Monday, January 17, 2011

Summer Trip Planning - Olympia to Friday Harbor

A friend sent me an Email saying, "Hey want to go to the San Juans the last week of July?" This started me thinking about summer cruising. I took the suggestion to heart and the first thing I did was analyze the currents. I can't start a trip on a Friday - superstition and bad luck you know - or so they say. So the trip would have to start on Saturday, July 23. So I looked at currents for the Tacoma Narrows.


Hmm? There's a 2.5 knot flood at about 9:15 AM. That means I would be fighting the current all the way from about Johnson Point to Kingston. Yes, I know the current always flows N in Colvos but I still wouldn't be getting the "pull" that I want. My average speed instead of 6+ knots would be about 4.5 knots or less. Then the next day to continue the cruise up Admiralty Inlet I would be fighting the current again. Nope, July 23 is not going to work for a trip up the Sound. What about next Saturday, July 30? Or the previous Saturday, July 16? Lets take a peek at the currents...

x
Wow, what a difference a week makes. For Saturday, July 16, there's a 4+ knot ebb just past 10 AM. And for Saturday, July 30, there's a 3.8 knot ebb at about 9 AM. I'm going to select July 16th because it is about an hour later which will last me longer for the next day when I cruise up Admiralty Inlet (weather permitting). And, if the ebb is that strong I will get one heck of a "downhill" run from both Olympia to Kingston and from Kingston to Point Wilson by Port Townsend. If I time it right I will hit slack at about Smith Island and ride the flood down San Juan Channel right into Friday Harbor. Weee-oooo what a ride. I did the same thing on last year's trip from Kingston to Friday Harbor. Rode a big ebb current up Admiralty Inlet out into the Strait, and then rode a big flood through Cattle Pass, San Juan Channel and right into Friday Harbor. Traveled 53.1 nm in just over 7 hours and averaged 7.4 knots! Here's a log entry from last year, "The ebb pulled us along very nicely, at times we were making 10+ knots, most of the time we were doing over 9+ knots."

Now the crew and others don't always understand this current stuff. How can I present it in a way that they'll understand? I'll analyze the trip from Kingston to Friday Harbor if we did it on Sunday, July 17 versus Sunday, July 24.
x

I'll point out if we left Kingston Cove Marina at approximately the same time, on Sunday, July 17 we would arrive Friday Harbor at just past 3 PM. That's a respectable time to have a nap, a cocktail and snacks before dinner, and have a relaxing dinner. Whereas if we cruised up a week later we would not arrive Friday Harbor until almost 7 PM, be late for dinner, stressed because of 3 or more hours of cruising, and be tired. The difference between cruising a week later is over a 3.6 hours! Wait, there's more... cruising time equals fuel used and wear and tear. The difference in fuel cost alone would be $32 or more! (2 gph x 3.6 hrs x $4.5o/gal. diesel) So, picking the right time to make a cruise is important in not only time, but cost too. I think this will work to convince the crew.

I will also have to work on convincing them about mid July versus end of July. I will mention the following points:
  • More people and crowds at anchorages and marinas;
  • More daylight (days are longer in July than in August) to do things; and,
  • August is generally known as "fogust" and they hate cruising in the fog.

Hmm? Now I got to think more about, "How far N?" and "What destinations?"

1 comment:

TakingPaws said...

Especially in these days of higher fuel costs, it definitely pays to plan. Nice posting about thinking ahead.