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Old 01-20-2015, 09:37 PM   #1
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Portland to Port Angeles

Has anyone made the voyage from Portland to Port Angeles in February or March. I was hoping to do it in stages but I'm not familiar with that part of coast. I have charted some options but just started. Any advice would be awesome. I havee the time to wait out the weather.
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:02 AM   #2
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Has anyone made the voyage from Portland to Port Angeles in February or March. I was hoping to do it in stages but I'm not familiar with that part of coast. I have charted some options but just started. Any advice would be awesome. I havee the time to wait out the weather.
Not a lot of great options, much depending on the size and type of your boat and your speed. From Astoria to Gray's Harbor/Westport is an easy run. But then not much between Westport and Neah Bay. Queets River Inlet is sometimes an option for some boats but nothing there and Quileute is decent in calm conditions and has a marina. Quileute is a good distance for slower boats who can't make the Gray's Harbor to Neah Bay in one day.

Neah Bay is just around Cape Flattery and a nice marina in Makah Marina plus a pretty good anchorage. After making that run one is often ready for a stop before continuing to Port Angeles.

One of the problems with this area is that it lacks safe havens. You really need to be careful with weather windows. If you're caught out in bad weather then you're not going to find most of the inlets usable once beyond Gray's Harbor. For boats cruising at under 13 knots, the run from Gray's Harbor to Neah Bay is going to be an overnight. One note too on early morning exits from Gray's Harbor, just watch the fishing boats and how they exit there. A lot of pros there with a lot of knowledge and they're very helpful and willing to advise. As always, local knowledge is great to have.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:00 AM   #3
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Good advice from B&B. I'd try to make the run to Neah Bay in one shot. Then from Neah bay to Port Angeles is a day trip, and preferably done during daylight. There isn't a ton of debris in the water, but enough to make night operation overly stressful. And try to time the current to be in your favor. It's probably a difference of 2-4kts over ground.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:26 AM   #4
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I have done this trip many times, but always in summer. You will have some things against you. First of all it is the crab season and the ocean will be littered with crab traps. there is a route well offshore that is a designated tug and tow lane but I have found many crab pots here also. Lack of enough daylight is another disadvantage to a winter trip. that being said you can find a weather window but they are few and far between. I would suggest a weather router to keep you advised. You can stage the boat in Ilwaco Wa. and be ready to go when advised. Do not cross Columbia river bar on a strong ebb. Grays harbor is an easy days trip maybe 40nm but that entails another bar crossing. Neah bay is a good stop over but I would recommend anchoring out as the marina is quite rundown. There is fuel available here but I recommend Port Angeles as a better fuel stop as they pump a lot of fuel and give price breaks for quantity and if you pay by check. ......Good Luck..........
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:51 AM   #5
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As a vet of many such trips as well, I'd say you have already received great advice. My only $.02 to add is wait until April if possible, as the likelihood of settled weather in April and May is significantly better. However, trying to get a congruence of daylight, fair weather, benign bar crossings, ports of refuge, a route to avoid crab pots, etc. most of the time is not simple, and bears some serious thinking and planning. But the trip's been done many, many times by many, many boaters in many, many boats. It's perfectly doable, with care.

For what it's worth, i'm not a fan of weather routers. They are seldom local, and it's local knowledge that dominates most everywhere but open sea. Talk to the fishermen and charter boat captains in each port, and follow their lead.

The Makah Cultural Center in Neah Bay is well worth the time to visit, if that fits you travel plans.

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Old 01-21-2015, 07:47 AM   #6
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As a vet of many such trips as well, I'd say you have already received great advice. My only $.02 to add is wait until April if possible, as the likelihood of settled weather in April and May is significantly better. However, trying to get a congruence of daylight, fair weather, benign bar crossings, ports of refuge, a route to avoid crab pots, etc. most of the time is not simple, and bears some serious thinking and planning. But the trip's been done many, many times by many, many boaters in many, many boats. It's perfectly doable, with care.

For what it's worth, i'm not a fan of weather routers. They are seldom local, and it's local knowledge that dominates most everywhere but open sea. Talk to the fishermen and charter boat captains in each port, and follow their lead.

Regards,

Pete


This is one of those things that for me the risk outweighs the gain. Why not wait until spring or later?

the problem as I see it is that should the weather change on you you have little sea room and fewer safe ports.

