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Old 05-05-2011, 14:09   #1
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Lightbulb Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Hey guys,

I am a 17 year old student living on Vancouver Island, and I am planning to take a year off after I graduate next year in order to see some sights and do something interesting before I go to university. I have a relatively small amount of sailing experience ranging from sailing little 14-16 footers all the way up to crewing while cruising on a family friends 24 footer and a 38 footer. However, I am going to be getting some ISPA certification within the next couple months, and hopefully some more experience, especially in some rough weather.

I have yet to get myself a suitable boat, but I still have over a year to find one and get some local experience.

I would like to travel from up here on eastern Vancouver Island, all the way to Baja Mexico; Mazatlan or possibly beyond if time allows.

If I leave in late June/early July with a crew of 3-4 sailing 12 hours a day and stopping nearly every night to stay in a marina or a protected anchorage along the western US coast, how long would it take to get to Mazatlan?

How long would the trip be on the way back if we take the same route back up the coast?

Could the whole trip be done in 5-6 months in order to be back in BC around holiday/Christmas time before all of the severe winter storms take place? I would also like to take a couple week long breaks while in Socal/La Paz.

Has anyone done this trip, and have any advice? Any input on anchorages/marinas or even anything would help me!

Any approximations on costs? I was thinking roughly 80grand (on the safe side) which consists of a decent bluewater 38’+ boat, diesel, moorage, food, paperwork, insurance, repairs, and likely outfitting the vessel with some new equipment.. etc.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks!
Keegan
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Old 05-05-2011, 14:59   #2
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

I did much as you're planning, after high-school graduation, Keegan. Myself & two friends took our boat - a vega 27 - down to Mexico, while my Dad was in Asia on a business trip.

Point#1: You can't day sail from here to there. Not knowing better, we attempted that & had an extremely fright-filled trip involving humongous waves & winds, were unable to make landfall in planned areas & gave a lot of commercial vessel captains/crew reason to retire. Especially around the Columbia River there are sand bars which increase wave heights dramatically. Better to stay 50 to 100 miles offshore, until past Point Conception.

Point#2: You can't get to here from there. Fortunately for us, my Dad came back early from his trip & had a message waiting from his yacht club about how I'd taken the boat out & never returned. He called the parents of my friends, who thought that their kids were in Desolation Sound & that my Dad was on board & that we were on his 35 footer. My sister ratted me out (thank god) and a call to relatives in SoCal tracked us down. My Dad had to hire someone to fly down & bring the boat back via Hawaii. Our punishment was that we had to crew on the boat. Imagine 4 people on a Vega 27 for two months+! If you watch the Youtube video of a couple who sailed a Vega 27 from Hawaii to Seattle, it took them 53(?) days. I'd think that my Dad's friend would have drowned us if he'd had to spend even one more day on board with us. Even these many years later, I wouldn't want to face the hell of beating up that coast.

I just wanted to point out that you need to do one heck of a lot of planning & reading & talk to lots of people about the trip, before you single-up.
As for $80 grand? that is a lot of money and will more than be adequate for a 30-35 footer, but it is impossible to give you even a ball-park figure, as everyone likes a different ball-park. Search every question you have, on these forums & others & ask a million questions.

Do it in 5 to six months? You don't want to be returning in November/December, that's when things really get rockin' in the PNW!

I'd humbly suggest that you do it in stages, keep the boat in Mexico until spring, then hit Hawaii & return.

All of this aside, if you can do it while you're young, do it!
Best of luck!
Mike
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Old 05-05-2011, 15:25   #3
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

Great story Mike, though, as a father my heart dropped when I thought of your father hearing you hadn't returned.
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Old 05-05-2011, 15:33   #4
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

As Mike said, the coast south of here isn't really a harbour hopping kind of place. Most people recommend heading out at least 100 miles offshore and heading direct. Otherwise you're on a lee shore with very few safe harbours, especially in a blow. It's about 800 miles to San Francisco. Should take 8 days, give or take, non stop.

It's really unfortunate that the first step out of here is such a doozy. You could consider going north instead, or buying a boat in florida or california and starting from there.

