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Old 09-21-2019, 11:14 PM   #21
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If you want to launch at a ramp, I believe there is a public ramp at Washington Park (near Anacortes). Ditto on recommendation for the Waggoner Guide! You would be well served to also buy the current Ports and Passes book that covers all of the tides and currents (also published annually by Fine Edge).

Use the Waggoner Guide to familiarize yourself with the local tides and currents and their effects. They influence the wave conditions, and are important when anchoring, as well as when underway.

Anchoring: a good anchor and ample rode will be good. Many anchorages don’t have space for the recommended “7-1” scope, especially taking the size of the tides into account. Many boaters use as much chain as they can carry and make sure they have a good anchor :-) 5-1 or less....

If you are planning to take advantage of the many excellent WA State marine parks, check into buying the annual moorage pass from the state. I’m told you break even after 4 overnights. It’s good for dock space and mooring balls.

Here is the web link for the annual pass:

https://parks.state.wa.us/653/Moorage-Permit


Have a great time!!
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:41 AM   #22
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I didn't see it mentioned but be aware that state mooring buoys have a fee, believe its $15 a day. No big but you should know. About towing your boat over the passes, hope you have a big diesel truck, that's a lot of weight behind you. Some of the passes on I-90 in Montana are substantial as well as Idaho and WA, think diesel truck.


The SJ islands are fabulous, but agree with most, June often sucks for weather and one week wont cut it. The saying around here is summer starts after July 4th, and that's usually accurate. I didn't see mention of Shaw Is, which is handy to Friday Harbor and a very nice bay (Indian Cove) with great sandy beaches for walking, lots of wildlife too. This summer we were anchored there a couple of days and watched deer, otter, raccoons, eagles all playing nearby. Along with Sucia, do visit Rolfe Cove on Matia and this year we visited Patos, the northernmost of the fringe islands and its a great spot with some interesting history on its lighthouse which was once manned but no longer.


Be aware that currents run like rivers in places thru out the islands, so watch the tide book.
Been cruising the SJ's off and on for many years and have barely scratched the surface. Do enjoy your stay if it happens, hope it does.
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:20 AM   #23
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My boat is 8’6” wide, trying to figure a dingy for my wife and our 2-60 pounds dogs is daunting. Thinking about inflatable to stow over aft deck, or just tow a longer larger dingy. Any suggestions here as well.
Stow -vs- tow. How fast will you go? We have a lot of C-Dory boats in this area (they are made here in the PNW) about the size of your boat, and many of them stow a 8-9" inflatable on the cabin top - similar to the boat in this link...

Ah the dogs. This will limit some of your anchorages - there are beautiful places you might anchor that don't have easy public shore access your dogs will need close at hand. For a short trip, the abundance of Washington Marine State Parks might be your focus, along with a few select marinas for some reprovisioning or a nice hot shower or land food. You can find public beach accesses near good anchorages outside of the marine state parks but it can be a little harder to decipher because of the odd property laws here in WA. (Basically some property owners can own the tidelands, but not all do, and you never know when looking at a bay when someone does or doesn't.) The more detailed guidebooks will provide information about going ashore in the various anchorages around the islands.

Another good point for the Marine State Parks - they have docks which are not unreasonably priced for a 25 ft boat, and make your 2 60 lb dogs to shore task a bit easier. Some parks have separate free floating docks, which still make getting them and you in and out of the dink and onto the boat easier.

Here's an example of one - this is in Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. These two docks are just floating out in the middle of the harbor and are just for park boaters to tie to instead of a buoy. This was during our spring break trip this year. We had the dock and in fact the park and, aside from year round residents on the island, the harbor to ourselves. We usually aren't up for docks at the parks - it costs us extra $ and we don't want the dogs jumping ship and causing anyone trouble, but being along on the dock meant we could give them some freedom so we did it.

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Even if you end up anchored out or on a mooring at the parks, there will still be the dinghy portions of the docks, so still an opportunity to get those big dogs on and off the dink without having to attempt to beach your dinghy, especially if you aren't used to doing it. It sounds like you don't have a dink now, and aren't used to it. If you do get one, practice with what you are going to use back home first - both for you and the dogs.

I would recommend using an Anchor buddy or similar system. We now swear by it. Not only does it save wear on the dinghy, but it makes getting on and off the beach a breeze - especially with two excited k9 crew. It lets us (well, ME) get me and the two dogs back on the boat at the water's edge, move to the back of the boat, then the bungy of the anchor buddy pulls us off the beach into deeper water. As I get the dogs situated, I then put the motor down, pull the anchor, and we're in water deep enough to start the engine, all without muss or fuss. Here's a pic of our dinghy sitting with the anchor buddy - a painter is holding it firmly tied to the shore, but with enough slack that its off the beach, the anchor buddy is holding it back off the beach, on a bungy that can keep tension as the tide moves up or down. (In this pic you can just see the blue of the anchor buddy at the port side of the transom, its attached to a folding anchor that is out behind the boat. The black 3/8" painter is about 80 ft long and tied to a huge driftwood log on shore. This was on the east shore of Skagit Island on Labor Day weekend.

