Local Sailing Trips in Puget Sound


The numbers listed on the chart below are: 1—Breakwater Marina & Tacoma Yacht Club basin, 2—Quartermaster Harbor, 3-Narrows Bridge, 4-Wollochet Bay, 5-Fox Island, 6-McNeil Island, 7-Anderson Island & Oro Bay Outstation, 8-Carr Inlet, 9-Case Inlet, 10-Seattle, 11-Vashon Island, 12-Colvos Passage, 13-Longbranch Peninsula & Filucy Bay, 14-Harstine Island

 South Puget Sound

South Puget Sound Chart

The weekend of January 31st and February 1st Linda and I decided to spend the weekend on Helios for a little decompression time. We were hoping that the Tacoma Yacht Club outstation at Oro Bay on Anderson Island wouldn't be that crowded because it was Super Bowl weekend. We left the dock at Breakwater, where Helios is moored, around 8:30 A.M. Saturday morning. Slack at the Narrows was at 8:51 A.M. so we motored around to get through before the current moved against us. The maximum ebb was going to be around noon at 3.1 knots. The distance is around 15 miles and we were there before 11:00 that morning, to find the outstation completely empty.

Oro Bay at low tide July 2005   Oro Bay from anchor July 2008

The two pictures above show the outstation and we were tied up where the sailboat in the right hand picture is on the inside of the outside finger. The pictures are from July 2005 & 2008. I went up to the head of the ramp to unlock the power cabinet and turn the circuit breaker on for our portion of the dock, but discovered that there was no power. After a couple of telephone calls I discovered that the power was out for all of Anderson Island. The cable coming from the mainland had failed and we would be without power for the weekend. Well it was a very quiet weekend and we were able to use our diesel heating system, which worked great. The solar panels provided enough charging capacity that there was no need to start the generator. We left a little after noon on Sunday and motored back as there was no wind. We were tied up and everything stowed away by 4:00 PM.

President's & Valentine's Weekend February 2009

Linda and I left the dock around 1:30 Friday afternoon headed up Colvos Passage along the west side of Vashon Island. The wind was blowing about 15 knots from the north, which made it right on the nose. Since Colvos is narrow we decided to motor, as we also wanted to be tied up before dark. We had decided to go to Eagle Harbor on the southeast corner of Bainbridge Island and use the TYC outstation. The Yacht Club as 200' of dock space from the Bainbridge Island Marina and Yacht Club, which is almost directly across from the Winslow ferry terminal. We got in around 4:00 PM and the dock was empty. We hooked up to the 50 amp power and were able to operate everything we wanted that evening, including heat from reversing the air conditioning units. We left Saturday morning around 10:30 for Poulsbo, where we had reservations for Saturday and Sunday nights at the Poulsbo Marina, http://portofpoulsbo.com/ . We were tied up to the dock by 1:30 after dodging the ferries in Rich Passage and traveling up the Port Orchard Channel. This was the first time for both Linda and I to visit this Scandinavian town, but I am full blooded Norwegian and felt right at home. Sunday our friend Lori drove up from Tacoma to visit for the afternoon and we walked around town window shopping, I did buy a couple of T-shirts and we couldn't get by the bakery without purchasing some goodies. Monday morning looked like a great day for a sail back home. The wind was coming out of the north at 5 to 10 knots in Liberty Bay. We motored down through Rich Passage and set the sails on the north side of Blake Island and pointed Helios down East Passage towards Commencement Bay. The north end of Vashon Island had the wind approaching small craft advisory status, with some gusts in the 24-25 knot range. The current was ebbing which made it sloppy between Vashon and Blake Islands, but things smoothed out the further south we got. We had the full main and jib up sailing downwind with the apparent wind reaching 17-18 knots at a maximum. The boat speed through the water was 8.5 to 9.0+ knots and the speed over ground was 8.0 to 8.5+ for most of the trip. As the crow flies the trip would be about 17 miles, but with the jibes and staying out the way of commercial traffic we were closer to 20 miles traveled. Out friend Dave spotted us as we sailed by and hailed us on the VHF to say that we were "Looking Good". We dropped sails right out front of the Tacoma Yacht Club and were tied up with everything stowed by 3:30 PM. It was a great weekend and we are looking forward to more in the coming months.

