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Old 11-11-2020, 15:42   #16
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

We spent the winter (6 months) in Victoria proper. Great day sailing in the Strait or out to Race Rocks, and easy weekends to the San Juans, Saanich Inlet or Saltspring. Lots of good sailing and really not that expensive.

Boating-related services are a bit of a bother but not much if you have a car (we didn't) and you could always cruise over to Tsehum. Personally i found Sidney a bit of a slog to get to and enjoyed walking off the boat right into downtown Victoria. As mentioned, currents can be fun around Trial Island etc., but get the atlas or just enjoy getting it wrong and motoring against the current—we did a lot of that
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Old 11-11-2020, 15:47   #17
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Yeah, we love it here.

After 14 years of BC cruising, we made the jump, sailing to San Fran and down to the Sea of Cortez in 2013 (we had previously done Hawaii-to-Vancouver as well as Neah-to-SF as crew on friends' boats).

Realized during our first year in Mexico that (i) we prefer cruising in BC, (ii) we don't like heat and (iii) we missed the mountains and skiing. So, after two cruising seasons in Mexico, we shipped boat home, managing to get that Summer (2015) in BC cruising.

We especially love the Central and North Coast of BC (enjoy the Broughtons too), and were headed to Haida Gwaii for a 4th visit in May but then COVID-19.... Hopefully in 2021

(Broughtons and Desolation were still pretty good in 2020. Normally we stay away from most of Desolation in July and August - - too crowded.)
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Old 11-11-2020, 16:20   #18
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

I'd say that the inside of Vancouver Island (Oak Bay to Nanimo) gives you more cruising destinations than Vancouver or Victoria.

If you really want to test yourself stay based in Vancouver and sail in Straights of Georgia; that can test the best of sailors, however it is only 40 miles to the NW and you will be into some really wilderness areas with tall mountians, forests of immense fir trees, and few houses; stunning country(see photo).

If it's ocean sailing you want, sail west out of Victoria. The Straights of Juan de Fuca offer the challenge of the Pacific Ocean.

But that's all sort of tireing. Instead, you can keep the boat in Sidney, have lots of wonderful trips in some of the best cruising in the world, and plan longer trips for that offshore experience you feel you need. That part of Vancouver Island is a gateway.
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Old 11-11-2020, 16:29   #19
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

From your first post, it sounded like you wanted more "ocean-like" conditions - not sure that Sidney gives you that. There's Haro Strait, but unless you want to practice dealing with big ships, not the best place to hang around. Lots of upsides - close to Vic, boatyards, Gulf Is. but if you want easier access to fetchier (if that's a word) water, then you might want to look at Nanaimo or Campbell River.
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Old 11-11-2020, 16:34   #20
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

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Well, not quite Winter yet....

But definitely agree about ease of Sidney. For Victoria, I would worry about getting around Trial Island on some windy days (especially if wind against current!)

No need to worry as you don’t have to go inside it and can simply give it a wide berth to avoid any rips.

Or, if you’re coming from Oak Bay, go the other way through Baynes Channel - from memory we didn’t experience any rips there.
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Old 12-11-2020, 10:30   #21
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Sidney would be my choice especially Canoe Cove. Walk to the ferry or bus back to Vic proper plus excellent marine services. As mentioned access to Gulf Islands and San Juans is second to none. Lots of pleasant memories from that area.
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Old 12-11-2020, 21:31   #22
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Nanaimo may be a better choice for you than either Vancouver or Sidney. Easy access to the Georgia Straight, easy access to the Gulf Islands, easy access to the Sunshine Coast, and a long day sail in the summer brings you to Desolation Sound. There are good chandlers, and haul out faculties.

Ladysmith, Chemainus, Genoa Bay, Cowiichan Bay, and Maple Bay are all great places to keep a boat but require a bit more planning with tides/passes to get into the Georgia Straight. I have a buddy who lives in Sooke but keeps his boat in Ladysmith as it is a much shorter gateway to excellent anchorages and island hoping.

The best service on the island for a marine yard IMHO is Canoe Cove/Blackline. Not cheap but great work. Sidney is a great town, but costs are higher there than mid-island for most boat related things. If living on board, Sidney though would be my first choice or Cowichan Bay as they are both really pedestrian friendly spots. Sidney has good public transit access to downtown Victoria as well as the airport. If living on land with the criteria you listed in the original post and weekending on your boat, Nanaimo may be best.
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Old 12-11-2020, 21:41   #23
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Thanks for you input VanIslandGuy. Again - Nanaimo won't really be a workable option for me as I don't wish to have to drive 1+ hrs to get to the boat (from Vic if I was to be island based). Sounding like Sidney (while living in Vic) might have the slight edge vs. my current situation in Vancouver. Will keep that in mind while making my decision (some other factors to weigh as well).
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Old 04-12-2020, 23:39   #24
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

There nothing wrong with sailing in/around Indian Arm. It’s sheltered and you’re not going to get beat up like JDF Straight. Perfect place to practice sailing technique. Grew up on the BC coast waters. Dad and I circumnavigated Van Isl twice when I was younger. Now THATS a trip and very challenging. My dad was a ship captain but sailor at heart. He loved the challenge even though it scared the crap out of me. Prior to our first trip he worked my azz off in Indian Arm so I could get used to my responsibilities. I was only 13 the first time we made the trip. 15 the second time. Awesome adventure
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:34   #25
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Welcome, Driver, to this forum, and thank you all for addressing a question I've been asking myself—which port to call home—since I soon will be a newbie to BC.

Driver, as one whose seafaring dad taught his sea-fearing son to sail (up and down the coast of Maine), I can relate to your Vancouver Island adventures. I can hardly wait to get out there.

Forum, I have a new-to-Canada question: Is there a Canadian version of NOAA'S fabulous online chart viewer? The U.S. charts only go so far in helping me follow the conversation.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:41   #26
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

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Forum, I have a new-to-Canada question: Is there a Canadian version of NOAA'S fabulous online chart viewer? The U.S. charts only go so far in helping me follow the conversation.
I wish! Sadly ours is a pay to play system.
Just remember our charts are metric.

http://www.charts.gc.ca/index-eng.html
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:47   #27
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

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I wish! Sadly ours is a pay to play system.
Just remember our charts are metric.

Canadian Hydrographic Service

Does this link work for you? All my government nautical chart links go to a 404 error "file not found."
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:55   #28
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

Works when I click on it.

But it displays as: .charts.gc.ca/index-eng.html on my screen (had to remove the http... part to make it display as plain text)
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:00   #29
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

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Works when I click on it.

But it displays as: Canadian Hydrographic Service on my screen

Thanks LM. I had to clear some old cookies. Works now .
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:27   #30
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Re: Vancouver or Victoria, BC - Which is a better homebase for good sailing condition

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Originally Posted by NedX View Post
Welcome, Driver, to this forum, and thank you all for addressing a question I've been asking myself—which port to call home—since I soon will be a newbie to BC.

Driver, as one whose seafaring dad taught his sea-fearing son to sail (up and down the coast of Maine), I can relate to your Vancouver Island adventures. I can hardly wait to get out there.

Forum, I have a new-to-Canada question: Is there a Canadian version of NOAA'S fabulous online chart viewer? The U.S. charts only go so far in helping me follow the conversation.
If you are just looking to see the area the navionics online viewer works great: https://webapp.navionics.com/#boatin...kazkH%7C%7ClnV

You are in for some awesome cruising!
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