Friday, December 6, 2013

Monday, 21October2013: Victoria to Skyline

Weather:  Initially sunny and warm, then thick fog.  Winds:  Initially, N10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Uneventful departure out of Victoria, motoring out of the harbor and setting main and screacher just before the turn south out of the harbor.  Sailed eastbound in sunshine at 7.5kts.  Fog was visible coming over the hills to the north.  Varied the route some and went north of Trial Island and was rewarded with a couple Steller sea lions in McNiell Bay!

Winds picked up and soon we were seeing 17kts apparent, way too much for the screacher.  But before I could furl it, the halyard block at the top of the mast fractured, ending the screacher's use for the day.  Dropped the screacher and unfurled the genoa.  Wind started to decrease and died at Discovery Island.  Fog with 1/4mi visibility descended.

Not good.  Heard what sounded like a large vessel fog horn in the distance to our 2 o'clock.  About 10 minutes later, heard the same horn at 11 o'clock.  Fine!  The vessel has made the turn into Haro and was northbound.  I called Victoria Traffic, gave them our location and intention and they responded back there was no reporting traffic to worry about.  Great!  A few minutes later, the vessel's wake showed up from the south.  About 10min later, the vessel's northbound wake appeared from the east:  Just as it should.

It is a long motor across the Haro Strait in 1/4mi visibility.  At one point, it increased to about 3/4mi to the south, but about an 1/8mi to the north.  South of San Juan Island, visibility increased to 3mi and remained so until approaching Rosario Strait where it descended to 1/4mi again.

Called Seattle Traffic with location and intent and receiving a report of a vessel northbound at Allen Island.  Not a factor!  So we pushed.  Visibility continued to decrease and was less than 200yds as we passed between Williamson Rocks and Allen Island.  Never did see Williamson Rocks.  Took Allen Island close to port and continued into Burrows Bay.  Flat seas, a few birds appearing out of the fog and essentially no visibility.  Really glad for a reliable engine, autohelm and GPS!  Otto was doing a better job keeping us on course than I was so I let it take the helm.  About 1/2mi outside our marina entrance, the fog parted and we had clear visibility in.  Uneventful mooring!

One interesting bit about being in Victoria this time was there was a 45ft monohull moored outside of us.  Turns out it belonged to a Dutch cruising family.  They had voyaged from the Netherlands, across the Atlantic into the Caribbean.  Eventually they did the Panama Canal and into the South Pacific.  From there, they went to Hawaii, then Alaska and had made their way this far south.  They had no further intentions except to stay in the area for the winter.  Nice to chat with them!

Lesson Learned:  Use the Traffic Control Services!

20-21October, 2013: Victoria, BC

Weather:  Fog nightly, sunny and warm daily.  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  N/A

Previous post:  Victoria

Link above provided because this visit was similar to the last:  Great!  Did get to Bard and Banker Scottish Pub along with Irish Times Pub.  Though sister pubs, they are distinctly different.  I liked the Scottish pub better, larger selection of beer and liked the food better.

Also took a nice long walk to Craigdarroch Castle and walked the grounds.  The estate now "showcases the historic home in Victoria of the wealthy Dunsmuir family as well as their contribution to the development of Vancouver Island."  We did not go in as we felt the entrance fee was too high.  Also, one of the reasons for going here was I'd thought this was the home of the TV's Arrow, Oliver Queen.  Turns out, it is Hatley Castle, the other castle in Victoria.

Once again, stayed at the Causeway Floats, right down front!  Unlike the last trip, we did not find any Christmas presents.

Pics:


 Craigdarroch Castle
View of the Empress Hotel from Strider
View of the Empress Hotel from Strider
Empress Hotel from Government Street
 View of Parliament from Strider

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunday, 20October2013: Friday Harbor to Victoria, BC.

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.


Hopped southbound into the outgoing tide, motoring to Cattle Pass as the light north-ish winds could not push us fast enough.  Raised the main though.  Turned west to cross the Haro and picked up some winds, making 6.5kts under the main and screacher.  These conditions continued through most of the rest of the trip, slacking off south off Discovery Island but picking back up.  Motored on in after rounding the south side of Trial Island.

Pics courtesy of S/V Sarita:

 Strider looking good at the marina exit.

 Kelly happy at the helm!

Heading out!

Currents switched as we crossed the Haro and became strong against us at Trial Island.  Stayed in the shadow of Trial and hugged the Vancouver Island shore to mitigate the currents.  Checked into Canada via CANPASS as we entered Victoria Harbor.  Moored at Causeway Floats, backing all the way into the head of the dock.

One of the reasons I wanted to go through Cattle Pass was for the Steller Sea Lions.  As previously posted, I'd seen them, but Kelly hadn't.  I hoped it was not too early.  I understand it is the males who come into our area during the winter and by their size, I'd say so!  Looking ahead, I could see them on Whale Rocks and called Kelly up as we passed.  Several were in the water around us.  Once passed, we motored back for a closer look, shut down the engine and drifted with the current and light wind in the sails.  Being within 100yds of the brutes on the island, it was easy to hear them.  Several passed close by, within 100ft.  Then, one astern got curious and followed us for about 10min, diving down under the boat, resurfacing astern, following along and repeating the process.  Water was so clear, we could see him with no trouble.  Kelly was totally enthralled!  The light winds provided just enough push for steerage and with the silent motion, we could hear him breathing!  Very cool experience!

Saturday, 19October2013: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and mild:  Fog.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Going to Victoria, BC on this trip.  Delayed departure due to fog.

Usual route to Friday Harbor;  Thatcher Pass to Upright Channel across San Juan Channel into FH.  Mostly motor though did pick up a little wind in Upright Channel.  Did not raise the main, only used the genoa.