February 20, 2009

My lifelong friend, Doug Redford, and I spent the day on Helios. We are both recently retired and this gave time to talk about retirement and the economy. I had made an appointment with Emerald Harbor Marine at Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle to have some warranty work done on the Spectra watermaker. We left a little before 8:00 AM Friday morning from Breakwater Marina and motored in the fog up Colvos Passage on the west side of Vashon Island towards Seattle. The electronics on Helios made this a less stressful experience, as we were able to split the screen on the chartplotter, with one half showing the chart and the other radar. It was an ebb tide, so even if the water always flows north in Colvos, it is a little faster flow on an ebb tide. The fog was breaking up by the time we got to the top of Colvos and we were in Elliott Bay by 10:30. I called the Elliott Bay Marina Harbormaster to get a temporary slip(s) and was directed to "A" dock slips 61&63. We got Helios tied up and went up to the Harbormaster's office to pay $5 for the moorage and then stopped next door at Emerald Harbor Marine to tell them where we were and that we were ready for "Dan the Watermaker Man". We walked back to Helios and a few minutes later Dan showed up with a dock cart full of stuff. Dan checked out the system and after a few checks decided that it was not part failure but incorrect parameters set up for the system. He adjusted the parameters for the unit and changed out all four of the filters in the system. I bought plenty of backup filters for our trip north in June. Doug and I were out of the marina by 1:30 PM. The wind was 2 knots so their wasn't any sailing to be done if we were going to make it back in daylight. We were tied up at Breakwater by 4:30 and on the road by 5:00. It was a great day to be on the water even if there was very little wind.

March 30, 2009

On Friday afternoon Linda and I were joined by Doug and Nyla Redford for a weekend trip. When we were boatless they had taken pity on us, and invited us out on their sailboat, Chinook Wind, for a weekend in Port Orchard. This weekend we got an early start and left Breakwater a little before three in the afternoon. We had decided to head up Colvos Passage along the western side of Vashon Island towards Bainbridge Island and Eagle Harbor. The Tacoma Yacht Club has an outstation in Eagle Harbor across from the ferry landing. It took us a little less than three hours as we motored, with no wind available to sail. There was no one from TYC tied up, so we selected the inside end tie facing towards the ferry landing. We got hooked up to the power and turned on the heat, by using the air conditioning units in reverse mode. In a short amount of time it was 70 degrees with humidity less than 25%, very comfy. The weather report was for gale force winds during the night and early morning. The current would be ebbing through Rich Passage until a little after noon and with the wind from the south it would be sloppy during the first part of the trip to Poulsbo. It was raining and the wind was starting to slow down as we left Eagle Harbor to go around the south end of Bainbridge Island and then north to Liberty Bay and the Port of Poulsbo, ( http://www.portofpoulsbo.com/ ). The crew alternated wiping the water off the windscreen as we motored. We decided that this wasn't a race and there was no need for the crew to get wet and cold just to put sails up for a 17 mile trip, that we could only sail about 12 miles. We had reserved a side tie slip behind the floating office for the Port of Poulsbo and between "E" and "F" docks. Considering the weather and the fact that there was a lot of college basketball on TV the docks were busy. They had Trawler and Beneteau rendezvous going on for the weekend. We got Helios port tied to the dock and connected the power to take advantage of the heat and everyone got warm and dry before we put on jackets and walked the streets of Poulsbo doing a little window shopping and deciding on a restaurant for dinner. Doug had turned 60 on the 24th, so I was buying dinner and Nyla had baked a cake for dessert when we got back to the boat after dinner. The rain held off while we were walking around during the afternoon, but started up again just as we got back to the marina. We had decided upon the Whiskey Creek Ranch House for dinner as three of the four thought red meat would be good on a cold windy day. The food and service were good and we even had a fellow playing his guitar and singing some country western music while we ate. It was a short walk back to the boat and getting tucked in for the night. We had decided to leave around 10:30 in the morning for our trip back to Tacoma, hoping there would be some wind for sailing. Things looked promising Sunday morning as there was plenty of blue sky and even some wind out of the north. We headed out on schedule after getting the sail covers off and halyards attached. We decided to put the sails up after winding our way out of Liberty Bay. We listened to the VHF for a weather report and heard that the wind was supposed to shift from northerly to southerly the farther south one went in Puget Sound. The folks at the "Isle of Beguile" were right on as the wind continued to die as we headed south. We decided to raise the sails after clearing Rich Passage and to head down East Passage, even though the trip would be four miles longer, since it would allow longer runs tacking into the expected southerly. The wind never rose above 5 knots and most of the time was less than two. It did give us time to dry out the sails as we motored along in the sunshine and enjoyed being on the water. We were tied up back at Breakwater a little before five, and had put the sail covers on while motoring in flat water. It was a very nice weekend and hopefully we will get some wind the next time we are able to get out on the water.

May 8th - 10th, 2009

We left the marina around six, after Linda had got home from work and changed to sailing clothes. We didn't plan on sailing because I was still on limited duty from a recent surgery, so it was going to be a motor down to Filucy Bay. As it turned out there was little wind and the water was flat, as can be seen from the pictures below. We had the last remaining part of the flood with us as we passed through the Narrows and into the South Sound area. By the time we reached the passage between McNeil and Anderson Islands the ebb was against us, but not to bad. We had the anchor set in the upper part of the bay by 8:30, which was just before sunset. It was still cool enough to require some heat, so the diesel heater was turned on, and the temperature was up to 70 degrees in no time.

Looking south towards marina in Filucy Bay     Looking ESE towards entrance to Filucy Bay     looking north to head of Filucy Bay

It was some chicken and rice that our friend Karen and made for us and all we had to do was use the microwave to heat it up. It was a nice evening of reading and relaxing. Saturday was a goof off day, with reading, naps and eating being the main activities. We started to plan for our three week trip to Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands next month. The meals for 23 days does take some thought. It will nice to have both a refrigerator and freezer on this trip. We finished the chicken and rice for dinner and with a few cookies to go with our "Sleepy Time Tea" it was time for bed.

          neighbor anchored in the fog                ketch in the fog

The two pictures above show the bay as the Sunday morning fog was burning off. We decided to leave around 11 and go into Wollochet Bay to see how Helios would work. The new pawl on the anchor windlass worked great, as we didn't have any problems with the chain jamming. There was room for us at the outstation in Wollochet Bay but we decided to use the ebb current through the Narrows for a quicker passage to Commencement Bay. We were tied up and walking up to the car by 3, and it was a wonderful relaxing weekend.

July 24-26, 2009

We checked our calendar and found an open weekend, so it was off on Helios for a trip to the Tacoma Yacht Club outstation on Anderson Island. I got everything ready on Friday so all Linda had to do was change clothes after work. We left the marina around five and were tied up two hours later thanks to a flood through The Narrows, which boosted our speed over 13 knots at times. It is nice to have friendly members on the dock waiting to take your lines when you arrive. I had picked up a pizza on the way to the boat so no cooking was done on Friday night. We did small projects, reading and naps on Saturday. About five Saturday some of us gathered at one of the picnic tables on the dock that was shaded by a boat to share some conversation and future plans.

Tied up at the dock at Oro Bay on Anderson Island    Low tide with new gazebo in background    Neighbors

A little Fauna swimming bay - Sea BlubberThis guy was swimming against the outgoing current and measured approximately 18 inches across at the crown. It is a member of the Lion's Mane family of jellyfish, which are the largest in size of all jellyfish.


We enjoyed a restful Sunday morning and early afternoon and untied and with a shove from those remaining headed back north to the marina. We were tied up and walking towards the car by six and wishing we could spend another night on the water.

Monday August 24, 2009

I spent the day on Helios with Elise and Erik Willis, daughter and son, of Brett and Connie, (see 2008 Florida Trip.) Elise had a break in her third year of med school and Erik didn't have to head back to college for his senior year for a couple of weeks. We didn't have enough wind to warrant taking the sail covers off, so we decided to motor around the area. Our first destination was to go under the Narrows Bridge (s).

