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Old 20-07-2013, 11:03   #1
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Sailing Oregon Coastal Area

My husband is very interested in sailing. He is considering purchasing a small "starter" sailboat for lake sailing and eventually coastal in the Medford, OR area. He insists a small boat as he describes, 15 ft - 25 ft???, would be safe off the Oregon coast Brookings area but I am not convinced. Obvioulsy watching the ocean conditions and not straying too far would be necessary, however a small sailboat plus pacific ocean doesn't seem safe. Can the weather really be predicated to achieve safe sailing ? Can this be done given the boat size?

I would appreciate if anyone comments on my concern or would be willing to share similar experiences.

Thank you.

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Old 20-07-2013, 11:48   #2
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Re: Sailing Oregon Coastal Area

Hi, there,

I have no personal knowledge of that area, so I'll leave it to others, and just tell you that in 1983, my husband Jim and I took a 30 foot Sparkman & Stephens Yankee 30 to Hawaii and back from California. I believe that we were as safe as sailing can be; and the weather prediction is much better now.

You can usually trust weather predictions two to three days in advance, but longer is really (IMO) fantasy. And if you live in an unstable weather pattern area, maybe only for that day. If you keep a written record for a while, recording the f/c and what actually happened, you can get an idea how good it is for your location. If you do that, do sample all seasons.

There's a huge difference between a 15 ft. daysailer and a 25 ft pocket cruiser, so knowing what kind of boat you want to buy would help us evaluate the situation.


Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 20-07-2013, 12:02   #3
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Re: Sailing Oregon Coastal Area

I live in your area!!
About 32 miles north.
Have you looked into the Rogue Yacht Club Rogue Yacht Club - Home

They sail Howard Prairie and other areas. They also conduct ASA basic keelboat 101 classes. BTW- the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" potluck is tonight at 5pm for members.
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Old 20-07-2013, 12:46   #4
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Re: Sailing Oregon Coastal Area

A small boat is more than adequate for sailing on the Pacific. If I was going to spend any overnighters on the boat, would stay with boats towards the larger end and decked over. One type I wouldn't buy is a swing keel boat. In a knockdown, the keels can/will retract and the boat turn turtle. Get a boat with a fixed keel or keel centerboard.

Weather on the coast is created by low pressure systems, for the bad weather, generated far out in the Pacific Ocean. The weather people keep a close eye on these and have a really good track record for predicting the weather 2-3 days in advance. My first open ocean boat was 26' and sailed it throughout the Hawaiian Islands. 10,000 or more miles of experience, cruise to SoPac and a solo to Hawaii later in bigger boats, the worst conditions I've encountered were in the channels between the islands and that small boat did just fine.
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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Old 21-07-2013, 18:24   #5
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Re: Sailing Oregon Coastal Area

I am berthed in Astoria. It takes a special type of person to sail in the North Pacific with a small boat. I am not it. Currents and swells are a dangerous combination. More than once out there I have had to rely on my boat size (40 feet), a diesel engine and radar to get out of a jam.
I would rent a boat of the size you are considering, then take it out of the harbor for a few hours. Out of the twenty or so sailors I have meet that learned sailing on the Pacific, I only know of one or two that still go out there on a regular basis. None of them go out with a smaller (less than 25 foot) boat.
I've had this argument with Peter before, but this coast is not for the beginner to learn on. Stay in the bays and lakes with a boat of that size, unless you have the experience to know what you are doing. And by experience, I mean lots (years) of experience.
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