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Old 31-08-2015, 08:49   #16
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

We sublet a slip in Bellingham for most of the summer and it fits most of your requirements. Nice college town with good vibe, good sailing in Bellingham Bay and not too far to head out into the San Juan Islands for some cruising. The problem would be in obtaining a live aboard slip there. They limit the number of live-aboards and there is a waiting list for full time slips. They would probably place you in Blaine first but that gives you priority when slips open up in Bellingham.

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Old 31-08-2015, 09:05   #17
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

I also vote inside Puget Sound. I'm not sure if you have to work or what though? Bellingham, Everett, even Seattle can be good. But for challenging sailing somewhere on or near the Straight of Juan de Fuca would be nice. Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Sequim etc.
Or in the San Juans, although marinas are limited.
In the Summer there is little challenging sailing (last Saturday excepted!) but there is in the Straight of Juan De Fuca as the wind builds thru the day to gale force regularly. Add to that timing the tide direction and it can be a great "school".

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Old 31-08-2015, 09:32   #18
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

Re Liveaboards at Blaine Marina. No real community of sailors. It's clean and security is good, there's one excellent boat yard - Walsh Marine.

Probably 70-80% of the boaters are Canadian since we live less than a half mile from the border, so it's pretty empty during the week. Our boat is out on the commercial dock (we're pretty big) so our neighbors are the big fishing boats and two oyster "nurseries". There is one supermarket about 4 miles away, but not a very good one, we go to Bellingham for almost everything - once a week for food, the chandleries, etc.

I would recommend Bellingham Marina, probably a better choice. If you were looking for isolation I would recommend Blaine, but since you want community, of the two I would recommend Bellingham.

That being said, the San Juan's and the Gulf Islands are a day sail away and I will put up with a lot to be able to have that right outside my porthole!
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:40   #19
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

I am in Vancouver write down from tomahawk I have a 33 foot Morgan out island I have lived on since 2006 I am moored at steamboat landing if interested contact me it's already done you could cruise anywhere you wanted to I've been working on it since 2006 getting it ready for Hawaii and around the world cruise now she's done and like usual life takes changes.
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Old 31-08-2015, 10:25   #20
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

Here's another vote for finding a boat in Canada right now given the exchange rate.

As far as US live-aboard towns, I've hear really good things about Bainbridge Island and Bellingham. Port Townsend's a nice place with a strong sailing community, too, but I don't know about the live-aboard situation.
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Old 31-08-2015, 10:45   #21
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

qbainbridge island is great there is a grocery store a block away from the city pier they have a good chandlery shop on the waterfront in eagle harbor I lived there for 3 months between the cheap city mooring balls mooring line and on the hook within walking distance of the ferry to Seattle the only drawback is they don't have a fuel dock there you have to go elsewhere for your fuel needs. But if you figure in the 3 months for about 100 at city dock and free on my hook well protected and only ten min from the sound and a short day sail to go to the San Juan's and the Salish sea. Good winds all winter just press warm for it
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Old 31-08-2015, 10:59   #22
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

If you are used to So Cal and PNW weather, you can probably go anywhere! For what you are planning, my own preference is a fairly long keel with a keel hung rudder, or a skeg hung rudder for the strength and simplicity. Something solid like the Rawson is a good choice although I can think of solid boats that might perform a little better. There are some nice boats for sale up in Seattle area, and you'll notice almost all have heaters (something you rarely see down south.) As an example I saw a Pearson Rhodes 41 for sale in Seattle that I drooled over. I think it sold for under 40k. The old Columbias are solid but I think the 38 is one of the better designs. In fact there is one cruising up to Alaska now that checks in to the Columbia Yacht Owners Yahoo group, you might check that. The Pearson 365 is a perennial favorite, but you may know all this already.
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Old 31-08-2015, 11:06   #23
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?


No one has mentioned the fresh water yet, that you will find in Marinas on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.
HUGE advantage over Salt Water like you will find on the coat or Puget Sound, when it comes to wear and tear on your boat.

The farther out you are from Portland the cheaper the fees. Like Scapoose .. about 1/2 of Portland Marinas. And its worth mentioning that Portland Marinas will be significantly less expensive than anything you will find in the Puget Sound.

Good Luck.
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Old 31-08-2015, 13:31   #24
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

Three marinas come to mind. The first two are NO Problem, for live a boards. All you are charged for is slip fee and power... The third may be the same, but I have only visited there... All three are accessible to the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Islands. Served by WA State Ferry System to the Islands, and Canada.

