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Old 13-08-2018, 17:41   #1
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Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

I recently bought a 1978 ericson II, and am planning on Sailing in the San Juans and hopefully Canada. Regrettfully I work until October and won't be able to be on the water until then. I am wondering if anyone can give me advice on sailing during these months (From Seattle north of Vancouver Island)? The tides look pretty moderate, but I know wind can be pretty strong this time of the year.

I would consider myself an intermediate sailor. I used to race a Hobi 33 and owned a San Jaun 24 for 3 years. Any wisdom to offer to someone who hassn't been sailing in 5 years?

The boat has a full bimini for the cockpit and a diesel heater, so I'm not too concerned with temp or rain.

Any thoughts are encouraged.
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Old 13-08-2018, 18:26   #2
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

There are plenty of places to wait out bad weather and wind, plenty of anchorages and marinas all over BC, and, in October, a space is pretty much assured. The weather can be very nice at times, and, as you indicated, can also be cold and stormy. A close watch on forecasts, and you will enjoy coastal British Columbia a great deal. I'm not sure what you mean by moderate tides though, they can be more than 15 feet at times, and some currents can be over 15 knots through many passes. Make sure to carry and use tide and current tables or you will quickly regret it. Cheers, David on "Zen."
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Old 13-08-2018, 18:45   #3
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

The "basic" answer is: get out there as soon as you can.


I sailed our boat up from SF to BC in 2016. This is my second season. I've sailed as late as November, once in December. And we don't have your "luxury" of diesel heat. With that on your boat, the possibilities are endless.


San Juans to the Gulf Islands, then wherever you wanna go.


Read Waggoners. Plan ahead.


You'll be just fine.


I love it here.
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Old 16-08-2018, 11:46   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Thanks for the encouraging words. Can't wait to get out there!
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Old 16-08-2018, 12:36   #5
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

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Originally Posted by CameronEricson View Post
I recently bought a 1978 ericson II, and am planning on Sailing in the San Juans and hopefully Canada. Regrettfully I work until October and won't be able to be on the water until then. I am wondering if anyone can give me advice on sailing during these months (From Seattle north of Vancouver Island)? The tides look pretty moderate, but I know wind can be pretty strong this time of the year.

I would consider myself an intermediate sailor. I used to race a Hobi 33 and owned a San Jaun 24 for 3 years. Any wisdom to offer to someone who hassn't been sailing in 5 years?

The boat has a full bimini for the cockpit and a diesel heater, so I'm not too concerned with temp or rain.

Any thoughts are encouraged.
first off welcome aboard
Secondly I work all summer and cruise here all winter there are so many places to duck out of the weather you are never more than an hour from a bail spot . You will love the San Juans in the winter . ( no people to spoil the views) I sail out of port orchard.
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Old 16-08-2018, 12:47   #6
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Welcome aboard.
Fall and spring have the best wind. I have central heat and cruise all year.
December and January I don’t go out much.
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Old 16-08-2018, 13:06   #7
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Question Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Any advice on budgeting?

Any tricks for cost saving?

How much per month should I expect to spend (mooring out about 40-60% of the time)?

What kind of spares/ backups should I bring seeing that most ports have marine equipment accessible?

Thanks!
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Old 16-08-2018, 13:18   #8
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

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Originally Posted by CameronEricson View Post
Any advice on budgeting?

Any tricks for cost saving?

How much per month should I expect to spend (mooring out about 40-60% of the time)?

What kind of spares/ backups should I bring seeing that most ports have marine equipment accessible?

Thanks!
the best thing I did was to join the south sound sailing society
With the reciprocal moorage makes it easy and saves so much money
It pays for itself with the first couple days a year in guest yacht club marinas.
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Old 16-08-2018, 13:21   #9
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

I anchor most of the time and will stop in a marina when getting lots of groceries. We try to shop in bigger places like Bellingham, etc.
Lots of places for food, fuel and marine supplies.
You can google marinas in the area. All have transit fees on their websites.
Bring warm clothes and good rain gear.
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Old 16-08-2018, 14:10   #10
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

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Originally Posted by CameronEricson View Post

The boat has a full bimini for the cockpit and a diesel heater, so I'm not too concerned with temp or rain.

Any thoughts are encouraged.
A full bimini? A full cockpit enclosure can be a godsend, at the very least some nice side panels to keep the wind off the helm. You will find yourself traveling on some cold days and it is nice to be out of it. But it's not a stopper if you bundle up. And just give into the rain—good rainpants are a must.

Be aware that quite a few marinas close for the winter season. You can generally tie up but don't count on getting power or water on the docks. Some of the municipal ones also rent out their transient space for winter moorage. If the marina's are open they will generally have winter rates often less than a $1/foot. I particularly like Taku Resort if you make it up to Quadra Island. You can anchor out off Rebecca Spit then head across to tie up, reprovision and warm up at the local coffee shop :-)

And on the plus side anchorages are virtually empty and if you do meet other boaters out at that time of year you can almost always be assured they won't be the loud obnoxious types. Remember the prevailing winds switch to south in the winter, but if you keep an eye on the forecasts that isn't much of a worry.

The best part, for us, is watching the different cycles of plants and flowers as you hike a lot of the trails from the Gulf Islands to Desolation. They say Princess Louisa is particularly beautiful in the winter but we've never been earlier than April.

(Note we've never been further into the U.S than Roche in the off season, so your mileage may vary.)
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Old 29-10-2018, 21:54   #11
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Cameron- are you out on the water now that it’s late October? Have you made it to the gulf islands or are you in San Juans? We’ve just spent some time in anchorages that are usually bursting at the seams, and had them all to ourselves. And sun!

Newhaul, Stu, pdx, you NW winter sailors, any advice for those of us who have only sailed the islands during the summer? We are aiming for one more good week during late November- anything you particularly keep an eye on weather-wise? Any don’t miss winter destinations?
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Old 30-10-2018, 07:27   #12
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Portland Island. Lots of hiking, interesting flora and its pretty sheltered. Then you can take a day off and head to Butchard Gardens and see the winter gardens (they have free mooring balls there). We used to do long weekends out of Victoria to these two destinations all winter long.
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Old 30-10-2018, 09:34   #13
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Thanks for the recommendations and please keep them coming - we're headed out in the next couple of weeks.
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Old 30-10-2018, 09:55   #14
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Re: Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

A few years back I sailed up to the Vancouver boat show from Washington and further north afterwards in January. It was blowing and raining when we left but the sun came out in the afternoon and the wind died, it was like spring sailing in Alaska.
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Old 30-10-2018, 09:59   #15
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Cruising the Puget Sound in October/November

Welcome to CF.

When I lived up there I sailed year round. If the weather forecast isn’t so good to cross the staits of Juan de Fuca you can go up the inside of Whidbey to Deception Pass or thru the Swinomish Channel up to Anacortes.

The very southernmost all weather anchorage in the San Juans is MacKaye Harbor at the south end of Lopez.
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