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Thread: Bar Crossing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    6

    Question Bar Crossing

    Another sailor and myself are planning a circumnavigation of a local island which involves a bar crossing along the way. We will both be single handed.
    While we will only attempt the bar crossing if the conditions are right we will still be a bit nervous, so I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience crossing bars and can provide advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santa Rosa
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    602

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tymadman View Post
    Another sailor and myself are planning a circumnavigation of a local island which involves a bar crossing along the way. We will both be single handed.
    While we will only attempt the bar crossing if the conditions are right we will still be a bit nervous, so I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience crossing bars and can provide advice?
    I don't know where you are, nor what bar you plan to cross, but not all bar situations are the same. I urge you to seek local knowledge from experienced sailors in your location.

    Pat Broderick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Thanks for your reply. Yes, we are definitely talking to experienced locals and so have a good idea of the wind direction, swell height and tidal conditions we need for a safe crossing. Most of the experienced locals are power boat skippers so I was looking for any advice from sailors.
    This is the bar on a bad day...

    http://youtu.be/mf3f7PB3FsA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    107

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    Here in So Cal we have races around some offshore bars each year. They can get dicey in the wrong conditions. Do not go near whitewater and breaking waves. If approaching shallow water during the day, you can usually see whether waves are breaking or not to stand clear, go around with plenty of clearance, or pass over if it looks ok (just lumpy). If you are there at night, it's a different deal. If in doubt wait until daybreak or just go around.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    We're planning an early morning crossing and won't go near it if we can see white water.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    1,992

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    y'all had me worried. I see "bar crossing" on a sailing website and immediately worry about who died...
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    1962Buesher "Aristocrat" tenor saxophone
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Woodinville, Wa
    Posts
    18

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    I used to fish commercially (and singlehanded) for Salmon in Alaska. We had five serious bar crossings to deal with in the fishing district. I'd say as a general rule, time your crossing for slack high water, and definitely stay out of any breaking surf. White water shows you where the shallows are, calm water between the breakers is the navigable channel. Also dont do what the knucklehead in the sailboat did in your video, which is sit there broadsides to the swell with sails and lines dragging in the water. Either clear the gear or cut it loose and dump it overboard. You must maintain ready steerage to navigate through the breakers if need be. If you get in serious trouble, as an emergency measure, throw out a small kedge anchor astern with short scope and no chain. it will bring your stern around into the breakers and allow you to drag through them with the current flow to calmer water. as always, stay away from the bar when you see opposing wind and seas...

    But mostly only go across at slack water if you have any doubt about the conditions.

    Glenn Brooks
    S/V Dolce
    Last edited by glennp; 04-03-2013 at 10:57 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Thanks Glenn, some good advice there. We actually removed our anchors from the for'd anchor lockers and stowed them where they couldn't fall out at the worst possible moment and leave us anchored in the worst possible place.
    Anyhow, as it turned out the wind and swell weren't the best and although it didn't look too bad my sailing mate decided his boat wasn't prepared well enough to attempt the crossing, and as we'd had a bad night at our anchorage we thought it best to leave the crossing for another time. We had an enjoyable 3 days of solo sailing so it wasn't a total loss. We did learn a thing or two however and are currently planning the next attempt, although we haven't set a date yet.

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