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Dichromatica 02-12-2008 03:33 PM

South (and back) from Vancouver
Hello all,

I have to admit to being a lurker around here for awhile.
Call me voyeuristic.
Call me what you will.

I'm roughing out a southbound trip, aiming to kick about the Caribbean, departing in 2009 from British Columbia. At this point, it could be for one, two...three years. Not sure yet how it will all factor in with the pretirement plan.

I'm hoping to hear general experiences from people who have 'gone south' (so-to-speak) from points on the west coast.

When did you depart? Did you make haste, or take your time?
Did you have a particular destination in mind? How long did it take you to get there?
Surprises? Were you happy with your itinerary? Or do you wish you had done differently?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond,

maxcontax 02-12-2008 07:39 PM

headed south
Dichrome, would you be OK with a second hand account? I have to say I was not there for this:
A 35 ft well provisioned boat with crew of 5 left Sidney for the Panama Canal in the fall. The storms off Oregon nearly ended the trip with seasickness but they pulled thru: error upon postmortem: decision by captain to heave-two in a fin keel boat and ride it out instead of sailing out of it. That was based on a sick and relatively green crew. Standing watches and sleep deprivation was not taken seriously enough

In SanFran one jumped ship, the 4 left went on to San Diego. the boat was then reprovisioned and repaired for the trip south--except every time they got out into the chuck they seem to lose their nerve.

Long story shortened: after a delightful time in sandiego, the boat had its rigging removed and was trucked back to Seattle where it was re-rigged and sailed back to sidney.

Many stories told on this trip: the inexperience of the crew, the lack of leadership of the captain who decided every decision would be by concensus, thereby abdicating his expereinced position by including scared and sick crew, was the largest factor. the boat was solid and came to no harm but the crew is likely all dryland farming by now.

Hoping this cautions you that a few trips around Vancouver Island for practice is time well spent, esp with the crew you intend on taking south. the windy side of the island is a good romp and still nothing like Oregon from all accounts. I have done the island but not Oregon.


CharlieCobra 02-12-2008 08:26 PM

Dichrome, I suggest you go play around the outside of Vancouver Is. first too. The coast along WA and OR is no laughing matter. I've not made the trip but know some that have. The bad thing about the coast is that when ya decide ya have to run for cover, it's already too late because of the bars. It's better to run off for sea room and weather it than to try and make port during a blow. Going South seems easier than going North.

jimmyb116 02-12-2008 09:52 PM

As a child 6-8 years old I cruised from Victoria BC Canada to Panama and beyond. My parents were experienced as was the boat, and we had done the outside of Vancouver island several times to the queen Charlot's.
But what I remember most was the Oregon coast, we got hammered for several days off Fort Bragg Mendocino, this in no place to be in bad weather.
There was a US coast Guard cutter that got severely damaged in the same storm. Good luck unfortunately i was to young to give you information but it left a lasting impression.

Dichromatica 02-13-2008 12:38 AM

Wow. I guess what I should have said is, "Thanks in advance for taking the time to actually read my post before deciding to respond".

Um, maxcontaz, no. No, I would not be okay with a second hand account. I struggle to find anything in your post that relates to the questions from mine; questions that I bothered to take the time to formulate according to the information I am seeking. I guess if I had posted an enquiry along the lines of, "I am interested in hearing unsubstantiated stories that other people have heard about how all kinds of stuff can go wrong on the Pacific and I would like to hear these stories told from a pedantic yet patronizing perspective which illogically concludes that if someone is asking anything at all, de facto they must be a completely inexperienced and irresponsible person who deserves, and indeed will receive, every malice from the cruel, cruel arms of the sea"...thennnnnn, I guess your reply would fit the bill.

However, considering that you aren't even of the demographic from whom I am seeking firsthand experience, I find it doubly irritating that the water-cooler story you present doesn't even come close to being relevant to the questions I posed:

When did you depart? "the fall" (Ahhh, specific.)
Did you make haste, or take your time? Story makes no mention.
Did you have a particular destination in mind? "Panama Canal" (I can only assume the good 'ole P.C. was not actually their 'destination'.)
How long did it take you to get there? Story makes no mention.
Surprises? Story makes no mention.
Were you happy with your itinerary? Story makes no mention.
Or do you wish you had done differently? Oh, lookee here.. Story makes no mention (One could, I suppose, conclude the answer to this would be a resounding "Yes".)

You do however talk about...let's see...crew selection, seasickness, keels, rigging, sleep deprivation, and jumping ship, all with the happy ending that somebody had "a delightful time" in San Diego but, the real moral of this story being that I need "a few trips around Vancouver Island for practice."
For that.

And YOU CharlieCobra,...You, you, Piggybacker of Irrelevancy, you.

Hey, Jimmyb116, hey, thanks for actually having been somewhere off the North American Pacific Coast, and somewhere south of Vancouver Island, at some point in your life.

Valiente 02-13-2008 04:05 AM

TThomsen 02-13-2008 04:29 AM

Here are a couple of sailboat logs that have done or doing the passage that you talk about.


jimmyb116 02-13-2008 10:14 AM

Second post ever and you are already pissing people off, good luck with that.:rolleyes: Best go find a new forum as I donít think you will get much help here. :mad:

camaraderie 02-13-2008 10:29 AM

Dichromatica...nice start here. Keep it up and you will get flushed.

Plumper 02-13-2008 10:52 AM


Originally Posted by Dichromatica (Post 264342)
When did you depart? Did you make haste, or take your time?
Did you have a particular destination in mind? How long did it take you to get there?
Surprises? Were you happy with your itinerary? Or do you wish you had done differently?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond,

I also thought the first couple responses were a bit depressing. I guess if it is not a bad story then there is no story.....

It is also funny how the first threat is to boot you. How much intolerance can we tolerate?

I have sailed south from Victoria twice. Both times in the same boat which was a large classic ketch. The first time was during a Vic-Maui. We left in late June and a great sail. The weather was a little bad for a couple days of the oregon coast but nobody jumped ship and we dried out pretty quickly once we got down near California. We came back from Hawaii the normal way so we were running with the northwesterlies towards Juan de Fuca. The second trip was a couple years later and we only sailed down as far as northern California then turned around and came back. We left in mid July and were back at the end of July. The trip south was fast but comfortable. Once we turned around we had the wind on the nose and beat/motorsailed into it for 6 days to cover what we had done in less than 3 heading south. Coming north was cold and wet but we expected that. The stop in Hot Springs Cove for a soak made it all worthwhile.

If I was to do it again, I would watch the North Pacific high and leave when it was firmly setup (Late July to September) and ride the NW winds all the way about 200 or so miles offshore. Watch out for northbound shipping.

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