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Old 19-03-2011, 12:19   #16
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

As a kid growing up on the west coast of Vancouver Island one learns pretty quick the dangers of fast water. Any where the land narrows can be prove to be dangerous, not just with the whirlpools and rapids, but with the debris that remain captured in these fast moving waters and don't reveal themselves til slack tide. I've seen 100' foot tugs sink in 40 seconds in the Desolation sound area where 4' diameter deadhead torpedoed itself through the bottom of the steel hull and out the top of the wheelhouse launched only from the power of the water.
I spent a lot of time around the Skookumchuck Narrows or to others Sechelt Rapids, a sinister stretch of water that continues to claim lives every year. Spring tides produce 15 - 17' tidal bore waves that can sink pretty much anything. Waiting is the nature of sailing and I will categorically state that my days of white knuckled, sweat on the brow with the hair on the back of my neck curled up passages like the "Narrows" are now in my past.
Attachment 25216
Local knowledge knows the way through. Many see this and think it's safe...
Attachment 25217
That whirlpool is over 100' across, good luck with that.
Attachment 25218
Yes those are people standing on the point.
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Old 19-03-2011, 13:44   #17
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

I can completely agree with Capt Phil. There are a lot of dangers transiting rapids in the Pacific Northwest so asking for local advice is a priority. Log booms and barges are always a concern because of the tow lines that are hidden under the water. There is nothing worse than meeting a log boom that forces you into a backeddy, only to find that you are now gong hull speed plus the eddy speed, out of control into a rock face. Sailboats don't have brakes.

I do wait for the slack water. That has the disadvantage in that so does everyone else and you then get a really busy waterway. And then there is always the very large gin palace with fully tinted windows that goes through at maximum wash speed that sets up standing waves that sends blue water water over all the small boats. I hate wet sleeping bags.

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Old 19-03-2011, 15:36   #18
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

There are passages and there are passages. I'm in complete agreement with Seahunter that there are bodies of water out there that will earn your respect if you test them. On the other hand the bay my boat calls home is half way through a passage that the guides say requires local knowledge. It's not that bad as long as you use the current tables and check the winds and watch for the log booms. The size of your boat and its power makes a difference as well.

Not far from here is False Narrows. I have seen it listed as local knowledge required. Well, local knowledge is don't bother in anything that you don't want tangled up in kelp. I saw a fellow towing a boat through Gabriola Passage, against the current making about .5 knots and I later met him. He told the owner of the boat being towed had blown his motor after wrapping kelp around his prop. He said while they were creeping through the passage, against 4 knots the guy was on the radio asking why he wasn't going faster. No amount of local knowledge will help a guy like that.
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Old 19-03-2011, 16:00   #19
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

Hummingway

Which passage is your boat on?

I have always given False Narrows a pass.

Numerous times through Dodds and Gabriola.
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Old 19-03-2011, 16:05   #20
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

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Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
I've been noticing that all the cruising guides say you have to wait for slack water to go through pretty much any pass. As long as the current was with me and I wasn't going through at max current times, I would use the current to carry me along. I remember thinking Hole in the Wall looked too wild once and went and anchored in Octopus Islands til it slowed down. I don't remember being alone at a variety of passes when transiting with current.
I guess my issue is if all are branded dangerous in guides when some aren't then if one truly is dangerous the information is near useless.


John

My hats off to your expert diagnoses of Hole in the Wall! Personally I've never had a sailboat that had steerage with 9-10 knots of current on the stern in a pass less than 50 meters wide, but I've heard Cal 40's surf well, and maybe you have the motor to truck right on through since sometimes the passes at Hole in the Wall are going seperate ways.
Myself I'll follow Ports and Passages and throw you a lifering this summer if you need it. I'll be in the Octopus in August.
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Old 19-03-2011, 16:27   #21
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

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Hummingway

Which passage is your boat on?

I have always given False Narrows a pass.

Numerous times through Dodds and Gabriola.
I'm on Gabriola - in Degnan Bay. I've done False Narrows in my dinghy and it's still a pain!
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Old 19-03-2011, 16:45   #22
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

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Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
I'm on Gabriola - in Degnan Bay. I've done False Narrows in my dinghy and it's still a pain!
I have been passed your place a few times last year. I'm in Ladysmith.
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Old 19-03-2011, 17:01   #23
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

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I'm on Gabriola - in Degnan Bay. I've done False Narrows in my dinghy and it's still a pain!
My coastal nav instructor from the 80's lived there; John Bateson. I also know Tim Melville who bought John's dock.

Been past Degnan numerous times, have never dropped in.
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Old 19-03-2011, 17:07   #24
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

I'm not living on the boat these days but if I'm on the island I'd be happy to meet up with folks if they let me know they're coming.

Degnan has a couple decent spots to drop anchor. It's quieter then Silva but if you anchor in the wrong spot dragging can be an issue. Despite six weeks of high winds and torrential rains I'm still finding Gabriola a nice place to live and with some blue skie today I can even believe there will be better weather
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Old 19-03-2011, 17:11   #25
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

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I have been passed your place a few times last year. I'm in Ladysmith.
I haven't sailed into Ladysmith but I bought my Nature's Head from Brian Gittens who builds the beautiful Falmouth Cutter there: ChannelCutterYachts
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Old 19-03-2011, 17:21   #26
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Re: Do you wait for slack water?

The photos of the Sookumchuck brings back memories of commercial fishing out of Egmont for a number of seasons in the 60's. Still have friends who have lived there for generations (Silvey family) although most of the guys I fished with are long gone. Taking a boat out of Porpoise Bay down near Sechelt and through the 'Chuck to Egmont was always a humbling experience. We took our own boat back several years ago and slid in to tie up at the dock at the pub/restaurant against a 6-8 knot current. The guys on the dock didn't lift a finger to take a line, just watching and waiting for a screw up. We nudged up against the dock, dropped a line and caught a cleat off the bow of our DeFever 54 as easy as could be then inquired after a couple of locals I knew were still there. Ended up having beers with the bunch who were chuckling about a 'foreign' boat (US Flagged) who knew the waters. You just never know who is going to be aboard! Just a short run up Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet where tides can be problematic entering and leaving. If you are ever in the area, just ask at the pub or General Store where you can get some home smoked salmon and say g'day... cheers, Capt Phil
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