West Coast Journey - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Authors > Seamanship Articles
 Not a Member? 

Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-24-2001
Contributing Authors
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 244
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 5 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Mark Matthews is on a distinguished road
West Coast Journey

This month a group of us will be delivering a 45-foot sailboat from San Franciso to Seattle. I have never cruised on the West Coast. Can you tell me how you have to go out from the coast to escape the Columbia River effects on the ocean?

Mark Matthews repsonds:
Thanks for the question. There are a number of things that you should know about this route in terms of weather and geography. I’ve made the trip the ‘easy’ way—from Seattle to San Francisco. Although our trip took place in early October, which was still in-season, the pasting we took along the way was just one of the things that impressed me about this stretch of ocean territory. It can definitely be a boat-breaker. You should be advised that this is an area that you can’t be over-prepared for, and a place you shouldn't transit too late in the summer.

For starters, the Pacific Northwest has a deserved reputation for packing heavy-duty storms that can leave an ill-found boat or crew singing the blues. The Pacific Northwest isn’t like the East Coast with the many harbors and safe havens along the way, nor is there anything that provides sanctuary underway like the Intracoastal Waterway. On the West Coast, there are long, lonesome stretches in between ports. And even if you do make to the infrequent stop-over ports, you'll find your coming and going largely governed by tide and swell state. If I remember the Charlie’s Charts Cruising Guide correctly, it advises something along the lines of "If the weather is nice, take advantage of it and keep on going. If the weather turns nasty, don't even think about trying to cross the harbor bars, you have to keep on going."

Besides the weather, one thing to bear in mind are the bar entrances along this section of coast that make this area one of the most feared in the world. Thousands of boats and ships of all types have foundered at the mouth of the Columbia River, which has earned the nickname of ‘Graveyard of the Pacific,’ and entering many of the harbors along this coast also means crossing a river bar. Consequently, it’s not unheard of for sailors to truck their boats between San Francisco and Seattle whether heading north or south.

For more information on how far the Columbia River’s current stretches out into the Pacific, I’d refer you to books you should already be consulting for this trip, namely the Coast Pilot, pilot charts, a cruising guide for the region. We used Charlie’s Charts coming down, although there may be other guidebooks to consult as well. I’d also refer you to an article on our site Sailing to San Francisco by Liza Copeland and Crossing a Harbor Bar by John Kretschmer

Here’s hoping you have a good passage.

Quick reply to this message
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:42 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.