Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from Seattle to Puget Sound harbors (Blake Island, Kingston, Edmonds, Bremerton, Port Townsend, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Everett, Oak Harbor, Victoria, Friday Harbor)

 
    I learned to sail in the waters around Puget Sound. And in my humble opinion, of all the cities on the West Coast of the United States of America, Seattle has - far and away - the best cruising grounds for Sailors. There may not be many t-shirt and barefoot sail days. But - throw on a wool sweater and a windbreaker and you are in for a vast inland Sea full of beautiful anchorages and secluded bays.
Someday I will return to Puget Sound...

     I figured it would be handy to have the distances and travel times between Seattle and all the classic destinations - displayed in one place. I know Seattle sailors like to get out on the weekends, so I hope this is of use.

Distance in nautical miles:               (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)

Seattle to Eagle Harbor                                  5.5
Seattle to Elliot Bay (downtown harbor)       7 
Seattle to Kingston                                         7.5
Seattle to Edmonds                                         8.5
Seattle to Blake Island                                    9.5
Seattle to Bremerton                                      15.5
Seattle to Port Ludlow                                   23
Seattle to Gig Harbor                                     24.5
Seattle to Tacoma                                           26.5
Seattle to Quartermaster Harbor                    28.5
Seattle to Everett                                            29
Seattle to Port Townsend                                33
Seattle to Oak Harbor                                     41
Seattle to Friday Harbor (San Juan Island)     61 (via Admiralty Inlet)
Seattle to Victoria (Vancouver Island)            65 (via Admiralty Inlet)
     
    I plotted out these distances based on a direct route, and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. For the Seattle waypoint, I used the navigation markers just outside the Ballard locks, near the southern end of Shilshole Marina. This is where my boat was docked, so I am partial to Shilshole as a starting point. If you're starting from Elliot Bay, you can add or subtract 5 miles, depending on whether you're heading north or south.

      Each mariner will experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.

Alize' moored right next to the Parliamentary buildings in Victoria - very regal!
     I have made these routes in my 30 foot sailboat (a 1976 Newport), and I am calling my average speed at about 4.7 knots. This average speed accounts for some sailing in good to moderate winds and then the engine turned on at moderately high RPM when the wind goes light. For most folks with a sailboat near 30 feet, just under 5 knots is probably about the right average speed for mixed conditions. It must be mentioned that tides and currents play a large role in the navigation of these waters. The prudent mariner would be wise to consult the tide table and plan out each voyage so that the current is working in their favor as they traverse any narrow channel.

At that speed, the approximate time it would take to get from A to B is:

Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 knots)
                                                
                                                           Hours (in decimal)

Seattle to Eagle Harbor                                   1.2
Seattle to Elliot Bay (downtown harbor)        1.5
Seattle to Kingston                                          1.6
Seattle to Edmonds                                          1.8
Seattle to Blake Island                                     2  
Seattle to Bremerton                                        3.3
Seattle to Port Ludlow                                     4.9
Seattle to Gig Harbor                                       5.2
Seattle to Tacoma                                             5.6
Seattle to Quartermaster Harbor                      6.1
Seattle to Everett                                              6.2
Seattle to Port Townsend                                 7
Seattle to Oak Harbor                                      8.7
Seattle to Friday Harbor (San Juan Island)     13
Seattle to Victoria (Vancouver Island)            13.8

          Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another (either due to some tacking or to unintentional meanderings) and so, it would be wise to plan 1 or 2 hours on top of these estimates.

Sail on Sailor!

- pulled these Dungeness out of Blind Bay on Shaw Island
 - crossing Puget Sound in a rare Seattle snow flurry

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Electric problems while out at Sea.


       They say you should never head out to Sea 'half-boiled'. They say you should never head out to Sea without a bulletproof electric system. Well, I did both of those things on a recent trip from San Diego to the Northern Channel Islands.
      My boat is 38 years old and so many of the electrical contacts are also 38 years old. And when you mix in violent swells that shake the boat for many days...well, important shit starts falling apart...


I spend many days stranded in Oxnard, going through all my wire circuits trying to find the problem.


Then I found the cause of 1 of my 3 problems. The hot line leading to this AC plug outlet had shaken free of its contact. In doing so, the AC 120V shore power cord was not able to deliver its charge into the battery bank.


The other problems, as I would find out later, were: a dead alternator and fried batteries.

When it rains, it pours....


