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Old 13-02-2020, 17:05   #1
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Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Hi everyone, I’m new on here and was hoping to get some advice. I have an Enterprise sailing dinghy, 13’3”, and I was thinking about sailing from Victoria to Port Angeles. I’m not planning on doing this for some time, I would want to get new sails and rigging. I know people have sailed small sailboats across before for the R2AK. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 13-02-2020, 17:28   #2
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Assuming you’ve been sailing it for some time in the immediate area, traffic should be your main concern. Make sure you have a vhf available and know how to use it. There was also a thread on this exact topic last year but they were going from Vancouver to Nanaimo I believe.
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Old 13-02-2020, 18:00   #3
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Personally I would not. But it just depends on a lot of things. The Straight seems to be off or on. Summer afternoons it blows like stink and huge waves can develop especially if the tide is against the wind... which it is a lot.
or.... The tides will effect you if the wind is light.
If you go in no wind the strong tides will take you more than the wind.
I'm not saying it cant be done, but for many people... no.
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Old 13-02-2020, 18:07   #4
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Waterproof handheld radio and GPS with Map. Kayak compass.
Consider having the new sails made out of orange fabric, or maybe just the main or even to just the top 3 or 4 panels of the main.
1 or maybe 2 reefs in the main.
Need to do this in June or July when the day is longest, leave at or very near first light.
Consider getting a single deep cycle battery and a trolling motor.
Install oarlocks and bring oars.
Consider how to do #2 over the side. Practice this is poor weather. Or bring a bucket.
Suction cup nav lights.
Reflective tape stripe all around the boat just under the gunnel. Maybe do the mast and boom too. I did this on my boat, tape from U-Line.
Foam blocks fore and aft to make the boat unsinkable
Packed food and water to take you into the next day
5lb anchor, 15' of 3/8" chain, 200' of 1/4" or 5/16" Cleat on the foredeck to tie off to. Big backing plate under the deck.
Tide tables & current charts, Copy appropriate pages onto waterproof paper.

Consider sailing to Pedder bay, anchoring there overnight and proceeding from there so it's a 2 day trip.

Are you intending to sail back?

Leaving Victoria time it to leave on the ebb and head SSW so you are getting West of PA, then the tide changes part way across, starts to flood and you are carried back towards PA.

If you try it the other way, head SE on the flood, the flood will be carrying you somewhat north and slowing you down some.

It's 25mi Inner harbor to inner harbor. Count on making 3-4mph tops.

Consider tying a small fender to the front of the mast at the top or maybe just above the forestay so you can't go turtle.
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Old 13-02-2020, 18:43   #5
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Welcome to the forum JAH9.

I'm curious about how crossing the border works when in a small vessel like this. I will be watching this thread with interest.

JAH9, have you thought about trying to find a second boat to cross with? A larger boat could provide escort at least part of the way, most importantly across the shipping channel. There may be a few on here willing to cross some or all of the distance with you. I'm in the area, feel free to see if I'll be around. I plan to do some crossings at one point also, but I'm in a bit larger vessel.
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Old 14-02-2020, 09:08   #6
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

In the right conditions, no problem. There is a race done in converted bathtubs even !!

See: https://www.bathtubbing.com/
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Old 14-02-2020, 09:21   #7
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

It is only about 17 miles breakwater to breakwater. It would be good to have handheld VHF, and give Seattle Traffic (ch 5A) a call and let them know what you are doing, they will advise ship traffic about you and you about ship traffic.

Watch out for the Ferry and Sea Planes leaving Victoria, and the Ferry when rounding the breakwater into PA.

Have a fun trip! I have a little Trawler I will move to PA this month. PM me when you about to leave.

