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Old 08-21-2010, 01:56 PM   #1
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Hi, I'll be making the trip down from Seattle to SF in 2 weeks. What are the best harbors to stop at (no bar) for a weather break? What harbors with a bar are not too bad to enter in a blow? The boat is a 55 foot trawler, DeFever design. Not my boat, just helping a friend. All my charts and stuff are on my boat in Samoa so any help would be appreciated. I think we'll run down just outside the 100 fathom line.

So far I have Neah Bay and Crescent City on the list.

Thanks,

Rod
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:16 PM   #2
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Perhaps the US Coast Pilot would help you. Here's the link to the one appropriate for your trip, US Coast Pilot Book 7

You can download just those sections appropriate to your trip, not a bad idea considering how big a book it is.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP' date='21 August 2010 - 08:10 PM View Post

Perhaps the US Coast Pilot would help you. Here's the link to the one appropriate for your trip, US Coast Pilot Book 7

You can download just those sections appropriate to your trip, not a bad idea considering how big a book it is.

Fair winds,

J
Thanks for the link, I have that back in Samoa
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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The Coast Pilot doesn't do you much good back in Samoa, eh? I often have things in the wrong place at the wrong time, too. But lucky for all, the download is free and you can have the Coast Pilot aboard your vessel's computer as you travel.

Suggest that your friend pick up a copy of Charlie's Charts of the US Pacific Coast by Charles and Margo Wood. It provides an excellent description of numerous good harbors along the West Coast. It is NOT a chartbook but rather a cruising guide. I do note that they skip telling you about good hidy-holes or anchorages of refuge (not harbors) that are important when you cannot make it into a harbor/over a bar. There are several such anchorages which exist along this section of coastline and you may wish to engage in discussion with some of the cruisers local to you who have made the passage you'll be undertaking. You'll not be able to skip harbors which sit behind a bar on the West Coast. Most do.

You can download free NOAA charts as well. link

I recommend paper charts and if your friend doesn't have them aboard, I'd suggest he/she procure some. If he doesn't have a vendor local to him, he can get Seabreeze Books and Charts in San Diego to mail what he will need. The owner, Ann, is an experienced boater who can help you and him select the right charts, chartbooks, and cruising guides for anywhere one may wish to go worldwide. link

The ocean swell is quite something along that section of coastline. Depending on the motion of the boat, your crew may be quite a bit more comfortable very close in. I recently spoke with an 80 year old cruiser who has made the trip up to the PNW from SF many times on various sailing boats. He has predominately stayed very close to shore--think 20 fathoms--to avoid rough seas that his small vessel wouldn't do well with. I was somewhat surprised by this, but have not ventured north of SF so cannot say if it is the best plan. We have a Cruiserlog member on the (88 ft?) Tugboat Tyee who has made this trip South and North, I can hope that he stops by and tells us what he did.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:49 AM   #5
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Thanks, I'm getting paper charts tomorrow at Safe Navigation in Long Beach. I've been checking out the weather on some grib files and running close maybe the answer for this trip. In my boat I'd sail about 300 miles off and go around all that stuff, but that would be too far off just to go to SF. I figure this M/V should make about 180 a day easy, running down. I just need to gather all the info I can on those hidey holes you speak of.

I'm a bit tech challenged and I get my weather with an HF radio and Weatherfax 2000, this guy wants to install some kind of sat weather deal, can't we just use a sat phone with a USB hook up to get GRIB files at sea? He has no HF radio onboard.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:58 AM   #6
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Without HF...might want to consider just getting a Grundig (Yachtboy??? look at the latest models and if they're still available that is) which you can hook up to a soundcard on a computer and get your weatherfaxes. As I recall, pricing should be below $200 for the radio. Sony had a competing, inexpensive portable radio as well.

We also keep an eye on Sailflow and PassageWeather as well as the NOAA weather online for good weather info. The VHF WX is good on the West coast, the support from the NOAA folks in Eureka, CA is very good, btw.

Good luck in your passage.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:58 AM   #7
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Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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I made the trip north from SF to Seattle in May of this year. I found that the best way to check the status of the bar was to call the USCG on the VHF and ask for a bar report prior to entering. They generally had a recorded report that you could listen to. If you have, or can obtain, a copy of Charlies Charts for the US Pacific Coast it will list the phone numbers and VHF channels to contact. Make sure your VHF is tuned to US and not International because I found that the Coast Guard does not monitor the international channel. After being frustrated at several bars and unable to contact them it finally dawned on me that my VHF was switched to International vs US...duh! When you are in the port and want to check the next stop or the exit at the port you are in, there is a nice site by NOAA with bar cameras that you can actually view the bar status on....http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/marine/bars_mover.php. I found that this would give me an actual view of whether or not there were any breaking waves at the bar entry and this had a nice calming effect on my nerves (if there were no large breakers).

In general I would advise you to stay away from entering the bar at the Columbia River or any bar at night, for that matter. And of course you want to enter at slack tide if possible. We found that Neah Bay, Grays Harbor (although the facilties were not very good) Newport and Eureka were all good spots to stop without too much problem crossing the bar as long as you check out the status, tides, etc. first. As far as how far out from shore to go, it seemed that the biggest problem was the crab pots and they seemed to be located all the way out to 50 fathoms plus or 5 to 7 miles offshore. They were by far the biggest hazard of the trip, although depending on when you are going, perhaps they may not be as prevalent due to the crabbing season being over. I am not familiar with the season dates.

I hope this helps.
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