This is exactly the kind of situation in which I say, I would not bet my life or boat on a weather forecast.
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:19 AM   #7
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I'd say speed of his boat plays a big part in the decision. If he can cruise at 13-15 knots then he can make the Gray's Harbor to Neah Bay run in one day, during daylight, and have a good read on the weather window. If it's got to be overnight then I choose enjoying a night under the stars basically at idle speed, not using the night time to get there faster but using it to bridge between the two days. Much like anchoring overnight except for the anchor part. Still, even at idle one will make more distance than you might suspect.
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone on the great advice. I suspected that it is probably a terrible time to travel that part of the coast. I'll be in a 42 ft Californian with twin 3208 Cats. 10-12 knots. I would like to move the boat up to Vancouver island where I live. I put down Port Angeles because it is a fairly similar run. It's the Washington coast that concerned me. Caution is a priority. I can do the trip in stages. I don't want to have any night runs. It's not paramount that I do this trip immediately but I do want to bring her home as I'm very excited about cleaning her up.
I will take all of your advice and continue to weigh out the options present to me.
Thank you once again.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:09 AM   #9
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With those parameters a stop in Quileaute Harbor at about 80 nm from Gray's Harbor is an option. However, it is a shallow harbor so playing the tides is necessary. You just cannot make the trip to Neah Bay from Gray's Harbor in daylight. Quileaute does have a CG station to advise you on current conditions, and also to close the harbor and not let you in. I haven't been to the Harbor but perhaps someone here will have. I've seen it generally avoided.

Here is a link to the USCG reporting for the bars in the area.

U.S. Coast Guard Bar Observations

Frankly, today's reporting is the calmest I've seen this time of year, well any time of year. I found 10' swells more common in my brief time there. I did run between Gray's Harbor and Port Angeles 8 times (4 there and back) last summer but had the range for a daylight trip plus the advantage of longer days.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:13 AM   #10
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I'm a licensed delivery captain who works mostly sailboats, and I have been in most of the harbors up there. If your schedule is pretty open, and you make good decisions on the weather, I don't see a problem making that run. You need to pay attention to the weather and keep an eye on alternate harbors should anything change.

If you want professional support, you can PM me. I'm available on a per diem basis, and I work with a weather router who I really trust.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:16 AM   #11
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Portland is an easy drive and they sell soap and brushes there. Can only but vote "wait" with others since you are not desiring night travel.

Start looking at the buoy reports, all the way up to Alaska. They will give you a good idea as to seastate. Last weekend the WA coast enjoyed 40 knots with 18 foot close centered swells and 5 foot cross waves.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:44 AM   #12
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Portland is an easy drive and they sell soap and brushes there. Can only but vote "wait" with others since you are not desiring night travel.

Start looking at the buoy reports, all the way up to Alaska. They will give you a good idea as to seastate. Last weekend the WA coast enjoyed 40 knots with 18 foot close centered swells and 5 foot cross waves.
And the typical for next weekend, 4' wind waves, 12' swell at 16 seconds.

I think your two best choices are wait or plan on some nighttime. Even if you plan on Quileute, you still have to consider not being able to get in, so nighttime.

And one other point. I would want a good bit of time on my new boat before taking it this trip, summer/winter day/night. It's not a great starting place for you or your boat. Some Columbia River time, perhaps outside the bar there a time or two, then a first trip of 40 nm to Gray's Harbor. Maybe you even keep it in Portland a month or two, then keep it in Westport a month. Then north.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:47 AM   #13
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Portland is an easy drive and they sell soap and brushes there. Can only but vote "wait" with others since you are not desiring night travel.

Start looking at the buoy reports, all the way up to Alaska. They will give you a good idea as to seastate. Last weekend the WA coast enjoyed 40 knots with 18 foot close centered swells and 5 foot cross waves.


Great advice. I'd look at those buoys every day, as well as the current surface chart, to get a sense of how it changes (or not) from day to day.
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:01 PM   #14
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I have been leaning strongly toward the March/April time frame from the beginning. While I was plotting I figured that I didn't have weather on my side nor the daylight to complete the trip without night travel. You all have confirmed my apprehensions. I will probably move toward Astoria and wait for the window to open weather wise, even if I have to wait for a couple months. I can easily whittle away the time with maintenance and upkeep. My research will continue and I will be on this forum many times begging for input. Every comment is appreciated and considered. Thankyou
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