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The two favorite marinas for us are Deer Harbor and Roche Harbor. Deer Harbor is very small. Few amenities nearby, just a tiny store on the dock, showers, laundry, a pool, two restaurants you can walk to. Roche Harbor is a bigger resort, with two or three of its own restaurants, a much bigger store with nearly anything you'd need food-wise, a chandlery nearby, and even moped and a (single) car rental. Both are beautiful, scenic marinas.

Friday Harbor is another option, but is more like going to town, which is what you'll do when you go back to Anacortes. We typically avoid it. It has a ferry dock, lots of stores, streets full of cars, etc.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:02 PM   #24
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Ok, as to 78puget-trawler, I have a Nissan Titan XD with a 5.0 Cummins. It is not a huge 3/4 ton - but close. I will have to be careful no doubt but did ok pulling through mountains in Tennessee and Kentucky ( not the same but gives me an idea ).

Looking at inflatable dingy for transom or on top of aft canopy.

Ordered Cruising guide and charts for San Juan's and Gulf Islands.

Trip looks like 1st week of July - not sure duration yet.

Appreciate the info and Youtube videos. Have a much better idea of what we want to accomplish - find I really want to go - just do not want to trailer that far. Still, looks worth it, I have always wanted to explore the PNW - it is satisfying thinking it may actually happen.

Thanks to all who have posted on this thread.

Bob.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:17 PM   #25
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That truck is lighter than a big F250 so it may actually do just fine with the 5.0 diesel, less truck weight equals less weight overall. The F250 I had previous to my Colorado diesel was so bloody heavy that combined with trailer weight, it didn't pull any better than the little Colorado even though the engine was much bigger. Mileage was painful too compared to the little Chev DuraMax.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:33 PM   #26
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Ok, as to 78puget-trawler, I have a Nissan Titan XD with a 5.0 Cummins. It is not a huge 3/4 ton - but close. I will have to be careful no doubt but did ok pulling through mountains in Tennessee and Kentucky ( not the same but gives me an idea ).

Looking at inflatable dingy for transom or on top of aft canopy.

Ordered Cruising guide and charts for San Juan's and Gulf Islands.

Trip looks like 1st week of July - not sure duration yet.

Appreciate the info and Youtube videos. Have a much better idea of what we want to accomplish - find I really want to go - just do not want to trailer that far. Still, looks worth it, I have always wanted to explore the PNW - it is satisfying thinking it may actually happen.

Thanks to all who have posted on this thread.

Bob.
Hi Bob,
You may want to carefully check out your loads and limits, especially since you will be crossing the Rockies with lots of hills (both up and down). I went to several trailering (RV) seminars regarding towing, loads, etc. Everyone of the experts stated: " Most RV's are in reality overloaded and are actually dangerous". It is not as simple as what the various "salespeople" say!! You could overload in many different ways. Total weight may be OK but axle weight, individual tire weight, tongue weight, trailer weight, truck weight, etc. are all considered separately as well as total weight. That is a fairly heavy load you will be towing.

Just saying...... you wouldn't want an accident before you even start the ocean voyage.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:40 PM   #27
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I had to check out where Dodgeville is, I lived in Madison many a decade ago. Way back when, Truax Airfield Base was home to 45th Division NORAD. And in every NORAD unit are Canadians. The permanent 2ic of the Colorado mountain installation is Canadian. I went to La Follette high for two years and I'm one of the few North Americans to answer - "Who is Robert M La Follette" - correctly in the original version of Trivia Pursuit.

By the way, Washingtonians refer to Canadians (from BC) as Cheese Heads. Sound familiar?
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:01 PM   #28
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Early July weather is usually better. Usually. This July 2nd we were on the hook in Poulsbo...and it dumped and was in the low 60s. Next day, no rain and warmer temps. This summer was weird, though.

I believe Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez does a big fireworks show on the 4th. Something to consider; either stay away or plan for it, depending on your likes.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:03 PM   #29
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rsn48 - cheese heads from BC - funny. Madison is an hour and a bit away form me, we live in the country - hilly thick timber of the drift-less zone, close to the Wi River. Cool to hear from a real cheese head ( or x cheese head).

As to my truck ... it is about 7.5 thousand pounds with a very long wheel base. It has a 1 ton Asin 6 speed tranny, heavy duty boxed frame, over sized sway bars, one ton axles (from their 1 ton nissan work van). The truck is pretty serious, but is under powered a bit. I do take mountain travel pretty seriously and an working with the Nissan folks to make sure I have enough for safety in extreme conditions.

