Just another Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.
Sounds like you're starting out with the right ideas.
Personally the SJ24 would be a bit tight for a family, and a tad twitchy besides. I think you'd be better off with something even just a little bit bigger.. the ubiquitous Catalina 27, a Ranger 29, or a Cal 27 eg would be much more comfortable.
Try hanging out at local clubs - maybe get on a crew of a local race boat - nothing too serious but often there's pretty casual club racing on weekends and summer evenings.
Kids LOVE the beach.. sand, rocks, doesn't really matter. Finding crabs under rocks, wading at low tide around sand dollars, hunting the upper tidal regions for sea glass, if you're cruising with kids make time for shore time. The love of books can help pass the time under way. Getting them involved in the boat handling, even just 'looking out' for something, or 'helping' to grind in a sheet can keep them interested. Seals and birds are almost always in view, and occasional whales as well. They'll even find Freighters fascinating!
Winter sailing up here depends on how dedicated you are. But, as the saying goes, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing'. Good gear is the key, as well as keeping an eye on the weather forecasts (it is possible to have too much of a good thing)
Best of luck, lots of help here on this forum. Welcome!
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)