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Old 18-06-2016, 11:38   #1
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Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Hi

Currently have a 44' motorsailer in a slip in the Bay Area, but am looking to possibly relocate to Seattle area. I get out in the Bay a bit for now (eventually more blue water), and the options are some reachable weekend areas like the delta or outside the slot. I do mostly motoring with some sailing, for now.
Anyone familiar with both areas that can comment on the pros/cons of each, especially wrt working docks for repairs, local gear stores (non-West Marine obviously, but other stores more like Svensens or Blue Pelican in Alameda), pricing and general support for boating culture? Liveaboard culture (something I'm considering long-term)? I'm also looking for a marina in Seattle area, so just starting the investigation. Many thanks.
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Old 18-06-2016, 11:43   #2
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Not familiar with the bay area but the Seattle area has 100's of options for destinations. Other than the grey winters amazing cruising... especially for powering!
Plenty of marine support.
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Old 18-06-2016, 11:54   #3
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

The Bay Area is a bit of a desert for cruisers, IMHO. Precious few islands, and a terribly inhospitable coast. You can knock around the bay, and the delta, of course, if that appeals.

If I were forced to choose, I wouldn't hesitate even a millisecond. Puget Sound, millions of islands, and Alaska within reach -- not even a vague comparison to the Bay Area.

Of course, anywhere in Northern Europe is even another level (or two) better, but . . .
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Old 18-06-2016, 12:29   #4
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Started sailing in the Puget Sound area in 1971 and have been sailing there for 33 of the years since then. Let's assume you keep your boat in the Seattle area and want to consider anchorages within 30 miles:

Eagle Harbor 5 NM - fantastic downtown Seattle views and lot's of great restaurants and bars (Bainbridge Island) you can leave your boat here and take a ferry back to Seattle

Blakely Harbor 5 NM - very rural and remote with great views of West Seattle(Bainbridge Island)

Blake Island 8NM - west side buoys feel like you are in the wilds with great views of the Olympic Mountains. The small marina on the North end of the island has a fantastic view of Seattle and you can eat some of the best salmon at the Indian Lodge.

Quartermaster Harbor and Dockton - 16NM - very quiet and rural with little buildup. On Vashon / Maury Island. Easy to get ashore and visit the artists offering

Gig Harbor 20 NM- cutest little town in Puget Sound - free anchorage and lots of paid visitor dockage - great bars, taverns, resturants

Hylebos Waterway 28 NM- downtown Tacoma with two new marinas within 5-minutes walking of University of Washington district and restaurant district

Wollochet Bay 30 NM - very secure and quiet

Poulsbo 16 NM - another spectacularly cute Scandinavian village with the best bakeries in Puget Sound - secure anchorage and nice transient docks

Kingston 12 NM – nice marina with great transient dock and excellent shoreside facilities. Lot’s of great bars and restaurants. You can leave your boat here and take a ferry back to Seattle

Bremerton and Port Orchard 14 NM – opposite sides of Sinclair Inlet – both sides have great marinas and lots of shoreside attractions – you can leave your boat here and take a ferry back to Seattle

Brownsville 14 NM – funky old marina with not much on shore but a very secluded and quiet setting with nice anchorage outside

Port Ludlow 27 NM – resort marina with typical shoreside stuff including golf. There is excellent and secure anchorage outside marina

There are at least another 25 anchorages and marinas within 30-miles of Seattle.

Puget Sound Sailing Characteristics

- Strong Tidal Currents (2 – 5 knots)
- Big tides 12’ to 15’ many days a month
- Usually cool air (the water is always 50 degrees) and a light jacket is needed even most of the summer days
- Light and flukey winds because they are redirected by all the hills and mountains that surround the Sound
- Few boats in sight when more than 5-miles from Seattle (Elliot Bay or Shilshoe)
- Lots of fast containership traffic
- Lots of tugs and tows
- Never hot and seldom cold
- Damp and misty 250 days a year
- Wet and Windy 60 days a year
- The wind is ALWAYS either from dead ahead or dead astern

I’ve sailed all over the continental US, Mexico, Virgin Islands and consider the Salish Sea (Puget Sound and BC waters) the best and most interesting cruising area.

Your motorsailor / motorsailor attitude is perfect for Puget Sound! My boat has a wide variety of light air sails and I will sail anytime I can keep the boat moving 2.5 knots or better toward my objective. My long term records show I sail less than 50% of the time in Puget Sound.

July through September is clear skies, temps in the 70's and a N to NW wind at 10 or so knots most days.

October is very foggy and cool with dead calms most days. However, there will be several monumental storms later in the month with 30+ knot winds and heavy rain.

November thru March is wet about half the days and cloudy (NO Sun) 25 days a month. It is very windy (SW 20+) for 12 - 36 hours every 5 to 7 days.

April and May are not as wet and will have significant sun about half the days. There are a lot of short strong storms coming thru and you can see 25+ knots for 5 - 10 hours about every week or so. The air temp will be 50 to 70.

June is hard to predict - the last couple years have been sunny and warm but I remember many Junes that were cloudy and wet every day.

I once determined that I could visit a new anchorage/marina every week and not visit the same anchorage more than once every 10-years when cruising from Olympia, Washington to the south and Nanimo, BC to the north.

Oly is about 45 miles (by water) south of Seattle and Nanimo is 120 miles to the north.

Feel free to contact me for more info.
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Old 18-06-2016, 16:04   #5
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Tacoma Sailor,

Thanks for posting such an outstanding and detailed set of notes on the Puget Sound sailing conditions. Excellent!

