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  #1  
Old 08-13-2009
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Seattle / San Juan Islands Strategy

I'm trying to figure out a strategy that will allow me to sail the islands for labor day weekend. I keep the boat in Seattle and figure it will take me +/-2 days to get to the islands from seattle, and 2 days back - without sailing at night and taking advantage of currents. I have a San Juan 23 and I'll go up the inside route through La Conner etc..

I can't take time off work to do it as one long trip - so, in your experience, what have you done? Do you reserve space at a Marina to keep the boat during the time you are back in seattle? (Cost is a consideration, as is availability) Do you anchor and pray? (I've heard anchoring in Friday Harbor is commonly used for exactly this approach) Or are you lucky enough to have never encountered this issue?

I've heard conflicting advice from the few people I know who sail and it varies among the three categories listed. What is the standard approach?
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Old 08-13-2009
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Give us some more information and we'll try and help you out.

1) Where in Seattle are you? Are you behind the locks?
2) What day and time do you plan to leave?
3) What day and time to you plan to return?
4) Where in the San Juans do you want to go?
5) Do you have a dinghy, or do you need to stay at a marina?

David
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Last edited by djodenda; 08-13-2009 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 08-14-2009
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1) I'm in lake union - behind the locks
2) Either the 22nd or 29th. I would try to time the currents to catch the ebb headed north
3) Headed home 8/12
4) No specific plans for the islands
5) I have a dinghy.

My questions are:
- What is the best approach to timing the currents? Head out 1 hr prior to ebb and try to make it to the islands in 1 long day through the straights?
- Is there a preferred timing for the trip up the inside of whidbey?
- What do I do with the boat when I need to come home for work?

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2009
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Let's get a rough idea of plan that might work for you, and we can fill in the details.

With a San Juan 23, if figure you can make 4.5 knots (The sad reality is that this is most likely going to be a mostly motoring trip this time of year.

I'd recommend you stop once or twice on the way up..

Mid Sound stop: Both of these are not out of the way

Edmonds: My home port. Nice marina, nice town.

or, about 3-4 hours north is Langley, also on the way. Small marina, but good anchorage to the south. Nice small town with a movie theater and pizza joint.

I'd recommend you go through Deception Pass, instead of LaConner. If you go through LaConner, then you wind up way farther east than you want. You should wait for the tide change at Deception Pass, or else you'll get thrown around a bit and/or pushed backwards.

In order to wait for the proper timing to get through Deception Pass, you can anchor north of Hope Island. It's a great stop with a really cool rope swing.

Once through Deception Pass, you just need to cross Rosario Strait and you are in the islands!

If you are leaving the boat and coming back, then the easiest/cheapest way is to leave the boat at Friday Harbor and take the ferry. I believe they take reservations. If you want more fun, and have some extra money, I'd leave the boat at Fisherman's Bay on Lopez and take the seaplane back.

I am happy to help you with specific details/ports of call if you wish.

As far as your specific questions:

1) You will find that the currents headed north will be opposing you, from .5 to 1.5 knots in Skagit bay. Don't let them sweep you east into the shoal area. Watch where you are in the channel. Entering Possession Sound by Mukilteo will cost you a knot or two of current during an ebb. You can adjust your transit or Rosario Strait based on current, and try to ride a flood north.
My understanding is that you want to travel East of Whidbey Island. If you decide to cross the straits of Juan de Fuca, they you want to time your transit northward so that you transition to flood from ebb about an hour after you clear Point Hudson.

2) As far as Whidbey timing is concerned, then, you just need to watch when you are going through Deception Pass, and avoid entering Posession Sound on an ebb.

3) I'd leave the boat at Friday Harbor, when returning to work, Go for the seaplane and Lopez if you can afford it!

How's this for a start? I won't be up there, but my boat (blue Catalina 30) will be, with my brother aboard. Say hi if you see him.

Please make sure that you have all the proper safety equipment, a working compass and charts. I highly recommend the Wagonner's cruising guide, as well as the Gunkholing South Puget Sound and Gunkholing San Juans books.

I can help you with specific timing and route issues.

How's this sound so far?

David
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Old 08-15-2009
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You might also look for two books that have tide flows in them. One is for puget sound, a yellow covered soft bound book 8.5x11, the other a bound verision that covers the San Juans. PS itself is pretty predictable. the SJ's the flows can vary depending upon the tide itself, and how much! I have both books, but titles escape me, as they are at the boat.

It took my on the july 4 weekend, about 8-9 hrs to get from Edmonds to Fishermans bay on lopez via PT and across the straights. That was fighting a tide to a degree too on some of the up there. and back home most was with.

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Old 08-15-2009
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I'll add the hazard on Deception Pass - its called Deception for a reason. If you are solo and no crew and do not cross it in other than a slack tide - it is an experience (did it - know it - would never do in single handily). It reigns supreme on the deception radar because of the whirlpools and underlying objects.

Never attempt it at night.

You'll never get the real thrill of it manning the helm, but its a nice ride. But, with that being said.. do as you wish.
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Old 08-15-2009
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I am pretty sure blt2ski meant:

Current Atlas
Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia
Canadian Hydrographic Service

And with it be sure to get :

Washburn's Tables 2009

Washburn's Tables goes with the Current Atlas and all the calculations have been done for you. For cruising the Straits, San Juans and Straits of Georgia I would not leave home without it. Makes planning your trip much easier.

Bests,
Wiley
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Old 08-17-2009
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The sanjuan book is the one Wiley mentioned, the other is "puget sound currents" or some such thing from memory looking at it last night. I got it at "armchair sailor" on westlake in Seattle, $13. Well worth it for PS itself. I have not had a chance to use the SJ book as much as I would like too, but it does look indespensable if you are trying to avoid currents etc up there.

marty
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Old 08-17-2009
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The Current Atlas

Canadian Hydrographic Service / Washburn's Tables

are excellent for the San Juans/Gulf Islands.

I've not been happy with the Captain Jack tables, and have requested Puget Sound tables for my birthday.... We'll see how they work.

Be careful of whatever advice Marty gives you regarding currents, though.. he's the guy that sets up a starting line in the middle of a FREAKING RIVER!

David
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Old 08-17-2009
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Yeah yeah yeah........freaken river................that was a waterfall!

Nor did I know the currents would be running that fast ther either.....and the wind died.........lets see, what other excuse can I use.............david has s dirty bottom, blown out sails, poor crew/skipper............any others?!?!?!?!

2-3 knots of wind, .5-1 knot current against you, wind against you.......then a fishing boat trolling along catch's the anchor line of the RC boat.......gets in the way of the start line.........yeah yeah yeah..........
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