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Old 27-12-2021, 07:32   #61
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Vancouver winter sailor here...


First, yes, definitely make sure that your mechanical stuff is in prime condition - motor, heater, steering. Oil and grease gets thicker in cold weather, so all your mechanical stuff is more likely to pack up.


Be ready for ice. You can get ice even in above-freezing temperatures.


Expect that you'll be using your engine and heater a LOT. This means extra fuel. usage.


I did a fast passage plan for worst case distances -> Olympia to Vancouver, with stops at Shilshole, Anacortes, Point Roberts (all U.S. ports, so no need to do immigration on them - then get your COVID test in Point Roberts or Anacortes, wait at Pt. Roberts for result, and blip up to Vancouver). Those are going to be some pretty long days in very very cold weather. Averaging 5 knots, those are 12 hour days.


Bring plenty of water and make sure your propane is topped up and working. You'll want plenty of hot drinks. I bring instant Cocoa for flavour, but even just plain hot water is important to keep your internal temperature up.

As others have said, do your best to stay out of the wind as much as possible, though even in the wind, it's doable, especially if you have someone to trade off with.

Bring chemical hand warmers. I usually put one in each glove AND one in each boot... and sometimes one down my shirt as well.

Companionways and hatches, if open, spill almost all your warm air out. HOWEVER, the conundrum is that if you keep your boat closed up tight, then propane combustion plus exhalation will be increasing the humidity inside and that can cause a lot of condensation. So, you'll have to find the happy median that works for you.


Bring extra socks and at least one extra pair of gloves each. I usually put my extra socks (and other extra clothing) in the engine room so that they are warm and snuggly when I have to change into them. Seems I'm always cold when I have to change clothes, so the additional warmth is nice.



Ski goggles are great. I prefer the untinted ones that I can put a pair of sunglasses underneath if necessary. Tinted Ski goggles can be a big problem if you're trying to motor along at night.

I suppose it can come down to the usual cold weather precautions:

  1. Stay dry
  2. Stay warm
  3. Keep your energy up
  4. Stay hydrated
and understand that equipment usually picks the most inopportune time to break, so be good to it!
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Old 27-12-2021, 07:57   #62
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Lots of great tips here. When you cross SJD you need to be prepared for anything. We do our best to pick good weather windows and still get wet.


Our most recent passage was from SJI to Puget Sound a week ago and being from CA I learned two new things the hard way-


1. Most "waterproof" gloves are water "resistant" on the outside with a waterproof liner inside. When the water soaks into the outside of these gloves in cold weather sailing (especially in the wind) your hands will FREEZE. Not from being wet, from from the cold water. Best solution I've found has already been mentioned- rubberized outer glove like the fishermen wear (I like the Glacier Glove which is warmer than just a rubber glove), oversized so you can wear a pair of warm gloves inside (fleece, etc, made for warmth). We have heated gloves, which are "meh."


2. Protection on the windward side is a game changer. A wise previous post mentioned a tarp, which might work if you plan ahead for the size and how to attach it. Will be noisy and probably unpleasant, but it's more unpleasant to be exposed to cold wind made colder from wind chill. We have a full enclosure that we don't use most of the time (we LIKE being outside) but on this passage we installed the two panels on the windward side and what was a wet, freezing cold, unpleasant experience became much more bearable.
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Old 27-12-2021, 09:13   #63
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Crabbing season starts first week on January---so there will be traffic. The US coast guard will be on alert too.

[QUOTE=Don C L;3541029]I might look for a tarp(s) to cover the windward side under the bimini. Is it just overcast calm and drizzly or are storms cells forecasted to come through?
One thing's for sure, it probably won't be crowded out there![/QUOTE]
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Old 27-12-2021, 09:49   #64
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

For those following this, it is 18F here on southern Vancouver Island right now, 1000 Dec. 27th.
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Old 27-12-2021, 09:55   #65
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Have a wonderful trip. Great boat. My two cents for great trip:
Wait for proper weather windows. Whatever forecast is add 5 knots and then decide if you would still go that day.
Be SURE your diesel will run.
Have extra fuel filters- lots. They are cheap and don’t go bad. Be sure you know how to change and bleed air out of system before leaving.
Make sure your wife is having fun. Bad experience at this stage might sour boat.
Call ahead to marinas to see what services open. Not all will have fuel dock open or restaurants.
Stay warm. Use autopilot but watch for logs and ocean junk.
-34 here today so could be colder for you
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Old 27-12-2021, 09:56   #66
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
For those following this, it is 18F here on southern Vancouver Island right now, 1000 Dec. 27th.
-12°C in Vancouver where Pelagia is berthed (seawater a balmy +7°C, thankfully).

-22°C here in Whistler (too cold for us to ski....)
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:04   #67
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

For this kind of sailing, do water systems & heads run risk of icing/need to be emptied and winterized?
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:47   #68
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Heck, reading the thread, you’d think you were sailing to the Antarctic….
- this is God’s country for cruisers……along most of the route there’s an anchorage around every corner, and most of the route can be run amongst islands in protected conditions. Coastguard radio coverage is excellent, as are response times - if you/wife can supply accurate gps coord.
Just be patient, pick your days, and it’ll be great cruising.
Yep, cover up.
Yep ensure you have plenty of hot drinks on hand, (fill a couple thermos before you leave)
If you have a diesel heater you are golden! Take lots of fuel…..you will want to run that steady.

