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Old 02-06-2011, 11:01 PM   #1
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Heavy Weather

Inquiry**What is the worst, nastiest, conditions you've ever*had your boat out in?*
How long?
What conditions would make you run for cover?*** KJ
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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Heavy Weather

Underway, the worst (so far) was probably crossing the top end of Rosario Strait in 30-35 knot winds with a beam sea. Rosario Strait has a very long fetch so the wind waves were very steep and close together by the time they got to the top end.* A guest we had on board was watching the inclinometer when (he said) it touched 45 degrees. I doubt it was that much but it felt like it, so immediately after that roll we started tacking to our next turning point in the route. We were in this for the better part of an hour but only because of the time lost to tacking--- it's normally about a 40 minute run.

At anchor, the worst by far was when a wind with gusts up to 50 knots or so arrived some six hours before it was forecast to arrive. It was the classic 4:00 am situation--- breaking waves, a lee shore, and a dragging anchor. Fortunately my wife realized what was going on before I did and we got up, got the motors going, and got the anchor up (with an agonizingly slow windlass) and got off the lee shore just minutes before we would have been deposited against a BNSF railroad trestle. It was this incident that prompted us to go in search of a more reliable anchor.

Our self-imposed wind limit on taking the boat out varies depending on where we're going and what bodies of water we have to cross to get there.* We prefer not to go out from our own marina if the overall area forecast (which is the only one there is) is calling for sustained winds over 20 knots because Bellingham Bay, Rosario Strait, and the south end of the Georgia Strait can get really mean in a sustained wind over 20 knots.* We always have to cross Bellingham Bay, and just about everywhere we want to go requires a crossing of either Rosario or Georgia beam-on to the waves.* The two straits have very long fetches so we get nailed whether the wind is from the south or north.* Bellingham Bay is relatively shallow and the local geography accelerates winds from the south making the wave conditions even worse than they might be somewhere else.


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 7th of February 2011 12:34:22 AM
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:39 PM   #3
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RE: Heavy Weather

Excellent question KJ.The worst for me was last summer (2010) when we were delivering our 32 footer from Campbell River to Maple Bay on Vancouver Island, a two day trip. The second day started out fine from Hardy Island Marine Park, but after about two hours the relatively quiet seas went to 8 foot seas, right on our nose. These were the worst seas I'd ever encountered. At one point I went below (I MUCH prefer running from the upper helm) to use the head while my delivery companion was at the wheel. While I was descending the ladder we hit two back to back 10-12 footers, which buried the bow.
Naturally there was even more cause to use the head, which I did, and then re- assumed the helm (it was my boat after all). What to do?
It would have been very*problematic*to simply head for shelter as that would have put us broadside to the waves, which was not a real option. So we continued on our course which kept the waves right on our nose and slowly but surely they abated.
Ultimately we reached our destination (a 10 hour run) with the only casualties being the upper helm seat which broke under the constant pounding, one irreplaceable paper chart, and a pair of glasses that fell on the floor on the main cabin. The latter would have survived but I stepped on them.
Learnings. 1) The forecast was for 20 - 25 knot winds, which I'd encountered many times before with no problem, but perhaps sometimes the "local" conditions can be worse. That is, these higher waves only occurred off of one island and then dissipated.
2) I trust my boat much more than I did before. It performed very very well.
3) I have to figure out how to never put myself in that situation again. Still working on that.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:50 PM   #4
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Conrad wrote:That is, these higher waves only occurred off of one island and then dissipated.
I don't know if this is what you encountered, but we have been told by many people familiar with the Strait of Georgia that local wind and wave conditions can be horrible off Qualicum Beach south of Denman and Hornby islands even when the rest of the Strait is not too bad.

*
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #5
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

Underway, the worst (so far) was probably crossing the top end of Rosario Strait in 30-35 knot winds with a beam sea. Rosario Strait has a very long fetch so the wind waves were very steep and close together by the time they got to the top end.**
I crossed Rosario Strait in my 22' sailboat with my son, many years ago. We were on our way back from a three weeks cruise in the San Juan Islands. As soon as we cleared one of the islands (Blakely, I think) we got blasted with gale force winds.*
I scrambled to get the jib down and secured and put a double reef in the main.* We had quite a wild ride*across the bay and*were able*to finally pull into the Bellingham marina, totally exhuasted.* Lost my sunglasses and my favorite hat.**
Yeah, I remember Rosario Strait.****
PS Bellingham Marina* --first rate place, really nice facility, IMHO*********** *KJ**
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:16 AM   #6
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

*
Conrad wrote:That is, these higher waves only occurred off of one island and then dissipated.
I don't know if this is what you encountered, but we have been told by many people familiar with the Strait of Georgia that local wind and wave conditions can be horrible off Qualicum Beach south of Denman and Hornby islands even when the rest of the Strait is not too bad.

