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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2008
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It sounds like you have researched the bar crossing so with good weather that should not be a problem (I've never crossed the Columbia bar so you know more than I do). When checking the ocean conditions you are right to be looking not only at the height of the swell but the period as well. With a 12' swell at 20 seconds it's no prob. If you have a 12' swell at 8 seconds it's a whole new ball game. Pick a day with winds not above 15K and a nice long swell, you'll have a great time and not get scared off. If neither of you knows if you get seasick take preventive measures before you go just in case. Have fun!

John
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  #12  
Old 04-19-2008
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I was reading this thread thinking, "big deal, what's this Columbia Bar, a sand bar? whoopededoo" then I looked it up...

"Since 1792, approximately 2,000 large ships have sunk in and around the Columbia Bar."

lol, crazy, and this bit "Approximately 16 bar pilots, earning about $180,000/year, guide ships across the bar, often approaching the ships by helicopter."

So, serious stuff then?
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  #13  
Old 04-20-2008
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Check out the Bar Photos here:
Rough Weather on the Bar

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  #14  
Old 04-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Check out the Bar Photos here:
Rough Weather on the Bar
There was no RV or Sailboat in that depiction...didya get that new better than CD's grill setup I ordered yet... poor guy after seeing that will never venture past the damn...
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  #15  
Old 04-20-2008
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Pity its the Columbia River, going out to sea is so all-or-nothing. Better to start with would be somewhere like the
Juan de Fuca Straight, where the transition is more gradual.

On a calm day it would be easy, but you wouldn't learn much. Another time, you might give yourself, and more
important possibly, your girlfriend a nasty scare that might put her off the whole thing.

Chris Gee is right, could you go out to take a look first, crewing for a more experienced boater in the area, preferably
on a not-so-calm day? Try advertising in a local yacht club, if you don't know anyone to ask. That would help both of
you to gain experience of the bar and conditions outside, and would be a big boost to your confidence.

Last edited by LynW; 04-20-2008 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 04-20-2008
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I had a lot of questions going up the coast about bar crossings, no real answers from the finger pier captains at the marinas. I found the section on bar crossings in Practical Seamanship to be comforting and informative. Fortunately, my timing was good for the most of the coast. The only really bad conditions I experienced was San Francisco. Got underway a couple hows too late with a good 4 knot ebb. Waves were very, very steep and close together. Lots of water over the bow and lots of hard pounding. Negative G-forces near the bow... yuck. I felt the power of the Columbia about 20 miles offshore, but didn't go in. Good luck with it. That part of the west coast isn't very inviting for sailing is it?
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Old 04-20-2008
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There's a very good reason that the USCG has a rescue boat training facility right near there... Not a good place to get caught by bad weather.
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Old 04-20-2008
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Indeed - a fair warning to watch the weather and listen to conditions: Another classic image from the Bar.

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