Had a polite conversation with Washington State Ferry Elwha regarding rules of the road, which I feel Elwha failed to observe during a right to left crossing (Strider on the right), trying to get out of their presumed way in the center of the channel.  Instead, Elwha hardened their turn to hug the shoreline, forcing a path between Strider and the shore.  Crew aboard cited a notice to mariners regarding a security zone for passenger vessels.  The crux I got from the conversation is Elwha does not feel any responsibility for maintaining their own security zone and can therefore, violate the rules of the road.

Visited Saritas while there and enjoyed cottage pie for dinner1  Much to their delight, delivered some pears and kiwi from the garden!

Saturday, 21September2013: Friday Harbor to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  Light and variable, 15kts at East Sound.  Seas:  Calm

Intended to leave on Friday, but was having too good a time and stayed one more day.  Departed around 1100.  Saritas came by to see us off.  Mostly a motor.  Sailed at 5kts in light winds under main and screacher across San Juan Channel.  Motored.  Picked a bit of wind on the south side of Shaw Island and managed to sail a bit more.  Motored.  At the west end of East Sound, winds picked up and we made 8-10kts all the way to Peavine Pass.  Slowed to 5kts against the current in Peavine.  Mid-pass, motored as the winds became obstructed by Obstruction Island.  Mostly motored the rest of the way home, picking up a bit of wind every now and then.

Thursday, 19September2013: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  SW 10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Sailed when we could and motored when we had to.  Crossed Rosario under main and genoa at 6kts.  Motored through Thatcher Pass to Upright Channel.  Beat at 7.5kts in Upright Channel and 5kts across San Juan Channel and into Friday Harbor.

A pleasant day sailing!  Came to Friday Harbor to visit our newly former dock neighbors Richard, Jude and Katya aboard Sarita.  They had moved the previous day to Friday Harbor to enroll Katya in school.

Enjoyed the two days here, dinners aboard Sarita, Katya playing with the dogs, strolling around Friday Harbor, buying cheese at the new San Juan Island Cheese Shop, getting abandoned by Kelly and Jude while on the walk about....

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, 11September2013: Butchart Cove to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Effortless departure at 0800.  Motored north out the Saanich and west out Satellite Channel.  Trying to maximize the current push, headed SE along the north shore of Sidney Spit/Sidney Island allowing us to check out the anchorage.

Crossed the Haro and had to yield to a large, northbound commercial vessel in vicinity of Stewart Island.  Said vessel had the right of way, but man, I don't understand why they want to come so close to the shore.

Taking advantage of the east bound current, motored along the south shore of Steward Island and through the channel north of the Cactus Islands.  Angled SE across San Juan Channel into North Pass, then Pole Pass, Harney Channel and out Thatcher Pass.  Arrived our marina around 1400.  Filled fuel and pumped the holding tank.

Lesson Learned:  RPM vs Speed vs Fuel Consumption.
2100 RPM  5kts     1/3 gal/hr
3000 RPM  6.5kts  1/2 gal/hr

10-11September: Butchart Gardens

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Butchart Gardens:  Fantastic!

Another point of view:  Feb 2013 issue of 48 Degrees North article starting page 28.

Boating to Butchart and using the back door via the Cove is definitely the way to see these gardens!  Time is yours.  The garden closes at 2200 with the last entry allowed at 2100 allowing for a lot of strolling after the day crowds have departed.

After a very short dinghy row from the boat to the dinghy dock, we checked in at the ticket booth, registering our arrival and purchasing our tickets in.  We visited the Gardens twice, once during the afternoon and once again after dinner aboard Strider.  The afternoon visit was nice, not too crowded at all.  During this afternoon visit, we saw most of displays.

We went back to the boat for dinner.  Since this was our new experience anniversary trip, I grilled steaks and we toasted with prosecco!

About sunset, we headed back into the garden, strolling through as night descended and the garden lighting magic revealed itself.  I really cannot describe it.  In the north, darkness descends slowly, enabling slow strolling and allowing the leisure to see everything under the varying light.  The Gardens were tastefully lit and getting around was easy.  Still, it was September and deep darkness doesn't arrive until late.  By about 2100, almost dark, we were ready to depart and slowly made our way through the Italian Garden into the Japanese Garden.  The descending path to the dinghy dock was familiar, but new in this light.  The trees were dimly lit from below.  The bamboo water feature kept us oriented with its THUNK, thunk, thunk as it filled with water, then tipped (THUNK), spilling the water and settling back (thunk thunk) to fill again.  The little bridges and stepping stones seemed more challenging...and romantic.

There is a small viewing area overlooking Butchart Cove and from there, was Strider, awaiting patiently.  Her anchor light provided a welcoming beacon as we rowed back.

T'was a great day and I want to return for the Butchart Garden's Christmas display.  Here is to hoping for a good weather window in early December....

Tuesday, 10September2013: Canoe Cove to Butchart Cove, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Departed CC around 0900 and motored west through Satellite Channel then south in Saanich Inlet to the east of Senanus Island into Tod Inlet and arriving around 1100 in Butchart Cove.  Of the 5 mooring buoys inside the cove, 4 were available and the boat on the 5th departed about an hour after our arrival.  All the buoys were occupied by 1700 that evening.

The cove was hot and calm, stern tying to the fixed bolts on the rocks was a breeze.  After lunch, we were checked in and off to the Garden by 1300!

Monday, 9September2013: Skyline to Canoe Cove, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Heading to a new place!  Butchart Gardens, a famous garden north of Victoria, has a back door for boats.  I've avoided going to the Gardens as the entry fee is expensive and the Gardens are crowded during the day with bus loads of people daily.  The only way I could see going there is by spending the night somewhere nearby and thus be able to enjoy the place at our own pace vice a bus tour's pace.  More on this in a separate entry....

