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Kenthefenceguy 10-29-2018 07:25 PM

Going up and down west coast
We are 70 year old sailors changing to a trawler. We plan on mostly cruising the PNW, but would like to have the option to move seasonally to San Diego. Weve seen some Mainship 39s that might work for us. We would like some input on how seaworthy they are going up and down the West coat. We would be taking our time and be sensible about weather windows etc. if there are other trawlers like Grand Banks 36s that would serve us better wed like to know. We like to keep under 40 with a single screw.

tiltrider1 10-29-2018 08:10 PM

Time is the key. I’ve seen it flat and i’ve seen 20 ft swell with 8 ft wind waves. Most boats are far more capable than the people on board. For the most part there is a good port every 12 to 14 hours. So if you only go on good weather forecasts then you should have a pleasant but possibly long trip.

Kenthefenceguy 10-29-2018 08:57 PM

Thanks, the challenge is getting between San Francisco and Port Angels in Washington, most of the ports have a bar you have to cross, so if it gets snotty you need to try and avoid an outgoing tide

RT Firefly 10-29-2018 09:05 PM

Welcome aboard.

Comodave 10-29-2018 09:14 PM

I have done that trip only once. We were in a 46 trawler. We had up to 18 seas on a couple of days. Some of the days were less than 1 seas also. My concern with the 390 Mainship is endurance. Not sure what the fuel capacity is but will you be able to stay out if the bars are closed when you get there?

Alaskan Sea-Duction 10-29-2018 09:32 PM

We bought ASD in San Francisco and sailed the 780 miles to the Columbia River. My advice is to use the Oregon side of the Columbia to store your boat/home base for cruising the PNW and the inside passage. Crusty can comment on the tax issues of Oregon vs Washington.

markpierce 10-29-2018 10:28 PM

Suggest you study a cruiser's guide for the West Coast. The mostly hostile shores are downwind. From what I've read, one needs to read weather windows, be willing to wait in harbors for days, and many harbors can have treacherous entrances.

Kenthefenceguy 10-29-2018 10:31 PM

Thanks for the thoughts. Our plan is to spend most of our time up north of Seattle. I am concerned about the range of a Mainship.

Comodave 10-29-2018 10:40 PM

Not sure what the fuel capacity is on a 390, but you need the fuel to be able to stay out (endurance) at the end of a run if the bar is beyond the capabilities of the boat. For a Puget Sound boat it would be great. Just not sure about some of the stretches down the coast.

IRENE 10-29-2018 11:28 PM

I would not expect differences in semi-displacement boats (e.g. Mainship and Grand Banks) to be substantial for your intended use. Clearly you would wait for reasonable weather as these boats are not built for heavy seas. With your good seamanship and weather sense from sailing, you should be safe and comfortable.

The Mainships have nice features, such as stairs instead of ladders and little or no exterior wood. I like the 35/39 & 40 with the galley up, so you can see out, and the salon opening to the aft deck. The helm below allows the person at the controls to easily transition to line handling on the starboard side.

I don't know about the range, but you could look at the NMPG for various engines in the Mainship 390 and do an "armchair" cruise down the coast. Comodave highlights an important consideration about reserve fuel. I suspect you would have the capability to do it.

Good Luck Sir

VicTrawler 10-29-2018 11:32 PM

We took our 36' 1984 Universal Europa from Victoria to Mexico in the fall and shipped it back to Victoria the following spring. Getting south was a tricky and slow/deliberate trip to ensure we had extremely optimal weather windows for passages and bar crossings. I couldn't imagine trying to do it seasonally. For us, it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, at least with this particular boat.

I'd say it's more realistic to expect you'll be sailing in the PNW exclusively, unless you have a serious sense of adventure. In that case, go for it.

DDW 10-30-2018 12:14 AM

I just did the Port Angeles to SF in the sailboat, moderate conditions with no more than 25 knots. No way I'd want to be out there in a small trawler, even going downwind. Perhaps dangerous and certainly very uncomfortable. You can wait for flat water but the trip might take 2 months.

Just leave it in the PNW, store off season in Canada to avoid the usurious Washington state taxes.

tiltrider1 10-30-2018 02:00 AM

I think 2 months to get from Seattle to SF is an exaggeration. However if you have that kind of time window, you will have a pleasant trip. When the weather is good, you need to run right around the clock and make distance. I don’t know the endurance of a mainship 39 but I like to have 30 hrs of range.

alfamike 10-30-2018 02:50 AM

West Coast trip up to Seattle from San Diego
:) I have done the trip both directions several times over last 30 years in several different boats. Gong south is a lot easier than going north. Weather window & time of year is very important. Timing is very important.

