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Old 08-29-2014, 08:21 AM   #1
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Weather windows for PNW coastal crusing?

We're in the process of moving to Portland OR, and I'm trying to learn about boating in that part of the country (all of my experience has been east coast).

I'm particularly interested in learning about seasonal weather and sea conditions on the coast, up and down between Washington and California. We hope to cruise from Portland to Puget Sound, and also down the coast to California.

I've heard that the weather and sea conditions make it dangerous to consider coastal transits for much of the year. Can anyone point me to any sources of information where I could learn about this, what times of year it's feasible to venture up and down the PNW coast?

Thank you!
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:26 AM   #2
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Nick, the best time to transit between Puget Sound and the Columbia bar is usually between April and October. The transit can be done outside the dates with an eye on the weather forecast models.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:41 PM   #3
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Endurance, welcome to the BEAUTIFUL PNW. I know you're coming from a great boating place, but you're also moving to one.

Like Pau Hana said above, the summer months are the best for cruising the coastal waters. Last summer I helped a guy take a boat from Seattle down to Stockton, CA. That was my first coastal cruising experience and I learned a lot about it, and only got sick once!

Here's a link to that thread if you want to take a look at the first part to see what the waters were like. Journey of a Lifetime

By the way, my offer still stands for a cruise up the Columbia if you want to drive (or bring your boat) up here after you arrive in the PNW. That offer is from your earlier thread about moving to Portland. Anyone from Portland Oregon?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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By way of a PS to my earlier drivel....when you get to Portland and need any canvas work done, I know the name of one of the best canvas guys in the PNW and he's right there in Portland.

He does what he says he is going to do, does quality work, does it on time, and does it for what he quoted. IMHO it doesn't get any better than that. Oh, and he's reasonably priced.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:18 PM   #5
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You will love the PNW. You can boat year round, especially on the Columbia. I brought my boat up from Oakley CA here is the read on that trip:

The Alaskan Sea-Duction: The Big Voyage

As a general rule the weather on the coast changes to fall/winter patterns 21st of September, but you can hav good weather throughout October but gets real iffy...Look forward to meeting you and your crew. We are located just north of Portland in Longview WA.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:31 AM   #6
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Thank you very much! I have a lot to learn about boating in the PNW so we can safely venture out and not get into trouble, especially in transiting between Portland and Puget Sound.

If it wasn't for the oppressive Washington state taxes (ah, I guess for an out of state resident, they call it a 'water use tax'), we would just keep our boat on Puget Sound....
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:45 AM   #7
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Thank you very much! I have a lot to learn about boating in the PNW so we can safely venture out and not get into trouble, especially in transiting between Portland and Puget Sound.

If it wasn't for the oppressive Washington state taxes (ah, I guess for an out of state resident, they call it a 'water use tax'), we would just keep our boat on Puget Sound....

Welcome Endurance,

One question for you...... wouldn't the fuel for one trip from Portland to the Puget Sound cost more than Washington State boaters tax? Anyway, good luck with your move!
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:53 AM   #8
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Hi Adelaide,

I've done the math, and since our boat is new, the break-even point of the Washington tax vs. fuel cost would be 10 round trips - which would probably be 10 years of trips to Puget Sound for us. If nothing else, I'd much rather spread the cost out over a decade than all at once.

I've seriously thought about getting a less expensive boat, one on which we could swallow the tax cost, just to be able to keep it on Puget Sound. As it is, if we had to pay the tax on our boat, it would have prevented us from buying it.

Not to turn this into a 'political' thread (one of the forbidden topics...), I have nothing against paying taxes - when I am a resident of the jurisdiction in which they apply, and when I have been able to vote for the people levying the tax and how they spend my money. As an (incoming) resident of Oregon, I'm not a resident of Washington, and have no say in the people who run the state or how they spend money.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:58 PM   #9
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I have some clients that keep their boat in Sidney, BC- they live in Wyoming.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:24 PM   #10
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There are some on this board that keep boats in Sidney, BC.
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:18 PM   #11
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BC is beautiful, but far too long of a drive from Portland OR for me (I'd rather not be more than a couple of hours drive to the boat). I don't know anything about Canadian taxes, but wouldn't they try to extract some sort of excise or VAT tax on a 'foreign made' (U.S.) boat?
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:05 PM   #12
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I don't know anything about Canadian taxes, but wouldn't they try to extract some sort of excise or VAT tax on a 'foreign made' (U.S.) boat?
No tax due to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), however I think you are required to take the boat out of Canada and back in every six months. From Sidney, it's a short trip to the US/Canada border and back.

