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Old 05-31-2007, 04:05 AM   #1
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Hello Sailors,

I don't need anybody to tell me that my intended passage will be difficult. What I'm asking for is your strategic advice for a northbound passage from Los Angeles CA to Vancouver BC. I have an old 50' wooden vessel that does not run to weather very well. I would prefer to motor as little as possible.

Thanx

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Old 05-31-2007, 05:21 AM   #2
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I guess you are Un1que , most sailors are - otherwise they would not take to the oceans in wooden boats.

A strategy ?

Check lists - see 'Ready for Sea' topic on this forum.

When ? The time of year relative to predicted weather patterns will determine the best time.

Here is a good WX site to get a fix on wind and wave :-

http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display.cgi?a=npac_slp

By Albatross LA to BC = +/- 1000 nautical miles at 100nm /day = 10 days

Motoring 40% of passage = 40 gallons diesel.

Crew: 50' wooden boat - 4 sailors - to be familiarized with every aspect of the boat.

Local Knowledge : speak to skippers/crew who know the ropes - that is probably the best means of completing the strategy.

Thanks for coming on board - welcome
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Old 06-02-2007, 03:19 AM   #3
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Un1que,

Hello again,

Had another look at the strategies available to sail your 50' Wooden boat from LA to BC at this time of the year.

Because the prevailing winds along the coastal belt are at this time NNW > NW in the seas covered by coordinates 30N<>40N x 130W<>125W.

As a result :-

To find favourable sailing winds will no doubt require motoring to the area covered by

coordinates 40N<>45N x 135W<>130W , it's in this area where low pressure systems roll in

from the West providing 15>>30kts winds sufficient to piggy-back on to southern BC.

The Caveat of course is that these systems will vary in wind strength and direction, therefore will need special attention in any proposed strategy.

Fair Winds

Richard
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Old 06-02-2007, 05:29 PM   #4
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MMNetsea,

Thank you so much for your response. Your first answer was good advice, but not what I was really trying to ask. Your second response is more helpful.

An acquaintance of mine made three attempts at this passage, he is a very experienced and determined sailor. He failed on all accounts. He was in a cutter rigged moderate beam, deep full keel wooden boat. My boat is a staysail schooner, much heaver than his with a shallower draft. I would expect greater difficulty in my boat.

The big question is "how far out to sea must you go before conditions are good enough to sail north." Some people say "head out on a starboard tack until you hit Hawaii, then head north." I hope there is a better plan.
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by un1que View Post
The big question is "how far out to sea must you go before conditions are good enough to sail north." Some people say "head out on a starboard tack until you hit Hawaii, then head north." I hope there is a better plan.
A friend used to make a lot of money delivering boats that had arrived in Hawaii on the TransPac race and needed to be returned to California. She said that from Hawaii she sailed NE almost to Washington before heading down again. Yup, seems as if you're going to have to make a very long starboard tack to the WNW until you're high enough to flop over the other way. Have you got pilot charts for that area? It would help you get an idea of just how far, on what course, you need to go to get that favorable angle.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:39 AM   #6
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In trying to determine the best strategy - an objective must be to find a balance between what is possible , what is is prudent and what has been done before.

Going back and looking at the systems that will provide favourable winds, the first waypoint to aim for, where at some time the wind would come from the right quarter - was found to repeat at 36 degrees North x 132 West , on a bearing of around 280 degrees. At that waypoint if the wind is coming from the right quarter, don't be tempted - take a new bearing of 310 degrees until at least longitude 136 degrees is reached - if on arrival good winds are intercepted then change course and head for 48 North x 125 West. In any event carry lots of diesel.

Hawaii, having a latitude of some thousand nautical miles south of the latitude of the starting point just adds another equation to the strategy that is needed.

Richard

[/quote]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Looking at the numbers without the visuals not always enough - taking the above coordinates and plotting a passage strategy, at the same time showing how the heading from Hawaii to Vancouver intersects with the second waypoint. Here is a rough plot :-

Un1que.jpg
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:56 PM   #7
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Thanks so much Richard,

I agree, it would be much better not to have to sail 1000 miles south and then north again. Unfortunately there is a little thing known as the "Pacific High." Going first to Hawaii gets you around the PH and you can get favorable winds on the other side of it (if your lucky) that can take you to Alaska. In order to do it as you illustrated in your very kind diagram. I believe that you would need to motor about 800 miles through the PH, and I hate the thought of that.