*

*

Hi Marin,No, in this case we were off of Thormanby Island over toward the mainland side, wistfully looking at the Merry Island Lighthouse wishing we could head over toward it!
Interesting comment about the Qualicum Beach area as we also had an challenging time there too, a couple of years ago, although at the time we put it down to "rogue waves". Your explanation fits *perfectly.


And changing topics slightly and with no intention of hijacking this thread, but you mentioned it here - we are just about settled on getting a Rocna. No small credit go to you and your reasoned comments I have to say.*

*
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:32 AM   #7
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Heavy Weather

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
1.* Interesting comment about the Qualicum Beach area as we also had an challenging time there too, a couple of years ago, although at the time we put it down to "rogue waves". Your explanation fits *perfectly.


2.* And changing topics slightly and with no intention of hijacking this thread, but you mentioned it here - we are just about settled on getting a Rocna. No small credit go to you and your reasoned comments I have to say.*

*
1.* All the times we have heard this, nobody we've heard it from has ever told us WHY the local conditions can be so bad there.* I assume it's because the geography does something to accelerate winds there, perhaps down out of the Vancouver Island Range.* If you ever hear yourself why this particular patch of water tends to do it's own thing, I'd sure like to hear the reason.

2.* Well, I hope that if you decide to get a Rocna you do so on much more than my recommendation We've been very happy with it but we have by no means really put it to the test.* The kinds of places we boat tend not to do that (which is just fine with us).* But I'm sure you have read some of the testimonials from people who have encountered truly "challenging" anchoring situations and have found the Rocna to perform as advertised.* That is the sort of thing we based our decision on.

And one more question.* Two, actually.* We have never visited Maple Bay.* We've gone by it plenty of times, usually enroute between Genoa Bay and Telegraph Harbor or Wallace Island.* Would you recommend a stop in Maple Bay and why?

Also, a number of years ago we were in Montegue and a converted ferryboat arrived, dropped anchor, and proceeded to open shop as a "dinghy-up" bakery.* We went over and bought some stuff and toured the boat and learned it was based in Maple Bay.* They said they took their bakery to Montegue every weekend during the boating season. Do you know if this operation still exists?

It would probably be a good idea to reply to the last two questions on the "Cruising and Events: West Coast" part of the forum.

Thanks,


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 7th of February 2011 01:35:13 AM
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:43 AM   #8
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RE: Heavy Weather

Maple Bay is a good stop over for us when we are headed north from Sidney trying to catch the next early morning slack at Dodd Narrows. Nice pub too. The bakery boat was operating at Montegue last August; it does pretty well during high season.

I find*rounding* Cape Caution or crossing Dixon Entrance to be more problematic than crossing Georgia Strait. Normally Georgia Strait is passable in early morning unless* storms are passing through. Last*spring we did a run from Schooner Cove north of Nanaimo to Gorge Harbor in mill pond conditions. We then waited for 3 days in Port Hardy for Cape Caution to settle down. During that wait, a 23' fishing boat left carrying the cook for Duncaby. He made it just fine with his week's provisions in 8 ' seas and 25 knot winds. Sometimes a faster planing boat does better than our slow trawlers but it takes*lots of concentration to time the breaks. A few years ago I did a big wave following sea run from Victoria to Bellingham in a 21' Searay. Good power and watching the stern break was a great learning experience and a*fun day.*
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:28 AM   #9
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Heavy Weather

We don't like that spot around Qualicum either.

Made a run from Rebecca Spit on Quadra to Nanaimo one morning. It had been blowing in the Georgia strait from the SW all night at 25-30.

The first part of the trip was not so bad with 2-3' off the port bow, until we past Hornby on our stbd.

Of course, I had timed the current to be in our favor, so we had a 2 knot push heading SW - not such a good idea when the wind is sustained in the opposite direction - 5-7' with a few bigger ones became the norm.

In my boat this means hand steering, slowing down from 8 knots to 5-6 and playing with the throttle to slow down to jump the ramps instead of going through the walls, then speeding up as we slide down the backside of the wave.*

The problem in this spot is that once you pass Hornby, you are kind of committed - and it is only 28 miles or so to Nanoose hbr or Schooner Cove where you can duck in.

I guess it was not so bad looking back, the boat seemed to be happy although it was a Looong ride and lots of work to drive the boat.

Did I mention we were towing the dinghy? Shoulda put it away, but the water just didn't look that bad for the first part of the trip. Incidentally, this was not the trip where we lost the dinghy.