That post should be a sticky in the Destinations forum and/or posted in the Cruising Wiki too.
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Old 18-06-2016, 18:54   #6
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Quote:
Originally Posted by skwanderer View Post
Hi

Currently have a 44' motorsailer in a slip in the Bay Area, but am looking to possibly relocate to Seattle area. I get out in the Bay a bit for now (eventually more blue water), and the options are some reachable weekend areas like the delta or outside the slot. I do mostly motoring with some sailing, for now.
Anyone familiar with both areas that can comment on the pros/cons of each, especially wrt working docks for repairs, local gear stores (non-West Marine obviously, but other stores more like Svensens or Blue Pelican in Alameda), pricing and general support for boating culture? Liveaboard culture (something I'm considering long-term)? I'm also looking for a marina in Seattle area, so just starting the investigation. Many thanks.
Having lived, worked and sailed in both areas, Seattle so far surpasses the San Francisco Bay area for sailing/cruising, there is no comparison worth bothering with. I would still be living in the Seattle area were it not for how darned cold it gets in the winter and the incessant drizzle. Once one gets north, the weather improves but it is still colder than heck in the winter and the water is ALWAYS cold. Summer or Winter. If I had to choose between the two, however, and sailing were the determinant factor, it would be Seattle.

FWIW...
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Old 18-06-2016, 19:39   #7
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

There are well over 500 miles of California delta to sail and enjoy. It's more limited then the NW sure, but the weather is great gobs tons nicer. In the summer it's always sunny and warm (No rain June to roughly October). OK sometimes Hot and the sometimes blustery Delta Breeze. It's a fresh water fishing mecca.

Even the winters are nicer in the bay area. Though a winter storm is still a delight.
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Old 18-06-2016, 21:49   #8
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Personally I would do the Puget sound becides all of the marinas and great anchorages. There are literally dozens of marine repair places with haul out capability. Most allow diy work . Becides in the fall to late spring you can go snow skiing in the morning and sailing in the afternoon. My boat is in port orchard. Literally within 20 miles ( most on public bus lines) from 4 lakes that are open year round for trout fishing. They say sea level to ski level for a reason.
( sorry. SC best freshwater fishing I have ever seen is here)
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Old 18-06-2016, 22:19   #9
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Skwander, please do go to the PNW sometime. Surely there will be something for you. I've greatly enjoyed visiting SE Alaska where the fjords have snow-capped mountains arising out of the sea. Nevertheless, doesn't sound like you've yet to experience the San Francisco estuary with its many bays, rivers, sloughs, and islands as well as its much milder and less rainy climate.

Schooner heading eastward through Carquinez Strait, heading for the Delta:

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Old 18-06-2016, 22:26   #10
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

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( sorry. SC best freshwater fishing I have ever seen is here)
Well no lakes, well other then franks track and a few other wide bodies of water in the delta. Though there are lakes about everywhere too.

We don't have trout in the delta either, so you got me there. Of course we have Bluegill, Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Striped Bass, Crappie, Bullhead Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Shad, Salmon, Steelhead, and Sturgeon. For well over 500 miles of rivers and slough's. Actually it's closer to 1000 miles but only 500 ish miles are sailboat accessible.

Did I mention you can swim in the delta water in summer. One reason I enjoy it. Of course I like the delta most, because it's generally not that crowded with tons of out of the way places to drop the hook.
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Old 18-06-2016, 22:41   #11
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

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...
Did I mention you can swim in the delta water in summer. One reason I enjoy it. Of course I like the delta most, because it's generally not that crowded with tons of out of the way places to drop the hook.
Anchored in twelve-foot deep Mildred Island:

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Old 19-06-2016, 00:09   #12
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Tacoma Sailor,

Thanks for posting such an outstanding and detailed set of notes on the Puget Sound sailing conditions. Excellent!

That post should be a sticky in the Destinations forum and/or posted in the Cruising Wiki too.
+1

Did you catch the fact that TS never got farther than 30 miles from Bell Harbor?

I can say that the concentration of interesting and noteworthy places and events does not diminish for 1400 nm to Skagway, Alaska. The weather and sea states remain consistent year round from Lat 48N to Lat 59N. Sitka and Ketchikan will often be warmer than Friday Harbor.

As for maritime services, Washington registers over 200,000 pleasure and fishing craft, not counting CG registry and foreign flagged vessels with another 50,000 in BC. Somebody has to moor, fuel and maintain them, let alone design and build them. The last two AC Cup boats were built in Anacortes.

If you get a good cabin heater and a dodged or a full cockpit enclosure it's all available 365 days a year with only a mild accommodation for those pesky low pressure systems.

Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 19-06-2016, 10:02   #13
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Wow! why I love this forum. Thank you all for such helpful and informative feedback!
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Old 19-06-2016, 10:38   #14
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Your getting closer to my stomping grounds. The PNW is a great place for Motorsailers.
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Old 19-06-2016, 11:42   #15
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Re: Considering Seattle vs Bay Area

Get away from the big city/ Seattle Tacoma area and try Bellingham. Most user friendly harbor I've ever experienced from SF bay all the way to Alaska. Easy access to inside waters from Puget sound plus the San Juan islands and all of Georgia Strait all the way up to Alaska's Glacier Bay. Lots more affordable also than either SF or Seattle area. I pay $445 per month moorage for a 42 footer and running 2 electric heaters in the winter had only a $40 / mth electric bill.
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