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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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.

Marty
 

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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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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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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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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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Yeah yeah yeah........freaken river................that was a waterfall!:laugher:laugher:laugher

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?!?!?!?!:p:p:p:rolleyes::rolleyes:

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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two cents for free

I don't think you need to worry about your boat any where you anchor as long as it's more or less public.
Moorage is expensive and not available all the time.
You could anchor at Friday Harbor for free and leave your dinghy at the dock with the harbormasters permission , east bound ferry rides are free. I think you'll spend too much time playing with ferry boats. What I would do is run your boat to Washington Park in Anacortes. (just past ferry terminal) This is as close as you can get by highway to the San Juans and time is your problem. Anchor near the dock/ramp and dinghy to shore to your car and driver, either take your dinghy with you if you can haul it by car or chain to a nearby tree until you return. When you return you can park your car for $8 day in the parking lot.
The park has a campground and full time rangers. Anchoring at the park is rough, you'll be exposed to Rosario Straight, currents, ship and ferry wakes.
Use your very best anchor and gear.
On another note besure to go thru Deception Pass, it may be the best part of your trip, you can camp/dock at Cornet bay in Deception Pass Park while you wait for tide change or day light. The pass is very very short and a piece of cake at slack water plus it's faster than going by LaConner.
Plan for fog in Rosario, Haro and Juan De Fuca Straights (go thru LaConner to beat some fog) have a gps and extra batteries, bring extra fuel, you will probably motor the entire trip.
TJ
 

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It's possible to make the trip from Shilshole to the islands in one day if you have spring tides and the timing is right, unfortunately you won't be able to do this for Labor Day weekend. I would be concerned about leaving your boat unattended at anchor, but some people do it. Considering the hassle of the ferries maybe you should look at leaving the boat in LaConnor or Anacortes so you can just drive up there and get on the boat? I see a lot of sailboats anchored just outside Cap Sante Marina in the shallow area just south of the breakwater. It's exposed to SE winds but seems to have good holding, not sure what is available in LaConnor. Good luck, hope you make it up here.
 

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OK, so how did Labor day sailboat trip go

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..

Dont keep us wondering!!!! BTW it rained in Portland at Government Island
TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the suggestions. We looked at the forecast and decided to stay closer to home for the weekend. It ended up being NASTY. We got some heavy wind and rain in Quartermaster harbor and made a break for home earlier than expected.

We may take next week off and go for the islands. If so, We'll take the deception pass route - during slack tide.

Thanks for the advice

-John
 

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Hmmm some of you seem to know Northern Washington. I am looking to purchase a sailboat in Annacortes. I live in New York. I am toying with the possibility to leave the boat for a couple of seasons in Seattle area and go cruising out there before trucking the boat back to Long Island.
could someone recommend a mooring location - affordable - since the boat will be un-used for 40 days at a time.
rcolesny at verizon.net
 

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swanfrogg,

The closer you get to seattle, the more expensive the moorage is. The farther north or south you go, the less expensive it is. Everett probably has the best $$ for what you get value in puget sound.
Then again, some like a friend of mine, joined a YC on lake washington, they have there own moorage at the club. it cost him $500 or so a month at shilshoal, he gets it for 150 at the YC. Granted dues are 1500 a year, but he still saves overall. Along with being a contractor, in a very upscale club, "potential clients!" with $$$$$!
If you want to sail the SJ's, go someplace north, if the sound in general, then somewhere on the west sound might be better, like bremerton, Port ORchard, paulsbo, Tacoma or Olympia..........

IIRC the January issue of Yachting, has a list of most if not all marina;s in puget sound, a good edition to look up. Depending upon your type of sailing you will do, having the boat at shilshoal in Seattle sailing or windworks would allow it to be leased while you are not here, Anacortes has a sunsail brokerage arraingement too, iirc out of anacotes yacht sales or equal

Marty
 

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JM3, how fast can you motor? I would bring a crewmate, and go all night. You could make Friday Harbor if you used luck, tides, and Friday night. No idea how you plan on getting back to Seattle once there. Floatplane is only $110 one way. Not bad when you consider the ferry ticket.

I would shoot for Oak Harbor, that is a realistic goal for a weekend. The next weekend, bring her up to the islands.
 

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JM3, how fast can you motor?
Even with a flux capacitor, which is not standard equipment on the San Juan 23, I doubt he could motor 88 mph, which is what he would need to do to make it to the islands by Labor Day in 2009.
 
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