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  #1  
Old 06-05-2006
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Question Crossing the bar safely

Ahoy --
I am taking possession of a Ranger 33 this month and plan to get moorage in Astoria, OR near the mouth of the Columbia River. I am used to sailing only a small Laguna 24 ft. swing keel model during the 1980's. Eventually, I will have to cross the dreaded, dangerous Columbia R. bar on my journey out to the Pacific to do some ocean sailing or sail to Victoria, B.C.
When do I best plan to cross that treacherous bar? High tide? Low tide? Or when? I have not spoken to fellow boaters in Astoria because I hate to sound stupid with all my questions. Any advice?
I would appreciate some assistance !

Thanks,
Randy
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i think the only stupid questions are the ones that don't get asked. my advice to you is ask ask ask. and heed the local info.
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Old 06-05-2006
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The Columbia River bar is considered some of the most dangerous conditions possible, which is probably why the USCG has a training facility nearby.

Good luck and let us know how you make out... I'd be interested in hearing what you find out about crossing the bar there.
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Old 06-06-2006
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The following is a two page PDF about crossing the bar from the Oregon State Marine Board www.boatoregon.com:

http://www.boatoregon.com/salmon/columbia.pdf

It includes some advice, hazards, contact informaiton, and a marked-up chart.

The following is another site with advice on the topic:

http://www.salmonuniversity.com/wtc_ilwaco_ocean.html

For recreational types, one common piece of advice is to avoid months with an "r", and high slack is the normal target time.

One more link: a trip narrative of a Westsail 28 down the Columbia, out and up to Washington:

http://www.eskimo.com/~douglas/saili...1993_trip.html

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 06-06-2006 at 11:19 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H
For recreational types, one common piece of advice is to avoid months with an "r", and high slack is the normal target time.
Thanks Jim for the links.....

The advice for us recreational boaters doesn't leave much of the year to cross the bar.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-07-2006
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Question Crossing the bar safely

Thanks sailors for this info.

I get a headache just imagining crossing that treacherous bar - even when it is safer ( at the right time).

Sounds like it may be wiser to motor out over the bar instead of sail over it?
Any reviews of the Atomic 4 engine to keep it running well?
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If you're planning on motoring over the bar, I'd keep the mainsail and jib ready to raise in case the motor dies. Best to be prepared for the worst.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-07-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
If you're planning on motoring over the bar, I'd keep the mainsail and jib ready to raise in case the motor dies. Best to be prepared for the worst.
Or motor-sail.
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Also, don't forget that you'll have support options if you need them-- just take a VHF. Here's a photo gallery of a trip from Port Townsend to Portland, and you'll note that they ran out of fuel in the mouth of the Columbia and had to be towed to Astoria by the Coast Guard:

http://spunt.aigc.net/gallery/album98

My preference would be to avoid that, but it's good to know help is around. This gallery is from a good site about sailing in the area:

http://www.sailestrella.com/

You may also want to join the Cascadia email list (regional sailors). In just the last few days, there's been several posts about crossing the bar from experienced sailors:

http://www.sailcascadia.org/

Good luck!

Jim H
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codmander is an unknown quantity at this point
high water slack or best yet just a few minutes before and on a flat calm
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