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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 12-06-2009
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New boat-need advise re: bringing her to Seattle

Hi,
Just bought a 22' full keel (3'5" draft) in Olympia WA. I'm in Seattle and have mooring for her here. She has a 4 stroke motor-seemingly in good shape, but I don't really know for sure. I need to either drive her up or be towed from Olympia to Seattle and into Lake Washington which means going through the Ballard Locks. Need to do it sometime in December.
1. Is it hard on a motor to go for hours at a time?
2. Does anyone have any idea how long it takes to motor from Oly to Seattle?
3. Any advise on going through the locks?

You may be asking: Why don't you sail her? I hope to get the sail up, but this is a new, bigger boat and I don't know her at all. I have a smaller, 18' swing keel that I'm very comfortable single handing but this one is just more boat.
I prefer to err on the cautious side
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Old 12-06-2009
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A good outboard should have no trouble running all day with no problems. You will want to make sure you have fresh fuel and I would run it for an hour at least around Olympia to get a feel for the boat. Would the seller agree to go with you, it would really help going through the locks if you had some help. Look up the currents for the Narrows, you don't want to be fighting a big flood, and riding an ebb could cut the trip time in half. The locks are pretty easy but if you haven't done it before you should look up the website and get familiar with the procedures. You should have fenders for both sides and at least two 50' lines. Listen to the lockmasters, they'll tell you what to do. Congrats on the new boat .

I was just looking at Google Earth and it's about 60+NM to the locks from Oly. You aren't going to make that in one day at this time of year. Better find somewhere to stay near Tacoma. We used to keep our boat at Newport Shores in the lake, it is a three hour trip to/from the locks from there, you might make it faster because you won't have to stop for any bridges except Fremont.
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Old 12-06-2009
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Motoring for hours is easier on the engine than short start stops. Start with fresh fuel if you do not know how old it is. and Check everything of course.
It could have problems and you do not want to find that out half way home but it could happen so keep that in mind.

Locks shouldn't be a problem other than getting lines secured and being able to pull them in or let them out as required.

Time? Start early morning, try to catch the tides should be doable in a day but days are kinda short this time of year so I'm not sure.
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Old 12-06-2009
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Tide chart--best time

Thanks for the reminder about the currents. Here's a tide chart:
Tides for Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Puget Sound)
Any info with regards to tides, current greatly appreciated!


Looking at this, could you advise a good time. I'll be starting as early in the morning as possible. Thinking it might take a two day -with layover at the Narrows-
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Old 12-06-2009
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Target date

Sorry, I should have mentioned that the target date for moving is Dec. 20/21. If the weather isn't terrible. So, I guess what I'd like to know that if you look at the tide chart for the Narrows for those dates, looks to me that High Tide is around 9 a.m and low at 3 p.m. Sun from 7:54--4:20.

As I mentioned, I'm hoping to get the boat to the Narrows Marina on the 20th. Barring unforseen circumstances, should I be able to leave the Narrows and get through the locks before dark? I know anything can happen, anytime. I'm just trying to get some idea of how long it might take.
Thank you for your comments.
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Old 12-06-2009
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Looks like slack water before ebb at the Narrows is around 0900 hrs. That gives you a favorable current for around 5 hours or so. I measure about 28 nm from the bridge to the locks through Clovis Passage and 32 nm around the east side of Vashon. Figure 5 knot speed, maybe 6 knots and that gives you between 5 and 6 hours travel time between the bridge and the locks.
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Old 12-06-2009
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It depends on your LWL, and how strong your motor is. It is going to take at least those two days unless you plan going in darkness quite a bit. There is a permanent northbound current in the Colvos passage. I would not try to get to the Narrows Marina at all. Bring an anchor, and just motor/sail until you get tired, anchor, sleep, wake up early and keep going.

Make sure to have an anchor light unless you are anchoring in a known anchorage. There are plenty along the way: Gig Harbor, Cove, Blake Island, Port Blakely, Eagle Harbor...

Have fun!
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Old 12-08-2009
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Going through the locks can take quite a while depending on how long you have to wait. Also keep in mind the bridges don't open from 4 PM to 6 PM.
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