Got a late start due to fog, around 1200.  Motored the usual east-west route through Thatcher Pass, Harney Channel, Post Pass, Speiden Channel, across the Haro, then to the north side of Forest Island (what is the large dock on the north side for?) along the south shore of Coal Island then wove our way through the small islands into Canoe Cove.

Just off Frost Island, west of Thatcher Pass, we encountered Richard, Jude and Katya of S/V Sarita. Having departed in April, they were completing a trip to Alaska and had just cleared customs/immigration in Friday Harbor.  We knew they were in the area and half expected to encounter them somewhere along the route.  Mid-channel we stopped all engines and drifted together for a bit, welcoming them back, exchanging news and knowing how they love them, tossing them asian pears grown in our orchard.

We separated too soon, but we had a long way to go yet.  I'd hoped to get all the way to Butchart Cove (locally known name for a small inlet off of Tod Inlet).  Cleared entry into Canada via CANPASS off of Roche Harbor (by the way, cell coverage in San Juan Channel sucks) and named Canoe Cove as our port of entry, estimated TOA of 1900.  Since Butchart Cove is a couple hours beyond Canoe Cove, we decided to stay there for the night.

Weaving through the small islands off of Canoe Cove was interesting, like exploring an unknown swamp with tight canals and shallow water.  Around this island and between the next two and suddenly Canoe Cove was in front of us.  Their customs dock is on the fuel dock which is way inside the marina, down the narrow fairway between C & D docks.  As has been the norm, customs and immigration officials did not show and we made our way back down the fairway to our assigned slip on E dock.

Canoe Cove is a working marina, none of the flash of other marinas.  Still, transient moorage was expensive.  Location, location, location.  Though we did not try any, they were closed upon arrival, the two restaurants have a good reputation.  A quiet and restful night!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

22-24August, 2013: Humpies!

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Calm.  Seas:  Flat.

Warning:  This is a fishing story, not a catching story.

Odd number year means a humpback salmon or pinks run in the Puget Sound.  Word is they are voracious, opportunistic and will hit anything pink.  Word also was they would stack up along West Beach on Whidbey Island during an ebb tide, waiting for the tide to shift, giving them an opportunity to swim through Deception Pass to head up the Skagit River.  Over these 3 days, Strider was motored to Deception Pass, anchored off West Beach and a fishing line was wet.

The first couple days I went solo, that is, by myself.

The first day, I extended the port ama at the slip, motored to the fuel dock, tied off and then expended the starboard ama while waiting for the fuel dock to open.  After motoring to West Beach, I took my cues from boats already in place and anchored in similar water.  Stayed for a few hours, casting in the same directions as the rest.  Got around 6 hits, getting 3 near the boat only to see them toss the hook in a roll over maneuver.  Two were clearly steelhead, but one was a humpy.

At quitting time, motored back, folding the amas outside the marina in Burrows Bay.  Normally, Strider is folded inside the harbor to avoid bashing the ama against the aka when boat wakes are encountered.  Unless Strider was secured to an immovable object, such as the fuel dock, folding inside the marina would be problematical and potentially dangerous as Strider could drift into other boats.  The fuel dock might not be available.  So, to mitigate potential bashing, a small fender was placed between the ama and the aka, hopefully providing a cushion.  No wakes were encountered this day.

I met another fisherman on the dock and told him of my day.  He suggested I played the fish too long.  "Reel them in and don't let the seals have a chance at them."

Second day was much as the first.  Probably 10 hits, 5 got to the boat, 4 to slip off and the 5th I could not get into the net and then the knot on the lure untied and bye bye.  Motor home was the same but did encounter some boat wake folded.  The little ama/aka fenders worked OK, but not sufficient.

Third day Kelly and the dogs came along.  Landed a humpy with Kelly handling the net!  4 guys on the boat next to us were constantly hauling in fish.  I asked them if they were using cheese....  Still, we had about 10 hits, got a couple to the boat and landed one.  Improvement!  Cleaned/filleted the fish on the way home, reserving the head for crab bait and the spine for fish stock.  Had the fish the next day and it was tasty.  Not as good as coho or king, but rewarding.

Thursday, 15August2013: Bedwell Harbour to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  S 5-10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Motored out of Bedwell, raised the main and set the genoa to work S winds.   Sailed at 6kts across Boundary Pass, along the north side of John Island towards Presidents Pass and Orcas Island.  At Orcas, tacked south into Spring Passage between Jones and Orcas Islands.

Winds died at North Passage and we motored through Pole Pass into Harney Channel.  Continued towards Thatcher Pass, picking up momentary winds at Upright Channel.  At Thatcher Pass, we were met with a wall of fog.  With no radar, we were not going to charge in so I killed the engine and we drifted for a moment, studying the situation.

I tried to get the attention of an eastbound trawler, intending to ask if he would slow down and allow us to follow him through.  There was no response, just a gentleman aboard who stepped out and shut the door between us.  So, I got the radio out and on 16 called, "Any vessel, any vessel in vicinity of Thatcher Pass, sailing vessel Strider."  Got and immediate response from M/V Maria Teresa (thank you!), a resident on our dock in Skyline.  Switching to 72, we discussed the situation.  They were westbound from Skyline and let us know visibility in Rosario was 1/4 to 1/2 mile and should have no problem crossing.  We let them know it was clear on our side of the pass.  At this point, about a dozen boats started coming out of the fog, including Maria Teresa.

We fired up the engine and to avoid traffic, we crossed to the south side of the pass while in the clear and hugged the north side of Decatur Island.  True to Maria Teresa's word, once through the fog wall at the west end of the pass, visibility improved to 1/2 mile.  Once well out in Rosario, south winds pushed us to 6kts and the engine was killed.  Nice sail across!  Approaching Burrows Pass, winds slacked and died, the engine was fired up, sails secured and we motored into our slip.


13-15August, 2013: Poet's Cove, Bedwell Harbour

Weather:  Sunny and warm!

