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...

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.

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.