There is no doubt that the Willapa Bay can be a beast. With a max ebb/flood at the mouth that is more than twice as fast as San Francisco Bay there is a lot of water that moves through it. In fact, it is estimated that more than 70% of the water in the bay leaves with every tide. That’s one of the major reasons that oysters grow so well here.
The water is cold. In the winter it often drops below 50F and in the summer it rarely gets above 66F.
This can be a very dangerous place. We often get 20+ knot breezes that coupled with a fast tidal flow make this a challenging place to sail if you are not careful.
It can also be a spectacular place to sail with flat water, constant breeze and amazing scenery. Even better, we have found several lovely places to sail and race on the bay that are all around the Port of Peninsula and have even tidal current left to right on the courses.
Dinghy W/L Course
For small dinghies we have a .3mi course that is right outside the breakwater of the port and largely protected from the any rapid tidal change.
Large Dinghy and Keelboat Course
For larger dinghies and small keel boats we have a 1 mile W/L course that is quite even across the course for current, meaning that there is little tactical advantage, right or left. Thus, while the current may run up to 2 knots, it does not create a San Francisco like “follow the leader” scenario leaving multiple tactical options to each boat.