Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

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Chinook
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Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Chinook » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:17 am

It's that time of year when the mind wanders toward possible sailing destinations for the coming summer. We're considering doing a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island this summer. We met some folks in Victoria's Inner Harbour a few years ago, who were in the final stages of a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in their 26X. They had great things to say about the trip, and didn't seem too worse for the wear. I've also talked with one of the editors of Waggoners Cruising Guide, who went around in a C-Dory a few years ago. The route is a bit over 800 nautical miles in length, and about a third of the distance is on open exposed North Pacific shoreline. We've been up the inside portion, and have done close to 1/3 of the western side, but the wild northwestern stretch is regarded to be most spectacular. Anyone out there who has been outside, along Vancouver Island's western shore? It's always good to share info and compare notes. If we commit to the trip, I'll post when possible on our progress.

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Phil M
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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Phil M » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:01 am

I met three Sailors who single-handed together around Vancouver Island. One of the boats was a MacGregor. It was early July and the port was Victoria. They were just finishing their circumnavigation. The MacGregor captain told me that in the month that it took them to circumnavigate the island they only had one day without rain. :o he seemed to be rather disappointed about the trip. What really surprised him was the Pleasant weather in the Strait of Juan de fu@ where they expected very difficult conditions. (F u c a)
I wonder whether our MacGregors would be able to hold enough food and water to accommodate two people for a circumnavigation.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Chinook » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:20 pm

Food, water and fuel should not be a problem. The inside portion of the route is well served with marinas and provisioning opportunities. The west coast is more rugged and remote, but every 20 miles or so the shoreline is indented by major inlets and fjords. Fishing camps and even small towns are located on these inlets. Weather will be the primary challenge, with the west coast noted for its wind, seas, and fog. June is the best month for avoiding fog, July is probably best for minimizing rain, wind and high seas. In August, fog becomes more of a problem. Our schedule would put us on the west coast in the last half of July through first week in August. The Strait of Juan de fu@ is an interesting place. Easiest going eastbound, which we would be doing. If you listen to the Canadian weather forecasts, you'll hear gale force winds forecast for nearly every day. However, unless a major front is coming through, you can usually count on good conditions in early mornings. The strong winds usually kick up in afternoon, on a daily basis.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Highlander » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:49 pm

I,ve read about the north west coast of the Isl can b pretty precarious & demands lots of respect ! , as it has been done by other Mac Boats in the past we know it is doable :) , I would love too do this passage also but being new to the NWP from Ontario I would consider myself a novice sailor for these new waters until I acquired some local & other knowledge of this area like tides & currents etc , My hull is only waxed & I want to get it treated for ocean sailing & slipping , install new eng. water impeller , solar panels, Radar & a few other thing,s , if I was able to have my boat organized & ready for a trip like this in time & could find someone " a local knowledgeable sailor/s " to help me crew my boat I,d love to join in !

would u be going in a counter clockwise rotation ! , how much time r u planning for this including poss . impass-able passage due to bad weather ?

J 8)

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Chinook » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:37 pm

The route is almost always done counter clockwise, because of the northwest to southeast prevailing winds and currents on the open Pacific side. Bucking those swells by going clockwise isn't a good idea. The inside part of the route, just north of Desolation Sound, brings its own set of challenges in the form of extremely strong currents. Some of the narrows generate currents of 6 to 10 knots at times, and they can create significant whirlpools which can spin around even large vessels. However, these problems are easily avoided by having good tide and current tables on board. The strategies for hitting all the major tidal rapids at or near slack are well known and easily figured out. If we decide to make the trip, we would be launching at Anacortes WA on or about June 28. The distance is just over 800 NM, and given a daily cruising average of about 30 NM (which has worked out well for us), the trip should take about 28 cruising days. I'm allowing for 2 to 3 weeks of additional time, for provisioning, layovers, and weather delays, which means an overall time of 6 to 7 weeks for the trip. Regarding boat setup, we did extended cruises for years without bottom paint. After about 4 or 5 weeks, we would get a bit of a biology experiment on the bottom, but nothing that a few hours of scraping with a putty knife couldn't cure. We do have bottom paint now, but if you don't mind a bit of scraping, bottom paint isn't necessarily a must do for the trip. Radar would be nice, especially on the exposed west side of the Island, since fog is a factor there. We don't have radar, but with good paper charts and electronic charts (we have a Garmin 541 with the Canadian chip), plus a good radar reflector and VHF with AIS receiver, I can get along ok in fog. Radar would be nice, but I'm able to read position well with the GPS and, in these waters, large commercial vessels aren't usually a factor. Feel free to PM me, and I can send you titles of chartbooks and cruising guides which provide excellent information on the route. We missed seeing you when we came through your home waters last summer, while doing the Great Loop, but would love to meet up with you on our home waters, if you decide to head our way.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Phil M » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:05 pm

My summer sailing for 2017 is already planned, along with other 2017 events. The only possibility for me is 2018. But a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island would be the ultimate sailing trip for a MacGregor owner as far as I am concerned.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by BOAT » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:30 pm


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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Spector » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:10 pm


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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by BOAT » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:33 pm

Hey! Vancouver Island is lots of fun - you guys should not make fun of him. I think he will have a good trip - and the only place there are boats that can run over him are the ferries between Nanaimo and Vancouver. And that little Powell River one. That Johnstone Straight looks really cool and he will see a lot of Indians and Eskimos too. Very cool. Maybe even a totem pole.

