Home Cruising First Leg–Neah Bay, WA to Newport, OR

First Leg–Neah Bay, WA to Newport, OR

by Asailof2hearts

These posts aren’t getting up here chronologically. But, here’s the next installment to catch you up.

August 8 – 13, 2020.

Our first leg down the coast was from Neah Bay, WA to Newport, OR. A distance of about 232 nm. We estimated at trip of about 36 hours. An overnight passage.

We’re consulting with Jamie Gifford of www.sailingtotem.com to help us plan and weather routing. There have been storms to the northwest of Washington creating lots of wind and waves. We are looking for a combination that fits, not too windy and not too high of waves with too close of frequency.

We’re using the forecasts provided by PredictWind (www.predictwind.com). Our subscription to their service also provides the tracker so you can see where we are. We can see wind, wave, wind gust forecasts for our route over several days. Forecasts are reasonably accurate for up to three days, then the accuracy starts falling off. Weather is fascinating. And there’s a lot to learn about the science, and a lot of art in interpreting what the data shows that comes with experience.

When we left Sequim Bay on August 7, we checked the Makah website for Neah Bay and learned the tribe had closed their fuel dock to outsiders due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. We needed to top off our diesel tank, so we stopped in Port Angeles as we headed west down the Strait of Juan de Fuca on our way to Neah Bay to get fuel. That also meant that while we were in Neah Bay, we wouldn’t have access to anything else, so we’d be staying onboard. We have enough water and food, so that won’t be an issue. All we needed was good weather to make the “left turn.”

We were getting antsy after staying in Neah Bay for five days in the cold and windy bay, and decided we’d leave on Wednesday, Aug 12. The forecast for Thursday was for more moderate waves and wind and was what Jamie recommended, but we thought the forecast for Wednesday would be OK.

We prepped the boat and on the Wednesday morning at 5 AM, weighed anchor and headed out of the bay and into the Strait, and turned west.

The current was flowing west combined with waves and wind from the west, so it was very bumpy. 

We have Scopalamine patches to combat seasickness, and they seem to work fine for us. Doug put his patch on the night before, Mary put her’s on a few hours before we left. Maybe that wasn’t soon enough…

Mary got sick before we got out of the Strait. Really sick. She was essentially incapacitated for the next twelve hours. The waves in the Pacific were about seven feet high, with some higher, and every eight seconds. Plus the wind was out of the southwest, so there was were wind waves against them. It was choppy and uncomfortable, but we were committed and Doug was feeling fine so we kept going.

All Wednesday it was bumpy and rough. We motored all day and night. We followed the route that PW gave us, which took us about 40 nm offshore. It was intimidating to realize we were several hours offshore, and there’s no where to pull in for a LONG ways.

We were making good speed, averaging over 7 kt, benefitting from a 0.8 kt current going our way. It was gray, cold. Visibility was good.

Late in the day on Monday, Mary felt well enough to let Doug get some sleep. We prepared one of our aft cabins into a “cocoon” so we could sleep underway. We purchased a mattress topper before leaving Tacoma, and had that on top of the existing cushions, and we had some other gear stacked on each side under the topper so there’s a nice place to lay and not roll around. Doug slept for a bit then came back to the helm.

This pattern continued through the night. Our original plan was to have 4 hour watches during the day, and 3 hour watches overnight. That didn’t happen, but Mary did enough to allow Doug to get enough sleep so we maintained and kept up.

Around midnight we passed the Columbia River and left Washington for Oregon. We continued all day and Mary began to feel better, she was fine by mid-morning. We arrived in Newport, OR and the South Beach Marina around 4:30 in the afternoon. 

We tied up, got off the boat for a walk, ate dinner, and slept.

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