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Old 14-02-2020, 09:42   #8
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAH9 View Post
Hi everyone, I’m new on here and was hoping to get some advice. I have an Enterprise sailing dinghy, 13’3”, and I was thinking about sailing from Victoria to Port Angeles. I’m not planning on doing this for some time, I would want to get new sails and rigging. I know people have sailed small sailboats across before for the R2AK. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Done this trip dozens of times in boats from 21 to 40 feet.
Best plan is NOT to have a schedule. Let the weather dictate when you'll go, even if it means sitting ashore for days on end.
In summer, it'll be flat calm, early morning then the wind will probably build later in the day, peaking at about 15 to 20 around 1600 to 1800, then it usually dies off again.
Wind against tide is a consideration but, on your intended route, is less of an issue than closer to Port Townsend. With summer westerlies, there's usually a bit of swell moving from that direction.
Whatever sails you have, make sure you can reef easily.
At 13 ft, I'd also advise a good set of oars and an effective rowing station. If for no other purpose, you'll need propulsion at both ends of the trip.
The Blackball Ferry runs across there so if you have a vhf they may be able to give you on site weather info.
Sounds like an adventure. Have fun, and good luck.
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Old 14-02-2020, 09:54   #9
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

You should not have any problems if you Have sailed your boat enough and know how to handle her in the chop. My boat is in Port angeles and I make that trip several times a year. The most difficult water is the first 3 miles out from the Port Angeles breakwater where the seas are confused due to the breakwater and the shallow water disrupting the normal flow of the seas. If you practice sailing out in this area a few times you will likely learn all you need to know for the crossing. In the last five miles The seas are smaller and more protected from the Beachy head point. You will need some form of motor once you are inside of the Victoria break water as they keep all of the recreational boat traffic to the right side in a fairly narrow slot because of the larger cruise and tour ships and the large number of sea planes in the summer. My slip is E-14 in the east marina if you want to talk more about it.
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Old 14-02-2020, 10:15   #10
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

You should have no problems so long as you are familiar with your boat and have sailed and practiced sailing her outside of the Port Angeles break water. This area is the most confused part of the whole passage for about 3 miles and then the seas become more regular. The last 5 miles the seas smooth out and are reduced because they are protected from Beechy Head point. You will need some kind of small motor or even oars for rowing when you enter the Victoria channel as all of the small boat traffic is contained to the right side to allow for all of the sea planes and tourist boats in the center of the channel. It would be better to choose a time when the tide and current sequence is smaller so that you are not fighting a 3 knot cross current. My slip is E-14 in the east marina in Port Angeles if you want to talk more about it.
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Old 14-02-2020, 11:03   #11
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

JAH9:

Pedder Bay Marina has a launching ramp. I assume you keep your Enterprise on a trailer. From PBM till you clear Race Rocks is about 4NM, the first two on a rhumb line of 130º and the second 2 on a rhumbline of 170º. As I write, it is blowing 20Knts from 256º which probably means that the wind is curling around Cape Calver. In the inner part of Pedder Bay you would no doubt have the deflected wind right on the nose and from Cape Calver to Race Rocks you would be on a tight starboard close reach. An enterprise CAN be sailed in fairly rough conditions, such as I would expect they will be this morning, but it requires extreme caution and your VOG will be drastically reduced. I would expect to make no more than 3knts OG beating out of Pedder Bay,and therefore I would expect the elapsed time from the Marina to Race Rocks to be 2 hours. Depending on the tide, it might be more.

From RR to the end of the mole at Port Townsend is 11NM on a rhumbline of 150º. You would therefore be on a beam reach which is the POS where the Enterprise is happiest. You should be able to do 5knts OG so this leg should take about 2 hours if you have crew. If you are singlehanding you will have to slow down and be very, very cautious lest you should dump 'er. I would think that singlehanding in 20knts on the beam you should allow 4 hours minimum, and it will be exhausting, worrisome work.

Remember that the Enterprise is designed as a TWO MAN dinghy. The crew is needed for ballast, and trying to singlehand in the conditions you would find on this leg of the sail this morning would IMO be dodgy indeed.

