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Old 04-06-2014, 14:13   #16
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

If you go up the slough, just be careful when entering & exiting, especially the north end. I've seen a number of sailboats careening in the mud. Stay between the markers!
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Old 04-06-2014, 14:16   #17
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

IdoraKeeper - by 'slough' do you mean the Swinomish Channel? I guess that is an option now that it's been dredged again but I've never done it. Is it tricky?
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Old 04-06-2014, 15:50   #18
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

Brian,
Having done this trip in reverse twice this past winter, your concerns about W & NW winds concurrent with ebb tides are valid in Admiralty Inlet. Crossing the Strait from PT north, less so as the ebbing current velocities are generally less.

Note that you intend to do the southbound in one day, Monday?
The Slough might be your best choice for this very long day. Once entered near Anacortes, I have never seen adverse currents exceeding 1.5 knots all the way to Everett. With a good depth sounder and charts/GPS you won't have a problem. It is a bit scary seeing DS readings below 15' for a couple of miles. Both ends have been dredged in the past year and the equipment is still on station.

Enjoy your sail.
John

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Old 04-06-2014, 16:07   #19
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

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Brian,
Having done this trip in reverse twice this past winter, your concerns about W & NW winds concurrent with ebb tides are valid in Admiralty Inlet. Crossing the Strait from PT north, less so as the ebbing current velocities are generally less.

Note that you intend to do the southbound in one day, Monday?
The Slough might be your best choice for this very long day. Once entered near Anacortes, I have never seen adverse currents exceeding 1.5 knots all the way to Everett. With a good depth sounder and charts/GPS you won't have a problem. It is a bit scary seeing DS readings below 15' for a couple of miles. Both ends have been dredged in the past year and the equipment is still on station.
Thanks for the local knowledge! I'm actually planning to leave Friday Harbor on Sunday, hopefully back to Port Townsend, or possible to Langley via Deception pass or possibly the Swinomish. So the longest leg would be if I had to go through the Swinomish from Friday Harbor to Oak Harbor or Langley, so not more than 50 miles...still a long day though I think.
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Old 04-06-2014, 16:55   #20
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

Having done this section a few times I think if he just gets to the San Juan's before afternoon winds he should be OK. Tides however are everything. Try to time a slack tide out of PT and Cattle pass. I think Cattle is more important/narrow. I have never seen standing waves (like the ones on the Columbian bank) out in the Straits. I guess if conditions are right you may get small ones.
Funny how your perspective changes. I always take a sigh of relief when 1. pass Neah Bay and then 2. Pass Race Rocks and into this area of "calm" waters. Sure it can get rough, but to me it seems a lot less likely.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:13   #21
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

I started crossing from Port Townsend to either Friday Harbor or the south side of Lopez island last year. At first I was super cautious, and only went when the winds were forecast to be really light. Well that got really boring because I motored the whole way. The times with wind were really fun and sailing across is a blast.

The currents are really important, because waves aside, you just cant get in or out of the passes if you are going against them. I tried leaving cattle pass, and was running late, so i got there 2 hours after slack on a flood, I had the engine "floored" and was going 1 knot. Barely made it. But just time them so its slack when you leave Admiralty and you'll be fine. If you can't time it to make it in cattle pass there is a nice anchorage on the south side of lopez.
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:41   #22
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

I dunno from sailing but we always run this stretch northbound through Swinomish. Southbound we leave the Discovery Light or Plumper Passage and point the pointy end at Port Angeles. It can get nasty around Constance Bank but its only about 17 miles across so it doesn't last long. Ideally you want a flood tide for westerlies and an ebb for easterlies but that's not always possible and mornings are generally better than later in the day. Coming north we have always gone through La Conner. The south end is well dredged now - the north end not so much but there's lots of room there still. Right now the forecasts for this weekend look good to me but they don't mean much until they're less than 2 days out. One rule I have found that usually works is that if the long range forecast gets better as you get closer then you're likely in for a good ride. If the long range starts out good and goes to hell as the day approaches then it may make sense to stay home.
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:43   #23
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

Yeah, so here we are in Friday Harbor. It was a beautiful sail up, a little rolley coming off Point Wilson in some of the tide rip areas and we got smacked by the biggest wake from a tanker I've ever seen, but otherwise a great trip.

Unfortunately the forecast for tomorrow on the return isn't quite as nice. Currently W15-25 (25-35 each night either side of tomorrow) with 2-4 ft wind waves. I'm leaning toward waiting until morning and taking the advice if it's blowing 15 at Hein Bank then I'll go the long way around through Swinomish, otherwise we'll cross to Port Townsend, but I we'll be on a small flood tide all the way across if we go that way which may make the crossing more pleasant than an ebb with a wind against waves scenario. Any additional thoughts on that?
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Old 07-06-2014, 13:04   #24
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

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IdoraKeeper - by 'slough' do you mean the Swinomish Channel? I guess that is an option now that it's been dredged again but I've never done it. Is it tricky?
Yes, Swinomish channel. Not tricky at all really... just watch the markers and note that North of LaConner the red and green switches sides somewhere... check it out on a good chart.
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Old 07-06-2014, 13:06   #25
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

Geez....... I just realized this thread is from March! haha
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Old 07-06-2014, 14:11   #26
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

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Geez....... I just realized this thread is from March! haha
No, it's new, cruisers forum just uses a European dating system, so you saw 3-6. To us that was June 3. The poster is in Friday Harbor now.

And it doesn't look like a good forecast. I didn't look in too great of detail, but Port Angeles and Central Strait has Gale warnings, and the rest of the week looks pretty windy. Since you went the PT route to get there, maybe now head to Anacortes and Deception Pass.
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Old 10-06-2014, 15:44   #27
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca Advice

So an update...

The forecast Sunday morning for the Juan de Fuca wasn't that great, so I decided to go to the north of Lopez Island, through Thatcher Pass, and across to Deception Pass, still knowing we'd have to cross a little piece of the Juan de Fuca. The forecast for Rosario Strait was light winds, we left Friday Harbor at 0730, but by the time we were about 1/3 of the way across the wind started picking up to the high teens and the waves got steep, they were probably 2-4 feet with a couple bigger ones but they were steep and close together, so we got beaten up a little bit. I guess technically, even though we were officially in Rosario Strait most of the crossing, it's where the Juan de Fuca and Rosario Strait's merge...and so does their weather.

Once we were closer to Deception Pass things calmed down and we had a fun ride through being pushed by a 3-4 kt current and made it to Langley by mid-afternoon.

Overall, definitely a learning experience but also a good time. The only one traumatized was my dog who was definitely not having a good time in the waves.

Brian
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