sailing on the san juan straits

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brigadoon
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sailing on the san juan straits

Postby brigadoon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:17 am

I was wanting to ask those familiar with the straits what kind of conditions to expect when sailing (wind). My wife and I have built a small cabin near John Wayne marina and finally got to do some sailing this past July/August. Whenever we've been up there in the past it always seemed to be blowing like a gail but when we went out this summer we literally drifted in a 360 degree circle with al sails up. We do plan to do a little cruising this coming summer and were wondering when conditions are most likely to be favorable for crossing and going up through the islands. Eventually we want to go up into desolation sound but not likely this coming summer.
Thanks, Rick

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CaptainScott
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Re: sailing on the san juan straits

Postby CaptainScott » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:15 pm

You could experience a ton of different scenarios in the same water. Generally in the summer winds can get very fickle. Last summer we spent 2.5 weeks in the Saun Juans and Gulf islands and only saw rain on the last day coming home! Other times not so nice. Plan carefully around where you want to be each night. Watch the weather carefully in the straights. Juan De Fuca, Haro, and Rosario can get ugly with wind that blows opposite the tides. Check the tides and currents of any passes you go through. Tides and currents can make an otherwise nice day, miserable! FOG. Summer time has fog regularly in the straights. Especially in the morning. Carry a radar reflector at a minimum. Sailboats are almost invisible to radar. Reflectors make all the difference!

With proper care and preparation the trips are fantastic, fun and provide a lifetime of memories! Not watching the weather or being prepared and things can get ugly.

Know and use your charts!

Scott

brigadoon
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:58 pm

Re: sailing on the san juan straits

Postby brigadoon » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:06 pm

Thanks for the reply Captain Scott. It sounds like the winds are fickle there as anywhere else. I've purchased an older computer with built in gps for use as a chart plotter . When sailing last summer I was surprised to see some shallows in very unexpected places so intend to be very vigilant as to locations and tides.

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Re: sailing on the san juan straits

Postby CaptainScott » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:54 am

One more item for you!

Go buy a current Waggner Cruising Guide. They are available on Amazon or your local boat shop. I bet there is one in PA.
These guys do a great job. 2018 version is available!

We buy one every year or two and pass the old version on to local boaters.
They give very good descriptions of local points of interest, they give good warnings of reefs and rocks, and provide known fuel access points!

When we started cruising the San Juans and Gulf Islands many moons ago, we tried several cruising guides and found this to be the best for us!

Hmm, OK, one more thought . . . . . . .
Start a "Ships Log". Keep track of passages, conditions , time made good, fuel consumption, etc. Initially it is fun to do. In short order it becomes a little tedious. However, in time it will become one of the most important books on your boat. Planning trips you will refer back to your notes. We have now a great set of logs describing many passages and conditions! The most used is "how long did it take". Remember conditions include tides, weather, hull speed, SOG, etc. Your own notes will be so helpful and even fun to read!

Our logs include 5 years of our first "Destiny" and now 14 years of our current "Destiny". Sadly we did not keep logs on our first cruiser.

We will be in Sequim Friday night through most of Sunday this weekend. My brides mother lives there in town. We are going to visit and take care of a few things needing attention.

Scott


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