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magnusmurphy 09-30-2003 05:55 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
I''m contemplating a 6 to 9 month cruise from Vancouver down the West Coast to Mexico and back. I am planning this for about two years from now with my family:
Wife and
Two daughters: then 12 and 10

Dufour 36 Classic (2000)

We''re just starting to talk about this and there is a lot of planning still to start.

For a starter I would like advice on what time of the year would be appropriate to leave Vancouver and head South. How much ground would one be able to cover in the time-frame, and what would be a reasonable itinerary, giving enough time to enjoy places visited? How should the return trip best be planned? (One idea would be to leave the boat somewhere and return it later, or in stages).

Any comments about the choice of boat (It''s not something that can be changed, but comments will be interesting).

I''m planning to slowly start equipping the boat for such a voyage. I''ve also already obtained a Ham licence and am trying out the winlink system.

Unfortunately the trip cannot be longer than at the most 9 months.

Any comments/advice appreciated.



dpboatnut 09-30-2003 06:20 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
Latitude38 would probably be the best information source for your trip. Copy your above letter to the magazine''s letters department- most get an extraordinarily generous reply.

Or review past letters- he gets LOTS- online. It''ll be about a week''s worth of reading, but it''ll give you a lot of perspectives.


Magic_Moments 09-30-2003 10:27 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
I think departing no later than September 1 from Vancouver keeps you in the good weather window going down the coast.
I have heard about not going south of San Diego before Christmas to avoid the storm season.

Check out 48 North monthly published in Seattle with a column by Dianna Jessie.
Also look at the book Comfortable Cruising by Liza Copeland which is the same trip from Vancouver to Mexico and further.

Coming back in March April is against the wind and current so it is called the Baja Bash. Some people truck their boats north and some leave their boats in Mexico and a few avoid the bash altogether by going to Hawaii on the return trip. Just be out of Mexico by June because of the Hurricane season which runs from June to November.

I wish I could do that trip in the next two years, but it looks like I will still be working and being envious :)


fourknots 10-01-2003 08:19 AM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
I left Seattle on Sept 1 which turned out to be a good time. The trip down can be quite an adventure. We stopped in Newport, Oregon and several cities in Cal. since we had a rough go, and made it to San Diego about 6 weeks later. Watch the area from southern Oregon to northern Cal - lots of people have been pasted (including us) by clear-sky gales.

Did some refitting and recovering in SD and left for Ensenada Thanksgiving day. You don''t say how far into Mexico you''re going - if I remember it''s 700 miles to Guatemala - lots of ground there. Cabo is nice, but it''s a looong way with only a couple of stops.

I think the trip back needs to have more time allocated to it - weather windows are critical since you will be fighting prevailing wind and current. I''ve not made the trip back, having continued, but there''s lots of information on the Baja Bash.

It''s certainly do-able in your time-frame, but the biggest error you can make is being rushed into going somewhere when you shouldn''t have.

My kids were a little younger and loved the trip - yours will too.

magnusmurphy 10-01-2003 03:34 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
Thanks for all the responses so far.

As mentioned we''re just starting to think about it, so we''ve not really thought about how far "down" we would like to go. The return trip has always been on my mind. However what about just going South as far as possible in the allowable time and taking hurricane season into account, and then putting the boat on one of those submersible ships? I know nothing of their schedules but that may be an idea. I assume the South Pacific hurricane season is also June - Nov?

If one departs Vanc/Seattle in September, what would be a reasonable itinerary with this scenario, given a 6-9 month window?

I''ll look at the resources mentioned for sure. Keep it coming. Thank you


TrishLambert 10-01-2003 06:32 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast

Another strategy cruisers use is to go south to Mexico, then out to Hawaii, up to Alaska, and home again home again. I know it sounds like a pretty extreme way to avoid the Baja Bash, but there are other reasons to do it this way...lots of great adventures!!!

I''ve had a number of friends follow this route. I can''t remember if you said how much time you want to allocate to your cruise--one couple who took this route did it in 18 months, and another in 12 months.


TrishLambert 10-01-2003 06:33 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
Well, that''s embarrassing! Your time frame is right in the title of the thread and it was staring at me the whole time! Duh!

Sorry about that!!!


Magic_Moments 10-01-2003 08:56 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
I remembered a web site of a couple who were down there this last year. I believe it is or something close. They went from Seattle in an Alberg 35.

Some people go to the area around Mazatlan or just south of there on the mainland. Others go up into the sea of Cortez depending on the time of year, but I have to defer to anyone who has been there instead of just read about it like me.


IanD 10-10-2003 02:50 PM

6-9mo cruise from Vancouver down Westcoast
I''ll add some more on Latitude 38 ... Latitude 38 has also put out a "first timers guide to mexico'' which includes a couple of basic iteneraries ... they also sponsor the ''baja haha'' a an cruising race from san diego to Cabo St Lucas for boats heading down after hurricane season ... it''s usually in november, but starts the last week of oct this year as i recall.

6 - 9 months is probable a little short, if your planning a return trip too. The basic trick for leaving from Vancouver is to leave the northwest in late summer before the gales start to sweep the north pacific ... usually beginning in november, but they can come in october and sometimes even late september ... conventional wisedom is to leave vancouver by late august to arrive in souther california by late september, then stay in california til november to miss the hurricanes before heading further south

there is some beautiful cruising along the oregon coast, but aug/sept is a prime time for fog thru there (may i suggest investing in radar if you have not already done so)you need to be pretty flexible on your itinerary or you may find yourself choosing between a gale offshore or fog along the coast. ... once your down to San Francisco things do mellow out a little, but there can be a fair amount of fog there too.

As for coming back, we did it in several stages the following summer ... Baja to San Diego, SD to San Francisco, SF to Astoria, then home to seattle. Each stage included some beating into strong headwinds ... before you go you''ll need to know what your tolerance is for life at 30 degrees in a pounding sea, or you may find yourselves trying to sell your boat in La Paz.

my thoughts

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