SailNet Community - View Single Post - cruising dinghy in currents and beach camping
View Single Post
post #10 of Old 08-23-2012
Bilgewater's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Campbell River, British Columbia
Posts: 514
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Re: cruising dinghy in currents and beach camping

Originally Posted by driggers View Post
Good points for sure, and hobie 16 is easy to find used for a good price, plus the payload is larger than it is for a comparable dinghy...

I'm still concerned about the fact that you can't row it, and can't motor it. Here is the scenario I am afraid of:

mistake #1: misunderstand currents around islands and in strait.
mistake #2: get caught in not enough wind
mistake #3: slowed down on some unexpected kelp

Next thing you know your boat is on the reef and you are asking the seals to share their rock with you. This happened to someone in a 25 foot day sailor just across from oak bay marina quite recently.

Maybe this sort of risk is manageable through experience, and a motor is not needed?

Thanks again for your helpful comments!
Diggers, welcome to Sailnet...I think your plan is a good one and I think a small sailing dinghy is OK and your questions are good. Not sure how much you are aware of in any case, here goes... There are a lot of strong currents in the Georgia Strait and understanding them, dealing with them and using them to your advantage is a good idea if you're going to go cruising on a regular basis. Unless you are under ideal conditions that all come together at the same time, you won't likely get through Dodd Narrows let alone places like Active Pass in a sailing vessel or any other dinghy without a motor. You will get through in a kayak or a canoe and possibly but with great difficulty a sailing dinghy that you can properly row. The transiting window to get through some of these passes before it swings the other way and builds quickly can be very short. That coupled with heavy vessel traffic and narrow passes makes going motorless impractical.

You will get used to the local knowledge of the currents in short order by talking to people around the dock and by reading stuff like the link you provided. I wouldn't be afraid of them but just don't push your arrival timing as your getting used to them.

Unless you are retired and have all the time in the world, I doubt you can get back to where you started by sail alone particularly if you are going deep into the Gulf Islands or the San Juans and through the various passes. Realistically, it just isn't going to work or you will be fed up in no time.

My recommendations...
IMHO, I think you should take the "Power and Sailing Squadron" Boating course $300 which will get you what you need to know about currents, weather and navigation, safety etc. You also get an insurance discount if you have it. Having said that, you should be able to learn it on your own if your that type of person. But as you know in Canada you at least need the boating card.

I think a small trailerable sailing dinghy like the "Siren 17" or similar with a ballasted swing keel and a small outboard that can push it at 3 or 5 knots will do the trick which could be around $3,000 or $5,000. The beauty of a little swing keel dinghy is you will certainly get into any anchorage, little bite etc. because you will be in depths others cannot go. You can also beach a boat like this obviously paying close attention to the tides but keep in mind that the tides can come in very very quick and you can loose a boat this way so you always need to run a line to a tree or something above the high water.

mistake #1: misunderstand currents around islands and in strait.
mistake #2: get caught in not enough wind
mistake #3: slowed down on some unexpected kelp
The stronger current directions and normal max are shown on your charts and you will learn all this in the course among other things. Other than in the passes which get into the double digits, you are really only talking under 5 knots which will back off eventually or you can possibly make your way over to a back eddy. You can usually see the current and back eddies particularly if there is wind against the current which you will get used to over time just by observation and testing. The flood for you comes through the Juan De Fuca, then heads NW up the Strait and South into Puget Sound and you can quite often visualize (but not always) the direction of the flood as it makes it's way between islands.

No wind and wind shifts are going to happen a lot out here so you need to be prepared with a boat that can be properly rowed but better yet a small motor that can push you along. During the summer stuck out in the middle with no power and no wind to pick up can sometime take days.

The kelp beds are easy to spot and not difficult to get around. The current if any will generally push you around kelp beds, not through them.

Hopefully some of the southern Georgia Strait or San Juan sailors will chime in soon. They will have a better idea of your area.

Regards, Steve

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Impulse III
Truant Pilothouse

Last edited by Bilgewater; 08-23-2012 at 05:59 PM.
Bilgewater is offline  
Quote Share with Facebook
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome