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

2010 Local Sailing Trips

South Puget Sound

South Puget Sound Chart

January 23rd and 24th

We watched our Paxton's soccer game Saturday morning and then stopped by the house to pick up some food for dinner and breakfast. We decided with the gray ceiling and imminent rain a short trip was probably in order. We untied from the slip and headed out of the marina to Gig Harbor. It is only a three mile trip and we don't have to worry about the currents. We had the anchor down and were settled in by 1:30 in the afternoon. The solar panels were not able to keep up with our electrical usage, with the refrigerator, freezer, heater and lights, since the cloud cover was pretty thick. I fired up the generator and ran it for about an hour to top off the house battery bank for the evening. We watched a couple of episodes of NCIS and then headed to bed. I got up around seven and turned the heater on and then went back to bed while everything warmed up. We had a nice quiet day and headed home around 2:30 and were back at the house before four. The battery charger didn't start when shore power was plugged in and later in the week after running various checks and talking with the Techs at Magnum Energy it was decided that the AC circuit panel needed to be replaced. The advantage is that the company is located in Everett, WA which is about 60 miles north of us. I'll post an update when reinstalled. I did notice on the trip back that we have over 2,000 miles on the hull.

I took the inverter/charger to the company at ten in the morning and was on the road back home by two in the afternoon. When I installed the unit, everything worked great.

February 20th and 21st

We left the dock at 7:30 Saturday morning and caught the tail end of the flood through the Narrows as we headed south to Oro Bay on Anderson Island. There were only three other TYC members tied up, so there was plenty of room for us.  We decided that there would be no projects and this would be a quiet restful weekend. We did take a walk for a little over a mile. The weather was great, lots of sunshine with no wind. The evenings meal was a taco salad with some cookies for dessert later. There was a little rain during the night, but we were warm and comfortable with the A/C units running on reverse cycle and keeping the temp in the low 60's overnight and the humidity between 20 and 30 percent. We talked with some of the of members and enjoyed the morning. The current was ebbing through the Narrows until late in the afternoon and we left around two to get the lift. We didn't have any wind and were tied up back in our slip by 4:00.

March 27th and 28th

We decided to leave later Saturday morning for the outstation at Wollochet Bay, since slack in the Narrows was around 10:30. We got down to Helios around 8:30 and got all the gear out to wash away a winter's worth of dirt, spring pollen and some green mold in shady corners. We were done a little over 2 hours later and were underway by 11:30. I noticed just after we cleared the marina and ferry dock that the knotmeter was not working. I suspect that sitting around for month has allowed some marine growth to stop the paddle wheel from moving. There was no wind so the sail covers remained on and with the current we were in double digits going under the Narrows Bridges. There wasn't a great deal of wildlife to see, although the Coast Guard put out a warning that a large grey whale was headed north by the Fauntleroy end of Vashon Island. We arrived at the Wollochet docks and there was only one other boat, Scott Free, a 40' Bluewater powerboat. JR gave Linda a hand with the lines and we were tied up in short order. The weather is great, in the mid 60's, no wind. We had one other club member come with their 49' Meridian and moor on the other end. We spent a quiet afternoon and evening. We watched a movie, "Long Kiss Goodnight", and then headed off to bed to read a little before falling asleep. I awoke to the sound of rain hitting the deck at 5 this morning. We slept in, rising around 8, but I had gotten up earlier to turn the heat on so it was warm and cozy. We decided to probably head back around 4 as the flood will be on the decline rather than leave so early in the day. I had removed the knotmeter thru hull yesterday to clean and left the plug in over night. Linda held the light while I replaced the sensor thru hull. The folks at Manta were thoughtful enough to put a flap on the outside of the hull so when the knotmeter or depth sounder thru hulls are removed the water still comes thru, but greatly reduced in volume. We had the folks on the 49' powerboat leave and shortly thereafter two more powerboats arrived, so that the outside is full. The people coming in said it is a little blustery under the Narrows Bridges, with gusts up to 30 knots going against a 3 to 4 knot flood, creating some short steep waves. We think we will be much happier leaving around 4 or 5. We got a break in the rain a little before 5 and decided to untie and go. We got out into the channel south of the bridges and found wind in the 12 to 15 knot range and rain. We decided to just stay as dry as we could and motored all the way back to Breakwater and it took about an hour and 15 minutes.

The high tide line  Helios with Scott Free moored ahead  Helios and Scott Free at the dock  Dinghy dock forJr. sailing program

The pictures, (click to see larger version), above show the outstation a couple hours after low tide. We had a 13+ foot change from high to low. You can see the high tide mark on the plants, just like they got a haircut. The middle two show Helios and Scott Free at the dock, while the last one shows the dinghy dock for the junior sailing program that TYC runs during the summer months.

April 19th - 27th

On Monday afternoon my friend Dave and I took Helios out of the marina and headed up Colvos Passage towards Seattle. We were taking Helios to Delta Marine for a haul out. It had been two years since she had been splashed in the water in Sarasota, Florida. This would also be the opportunity to change the zincs and drain the ATF from the saildrives and replace. The haul out is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 7:30 and there are four bridges that need to be opened so we can make our way up four miles of the Duwamish River. The two bridges for north and south traffic for 1st Avenue are restricted 6 to 9 in the morning and 3:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon and remained closed. We planned on going through after six and tying up to an 85 foot power catamaran at the Delta Marine docks. Everything went as planned and we were secure and eating dinner at 7:30.

The haul out was the most professional I've been involved with over the years. The width of the catamaran requires the large lift, which they had just used to put a 177' motor yacht in water that they had just finished building. They had four guys, for the four corner lines from Helios, one guy with the remote controls for the lift, one guy on Helios acting as a pilot, one in a skiff to pick us off the boat when the straps were tight and a diver in the water to make sure the straps didn't damage the saildrives. The process went very smooth and Helios had very few barnacles and mainly just some slime that came off with the power wash.

Dave's wife Lyne picked us up and brought us back to Tacoma. I made arrangements to pick Helios on Tuesday April 27th and my friend Doug volunteered as crew. Linda drove us up to Delta Marine and dropped us off around 2 in the afternoon. They wanted to put Helios in the water at 3:30 because of tidal considerations, so there would be enough water under the hull. We rafted up to the same power catamaran and waited until quarter to six to start our down river run to Elliott Bay and Seattle. We were clear of the last bridge and on our way by 7:00 PM since we had to wait for a railroad bridge to open after the freight train. We were tied up to the slip at Breakwater by 10:30.

May 7th-9th

Linda got home from work and I had everything ready to go. She changed into sailing clothes and we were off to Oro Bay on Anderson Island and the TYC outstation. Once again the weather was beautiful, which means there wasn't enough wind to put the sails up. We were tied up at the dock with three other club members by 8:00 PM. Saturday we spent doing some small clean up jobs, to get Helios in perfect condition. Helios had got her annual wax job during the week and looked brand new. We had some wind come in from the south in the late afternoon on Saturday which pinned us up against the dock, but by sunset everything was back to flat and calm. Sunday was a day to catch up on reading some sailing magazines. We untied and headed north towards the Narrows around 2:00 PM, with slack scheduled at 4:00 PM. There was a little local wind at 3 knots in Oro Bay, but when we got out on the south sound once again it was calm. We headed over to the east and motored by the Chambers Bay Golf Course, which will host the U.S. Open in four or five years. I imagine it will be quite treat for boaters, as they can see a lot of the course from the water. We were tied up at our slip around 5:00 PM and home and unpacked by 5:30.

May 28th-31st

We left Friday evening and motored over to Gig Harbor and Arabella's Marina. We were supposed to meet up with our friends Joe and Cheryl and their 44' Island Packet, Focus. They were not there and we found out that they were out of town on business and didn't get back until Saturday evening, and made a quick decision the rainy weather didn't warrant untying the mooring lines. It was a wet weekend, although, we had breaks in the weather when we would get off the boat to walk around town or the docks. It was a very relaxing weekend and I was able to get through my backlog of sailing magazines and Linda was using her kindle. We got some small projects, primarily cleaning, jobs done. We lined the bottom of the storage boxes under the swing seat, with the square soft plastic connectable units from West Marine. It will keep the items 3/4" from the bottom of the boxes. We left the marina around noon on Monday, when it looked like we were getting a weather window and we were tied up and back home by 2 PM, only to find out that the power was out in all of North Tacoma and not just the marina. The power came back on a couple hours later. The month of June will be spent getting ready for the summer trip to Princess Louisa Inlet and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

June 11th-13th

This was the weekend of the Low Tide. We followed the flood current through the Narrows Friday afternoon and saw speed over ground reach 12.5 knots. There was a whole 2 knots of wind, so we relied on motive power to arrive before the sun went down. There was room on the outer dock and some fellow club members helped Linda with the lines as we tied up. The low tides for the weekend would be a -3.3 feet, with the high tides being 14.5 feet, for a total change of almost 18 feet. It was the best weekend weather that we have had this year, with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70's. Our friends Paul and Kristi Larson-Grand Larsony- were right across the dock with Don Foss-Shirl Ann-, Ken and Teresa Wright-Teresa Maria Too- and Paul & Leslie Brantner-Paliebra on the outer dock, also. We decided Saturday morning that we would have a potluck dinner with everyone bringing something. Paul Branter and served oysters on Friday evening and had clams for Saturday, all being gathered from Oro Bay. Everyone had more food than we needed and plenty of good discussions. Linda and I did some small projects while we were at the docks, which included raising the main sail to let it dry out from the rain during the past week, along with the code zero, and I mounted the AIS antenna mount on arch.

Oro Bay entrance at low tide  Rock between entrance and inner dock  Dock at a minus tide  Helios at end of outer dock with Grand Larsony

The pictures above show Oro Bay at a minus 3+ feet tide. It makes it very clear why you need to go between the green and red markers when entering the bay. At the lowest tide the inner docks were resting the mud. The picture looking from the docks up the ramp shows the amount of water that will be coming to raise the level to cover the lower rocks on shore. The other item was the lone rock between the green marker and the inner docks, something to keep in mind when the tide is at zero or a little above and the rock could reach propellers. We decided to wait until around six Sunday afternoon before heading back through the Narrows. There was enough wind to sail but not enough time, since slack wasn't until 8:34 PM, and we were tied up and on our way home by then.

August 13th - 22nd

Southern Puget Sound

The chart shown above has the area in which we traveled during our week with the grandkids. I have put a ruler, blue line 14 miles long, to give some perspective. You will notice the depths are shown. I have placed waypoints where we anchored or docked. You can click on chart for larger version, it will take a few seconds to load

Linda, Kelsey and I Left Breakwater Marina Friday afternoon and with no wind and flood current through the Narrows. We were going 12 to 13 knots as we passed under the Narrows Bridges. We were headed for the TYC outstation in Oro Bay on Anderson Island. We were surprised that there were only five other boats tied up when we arrived. We tied up and checked the tides and would only have 1 foot under the keels Saturday morning, but we would be gone Sunday late morning when the tide would have put us in the mud. We walked to the docks and talked with the other Club members. Saturday after breakfast Kelsey was excited to put our new inflatable kayak through its paces, as shown in the first three pictures below.

Kelsey kayak at Oro Bay docks   Kelsey Oro Bay docks   Kelsey kayak on sandspit Oro Bay   Paxton & Kelsey headed back to Helios

Kelsey and Linda took the kayak to explore the shoreline and after they had been gone and out of sight for what seemed to me a long time, I fired up the dinghy to check on them. They didn't need my help. We were up and moving before 10:00 A.M. on Sunday  to avoid the low tide and motored over to Tolmie Marine Park, which is west of the Nisqually Delta. We tied up to a mooring buoy and got the dinghy in the water. We got the telephone call that Crystal and Paxton were at the land side of the park. Kelsey and I headed to shore to pick up Paxton. After everyone was aboard and the dinghy raised and stowed for traveling, we headed for McMicken Island Marine Park. We were lucky as we approached, as a small sailboat was leaving which had been on one of the four mooring buoys, we tied up to the vacated buoy.  There were about ten boats anchored, in addition, to the four using the mooring buoys. I sent Kelsey and Paxton in the kayak in $10 to pay for our buoy for the night. The last picture on the right above, shows them returning from their task.

We have always enjoyed being at McMicken. It is a well projected mooring or anchorage and has very little current for kayaking or swimming. It was also the first time that Paxton got to be in charge of the dinghy. If he could start the motor without help and exercise caution around other moored or anchored boats it was OK to solo. The pictures below so the grandkids cooling off and then Paxton taking Kelsey and me around the island on a tour, with us playing at being worried about the landing on Helios and yes I was wearing an inflatable vest .

P & K cooling off at McMicken  P & K cooling off #2  Paxton dinghy driving  P & K traveling

We left McMicken to sail to Longbranch and Filucy Bay. There was some wind so up went the sails, which caused the wind to disappear. Linda called Erik Willis to see if he or the family might be at their cabin on Anderson Island and found out that Erik was there, along with his Uncle, Aunt and Cousins and their good friends. We motored over and anchored in front of the cabin and shortly thereafter Helios became a huge "Fun Island". They had a ski boat with an inflatable towing toy that would hold three at a time. We had kids jumping off into the water, sunbathing on the tramps, while the adults hunted for shade in the cockpit. It was a great afternoon and as evening approached we raised anchor and motored over to Filucy Bay to drop anchor for the night.

Erik and Bruce on the foredeck  Erik's cousins on the tramp  Kelsey and the girls  Paxton jumping onto the boogie board

We left Filucy Bay and were headed towards Jarrell's Cove and another State Marine Park and we decided to stop by Zittel's Marina to top off the fuel tanks. While we were there we also saw the seal sunning itself on a log raft anchored in the marina. The Marine Park at Jarrell's Cove has both camp sites and mooring buoys, along with a dock that does not have any power or water. We decided to use a mooring buoy and when we went in to pay for the evening, the grandkids did a little diving off the handrails of the walkway down to the dock. It was a little crowded for them with a group of kids from one of the Seattle YMCAs camping there, so we were back to Helios and diving off her. Paxton and Kelsey took the kayak on an exploration of the inlets in the cove and returned to give a tour to Linda and me. We had a good evening aboard with dinner and a couple of episodes of "Bones" to go along with cookies before it was time to tuck it in for the night. We had a late start, but were glad we telephoned ahead to reserve a spot at the dock at Fair Harbor Marina. We were tied up and walking up to the store by 1:00 in the afternoon. Paxton and I took the dinghy over to the gas dock to top off the tank in the dinghy. The next day it was off to Olympia and the Swantown Marina outstation. There was only one other boat there when we arrived, Dreamtime with Charlie and Diane Long. Paxton and Kelsey found exploring the marina with the kayak was fun. We took a long dinghy trip over to the Olympia Yacht Club and tied the dinghy up at the reciprocal dock and walked the one block to the market to do some shopping. We were loosing Kelsey tomorrow morning as her mom was bringing Paxton's soccer teammate, Austin, to the boat for the weekend.

seal on the log raft  Dinghy tour Fair Harbor  Paxton and Kelsey exploring Jarrell Cove  Kayaking Swantown Marina Olympia

We left later in the morning after the Kelsey - Austin switch and headed to Oro Bay on Anderson Island and the TYC outstation. A nice summer day in August did not provide any wind to sail, so it was a fairly quick trip under motor power. There was plenty of room at the dock and we had made contact with our friends, Joe & Cheryl Guizzetti, on Focused. They were headed this way and would anchor. The boys were in the dinghy and exploring the whole bay and then it was time to get out the nets and see what could be caught. On Saturday we left Oro Bay and headed to Filucy Bay late in the afternoon along with Joe and Cheryl. The boys were looking for something to do and the captain suggested a trip up the mast. They thought it was a wonderful idea and between the two of them I got the sail track for the mainsail cleaned and dry lubed. We headed out around noon on Sunday for the 3 hour trip back to Breakwater and the end of our South Sound cruise. It was nine days with plenty of sunshine, but not enough wind.

Boys with kelp crabs at Oro Bay  Paxton washing the mainsail track  Austin coming down and lubing the mainsail track  Boys jumping in Filucy Bay



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