There was another small piece of this story - we were at the end of the summers trip to Desolation.

I measure my fuel usage mathematically by engine hours, I also have gauges, but don't usually put any stock in them. Somehow,(age, too many details before the trip, etc) I wrote a number down that was my drop dead place to refuel including reserve. Unfortunately, I had done bad math and actually had doubled the correct figure.

I recall looking down at the gauges a couple of times and thinking, "hmm I don't recall ever seeing those read so low - I guess they really are not very accurate."

So..., *just as we were passing Schooner Cove, the waves began to abate somewhat to 3-5' which was good timing as you guessed it - out of fuel. At least we were in 200' of water.

So we got to experience a couple of things:

1. The boat will turn perfectly broadside to the wind/waves when not under power.
2. The Vhf radio does a nice job of contacting the Canadian coast guard
3. The Canadian Navy monitors Vhf 16
4. The Canadian Navy is happy to drive their 85' boat over to provide a lee to the stupid Americans as they wait for Vessel Assist to give them a tow to the fuel dock.
5. Correct math is good - double check your numbers.
6. Learn EXACTLY how big my fuel tanks are.


This scenario could have been very very bad had we lost power anywhere in the Qualicum Beach area.


To the question of topography in this area, we have asked a number of the locals and they all agree that there is a pass or channel between the mountains on Vancouver Is. that allows air to run pretty much unchecked between the ocean and Qualicum - in both directions.

This is why in this particular story the wind/waves were mostly localized - blowing up from the SW (about 50 miles of fetch) then*taking a bit of a left turn and blowing right out to the ocean, leaving the washing machine in the full ON position behind it.

excerpt from a weather page:

Channelling and coastal convergence of the surface wind can be severe along
either side of Texada Island due to the height of the ridges. Coastal convergence can
produce winds of up to 35 knots in the summer near Qualicum Beach. Nanaimo
Harbour is almost always calm.


We also learned not make snide comments(after the fact)*about fellow boaters who make avoidable choices


-- Edited by bshanafelt on Monday 7th of February 2011 10:29:23 AM

-- Edited by bshanafelt on Monday 7th of February 2011 10:32:18 AM
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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Heavy Weather

Some of you may have read about our adventure on the west coast of Chichagof Island, north of Sitka - definitely our worst, nastiest weather experience.* If not, here's a link:

http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spa...picID=14674897

Other least enjoyable experiences have been situations where a fairly strong wind was opposing a tidal current.* Turning southward into Clarence Strait one afternoon, as the SE wind had come up to 20-25 knots, we suddenly found ourselves in 8-10 foot "square" (extremely vertical and close together) waves.* It hadn't occurred to us that the south-bound ebb current vs north-bound wind would produce such rough seas.* Took an hour or more to make less than 2 nm to safe harbor in Meyers Chuck, working the throttle constantly to maintain steerage without going too fast over the wavetops, and to avoid broaching in the troughs.*

Square waves develop in many places in SE Alaska, where channels have significant tidal current, and with steep terrain alongside often funnel the wind as well.*

Add a sharp turn around a tall headland, and oddly strong "corner winds" may develop, sometimes twice as fast as the wind only a short distance away.* Where Deadman Reach meets the eastern part of Peril Strait, our 26-footer took green water over the bow and sometimes covering the windshield for a while, after entering a patch of square waves double the size of nearby waves.* Not fun - we did turn and run for an anchorage that day.*

We now go out of our way to avoid sizable square waves, always trying to anticipate where and when they might be likely to appear.


P.S.* My understanding of the reason for "Qualicum Winds" is that a lower section of mountains on Vancouver Island allows westerly winds to come charging across into the Strait of Georgia more there than elsewhere.


-- Edited by RCook on Monday 7th of February 2011 12:56:36 PM
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:44 AM   #11
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RE: Heavy Weather

When fishing the Big Rock Marlin Tournament off Morehead City the wind picked up to about 40 knots against the Gulf Stream.* Seas built up fast to where they were well above my flybridge when in the trough.* We were 55 miles offshore fishing the 100 fathom line.* It was a long trudge back home, but the seas were doable.* I estimated the highest at 15'.

The worst I was in was on the South end of Tampa Bay crossing West to East to the Manatee River entrance.* The weather bureau at St. Pete had the winds out of the North at 35 mph.* 5' to 7', short, and steep.* We were in my*Blackfin.* We attacked the seas at an angle and tacked in.* It was 27 degrees F.* Cold, nasty, and wet.*
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:05 AM   #12
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Heavy Weather

I thought I was being a baby when I encountered 10 to 12 footers off the east coast of Montigue Island in the gulf of Alaska.
*I was taking green water over the wheel house.