My trailer does have EOH brakes and is extra heavy built with a 10K gvwr as well, torsion axles and breaks on each axle. I ahve an extra wheel, tire, spindle and bearings.

I get about 10.5 mpg at 70 mph on the flats and between 9.5 and 10 in the hills. If I go 65-60, I get about 11.5 - 12 mpg towing the boat. It is not great but is ok.

My truck is rated for 11600 pounds towing. I believe it can do much more than that but I do not want to get too close to max while doing 7% grades for any amount of time.

Still, that kind of distance can be on both truck and trailer.

Bob.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:39 PM   #30
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Hi Bob,

It sounds to me like your truck is adequate for a boat/trailer weighing a total of 9,000lb, as long as you take it easy on the long steep grades. We towed our heavy 26-footer (almost 12K lb on the trailer) some 80,000 miles all over the western mountains with a 1998 Dodge 2500 diesel pickup that weighs about the same as your truck, though it probably has a firmer suspension.

Make sure the trailer and your brakes and tires are in tip-top shape. Gear down going uphill if the truck seems to be straining or shifting back and forth too much. Start down a long steep hill at a lower speed and in a lower gear. Some hills between our home in Salt Lake City and launch points like Bellingham or Prince Rupert BC are 6% grades for miles. Down those we sometimes go only 20 mph. We just gear down, be patient, and let the truck do the work. We rarely tow faster than 65mph, and that only on a relatively flat interstate.

Make sure you understand the weather forecast, and where you are on the tide, when you pick an anchor spot. An realize that wind opposed to tidal current can make the seas much higher and rougher than you might expect. These were key things beyond what we had learned in our previous lake cruising. You might find another useful thought or two in my book, Cruising in a Big Way.

We began cruising the San Juans and Gulf Islands in a C-Dory 22, a fine little cruiser for two of us there. A few years later we took it to Prince Rupert to launch and spent two months exploring SE Alaska. We did long cruises for 18 summers in our 26-footer.

I would also suggest more than a week - you'll hate yourself if you haul all the way out there, love it, and have to head back after only a week.
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:28 PM   #31
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Thank you for the post RCook. You have given me a lot to think about.

I think I have a lot to learn about the tides and currents in the PNW. Good thing I have so long to educate myself and ask folks questions. I have never experienced tidal swings on the order of what I am reading about. I am also needing to learn more about anchoring - usually my Danforth with about 12 feet of chain is sufficient - 150 feet of rode, even in 3-4 knot current. I am now looking at much more chain and a different anchor ( I do have a windless). Thinking maybe a Delta?

Bob.
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:57 PM   #32
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As you’re probably discovering, PNW tides can be extreme. Swings over 10’ are not uncommon. The currents & eddies produced in even deep water are impressive and to be respected. The volume of water exchanges between sound and sea, I can’t even fathom. Get tidal flow against wind and rough, disorganized chop is formed, making for a not so fun time. There are some passes that need to be crossed at slack, especially in slower moving boats. You’ll see sail boats lined up and “waiting” at say, Deception Pass or Dodd Narrows in BC. We even pay attention in our boat and it’s capable of much more speed than 10 knots.



We used a Delta for years here and it performed well. (A 14# but on 50’ of 1/4” chain) I finally upgraded both anchor and the weight of said anchor just last year to a 20# Vulcan. When it bites into the mud, you know it. Most good anchorages here are mud, but eelgrass or seaweed sometimes inhibits penetration. Very little rocky bottoms, at least in my experience.
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:28 PM   #33
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Thank you for the post RCook. You have given me a lot to think about.

I think I have a lot to learn about the tides and currents in the PNW. Good thing I have so long to educate myself and ask folks questions. I have never experienced tidal swings on the order of what I am reading about. I am also needing to learn more about anchoring - usually my Danforth with about 12 feet of chain is sufficient - 150 feet of rode, even in 3-4 knot current. I am now looking at much more chain and a different anchor ( I do have a windless). Thinking maybe a Delta?

Bob.
I have a 27 Glacier Bay, (8000 pound boat). I use a Danforth around here with 15 feet of chain and 200 feet of rode. Works fine. If I was going to buy another anchor first I would just add some more chain. But if I really wanted to upgrade, it would be a ROCNA, but its definitely not necessary for a 2 week trip of San Juan islands. There are many many good anchorages with excellent holding. You can get reviews on Active Captain. If you don't have that, worth getting. Most of the parks we have suggested also have mooring buoys. There are many good apps like Navionics. AquaMap etc, that will give you tidal currents and also be useful for navigation and trip planning.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:41 PM   #34
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Thank you for the post RCook. You have given me a lot to think about.