Maybe the only alternative would be to make the passage during winter. Leaving ahead of a series of southeasterly storms. During winter the PH is further north (easer to get underneath it) then ride up the other side. The problem with that is huge seas and serious storms in the north pacific. That may prove to be a tough way of committing suicide.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:07 AM   #8
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Hi Un1que,

True about winter - very unpleasant ! Not for me!

Some time ago at the end of summer it took me a long time to get from Midway to San Francisco - 1st Sept. plus 5 weeks , arriving San Fransisco 7 Oct.

Back to strategy : If it were not for the California Current and the California Counter Current - the least hazardous and fastest would be the direct diesel route. (not including the undignified option of loading the 50ft Staysail Schooner onto a truck) Have a look at the paper contained in :-

http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/fileli...5802/25916.pdf

The south flowing equatorward currents at the surface to a degree negate the advantage of taking the direct route - however, the strategic option of making the passage in short hops remains feasible.

NeverGiveUp7.jpg

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Old 06-06-2007, 03:30 AM   #9
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Short Hops:

I thought about short hops prior to asking for advice. Short hops would be very grueling as they would need to be done at night when the wind has died down (remember this is a 70+ year old super heavy sailboat with a very old 2-71 Detroit Diesel, not suitable for forging straight into 20 knot headwinds + current). You'd then need check into marinas and try to sleep during the day with countless interruptions and other things that will rob you of your sleep.

Trucking:

If a truck could handle it? The Schooner is actually 58' with a 14' beam. I'd really hate to take the masts down as they've been standing for more than 70 years. I'd be devastated if there were no "gold coins" under the masts.

Smartest Strategy:

Sail to Ensenata. Load the boat on the ship transport get off in Nanaimo BC. Then tell all the folks in BC how you braved huge seas for 40 days and 40 nights, and that you're going to write a book about it.
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Old 06-09-2007, 07:21 AM   #10
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Hi, Unique,

I understand your situation--which is a little different than that of a fiberglass cruiser. We have a fiberglass cruiser (a Rawson 30) and a larger wooden cruiser. We also know several folks with old wooden boats who have gone the "wrong way" up the west coast. Is your boat gaff rigged? That certainly can cut back on windward capabilities. Is your crew ready for this type of trip? The route also greatly depends upon the condition of your vessel. Has she been recently surveyed? What does your surveyor say about the proposed trip? Is she in questionable condition? If so, going offshore to get more favorable winds isn't necessarily an option for you. However, if she's ready for passage making, I'd take her the "long way" offshore (I wouldn't visit HI though, I'd make my hook north a bit earlier), I'd have a lot of fuel onboard "just in case" and enjoy the sailing trip. Our 67' LOA (53' LOD) schooner is undergoing complete rebuild right now and we should be taking her from So Cal to Canada via an offshore route in 2008. Our boat is 76 years old and even with the extensive rebuild she's getting, we won't "waste" our energy and part of the boat's (new!) fasteners' life on a beat straight up the coast. There's no reason for us to do so. If your boat requires refastening or major structural work to make the trip (and once you're there in the NW, you're staying put) and you cannot afford it, then putting her on a boat in LA or Ensanada to Vancouver BC might really make the most financial sense for you in the long run.

You will be able to find wooden boat owners who have similar concerns to yours in other online forums. You may wish to check out the following online resources:

http://www.woodenboatvb.com (this is a link for the woodenboat forum where you'll find people familiar with wooden boat construction, repair, seaworthiness, etc)

http://www.amschooner.org/ (this is a link for the American Schooner Association, you will find owners of wooden schooners here, a few have done ocean crossings. If you own a schooner--join!)

http://www.schoonerlinks.com/ (this is a site with oodles of links to schooners around the world. Many are 40-70 ft and privately held yachts--many have their own websites and you might find useful info there about their cruising experiences)

I hope this information is useful to you!

