When planning a holiday sailing to Vancouver Island and along the coastline of Beautiful British Columbia, it is important to know what level of sailing experience and certification is required as it can be challenging sailing depending on what time of year you visit. Sailing in Vancouver is like no other with a varied year-round climate offering brilliant outdoor pursuits.
The sailing in Vancouver ranges across a wide area, from the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, the San Juan Islands and the Sunshine Coast, an area that stretches along the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound, with many communities to see and superb scenery to enjoy.
Sailing in Vancouver the primary sailing season is from May through to September, however, a great mix of sailing conditions prevails throughout the year, so if you prefer to enjoy some more challenging conditions or varied sailing then you can sail throughout the year.
High Season conditions
From April to May, you can expect changeable weather. It is normal to expect strong winds in these spring months, but the weather is warming up and it is a beautiful time of year, with everything coming into bloom. It is also a fabulous time of year for wildlife viewing around Vancouver Island, you may catch sight of Pacific Grey Whales as they migrate to Alaska or some grizzly and black bears who are coming out of their hibernation to find food on the coastal shores. The Summer months between June to September, you can expect around 8-12 knots of thermally generated winds and relatively dry conditions. Summer is a great time of year for sailing in Vancouver if you are a confident sailor, but have slightly less confidence in varied sailing conditions, as July and August offer light winds and typically lovely weather, so perfect for enjoying the stunning national and provincial parks in the area.
Low Season conditions
October is a popular time for sailing in Vancouver before the colder winter weather arrives, but it can be more challenging than the Summer months, so you will need to be a very competent and confident sailor, able to sail in more challenging conditions. It is also a great time to view the spawning salmon and enjoy the beautiful sight of fall arriving to the islands. From November to early April, sailing conditions are challenging, chilly with strong winds, so you will need to be a highly proficient sailor for these conditions.
If you are sailing in Vancouver, then you will be encountering different moorings and anchorages, so you will need to be very competent in mooring up as there are plenty of overnight moorings available for visiting yachtsmen, but it is mainly anchorages, so you will need to be proficient and confident in anchoring in many different bays and coastal areas.
There are significant tidal ranges when you are sailing in Vancouver, so it is very useful to understand the tidal ranges in relation to navigation when sailing this cruising area. The tidal range is between minus 2ft to +18ft with the majority of the anchorages having plenty of water at all states of the tide. Generally, the seas throughout the cruising area are pretty sheltered and calm, so you won’t necessarily be encountering big waves.
Sailing in Vancouver is really a superb experience, and perfect for a competent and confident sailor.