I think I have a lot to learn about the tides and currents in the PNW. Good thing I have so long to educate myself and ask folks questions. I have never experienced tidal swings on the order of what I am reading about. I am also needing to learn more about anchoring - usually my Danforth with about 12 feet of chain is sufficient - 150 feet of rode, even in 3-4 knot current. I am now looking at much more chain and a different anchor ( I do have a windless). Thinking maybe a Delta?

Bob.

I wouldn't worry about your rode. A bit of chain and nylon rode is just fine. The Danforth is fine as well since a lot of the good anchorages have a mud bottom. However, there are a few when you can find sand with enough grass on the bottom that the Danforth may have a hard time penetrating. Just a matter of getting a good set.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #35
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I'd also add that you shouldn't be intimidated by the tides and currents. I can't think of any spots in the San Juan Islands where you have to worry too much about timing currents. The point about watching for wind against current waves is a good one. However, if you put in at Annacortes you just want to cross Rosario at a time when you don't have a strong wind against current. Most of the passes in the San Juan's have currents rarely get above 3 knots so aren't too bad.


As others have mentioned, Ports and Passes for the year you are going to be there is a great resource. Nice to know the tides when you drop anchor to help determine how much scope you want.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:15 PM   #36
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If you have the bucks, get a modern anchor upsized to the next anchor based on what the chart for the anchor manufacture recommends. So with my boat, Rocna said #10 would be fine so I went #15. I can't comment on the average anchorages in the San Juan's but in many parts of coastal BC, a 40 foot depth is not uncommon. Then you need to add the top of your bow to the water, lets say 5 feet. Then you need to take into account the tide. If you are at 40 feet, at the bottom of the tide drop and you have a 15 foot tide gain, then you have to add that. To be reasonably comfortable, I would suggest 250 feet or more.

Because of these depths and the angle your anchor needs to attain and maintain, I would also suggest a minimum of 50 to 100 feet of chain to help the anchor rode angle to anchor.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:14 PM   #37
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rsn48 - cheese heads from BC - funny. Madison is an hour and a bit away form me, we live in the country - hilly thick timber of the drift-less zone, close to the Wi River. Cool to hear from a real cheese head ( or x cheese head).

As to my truck ... it is about 7.5 thousand pounds with a very long wheel base. It has a 1 ton Asin 6 speed tranny, heavy duty boxed frame, over sized sway bars, one ton axles (from their 1 ton nissan work van). The truck is pretty serious, but is under powered a bit. I do take mountain travel pretty seriously and an working with the Nissan folks to make sure I have enough for safety in extreme conditions.

My trailer does have EOH brakes and is extra heavy built with a 10K gvwr as well, torsion axles and breaks on each axle. I ahve an extra wheel, tire, spindle and bearings.

I get about 10.5 mpg at 70 mph on the flats and between 9.5 and 10 in the hills. If I go 65-60, I get about 11.5 - 12 mpg towing the boat. It is not great but is ok.

My truck is rated for 11600 pounds towing. I believe it can do much more than that but I do not want to get too close to max while doing 7% grades for any amount of time.

Still, that kind of distance can be on both truck and trailer.

Bob.
7500 lbs.?? That's heavier than an F250 with 7.3 Stroker, ext cab with 8' box and four wheel drive! Sure its that heavy??
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:28 PM   #38
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My truck does weigh that much, mileage exempt due to size, king Cab, toolbox extra fuel tank in bed ... I weighed it at a scales when I was weighing a 23 foot center console with galvanized trailer. Truck with some gear fuel wife and I right around 7500.

I am strongly thinking about 200 feet of rode with 100 feet of chain, might keep my danforth, not sure if should upgrade or not.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:44 PM   #39
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My truck does weigh that much, mileage exempt due to size, king Cab, toolbox extra fuel tank in bed ... I weighed it at a scales when I was weighing a 23 foot center console with galvanized trailer. Truck with some gear fuel wife and I right around 7500.

I am strongly thinking about 200 feet of rode with 100 feet of chain, might keep my danforth, not sure if should upgrade or not.

FWIW, my last sailboat (40’ Catalina) had 90’ of chain and 200’ of nylon 3 strand. It was always sufficient. To be honest, for a week or two in the San Juans, I think the rode you have would be sufficient. As for anchor, if you wanted to upgrade the anchor I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t find a used anchor available in Anacortes or surrounds.

Being a reformed sailor, I’m as cheap as the reputation. So I am trying to avoid suggesting spending money on equipment that would only be useful for one trip. OTOH, you could buy some new chain and 3 strand for that new rode. You also could have the North American ARA distributor deliver a Sarca Excel anchor and have it waiting for you in Anacortes. You would have first rate ground tackle at that point.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:49 PM   #40
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Surprised the truck is that heavy! Sounds more like the GVW! Loaded.


A Danforth is a good anchor around here, most places you will anchor are soft bottom and the D is good in that. I use a 20# high tensile D on my 34 CHB with all chain rode. Holds just fine.
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