The Walker 10 dinghy: not the best, but probably the most reliable and cheapest tender.

I am hard on things in general. An inflatable dinghy has never worked for me. I pop dirigibles often. I like to drag things up on the rocks and leave them there. I don't like to maintain everything I own. Somethings I want things to not require maintenance. The Walker 10 can be treated like a dog, like a dog you are not worried about, a wild dog.

My heavily abused 'Walker 10' dragged up on the rocks at Toyon Bay, Catalina Island.
And like a dog, this dingy will be there for you in your darkest moments. Its never sprung a leak, there's no engine to worry about. The stout oars are there for you. You need to enjoy rowing, but, how else are you going to get a work out when you're floating around at Sea? Real sailors row!


Walker 10, roomy with 2 people, less so with 3-4 folks.
I wouldn't mess with the Walker 8 (8 foot), its just too small.

How to keep beer cold on a week long sail trip.


The answer to this question is simple: dry ice.

In San Diego, there is a store called 'Smart and Final' near the Sports Arena. They have a dry ice container. You can buy a thin slab for 15 bucks. Throw that in the bottom of your cooler or ice chest with a bag of party ice (or better, block ice), and you can expect extremely cold beers for many days.

Getting hoisted up the mast


This is not my favorite aspect of sailing, but it is inevitable. Eventually, you will need to 'go up top'.

I recommend finding a trusted friend to winch you up and tie off a good cleat once you're in place. In this case I was installing a new wind vane.

And I did some painting of the mast while I was belayed back down.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from Los Angeles to Catalina Island (Avalon, Two Harbors, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Harbor, Los Angeles Harbor, Marina del Rey)


In my opinion, a compelling reason to live in Los Angeles instead of San Diego, is the closer proximity of Catalina Island. In San Diego, we can drive to Mexico in 30 minutes. This is nice. However, in LA, you can sail a boat to the island, leaving midday on a Friday and arriving sometime Friday evening. That is very nice.

I thought it would be a good online resource to have these distances and travel times. There are lots of folks sailing between LA and Catalina Island, so hopefully this will be of use.

Distance in nautical miles:               (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)
Dana Point to Avalon:                          33
Dana Point to Two Harbors:                 38
Newport Beach to Avalon:                   26               
Newport Beach to Two Harbors:          32
Huntington Harbor to Avalon:               25
Huntington Harbor to Two Harbors:     27                   
LA Harbor to Avalon:                          25
LA Harbor to Two Harbors:                 22
Marina del Rey to Avalon:                   38            
Marina del Rey to Two Harbors:         31

I plotted out these distances based on my route (direct), and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. Each mariner may experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.

chart plotting the waters of Southern California

 I have made these routes in a 30 foot sailboat (1976 Newport), and considering the range of conditions I experienced (current, swells, headwind), let's say - my average speed for these trips was 4.7 knots. This average speed accounts for some sailing in good to moderate winds and then the engine turned on at moderately high RPM when the wind goes light. For most folks with a sailboat near 30 feet, just under 5 knots is probably about the right average speed for mixed conditions.

At that average speed, the approximate time it would take to get from A to B is:

Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 knots)
                                                
                                                           Hours (in decimal)
Dana Point to Avalon:                             7
Dana Point to Two Harbors:                    8
Newport Beach to Avalon:                     5.5               
Newport Beach to Two Harbors:            6.8
Huntington Harbor to Avalon:                5.3
Huntington Harbor to Two Harbors:      5.7                 
LA Harbor to Avalon:                            5.3
LA Harbor to Two Harbors:                   4.6
Marina del Rey to Avalon:                     8.0            
Marina del Rey to Two Harbors:            6.6

Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another (either due to some tacking or to unintentional meanderings) and so, it would be wise to plan an hour on top of these estimates.

Fair winds!

Sailing the Alize' into the welcoming glow of Avalon harbor.

Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from San Diego to Los Angeles (Mission Bay, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Harbor, Los Angeles Harbor, Marina del Rey)



I just sailed south from Channel Islands Marina (near Oxnard) back down to San Diego - stopping at these marinas along the way. I thought it would be a good online resource to have these distances and travel times. There are lots of folks sailing between LA and San Diego, so hopefully this will be of use.

For the San Diego waypoint, I started the distance at the mouth of Mission Bay jetty (because that's where my boat is docked). If you are starting your journey from San Diego Bay instead of Mission Bay, then add 7 nautical miles onto each distance or for calculating time required for each journey, add 1.5 hours.

