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  #1  
Old 07-06-2007
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Vancouver to San Francisco

Has anyone done this? Well - I suppose it's obvious that someone has done this so the question more precisely would be: "Has anyone on SailNet done this, and would you care to share your experiences?" I'm considering doing the sail to San Francisco and back in a month's time, and want to get a sense of trip duration, impediments, etc.
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Old 07-06-2007
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On what boat? With what experience?

I did a trip from Victoria to Eureka Calif in July one year - after having been sailing for about 3 years. As it turned out I was one of the most experienced aboard - scary thought, that.

It was not a great trip, frought with mechanical problems, unscheduled stops (and no charts), misguided navigational techiques (this was pre GPS). We did the inshore route, far too close to the beach in retrospect. Got off the boat in Humboldt Bay after lying ahull in a pretty good blow off Cape St Georges.

The owners, one a deep sea engineer, the other a non sailor, were ill prepared (as was I) despite their having built the boat and lived aboard it for nearly a decade. I believe the offshore plan fell apart shortly after that (this had been meant to be a delivery south for an extended cruise)

We were never in danger, but not knowing precisely where we were was disconcerting to say the least. Being too close to shore was uncomfortable in the dark (esp without a good fix) I learned from this that I really prefer being able to get off the boat once a day, and sleep peacefully at night.

The other lesson I took from this was to absolutely satisfy yourself as to the qualifications and experience of those you are planning to isolate yourself with on a tiny floating platform for an undetermined period of time.

The trip down will be easier than the one back, it will be surprisingly cool at sea - although August should be better than early July was.

Want some easy deep water/waves experience? Head for the Caribbean - the water's warm, the winds reliable and you can almost always anchor for the night! Not to mention the cultural jewels you'll visit along the way.
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Old 07-06-2007
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I've been sailing about five years, but never have done anything longer than overnighters. I'd be sailing my Catalina 27 and I'd be using charts and GPS. A friend of mine who introduced me to sailing - he has about two years on me - would be making the trip with me.

For a Caribbean trip, what would you suggest? Rent something in Florida? That seems like it's probably going to be more money than I want to spend. Normally - no problem. But right now I've got a baby and a wedding on the way. In that order.
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Old 07-06-2007
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I've done the trip numerous times. It's really not all that fun. If you take the inside route, then you're always worried about getting pushed ashore (not to mention sandbars) and if you take the offshore route, then there is nothing to see for 100 miles. I do prefer being offshore, as the winds are lot better, but a 27' Catalina might not like the larger seas. It's not a trip I would take for the "fun of it". As a first leg, of a longer voyage, then sure, you gotta do it, but otherwise....it's just a grind. If you have a month to kill, I'd go north, maybe circumnavigate Vancouver Island or head up to the Princess Louisa inlet, (now that's a trip).
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Old 07-06-2007
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I think that is quite a risky trip in a Catalina 27. You could have good luck and good weather...but the Cat27 is not an offshore boat and conditions up your way can get quite severe. (I owned a Cat27 and know the boat well).
If you DO decide to go...be sure to rent a life raft andf EPIRB to insure that you make it if the boat does not.

If you go to the Caribe...the BVI's or the Abacos in the Bahamas are two good places to charter.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Sorry, Hyperion, but I would NOT do that trip in a Cat 27... too many ifs. Also you're probably looking at a couple of weeks to get there and more to get back. There are virtually no all-weather harbours between here and SF so there's a real issue with trying to avoid any serious weather.

As Knotaloud indicates, sailing the inside passage is much more interesting, better shelter, plenty of options if things go stinky (which they can do). Princess Louisa is magical, but there are plenty of other easier-to-get-to spots as well. He's right, a down coast trip just isn't that much fun.
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Old 07-07-2007
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Thanks for your input, guys. The other plus of circumnavigating the Island is that I've already got charts.

I've known that to do any serious sailing I'm going to have to upgrade, but I thought the Catalina 27 had been sailed some pretty long distances.

In any event, it looks like I'll probably stick a little closer to home next month and see how it goes. Thanks again.
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Old 07-07-2007
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Read this month's Latitude 48 for a story about an average trip South.
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Also...if you're dead set on heading south, maybe you and your buddy should hitch a ride on a bigger boat for a quick trip down, and see if it's really what you expected.
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Old 07-12-2007
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I sailed a tartan 27 from Puget Sound to The east coast Via the Panama Canal. Watch your weather and be prepared to ride out a blow hove to get 50 to 75 miles offshore and wait for the NWwinds to blow steady and you will be fine in the summer months you will have fog as problem more than anything else..Go for it! Sailing is an adventure
Cheers
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