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Old 06-02-2021, 10:23 PM   #1
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Greetings from the Palouse!

Hello!

I am hailing from the beautiful Palouse region of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, not far from Hells Canyon where the Snake and Clearwater Rivers converge on their way to the mighty Columbia. I am a native of the Pacific Northwest, but spent over a decade in Florida. The maritime atmosphere is in my blood, and this is the farthest we've ever lived from salt water. I've never owned a boat, but have run power boats of various sizes over the years as a rowing coach and as a corporate pilot (where I assisted my boss' boat captain on occasion...apparently the thinking was if I could fly a jet, I could competently run a Hatteras Sportfish...I'm not sure I agree with that!) but I am far from a pro.

Our desire for a boat comes with a unique mission...to cruise the Snake and Columbia from Lewiston/Clarkston "downhill" towards the coast and make occasional voyages up the Washington coast into Puget Sound. We want a boat that we feel at home on, can have some friends along and is fuel-efficient first and has available power/speed when we need it as a second (especially considering the Columbia River Bar). A trawler, fast trawler or Downeast type boat I think would be perfect for this mission, so here we are! We are here to learn, ask questions and engage. I am still researching permanent accomodations for the boat, but it could be Clarkston, WA; Boyer Park Marina (below Pullman and Colfax, WA); or Kennewick, WA at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia.

We are here humbly and eager to learn and engage!
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:43 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard! People have made that trip in everything from a C-dory 22 to a Fleming 65. Although I imagine Tony Fleming was way more comfortable than my friend was on his C-dory!

A few important data points include your budget, how many people you'll be having on board, and what kind of slip availability (specifically length) you'll find in the marinas you're looking at.

However, there are PLENTY of boats that will fulfill your requirements. You'll have a lot of fun, both in your search and your eventual journeys!
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:06 AM   #3
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Welcome aboard. Have fun searching for your boat!
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:01 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:22 AM   #5
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A boat that will do Hell's Canyon and the Columbia bar? That's like one paint brush to paint barns and fingernails. There's going to be some disappointment at one extreme. I have a C-Dory 16 and have done the Snake to the Hell's Canyon area. I've been out in the Pacific, but not across the Columbia bar. For that, I would want to take my other boat.

If you have to do it all in one, the C-Dory would be my choice. Finding a crew might be difficult.

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Old 06-03-2021, 10:12 AM   #6
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A boat that will do Hell's Canyon and the Columbia bar? That's like one paint brush to paint barns and fingernails. There's going to be some disappointment at one extreme. I have a C-Dory 16 and have done the Snake to the Hell's Canyon area. I've been out in the Pacific, but not across the Columbia bar. For that, I would want to take my other boat.

If you have to do it all in one, the C-Dory would be my choice. Finding a crew might be difficult.

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No, I didn't say that. I said we live near Hells Canyon and plan to cruise down river. I've got friends with the jet boats for going uphill!
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Old 06-04-2021, 02:08 PM   #7
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Palouser, I'm almost a neighbor of yours (Pasco) and have boated the length of the Snake from Lewiston to the Columbia, and the length of Columbia from the upstream the end of navigable waters to the Pacific and up the coast and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Seattle.

I would think the smallest boat I'd want to do those on would be about 28'-30'. A Ranger Tug would be perfect for that. I'd want a diesel, sleeping for two with additional quarters for 2 more. A galley is a necessity as is plenty of refrigerator and freezer room.

Got questions? PM me or fire away on here.
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:08 PM   #8
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Palouser, I'm almost a neighbor of yours (Pasco) and have boated the length of the Snake from Lewiston to the Columbia, and the length of Columbia from the upstream the end of navigable waters to the Pacific and up the coast and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Seattle.

I would think the smallest boat I'd want to do those on would be about 28'-30'. A Ranger Tug would be perfect for that. I'd want a diesel, sleeping for two with additional quarters for 2 more. A galley is a necessity as is plenty of refrigerator and freezer room.

Got questions? PM me or fire away on here.
Thanks GFC! The Tri-Cities is a home-port option for us if Boyer Park doesn't work out.

You basically described my boat of choice - the Sabre 36 Flybridge (with Yanmars). Spacious, seaworthy, efficient for what it is, and plenty of muscle for the bar and up the coast and when you need to hustle. I agree a Ranger Tug would be great option and the 31CB is on our short list with the Sabre. The direct operating costs would be much lower than a Sabre, but the second engine, wide-open spaces and downeast hull are major marks in favor of the Sabre. Not to mention the acquisition cost of either would be in the same ballpark (we'd buy used). Ranger gets additional points for being trailerable, locally supported, simple and basically a floating swiss army knife.

I've been researching the fuel economy of the Sabre running single-engine while between the dams to boost fuel economy and the idea is promising. There's a lot to it, but at 6-8 knots I'll have time to think about trans temps and RPMs. Access to diesel fuel above Kennewick is a challenger (I heard the new owner at Boyer is working on it, but as of yesterday there is not a diesel pump at the fuel dock, and Lewiston is unreliable) so the large fuel capacity of the Sabre makes for another vote that way. 300+ on the Sabre to the Rangers 180 means I could tanker where I find cheap(er) fuel and or go father with more confidence.

What boat did you do the river in? What would you do again or differently? Any clubs or marinas you recommend in the Tri-Cities?

Thanks for reaching out! Go Cougs!
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:03 PM   #9
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We did the Snake river run to Lewiston in a 330 Sundancer. One word of caution about Boyer, we found the entrance a bit on the squeaky side due to low water conditions. That was many years ago but from what I read on forums like this it is still that way.