Distance in nautical miles:               (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)

Mission Bay to Dana Point:                   50
Mission Bay to Newport Beach:            62
Mission Bay to Huntington Harbor:      73
Mission Bay to LA harbor:                    80
Mission Bay to Marina del Rey:            99


I plotted out these distances based on my route (direct), and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. Each mariner may experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.

chart plotting with a good set of dividers

We made this journey in a 30 foot sailboat (1976 Newport), and considering the range of conditions we experienced (current, swells, headwind), let's say - our average speed for this trip was 4.7 knots. This average speed accounts for some sailing in good to moderate winds and then the engine turned on at moderately high RPM when the wind goes light. For most folks with a sailboat near 30 feet, just under 5 knots is probably about the right average speed for mixed conditions.

At that average speed, the approximate time it would take to get from A to B is:

Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 knots)
                                                
                                                           Hours (in decimal)

Mission Bay to Dana Point:                10.6              
Mission Bay to Newport Beach:         13.1 
Mission Bay to Huntington Harbor:   15.5  
Mission Bay to LA harbor:                 17
Mission Bay to Marina del Rey:         21  

Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another (either due to some tacking or due to unintentional meanderings) and so, it would be wise to plan for 1-2 hours on top of these estimates.

Fair winds!


Sailing south around Point Vicente, a prominent point on the LA headlands.

Diving the western side of Catalina Island

just after a great dive at Iron Bound Cove
We got incredible diving conditions on the western, windward side of Catalina Island. I didn't get any underwater shots, but you can tell by the deep blue water color that the visibility was nice. It was easily 50-60 feet for both of our dives.

We dove at China Point on the Southwest corner and then at Iron Bound Cove, which is just Northwest of Catalina Harbor. We saw loads of Manta Rays and abalone.

Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from San Diego to Santa Cruz Island (Mission Bay, Smuggler's Cove, Avalon, Two Harbors)


This is a long haul. But once you drop the anchor in Smuggler's cove on Santa Cruz Island, you'll be glad you made the journey. The island is much more desolate than Catalina Island, yet has an equally interesting history and is really fun to explore. Plan the trip, make it happen!

You can either make the whole trip (San Diego to smuggler's cove in one step), or you can spend the first night on Catalina Island (this was our route). I included sailing distance for both options.


For the San Diego waypoint, I started the distance at the mouth of Mission Bay jetty.
If you are starting your journey from San Diego Bay instead of Mission Bay, then add 7 nautical miles onto the distance or for calculating time required for the crossing, add 1.5 hours.

Distance in nautical miles:               (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)

Mission Bay to Smuggler's cove:     141
Mission Bay to Avalon:                      63
Avalon to Smuggler's cove:                73
Mission Bay to Two Harbors:            76
Two Harbors to Smuggler's cove:       63


I plotted out these distances based on my route (direct), and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. Each mariner may experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.

chart plotting the Channel Islands

We made the round trip in a 30 foot sailboat (1976 Newport), and considering the range of conditions we experienced (current, swells, headwind), let's say - our average speed for this trip was 4.7 knots. This average speed accounts for some sailing in good to moderate winds and then the engine turned on at moderately high RPM when the wind goes light. For most folks with a sailboat near 30 feet, just under 5 knots is probably about right.

At that average speed, the approximate time it would take to get from A to B is:

Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 knots)
                                                
                                                           Hours (in decimal)

Mission Bay to Smuggler's cove:       30
Mission Bay to Avalon:                      13.4   
Avalon to Smuggler's cove:                15.5  
Mission Bay to Two Harbors:            16.1   
Two Harbors to Smuggler's cove:      13.4

Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another (either due to some tacking or due to unintentional meanderings) and so, it would be wise to plan for 1-2 hours on top of these estimates.

Alright  -

Sail on Sailor.

Approaching Smuggler's Cover after the crossing from Two Harbors.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Heavy jibe snaps my boom off the mast

The gooseneck connection linking the boom to the mast finally busted during an abrupt jibe on a 25 kph sailing day while heading back into the Mission Bay jetty. Noone was hurt.

Catalina Island trip


Sailing down the leeward coast of Catalina Island
 Hand speared rockfish and opaleye


This Angel Shark fed many people for many days.

1860 drawing of sailboat in front of Point Loma Lighthouse