Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

6 Comments

Passage to SF-2More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too!

This passage –  down the northwest coast – is very talked of, even a little feared, in the sailing community, and for good reason. It’s a rock-strewn, lee shore with few places to shelter, and it’s subject to volatile and not very pleasant weather. For many Pacific Northwest sailors, it’s the first real ocean passage, too – one leaves behind the protected waterways of Puget Sound and the Inside Passage in favor of the big ocean swells. Finally, if it’s left too late in the year, this passage can deliver some really nasty conditions, so the maxim among West Coast sailors is to round Cape Flattery (the NW tip of Washington State) and be off southward before October 1st.

My Ocean Navigator feature covers the major concerns and strategies regarding this passage and relates our own experience with it.  You can read the piece here.

I also wrote a blog post about it around when we actually did the passage, which is a lot less extensive, but which you can read here. Hope you enjoy!

Author: Ellen

Circumnavigator, Arctic voyager, writer/photographer

6 thoughts on “Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

  1. Hi Ellen & Seth,

    I just read your article, “Passage to San Fran”. JUST WONDERFUL!! I wish I had offshore experiences like these. Then I saw the wonderful video. Great photography. Aren’t you afraid of bears? It’s also a real family endeavor with your mother’s wonderful piano accompaniment.

    Best to you both. Hope you get to Brooklin.

    Steve

    • Hi Steve,
      Great to hear you enjoyed the article and the video! I’ll pass your words on to my mom – we have a lot of fun together recording her music and putting it into the videos. The bears are definitely intimidating – not to be taken lightly! But if you’re not stupid about them, it’s generally okay. The bears in the photographs were all pretty well fed on the August salmon run and ignored us – we kept quiet and still, and kept our distance. We have big telephoto lenses on our cameras. We’ve had other bear encounters (when the bears were hungrier, or when we were fishing, that were a lot more scary, but we’ve never had real trouble – never had to use any deterrents, thankfully.

      Thanks for watching and reading, hope you’re well! All the best,
      Ellen

  2. Well done on getting published again. A great read as always!

  3. Hi Ellen:

    I haven’t read this yet – but will do so later today.  But your intro got me chuckling…. When we brought Dash down the coast we motored the entire way from Port Angeles to SF.  There was no wind!!  We did the trip in late Aug.  There was wind ahead of us so we pulled into Coos Bay and spent two nights there in sunny and warm weather and just waited for the weather south of us to get out of our way.  Then continued to motor to SF.

    I was looking forward to a little more wind to see how Dash would handle it. 

    Take care,

    Kellie

    From: Gone Floatabout Reply-To: Gone Floatabout Date: Monday, January 21, 2019 at 10:01 AM To: Kellie Fennessy Subject: [New post] Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

    Ellen posted: “More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too! This passage – down the northwest coast – is very talked of”

    • Hi Kellie,
      Thanks for writing! I love how everyone has such different experiences with this passage! We had pretty much a perfect trip with great wind from astern – a bit strong off Cape Mendocino (causing a breakage on our wind vane) and pretty cold, but the kind of wind Celeste likes. Other friends of ours had a hellish time dodging one huge low after another and racing to get into harbor before the gales hit, but then they did the passage in November, when the storms are pretty common. And you didn’t have enough wind! What a crazy bit of water! We actually had dead calms from San Francisco all the way to Ensenada, so there you go. Got pretty tired of the engine noise. Thankfully all of us are in the trade winds now! Hope things are going well aboard Dash.
      All the best,
      Ellen

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