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nskinn 10-29-2009 06:57 PM

How long does it take to motor from Des Moines to Lake Washington?

Faster 10-29-2009 07:49 PM

It looks about 30 miles... there's some nasty weather about this week and you'd be well advised to check carefully before committing to this trip. Don't know what boat, but figure on 4-5 knots (bound to be some tide and wind against at some point) and in flat water the distance says 6-8 hours. Your ground speed could be much less at times.

You have limited daylight now too, so that's another factor and if you get held up or run into problems (quite possible on a new-to-you boat) you really don't want to be doing this in the dark.

It would be really good if you could line up someone with experience, not only for the locks but for the whole trip.

Please check the weather forecast, and if it's not perfect, leave it for another day....
EDIT.. just checked, and Sunday's outlook is actually not bad.. but it could change. Keep an eye on it!

xort 10-29-2009 08:27 PM

Going from DesMoines, Iowa to Washington takes 30 minutes?
That's with the mast already down?

Faster 10-29-2009 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by xort (Post 536739)
Going from DesMoines, Iowa to Washington takes 30 minutes?
That's with the mast already down?

Nah... the mast will be up until the first overpass!;) :D

blt2ski 10-29-2009 08:40 PM

You will have two hrs to go from the entry to the locks at best, maybe 3 hrs with a smaller boat like yours to get thru montlake cut. Then Lk Wa is about 24 miles long, so depending upon where you are heading from the 520 bridge, add that to your time. I would swag 2-4 hrs from Des Moines to shilshoal and the entrance to the locks. Again, depending upon tide with or against you, wind direction etc. A heavy south wind, you may be beter to sail north, then obviously, I hope motor thru the locks to the lake. Then from there, north or south, wind depending, motor or sail to moorage. Figure an hour in a smaller boat to I90 from 520, Kirkland about the same, add another hour to Kenmore north of kirklandor renton to the south of I90.

Also, not sure where you live, but if you can go by the locks, they have a really nice pamphlet with info on what to expect, have with you etc when going thru, it may also be online some how too. 48 north had a good article a few yrs back. not sure if it is online in there archives or not too.


nskinn 10-30-2009 01:22 AM


blt2ski 10-30-2009 09:54 AM

To get a close measure of you mast height, take a 50' tape to the top of the mast via a halyard. then pull the tape down to the water at the beam. This will be a bit on the long if you are really say 30', this measure will be 32-33 or there least you wll be safe with this measure for bridges. If you signal or call the bridge, and they can tell you are low, they will not open, and will radio or say back your ok.

If you do not have a 50' tape, go to fxsails, they probably have you sail measurements. One will be the mast ht from deck to the top for a jib. measure from the deck to the waterline, add a foot, max 2' for additional on the top, and you will again, be pretty close.

Another option if you are lucky, if more than one sailboat is going thru when you do, stay up with them, as they will open the bridges for them as a group, get in the middle, then you know you have it made, whether you need it or not.

Freemont would be my worry. Other than that, with a 23' boat, you are talking 30'ish feet at the most........doing swag. could be 35. My 30'r is 42, and I have a reasonably tall mast.


Tatsuo 10-30-2009 12:38 PM

I might be able to help you out with that on sunday, where are you headed on lake washington? If your nervous about going through the locks then shoot for a later time to go through them, its very relaxing to go through them when your the only boat.

Tatsuo 10-31-2009 11:59 AM

My girlfriend has just informed me that we are hosting a dinner party on Sunday so I would not be able to do it. Sorry for the misleading information.

jrd22 10-31-2009 03:16 PM

We used to moor the boat at Newport Shores and we figured 3 hours from/to the Locks. Make sure you have the necessary equipment for the locks: fenders for both sides, 50' mooring lines (IIRC). I would strongly urge you to not try to go through the locks by yourself in a new (to you) boat unless you have a lot of experience locking through (doesn't sound like it). The bridges respond to horn signals or on Ch. 13 (low power). Good luck, have fun with the new boat.

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