From the end of the mole at PT to the marina is about 2 ½ NM. In behind the mole it would be fairly easy going , and the wind will have been deflected by the shore so it's likely that you will be beam reaching on that leg also, on a rhumbline of 260º. So ½ hour sshould do it.

I think you will find that the crossing will amount to a full working day of unrelenting focus and concentration. Bear in mind that you will be crossing major shipping lanes and that dinghies are really, really hard to see from a grow-up ship's bridge! It is YOUR job to stay outta the way of the commercial boys!

Someone mentioned “#2s over the rail”. Let me tell you, as a former Enterprise sailor, you cannot do that in 20 knots of wind! Even if you could, you wouldn't be able to do “the paperwork”! Your tiller and your mainsheet will demand your total attention every second of the crossing. If you are singlehanding and having to tend the headsl sheets too, the actual demands of the boat might scare you poopless, but you won't be pooping over the side :-)!

I you are going to have a go at this trip we can talk about what the tides will do to you once we are closer to your departure date.

Here is a nice little clip of an Entreprise sailing in similar waters, in a similar wind, to what we have today at the inner end of the Straits of Juan deFuca.




All the best

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Old 14-02-2020, 11:54   #12
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
JAH9:

Pedder Bay Marina has a launching ramp. I assume you keep your Enterprise on a trailer. From PBM till you clear Race Rocks is about 4NM, the first two on a rhumb line of 130º and the second 2 on a rhumbline of 170º. As I write, it is blowing 20Knts from 256º which probably means that the wind is curling around Cape Calver. In the inner part of Pedder Bay you would no doubt have the deflected wind right on the nose and from Cape Calver to Race Rocks you would be on a tight starboard close reach.
......

''''''''''''


All the best

TrentePieds
I erased a bunch of good information from the quote, for brevity. One comment about getting out of Pedder bay in these West wind conditions. You might find that the wind is still blowing you out of the bay since it funnels through Matheson Lake from Sooke Basin. I've hunkered down in Pedder Bay in a West wind and it was definitely trying to blow me back out of the bay. Worth having a look in these conditions since an hour or two either way can make a large difference in what the currents are doing out around Race Rocks. Calling the Pedder Bay marina or even trying to contact that private school (they sail dinghies) for information might be easiest.
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Old 14-02-2020, 15:10   #13
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Thank you, Seagirt :-)

Yes, you are right - I'd forgotten what Mt.McGuire and the hills north of Sooke can do to the wind patterns when there is any south in a westerly :-).

Cheers
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Old 14-02-2020, 16:15   #14
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

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Originally Posted by rbk View Post
Assuming you’ve been sailing it for some time in the immediate area, traffic should be your main concern. Make sure you have a vhf available and know how to use it. There was also a thread on this exact topic last year but they were going from Vancouver to Nanaimo I believe.
There was such a thread - and I thought it was a foolish idea, for a number of reasons. That said, a Victoria to Port Angeles crossing is still kind of foolhardy, but is more do-able than the cross-Georgia plan. The wind is a little more predictable, the traffic is more predictable, and there's no need to go through a narrow pass in the dark. June and July there is frequently a persistent band of fog on the American side, so that is a consideration. The suggestion to leave from Pedder Bay has some merit, but the eddies around Race Rocks might be concerning, and he'd be crossing at the termination (intersection) of several traffic lanes - the OP might consider leaving out of Sooke instead. If determined to do it, take VHF and cell phone (waterproof cases are cheap) and contact both Victoria and Seattle traffic and advise them of the plan and route before heading out. Don't forget the passport.
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Old 15-02-2020, 06:44   #15
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Re: Strait of Juan de Fuca in an enterprise

Since the Enterprise is an open boat I would just add floatation, floatation, floatation! Then I would practice a capsize and self-rescue in rough seas and wind at a shallow water beach, just so you know what to do in a worst case. Wear a good dry suit as well. And after that if you still want to go, you'll be prepared. Also talk with some of the folks having done the R2AK leg in small boats can also help with your boat safety prep. Have fun!
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