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Old 12-13-2017, 11:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post
And then all the weather info gets it wrong and you face the music. (Dixon, Oh Joy!)
How true it is!!!!!
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:55 AM   #22
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In addition to the useful comments above regarding cruising in the PNW, we have found the forecast for Johnstone Strait to be largely useless. Two things are usually missing from the forecast for this roughly 60 mile stretch, one where will these 35 knot winds blow and when do they start?

Provided the currents are favorable. we find that heading out in the early AM avoids most significant Johnston Strait wave action. Our favorite passages on this Strait have been to leave to leave Campbell River going North at 5 to 6 AM when the flood to ebb is in that time frame. No problem then making it about 100 nm to Blunden Harbor. Then if forecast for waves and winds prove tolerable (often depends on what the West Sea Otter buoy is saying or has said in the previous 12 hours) for the next day's favorable current run around Cape Caution.

R Cook is sure right about Clarence Strait and Ernest Sound. We got beat up a bit when currents and 30 knots of gusts were opposing one another at Behm Canal and Clarence Strait. Plus there is a lot of fetch in that area, from four different directions in places.

Obviously one's vessel and cruising speed play heavily into these journeys. Kinda like a chess match.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:58 AM   #23
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Lot of good criteria here. I don't have anything firm but varies with where I am .

If Cape Caution or Dixon I'll be a little more conservative as I'm going to be in there for a few hours with no place to hide.

If I have a protecting shore to run along which blocks the wind I might be a little more adventurous with the forecast.

If the forecast was wrong for the last two days and I got "caught" I might be more conservative but we have all seen the forecast be wrong both ways..it isn't always worse.

If the forecast is marginal I want a Plan B and a Plan C to get out of it.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:27 PM   #24
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Considering conditions while being underway that day, factoring in tidal influence, wave data and direction of travel means we usually start to question going when the forecast shows winds of 15-25. However, for us and our windage heavy girl, departing off the hook and departing from a slip requires a slightly different mindset. The day's destination also comes into play, whether we'll be dropping the hook or getting a slip. There's nothing quite as much fun as getting pushed sideways in an unfamiliar fairway in a new-to-us marina!
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:18 PM   #25
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When working for a living , the concept was ,

Why check the weather? , were going anyway.

Being retired and enjoying being anchored out , we don't move unless it looks comfortable.

A delivery is different , but since most are in the AICW, viz counts more than wind speed , within reason.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:37 PM   #26
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It also depends if there is a lee shore that the forecast doesnt include or narrows in geography that will alter wind direction or speed.

Tidal current can play a big factor also.
And escape plans too. It's one thing to head across an ocean with no "out" options. But if you're heading up the coast, you should be aware of safe escapes if forecasts or conditions start to change.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:38 PM   #27
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And don't overlook size or ability of crew on board.
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:06 PM   #28
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Interesting thread. I do agree that a lot depends on the cruising grounds. I never venture "outside" so rarely have to deal with the concept of swell. For me is is all about wind waves.

As others have pointed out, the direction of the current makes a huge difference. 20knts going with the current is no problem. 20knts going against the current can be a huge problem. In the Salish Sea, wind and current conditions can cause the waves to stack up very steep and very short. To make it more interesting, these conditions are spotty. You might have a stretch of very comfortable seas and then then a 1/2 mile band of 5' waves at 3 seconds.

In Puget Sound, I will try to avoid anything over 15knts of wind if I am going to be bucking the current in areas with any kind of fetch. Often schedules can't allow that so I will play the currents and use the many land forms to "hide" from the rougher water.

I can't do that when making crossings of the three straits that I've had to deal with, Juan de Fuca, Georgia, and Rosario. Last summer the forecast was a bit off and I spend an unpleasant couple of hours pounding North up the West side of Georgia Straight into 20knt winds with a slight following current. I try to avoid that.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:05 PM   #29
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And then there are the times you have already gone! We were going up the east coast, 70 miles offshore, when we found out about this storm. We were able to miss it and head into Beaufort NC. Later than night this storm nearly killed 7 people that tried to go out in it.
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