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Old 20-10-2011, 11:35   #16
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Re: Sail vs Power in the PNW

Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I don't live in the PNW, but here on Lake Superior we also tend to have mostly light airs during prime sailing season. This means we see a lot of motor boats with sticks.

What season is prime sailing season ? Like the summer doldrums?
June to August here on the northern shores of Lake Superior. May to September is the typical season, although some tougher than me push things even further.

As other have also said, it often comes down to circumstances and attitude. As a sailor, I try very hard to structure cruises so I have no where that I must go, and give myself as much time as possible do get there. It's not always possible, but a lot of it comes down to attitude.
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Old 20-10-2011, 11:39   #17
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Re: Sail vs Power in the PNW

Yes there are those days when the sun shines and the water flattens out and all you have to do is enjoy the scenery. Beyond opinions of sailing vs motoring you need to understand the local conditions. In the summer as the land masses heat up it sucks in the marine air so in the afternoon there will be increased winds. The Straights of Juan de Fuca are often plagued with gales every afternoon until about midnight. If you are heading out to the west side, start in the middle of the night. If coming back in enjoy the sleigh ride but beware of steep seas on the ebb. The west side of Vancouver island, in places like Barkley sound, the afternoon breeze make for great sailing but out on the points there will be northwesterly gales. Again start early if making a passage along the coast.

On the east side, north of Nanaimo there is usually a northwest breeze unless a front comes in from the south. If a high settles in over the interior there will be outflow gales coming down the fiords of the mainland on a bright and sunny day.

In the San Juans, it's a crap shoot if you get wind and with the currents you‘ll use the motor. This area is definitely not in the trade winds but there is an excitement in never knowing what you're going to get.

Barry Swanson, Lopez Island
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