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Old 30-09-2009, 13:58   #1
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Boat for North Pacific Coastal Sailing?

Hello,

What is the minimum size boat you would use for sailing up and down the Pacific coast? What type of keel is best for that?
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Old 30-09-2009, 14:21   #2
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That would be the best, strongest offshore boat you can get. It's been done in very small boats, but it can be a rough coast... Hitch a ride on one leg and then decide what you are comfortable with...?
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Old 30-09-2009, 14:45   #3
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Would something around 30' be considered small?
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Old 30-09-2009, 14:48   #4
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if you think it's small, it's small........
if you think it's large, it's large........
What are you comfortable on??
There have been non-stop solo circumnavs on 30' boats.
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Old 30-09-2009, 15:00   #5
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Originally Posted by miketmbt View Post
Hello,

What is the minimum size boat you would use for sailing up and down the Pacific coast? What type of keel is best for that?
Very few people sail up and down the north Pacific coast on any regular basis. Maybe you could be a little more specific on where you are thinking of sailing. Up to SE Alaska? You have the inside passage. Around Vancouver Island? As long as you have time, you plan weather stops pretty well. Back and forth between Portland and the Puget Sound. Weather windows are on your side. Back and forth between Seattle and San Fransico? Another story.

Paul L
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Old 30-09-2009, 15:01   #6
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I went down the coast in a 30 ft Rawson in the mid 80's. It was a rough trip. A seaworthy 30 footer can sail the world. Most good boats will outperform most sailors.... it's more about you. In a small boat I would lean toward full or 3/4 keel....
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Old 30-09-2009, 15:02   #7
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The pacific northwest can be a rough area. Going north up the coast is often referred to as "going uphill" and it's an apt description, akin to mountain climbing. :-)

When asked "what is the best route from San Diego to Vancouver" the answer is frequently "to Hawaii". And that is said in all seriousness, because it's a much smoother ride to go out to Hawaii and then up to Alaska than it is to do the coastal route.

I just sailed the 60nm or so from Long Beach to Ventura the other day and it was a pretty rough up-wind passage with fairly choppy seas that required 14-some hours of motoring in in dense fog. Staring at the radar all night also required plenty of time with my head between my knees... :-)

That was on a 34 footer that's been to Hawaii a number of times.
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Old 30-09-2009, 15:05   #8
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I've been sailing the Pacific coast for over 30 years in a 29 footer and a 31 footer . No problem. My twin keels are a huge advantage in the huge tides we have. A pilot house is a huge advantage. Cruising here without one is extremely foolish.
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Old 30-09-2009, 15:15   #9
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Thank you for the input. I really am in a learning only stage at the moment so I will probably ask some silly questions. So if I was in the San Diego area, it would be easier to sail to Hawaii and back than "uphill" to Washington. I ask about size because when I actually purchase something (based on what i've seen for sale on the internet), I would probably only be able to afford a 30' boat.
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Old 30-09-2009, 18:51   #10
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Thank you for the input. I really am in a learning only stage at the moment so I will probably ask some silly questions.
Learning here is better than getting beached on the Long Beach breakwater (I almost saw it happen the other day).

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So if I was in the San Diego area, it would be easier to sail to Hawaii and back than "uphill" to Washington. I ask about size because when I actually purchase something (based on what i've seen for sale on the internet), I would probably only be able to afford a 30' boat.
Well, I said to Hawaii... I didn't say "back". :-) It's dead downwind in a straight line from SD to Hawaii in remarkably consistent breeze. The route back swings you substantially north to catch trade winds blowing from the NW. Those trade winds can bring you back to SoCal (it's a long trip) or it's a beam reach to get to Vancouver/Seattle.

The area south of Pt Conception (Santa Barbara) is much more sheltered than the area further north and is good cruising ground for smaller boats. Sail from SD up to Catalina isn't terrible and you can go around Catalina up to the SB channel no problem, though both are usually upwind. The channel islands are great.

Around Pt. Conception may be considered "blue water" by many accounts as there are few sheltered bays and it is almost constantly exposed to open-ocean waves, but like anything, it's not insurmountable. It does get worse as you get further north by most accounts. from SD to SF has been done many times in small boats, but people remark at what a different sea it is once you round the point. You can stop at Morrow Bay and Monterrey, but there are multiple overnight jaunts so plan on having more than one crew. My trip from Long Beach to Ventura was overnight, solo and that really sucked the fun out of it. :-)

I plan to take my Cal 34 up to Vancouver in a year or so. I'm still debating whether to slog up the coast under power, or head a few hundred nm offshore on the coastal breezes, looking for the westerlie trade winds for a nice beam reach.

I've heard the route done in two hops, each several days offshore, from Santa Barbara to Portland and then again out to sea and up to Washington.

I would suggest buying the Fagan guide to coastal cruising in Southern California. It is pretty good describing the routes in SoCal anyway, down to the baja area.

The baja is beautiful in winter - many folks from SD head south rather than north for their cruising time.

P.S. I would consider 30' to be "small" for the trip to Washington, but I know it's been done in much smaller.
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Old 30-09-2009, 19:08   #11
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FYI, the other book that might be of use is the "world cruising routes" by Jimmy Cornell. It lays out the seasonal routes and does a good job with seasonal diagrams of trade winds, etc.

The SD->Hawaii route is best done in June for optimal comfort and speed. :-) The book lays out many other possible routes and dates based on seasonal weather patterns.
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Old 30-09-2009, 19:43   #12
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....
I've heard the route done in two hops, each several days offshore, from Santa Barbara to Portland and then again out to sea and up to Washington.
....
Where'd you hear that from? Do you realize that Portland is 100 miles inland up the Columbia River?

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Old 01-10-2009, 07:51   #13
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Great Info HobieFan. I will look up those books. Thank you.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:07   #14
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Where'd you hear that from? Do you realize that Portland is 100 miles inland up the Columbia River?

Paul L
You're right. My information may be mixed up - He definately stopped half way - I thought he said Portland, but may have been elsewhere in Oregon. Looking at a map, it seems further south would be a better mid-point.

:-)
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:17   #15
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You're right. My information may be mixed up - He definately stopped half way - I thought he said Portland, but may have been elsewhere in Oregon. Looking at a map, it seems further south would be a better mid-point.

:-)
Most trips up the coast are done with tight watch of the weather and doen in numerous harbor hops, making as much distance as weather supports. Down the coast is a different story.

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