Originally Posted by jrd22
Learn to use, and recognize, the back eddys especially here in the islands. From my observations most sailboats just go straight into the main force of the current and come to a standstill or worse without ever thinking about where the counter current is, or at least might be. It can make the difference between getting through the channel or waiting for the current to change. Become proficient at anchoring, that's your last line of defense from going onto the rocks should the wind fail you. Buy more fenders.
This is very good advice for our waters. I was once in a race with VERY little wind in Puget Sound. We were trying to get around Point No Point and there was 2knots of current against. We snugged right up to shore (within 30ft of the beach) and the back eddy carried us against the a 1/2 mile or so until we were though the worst of it and could sail again. It was unnerving to be that close to shore but there was no wind driving us on shore and the current was acting to move us along one way or the other and was also not acting to push us onto the beach. So with no forces trying to put us on the beach, we coasted right along it, uphill, against the current.
I would also echo that in our waters, during the summer, there is often a North or NorthWest wind 5-15knots during the day. This summer pattern of wind is caused by the sun heating the land (I believe) and I find that, more often than not, it SHUTS OFF LIKE A SWITCH at sunset. I've been happily sailing along at 12kts and suddenly it's 0knots 5min after sunset. As long as you know the pattern you can use it and try and make sure you're somewhere you can anchor before sunset.