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Old 29-06-2016, 12:10   #1
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Puget Sound Currents

I've seen that in a lot of areas you can find back eddies close to shore that you can use when currents are running high in the opposite direction.

Is there a chart or site that would show location and times of current back -eddies in Puget Sound, or is this developed strictly by local knowledge?

I'm planning my first sail from Elliott Bay to Pt Townsend and am considering what to do related to tide and current.
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Old 29-06-2016, 12:31   #2
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

The current through the Pt Townsend Canal is out of sync with the Admiralty Inlet Current. This is probably your most important consideration. I have saved hours by using the canal. Mind the overhead clearance. I forget what it is, but check that out. Otherwise, most tide/current lookup tables have data for the canal as well as Admiralty.
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Old 29-06-2016, 12:52   #3
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

There are tidal current charts, with arrows indicating back eddies etc. I have some old ones from my racing days. Not sure if they are still published or not.
"Tidal Current Charts Puget Sound" North part and South part editions.
US Dept of Commerce.


But realistically, on your trip, you are in a lot of open water and likely just staying on course!. Unless you choose to go thru the canal mentioned, then be sure to time it as it runs pretty good thru there for a while.
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Old 29-06-2016, 21:11   #4
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

Port Townsend canal bridge clearance listed by several local charts is 60' at MHHW.
I have 53' above water and have never even been close.

The Hood Canal Bridge is an entirely different thing.
I went thru the extremely East end at a +1.5 and darn near hit, saved only by sliding thru the high spot between two transverse beams.

AFAIK, it's the only bridge in WA state which measures 50 ft. at the low East end not from MHHW from ZERO TIDE. We found that out only after after going through and calling their phone number. Even the idiot on the state phone number had no idea.
It took several transfers to get to the real information. "Oh, yes, we measure THAT BRIDGE FROM ZERO TIDE, not like all the other bridges in the state..." WTF !!

Coming back out a few days later, we called for a bridge opening.
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Old 29-06-2016, 21:47   #5
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

I found an interesting site that shows surface currents down here in Calif. Not sure if it is up there too, I'll check but here is the site:
hfradar.msi.ucsb.edu

edit: For me right now it appears to show info currently only between Richmond and Nanaimo, and then down the coast off Astoria.
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Old 29-06-2016, 22:40   #6
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

If I was bucking the current going north from Shilshole bay I would take the rhumb line from Golden Gardens to Presidents Point south of Kingston then hug the west side to Foulweather bluff and then take the rhumb line to Olele Pt north of MatsMatsBay then up to the canal.

My take is that regardless of current state in the canal it was faster there than in the main channel. The bay's at either end were relatively current free. I figured it was quicker to buck a 2.5kt current for 1nm plus the 0.25kt current for the other 6-7nm than to fight the 0.5-1kt current for the whole 7-8nm.

Besides it was fun the sail the canal if the wind was out of the south. I once went wing and wing thru there at a slow walking pace; 1-1.5kt. Took it as a challenge to beat the current despite the light winds.


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Old 01-07-2016, 22:40   #7
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Re: Puget Sound Currents

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Port Townsend canal bridge clearance listed by several local charts is 60' at MHHW.
I have 53' above water and have never even been close.

The Hood Canal Bridge is an entirely different thing.
I went thru the extremely East end at a +1.5 and darn near hit, saved only by sliding thru the high spot between two transverse beams.

AFAIK, it's the only bridge in WA state which measures 50 ft. at the low East end not from MHHW from ZERO TIDE. We found that out only after after going through and calling their phone number. Even the idiot on the state phone number had no idea.
It took several transfers to get to the real information. "Oh, yes, we measure THAT BRIDGE FROM ZERO TIDE, not like all the other bridges in the state..." WTF !!

Coming back out a few days later, we called for a bridge opening.
The Hood Canal bridge is an interesting beast.

NOAA charts show that the east span has a vertical clearance of 50ft and specifically says "at all tide levels". Same with the west span (35ft). Theoretically, at low tides, you should be able to squeeze out a few more feet by hugging the fixed pier/tower at each span (do so at your own risk...)

The "fixed" navigation spans are coincidal with where the bridge transitions from fixed pier supports to the floating portion. For example, on the east span, the east pier is fixed to the bottom whereas the west pier is floating. The road span itself is "hinged" to the fixed pier to allow for tide changes. This means that at low water, the eastern part of the span has an increased clearance and the western part of the span is more or less always fixed (I've always assumed that this is where they get the mimimum clearance from and it makes sense that it would be the same there at all tide levels). The middle of the span is somewhere in between. Ditto for the west navigation span (except there, the west pier is fixed and the east pier floats.

It's been a few years since I've transited one of the fixed spans but I could've sworn they had clearance boards at the water's edge showing the actual clearance at each pier. Maybe not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
I've seen that in a lot of areas you can find back eddies close to shore that you can use when currents are running high in the opposite direction.



Is there a chart or site that would show location and times of current back -eddies in Puget Sound, or is this developed strictly by local knowledge?



I'm planning my first sail from Elliott Bay to Pt Townsend and am considering what to do related to tide and current.
The following link is to a "Tide Prints" book published by Starpath (using data from NOAA) which graphically shows the current patterns in Puget Sound. It's just a sample though.

https://www.starpath.com/ebooksample...160_sample.pdf

There's also this book from 1977 published by URI with similar info, but complete.

http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/washu/washuc...77001_full.pdf
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