Then there was the the time I decided to go commercial fishing in mid April during a gail. 60 kt winds pounding thru 6 to 8 footers for 4 hours. April in Alaska waters is not spring.

Heavy freezing spray.* Terms you have got to watch out for.*

I did not want to be there.

Like they say the boat can take a lot more than you.

I suppose a man has got to know the limitations of his equipment and to know that you have to push the limits once in a while.

You know what They are right the boat can take more.

SD**

-- Edited by skipperdude on Monday 7th of February 2011 11:08:08 AM
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:14 AM   #13
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

1.* All the times we have heard this, nobody we've heard it from has ever told us WHY the local conditions can be so bad there.* I assume it's because the geography does something to accelerate winds there, perhaps down out of the Vancouver Island Range.* If you ever hear yourself why this particular patch of water tends to do it's own thing, I'd sure like to hear the reason.

Marin, a quote from the author of the book*"The Wind Came All Ways" to explain Qualicum winds.


There is one more wind that occurs within this range of pressure-slopes and that issouthwesterlies. This could be said to be the key, or signature wind, of these pressureslopes.
Southwest winds occur in two different weather patterns. The most well known
southwest wind is called the Qualicum for it pours out through Port Alberni Inlet and
over the community of Qualicum, then into the Strait of Georgia. A true Qualicum wind
occurs when a ridge of high pressure develops along the west side of Vancouver Island.
Typically this occurs just ahead of a front that is approaching northern Vancouver Island.
Southwest winds may also occur with pressure rises behind the front, but in this
situation the southwest winds are not limited to the valley near Qualicum, but can occur
over much of southern Strait of Georgia. The strength of a true Qualicum is typically
near 25 knots while the southwest winds that occur behind a front will vary with the
strength of the rising pressure behind the front. The strongest southwest winds occur
with the strong pressure rises that can occur just behind a low that passes directly over

southern Vancouver Island.
<font face="ArialMT" size="3"><font face="ArialMT" size="3"></font>*</font><font face="ArialMT" size="3"></font>
*

*
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:32 AM   #14
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RE: Heavy Weather

Interesting topic.*

Breakdowns and anchor dragging are almost always unpleasant, but everything else seems to be a matter of perspective.* Sudden changes in the conditions are a lot more troublesome than a slow build up that gets really bad.* My top personal picks would be:

1.* trying to round Cape Scott with a double reef main and staysail, and realizing that this was still too much sail, but unable to leave the tiller to do anything about it safely.

2.* crossing from the Big Island to Maui across the Alenuihaha channel.* Started out in calm, ended up with spray over the second spreader and no place to run to.

3.* crossing Queen Charlotte strait heading north to Port Hardy, starting in a mill pond and ending up running for cover after the tide turned against the wind.* (washing the dinghy oars over the side in what seemed like an engulfing wave was the turning point).

4.* trying to get out Juan de Fuca strait heading west, hove to in 45 knots, finally gave up and ran to Port Angeles.

These were all sphincter contractors, but sailing north from Kuaia for two weeks in 40 knots relative wind and waves washing over the decks got pretty ho-hum after the first 10 hours or so, and only resulted in an earlier start for the rum toddy ration.* All a matter of perspective, I guess.

For a trawler that isn't a displacement hull, I'd just avoid getting in trouble to begin with, where what defines trouble is a function of length of the vessel, and wind and wave action.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:02 AM   #15
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RE: Heavy Weather

Thanks to all of you who provided the explanation for the Qualicum winds. Dave--- is the book "The Wind Came All Ways" worth adding to the boating library in your opinion?
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:19 AM   #16
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RE: Heavy Weather

We all continue to learn. For me, a huge learning curve was discovering what "out flow winds" were while crossing Dixon Entrance..* Headed South, we entered in calm conditions with moderate swells, but about mid crossing, winds began to increase from the East.* About the time they peaked, (perhaps 40knots, and 8 to 10ft seas) while I was talking to a North bound tug about conditions he had experienced behind him, I lost all steering (40ft cutter rigged sailboat)* We immediately began rolling in the trough.* Adding a quart of oil only fixed the problem for a few minutes, so it became obvious it was time to install the emergency tiller.* Once anchored at Dundas Island, a leaking autopilot fitting was quickly spotted and fixed.* I got in big trouble the next day for failure to check in to Canadian Customs prior to anchoring, despite the emergency nature of the situation.

