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Old 11-20-2016, 09:21 PM   #21
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BB/WD,
I'm 'yer neighbor with a BC-built trawler at the end of J dock, welcome!
If I'm back from winter in Baja, April-time, I hope we can connect!

You are in the right place with a great boat!
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:36 PM   #22
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There is a lot of really good info already posted.. The San Juans that time of year won't be crowded and offer an opportunity to anchor up and test all the systems in a relatively benign area. If you choose to head to south sound there are some a bunch of interesting places to visit... Seattle has Bell street pier (marina) right downtown if you want to go there, make reservations now as it is a small marina and is normally full... The rest of south sound doesn't require much or any lead time..
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:41 PM   #23
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You have gotten great advice so far and you can't go wrong regardless. Here is what I would recommend as a sailor who moved to power this past spring.

Spring weather is very unpredictable. If you heard North, you could spend a fair amount of time waiting for weather windows. 4 weeks is not a lot of time. I also agree that with a brand new boat you don't want to be too far away from La Conner. I like HWs idea. I would suggest going North up the Swinnomish channel and head to the US San Juans. It will be very quiet that time of year and I think a stop at Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, and Sucia Island would give you a nice taste of the Islands and still be close to La Conner. I would then head back down the Swinnomish, overnight in La Conner to have anything fixed, tweaked, or purchase stuff that you may have suddenly discovered you need.

I would then head South down the Channel into Puget Sound. Lots to see with plenty of nice towns to visit. Head up and over to Pt Townsend, go through the channel near Hollywood's hometown and anchor in Port Ludlow. Head South and stay at Bell Harbor in Seattle Elliot bay and explore the waterfront and Pike Place Market. Cross over to Eagle Harbor, head up to Poulsbo, go South to Blake Island state Park. Go south down Colvos Passage and consider Dock street in Tacoma and Gig Harbor. I would head South through the Narrows and take advantage of the State Marine parks and anchorages, and work you way down to Olympia. This is the Southern end of Puget Sound and a nice city to stop at, particularly on a Saturday when the Saturday market is active.

Then head back North stopping along the way until you make it back to La Conner.

This will keep you in relatively protected waters, close to services and to your builder in case any problems arise. You will have enough time to get a taste of Puget Sound and the San Juans. Then when you come back you can head further North and explore the San Juans some more as well as beautiful BC. You could spend two months and still not explore the cruising grounds that border Georgia Strait.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:37 AM   #24
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Dhays and HW have the general plans that seem to fit what you want. The only change I would suggest to Dhays' plan is not to double back to LaConner, rather make a loop by crossing the strait to Port Townsend and continue through the central and south sound then back north to LaConner via the south entrance of the channel. There is plenty to see and do in 4 weeks in the area from Olympia to Bellingham. It's not a small area.
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:47 AM   #25
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If you decide to explore the San Juan Islands you will find quiet coves and great hiking ashore at that time of year. A few years ago we made a DVD cruising guide to the WA State Parks of the San Juans and referenced many guide books and web sites in the making of it. There's a lot of great info out there!
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:17 AM   #26
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This as all such great information. Thanks to all who have contributed...and also to those who will continue to offer their thoughts going forward. The concept of basically exploring from the Canadian border/Gulf Islands south to Olympia has been rolling around in my head, for all the reasons articulated above. Although I know Alaska is out of reach for this cruise, I've been worried that to miss Vancouver and north to Queen Charlotte might be a big mistake. My current thinking is to leave the northern segment on the table, but only if all is going really well with the boat from a shakedown perspective (thank you AT) after a couple of weeks, and only if we get a good solid weather forecast.

Of course, there is a lot of time left between now and April and I'm certain our plans will evolve. I'm trying to catalogue all sorts of options and factors so that we can make good decisions on the fly when the time comes. I'll probably continue to toss questions out on this thread during the process, and I'm relatively confident that I'll get unvarnished thoughts in return.

Thank you!
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:47 AM   #27
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If it were me I'd ask Steve Scruggs the same question. He knows new ATs and the Pacific waters well. Personally I'd have no issues recommending a run to Ketchikan or further provided your return date is open to absorb weather waits.

Messing around the San Juans for a month is straight out boring for a vessel that has sea legs. Go for it! Head north. Learn about tides, currents, big winds, wonderful country and your and your new boat's capabilities.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:10 AM   #28
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I would head north to the Canadian San Juans- Salterry Cove, Pender Island, Active Pass initially. Plan to visit Sidney (Victoria) and Vancouver for cosmopolitan experience. Stop at US San Juans on your return, if you have time.

It is far too ambitious to run to Bella Bella. Also. For your next trip I recommend circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in summer. It has most everything you will see in Alaska without all the travel and far better weather. Barkley Sound, Tofino, Nooksak Sound are all beautiful protected waters where you can venture outside for whale watching and fishing on good days.
Also note spring tides in April will flood the shoreline of the waterway between Vancouver Island and the mainland causing much debris to fall in the water. Its not unusual to see 100 ft trees floating in your path. Problem is the ones you don't see. Also. Be sure to bring a crab trap. Dungeness crab are plentiful before the commercial crab season opens.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:50 AM   #29
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An intrepid voyager, James Hamilton, took delivery of a new N52 and after commissioning did a run from Seattle to Prince William Sound. Offshore all the way. He is on one end of the extreme. Some say LaConnor to Nanaimo is one week trip, they are on the other end.

The AT 395 has an easy 100 nm range per day and 140 if weather is right. I knock off 100 nm days per day in our slow DeFever provided a 5 AM departure. April weather from Seattle north can be surprisingly benign. I've done the Ketchikan run with 0 weather delays, it all depends.

