Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: wherever, s/v "Someday" is
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I live in Brookings, Oregon, and have transited the Oregon and Washington coasts many times in the last 20 years, last being 3 transits during 2006 2 in a trawler, both ways and one in my Sailboat which is currently in Belllingham, WA.
The big thing to watch off OR & WA is the Pacific High. It usually sets up in May or June, and moves out in Sept or Oct. Right now, its there, but a bit weak.
When the Pacific High is firmly in place, heading south becomes quite easy as there is a North to Northwest wind, and a favorable 1-2 knot current in the close offshore (3 to15+/-miles). The swells can be big, but have a long period, so its mostly an elevator ride.
I would rate the ports in Oregon for small boats in order as Newport, Brookings, Coos Bay, and Columbia River. There are several other ports, of varying complexity, depending on weather. The entrances to Newport and Brookings are nearly North-South and reasonably protected. They are rarely closed. The Columbia River can go from benign to raucus with a change of tide, particularly when the river is high. With a sailboat such as mine of limited speed, I always time entering on the flood, never on the ebb.
In summary, sailing the Oregon and Washington coasts require using your head; pay attention to the weather. With the Pacific High in place, storms other than the occasional squall or very rare "clear air" storm, do not come up suddenly. If the PacHigh has retreated south or disappeared, storms can come up at any time. During most times, a 3 day advance forcast is fairly reliable.; 10 days is just speculation.
When heading south, I stay inside the major shipping lanes (essentially point to point) and ride the south flowing current and Northwesterly winds. During crab season, pots are rarely outside 60 fathoms. I put in at Newport and Brookings, unless we schedule in the Columbia River. Sailing off these two state coasts are spectacularily beautiful with lots of whale sightings and excellent fishing.