Aparently, I quickly forgot what I had learned because a few years later in exactly the same place, only this time in a 90ft, 250 passenger aluminum cat, I was taking water over the third deck.* I had several crates lashed on the foredeck that were crushed by waves.* Turning down wind makes a huge difference, and in a 25 knot boat only adds about half an hour to the crossing.

Worst winds ever at anchor was in Prince William Sound.* High winds with gusts to 65kts for over 30 hours, and a lee shore 50 yards away make for a LONG night.*
All hail the Delta Fast Set anchor with 320ft of 5/16th chain.* It was hell getting it back though................Arctic Traveller
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:35 AM   #17
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RE: Heavy Weather

Jeff - Those downslope winds from the east chased me out of an anchorage last summer at 1 AM when anchored about 20 miles west of Kitimat. In our case it was from dead calm to 25 knots in about*30 minutes.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:38 PM   #18
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

*
Conrad wrote:
1.* Interesting comment about the Qualicum Beach area as we also had an challenging time there too, a couple of years ago, although at the time we put it down to "rogue waves". Your explanation fits *perfectly.


2.* And changing topics slightly and with no intention of hijacking this thread, but you mentioned it here - we are just about settled on getting a Rocna. No small credit go to you and your reasoned comments I have to say.*

*
1.* All the times we have heard this, nobody we've heard it from has ever told us WHY the local conditions can be so bad there.* I assume it's because the geography does something to accelerate winds there, perhaps down out of the Vancouver Island Range.* If you ever hear yourself why this particular patch of water tends to do it's own thing, I'd sure like to hear the reason.

2.* Well, I hope that if you decide to get a Rocna you do so on much more than my recommendation We've been very happy with it but we have by no means really put it to the test.* The kinds of places we boat tend not to do that (which is just fine with us).* But I'm sure you have read some of the testimonials from people who have encountered truly "challenging" anchoring situations and have found the Rocna to perform as advertised.* That is the sort of thing we based our decision on.

And one more question.* Two, actually.* We have never visited Maple Bay.* We've gone by it plenty of times, usually enroute between Genoa Bay and Telegraph Harbor or Wallace Island.* Would you recommend a stop in Maple Bay and why?

Also, a number of years ago we were in Montegue and a converted ferryboat arrived, dropped anchor, and proceeded to open shop as a "dinghy-up" bakery.* We went over and bought some stuff and toured the boat and learned it was based in Maple Bay.* They said they took their bakery to Montegue every weekend during the boating season. Do you know if this operation still exists?

It would probably be a good idea to reply to the last two questions on the "Cruising and Events: West Coast" part of the forum.

Thanks,


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 7th of February 2011 01:35:13 AM
*

Lots of good info here on the Qualicum Quagmire! Our decision to go with the Rocna will be based on a number of factors including other forum comments, knowledge we*gleaned*from a circumnavigating Alaskan couple who have one on the bow of their steel sailboat, and yourself. Probably pick one up at the Vancouver Boat Show later this week.I should clarify that when I say Maple Bay I'm actually referring to Bird's Eye Cove, which is where the Maple Bay Marina is, at the head of Maple Bay. We keep our boat there as it is very protected and the marina folks are exceptional. For visitors they have a nice pub/restaurant (which came in very handy after our run mentioned earlier) plus other*amenities*such as laundry/showers, a small chandelry and *boat repair services. A very nice, quiet, laid back kind of place. Loads of transient moorage although they do host a lot rendezvous' in the summer so best call ahead. (I'll repost this in the cruising section also as suggested.)

*
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:49 PM   #19
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Heavy Weather

Quote:
RCook wrote:*

* Where Deadman Reach meets the eastern part of Peril Strait, our 26-footer took green water over the bow*
Wow! I swear we have our own*Capt. Jack Aubrey or Capt. Jack Sparrow!*
High seas adventure.* I think we ought to call you Capt. Jack from now on.*


[img]download.spark?ID=871332&aBID=115492[/img]

[img]download.spark?ID=871754&aBID=115492[/img]


*Hey, Mr. Baker, some great stories here.*You*ought to*market a calender with the best pictures sent in (donated) by the*members,*you could use these stories as an accompaniment.* The proceeds*could go toward the TF kitty.* Crazy huh?

I'm real nervous about asking for the best fishing* from your boat stories!*** KJ
*


-- Edited by KJ on Tuesday 8th of February 2011 12:58:34 PM
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #20
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RE: Heavy Weather

Quote:
Marin wrote:

Dave--- is the book "The Wind Came All Ways" worth adding to the boating library in your opinion?
I think it is, it's helped me understand the local winds, always in hindsight of course. I have a PDF file I could send to you if you provide your e-mail to my PM. It's much more condensed but interesting just the same.*
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