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Old 03-12-2016, 11:12 AM   #1
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Port Townsend Canal

Hey locals, what's the state of the PT canal? Seems pretty narrow on the charts, is there room enough if going north & encounter oncoming traffic?
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:17 AM   #2
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Depends on the size of the traffic, but two 50' vessels passing is possible unless both want center of channel. Also be aware of velocity of current during tide changes.


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Old 03-12-2016, 11:20 AM   #3
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What on earth is the Port Townsend canal????
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:27 AM   #4
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It's a nice alternative to Marrowstone Point if the weather is snotty.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:30 AM   #5
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What on earth is the Port Townsend canal????
Eric: Look on your charts. It's between Hadlock and Oak Bay
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:35 AM   #6
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yes its totally doable, plenty of room. watch the rock jetty on the South entrance at high tide.. Current can be very strong. Plenty of width also.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:42 AM   #7
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Oh yea I remember that. Nothing new about that. I went through there in the late 60's w a girlfriend on her dad's 36' varnish queen Chris Craft. We were going to Mystery Bay. Dave made it sound like something new. Think my 10'6" wide Willy could slip through? We go through the Pender Is gap quite often. I looked on my Navamatics chart on my i-pad ... qutie handy.
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:07 PM   #8
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I have gone through there with my sailboat that has a 7' draft. Not a problem at all. Just watch tide and current. I choose to go through at near high tide, but then my boat is slow and deep. It is a great way to go if you are coming from the Port Ludlow or Hood Canal area.
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Old 03-12-2016, 02:18 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, I will decide to go that route depending on tide & conditions, thanks.
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Old 03-12-2016, 02:41 PM   #10
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When we were there in 2014, we didn't hesitate to use it. I can't say what it is now, but then we saw 12' depth all the way and 75' or so channel width. Currents are about 3 knots at peak so I can see that impacting the slowest boats. It's only about 1 nm from end to end so easy to know what kind of traffic you're about to see.
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Old 03-12-2016, 02:43 PM   #11
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We went through a month or so ago in our 65'. No problem. Just apply the usual seamanship and cautions.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:36 PM   #12
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yep, no worries. Anyone know if the Ajax Café is still around?
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:58 PM   #13
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yep, no worries. Anyone know if the Ajax Café is still around?
Yes, still going strong.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:00 PM   #14
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During larger tidal exchanges the current in the cut can exceed 4 knots. But there's plenty of room for two large recreational vessels to pass.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:48 PM   #15
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During larger tidal exchanges the current in the cut can exceed 4 knots. But there's plenty of room for two large recreational vessels to pass.
Topic for a Video? Another that I would like is a transit of the Swinomish channel. I have always been nervous to try it in my sailboat. Not sure of the charted depths are fact or fantasy.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:24 PM   #16
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On more than one occasion a tug and barge has gone through.. I run a 70' boat @ 19kts through ( if no other traffic is around) safely. Current can be up to 6kts is tide and wind conspire against you.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:51 PM   #17
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On more than one occasion a tug and barge has gone through.. I run a 70' boat @ 19kts through ( if no other traffic is around) safely. Current can be up to 6kts is tide and wind conspire against you.
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Whoa, Hollywood, I hope you are still talking about Portage Canal and not Swinomish? If you went by La Conner at 19kts in a 70 footer, they're still talkin' about it.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:53 PM   #18
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Whoa, Hollywood, I hope you are still talking about Portage Canal and not Swinomish? If you went by La Conner at 19kts in a 70 footer, they're still talkin' about it.
My guess is he's talking about Port Townsend Canal but then who knows for sure. We reference other posts but often are unclear as to which one.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:10 AM   #19
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We've been through the PT Canal many times in boats up to 65'. Weather and tidal conditions should be carefully considered. Especially if you are trying to avoid bad weather SB around Marrowstone Point and Admiralty Inlet.

We use to board sail in Oak Bay just SE of the PT Canal on strong SE winds. We were there because we could count on 5' short period waves from the SE when there was more than 25 knots from the SE for more than a few hours. Oak Bay is a great funnel on a SE wind and those waves really pile up at the entrance to the Canal.

When there was an flood tide and a SE wind it was possible for us to fly off 8' very steep breaking waves just off the SE entrance to the canal.

If the "normal" winter SE gale is strong and preventing your safe SB rounding of Marrowstone Point - then it might be a challenge exiting the canal and proceeding SE in Oak Bay. There would be little or no possibility of turning around to retreat NW back up the canal if you decide not to continue SE thru Oak Bay.

Probably a rare event but one to consider. We used to board sail there in big waves two or three times a winter - for many years.

We sailboaters need to be careful because I have a 61' 6" airdraft and the bridge to Marrowstone Island, across the canal, is 58'.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:42 AM   #20
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If you plan to go through, make sure to get the channel markers correct. Red on the left, not the right when going toward Port Townsend...

http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/2013/0...port-townsend/
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