trucker, or hire a captain and crew to move the boat for you.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:26   #3
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Hi Colin.

We haven't made the trip, but are considering doing the same thing in the next year or so.

Not sure how much time you have for this journey, but the book "Exploring the Pacific Coast, San Diego to Seattle" by Don Douglass rather specifically describes an itinerary of day trips where you can motor/hop up the coast. There's plenty of local information for each locale, including the Columbia river.

I think I still have an older (first) edition around somewhere, gimme a few days to dig around and perhaps we can meet up and you can look through it a bit. Otherwise, you can find it here:

Amazon.com: Exploring the Pacific Coast: San Diego to Seattle (9781932310221): Don Douglass, Reanne Hemingway Douglass: Books

Alternatively, you can work with either boat yard in Ventura to get a list of truckers to haul your boat there.

Cheers

John
Ventura
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:39   #4
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Cruising the Northwest coast by George Benson would be a good source of information. It sounds like you are not liveaboards, in which case, a lot of Portlandites moor their boats in the Olympia area to gain access to the cruising grounds of the N/W passage. The two largest marinas are Swantown and Westbay fyi, I have moored at both in the past and would privately share those experiences. It's usually less than a 2 hour commute from Portland. This might be a viable alternative if you truck her up, my experiences sailing the Columbia have not been as pleasurable as the Inside Passage, the road trips were worth it.
I don't know how helpful the Douglasses experiences will be, they run a large motoryacht, though dated, I believe Margo Woods has a book covering this area also, and it was on sailing vessels. Whichever way you try, welcome to the great Northwest!
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:55   #5
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Thanks for the replies!
@jskiff - thanks for the link and the offer to check out the book. I'm at Ventura West A#86 and will be liveaboard in the next few weeks as our house closes shortly.
@capnorv - 'Spirit' is a full keel, heavy boat and not exactly nimble. Have you heard if the river and wind conditions are OK for recreational sailing of this kind of vessel? A couple of friends have recommended the Olympia area for mooring but I like to 'mess about' so proximity is somewhat important for me.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:19   #6
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Yes, I'm familiar with the characteristics of heavy full keel boats, having a couple myself. The river sailing conditions are compatible to your boat, especially the occasional grounding, which will inevitably happen recreationally. With your boat, I believe you will experience a lot of one way sailing, but maybe you've figured out somethings I have not. Having lived in Pugetropolis for 8 years now, I'm spoiled and will never look back. Sailing our type of boats is not always possible in the Olympia area, but the variety of cruising possibilities more than make up for that, the one drawback is you would be in saltwater moorage in Olympia. Fyi, I had good sailing last week all the way to Seattle and back, that you probably would have a hard time doing on the river. If you don't truck her to Puget's Sound initially, eventually you'll probably cruise here!
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:12   #7
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Were here on the Columbia River up stream 200 miles east of Portland Or. Were headed down river to the Pacific and up north to the Salish Sea the last of June and returning in Sept. Our concernes are the Japan's tsunami debree field that's headed for the US coast in the next couple of months for several months. Were thinking day sailing only so we'll not hit a partial submerged shipping container or worse something dead hung up on our rudders or maybe a house. Any news on the debree field ?
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:35   #8
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

I used to own a CT41 (1974, plan b), and I cruised extensively between The Channel Islands and Cabo San Lucas. That boat will gladly motor up hill, perhaps more willingly than those who are on board. Unfortunately for the trip you contemplate you won't be doing much sailing, as the prevailing winds are from the direction you are heading. The CT41 isn't known for making good time sailing close hauled, so you are going to motor upwind for almost 1000 miles...

If you have lots of time and can plan for moving during periods of calm weather, it shouldn't be so bad. Most try a strategy of leaving around midnight when winds are FX to ease off or be favorable, then motor all night and until the winds pick up the next day, which is usually ~ noon or one o'clock, and duck into the next available harbor. Figure on spending multiple days holed up in harbors waiting for the next weather window if you choose this option. And hours bashing into it when the forecast wasn't quite right and you have to go 80 miles to the next harbor.

OTOH, If you hope to do this trip in a mere 2 weeks time frame, you will probably have a miserable trip with seasick crew and a higher chance of breakdowns, which will cause delays.

So, the reason why so many actually do choose the half way to Hawaii option is that it really doesn't take any longer, uses much less fuel and is generally easier on the boat and crew.