Good luck in your travels.
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Old 06-09-2007, 07:26 AM   #11
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Oh, I just re-read your post--you're a staysail schooner. You shouldn't have the problems a gaff rig might have with windward ability.
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Old 06-09-2007, 08:18 AM   #12
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Oh, I just re-read your post--you're a staysail schooner. You shouldn't have the problems a gaff rig might have with windward ability.
Did you read from the very first post on the topic ? Having Checked the links provided could not find solutions to the problem posted on the topic. Are there any others that cover the passage LA to Vancouver in the summer months ?

Richard
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Old 06-09-2007, 08:33 PM   #13
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Did you read from the very first post on the topic ? Having Checked the links provided could not find solutions to the problem posted on the topic. Are there any others that cover the passage LA to Vancouver in the summer months ?

Richard
Richard, sorry if you don't personally find the info relevant. I hope that Unique does find it useful.

This guy, Unique, says : "I have an old 50' wooden vessel that does not run to weather very well. I would prefer to motor as little as possible."

Then he goes on to talk about ANOTHER wooden boat that had a rough time--not just any other boat, but a wooden boat. If you've owned or cruised in a wooden boat you might understand the difficulty he may face if the boat is not cruise-ready. He seems to be telling us that this reason (wooden) makes his passage more difficult and he needs a strategy for LA/BC. He doesn't tell us WHY he doesn't want to go all the way to HI (time?) like so many have done...

The other links I provided should get him in touch with cruisers with wooden boats. He should be able to track down Alcyone, for example who cruises out of Port Townsend WA (I don't know her contact info). There are others who have done what he wants to do. I know a fellow who did the Transpac in a similarly sized wooden boat a few years back--they returned to So Cal via BC from HI. You personally might not find the links helpful, but those links WILL get him in touch with a variety of people with similar experiences to that which he is about to undertake with his old wooden boat. His "strategy" must include dealing with the wooden hull that he's got. He may already have that taken care of, but just in case, I posted the links.

This is not a steel or AL hull and powerful engine combo that can motorsail/beat to windward no matter what. His posts could be read to say that he has a boat that may not be offshore ready. Maybe the garboards work/leak when beating to windward. He doesn't say that, though. He doesn't want to motor--well, motoring is a viable option, but he doesn't say why not for him. I'm not quite sure why his boat doesn't go to windward well--staysail schooners usually are ok, even heavy displacement cruisers. Usually the condition of the hull itself (leaking when beating to windward or concern about frames breaking in pounding seas) would be the concern. The links I provided to him will allow him to find other people who have experience doing what he wants to do--in old wooden boats (or new wooden gaff-rigged boats that sail like old ones). There are things he needs to do/know as an owner of a wooden boat (getting with his surveyor or a trusted shipwright to go over the hull, for example) to prepare for his trip. For heavens sakes, as far as he knows, his masts haven't been off the boat during its entire life? That says something about the maintenance state of this boat. It has the original keelbolts? (gotta remove the masts to get at those under the mast steps...). I wouldn't go offshore in a boat with keelbolts over 30 years old--much less 70 or 80. The resources provided should help him determine that he's done what he needs to have done to take an old wooden boat from So Cal to BC.

Since he does discuss the boat/wooden/etc and since we have experience with the same, I provided him that info. Our boat did the trip he's considering from LA to BC at least 3 times--once in the 50's straight up the coast, by the way, once in the 60's as part of Transpac to HI first and once in the 80's via HI first. So, 2 out of 3 times, the boat went to HI first. We didn't own it then so didn't do the trip with the boat.

Unique, I hope the resources are ones that are also helpful to you. Richard, if you don't need to know about strategies for beating upwind while cruising in a wooden schooner...other people do, believe me.

Good sailing to all.
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Old 06-09-2007, 11:48 PM   #14
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Moderator/Richard,

OK, I guess I'm not the brightest bulb on the porch here. Because I think its helpful, I kept posting a link to a particular schooner that is doing the exact trip that Unique wants to do. Unfortunately, that schooner owner's website includes an advertisement for a commercial venture by the owner (he's selling shares of his boat or something). Sorry that can't be posted here. I didn't even think of that site as a commercial site since most content is about the owner spending 30 years working on/building the boat--not about selling "shares" of the boat. You keep deleting my "useful" link and associated paragraph about how that schooner is going up the west coast right now because its a commercial website. Sorry, Unique, I guess you'll have to find that one on your own.
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