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Old 11-27-2016, 12:22 AM   #1
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Vancouver to San Francisco in December

In the final stages of purchasing a Beneteau Swift Trawler 44 that's located in Vancouver. About to further engage with a few delivery captains about bringing it down the coast to San Francisco. I've been told that it's okay to bring it down in December as long as the captain looks for weather windows, and that the boat might have to periodically sit at port (or two) during the trip in order to wait for another weather window to open.

Any thoughts on this strategy in relation to the west coast in December? Lastly, any specific guidance or advice for a new owner regarding such a delivery? (Questions I should be asking the captain, etc.)

Thanks!
Mike
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:33 AM   #2
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Your concept might be workable, but I'd suggest an alternative. BC has fabulous cruising grounds, enjoy them for a time then take the boat to SF, or hire someone to do it for you, at a more favorable time of the year.

I recall a number of TF members extolling the pleasure of winter cruising in southern BC, and from Vancouver you have great areas within easy reach. I shipped my boat to Australia ex: Vancouver, and in common with a friend who also left the area after just one season, our regrets were that we did not spend another season there before leaving.
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:36 AM   #3
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Moving and waiting can occur any time of year on that part of the Pacific, not just December. Pick a captain that routinely makes that trip. Most on the west coast do.
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:37 AM   #4
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Congrats on the new boat!

A trip south at any time is one where the weather dictates everything. Are you making the trip also? If so, be prepared to sit it out in port in order to wait for the right weather window. Make sure you and the captain are on the same page with regards to salary while waiting the weather out.
Make the trip enjoyable, not your last!
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Old 11-27-2016, 07:42 AM   #5
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Your concept might be workable, but I'd suggest an alternative. BC has fabulous cruising grounds, enjoy them for a time then take the boat to SF, or hire someone to do it for you, at a more favorable time of the year.

I recall a number of TF members extolling the pleasure of winter cruising in southern BC, and from Vancouver you have great areas within easy reach. I shipped my boat to Australia ex: Vancouver, and in common with a friend who also left the area after just one season, our regrets were that we did not spend another season there before leaving.
I would love to take that approach, but unfortunately it isn't really feasible right now. But yes, cruising the PNW would be a lot of fun.

Thanks!
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:29 AM   #6
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December is the worst month from the stand of daylight hours. Losing these hours tightens up the bar entrance windows with resultant longer waits for the few good weather Windows.

A new to you boat, unknown to you maintenance history, and generally rotten coastal weather this time of the year conspire against you. Couple that with thus far, reliance to inspect and purchase the vessel on others, some difficulties may well arise.

You may want to consider leaving the boat in Seattle (fresh water) and making a few visits to insure all is well with the vessel. Your delivery captain or Marina/yard - there are good ones - could go over the vessel with a keen eye to ferret out issues. Then in April when historic good weather and much longer days appear the trip becomes an easy jaunt rather than a trip into the abyss.
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:36 AM   #7
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I would love to take that approach, but unfortunately it isn't really feasible right now. But yes, cruising the PNW would be a lot of fun.

Thanks!
Mike
Welcome and congrats!

You are picking the least desirable time of year to transit south. If you choose to do so, you must ensure that you/your transit skipper are not on a firm delivery schedule.

Weather windows are a small part of the equation- prepping the vessel for the trip is equally if not more important. Is the fuel capacity such that you can safely bypass a closed bar and continue south? Has the vessel been sitting a while and perhaps need a good going thru before departing? Can you (or the skipper) change the inevitable clogged fuel filter at sea and still maintain SOLAS?

Insurance wise, I'd be hesitant to write coverage without the above (and more) answered to my satisfaction. The Pacific in winter is no joke, and it will kill you.
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:48 AM   #8
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Mike, a PS. One guy to meet in person for good advice is Pau Hana. Whether yard, marina, Captain selection etc he is on top of things.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:50 AM   #9
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Mike, a PS. One guy to meet in person for good advice is Pau Hana. Whether yard, marina, Captain selection etc he is on top of things.
Mike, this is the best advice on this thread. It'll cost a trip north and will pay dividends far-far beyond this trip for years to come. A face to face with sunchaser if the timing works out would be my advice too.
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:01 AM   #10
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Mike, this is the best advice on this thread. It'll cost a trip north and will pay dividends far-far beyond this trip for years to come. A face to face with sunchaser if the timing works out would be my advice too.
Thanks, I'll definitely keep this in mind. By the way, I like your location.
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:17 AM   #11
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Thanks, I look forward to changing that in a few years