Lets look at the trip in two sections . - First the one from San Francisco to Seattle.

second the trip from San Francisco to Southern California.

IMHO...the boat better be well founded & set up properly. This is a lea shore the whole way north & no place for some weekend bay boat. You better be able to change fuel filters with out turning the engine off. Boat & engine & trans, shaft & prop better be in top condition.
That said here we go.

I have experienced flat sea's & perfect weather, I have been hunkered down in a harbor enroute for two weeks straight waiting for weather window & at Point Mendocino & I have seen huge seas, and everything in between. So prep for everything.

I can not stress enough at the wrong time of year or if the weather turns on you what an arduous trip it can sometimes turn out to be, particularly when your going north bound from SF Bay to Straits of Juan de Fuca . Once your turn north out of San Francisco Bay & head out past Drakes Bay, going around Pt Reyes into the full force of the north Pacific Ocean seas. I have been there & done this myself & have gotten hammered pretty good a time or two when enroute & hit un-forecast weather. Pick your weather window right & it can be a beautiful & fun trip if you don't have a schedule your trying to stick to.

Here is the approximate mileage break down for reference.

SF bay entrance to Pt Reyes -- 28 miles

Pt Reyes to Bodega Bay entrance -- 23 miles

Bodega Bay entrance to Shelter Cove -- 117 miles

Shelter Cove to entrance to Eureka entrance -- 54 miles

Eureka entrance to Crescent City entrance -- 60 miles

Crescent City entrance to Port Orford entrance-- 65 miles

Port Orford entrance to Coos Bay entrance -- 51 miles

Coos Bay entrance to Newport entrance -- 77 miles

Newport entrance to Tillamook entrance - 55 miles

Tillamook entrance to Columbia River light ship @ outer entrance - 40 miles

Columbia River light ship at outer entrance to Grays harbor entrance -- 44 miles

Grays Harbor entrance to Cape Flattery entrance -- 96 miles

Cape Flattery to Port Townsend entrance -- 86 miles

Port Townsend entrance to Seattle entrance -- 40 miles

so there is your trip to Seattle in a nut shell. -- or Approximately 836 miles

Going north - That will take you about 140 hours of running at 6 knots.

Coming south it takes about 120 hours & your can go about 7 knots.

Going north I would figure 3 to 4 gal hour hour to be safe. -- 480 gal plus 10% reserve. So estimate from there for fuel costs & fuel stops.

VERY important - Pick your weather window. Time your bar crossings.

Often you need to stop in a harbor & lay over - some times for a day or a couple days, some times a week, maybe even more, so don't have a schedule.

Can be a pretty & fun trip if you don't have a schedule.

I was going north one trip past Mendocino & we had "get there itas" - so we got the snot knocked out of us up there. So be careful as it was not very comfortable.

Second :

TRIP: San Francisco Bay CA to Channel Islands Harbor near Oxnard, CA.

I have done that trip both ways many times.

Recent Last trip took me 2 days, 2 hours, 22 minutes - and we went straight through with no stops.

Channel Islands Hbr to Santa Barbara - 27
Santa Barbara to Cojo Anchorage - 35
Cojo Anchorage. to Port San Luis - 51
Port San Luis to Morro Bay - 21
Morro Bay to Monterey - 102
Monterey to Half Moon Bay - 62
Half Moon Bay to San Francisco Bay - 24

total - harbor entrance sea buoy to sea buoy - 322
*In harbor mileage extra
All distances in Nautical Miles
Going north is a much rougher trip. Lots more miles & lots of harbors with a Bar that can not be entered if weather is bad. I will discuss that trip north another day.

So to go south from San Francisco, Plan for 4 to 5 days food, water & fuel to do this passage since your stopping each night.- may not need it - but better to have extra than not enough.

If you go straight through running 24 hours a day non-stop, figure about 2 day & 3 hours or about 51 hours will do it fine.

3 - danger areas - :

1. - Departing SF Bay & adjacent shipping lanes
2. - lea short of section from Monterey to San Simeon or Morro Bay, &
3. - going south of Port San Luis when headed in to area off Point Arguello & around Point Conception.