I checked Ship Finder and there were no ships for him to run into until he got to Fort Rupert - From there over the top and back down the west coast NOT A SINGLE SHIP!! ON THE ENTIRE WEST COAST ! HA! He can sleep the whole way down the west coast. Looks like a pretty good trip for you Great White guys - way too cold for me and I am not so good at sailing fjords and stuff - might need my cousins from Denmark to come out and sail that one for me. I'm too scared.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Phil M » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:34 pm

BOAT wrote:Are you going to this place?
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.674814, ... 1944?hl=en
I couldn't get Google maps to read the link. Anyone else try?

https://goo.gl/maps/FyNJeS7jsdK2

An example for Cape Scott.
Last edited by Phil M on Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BOAT
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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by BOAT » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:38 pm

Phil M wrote:
BOAT wrote:Are you going to this place?
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.674814, ... 1944?hl=en
I couldn't get Google maps to read the link. Anyone else try?

Image


It's this really cool place on Vancouver Island I always wanted to go to.

You guys over in Calgary and the rest of Canada should stop making fun of the people in Vancouver Island - (I know they still think it's the Queens Dominion and all that stuff - but they are really cool people living there).

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by BOAT » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:45 pm

It looks like this:

Image

I'm gonna go there.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Chinook » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:02 pm

San Josef Bay is the first major cove after rounding Cape Scott. It's too open for overnight anchorage, but nearby Sea Otter Cove looks like a very good place. The scenery in the photos is fairly typical for the west side of Vancouver Island, particularly the northern portion. The photo of wind and wave is from the Cape Scott area, and looks to have been taken during a winter storm. Rounding Cape Scott is a serious undertaking, with a potentially dangerous mix of Pacific swell, strong tidal currents, quickly building wind waves, nasty rocks, and winds that can quickly shift directions and increase. Other than that, a piece of cake. Fortunately, good weather forecasting info is available, and a well protected anchorage at Bull Harbour provides a safe place while waiting for favorable conditions. Johnstone Strait, mentioned by BOAT, is a place I've transited a couple of times. It has a well earned reputation for treachery. It's a long, straight wind tunnel which aligns directly with the prevailing NNW winds of summer. It's lengthy (nearly 40 nm) and lacks protected anchorages along the way. The current reverses every 6 hours, and if you get caught in an ebb current with strong incoming winds, you're in potentially serious trouble. Much like being out in the Gulf Stream when the wind is blowing strongly out of the north. We had favorable conditions all 3 times we transited in the boat, but I did get to see it at its worst from a helicopter, when my wife was being medivaced due to a health emergency. Wind was gale force and the waters were pure froth. We were flying 1000 or more feet above the water, but the waves looked frighteningly huge. It would have been dangerous for even commercial vessels. Not a single boat was in sight, which I'm sure the Canadian Coast Guard was thankful for.

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by BOAT » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:13 pm

Ya! I like that west side!! It's really cool and NO SHIPPING BOAT TRAFFIC! Very nice - but that trip up the fjords on the east side scares me - I'm afraid I will get half way up and the wind an water will knock me all the way back and I would get too tired trying to fight it and end up on the rocks somewhere - those fjords are dangerous - Danish guys and North Sea captains are better at that stuff. That's who the Russians and the Americans and French call on when they have a boat in trouble - they call the Danish people. That's who got to the Kursk boat when it was trapped on the bottom. To bad all those guys died - that sucked. (They say an American Sub might have accidentally rammed it). At least there are no submarines in the fjords!!

Image


Image

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Re: Thinking of Circumnavigating - Vancouver Island, that is

Post by Highlander » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:34 am

Actually Boat that sub was sunk by one of it,s own torpedoes which imploded on board takin the sub down , that said torpedo was about 3 yrs past it,s reg inspection & maint. up-grade , it also got banged up & damaged during its loading procedure , but the armament crew loading it from the dock inspected it & cleared it for loading , needless to say they were not on board crew ! but had no real say in that decision, rank always has the last word ! & upper hand ? , The Russian Navy denied it was missing for about 5 days & refused several offers from other navy fleets around world who had the technology & expertise to rescue that crew sad as it may be !

Anyway back to the original post I also want to b at the MYCBC rendezvous in Victoria BC Jun.30-July 4th so we will see how I get organized & anyone lookin to crew on a mac for either of these events please feel free to contact me :)

J 8)

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