Walking the docks around the marina you will see a LOT of boats from all over the US in Sidney.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:30 PM   #13
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Ok, so a different take on the coastal passages. I think shoulder seasons are better for transiting the west coast. In the summer months, the pacific high combined with strong thermal winds along the California coasts make for a rough ride both up and down the coast (but especially up). This weather pattern eases off at the end of September and you can get some periods of relative calm up the Cali coast that make for pleasurable boating, but again you have to watch the forecast and nothing is a given. The same is true for the spring season after the storms have diminished and before the pacific high makes camp off the coast.
I have also heard of people making the voyage north in the middle of winter in between storms. Of course this doesn't count for last year as there were not many storms last year at least here in CA and some of OR. I'm sure there was some real easy passages to be made last winter due to the mild weather we had.
Alaskan SeaDuction made the voyage last spring(or last fall) rather uneventfully i think and you can check out his blog above.
Check with Richard Rodriguez on facebook or his website, BitterEnd. He is a real pleasant and knowledgeable captain who does deliveries up and down the coast.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:34 PM   #14
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The nice thing about the Washington Coast is the weather and buoy forecasts are pretty good and weather windows do open at all times of year.. but hit it wrong and you will never want to look at the ocean again!.

The info about B.C. and keeping boats there is correct.. and the current Washington "use" tax on boats that DID NOT have tax previously paid is in the range of 8 -9.5% on value.. depending on the location of the boat or domicile of the owner.

In a 8kt boat Neah bay to The Columbia is a overnighter.. and can be a great trip

here is the current Buoy report off the Columbia Bar.. I would want a bit better for a comfortable ride North..


Wind Direction (WDIR): NNW ( 340 deg true ) Wind Speed (WSPD): 9.7 kts Wind Gust (GST): 13.6 kts Wave Height (WVHT): 7.5 ft Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 9 sec Average Period (APD): 6.9 sec Mean Wave Direction (MWD): NW ( 310 deg true ) Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 30.09 in Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.03 in ( Falling ) Air Temperature (ATMP): 58.6 F Water Temperature (WTMP): 58.8 F Dew Point (DEWP): 58.6 F Wind Speed at 10 meters (WSPD10M): 11.7 kts Wind Speed at 20 meters (WSPD20M): 11.7 kts Combined plot of Wind Speed, Gust, and Air Pressure
Your going to love boating in the PNW.. there is so much to see and do

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:20 AM   #15
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So why not live just across the border in Washington and commute to Oregon? Oregon has a 9% income tax and Washington has a one time use tax of 8 to 9%. Depending on income you could pay as much every year in Oregon as you do one time in Washington.

We have friends that live aboard in Olympia. Live aboard moorage for their 45' boat in Olympia is less than $400/mo. They said that there are a lot of people in their yacht club from the Portland area. It's less than a two hour drive from Portland to Olympia, allowing easy access to the Salish Sea.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:22 AM   #16
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Norwester, we looked into that. There is a reciprocity agreement between Washington and Oregon, it seems that if you live in Washington but work and earn money in Oregon, you still have to pay the Oregon income tax, at only a slightly lower rate than for Oregon residents.

More than that, we really love Portland, and wanted the lifestyle of living in the city.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:20 PM   #17
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Well welcome anyhow and there is a saying up here: Keep Portland Weird!!
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:19 PM   #18
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NOAA's Coast Pilot No.7 is a very useful nautical guide to the coastal waters. Printed versions can also be purchased and the links are given on the same site.
Here is the NOAA page:
http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/nsd/cpdownload.htm
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