1. - You will not be able to go as fast as you think you will. You are not on flat water of SF Bay or the protected waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Your in the real Pacific Ocean, so hope for the best but plan for the worst. We all want to go 8 knots - but the seas usually don't allow that. You need comfort for the long trip & you will have different shifts of people at the helm. Most of the time your running on Auto Pilot. So try to run at 7.0 to 7.5 knots & go from there. Usual average is 6.5 knots - of course weather dependent.

2. - Don't arrive at a strange port after sundown ! -- Always plan ahead with a buffer. So Look at the number of day light hours available to plan your departure time - this time of year maybe 15 hours of reliable daylight - so I looked up the sun tables for you - this coming weekend dawn is at 4:39 am & sun rise is at 5:43 am. Sunset is 8:00 pm & full dark is at 9:00pm.

So leave early at first dawn light & try hard to arrive before sunset. This is a safety thing.

Longest run is the Approximately 110 miles from Monterey to San Simeon Bay. That is a lea shore with NO WHERE to hide - so always confirm the weather before departure & monitor it enroute. Do not make the mistake of you running to close to the shore, Because if you clog a filter or such you need time & the farther your off shore the more time you have. I run 5 miles off minimum.

Figure average speed of 6.5 knots. Estimate Fuel burn of 2 to 3 an hour for small engine up to 4 to 5 gal per hour per engine - all speed dependent. Depends on how you run your engine, gearing, prop, engine size, How many engines, etc. You will be safe with those numbers. Every wave is a mountain you have to climb, so figure accordingly. They can be pretty big in this area.

Depends where your departing from inside San Francisco can make a big difference in 1st days progress as well as the tidal flow in the bay can effect your speed over the bottom a lot, -- as it can be a good part of the whole 1st day just getting to the Golden Gate depending where your departing from, timing, tides, weather, etc....

Next consideration is that some times weather & swells mean you can't take the south channel after mile rock & that means it would then require you to go all the way out to the sea buoy before you can turn south. Always, Stay in the channels as lots of sneaker waves in this area.

Also when you are in the process of leaving the SF Bay the tide timing is crucial as currents can be coming in as strong as 6 knots if the tide is against you & that can make for very slow going.

Also wind & currents that are adverse can make square waves that can beat you up till you get to deep water if the wind is strong & the tide is going out, so plan well for that. I prefer just before slack time by about 1 hour for under the GG When headed west. I prefer to go out to at least 5 miles off coast unless very, very calm & then you can maybe take south channel.

If there is any question - DO NOT TAKE SOUTH CHANNEL unless in very calm conditions - they get sneaker waves there that can roll your boat if taken on the beam.

If time & tides are not in your favor, to give your crew a rest make first day an easy one & head for Pillar Point Harbor at Half Moon Bay as back up to first stopping point for a comfortable over night sleep & rest for all. There are good restaurants there. My favorite is the "Ketch Joanne" . However, as you approach, Don't hug the coast as that is where "Mavericks'" is located with the world famous 30 foot swells.

SF to Half Moon Bay - as 1st possibility of first day progress - or if tides, wind, weather & sea condition allow then head for Monterey or Moss landing - 1st day. Skip Santa Cruz if you can as it is often shoaled in at entrance & can be tricky.

Second day is the jump from Monterey to San Simeon Bay or Morro Bay. or Port San Luis as back up to the back up.
I prefer San Simeon Bay as a planning point when winds are north west as some time they close the entrance to Morro Bay as there is a dangerous bar there & it can be impossible to get in. They are close to each other so if weather & seas allow you can do either one., but you have San Simeon in your hip pocket just in case - unless there is a south wind & swell - in which case stay away.

Third Day is San Simeon Bay or Morro Bay or Port San Luis headed out & then south -- around past Point Arguello & Point Conception -- which is the cape horn of the central California coast -- & then on down & into the Santa Barbara Channel. Stay well off shore in this Point Arguello & Conception area, -- do not hug the coast. Cape effect winds & seas in this area. There are several off shore oil rig's in the area, so use your radar.

After you round the cape & it's 2 points & get into the channel you can go into near by Cojo Anchorage or even go to Santa Barbara harbor - 35 miles. Great food in Santa Barbara. No facilities of any kind at Cojo, but good anchorage.

However, by then you may be smelling the barn & may want to head straight for Channel Islands Harbor. it is about 64 miles or so which at 8 knots is 8 hours. So You can now travel at 8 knots in the Santa Barbara Channel & make better time.

From there it is a easy run to Channel Islands Harbor at 64 miles.

best case 3 days with 2 over nights.