Your dock lines will likely be frozen stiff - expect to take extra time undoing them. Winds are mostly from behind for a couple days, then will likely spin. Ignore Windytv/Predictwind type programs inside Vancouver Isld - good offshore, but not in here. Govt marine forecasts are as good as it gets.
I’d prepare to motor lots, work the tides, and enjoy a beneficial wind if it happens. Stick inside the islands as much as possible, then pick your day to cross over to Vancouver.
Getting a PVR test will be the biggest challenge - Canadian border doesn’t accept rapid tests & there is no PVR provider in Anacortes; closest I was able to find was Bellingham, and you need to book ahead of time……bringing my new boat home early Jan from same area, thinking to enter via Sydney.

Don’t rush, and it’ll be a beautiful cruise.
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:53   #69
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc1409 View Post
For this kind of sailing, do water systems & heads run risk of icing/need to be emptied and winterized?
Nope. If the inside of the boat is comfortable for the wife, then all the plumbing will be fine. Exception might be any deck showers/anchor wash downs.
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:59   #70
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nofacey View Post
.................
.........................


Ignore Windytv/Predictwind type programs inside Vancouver Isld - good offshore, but not in here. .......
.................
..............

I have found windyty to be very good inside the islands, too, but you have to zoom in, they catch local oddities quite well. Haven't used predict since I sailed up the coast from SF in 2016, so can't say.
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Old 27-12-2021, 13:45   #71
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

I'm not familiar with the waters you will be sailing, or if the trip will be primarily motoring or sailing hard in heavy air. I'm assuming not since you are talking about marinas every night. I've moved boats when it was below freezing, and found my typical poly underwear, heavy shirt, pants, fleece and foul weather gear simply not up to those temperatures. I've had much better luck staying warm on cold passages with a set of inexpensive insulated coveralls. Not very nautical, but as long as you're not taking buckets of water down your back it will keep you warm. When we arrived in south Florida two years ago, I took them off the boat and donated them. Also be prepared for frozen lines in the morning. You may have to heat water to get them off the cleats.
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Old 27-12-2021, 15:00   #72
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

I'm guessing you've already done it. But I live in Bham where my boat lives, and am in North Vancouver for the month where my partner lives. I sail in Winter a fair amount - prefer it in some ways.

My main advice would be to schedule your Covid test at Walgreens on Meridian in Bellingham. You will need to plan at least five days in advance. Alternatively, You can get a PCR test on less notice and with 24 hour results at the Bham airport site - but it costs about $125 USD. I would consider going to Blaine to dock - they have plenty of transient slips available right now and it will save you at least a day once your test results are back and increase flexibility. Take an Uber or Blue Taxi from Blaine to Bham, or catch a ride to do the PCR tests in Bham. It will cost you about $20 each way, but then your whole crew can go at once and again, simplifies the timing. Once you have your test results you can skip across to White Rock or Abbotsford in a few hours and you have done the complicated part. Putting the boat in Blaine has the advantage that if something comes up - like a positive PCR -you can leave the boat in Blaine and walk to the border and catch an Uber as needed. You can also walk to Peace Arch park and meet people from Canada if needed. Unfortunately, BC just changed the rules, so you can no longer do the free 72 hour pass nor (absurdly) use a BC test to return to Canada in 72 hours. - if you could I would come down and crew.

Weather-wise, other than watching for Gale Warnings or SCAs, I wouldn't over-think it. You'll have at least 24 hours notice of any major weather changes and the current Arctic-Freeze from the Frasier Valley is going to be here all week. If you have a AP, dodger, and an engine, (and heater) you'll be fine. I would use the motor a LOT. It will keep things warm, keep your batteries charged, and be fastest. And it will keep you off a potentially iced deck and out of the water. If you do go on deck, ALWAYS have a vest and a tether on. You have about 30 minutes of muscle function if you hit the water.

If you go via Bham or Anacortes, Eagle Harbor on Cypress is about 4 hours away and a good staging point to go north - very protected. It has mooring buoys and no one will be checking or caring if you pay. If you have more time from Bham, head up Hale's Passage (Do Not cut through what appears to be open water at high tide north of Portage Island) and go to Blaine (about 6 hours). If you opt to skip Bham and Blaine, Echo Bay on Sucia is very protected and should also have mooring buoys. Go deep into Echo Bay if you have any concerns of winds. From there the next stop is Canada - I haven't crossed by boat during Covid, so not sure what the requirements are or if you can do the crossing by phone. Last note.:Last I heard, Point Roberts had many slips available, and that would let you cross easily if you need to park the boat for whatever the reason and they would welcome the business.

One a positive note - Bring a camera. The views will be gorgeous.
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Old 27-12-2021, 16:29   #73
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Lots of good advice - don't have a lot to add, but I am experiencing this weather right now.

I have my boat on a dock here in North Vancouver, and have just been dealing with some small issues on the boat. This cold spell is really unusual for us, and I notice that lots of things are frozen up solid.

I have a heater in the cabin so that is OK. Batteries really don't like to function well in this cold, so I agree with the person who suggested keeping them charged up and using the motor as much as possible. One of mine was totally flat, and when I went to open the hatch to the battery compartment I couldn't.

Also the suggestion to just do a shakedown and test everything as much as possible...
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Old 27-12-2021, 16:36   #74
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

The OP hasn't been here since the 21st., that was 6 days ago.
Barring anything unforeseen they're probably already home.
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Old 27-12-2021, 16:45   #75
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Re: Who Winter Sails Subzero?

Quote:
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The OP hasn't been here since the 21st., that was 6 days ago.
Barring anything unforeseen they're probably already home.
Good point - hopefully the OP will check in in that case and let us know how it went...
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