Sand Heads BC Concerns - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2012
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Sand Heads BC Concerns

Firstly, greetings to all. Am new to the forums (although I've stopped by here many times in my non-registerred status).

I just bought an older 27' US Yacht which currently sits at Reed Point Marina in Port Moody. I need to vacate that slip by the end of March and move the boat to Captains Cove Marina in Delta (Fraser South Arm) where I have moorage. Problem is, although I did quite a bit of sailing from age 10-20, that was over 30 years ago so am a pinch rusty. In addition, I have no boating experience on the Strait, most my local boating being done on the North Arm and on inland lakes on my 19' mototboat.

I've been hearing some scary stories about the mouth of the river and Sand Heads. So much so that, although I had originally hoped to make the trip solo sometime in mid-March, I am now thoroughly spooked at the prospect. I don't know anyone with experience whom I might ask to join me on the trip, so it looks like I have no choice but to go it alone. I would appreciate any tips from those of you familiar with, and experienced at sailing the area. I'm assuming the trip can be made in a day, but I understand that it is essential to time arrival at the river mouth with high tide. My boat is equipped with a 9.9hp outboard, and I now wonder if that might be a problem in the event I have to motor into the river (under powered?).

I have posted an ad on the bulletin board at Captains Cover, asking if anyone there with experience might be willing to take the trip with me (have offered up some $$$) for the right person. I'm hoping to find someone in time to make that trip, but in case I don't, any and all your knowledgeable input will be most greatly appreciated!

Cheers!
Xavier

Last edited by Mystic1; 02-15-2012 at 11:47 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-15-2012
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Private message "Faster" for advice. That's his neck of the woods. I've been around Sand Heads three times I think. Twice rough, once not. I've not been up the river though.
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Old 02-16-2012
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If you are coming from the north just make sure that you clear the Sand Heads light station. Follow the starboard buoys and port minor lighted aids.

Avoid any day that has a strong SE, S, SW wind over an ebb tide.

Use chart 3490.
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Old 02-16-2012
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This is not a difficult trip, but as Jack indicates the weather and tide can make a tremendous difference to what you encounter.

It's not too difficult to make your way down from the Bell Buoy at Pt Grey, past the North Arm jetty and stay off the shoals until you're down by the SandHeads light. It can be deceptive, the shoals go out a long way but you do want to time your transit upriver with favourable tide (and wind, if possible). Will you have a GPS with charting/plotting capability?

You can PM me despite your low post count... we can discuss your plans if you like.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Current in 1st and 2nd narrows .go out with the ebb, must motor anyway. Much ebb current in south arm. come in with the flood. Unless things and timing work perfect it could be a two daylight trip . Any southish wind in Georgia St can make this little voyage a memorable experience for March. Good Luck.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Thank you all for your replies. I feel a little better knowing that some of you have sailed the heads and made it home to tell the story :-) Maybe I'm over reacting.... but have you read some of the Sandhead stories floating around?

I have the charts, GPS, depth sounder, but am a bit lacking in confidence.

Last edited by Mystic1; 02-16-2012 at 01:39 AM. Reason: can't spell!
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Old 02-17-2012
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Here's a view of this trip:



It's 35 NM give or take, on a US 27 that's pretty much a minimum of 7 hours, rhumbline travel.. assuming minimal non- favourable tides and currents - so a full day for sure. Daylight is currently about 8am to 6pm so enough if all goes well. The tricky parts are the narrows leaving Vancouver and hitting the river with a flood - you'll need a reliable motor for that last part unless there's a good NW breeze and the boat's in sailing condition.

The weekend of Feb 25/26 looks not too bad, with a turn to ebb at 8:00 am and turn to flood around 3 pm.. actually a pretty good scenario for leaving 7/7:30. That would be the first option given a decent forecast... probably as good as you're going to get in the next while. Mar 10/11 doesn't look too bad either.
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Old 02-17-2012
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It's uncanny how close, both in number and position, your waypoints are to those I've plotted. I'll look at this a bit closer when I get home tonight. Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2012
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An option I'm looking into is to secure transient moorage in False Creek for anywhere from 1 day to a week. This would mean I could sail the 1st leg anytime before March 31st, and begin the second leg within a week. Still waiting for reply from civic Marinas re. Transient moorage.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post

......... The tricky parts are the narrows leaving Vancouver and hitting the river with a flood - you'll need a reliable motor for that last part unless there's a good NW breeze and the boat's in sailing condition.

The weekend of Feb 25/26 looks not too bad, with a turn to ebb at 8:00 am and turn to flood around 3 pm..
It's the 25th and there's been a good NW breeze blowing today. Sandheads Light station has been reporting NW winds of 29, gusting to 35 knots all day today!
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