You could break this all up into at least two major steps; Ventura to San Francisco, and then SF to Portland. Leaving Ventura on a really good 3 day weather window and just motor like hell for SF. Then, plan to stay there, re-group, re-provision and wait to find another really juicy window. That could be a few weeks of waiting, but at least you're in a major city and can leave the boat. And, way in the back of your mind, you could easily truck the boat from SF to Portland for not too much $$.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:38   #9
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

CapnCol... it is not a difficult trip provided you watch weather windows careful, have a plan A, plan B and a plan C if you have problems. There are several holes to hide out in around Pt Conception up to about San Simeon but between there and Monterey wait for weather window and go. I'm guessing you do about 4-6 knots into a 6-8 foot sea with reasonable intervals so allow at least 24 hours to Monterey from San Simeon. Slower if seas or interval changes. Fog will be ever present close to the coast so hope you have a radar.
Monterey north several stops like Halfmoon Bay, SF, Drakes Bay, Bodega Bay which provide refuge from northwesterlies. Once you get north of that, like Fort Bragg you will have to contend with bar crossings all the way up to and including the Columbia river entrance. They bring a whole different set of skills and knowledge requirements, not the least of which are tidal action, bar depth, height of river runoff which will be considerable this year due to high snowpack in Northern CA. Overlay this onto the coastal weather patterns and you need to do your research as well as stay in touch with USCG stations for bar conditions. These guys/women are on site and very helpful. They would rather come out and guide you in if necessary than pick you off the rocks!
I've made the trip both ways many times but only between May and November because of the smaller weather windows outside of those times. One delivery from SD to SF on a CT 41 in early February was a disaster... ended up heading for Japan for about 3 days just keep the boat off the beach around Pt Conception!
There are some fun cruising destinations inside the Columbia River basin but venturing outside can be problematic any time of year.
As an after thought, make sue you have your tanks cleaned, fuel polished and lots of filters if you've been in a marina for a while... Cheers and stay safe... Capt Phil
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:51   #10
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug86 View Post
way in the back of your mind, you could easily truck the boat from SF to Portland for not too much $$.

Good luck!
Last Oct we trucked sv We Be Jammin from San Diego to Portland and it cost us $5600.00 not counting taking out and launching fees.
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Old 10-04-2011, 13:07   #11
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Thanks for the great replies.
Sounds like a long, tough ride. I had a look at the George Benson site and harbor-hopping may be a possibility as well as breaking the trip up into smaller sections. I'd really prefer not to truck her up there although it may give me a chance to do some repairs etc on the hard.
Thanks again, especially for Capt Phil's specific info, which has scared me to death!
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Old 10-04-2011, 15:03   #12
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Webejammin, the debris field is not supposed to be to the west coast for three years, two to Hawaii. It's not like the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific is big and takes a long time to cross on the currents. My understanding is the US Navy is working on clearing some of the field now before it gets too spread out. I wish them luck.
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Old 10-04-2011, 21:48   #13
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

Thanks for the heads up on the debree field and timing, I'm glad it's not a worry this year

We used Schooner Creek boat yard in Portland at Hayden Island when we launched. They have a big lift and clean boat yard and it's a 15 min walk to almost everything you need if your staying onboard the days your getting work done and launching. I would take a good pic of your spreaders and rigging and tape the rigging threads to mark tension, It helped us show the riggers what there re-doing.
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Old 14-04-2011, 01:09   #14
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Re: Ventura, Ca to Portland, Or

I live near Portland and just trucked my Nonsuch 30 from Olympia to Portland. I've alternated between the two for the last 10 years or so. I get tired of the drive after a while. Wind in South Sound is mostly absent during the summer but the protected water is endless to the north. Wind on the river is better but a big boat runs out of water fast which can be frustrating. My boat is on the hard at Schooner Creek right now. SC is a good yard where you can do work yourself. Lay days are steep though so I have yard do some of the work to avoid them. There is a beautiful new marina in Portland called Salpare Bay you may want to check out. Cost is be 270/month for my 40 ft slip. I believe they have larger slips available there now. Contact Justin -- harbormaster@salparebaymarina.com

~Jeff
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Old 14-04-2011, 02:05   #15
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Cheers Jeff!
My current slip is $850 liveaboard. Seems things are more reasonable there...are there many slips available?
Colin
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