Spent a couple days lounging by the pool, having water fights in the pool and strolling around the grounds walking the dogs and avoiding the pet deer.  Tide was out a lot and was able to run the dogs on the beach.

In my opinion, Bedwell Harbour is not a destination, but a good place to stop over and clear customs if required.  Else, it is expensive to moor on the dock (the Provincial Park mooring buoys on the other hand, are inexpensive) and there is limited activities.  Once again, the Provincial Park provides hiking trails.  Poet's Cove Resort though is more boutique.

Mooring in the marina does allow access to the pool!  The pool, though small, is nice.

Clearing Customs Stew

Canada and the US allow few fresh food items to cross the border.  Canada allows more, but the list can change.  At this time, we could not bring fruits like plums and peaches.  The US is more stringent and most fresh fruit, veggies and meats are not allowed in.  The solution is to cook it and I thought what better way then create a stew?

I started with stock saved from cooking the clams and crabs.  Added all the shallots, garlic, carrots, potatoes, some of the herbs along with 4 chicken legs.  In other words, everything we knew we could not bring back.  Used the new crab cooker and simmered all on the back patio.  Since we had moored stern in, got a lot of attention as people walked by and smelled it!  "He's cooking something there...."

Departure day was cool and overcast.  Finished the stew in route home.  Kelly was kind enough to bone the chicken and season the stew and it was wonderful as we motored home!  A good portion is in the freezer for winter consumption...memories of a summer adventure!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tuesday, 13August2013: Hunter Bay to Bedwell Harbour, Poet's Cove

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

After a day with the ladies in Hunter Bay, made our way to Poet's Cove.  Woke, cast off from Captain's Mast before anyone was up.  Motored Strider to the public dock, tied off and walked the dogs.

Got a phone call from MM, apparently there was some confusion when Strider wasn't there.  RT figured we were getting a head start since we motor more slowly than C-Mast.  MM wasn't satisfied with that and called.  Walking back to the dock, MM was there with the dinghy and dog for their morning walk.

Since we do motor more slowly (5kts vs 6.5kts), we took off!  C-Mast followed about 45min behind.  Taking route and sail cues from us, they followed and we led them a merry chase.  Main up, motored out of the Bay, north through Lopez Sound, counter-clockwise around Frost Island.  Rounding Upright Head, picked up some wind from Upright Channel.  Kept switching between the genoa and the screacher as the wind strength changed.  Once past Upright Channel, back to motoring...the rest of the way.

Went the Harney Channel route north of Shaw Island.  Then the north side of Bell Island and through Pole Pass, a narrow, but deep pass between Orcas and Crane Island.  Reputed to have strong currents, caution is demanded.  RT had never been on this route so it was good for him!  Then, north side of Reef Island through North Pass and into San Juan Channel.  Cleared Canadian Customs here using our CanPass!

At this point, the currents were against us.  C-Mast continued north out of San Juan Channel while we broke west into Spieden Channel.  Clinging to the south shore of Spieden Island, we managed a bit of a back eddy.  Went between Sentinel and Spieden Islands.  Rounding Spieden Bluff, headed north through John's Pass between Stewart and Johns Island.  Current through Johns Pass was 3kts against us, but it only lasted 15min.  Once into Boundary Pass, clung to the north shore of Stewart Island avoiding the NE bound current and picking up another back eddy.

At this point, C-Mast was directly parallel to us, but because they were further north, were actually ahead of us.  At Satellite Island, turned north towards Bedwell Harbor arriving about 15min behind C-Mast.  They went to the Customs Dock, we went to our slip!

More crab had been caught prior to departing Hunter Bay.  This night, cooked the crab in fresh water, I needed the stock for what became known as "Clearing Customs Stew."  While the crab was not a tasty as cooking in sea water, the stock was great!

Saturday, 10August2013: Hunter Bay to Skyline and Back

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Took Strider on a simple motor/sail to Skyline and back for hotel servicing and grocery pick up.  Had a great, no engine departure from the anchorage in Hunter Bay.  Winds were light and from the head of the bay.  Directly aft, about 300ft, lay an anchored power boat.

After casting off Captain's Mast, Strider drifted aft, helm was set to starboard and 6ft of the screacher was deployed to port.  The combo pivoted Strider to port and downwind.  As we gybed, the screacher was furled and then completely unfurled, now to starboard.  Speed picked up quickly and we were making a silent, 4kts as we passed within 20ft of the power boat, port to port.  We waved at the gaping faces of the family staring at us from inside.  Don't know if we startled them, scared them or just amazed them.  No one came out to yell at us so I'll assume the later.

Wind died as we exited the bay and a boring motor ensued.  At Skyline, hotel services and groceries were completed and another boring motor back to Hunter Bay.

7-12August, 2013: The Boy's Vacation - Hunter Bay,

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Not important.  Seas:  Calm.

I've often thought of Strider, or any boat, as a cottage that moves.  Like a cottage, one can play on the water.  Unlike a cottage, if one gets tired of the view or the neighbors, one can move!  With cottage in mind, we played and relaxed and fished and crabbed and clammed and finished a bottle or two.

Wednesday:  Arrived and had a pleasant evening to include limpet pasta dish...fruiti di mare?  Not really, not enough sea variety.  Perhaps fruito di mare would be more appropriate.

Thursday:  Woke and deployed two crab traps with turkey legs as bait.  One where everyone else had placed theirs and the other in a previously successful spot.  After relaxing a bit, took the dinghy to the south shore of Mud Bay and clammed.  Found a sweet spot and dug a couple dozen, including a few large ones.  Kept them in the bucket with corn meal.

Returning to Strider, relaxed.  Towards evening, checked the crab traps and had our Dungeness limit!  Crab for dinner that night, reserving the two Red Rock for later.  Left the traps overnight.

