Saturday, June 30, 2012

The End of the Road

We are in Lund, BC, also known as The End of the Road.  So called because this is where highway 101 ends it's run north.  I like to think of it as the Begining of the Road for us.

I am sitting in Nancy's Bakery charging the computer and writing this blog.  Janet has gone to the store to buy a few additional provisions.  We will depart in a bit for Herriut Bay, our jumping off point for the Broughtons.  Tomorrow we will have to time our departure to make it up through the rapids which must be transited at slack.

We had a great run on our sail north out of Pender Harbor yesterday.  Winds were largely on our stern with steady winds of as much as 27 knots.  We reduced sails (reefed) to the second reef point and sailed with our main only.  Seas were a bit confused at first, but as the day progressed a gentle swell from the south, along with a current of about 2 knots, carried us North at about 6.5 knots.

We continue to check out our new stuff and work out the kinks.  New sails are fabulous, rigging is holding it's own, lazy jacks are easy to use, reef nettles keep the foot of the reefed sail under control, preventers are easy to use and do a great job of holding the boom over where it should be, all making for a great experience on the water.

We have a few photos to post, but I forgot to bring the camera up, so they will have to wait for our next wifi opportunity.

Winds were up, making for some fairly gnarly looking
seas.  Check out these white caps.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crossing the Strait of Georgia

After a quick one day stay at Montague Harbor, we pressed on to Nanaimo, transiting through Dodd Narrows at slack.  Nanaimo was a great stopover for us. We anchored behind Protection Bay and dingyed to the government dock in town. The dock has nice showers, a great grocery store within a short walk and complete boating supply store next to a Starbucks. What more could a boater want? As it turned out we needed a different set of cams for our double deck Spinlock cleat that was installed earlier this year. Paul researched the part needed and the guys at the supply store assured it would arrive by float plane the next day. They were right in their assessment of the delivery time. We picked up the package the next morning and were ready to depart.

Our sail maker Carol Hasse wanted Janet to make nettles for the reef points along the mainsail. Janet had been measuring and whipping to get these ready for install. Before pulling anchor we raised the sail and installed the nettles, deciding to remain reefed to the first set for the crossing. Winds were projected to be SE10-15 with a flood. We were starting a bit late due to the part delivery and we also wanted to make sure we were not over canvassed as winds were expected to increase. We have a new Monitor windvane which we also planned to use on the crossing. The company stressed to keep things in balance for best performance. They also said to expect some challenges the first several times of use.

We departed with steady 10-15 kts of wind, building to 20. We put in another reef before we got into the main channel. Paul set up the monitor and we set our course. From that point on we could have just set back and watched for deadheads and traffic. The monitor was fabulous. The seas were very confused, swells were 3-5 sec intervals and probably 4-6 ft. Winds remained 18-20 for approx 20nm. We made a few course corrections as we approached Welcome Passage. The monitor took everything in stride and worked perfectly. The only time Paul felt it struggled was on a close downwind. We disengaged it, placed our preventers and self steered at that point, but otherwise, it performed flawlessly.

The sail plan was to spend the night at Smuggler Cove. We were not tired, so opted to press on to Pender. Seas had settled to near flat and winds wee 10kts or less. We arrived at Pender tired but very happy with the Monitor Windvane. Janet was very happy with the nettles and how they controlled the excess canvas while reefed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


In the world of sailing, there are those who have and those who will.  We now fall in to the category of those who have.

It was a beautiful day in Ganges.  The sun was out and after a very leisurely morning, we made our way over to the farmers market.  We of course purchased some of the world famous Salt Spring Island cheese, as well as a few greens and other misc items.  Following our first shower (since Port Townsend) at the Government Marina, we stopped by BC Liquors to buy the first of what will likely be many of the very expensive Canadian beers ($13.25 a six pack), made a run by the grocery store for a few more items and then stopped at the Tree House Café for an afternoon latte and to update our blog using their wifi.

About the time we were finishing up, some very ominous clouds appeared to the south west and the wind started to pickup a bit.  Rain was on the way.  Janet insisted that we head back to the boat before things started to get too wet and it was a good thing we did.  About the time we arrived, the wind really started to crank.  It crept up over a period of about 20 minutes or so from nearly zero to a steady 35 knots plus.

Concerned about the possibility of dragging our anchor we made preparations to start the engine should it become necessary.  We opened the engine raw water through hull, turned on the engine switch, put the key in the ignition, secured the dingy and turned on all of our instruments and then just waited in the cockpit and watched.  The anchorage was tight and there was no room to let out more scope. Other boaters were doing the same.  The wind held steady at about 35 knots and would occasionally gust to 40 or higher.  And then, without notice, the anchor broke loose and we were moving backwards toward a red sailboat anchored to our stern and the shoreline not too far beyond that.

Without hesitation, Paul started the motor and we powered into the wind.  Janet went forward and began pulling the anchor.  We were thankful that we had installed an electric windlass.  Once the anchor was up we motored out of the anchorage to catch our breath and analyze our options.  It was all we could do to control the boat in the high winds.  We made one unsuccessful attempt to get the anchor back down, but as we needed to put out much more scope than previous, we found that there just wasn’t enough room in the anchorage.  We finally motored out, found a nice wide spot, dropped the anchor and got a good set.  At that point, we kept the motor running just in case and again just waited and watched.  Once we were confident that we had a good set and weren’t going to drag, we killed the engine.  An hour and a half had gone by since we first dragged and the wind was still howling.

