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  #11  
Old 10-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logos View Post
... The Columbia River Bar is the main Crux of this voyage- the other just being the long slog on ship and crew. .... If winds are in the 10- 25 knot for the trip to San Fransisco I will be happy.
....
That is a bit of a naive statement. The winds will not limit themselves to 25kts if you head offshore. You need to plan for much more difficult weather than this. Watch the weather off of Cape Mendocino for awhile. While the Columbia Bar is tough, it is at the end of the trip and you can wait out for better conditions. When you are offshore of Northern Cal and OR you cannot wait out anything. You just have to deal with it.

This is an ill conceived trip at this time of year. For a boat like this you are better to ship it or plan a long coastal trip where you can wait out weather at a better time of year.

Paul L
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That is one thing I especially lack knowledge of- The 1978 Hunter is purportedly built stronger than later ones, but will she take, if all is in reasonable condition for a 1978 27', a pounding to weather for weeks with up to 30 knot winds? I am not too concerned about the weather for myself but mainly the boat... which I haven't seen yet. Don't mind sailing around south for a while or all winter then doing it in bits or later. I think the LA to SF leg is doable but not advised- I don't need landfall or safe harbors unless we get something
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I imagine I will be reefed at anything over 20 and so will have the main reefed or double reefed the whole time past Pt. Conception... and then just tack out a couple hundred miles... the current auto pilot is an autohelm 800 and I plan to upgrade to the simrad tp32 or raymarine st2000 plus with a remote

radar would be nice... but no doubt this is sailing and people have done it throughout history I've seen some seas that were alarming but haven't encountered "survival storms" or felt I was in danger of capsize... so I lack some of that extreme experience...

we'll see when I get down there... maybe just spend a nice winter in cali for once exploring that part of the coast... maybe get a job at a boat yard lol
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The yanmar is the key I think as motor sailing or beating into it. I will carry spare parts of course and am not relying on it but it would make the journey, while sickening, possible in some ways that are precluded otherwise.
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Logos,
Count the number of brabs on these wind roses for a current GRIB of the NW coast.

Paul L
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  #16  
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logos, this Fall has been strange with virtually NO bad weather to speak of. Now that the Pacific High has gone South, I fully expect Ma Nature to give us the drubbing she's been holding back. Someone cruising North along this coast in November in an H27 will likely make the Darwin list and deservedly so. While I happen to enjoy the occasional Gale sail, I wouldn't do it, not at this time of year, especially in an H27.
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I've read many sea stories. All the disaster stories had two things in common. 1- a series of small problems compounded, will not necessarily apply to you or your boat.
2- The calender told them when to go rather than good sense, I'd be sure that this doesn't apply to you.
Southern California Beach Cities are an exceptionally nice place to spend the winter, weather-wise. I'd opt for that. Spend some time on the boat, fixing things, sailing around, enjoying the many many things to do in So Cal, get a low stress job around a marina and have a nice winter. Next year let the weather dictate when you leave on a long trip against the wind and currents.
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Making a plan that involves your inboard diesel as a key component on a small sailboat, during what is known to be one of the worst times of the year weather wise, strikes me as a bit beyond foolish. Everyone knows that small boats don't have reliable engines, especially if you're counting on them to save your butt...

Since you say you are picking it up....I am guessing it is new to you—so you don't know this boat—or what condition it and its engine are in. Yet, you're willing to bet your life that the rigging, sails, hardware, and engine are in good enough condition to take on an offshore passage along a nasty lee shore during a season where storms and bad weather are more the rule than not??
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  #19  
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Logos,

Several years ago I bought my boat in San Diego and sailed it into SF Bay. I had limited crew, no open ocean experience, and the boat was new to me. I know first hand the anxiety and apprehension you must be going through. The journey took me two weeks to complete and included a three day wait in Santa Barbara for a weather window (we stopped every night otherwise). I too "sailed north" during a less than favorable time of the year (mine in April).

You're right that you have two route choices: Hug the coast or get way out to sea and come back in. I chose to hug the coast due to crew, experience, and unfamiliar boat. In doing so, I felt I had a greater margin of safety (closer to land should I need to abort). You should carefully consider each route and equipment that will be needed for each.

The greatest distance between ports was from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo (101 nm). There is an anchorage just before "The Point," Cojo anchorage, that's safe provided a storm isn't coming from the wrong direction. Once around Point Conception, the seas and wind will pick up dramatically. I was in 14ft+ seas and 35 knots of wind on several occasions (8' seas and 25 knots are almost the norm, and 4-5' seas/15 knots is the best you can hope for). I found the seas and winds were the worse starting in the early afternoon and lasting 'til just after midnight. You need to know that being on a sailboat in 14 foot seas is no picnic. Be ready to be very wet and very cold (and probably have the sh*% scared out of you) from Point Conception to SF Bay. Don't panic, keep a clear head, and plan/evaluate what you're doing.

Helpful hints: 1) Make sure the engine is in good shape and you have enough fuel to travel 150+ nm (should you need to motor your way back to port) 2) Make sure the anchoring tackle is appropriate (maybe even larger than needed) and in good shape 3) Santa Barbara does have a West Marine store right next to the marina for emergency boat equipment 4) If you anchor at Cojo and see whitecaps...stay put or retreat to Santa Barbara 5) Coming into San Louis Obispo can be tricky (don't try it if the weather is nasty) and I had to anchor there (no docks or moorings) 6) Listen on Ch12 for marine traffic when coming into SF (freighters can run you over) 7) The first marina in SF Bay sits almost beneath the north tower of the Golden Gate (run by the Presidio YC...good place to stop, eat, and relax but no fuel available) 8) Time your entrance so you have a following tide (current can be 4 knots)

Equipment advice: As a minimum I'd have 1) Charts for each port/marina along the way 2) A good maping GPS or chartplotter 3) Life-raft 4) EPIRB 5) Good warm foul weather gear 6) Jacklines/harness/tether 7) A boat that's in good shape with all necessary safety equipment 8) Radar and/or AIS this time of year

What you're proposing to do is likely to be the roughest sailing conditions you'll ever experience. Not all sailors, even experienced ones, have returned from the voyage you are talking about making. Make sure you've got a good weather window, and know that the sea is not forgiving...especially around "The Point!"

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"

PS I can't help you on the journey from San Francisco northward. From what I've heard though, the sea just gets nastier the farther north you go.

PPS NOAA lies! Be very careful about your weather window. Things can change from calm to "holy sh*%" in the matter of a few minutes...especially if a storm is near.

PPPS I was asked, "Are you suicidal or just stupid?" Only you can decide if the risks are worth taking.
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Oh, did I mention I had 36 feet worth of boat beneath me and not 27...
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