Anacortes, WA. (Cap Santee Marina) Great Marina, accessible to Downtown, West Marine, Markets, and Boat Yards... Do not know about Live A Boards. But always like to visit...

Bellingham, WA, (Squalicum Harbor Marina) Great Marina. Very Secure, Good Boat Yard. Marine Supplies for DYS, Places to eat. Pay for slip, and Shore Power, reasonable. I have a 36ft boat in 40ft slip, as they frown on overhangs. Markets and Mall and other businesses couple miles away.

Blaine, WA. (Blaine Harbor Marina) Good secure Marina. Places to eat one mile Plus away. Markets 2 miles away. Canadian boarder 1 mile away.

All three locations are about 80 to 100 miles North of Seattle, and if you need to work it could be a problem...

If you are still interested in coming North, You might look into the "Cascadia Sailing Association" It is a very interesting group. They also have a group down there in the Portland Area.
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Old 31-08-2015, 13:55   #25
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

No doubt the Sound is the best place as far as the sailing goes. It will also be the most expensive, and liveaboard berths can be hard to find. Winter weather can be harsh.

The coast is very wet and can have extreme winds in the winter. In the summer it is often cool, cloudy, and damp. Given the distances between harbors most sailing would be going out on the ocean and returning - not that interesting. Probably reasonable prices, but given the small communities there will not be many job opportunities.

The Columbia River, east of the Coastal range and west of the Gorge, will have the best weather. It is driest and more moderate in the west, such as St. Helens and Scapoose, and in the east will be cooler and windier in the winter (Steamboat Landing just east of I-205 will likely be the easternmost marina to consider). The marinas on Hayden Island are the most expensive (~$500/month all included) but also the best located, traffic notwithstanding. Good mass transit connections and bike paths downtown, but I-5 is a mess. Steamboat has the advantage of being in Washington, and thus avoiding Oregon's nearly 10% income tax if not working in Oregon. If you like being in the country or small town then look at Scapoose or St. Helens for lower prices, better weather, less congestion and still good access to Portland. One of my favorite marinas is on Sauvie Island but it is small and has a long wait list.

I second the Sauvie Island Yacht Club (full disclosure: past member) as a way to meet other cruisers and future cruisers.

nrs & usafdream: stop by when at McCuddys on Tomahawk Island: I live aboard in F6 (orange kayak on foredeck).

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Old 31-08-2015, 14:59   #26
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

Actually Greg I can think of at least a dozen marinas in this area that have liveaboard berths available some have many available. My marina I pay 140 per month plus power and a 100 a month fee as a liveaboard with no size restrictions. In port orchard. The bremerton marina is a lil bit more I was paying 220 plus the 100 liveaboard fee but these numbers are for my 24 ft islander. My dad pays 380 a month plus 121 liveaboard fee for his 42 Spencer. In tacoma
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:02   #27
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

well damn again! lost two long posts trying now..

It looks like Wa will be a nice place, although pdx isnt lacking.

thanks for all the replies, hope to meet some of the local pdx crews

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Old 31-08-2015, 15:06   #28
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

I am in the Everett marina. Ive been here a year now as a live aboard. I like it here and the facilities are pretty good. Its really quiet in the winter months and hustle and bustle in the summer. There is a nice farmers market all summer long on Sundays.
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:33   #29
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?


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Old 31-08-2015, 17:17   #30
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Re: Best PNW Marinas? OR coast? Seattle WA?

We spent several years living in Tomahawk Bay. The marina is nice, but security was a little questionable. Our car was broken into twice while we were there. The traffic is a nightmare getting on and off the island so commuting is difficult. SOME day the I-5 bridge over the Columbia will be re-built and it will wreak merry havoc for those living on Jantzen Beach. The last plan I read had the Safeway store going away, which would also add to the problems of living there.

We also spent a few years at the Port of Everett Marina. At the time they were very welcoming to liveaboards. We liked the ambiance of the place, the restaurants, Scuttlebutt Brewery, etc. They had major plans to completely renovate the area (Port Gardner) that got a little sidetracked by the recession in 2008 so I don't know how it's going now.

We're currently on the wrong coast living aboard on the Chesapeake, but when we head back home we've been thinking we'll start in Olympia this time.

Good luck,

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