Friday:  Crabs once again in the traps!  Cleaned the 4 big clams and had clam fritters for lunch.  More crabs in the afternoon!  Stocking up for later.  Made spaghetti al vongole for dinner, using the remaining small clams.

Saturday:  After checking the traps in the morning (a couple), made a crab frittata with hollandais sauce for breakfast using the reds.  Since the ladies were to arrive on Sunday, decided to take Strider into Skyline for hotel servicing.  Upon return, had crab for dinner!

Sunday:  Took Captain's Mast to Skyline, hotel servicing and picking up the ladies.  Deployed both crab traps in Burrows Bay on the way in.  Departing, picked up the traps, one was at the limit!  Crab for dinner and all, but for a bit of red, was consumed!  Apparently the ladies were ravenous....

Fishing:  Tried.  This is why it is called fishing and not catching....

Wednesday, 7August, 2013: Watmough to Hunter Bay

Weather:  Foggy outside in the morning, sunny and warm inside!  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

I had a couple reasons to go to Watmough.  First was RT had never been there and it is a pleasant place to be.  With the park at the head of the bay, it is an easy place to walk a dog or take a hike.  Another is there is a large, sandy beach at the head, an opportunity for clamming!

We went ashore, RT to walk his dog, me with a shovel.  No clams.  Nice sandy beach, but only 3-6 inches deep!  No clams.  Did find limpets though and we collected a couple dozen and kept them in a bucket with seawater and corn meal.

Watmough had run its course though.  Though we had planned to stay one more night, the fog cleared outside and we decide to dash around the corner to Hunter Bay.  We wanted to be in Hunter Bay by Thursday, a legal crabbing day.

Anchored in the SW corner and once again, needed two approached to moor on Captain's Mast.  Damn!

Spent a few minutes cleaning the limpets and dropping them into white wine.  Then made some pasta while sauteing some shallots and garlic, dropped the limpets in at the last minute and yum!

A quiet night on the hook.  Did learn about the zephyrs in Hunter Bay.  Previous stays did not include these.  But, during the night the winds picked up and whipped down the mountain at the head of the bay, seemingly to crash right down upon us.  Got up and looked around, but we were holding steady!

Tuesday, 6August, 2013: Solo - Skyline to Watmough Bay

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  N5-10 to zero.  Seas:  <1ft.

Most of the day was foggy in and around the Salish Sea.  RT got a week and a half to come north from Gig Harbor and made the trip in total fog, running on radar, finally breaking out on approach to Watmough.

I waited in Skyline for the fog to clear.  Around 1530, it cleared enough to depart.  Kelly was aboard long enough to assist with the ama extension and I dropped her off at the fuel dock.  With a 3kt current, I deployed the new screacher and was making 9kts out Burrows Pass!  Once out into Rosario Strait, initially made 7kts towards Watmough in steadily decreasing winds.  Slowly motored the last mile in while observing RT's entry and anchoring.

I've made comment about how skills deteriorate without use.  Mooring to Captain's Mast is no exception.  Required two approaches to accomplish.  First approach was gooned when I left the engine in reverse after stopping forward momentum.  Second approach was perfect!

This was a solo vacation for RT and me - no itinerary, just relax and play.  Beers were deployed and RT and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun reflecting off the cliffs around Watmough.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tuesday, 30July, 2013: Hope Island to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and cool.  Winds:  Nil.  Waves:  Flat.

We departed Hope Island just a tad too early to hit the 1042 slack at Deception Pass.  Motoring to the pass was uneventful and rounding the west end of Hope Island, we could see the north side buoys were occupied.  Glad we chose to anchor on the south side!  The day went splendidly, motoring through the islands and peaking into the bays, checking out the available anchorages and marinas.  Until the approach to Deception Pass.

Let me state up front:  All was in accordance with the rules of the road, it was the lack of courtesy which disturbed me.  Victoria Clipper, a Seattle to Victoria or Seattle to Friday Harbor jet-driven ferry approached quickly from astern, initially visible about a mile back.  It gave a long blast indicating it intended to pass to our port and it did:  Right under the bridge, the narrowest part of the pass.  Further, the skipper kicked up the speed along side us, slamming us with his wake, which is substantial from a jet drive.  I got really angry, flipped the skipper off and yelled that "The skipper was a dick."  VC's pax got a bit of a show.

It would not have killed VC to throttle back after the horn blast and let us get through the pass.  We had been fighting a 3kt current and were only making a couple knots.  A 1kt decrease in VC's speed would have allowed Strider to get about  400ft further, well beyond the bridge and in a much wider area of the pass.  Once again, courtesy and commercial vessels are not synonymous.

The rest of the trip home was an uneventful motor, back in the sunshine.

Monday, 29July, 2013: Blake Island to Hope Island

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Nil until late afternoon in Saratoga Passage W20.  Seas:  Flat to 1-2ft.

Departed Blake Island around 0900 and motored north.  Pretty boring and decided to to another route in an attempt to find wind.  I've found wind in Burrows Bay, land to the east and west.  Thought to try the east side of Whidbey Island with land to the east and west.  Also, had never been this way so what the hell?

OK, it was worth a try.  No wind entering Possession Sound.  No wind passing Camano Island State Park (looked like an interesting place though).  Wind picked up really well nearing Crescent Harbor and suddently we were making 8kts.  To this point, we were going to spend the night at the NAS Whidbey Island Marina.  Making 8kts though and only 1900, lets continue on!

Smoked along entering Skagit Bay and the winds died rounding Strawberry Point, the eastern point of Whidbey.  Channel is narrow there and we ended up in a wind shadow.  We motored and stowed the sails.

At this point, we were committed and continued, intending to spend the night at Hope Island.  Approaching Dugualla Bay, the winds picked up again and the genoa was unfurled.  We were making 8kts once again and did so until the winds died approaching Hope Island!

