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Swinomish updates?

Discussion in 'Pacific North West Cruisers' started by forbin, Jul 18, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. nightowle

    nightowle

    Joined Aug 28, 2006
    155 posts, 5 likes
    Bavaria 35E
    US seattle
    actually, I would be transitting from the North. Any advice for that would be helpful.
     


  2. Hayden Watson

    Hayden Watson

    Joined Apr 5, 2009
    268 posts, 28 likes
    Catalina C30 tr/bs
    US Oak Harbor, WA
    given that I berth at Oak Harbor I need to head up Skagit bay every cruise. I only go up the Ditch when I need to go to Anacortes and am in a hurry. I think I have made 3 one-way trips through the ditch. Most of the time I go through Deception Pass. I run the Pass anytime the current is going the same way I am. I went through it in a 6.2 knot current at 1:00 a.m. for a short cruise because if I waited I couldn't get out until the next afternoon which would cost me nearly a full day. The max current I have run was 8.2 in June. People freak out about the current but if you het the correct spot it is no big deal.
    The secrete to the Pass is to divide it into 1/3's. On either flood or ebb, always stay on the northern 1/3 line. NEVER go south of center. The obstruction island has a 200' vertical wall but the Whidbey side has lots of out croppings. if you go south of center you WILL get into alternating whirlpools. one clockwise and the next counter clockwise. NOT FUN.
    If you stay north of center (1/3 line) the flow is straight through and you will not have problems. Once through the pass outbound bear about 20º north to avoid the worst of the turbulence. inbound there is a whirlpool right at the end of the obstruction island so stay on the 1/3 line for about 50 yards before bearing north.
     


  3. nightowle

    nightowle

    Joined Aug 28, 2006
    155 posts, 5 likes
    Bavaria 35E
    US seattle
    thanks......this is good advice, for sure!
     


  4. Hayden Watson

    Hayden Watson

    Joined Apr 5, 2009
    268 posts, 28 likes
    Catalina C30 tr/bs
    US Oak Harbor, WA
    Just for background, when I first moved to Oak Harbor from Spokane I knew that I would need to go through Deception Pass regularly and my father-in-law had instilled me with a great deal of apprehension. I had to drive across the bridge to and from work every day so for the first year I budgeted 15 minutes every day to stop on the island and look at the pass for transit conditions.
    I kept a log of rate of flow from the current tables, eddies, whirlpools, smooth flow, problems that boats were encountering, etc.
    From that experience I have come to two primary reasons that boats get into trouble. 1. Going against the current. 2. Being on a line that takes them south of the center line of the pass. Avoid those two conditions and the transit is safe. I do try to avoid currents over 6.5 knots but have been through in 8.2. It was fun to see 13 knots on the GPS.
    The biggest challenge is after you get out of the pass because there are up-thrusts of current that will make your boat turn up to 90º. It isn't dangerous because you are in open deep water but is a bit unsettling. I don't fight it, I go with the flow. I let the boat turn and then ease the wheel to bring her back on course. very little stress on the steering gear that way. If you try to keep it pointed in one direction you need to wildly steer back and forth and it is pointless. Keep Calm and enjoy the ride.
    I could regale you with tails of woe and near disaster (others not mine) but they always involving violating rule #1 or #2 or worst of all #1 and #2.
     


    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  5. Terry Cox

    Terry Cox

    Joined Dec 25, 2000
    2,779 posts, 157 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    US Shelter Bay, WA
    Check the bridge closure schedule that I posted earlier, then head into the channel on an early flooding current. That current will give you a nice push south and enough water for a safe transit. Enjoy your cruise.
     


  6. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    3,190 posts, 592 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    :plus: What Terry said.

    Who knows... Terry Knows!!!
     


  7. Terry Cox

    Terry Cox

    Joined Dec 25, 2000
    2,779 posts, 157 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    US Shelter Bay, WA
    Hi John, thanks for the kind words.

    Spent yesterday on the boat getting it ready for off season cruising. Changed main engine oil, plugged the cabin driers in to help keep moisture to a minimum, ditto the space heater. Turned the freezer and refrigerator back on after defrosting. Always enjoy this quiet time of the year on the water. How about you?
     



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