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Old 18-02-2024, 23:23   #1
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Seattle to LA in March

Hi,

I'm absolute newbie, trying to hear the voice of advice.

I have an opportunity to join a trip on sailboat from Seattle to LA in March as a crew member. I never sailed before, but sailing is the thing I aways wanted to try, the item on my bucket list.

Reading this thread , not knowing much, I now have some concerns about the safety of such adventure.

The boat is Beneteau Oceanis 390.

So, my questions are:

1. Is it a right place to ask this question? If not, please advise where should I post it?
2. Do you think it's sound idea, or it's a crazy one, and I should look for another opportunity in different time of the year to fulfil my dream? The thread above says don't do it in the winter. Is March is still considered a winter in this context?
3. What questions should I ask the skipper?

I consider myself adventures, but I like calculated risk, not stupid kind of risk.

Thanks.
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Old 19-02-2024, 12:55   #2
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxal1917 View Post
Hi,

I'm absolute newbie, trying to hear the voice of advice.

I have an opportunity to join a trip on sailboat from Seattle to LA in March as a crew member. I never sailed before, but sailing is the thing I aways wanted to try, the item on my bucket list.

Reading this thread , not knowing much, I now have some concerns about the safety of such adventure.

The boat is Beneteau Oceanis 390.

So, my questions are:

1. Is it a right place to ask this question? If not, please advise where should I post it?
2. Do you think it's sound idea, or it's a crazy one, and I should look for another opportunity in different time of the year to fulfil my dream? The thread above says don't do it in the winter. Is March is still considered a winter in this context?
3. What questions should I ask the skipper?

I consider myself adventures, but I like calculated risk, not stupid kind of risk.

Thanks.
I've made the reverse trip twice from LA to Seattle (uphill), and our weather window was April to June. Limiting yourself to 4 weeks seems a bit questionable.
It took 9 days (no overnight stops) overall the second time (52ft Island Packet). We motored at about 7knots. And watching the weather we took a one-week layover in Richmond, CA. Start start watching the weather now. Windy and Predict Wind.
If you can find at least a week or so where the winds are low or at least blowing in a favorable direction it might be ok.
One of the biggest challenges to this coastline is the limited places where you can safely anchor/tie up. Know where you can safely pull in if you have to, crossing bars isn't easy and not recommended. Know the tides and understand the local conditions as bars shift.
On my first trip (68ft trawler) came into Bodega Bay (easy) and Grays Harbor. Coming over the Grays Harbor bar was more than enough excitement for me (following sea, waves pushing the stern around).
Also, watch coming around points (Pt Mendocino comes to mind), especially if you are sailing, the wind waves and weather all seem to change coming around the points).

Sean
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Old 19-02-2024, 14:00   #3
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Might be a better / alternate trip for your 1st adventure. That is a potentially meaty undertaking.

As others will confirm, it will all be about weather windows, and they are harder to find at that time of year. North of San Fran is harder - most of the bailout ports have bars crossings, which you don't want to (or may not be able to) do in a storm.

Would I personally do it with a crackerjack boat and really experienced captain/crew? Sure, but also would view it more as a task than a pleasant cruise.

(advise here, and elsewhere, is worth what you pay for it)
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Old 19-02-2024, 14:22   #4
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

From that area - the first question I would ask is who is your skipper? Are you joining the owner on the boat or going with a delivery skipper? If it’s a delivery skipper you may want to google his name…….
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Old 19-02-2024, 15:10   #5
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

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From that area - the first question I would ask is who is your skipper? Are you joining the owner on the boat or going with a delivery skipper? If it’s a delivery skipper you may want to google his name…….
This is the owner.
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Old 19-02-2024, 15:42   #6
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Past delivery skipper here. I've transited this coast every month of the year. You can get some pretty big swells still, but when the wind isn't blowing, it's not bad. It's really cold at night. You can get into some sustained windy periods where the wind howls at 25-knots non-stop for days, though from the NW so over your stbd quarter.

You want to figure 48-72 hour weather windows with bail-out options. Greys Harbor, Crescent City, and some others. If the weather is favorable, you keep going. Otherwise you stop and wait. Could be a while before you get going again. But you're heading mostly favorable direction though southerlies are not uncommon north of Cape Mendocino. Even though the prevailing weather is out of the NW, you may hit some prolonged periods of calm with big, long period swells. Have diesel aboard for at least 300 nms.

Not a bad trip. Days are short and nights are cold, cold, cold. It's why I stopped delivering sailboats......
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Old 19-02-2024, 16:03   #7
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Yes, March is still considered winterish along the wet coast. Will be a cold and wet trip, no joy.

Seattle:

https://www.bing.com/search?pglt=43&...ANNTA1&PC=HCTS


Portland:

https://www.bing.com/search?pglt=43&...ANNTA1&PC=HCTS
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Old 19-02-2024, 16:20   #8
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Hm... For a newbie, perhaps not the gentlest into to cruising. Likely to put you right off :-)

This very day, as I write, I see that from Coos Bay (OR) southward the wind is blowing from the south, right along the cost, at five and thirty knots, though by about halfway to SF the wind eases to a mere 25.

Hard to keep the breakfast down in those sorts of conditions. And of course you are not likely to be getting any sleep. You are also likely to be cold and wet beyond belief, so you may well be of limited use on deck, just when skipper needs you most. Dimenhydrinate and the fetal position tend to mitigate the sense of imminent doom that many newbies feel in such conditions.

