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  #1  
Old 11-21-2007
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Rowing Sailboat Puget Sound

This is more of a dream at this point then a reality but my partner and I are possibly moving to the Puget Sound area in 6 months to a year. We are thinking we would like to get a trailerable sailboat that would suit our needs for that area. I have sailed on a charter (Only Crew) in the Gulf Islands a number of years ago and have gone on a kayaking trip in the same area but feel I donít know enough about the area to make any firm decisions on a boat. Since I learned to sail in the Great Lakes I have limited experience with tides and have heard that there are places in the Puget Sound area where tidal currents can be as fast as 15 knots. (Is this true?) I am sure I can learn the tides and follow the tables and read the charts. I figured it out last time I was out there but I have not practiced since. I am hoping that people here would like to join me in a little thought experiment on a boat.
I have lot of great dream trips and one that has stuck with me that I still think would be a great trip would be working my way up to Alaska from Vancouver or Seattle. I would love to do that in a nice cruising boat but would also love to do that trip in a small trailerable sailboat with a small cabin and a stove/oven and maybe an ice box. I would like to be able to beach this boat and camp on the beaches so my girlfriend and I should be able to drag the boat along the beach. I would like to have a boat that I could live on the hook with a small dry cabin to sleep cook and hang out in for a day or two if we so choose. I donít like motors and would love to do with out. I worked for awhile out of Utah on the Colorado and Green Rivers study endangered fish and fell in love with rowing. I have always thought that adding a set Ash oars to a small trailerabe sailboat would be a great alternative to an outboard. Of course this would take some modifications.
I am looking for some ideas and possible problems with the above scenario. I think finding a boat that can be dragged up the beach is the hard part. I would like to put a 5K price on the boat not including modification but I donít necessarily want to put restrictions on any of your ideas. Have any of you seen small sailboats with oars? Do you know of people or have you gunk holed up this coast and what do you think would work best? I know people have kayaked this same trip but I would like to sail/row. I really do like the KISS idea and have lived out of a tent for longer then many of you have lived on a boat so my partner and I can handle a little roughing it. What do you think of the idea and what boats might be suitable for such modification and excursion. I would also like to be able to use this boat around the Puget Sound area for weekend/day sailing trips. What else should I consider? I am looking for ideas and something to think/dream about so feel free to go on some tangents and just keep the budget below 20K because after that I would rather spend the money on a larger boat because my partner and I will be full time cruisers in the future and donít want to waste all of our money on a big expensive boat until we are closer to that dream.
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Old 11-21-2007
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The currents around here do not run at 15 knots. 2 knots is not unusual with some of the straits making it up to around 5 knots at places and Deception Pass around 7 knots on a spring tide.

Our first boat was a 22' trailer/sailer. Although we didn't drag it up on the beach, we used to raise the swing keel so we could get access to the beach after dropping an anchor off shore with a pulley and a loop of line on it so we could pull the boat back off the shore. A used trailer/sailer can easily be found within your budget.
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Old 11-21-2007
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I have never seen 15 knot currents in the PNW but I have seen 15 foot tides, but they are rare, 10 foot tides are the average (the larger the tide fluctuation, the stronger the currents). That said, beaching your boat is not such a good idea as it could be a while before you become afloat again. There is no shortage of boats to suit your needs but you may wish to increase your budget to increase your selection. Going up the coast to Alaska would entail navigating the Inside Passage which most folks do. Given the variety of conditions you will encounter I would not discount the use of an aux. engine as you will undoubtably have need for one. I have seen a few sailboats with genoa tracks along the aft combing in the cockpit where you could sit and row. You would need at least 10' oars with rings that mount on the genoa track. I have heard of someone who has done this and was able to adjust the oarlocks along the genoa track, actually I may try this in the years to come as an experiment, it did not sound too difficult when it was explained to me a while back but I would have to get a refresher explanation.
The PNW and Inside Passage have spectacular scenery and weather to match, be prepared for conditions ranging from strong gales to dead calms. Plan your trip between May and September for best weather windows.
Hope you realize your dream!
PS- It rains alot here!
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Old 11-21-2007
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Old 11-21-2007
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There are select locations on the BC coast where currents can reach 15 knots. Skookumchuk narrows is one such place (shown below at a spring flood tide)

But it's not a problem, using the proper tide and current tables allows safe transit of most areas and passes at the specified times.

For the unaware, though, imagine getting sucked into something like that shown below because you didn't pay attention.



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Old 11-21-2007
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You can easily beach an Aquarius 21 and one or two people can easily puch it back into the water. And...you can find them for under $5K and that includes the trailer and motor. Great little boats!

Last edited by Andyman; 11-21-2007 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 11-21-2007
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Great info. I love the oarclub.org website that has tons of great info. I wouldn't mind getting caught in that tide if I was in one of those little play boats but you are right it would be a little sketchy to unexpectedly sail into that. I like the Aquarius 21 that fits the bill for size and function. I will put it on the list. Thanks for all the great info.

Last edited by Waterrat; 11-21-2007 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 11-21-2007
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San Juan 21's are another popular CB style sail boat here in the NW too. i also know where you may be able to get a very well taken care of C22, well setuo too, possibly the best one here in the puget sound region shortly also. Catalina's and the Hunter 20-25' boats are fairly plenty full too!

If you can go bigger, Catalina 27's, erickson 27's are very plentifull too, a bit more power, a full keel, not rowable tho, but make good cheap to buy smaller boats that will do a bit better when a gale hits, and you need to negotiate some 3-6' waves.

If you are not worried about a cabin, some of he whitehall dingys in the 14-18' range, will sail well, beach, and carry plenty of cargo. Gig harbor boats,,,in gig Harbor wa of all places, has a couple boats that will work. Along with boats that do the Raid type races here in the NW along with Europe.

Of course the one I am thinking that will work best, a 15 and 19' version, flatbottom, great trailer sailers, i even know ad picture the one at local marina, but the name escapes me right now. maybe someone will mention it, and i can quit thinking!

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Old 11-21-2007
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Might want to look at Small Craft Advisor magazine. They just reviewed a small 15.5' boat that can be rowed, motored or sailed. It is called a Goat Island Skiff and uses a gaff rigged sail. The plans are available at www.storerboatplans.com for $100.

Another boat mentioned in SCA and reviewed in issue #41 was the Jersey Skiff, which is 17' LOA. It is made by Gig Harbor, and you can read more about it here.
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Old 11-24-2007
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I'm planning on heading up to Alaska this summer or next... I was seriously considering doing it in a kayak... but, I'm lazy and afraid of bears (I know - it's stupid)

You'd probably really love the trip these guys have been doing... Seattle to the Aluetians via foot and pack raft, hard core. http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/blog/
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