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  #1  
Old 03-17-2013
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I've become very concerned about the weather...

Hi, I have been planning a trip to Puget Sound to get and inexpensive sailboat, learn more how to sail, and then take off cruising the San Juan Islands, the Canadian Gulf Islands, and see where it takes me.

My family lives in Eugene, I came here two weeks ago to see them and get ready, and I've always thought that Eugene was in the same climate as Seattle. So it has been pretty nice, it hasn't rained and has been partly to mostly sunny all but two days.

I've got my maps, rain coat, foul weather gear. My passport that I let expire is on its way. I'm prepared.

Then a cold front comes in last night, not real cold, but kindof cold, and I look up the weather up there again. It's been consistently 10 degrees colder and has rained everyday. If you read the tourist website, the San Juans are in some magic rain shadow, blocked by the Olympic mountains, and it is sunny 247 days a year. I've been looking since February 1 and it hasn't had one day of sun in the last two months.

I originally narrowed my choice down to Florida, San Francisco, and Puget Sound.

Florida- sounds fantastic, IF I had the money to stay longer and do the Bahamas. Otherwise, in summer it's going to be too hot and humid and I don't like the South.

SF Bay- Best weather, right now it's going to be 60's and sunny most weeks, I know that alot of people think of SF as cloudy and foggy, but it's really the secret sunny place, with palm trees, consistent winds, and a moderate humidity year round.
However, the bay has been completely overdeveloped, it's hard to get slips, and there is limited cruising.

PNW- Isolated islands with secluded anchorages, cheap marinas, well, it's got almost everything, it's the perfect starter cruising grounds...except the weather is terrible.

I'm now worried that instead of having fun, learning sailing skills, I will sit in a marina huddled around a space heater trying to dry off. It's realy silly to change plans now, after all the research I've put into things, but what if summer never comes? People up there said the last three summers have come late and been short. If you look at the San Juans on a sunny day, it doesn't look like a better place exists, but if those days are few and far between I'm not sure it would be worth it.

I guess I'm asking for advice from more seasoned cruisers. am I worried for nothing? Is San Francisco a good, relatively easy place to learn to cruise? Or is it crowded and hassles. Are people up in Washington right now sailing and having a good time? Is California full of regulations where anytime I try to "park" it will be in front of someone's waterfront mansion and the coast guard will come give me a ticket? The boats seem cheaper in the Bay and there are more of them.

Last edited by northoceanbeach; 03-17-2013 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

my experience is absolutely everything is more expensive in California
it is harder these days to anchor in random locations; it behooves one to find a cheap
dock situation if possible
also, what if the weather turns tough for weeks
consider all
-JD
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

That's the best part about California(and Hawai'i). They never get weeks of bad weather. Hawai'i is where I have done all my sailing. It's just not been cruising, which is what I really want to do.

I have big dreams, like alot of people, want to cross oceans, save money and go to the South Pacific, or spend a year in the Bahamas. But I need to learn the skills necessary first.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

Having been born and raised in this area.....yeah it is a bit cloudy at times, with no rain or very little rain I might add. Seattle proper gets 10-15" LES rain a year then part of the islands in Hawaii! ave is about 36", which is also 10" less than Miami gets from may 1 to Oct1! or anywhere else east of the mississippi mind you. In those 10 months, seattle is one of the wettest west of the mississippi at 10". ave west of is around 4-8".

We also get a lot of sunny days with north winds in the summer, or not much more than 5-10 knots. Altho if you can figure out how to deal with the tides and currents we have. you can probably sail and deal with them issues anywhere!

Ave temps in aug are 80F if you are lucky!70-80F is typical high. It did not hit above 90 one summer for IIRC 5 yrs not too far back. Quite comfortable actually.

Today, a bit cloudy, with some sun breaks, windy in the 10-15 range....about 50-55F out.....kinda nice actual. would be a great day for a sail!

marty
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

Thanks, probably last minute jitters is all it is.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

You'll be fine. Get your boat and have at it. Cruising is dealing with whatever comes your way. You can always make your way south.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

It's that damn global warming...
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

SF Bay can be surprising cool/chilly with the perstistent heavy winds they get.

California in general is lousy cruising country

The PNW is a two season venue.. summer and spall.. yes, much cloud and rain for 8 - 9 months of the year, but generally good summers, and unparalleled cruising grounds esp if you take into account BC's very reachable waters. Good Shelter, abundant anchorages and services it's hard to beat. Florida is more consistently 'nicer' but for me I find that a couple of weeks in the heat and humidity of the tropics and semitropics is wearing.. the moderate conditions here in the PNW are often a relief.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squidd View Post
It's that damn global warming...
Hey Squidd... I've heard the weather over in Eagle River is great these days!! But only if you are the type of sailor that likes ice blades and considers his/her foul weather gear to be made by North Face and not Gil...
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: I've become very concerned about the weather...

Best advise; go to bouy weather or a weather
Service and look for a five day forcast
Plan a short distance trip and work point to point.
Trying to plan long distances, for a beginner that
Has limited to no experience navigating in changing or
Bad weather will only discourage you and damage your boat.
Plan a trip of 30 miles to start then chart your course point to point.
When we started cruising full time we started in
NC to Bahamas. We took the ICW most of the way.
That first year we went one day all day then found an
Ancorage that night rested are and go on.
We averaged 12 hrs a day around 40-50 miles
That included delays such as bridges.
We made Florida in one month then waited
There for a weather window to the Bahamas.
Looking at such long range, your setting yourself up for
Problems,disappointment and failure.
Find a short range easy plan. Prepare using good weather tools
Plan 5 day weather, then when you have a good weather
Window go to the first goal set. Each day set a new goal.
Stop worrying about being cold wet and stalled.
Prepare. Find weather then move. You'll learn new skills. You'll gain confidence..
Good luck. Btw both if us took sailing courses
Before we left and we had navigation programs to
Use on our chart plotter.
Going to sea without education, the right tools and
Preperation with the goal of living in the cheap is an
Expensive and costly pipe dream!
If the weathers bad sit it out! If your ready then find
Weather and go.... If you get in trouble call the
Ciast guard!!!!
Being unprepared can set you up for real issues!!
The pacific is the hardest ocean to navigate, find harbors and
Deal with... Learn & plan better. Look short term and you'll succeed!!!
Fairwinds and following seas
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