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Old 05-05-2011, 16:42   #5
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

Hey Keegan, here's a thought:

There's this thing called Baja Ha Ha that happens every October. The formal rally is from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, and last year included over 200 boats (my daughter was one of them). A LOT of PNW boats participate in this thing and often form their own little flotilla from BC/WA/OR down to San Diego. If you're serious about this and want to sail with an experienced group (good idea!), you could probably poke around local sailing forums and get lined up with a group heading south.

As far as getting back again ... yeah, that's a whole 'nuther story!
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Old 05-05-2011, 17:21   #6
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Thanks for the initial pointers and ideas guys. I have been thinking about doing this for a while, but I am just in the very early planning stages (as you may have noticed)

The only problem I am finding is time. As I am currently in grade 11, and I have a full academic course load scheduled for next year; finding time to do things like the Baja Ha Ha is going to be very tough for me. So I basically am tied down to just over a one year window. I will continue to let you guys know my plans as I read more, and try and work out the logistics a little more!
Thank you for your help and as always; criticism and advice is welcome!
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Old 05-05-2011, 17:27   #7
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Those of you in the know. When is the best time to take my new (to me) boat from Blaine, WA to Astoria?

Probably more accurate from Port Angeles to Astoria as I plan to do some port hopping and shaking down on my way.

Thanks in advance

Brad
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Old 05-05-2011, 17:33   #8
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Hey Keegan. Take it from a ski bum, commercial fisherman, builder, and finally retired English Teacher. Get your butt into and out of college first. Learn how to sail in the meantime but get the diploma under your belt first. You can do anything you want my friend but a degree is your ace in the hole and should come first.
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Old 05-05-2011, 18:05   #9
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
Great story Mike, though, as a father my heart dropped when I thought of your father hearing you hadn't returned.
Yes, it is good to look back, at the age of 48, on such stupid exploits & see the humour - and danger - in the situation, but I seriously considered diving overboard as we neared the RVYC by Jericho Beach! I once considered telling the story in more detail in the Sailor's Confessional section, but didn't want the never-ending label of "that guy". My Dad made me sell the boat & my car & grounded me, indefinitely. I moved out a few months later because whenever a girl would call & he'd answer the phone he'd ask her if she realized what an idiot I was! Everyone at his company heard the story, the family doctor & dentist, you name it. Even decades later I'd meet guys in the steel industry who knew my Dad & sooner or later they'd say, "Hey, aren't you the one who...". So, I rode the ragged edge of disaster when I was younger & lived to talk about it. But, if it were my kid...
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Old 05-05-2011, 18:09   #10
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Hey Keegan. Take it from a ski bum, commercial fisherman, builder, and finally retired English Teacher. Get your butt into and out of college first. Learn how to sail in the meantime but get the diploma under your belt first. You can do anything you want my friend but a degree is your ace in the hole and should come first.
Sage advice, indeed.
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Old 05-05-2011, 18:16   #11
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhorse74 View Post
Those of you in the know. When is the best time to take my new (to me) boat from Blaine, WA to Astoria?

Probably more accurate from Port Angeles to Astoria as I plan to do some port hopping and shaking down on my way.

Thanks in advance

Brad
This might help, but you might start another thread, as well, & folks should give you much better info.

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Old 05-05-2011, 18:26   #12
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Keegan,
When I left the coast guard, I sailed my Cal 3-30 around Vancouver Island. I highly recommend the North & West Coast of Van Island for getting comfortable with offshore. Every skill that you will require elsewhere, you will need there, but you don't have to sail for a week before finding a place to drop the pick & relax a bit. As well, you could spend a decade of summers on the inside passage & never get bored. We really do have some of the best summer cruising grounds in the world. Just a thought.
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Old 05-05-2011, 18:40   #13
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

Another thought; you could buy a boat in California or Mexico, sail it around, then either sail it back via Hawaii or ship it back. All of the quotes I received for shipping from Newport Beach to Bellingham were between $5k & $6k(30 footer).
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Old 10-05-2011, 00:48   #14
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Re: Teenager Wants to Travel from BC to the Baja

I was just gonna say pretty much the same - if your destination is an 'end of the road', then perhaps you'll be able to pick up a great deal on a boat there, and sail it the other way?
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:32   #15
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Re: Teenage wants to travel from BC to the Baja!

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Originally Posted by wristwister View Post
Hey Keegan, here's a thought:

There's this thing called Baja Ha Ha that happens every October. The formal rally is from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas ...
And San Diego is over 1,200 nm from Vancouver BC.
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