Janet fixed dinner, while Paul kept an eye on things in the cockpit.  We made plans to do anchor watches for the evening and night if things didn’t settled down.   But, about as quickly as it all started, the strong winds began to diminish and by about 10 PM it had dropped to nearly zero.  We did not have to do anchor watches after all, but both of us were a bit on edge, resulting in a somewhat restless night of sleep.

The following morning the seas were like glass and we made ready for our departure to Montague Harbor on Galiano Island.  I am writing this blog entry sitting in the cockpit with bright sunny skies and warm temperatures. Oh yes, we are once again at anchor with what seems to be a secure set with 4:1 scope.

The fury crew vying for the coveted spot on top
 of the warm engine.  In the end, Tia re-claimed her rightful spot.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Crossing the Strait, Indian Cove, Echo Echo Bay

We planned our crossing to take advantage of current. The crossing was a not any problem as seas were flat, skies clear and no heavy traffic in the shipping lanes. We entered the San Juan Island group thru Cattle  Passage and anchored in Indian Bay for the night. We passed a beautiful Dana enroute and I thought of Laurie and Pete. Wouldn’t it be cool if they were taking their own Dana on an adventure this summer.

Anchoring with the new windlass was easy. We had a great night on the hook and tried out the BBQ with some Ahi steaks. We deployed the kayaks and I got a short lesson on the finer points of boarding my kayak from the boat. It was no problem.

Departure in the morning was thru Presidents passage to Sucia Island. The last time we were at Sucia it rained continuously and the hiking was more like mud wallowing. Last night we had a great hike, discovering much more of what Sucia has to offer. The best part was no rain! The dingy was deployed and the outboard works like a Yamaha should. We were able to get a good anchor set and woke this morning to rolling seas and windy conditions. I’m glad we had a secure hook!

In about 40 minutes we will depart for Ganges on Saltspring Island.

Echo Bay on Sucia Island.  Talos IV is in the upper

It was a dry hike this year.

You can't make a passage without
cinnamon buns.  Umm-mm good!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Port Townsend and the Sails

Our stop in Port Townsend was primarily to meet up with Carol Hasse from Port Townsend Sails.  Her crew made all of our new sails and she felt that a few minor tweaks to the battens on the main needed to be made.  Janet also got a quick lesson on sail repair and was able to loosen the lower car on the main sail track to take a small wrinkle out of the sail.  She made the adjustment, sewing it like a professional.  We had hoped to have a relaxing day, but by the time all of the sail adjustments were made, the day was gone.  Our two night stay just flew by.

Port Townsend with the Olympic Mountains
in the back ground.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good Bye Seattle

The evening before departure was filled with well wishers and last minute preparation. It is true that the list can keep growing if you don’t finally say “ENOUGH”. We had a pleasant visit with Pete and Laurie Behmer who are in the process of purchasing a PSC Dana, John and his wife Sue from s/v Valkyrie and Chuck from the m/v Lupine. All had stories and questions along with well wishes.

So, after what seemed like months of preparation, Janet and I, along with our two furry crew members, Tia and Louie, have left Seattle on the start of our sailing adventure this morning.  Friends Mark and Emma came down to see us off.  It was good to see them and the well wishes for a safe voyage were much appreciated.  Terry and Luke from Yacht Fitters were there as well.

We made our way down the ship canal, lifting the two bridges and passing through the lock.  Because of maintenance on the small lock we had to use the larger lock, which took a good two hours to transition.  And as a final farewell, we motored through Shilshole Marina to see if friends John and Sue on s/v Valkyrie were on board so that we could give them a wave good bye, but their was no one out and about, so we headed out into the Sound and north to Port Townsend.

As things seem to always be with sailing in the Pacific Northwest, winds and current were on our bow the entire way to Port Townsend, so we were not able to sail and ended up motoring the entire way.  It was a cool day, but dry.  We pulled into Port Hudson at Port Townsend at about 7 PM after a great day on the water.  It was a perfect start to the trip.

Mark and Emma with well wishes and a fond farewell.
Here we are ready to cast off the dock lines.
Good Bye Seattle as we make the turn from the marina down
the ship canal for the Puget Sound and
points beyond.
Passing under the Fremont Bridge in
the Center of the Universe.
Janet at the helm with her eyes closed as we
pass under the Ballard Bridge.
The locks were the last barrier to our passage out
of the ship canal.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Are we ever going to leave the dock?

I know...a lot of sailors talk of leaving yet never cast off the lines. We are in the final stages of prep. I wanted a shelf in the hanging locker and Paul was encouraged to make it happen and it looks great! It will allow for more efficient stowage of clothing. Cindy came by and did some modifications of our main sail canvas cover to accommodate the new main sail. We also had her reinforce some areas on our dodger. She does really great work. We installed some more mini pad eyes in the salon for hammocks ( these we use for misc things that we don't want tossing around under way. Hammocks are also good for securing the wayward cabbages. We learned about this risk during our San Diego to Cabo passage aboard the sailing vessel Sabatical. Paul and I reefed down the main yesterday to re evaluate the line placements and do some minor adjustments. I have been busy these last few weekends cleaning the inside of all the dusty debris that seems to accumulate when you do boat projects. I am so glad to have a vacuum cleaner on board. We ordered enough vacuum bags to keep a clean boat for the trip.  The bed is made up, clean linens are aboard and the galley is ready to be provisioned. I had my last day at work on June 1 so now I am available to help 24/7. We will make a quick trip to visit family this week. The departure date is planned for June 18. I start thinking about those places and things I look forward to experiencing again. My top list for the next 30 days: Salt Spring Island music, coffee and Salt Spring Island Cheese, Atravida Bakery Boat at Montegue, and meeting up with my brother Bill and wife Claudia on sailing vessel Sabatical. Stay tuned!