You wouldn't be getting any sleep in the "V" berth forrard. It'll be making like a demented elevator. The "queen" size berth aft will be downright dangerous to be in.

But this isn't March - not quite yet, so I give you this link:

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais...ry:37.2/zoom:6

Put a shortcut to it on your desktop. Study it each day henceforth to get a feel for what the wind patterns are on that notoriously difficult and dangerous coast. As someone said, there are very few "hidey-holes" and those there are, are protected by bars at the entrance, bars that even the local Coast Guard people treat with the utmost respect.

You might like to make sure that your skipper has a sound track record. There are many, including a delivery skipper or two, who don't.

Bonne chance :-)!

TrentePieds
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Old 19-02-2024, 16:49   #9
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

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Hm... For a newbie, perhaps not the gentlest into to cruising. Likely to put you right off :-)

This very day, as I write, I see that from Coos Bay (OR) southward the wind is blowing from the south, right along the cost, at five and thirty knots, though by about halfway to SF the wind eases to a mere 25.

Hard to keep the breakfast down in those sorts of conditions. And of course you are not likely to be getting any sleep. You are also likely to be cold and wet beyond belief, so you may well be of limited use on deck, just when skipper needs you most. Dimenhydrinate and the fetal position tend to mitigate the sense of imminent doom that many newbies feel in such conditions.

You wouldn't be getting any sleep in the "V" berth forrard. It'll be making like a demented elevator. The "queen" size berth aft will be downright dangerous to be in.

But this isn't March - not quite yet, so I give you this link:

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais...ry:37.2/zoom:6

Put a shortcut to it on your desktop. Study it each day henceforth to get a feel for what the wind patterns are on that notoriously difficult and dangerous coast. As someone said, there are very few "hidey-holes" and those there are, are protected by bars at the entrance, bars that even the local Coast Guard people treat with the utmost respect.

You might like to make sure that your skipper has a sound track record. There are many, including a delivery skipper or two, who don't.

Bonne chance :-)!

TrentePieds
If he left now, he could easily make Greys Harbor, hole upfor a day or two, then make Yaquina (Newport OR). Might be the middle of next week before he could round Cape Mendocino when life should improve.

Point being that moving the boat is taking a few nibbles at a time. Totally doable. But does need an experienced captain aboard.
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Old 19-02-2024, 17:02   #10
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

Not many places to put in on the wet coast.

Newport bar crossing video.




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Old 19-02-2024, 17:46   #11
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

My questions are how experienced is the owner/skipper and how well do you know him/her? Has this person ever done the trip? March is very early, weather can be very rough and as has been mentioned, potential harbors often get closed in rough winter weather. Why March? is what I'd ask the skipper.
This group may have some threads to help inform you.
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...t+sailors.html
For your first trip I'd wait until June, and even that may still be rough.
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Old 19-02-2024, 17:55   #12
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

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My questions are how experienced is the owner/skipper and how well do you know him/her? Has this person ever done the trip? March is very early, weather can be very rough and as has been mentioned, potential harbors often get closed in rough winter weather. Why March? is what I'd ask the skipper.
This group may have some threads to help inform you.
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...t+sailors.html
For your first trip I'd wait until June.
I don't really know the skipper well; I will ask more about experience and why March. From my questions so far, he didn't do this particular route, but did sail in Pacific Ocean.

Side question, how newbies like me find skippers willing to take unexperienced crew members? Maybe if I had plan B for how get into alternative adventure on West Coast, that would be easier for me to pass on this one. After reading these posts, I do have some more doubts now. Didn't make my decision yet though.
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Old 19-02-2024, 18:09   #13
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

For your first experience sailing, and offshore, that is definitely the wrong place and time to do it IMO.

Welcome aboard here by the way!

Maybe give a little more of your background, interests and location and some folks here can help steer you in the right direction. I'm all for adventures but better not to start with one where you kiss the ground when you make it back to shore and swear you'll never touch a boat again!

Or come on down to southern California, there are some great places to learn and the adventures are more manageable and predictable, so it still stays fun.
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Old 19-02-2024, 18:15   #14
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

By the way, some may say they have done it in March and it wasn't that bad. Sure, anything is possible. In general the weather can be rough and can change quickly that time of year, and harbors north of SF close when swells pick up.
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Old 19-02-2024, 18:17   #15
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Re: Seattle to LA in March

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For your first experience sailing, and offshore, that is definitely the wrong place and time to do it IMO.

Welcome aboard here by the way!

Maybe give a little more of your background, interests and location and some folks here can help steer you in the right direction. I'm all for adventures but better not to start with one where you kiss the ground when you make it back to shore and swear you'll never touch a boat again!

Or come on down to southern California, there are some great places to learn and the adventures are more manageable and predictable, so it still stays fun.
Sure, I will update my profile, but in general.

I'm 50 years old male, living in Seattle area. Moved here couple years ago from Florida where I lived for 17 years. Yes, I know, it raises eyebrows English is my second language, but I live in USA since 2000, so, it's fluent.

I have little bit of sailing experience on small dingy boats, specifically Laser and small catamaran. Those you can control by yourself. I rented them occasionally and sailed in local harbor in Florida for couple years.

I probably had better chance find a way for sailing in Florida, but at that time I was busier with my children. Now, when they have grown up, I'm more flexible. Also, I can take more time off from work now, which is important, because my wife is not interested in these kinds of adventures, so our vacation time together has to be something else.
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