Maybe
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:52 AM   #12
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Bad idea

I have made the journey 3 times and I would never attempt it in the winter. My advice, don't go.
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:41 PM   #13
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Your comment regarding "not feasible" concerns me a bit. You don't get to decide what is and isn't feasible. The Captain and the conditions do that. Is it feasible to get stuck in Astoria for a month, or Gold Beach?

As suggested in various other posts, I would first do enough of a shakedown cruise where it's located for an experienced captain to sign off that it's in good shape and ready for the cruise.

Then the most flexible timetable in the history of mankind. I also don't know who will be aboard or their experience. However, I ask you to consider the long term impact on their boating interest if the first trip they find the bars (not the drinking kind, but the inlets) closed and have to stay out and bounce around in 6' wind waves and 10' swells, which can probably be done safely, but in total misery. I've known people to say "never again" after such an early experience.

And do have an agreement as to Captain's pay while waiting and as to how long they're available. If you're delayed a week here and a week there and then stuck in Brookings Harbor for a week with no immediate sign of an opening, the captain may have to fly back to Seattle for commitments and fly back to the boat three weeks later. If the Captain's rate is $300 a day and your four week trip becomes 10 weeks, that could be $21,000.

We made that trip in 17 days in perfect conditions (but that was with some stopping to enjoy so could have easily been 10 days). It can be made in less but we didn't choose to travel at night. If you choose to do so have plenty of captains so fatigue doesn't take over. We were also in a bigger boat. If you plan a 14 day trip that time of year, it can end up anywhere from 14 to 60 days and most likely to be between 21 and 30 days.

Back to feasible. You must be prepared to call the rest of the trip off at any point along the way, either due to weather conditions or problems with the boat.

That said, December is considered a bad month, but everything I say above really applies to that trip anytime of the year. We had a member make it in a new to him boat not that many months ago and he had basically good conditions, although a more seaworthy boat. We were lucky but we did it in early October.
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:13 PM   #14
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Your comment regarding "not feasible" concerns me a bit. You don't get to decide what is and isn't feasible. The Captain and the conditions do that. Is it feasible to get stuck in Astoria for a month, or Gold Beach?

As suggested in various other posts, I would first do enough of a shakedown cruise where it's located for an experienced captain to sign off that it's in good shape and ready for the cruise.

Then the most flexible timetable in the history of mankind. I also don't know who will be aboard or their experience. However, I ask you to consider the long term impact on their boating interest if the first trip they find the bars (not the drinking kind, but the inlets) closed and have to stay out and bounce around in 6' wind waves and 10' swells, which can probably be done safely, but in total misery. I've known people to say "never again" after such an early experience.

And do have an agreement as to Captain's pay while waiting and as to how long they're available. If you're delayed a week here and a week there and then stuck in Brookings Harbor for a week with no immediate sign of an opening, the captain may have to fly back to Seattle for commitments and fly back to the boat three weeks later. If the Captain's rate is $300 a day and your four week trip becomes 10 weeks, that could be $21,000.

We made that trip in 17 days in perfect conditions (but that was with some stopping to enjoy so could have easily been 10 days). It can be made in less but we didn't choose to travel at night. If you choose to do so have plenty of captains so fatigue doesn't take over. We were also in a bigger boat. If you plan a 14 day trip that time of year, it can end up anywhere from 14 to 60 days and most likely to be between 21 and 30 days.

Back to feasible. You must be prepared to call the rest of the trip off at any point along the way, either due to weather conditions or problems with the boat.

That said, December is considered a bad month, but everything I say above really applies to that trip anytime of the year. We had a member make it in a new to him boat not that many months ago and he had basically good conditions, although a more seaworthy boat. We were lucky but we did it in early October.
BandB, thanks for the advice. In terms of "feasible", I think you misunderstood. I only meant that it wasn't feasible for my family and I to spend time enjoying the boat up in BC for the winter. If the boat had to stay there due to weather, it would stay there. Just without us! :-)

The Captain I spoke with said he'd want to spend two days getting to know the boat before departing, and was also clear that the weather would dictate the schedule. His rate is $400 per day with crew member and $250 if stuck at a port for more than 24 hours due to weather or mechanical issues.
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:31 PM   #15
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The best advice here is to park it in Seattle for the winter. Or ship it.