One favorable current and weather day we made it from Campbell River to Blundon Harbour, about 100 nm on a flat Johnstone Strait. With lots of good weather reporting and dead accurate tides and current information, easy planning a few days out is simple enough.

Provisioning can be easy at the beginning with good grocery stores available all the way up the coast. Filling the freezer is not necessary although few can resist it.

How far and how fast is up to the OP. Everyone is different. And not everyone has a slow boat.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:09 AM   #30
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Agree Nexus card not needed. If you clear in Sidney there is a phone on the dock. Provide passport info for all and they give you an acceess numerm. Pist in window. Note: Folksxare being tirned away atcthe border if they have had a DUI!
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:40 AM   #31
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Order a copy of Ports & Passes and read thru it before you go. Calculating slack tides, highs, lows, etc is very relevant in the area

Ports and Passes
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:00 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
Dhays and HW have the general plans that seem to fit what you want. The only change I would suggest to Dhays' plan is not to double back to LaConner, rather make a loop by crossing the strait to Port Townsend and continue through the central and south sound then back north to LaConner via the south entrance of the channel. There is plenty to see and do in 4 weeks in the area from Olympia to Bellingham. It's not a small area.

I think crossing the Strait would be fine weather permitting. Weather is the key.
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:13 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
An intrepid voyager, James Hamilton, took delivery of a new N52 and after commissioning did a run from Seattle to Prince William Sound. Offshore all the way...

How far and how fast is up to the OP. Everyone is different. And not everyone has a slow boat.
I think the Hamiltons had Dirona for the best part of a year before they did that trip. I believe he went to Barkley Sound in the Winter of 2011 first. It's hard to navigate the early posts to their website, but can contact them and ask.

Also, you are commissioning a new vessel and you may find there are issues that come up. You can dangle all the way to AK if you want but you will miss a lot of places to explore along the way. It's up to you. And it doesn't allow a lot of flexibility to explore.
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:17 AM   #34
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Also I saw some notes re 1:3 anchor scope. Seems low to me recommend 1:5. Anticipate you will need minimum 250 ft of rode.
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:36 AM   #35
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So many wonderful places to explore. The San Juan's are fantastic as are the Gulf Islands. We tend to cruise further and further north each year but have spent several years exploring from Anacortes to the Broughtons. Here is a link to one of our early trips to Princess Louisa Inlet, Princess Louisa Inlet 2010

Lots of great places to visit as well as quiet places to anchor out when you want to.
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:54 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by MVDarlin View Post
Also I saw some notes re 1:3 anchor scope. Seems low to me recommend 1:5. Anticipate you will need minimum 250 ft of rode.
In my experience in the Gulf Islands and up through the BC South Coast, 3:1 is the norm. This is mostly due to the depth of water in which you are anchoring. Usually we aim for setting in depths of around 50 ft at the next high tide, so 150 ft of rode is the usual minimum. In many popular anchorages, the other anchored boats are close enough that you don't have swinging room for a better scope, and unless the wind is forecast to come up overnight, 3:1 will hold.

If we had skinnier tides and shallower water, 5:1 or 7:1 would be the norm, as it doesn't take a lot of extra wind to pull up the catenary and lift the stock of the anchor off of the bottom if you have less than 150' out. remember that, in 15 ft of water, even at 7:1 you only have 105' of rode out.

I have 210' of chain, and if I am anchoring in 50' and anticipate a tide rising to 60', I will put out nearly all of it. That done, it usually makes sense to have a few feet of nylon out at the end of the chain, just to quiet things down, so in that depth, 225 ft is more the norm, or 3.75:1. My other 185' of nylon is there for when the wind really picks up. In the last 22 years with this rode, I have used all of it only a couple of times and have never dragged due to lack of adequate rode deployed.
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Old 11-21-2016, 12:43 PM   #37
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Also. Explore taking delivery in Canada. Avoid 10% sales tax in Washington. Sidney a good choice. Note. If you bring boat into WA for 60 days without proof of sales tax paid somewhere it will be assessed on the current value of the vessel in WA.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:05 PM   #38
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So, getting back to cruising options and the time elements, having your car along is an added bonus.

When things go sideways for a day or four, you can easily escape the tulip tourists with a drive up to Whistler.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:29 PM   #39
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The following link is handy for time, distance, and route planning: NWCRUISING.NET Nautical Miles in the Pacific Northwest
The site also has links to many cruising guides and information. Take your time and don't attempt to go too far in the limited time allotted. Each "gate" going northward from La Conner has its own unique challenges. Weather and tidal changes are always at forefront of decision and route planning. It is truly a beautiful place for boating and you can spend a lifetime cruising south of Cape Caution and not see it all.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:56 PM   #40
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I'd keep priority on the shake-down cruise goal, and stay in the more populated areas where supplies and services are more quickly obtainable. To me that means staying the Puget sound, the San Juans, and the Canadian Gulf Islands. There is tons to see in 4 weeks, so you won't get bored. And if you have any trouble, or need to tweak things or add things, it can be dome more easily and quickly than if you are further north.

I also like your idea of returning for 2-3 months later in the summer for some extended cruising. That would give you enough time to get well into BC and/or Alaska.

We switched boating from the East Coast to PNW a few years ago, and deep water anchoring was probably the oddest thing to get used to. Like you, I always tried for 5:1 scope, but deep water (50-100') that's just not practical, nor is it required. By the time you get 3:1 scope out in chain, you have so much chain weight hanging down that 3:1 works just fine. But it definitely took a while to get comfortable with only 3:1 since it's something you would never do in shallower water.
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