Hope Island mooring buoys are on the north side.  Good anchorage is available on the south side.  3 other boats were there pointing the way!  Motored in and dropped anchor in 10ft and a mud bottom.  Chose to do this since the sun was going down, getting late and could not know if the buoys were open.  Took the sure thing especially since a dog walking beach was visible.

After a long day, a beautiful, quiet anchorage.  Easy walking the dogs.  Probably would be more difficult with the dogs on a king tide as the beach cliffs definitely showed water wear.

Sunday, 28July, 2013: Olympia to Blake Island

Weather:  Broken and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Motored out of Olympia around 0800 headed towards home.  North out of Budd Inlet to Dana Passage and out Nisqually Reach.  Timing at Tacoma Narrows was good hitting the slack.  Around Point Defiance and north into Colvos Passage to Blake Island.

The marina at Blake Island State Park is...not really tight, more like awkward.  Just not an efficient dock layout.  Found dock space available.

Walking the dogs on the island was interesting...lots of deer and racoons.  Fortunately the racoons were not aggressive, but would occupy your boat if food (read:  trash) was left out.  Dogs got really curious when a raccoon walked down the dock and disappeared over the side and disappeared under!

Showers were nice.  Island had a lot of space and the campground was not crowded.  Nice views of Seattle!

Saturday, 27July2013: Boston Harbor to Olympia

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

Motored to Olympia.  Interesting coming into a major port after small marinas.  Some vessels are huge!  I knew this intellectually, especially after 28yrs in the Navy and sailing around the sound.  It just was weird motoring past ships in the port.

Moored at the Port Plaza Dock for $15!  Nice, new facility.  Location was great as it is a couple blocks from the Farmer's Market were we restocked fruit, veggies and a couple thick pork chops.  Lots of plums, peaches and apricots available.

Nice to tour Olympia without worrying about getting home or traffic.  Concurrent with our visit was a Hempfest in Capital Lake Park.  Why do most of the hemp proponents look like 1970's counterculture...OK, hippies?  Visited a couple used book stores and had dinner at an Indian restaurant.

Friday, 26July, 2013: Cutts Island to Boston Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Sailed out of the anchorage under the main and genoa, with a light north wind.  Wind died after about 45min and we motored through Pitt Passage, noting with interest the "Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers" signs because of the state prison on McNeil Island....

Managed a bit more sailing in Drayton Passage.  The motored.  Ebb currents in Dana Passage were strong and headway was reduced to 3kts.  Then I noticed the boats on the north shore were pointed in the opposite direction.  An eddy!  Moved over and headway jumped to 6kts!

Arrived Boston Harbor and folded as we were taking a slip - needed to refill the water.  Also took on fuel.  First slip assigned was tight.  Further, Strider did not fit, her bow was sticking way out.  Asked to move to the outside and, "Sure!"

Moved outside, unfolding in transit.  Hosed the boat down.  Also rigged a shower on the stern and both Kelly and I enjoyed getting the crud off!

Occasionally, Boston Harbor hosts a dinner on the dock and this was one of those nights!  For $10 and another $3 for wine tasting, we enjoyed grilled chicken-on-a-stick, clams, pasta, a salad and 4 wines.  Met some really nice people, one who live just down the street who invited us in whilst we were walking the dogs!

24-26July, 2013: Cutts Island Marine State Park

Weather:  Sunny and warm!  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

The Cutts Island Marine State Park is a great place!  Water temp was 68F, warm enough to swim in.  Cutts Island is a no camping/day use only island with a few trails accessible up the steep cliffs from the beach to the trees.  Allegedly, it was a former indian burial ground and is locally called Dead Man's Island.  Dog walking was pretty easy, with a nice dinghy row to a sandy beach on the north end of the island.  The cliff on the south end is collapsing.

Of interest to me is a sand bar stretching from Raft Island to Cutts Island, more and more exposed as the tide ebbed.  Early on Thursday, took a chance as Kelly walked the dogs and was rewarded with clams!  Turned them into spaghetti al vongole for dinner!  First time Kelly had non-deep fried clams and she was impressed!

While busy in the afternoon with powerboats and skiers, they all departed around dinner time leaving us alone in the anchorage.  Kid in a canoe came by asking about Strider, never having seen a trimaran.

Quiet, warm evening and we launched a couple Chinese Sky Lanterns!

Wednesday, 24July, 2013: Gig Harbor to Carr Inlet/Cutts Island Marine State Park

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Awaited the tide and got a great push through the Tacoma Narrows.  First trip under the bridge!  Since Hale Passage has a low bridge, was forced around the south end of Fox Island.  There were a lot of crab traps in the area, surprising since it was a non-crabbing day.

Slow motor up Carr Inlet to Kopachuck State Park.  This area of Carr Inlet reminded me of a large lake, a lot of waterfront homes, along with many speed boats, that is, ski boats and 30ft-ish fast power boats.  In the afternoon, these boats were pulling skiers and tubes.  Many showed up to use the mooring buoys for the few hours after work and before sunset.

Arrived around 1400 and found a lot of buoys occupied, but several available.  Once moored, we found the water temp was around 68F!  Towards evening, all the boats departed, leaving us alone in the anchorage.

22-23July, 2013: Gig Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm!

Enjoyed the stay in Gig Harbor!  Hooked up with RT and MM.

Gig Harbor hosts "Summer Sounds," a concerts in the park summer series.  A perennial favorite is The Beatniks, a 60s/70s/80s rock band.  One of the reasons for returning to Gig was to see this concert and it lived up to the hype.  The park was jammed with place holding chairs and blankets by 8AM, which I did not care for as the park was where I'd walk the dogs.  That said, The Beatniks were worth the trip and we had a blast!

I tried to get local high schoolers to pull off the prank of the year by rearranging the chairs and blankets in the park.  I even spread the rumor.  Disappointingly, the kids chickened out.