Average case 4 day with 3 over nights.

Worst case 5 days with 4 over nights

Approximately 325 Nautical Miles plus miles for going out & back to your off shore cruising route which adds about 10 additional miles a day.

Of course possible additional days lay over here or there if weather changes on you enroute.

NOTE: When you enter Channel Islands use the south of the break water entrance as the north end shoals in quickly after dredging.

Good luck & smooth seas.

Channel islands south to San Diego is in a very protected area that is south of Point Conception and is a piece of cake compaired to up north.

Good luck.

Keep it safe. :hide:

Alfa Mike :thumb:

Lepke 10-30-2018 05:05 AM

You need to be weather wise and be your own forecaster. Wind is the real issue and sites like help more than the NWS. Local forecasts are mostly about rain and the big cities. I always wanted to tie the marine forecaster to the bow so he could get a really good look at his 10' - 20' swells.

I commercial fished from Bodega Bay north. There is a predominant NW swell that only becomes less when a storm comes thru. I only saw 1 flat day in my time fishing the North Pacific. Sometimes with a big high pressure area off the coast you get a couple weeks of good weather, but that's rare.
Best traveling time going north is usually late summer/early fall. Winter can be one storm after another for weeks. Only little breaks of a couple days when the ocean calms a little. The rest of the year is NW swells and small storms on about a 10 day schedule. Swells are bigger close to land, especially major capes. I normally travel 25+ miles out. If you don't waste the good days, you can make SF to Neah Bay in a couple weeks.
Going south, you're usually traveling with the swells on your quarter. Sometimes on your beam near Cape Flattery. Heading south in really big swells I once made 22 knots over the ground while making turns for 7 knots. I had to manually steer the whole time. From Cape Mendocino to Point Reyes in about 8 hours. All at night, no idea of the swell size. When each swell passed under the screws came out of the water and the boat wanted to broach. White water going down the sides. Anchored in Drakes Bay and slept for a couple days.

refugio 10-30-2018 10:04 AM

@Kenthefenceguy - In case it wasn't obvious from the above responses, your "move seasonally" idea is not feasible.

ONE trip - for an experienced powerboater on a known and well prepared boat - is essentially an expedition, particularly northbound. There's one sweet spot in the summer for travel either direction, trying to put BOTH transits in one summer would be a challenge. Doing it in successive years would increase the difficulty factor. Ditto with advancing age. More so with an unproven vessel.

Have you considered shipping the vessel each way? I recently trucked a 36' boat cross country for $13K, would guess that with advance planning you could get this up and down the West Coast for $4k each way. The cost to transit on your own bottom isn't going to be substantially less.

And another thing to consider - moorage in EITHER PNW or San Diego is expensive and desirable locations have waiting lists. I'm guessing that San Diego is long term moorage, but in the PNW you're going to be paying transient moorage (or anchoring out) for the duration of your time north and that's going to add up.

So, other than trucking the boat up and down the coast, if you are REALLY into this boat snowbird idea you might even look at vessels in BOTH locations. Or maybe an apartment in San Diego and keep the boat in the PNW.

bshillam 10-30-2018 10:37 AM

Two boats
I like the idea of two boats!

Able to enjoy two different coast or locations with less stress and concern over weather. I have often thought about somewhere tropical and the PNW. Spend summer in PNW and the winter somewhere tropical.

For the time being though while working Ill stick to one.

Alaskan Sea-Duction 10-30-2018 07:33 PM

Alfa Mike, great post. Thanks for sharing. You did miss La Push between Grey's harbor and Cape Flattery. Crusty has been in there a lot.

muttskie 10-31-2018 12:03 PM


Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction (Post 710789)
Alfa Mike, great post. Thanks for sharing.

My thoughts as well. This forum brings out the best. :thumb:

Crusty Chief 10-31-2018 12:50 PM

Alfa Mike,
Thanks for taking the time on your post. A ton of valuable information!
Most of your info I allready had, but a few items have been added to the data bank.
Our trip down next year will be a slow one as we have no plans to run the boat back up the coast. Cross the Columbia bar June/July and work our way south with day trips. As a matter of fact, we will be driving down the coast to SF in a week or two back to home in Vegas. Recon of all the stops for best places to hunker down when the weather turns bad. We would rather be stuck in a place that has a few restaurants, grocery shopping and maybe even a movie theater. Getting stuck in a place like Nea Bay for a week or two is not much fun.

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