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Old 07-05-2020, 06:18   #1
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Possible move to Victoria BC

Hi,

My partner and I are researching a move to Vancouver Island. A few of our job offers are in Victoria. Since sailing is a big part of our lives on the Great Lakes here in Ontario we want to know a bit more about afordable places to keep a 30 ft sailboat within an hours drive of Victoria. We would appreciate any information or advice anyone may offer.

Thank you,

Chris and Sarah
Ontario, Canada
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:26   #2
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

You are considering moving to a sailing paradise. The marina options are many. Take a look at:
As a transient sailor from WA state I have stayed many times at the following places:
https://marinas.com/search?category=...&city=Victoria

https://vanislemarina.com/
https://oakbaymarina.com/
https://www.westbay.bc.ca/Marina.aspx




For places you can visit in the Gulf Islands and north of there, once established in Victoria:
https://ahoybc.com/chart-your-course/marinas-harbours/
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:17   #3
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

Chris and Sarah the list is endless!

If you just search "Marinas Vancouver Island" you'll see what we're talking about. Although we, too, are on the states side of things, we are actually closer to VI than to the next harbour south in the US.

You will love it here!
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Old 07-05-2020, 22:39   #4
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

There are many marinas between Ladysmith and Sooke. In a 30' boat I would try for either Sidney, Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay, Brentwood Bay, Genoa Bay, Chemanius or Ladysmith. Sidney is the priciest by far of the above choices. I would keep our boat in any of the above spots if I was living in Victoria.

I lived in the Toronto area for 10 years, but am from out west originally. The nature here is much nicer nicer, you can eat fish and shellfish from the water, (wouldn't do that on Lake Ontario), and like in Ontario there are yacht clubs with reciprocals that make finding a dock when locally cruising easy.

I would get Navionics for your iPhone/iPad with the maps for BC/Washington State, a good cruising guide to learn the anchorages, and start looking at the various marinas with route plotting in mind. On a boat that averages 5kts, I would prefer to be on the inside coast versus Sooke, or even downtown Victoria as there are many more sheltered anchorages/islands close by to explore. No need to add an extra 15-20nm of sailing to get to the start line for the popular cruising spots.

Driving here is a cakewalk compared to the GTA. The population of the entire island which is a massive land mass is about the same as Mississauga. An hour in the car here isn't nearly as draining as an hour on the 401.

Good luck in your search. I couldn't imagine leaving Vancouver Island for any other location in Canada. (Somewhere tropical with palm trees, now that's different.)
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:58   #5
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

For affordability the further north on the island you go the cheaper it gets. Anything within and hour or two of either Victoria or Vancouver is premium price. Go as far as the Broughtons/north coast and it can be down to $10/night $50 month but it is a 4/5hr drive. That said even premium prices are not silly. Out here you could cruise for a lifetime without using the same anchorage twice but watch the winters, storms on the west coast are nasty. Oh and you need radar, fogs can be sudden and in places frequent.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:04   #6
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

I moved from Ontario to Vancouver in 1996. kept boat at False Creek for the first year and then pt Roberts after that. On the island I think it might more. Swartz bay is nice and handy to sail from but it would probably just the same as Victoria. I think Nanaimo would be more reasonable and a great place to sail up the coast from. tides can be tricky but you will catch on pretty quick
I wish I had never moved back, just loved out there
happy sailing
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Old 08-05-2020, 13:03   #7
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

Sydney is very nice and costs more. I had my boat at a marina in Cowichan Bay which was pretty reasonable. The Gulf islands are a great cruising area
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Old 08-05-2020, 13:23   #8
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

For years we lived in Metchosin and kept Nanamuk at Pedder Bay Marina, 10 minutes from home and inexpensive at that time. In the summer the afternoon westerlies gave a great sail out into the Juan De Fuca past Race Rocks if we wanted a double reefed main / staysail romp in open ocean size swells or we could go port and stay in the lee of the land and enjoy the hot wind all the way into Victoria. Also it is a closer jump off point to go up the west coast of the Isd.
The down side, which applies to all the Victoria marinas is that to get up to the Gulf Isds you have to get past Chatham and Discovery Isds which requires slack or favourable tide so not always possible. Coming back you have to also tackle a possible beat to weather against 20 to 30 knots and 2 knots of current - not a relaxing end to an otherwise dream cruise. I therefore recommend Sidney and north unless you plan to liveaboard then downtown Victoria make sense. Nanaimo is just over an hours drive, unless there is an accident on the Malahat then forget it, and central to some of the best cruising in the world.
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Old 08-05-2020, 13:54   #9
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

The Oak Bay group has reasonable prices - at least it is where I keep my sailboat at Ladysmith marina. The nice perk, if you pay the year up front, is free access to the other three Oak Bay group marinas around the southern Vancouver Island.
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Old 08-05-2020, 14:17   #10
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

Following this Thread with great interest as we will be wintering as Liveaboards on Vancouver Island next year and perhaps longer, if we can acclimatise after 40 years in the Tropics.