Monday, 22July, 2013: Tacoma to Gig Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  None.  Seas:  Flat.

Departed around 1000 and motored to Gig Harbor.  Did not even deploy the main.  Anchored in usual spot, across from Arabella's Landing in about 20ft of water.  Deployed the crab trap on the way in.

Winds picked up in the harbor during the afternoon and I sailed the dinghy around, even sailed the dinghy to check the crab trap (small reds only)!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday, 21July, 2013: Dockton to Tacoma

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  Variable 5.  Seas:  <1ft.

Departed Dockton around 1000, pulling the overnight crab pot with nothing but small crabs in it.  Initially motored, but a light S wind came along and we beat our way out of the bay.  Got distracted watching a crabber searching for his pot, left in the mud by the receded tide and had a busy time tacking with about 8ft under the centerboard.  No really danger of running aground, but we were startled.  Aviate, navigate and communicate - in that order.

Also narrowly avoided another crabber who stopped directly in front of us and we did not see until the last moment.  Fortunately, we were quiet enough they did not see our screw up.

Once out of of the bay, we had a nice reach across to Commencement Bay and the Thea Foss Waterway.  Missed having the screacher.  Still, the main and genoa pushed us along between 3.5 and 6kts.  It was fun passing a monohull....

The water changed to a grayish silt as we approached the inner harbor.  As we got further in, the silt was only on top of the water and the hulls passing over it stirred the clear water up.  Moored in the Foss Marina which was OK being in the process of upgrading.  Location was good for walking to the Glass Museum and from there, into downtown and a grocery store, essentially up a cliff from the marina.  Fortunately, the 7 story stairs back down are now functional and we were going down, not up.

Once restocked, we thought to go out to dinner, but Kelly wanted to do some laundry, particularly to get rid of the dog's frito feet smell from the bedding.  Also, it was hot, so we stayed aboard and grilled.  Nice people in the marina with many live aboards.  Definitely a working feel and not a hoity-toity yacht club feel.

Saturday, 20July, 2013: Gig Harbor to Dockton

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Variable, mostly light.  Seas:  <1ft.

After spending a few days anchored in Gig Harbor, enjoying the company, attempting to crab (a couple small red rock) and sailing the dinghy around we headed out.  Another sail when we can, motor when we have to.  Motored out of Gig Harbor around 1200 and was able to sail initially.  No real hurry as Dockton is only about 10 miles, but the winds died abreast Point Defiance and we motored across Dalco Passage.  Was able to sail again approaching Quartermaster Harbor.  A lot of crab pots to dodge at the entrance.  Nice, gentle sail towards Dockton.  Motored into the King County Park.

Nice park and well maintained.  Good shower facilities.  Clean.  Easy to walk the dogs in the surrounding area.  Upon arrival, checked for moorage fees and apparently few people were paying.  Since there were kids jumping off the roof of the building into the water (66 degrees), they felt there was no supervision around so they could get away with it.

Dropped a crab trap on the way into the park area, a spot no other pots were.  4hrs later, retrieved the pot with 4 large crabs, 3 were female and tossed back.  The 4th was missing 2 legs and both claws, dude had been around the block!  Cleaned him, but did not eat.  Speaking with locals later, the area is polluted by sewage runoff.  So, dinner became crab bate.

There was limited space on the dock, but Kelly has become accustomed to anchoring, actually preferring it over a dock when we have the dogs.  A lot less hassle as the dogs have the run of the boat and we do not need to worry about potential negative encounters with other dogs.  But where to go?  The place is full of private buoys.  I'd had enough of 'private buoys in public water' so we took one not labeled private.  According to the local ranger, most of the buoys there were illegal, having been set by someone unofficially.  The DNR is attempting to rectify and are replacing the buoys as they can with legal, and safe, ones.  Apparently they are finding all kinds of things being used as anchors, including 6-7 car batteries chained together.

Spoke to a kid bottom fishing off the dock, using hotdogs as bait and catching sole, dogfish and...I don't remember.  Gives me ideas though....

Of interest to me, it appears south sound does not seem many multihulls, certainly not the Dragonfly.   Today was the first encounter with someone going out of their way to take pictures and complement the boat.  Later in the trip, one guy paused thoughtfully and stated, "Multihulls and south sound, makes a lot of sense."

17-20July, 2013: Gig Harbor

Weather:  Fair and mild!

Hung out in Gig Harbor!  Visited with RT and MM!  Multiple dinners aboard Captain's Mast, continuing to break in the grill.  Very convenient to dinghy to RT's slip and use Arabella's facilities.

Searched for a new battery for the Raymarine Autohelm ST40+ wireless remote.  Was told by the West Marine in GH they were not available.  Called West Marine Anacortes and was told the same thing.  Visited a couple battery shops and still did not find one.

Epilogue:  A month later, phoned Raymarine, was given a part number and transferred to the order desk.  The lady at the desk was taking the order and told me I'd have to pay $12 shipping if I ordered from them.  "You mean I could order this from someplace like...say...West Marine?"  "Sure," she said.  I thanked her and called West Marine, asking for one of two of my go to guys there.  Got one and made the special order.  Why?  First off, let them pay for the shipping.  Second, points on the rewards program.

Wednesday, 17July, 2013: Kingston to Gig Harbor

Weather:  Cool-thin overcast to sunny and warm.  Winds:  SE 15-20 becoming light.  Seas:  2-3ft becoming <1ft.

Greeted with strong winds and ugly waves coming out of Kingston.  Made 7kts beating with a single reefed main with full genoa.  With the chop, thought to head into the Sound and then tack back west and take the inside passages, Agate Pass, Rich Passage etc, south even though it most likely meant motoring.  Looking ahead, I could see several sails on the east side of the Sound and realized we could get across and reduce the fetch, but still get the winds.