Elise and Erik     Erik eating a bridge     Elise eating a bridge

      Elise on deck at Pt. Evans           Elise and the Captain

We then continued south to the new Chambers Bay Golf Course that will be hosting the 2015 U.S. Open. I imagine that there will be quite a few boats on the water when the Open is going on. We turned north and used the ebb current in our favor to hit 10 knots going back under the bridges. We toured Gig Harbor and along Ruston Way to Thea Foss Waterway. We called Linda, who could see us from her office, to say hello. We shared some water with a large container vessel, while looking at the Blair Waterway and then motored alongside the beach of NE Tacoma to Brown's Point. Elise and Erik had received a call from Connie, (Mom's always want two questions answered, Where are you? and What time will you be home?), checking on the schedule for dinner. We headed back to Breakwater Marina and were tied up and headed back to the vehicles around five. It was a great day to be on the water, with plenty of sun, good conversation and a day of relaxation before they go back to school.

Labor Day Weekend

We gathered up the grandkids from school on Friday afternoon and after stopping at Round Table to pick up a couple of pizzas for dinner, headed to the marina. There was no wind so we motored around Point Defiance and under the Narrows Bridge. We arrived in Wollochet Bay about sunset. The outstation dock was full, so we dropped anchor for the evening. It was a calm night and we were up early to get ready to head out to Filucy Bay. Paxton and Kelsey wanted to go to the docks to walk around. This is where they took their sailing lessons. We talked with some of the folks, including Teaser 2 and Southern Belle who will be our "competition" in the Sailboat Rally/Race to Oro Bay later in the month. We raised anchor and motored to Filucy Bay with no wind. We anchored in are normal place in the northern arm. After being settled in for a while, we decided to take the dinghy to the marina and walk around a little to burn off some energy. Paxton was the driver, sorry there are no pictures, as I was holding on with both hands, (just kidding grandson.) We walked around the docks until the rain started and then it was time to head back to Helios. The weather report wasn't very promising so we decided that we would use the ebb through the Narrows on Sunday morning and head home. The kids decided that it was still summer so they went swimming in Filucy Bay. The temperature from the helm station gauges said 57 degrees, so they didn't spend a great deal of time in the water.

Kelsey tied to boat by Grandma  Kelsey swimming from ama to ama    Paxton testing the water   Paxton jumping in

The weather wasn't not very pleasant as we got ready to raise the anchor on Sunday morning. The picture below is one of my favorites. Paxton has gotten his foulweather gear on to help Grandma raise the anchor in rain and his sister is giving him a hard time. If you think of ZZ Top's "Every Girl is crazy about a sharp dressed Man" you will understand my humor.

Paxton getting ready for the foredeck

A Trip to Bremerton

We left Saturday morning on the 26th heading for Bremerton. Our friends Doug and Nyla had left on Friday and as we found out later so did our friends Joe and Cheryl. We couldn't find any wind to sail so we motored up Colvos, through Rich Passage dodging ferries and tied up to our slip. I had reserved the slip online with the Port of Bremerton and our friends had the two slips in front of us. We spent most of the afternoon visiting while changing location from Helios to Focus. We had dinner reservations at 6:00 at Anthony's and the food and friendship were great. Doug and Nyla decided to leave early with the current through Rich Passage while Helios and Focus left around 1:00 looking for some wind. We had walk through the Waterfall Park between the marina and the ferry landing.

Helios and Focus with Turner Joy in background  Fountain spurting water  Fountains in a row  Helios and Focus at the dock

Halloween Weekend

We had a free weekend and decided it was a good time to head out on Helios. We were hoping to leave Friday, but decided to spend the evening on Helios tied to the dock at the marina and leave first thing in the morning. We wanted some quiet time and went over to the outstation in Wollochet Bay and found the dock empty, with the exception of a jack-o-lantern on one of the picnic tables. We tied up to the south end and plugged in the power, turned on the heat, making everything warm and cozy. I used the hose on the dock to wash off the shells and bird droppings, so that the dock was clean for a few hours.

Looking north from the dock   Dock ramp and buildings   Restrooms and showers-left & kitchen on right

on the dock looking south   Looking down on dock from the flag pole   Helios at dock in calm water

As can be seen from the above pictures things were very calm. The temperature was in the 40's on the outside and 65 to 70 on the inside. Our only company was the various birds that swam nearby during the day. Besides cleaning off the dock, we took time to sweep out the restrooms and shower. This outstation is only 8 miles of travel from our marina and the Tacoma Yacht Club. We decided to wait until just before slack on Sunday afternoon before heading back, so we left a little after three and were tied up and walking up to the truck by 4:30.


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