Coming down river the next good marina is at Lyons Ferry. It was sold a few years ago and as I understand the new owners have made significant improvements. The next good marina downriver is Fishhook Park. It's a COE park that has a great dock that is well protected from the weather. As you enter the marina stay towards the port side because there's some shallow areas along the concrete wall. There's no power available at this marina but it's fairly inexpensive. We took our 550DB in there many times and there's plenty or room to maneuver.

About a mile downstream and across the river is a nice cove that offers a good anchorage.

Downstream is Charbonneau Park. It's very shallow on the stbd side as you enter so we haven't used it in decades.

After you go through Ice Harbor lock there's a narrow channel for a mile or so. When you go through there make certain you stay between the buoys. When you get to where the river bends to port, find the range markers on your stern (they're up in the orchard) and the ones on the bow and stick pretty close to the centerline. There's another set of range marks when you make a turn to stbd so find then and stick close.

Then you're almost to the Columbia. One vehicle bridge and one train bridge to pass beneath then the Snake opens wide up. When you turn upstream on the Columbia you're almost to a good marina with power, water, etc. If you belong to a yacht club give me a call (PM me for my cell number) and I'll arrange for free reciprocal moorage. If not a member, go into the waters south of Clover Island, pass all the covered moorage and the row of boat houses. Guest moorage is at a long dock at the backside of the boathouse row.

Now at this point, once you're secured to the dock you have one important duty to fulfill. Call me or text me (PM me for my phone number) and the first round at the brewery at the top of the docks is on me.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:15 PM   #10
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Palouser, I have an Excel file that you might be interested. It has all the mileages between cities/ports as you travel the Columbia and phone numbers and call signs for all the locks and bridges between here and Ilwaco.
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Old 06-06-2021, 07:18 PM   #11
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Perhaps a trailer trawler is in your future? Ranger Tugs of course comes to mind, but there are others that are comfortable and trailerable. Great for exploring your local waterways, and a few hours of driving has you in the sound, the San Juans and the Gulfs.

As mentioned above, a boat capable of crossing the bar and slogging uphill along the Oregon and Washington coasts is a tall order!
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Old 06-06-2021, 11:01 PM   #12
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Palouser, I have an Excel file that you might be interested. It has all the mileages between cities/ports as you travel the Columbia and phone numbers and call signs for all the locks and bridges between here and Ilwaco.
Welcome Palouser, I love your location, just a place everyone should see.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 9.03.09 PM.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	102.6 KB
ID:	118329

GFC! Man that is amazing! I was just compiling some of that harbor info myself. It's a real slog to get info tied together. I'll trade ya for?

We plan to be in Tri Cities by Sept. 15th, we have been only through he first locks on the Snake, but hope to go up to Lewiston. Any over winter slips for a 58'?
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:00 AM   #13
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Welcome Palouser, this is a great place to glean some serious wisdom. Doing the uphill run to Lewiston is on our to do list.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:15 PM   #14
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Palouser "I'll trade ya for?" Maybe I'll trade you well organized and coordinated material for you buying that first round.

I'm not sure of any slips that big for a winter rental but you might be able to strike a deal with the Port of Kennewick (509)-586-1186 for a side tie on their guest moorage dock. They are trying to do a major expansion and could use a few bucks in their kitty to get things rolling.

Little Rascal, when you get ready to do that run get in touch with me. I just did it from here to Seattle and have copious notes I could share.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:38 PM   #15
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trawlercap, I found a msg you sent me about the Excel files but I lost the darn thing and don't know where it went. If you will send me via a PM your email address I'll send it to you along with my mailing address. I'd like to read your book and look forward to receiving it.

Thanks,

Mike

Oh, and I'll take you up on your offer for the first round!
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:12 PM   #16
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fuel-efficient first and has available power/speed

Usually you can have one or the other. A trawler plugging along at 8 knots, great fuel efficiency, a larger boat planing at 18 knots, not so much.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:07 AM   #17
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Palouser "I'll trade ya for?" Maybe I'll trade you well organized and coordinated material for you buying that first round.
You've got a deal! Thank you for the very helpful information thus far.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:11 AM   #18
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Welcome Palouser, I love your location, just a place everyone should see.

Attachment 118329

GFC! Man that is amazing! I was just compiling some of that harbor info myself. It's a real slog to get info tied together. I'll trade ya for?

We plan to be in Tri Cities by Sept. 15th, we have been only through he first locks on the Snake, but hope to go up to Lewiston. Any over winter slips for a 58'?
Thanks! Yes, the Palouse is absolutely stunning! The Snake River canyon is beautiful on its own, but one must get "up on top" to take in the real beauty of the Palouse. Especially this time of year (as shown in your photo) of how beautiful the fields are in their lush green.

I was just at the Boyer Park Marina (immediately on the downstream side of the Lower Granite Dam). They have prices for everything to 60 foot + moorage, and it appears there is room for a few more boats of that size. There is one 50-plus footer there now, that I think is permanently moored there. Looks like a big Sea-Ray. The owner of the marina says the entry to the marina has a minimum draft at its lowest of 6'6" and is usually 9' - 12'. No diesel available, but they want it, they know they need it and they have more than enough demand for it....and it is sourceable in the area given the massive volume of agriculture equipment. Hopefully, they'll have that resolved sooner rather than later.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:28 AM   #19
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trawlercap, I found a msg you sent me about the Excel files but I lost the darn thing and don't know where it went. If you will send me via a PM your email address I'll send it to you along with my mailing address. I'd like to read your book and look forward to receiving it.

Thanks,

Mike

Oh, and I'll take you up on your offer for the first round!
I shot you a message, thanks for everything!
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:29 AM   #20
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Umatilla

My Wife and I keep our boat in the Umatilla Marina. We have traveled quite a bit up and down the Columbia. If you have any questions on anything dont hesitate to contact us. John and Ashli Gould.
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