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Gulf Road - Sailing Site Info

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by C36 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:43 pm

GULF ROAD (POINT ROBERTS)

Image Expert
Bump and jump with some rolling waves!
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Location


Coordinates:
48.9842438, -123.0846426

If are looking for a spot to sail with more roll to the water than the north side of the Ferry Terminal, Gulf Road might be the spot for you!

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As shown on the map above, Gulf Road is one of four windsport beaches on Point Roberts – Maple Beach (5), Lilly Point (6), Lighthouse Park (7), and Gulf Road (8). This site has only been sailed recently on a small number of days so there is much to learn about it.

Directions:
  • South on Highway 99
  • West on South Fraser Perimeter Road (BC-17)
  • South on 56 Street in Tsawwassen
  • Cross the Canada-US border
  • South on Tyee Road
  • West on Gulf Road
Parking:
On-street parking the south side of Gulf Road west of Front Street.

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Seasons/Days/Strength:

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  • This spot provides a great option for northwest wind, especially on those days when the wind is favouring the straight and not working at Acadia or the other beaches on Spanish Banks in Vancouver.
  • The wind data shown above is for Sand Heads and will over represent for Gulf Road during the summer months.
  • 9 months have 25 mph days (overstated for Gulf Road)
  • 12 months have 20 mph days (overstated for Gulf Road)
  • Spring (Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr) and fall (Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec) are fairly balanced (number of days and number of strong days)
  • December has the most days, but November shows more days over 25 mph
  • Southeast wind dominates, but its the northwest you want to catch here

Direction(s):
  • Southeast (side offshore) through northwest (side onshore), although northwest is likely a better choice.
  • Northwest is side onshore and can be fairly consistent with sunshine and clear sky
Quirks:
  • Wind can shut down pretty quickly so keep fairly close to shore.
Water
Conditions:
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Gulf Road can produce some nice organized rolling swell that sets up in lines near shore. It seems to work best on a mid-tide (~3 m) and can flatten out on a high tide (~4 m).

On winder days, the waves are generated by the rolling swell travelling down the straight. The stronger and longer the wind has been blowing in the north end of the straight, the larger the waves will be, particularly if the tide is working against the waves (or flooding).
  • Knee to waist high semi-organized waves growing to shoulder to over-head high on stronger wind days
  • Larger rolling swell farther out
  • Ramps favoured to starboard on the way out on northwest wind
  • Backside rides to port on the way in on northwest wind
Width:
Huge expanse of water running about 19 km across to Galiano Island.

Depth/Tide:
It is possible to sail at Gulf Road on any tide height and even low tides don’t pull the water that far away.
  • 1 m: To be determined.
  • 2m: To be determined.
  • 3 m: Water to the shore (nice waves)
  • 4+ m: No beach - pounding shore break

Sweet Spot(s):
  • On a NW wind the south side of the piles seem to almost act like a jetty of sorts and seem to get the waves to wrap a little on the way in creating a subtle point break, given the right conditions.
Weeds:
  • Eelgrass
What to Wear:
  • Winter: 6/5/3 full suit with hood, boots, gloves
  • Spring/fall: 5/3 full suit, hoods, boots
  • Summer: 3/3 full suit or less
Beach
Right at the west end of Gulf Road.

Rigging Area:
  • Grass on the south side of Gulf Road.
Launch:
  • Easier windsurfing launch than Lighthouse Park (less current and less shore break).
  • Looking to launch a kite? Best to head to the Ferry Terminal - no space for launching kites here and those huge piles off the beach could be troublesome.
Amenities:
  • Breakers Pub
Fees:
  • None.
Heads Up
Cautions:
  • Row of piles just off the beach
  • Steep shore and shore break on high tide
  • US border - do you have out-of-province health care coverage?
Tips:
  • If there is northwest wind in the Straight of Georgia, but it isn’t blowing at Acadia/Spanish Banks in Vancouver, consider heading south to Gulf Road
  • You can see the conditions out on the water from bluff in at Fred Gingell Park (at 265 English Bluff Road) in Tsawwassen before you take the time to cross the border
  • If the wind lightens you can always exit the water at Lighthouse Park and walk back to your vehicle
Weather
When to go:
Links:
General weather forecast for Point Roberts
Marine forecast
NOAA 7-day point forecast for Point Roberts
Ferry Terminal wind sensor
Point Roberts Marina weather sensor
Today's tide
Tomorrow's tide

Pictures and Videos

Frontal storms!
Northwest 25-30 mph on a ~3 m tide (2014 Nov 9)

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Southeast (side-off) 40+ MPH (2016 Mar 13)

Other Stuff
First Discovered By: M- can you claim this one?
Lore and Legend:

Disclaimer
Every sailor is responsible for sailing safely, including checking local conditions first hand, choosing appropriate gear and sailing within their ability.

Thanks
Thanks to Michael and DB for exploring and sharing what they know.

Updates
If you see anything that should be corrected or you have information that you think should be added, please post it to this thread and we will update the main post. Thanks.
\edit (2015 June 17) - "Eelgrass" added to the "Weeds" section.

/edit: DB's side-off wave video added (2017 Apr 7)
Last edited by C36 on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:14 am, edited 8 times in total.
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by Michael » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:21 pm

Thanks again Dave for more of your hard work!

C36 wrote:First Discovered By: M- can you claim this one?

I'm sure there were others before me. :D

Parking:
On-street parking the south side of Tyee Road west of Mill Road.


I park in the parking lot right next to the beach but last time I was there I did ask the lady at the liquor store for permission as the restaurant was closed. Usually it's totally empty anyways.
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by C36 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:37 am

OSR from Michael at 6:28 am, June 9, 2015 wrote:Play to listen.

8-) Mid 2 m tide (as a point of reference).

Michael wrote:First hour was best then the wind started coming in waves and wasn't quite filling into the beach. I think the old pilings were messing up the light wind on the south side but it was hard to stay up wind today. I think the ferry terminal would have been a better call but the waves suckered me in to staying at Gulf Rd. Also should have brought my SUP there were some nice breakers near the beach. It was challenging out there today with the sea state being large and choppy in between sets. When the wind filled in my 110 felt much too big and I was getting bounced around pretty good. Also really felt the current today which I think was creating the chop.

Big waves from all night winds, some shoulder high sets on the outside, but with the wind being up and down, either slogging or ripping, it was hard to enjoy them. Might try the terminal tomorrow.
Last edited by C36 on Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Ryan » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:59 am

I didn't read through everything but here is a ridable wave on the Southern most point of Point Roberts. I managed to get quite a few turns in on this on my RRD FSW 105 a few years ago. West Wind.

IMG_20131027_151318.jpg
Ridable Wave At Point Roberts
IMG_20131027_151318.jpg (2.68 MiB) Viewed 6087 times
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by C36 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:06 am

Ryan wrote:I didn't read through everything but there is a ridable wave on the Southern most point of Point Roberts. I managed to get quite a few turns in on this on my RRD FSW 105 a few years ago. West Wind.

Nice surfing shot Ryan. That will be highlighted in another page - "Lighthouse Park". :D ;) Stay tuned.
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