I had a friend who did it in a Nordhaven and he got stuck in Eureka for a month. That was after spending 24 hours hove to offshore while he rode out a storm that had not been forecast. His wife took the bus to San Fran and swore she'd never get back on the boat. He had stabilizers, too, one was ripped off the boat, which made the rest of the cruise into port interesting.
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:33 PM   #16
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Have you looked into the cost and feasibility of trucking from Olympia WA?
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:39 PM   #17
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BandB, thanks for the advice. In terms of "feasible", I think you misunderstood. I only meant that it wasn't feasible for my family and I to spend time enjoying the boat up in BC for the winter. If the boat had to stay there due to weather, it would stay there. Just without us! :-)

The Captain I spoke with said he'd want to spend two days getting to know the boat before departing, and was also clear that the weather would dictate the schedule. His rate is $400 per day with crew member and $250 if stuck at a port for more than 24 hours due to weather or mechanical issues.
And the Captain is in charge, if he says "no go" it's no go, although you also have the right to overrule him in that regard and say no when he says yes, you just can't say yes when he says no.

How long will you have for the trip? Who will be aboard?
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:42 PM   #18
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Seattle would be much preferred so that when we did visit the boat we wouldn't have to deal with customs.

For what it's worth, having been through a storm and 9'+ waves on a 27' boat as a teenager, in a million years I wouldn't have my wife and child on the boat for the journey down the coast. They have little experience on a boat. The Bay and Delta will be a perfect introduction for them.

Thanks for all the replies!
Mike
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Old 11-27-2016, 02:47 PM   #19
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And the Captain is in charge, if he says "no go" it's no go, although you also have the right to overrule him in that regard and say no when he says yes, you just can't say yes when he says no.

How long will you have for the trip? Who will be aboard?
Yes, honestly that isn't even in question. I would never want to put anyone in danger simply to get the boat here more quickly. I hope anyone would think the same.

Anyway, it would be a captain with a 60 ton master's license and a crew member he works with. That's all.

I'd "hope" it wouldn't go more than 3 weeks.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:26 PM   #20
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Hi MichaelB1969,

I'm sure you'll get more opinions than Carter has liver pills for this question. So, let me add my $.02. I'm a 100-ton Near-Coastal Master, and have made five passages in similar boats north/south along the CA/OR/WA coast in the recent past. IMHO, the very best time of year to do so is April or May. The prevailing low pressure fronts that originate in the Gulf of Alaska in the winter that generate the typical winter storms with big wind and waves from the southwest have subsided, and the thermal conditions that generate the summer north-westerlies have not yet started up. Hence, relatively smooth water, with more daylight hours should bar crossings be required.

A port-to-port daylight trip in December is NOT one I would undertake, certainly not in a 44' Beneteau. Running 24/7 in between weather fronts that time of year IS possible (anything's possible, until it's not!) given good luck, a ballsy skipper and crew, a well-found boat, and LOTS of time available to wait out the weather if necessary. If you find such a skipper, pay REAL close attention to how he proposes to make the trip, and leave the rookies at home.

Seems like you may have found a pretty hungry (or inexperianced) delivery skipper. What the heck's a 60-ton license, anyway? Have you vetted him properly? The going rate for that delivery 10 years ago was $400/day for the skipper, $250/day for a deckhand, plus expenses. I expect the going rate is higher today. And no professional delivery skipper I know provides a reduced charge for the lay-days. The owner should expect to pay full pop whether the boat's at sea or not. Time is money to these guys, and you shouldn't expect them to discount there time if they are not underway.

Unless there's a REAL compelling reason to have the boat in SF immediately, my final piece of advice is to leave the boat in BC or Seattle until April, paying attention to WA state registration requirements to do so. Then, engage an experienced delivery skipper and deckhand, hop aboard as the third hand, and enjoy the trip south in the spring. Lots to learn, lots to see, fun to be had. And you don't have to practice bleeding to do so.

Regards,

Pete
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