In our case we are 65ft loa , don't really need power or water so even a strong all weather mooring is an option .

My sister has a year round beach house on DeCourcy Island, so a location convenient to sailing there is a plus.

How are the island marinas attititude towards lives boards.

What is the average monthly rent per ft?
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Old 08-05-2020, 14:18   #11
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

We are in Victoria and the cruising around here is incredible if you like to weekend, plus longer trips up to Desolation or the Broughtons, etc. We are members of Royal Victoria and love it--great community and a fantastic marina in Sidney (there's also one in town, but the location we are at cuts about 2-3 hours off most cruises to the local islands). Moorage is very reasonable and we found membership to be as well, though its age-based so ymmv.



There is a waitlist (took us about a year for our 29') but there's often sublets and summer mooring while you wait. Plus it gives us access to about 90 reciprocal clubs in the PNW, 3+ outstations, etc. We find it well, well worth it for cruising locally.



Otherwise from your list I'd pick Brentwood Bay just for ease of popping over to do something or day sail without having to drive the Malahat (totally fine until there's an accident and its closed), but definitely depends how often you are at your boat or where you want to be going.
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Old 08-05-2020, 14:23   #12
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

We have lived aboard in Victoria Harbour for about seven years, five years at Fisherman's Wharf, two at the Causeway docks in the inner harbour.

For full time liveaboards, best IMHO is Fisherman's. (GVHA). Good community, peaceful, close to downtown. There are also liveaboards at West Bay Marina (private), Coast Victoria Hotel (private) and Wharf Street (GVHA). We stay at Causeway (GVHA) under the winter program, which allows eight months at the dock, four off sailing. Wonderful spot, right downtown, but not so good if you have a job or one you can't take with you, as I do.

There are marinas outside Victoria that allow liveaboards but nothing within a convenient commute, but suppose that's subjective.

Of course, everywhere has a waiting list. PM me if you have questions.
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Old 09-05-2020, 16:11   #13
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

I've been considering the same. What is the situation for a US documented vessel with a US citizen owner doing a live-aboard there?
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Old 09-05-2020, 18:50   #14
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

We had an American neighbour last year, on a Chris White cat he bought in Washington in the fall, stayed here at the Causeway on the winter program, then sailed it to California in the summer. Lived here most of the winter, but did leave to visit home in California a couple times. Another American boat at Fisherman's Wharf stays here full time, but now that I think about it, one half of the couple might have dual citizenship.

Didn't pry into the paperwork, but don't see what the problem would be.

Contact the GVHA and ask.
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:02   #15
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Re: Possible move to Victoria BC

You will be moving to a great boating area with lots of marinas;
https://www.boatersbluepages.com/Mar...Island/areamap
The costs decline as you move away from Victoria and Sydney. Courtenay where I live is about a 3 hour drive N of Victoria. Access to the Gulf Islands would be great from Sydney N to Nanaimo, and the drive would be worth it imo for the improved access. Places like Ladysmith and Maple Bay are very sheltered in the middle of the Gulf Islands with lots of very nice anchorages ( and marinas) easily reached at all times.

We deal with a lot of ocean currents in BC waters, with passes that need to be timed for transit at or near slack. As noted earlier, Sydney S to Victoria has considerable current that at times can make for a very long trip trying to run against it, and wind against current situations can get quite rough. Access between areas is often complicated by the currents and needs to be considered. You'd have very little of that to deal with in the Ladysmith/Maple Bay areas.

I think everyone will have a waitlist for permanent moorage. The Greater Victoria and Brentwood Bay locations also have liveaboard issues - they're not very popular and there have been various attempts to severely limit them.
Have a look at the cruising guides to evaluate areas from your own perspective. Waggoner is a popular one;
https://waggonerguide.com/
and another is Salish Sea Pilot;
https://salishseapilot.com/cruising-guides/
There are marinas on various of the Gulf Islands but you'd have to use BC Ferries to access them and traffic can be heavy, especially in summer - wouldn't recommend them for permanent moorage if you want to use the boat frequently.
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