Half hour later, we were in smooth waters off Shoreline and tacking SW.  Stayed on this tack until the waves became uncomfortable and then headed back towards the shore.  Continued this tactic until the winds died just NE of Vashon.  As we continued south, the winds steadily decreased and we shook out the reef around Shilshole.  Still had good winds as we entered Elliot Bay, making 6kts.  We had not been down the east side of the Puget Sound so it was nice to see some of the places we had read about, Shilshole Marina, entrance to Ballard Locks, West Point Lighthouse, Elliot Bay and downtown Seattle.

Had an interesting encounter with a tug towing a barge...nothing dangerous, just an interesting exercise.  We initially noted the tug about 2 miles behind us in the southbound traffic lane.  As we rounded West Point, it was within a 1/2 mile, turning into Elliot Bay.  Our two vessels were on parallel courses, us to the north, and they steadily gained on us.  At Elliot Bay Marina, it was clear they were going to pass us.  Then the wind picked up and we began to slowly increase our lead on them, to the point we were about 300 yards ahead, but not yet in a position to cross in front of them.  With the Port of Seattle looming, instead of a 90 degree right turn, tacking in front of the tug and probably causing a lot of trouble, we did a left 270, gybing and going behind the tug's barge.  The maneuver went smoothly!  Depowered the main by easing it out.  As we turned, the sail started to power up, I sheeted it in, once again depowering it and positioning it for the gybe.  Completing the gybe, we kept the sail sheeted out and depowered, waiting for the barge to pass.  Ended up waiting for a tour boat also....  Once the traffic passed, sheeted in and headed out of Elliot Bay IVO West Seattle.

Kept on this tack to the north end of Vashon and tacked back.  At this point, the winds were light and variable.  Just as I was about to give up, a gust would come along and we were heading south.  IVO the West Seattle Ferry Landing, tacked back and ended up just about were we started on the previous tack...not getting anywere.  Fired up the engine and motored into the Colvos.  Once in the Colvos, S winds picked up.  Sailing proved a better VMG so we tacked back and fourth until the winds became light, about 1/2 through.  Motored the rest of the way Gig Harbor.

Arrived Gig around 1730 and tired.  Tides' Dock was completely empty and fish and chips are on their menu as is Shocktop.  Stopped, walked the dogs and then sat down for dinner.  On the way to our intended anchorage, we checked out the free public dock.  While the end looked open, the spaces were reserved for dinghies or pump out.  Anchored off Arabella's in 20ft at low tide.  Put out 100ft of scope along with the 10 pound kellet.  There were pretty strong tidal currents and we did not appear to move.  The kellet definitely kept the rode angle down!

Tuesday, 16July, 2013: Skyline to Kingston

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  WNW 5-10.  Seas <1ft.

With the garden set, there was no need for us to hang out at home.  This year's trip is south, to south sound vice north into Canada.  RT is restricted to home waters with Emma's swim schedule and MM's work schedule.  No big deal as we had never been to south sound!  Took the dogs with us this time.

Late start waiting for favorable tide and a nice sail today with mostly light winds from a reach or broad reach direction.  Started with main and genoa but was not making much headway with these heavier sails.  Without the screacher, I popped the spinnaker and found the new barber hauler set up worked great!  Was able to move the spinnaker tack upwind, exposing more of the sail and less blanketing by the main.  At one point, we were clipping along at a steady state 6.5kts with no trimming required.  I setup a chair on the back porch, put my feet up on the transom, arms are the rail with a Blue Moon.  Much like sitting is an easy chair!  'twas great!

Wind died south of Port Townsend and we motored into Kingston, arriving too late for Mora's Ice Cream.

Sunday, 30June, 2013: Fox Cove to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  W to SW 0-5.  Seas:  <1ft

Woke to calm winds and seas.  Took Bug (our 1990ish Gig Harbor Boatworks dinghy) and my fly rod on a tour of the Fox Cove environs.  Did not catch anything, but it was nice wetting the line!

Interesting day sailing.  Started out motoring.  About halfway to the eastern point of Orcas Island, a west wind started to pick up.  I decided to air out the asymmetric spinnaker.  Have I mentioned the spinnaker is huge?  With a 26ft foot, I finally figured out I had not been able to fully expose the sail in a downwind as there is only 12.5 feet between the bowsprit and the outside edge of the ama.

So, I modified the barber hauler.  This line runs from the cockpit, out to the ama and then forward, up to the bow of the ama and acts as a whisker or spinnaker pole would.  The mod is simply a longer line not ending at the ama bow, but crossing over to the bowsprit.  At the bowsprit, I can attach the spinnaker tack to the line and then pull it out over the water, towards the upwind ama, thus flattening and thereby enabling more of the spinnaker to see the wind.

It worked great!  In 3kts apparent wind, we made 3kts.  In 5, 5kts.  Ultimately, we hit 8kts rounding the eastern point of Orcas.  More data is required, but if we continue to hit a knot per knot of apparent wind, this is an improvement over last seasons run up to Princess Louisa Inlet where we were doing 8-9kts in 12kts apparent.

Once again, San Juan winds proved to be sporty.  As we rounded the point, BAM, the wind smacked us in the face and the spinnaker collapsed.  So, stowed the spinnaker, raised the main and set the genoa for a beat up Rosario only to motor then motor sail etc.  Approaching the south end of Cypress Island, the winds became a steady SW 5 and we had a nice 5kt beat home.  Nice to be sailing!

We continued to be plagued by the battery alarm.  Ammeter showed 45amps into the LiFEPO4, descending as the batteries charged, with the engine start battery switched off.  Voltmeter showed 14volts.  Normally shows 14.2volts with the engine start battery connected.  When the LiFEPO4 batteries were fully charged, the alternator voltage dropped to 13.8 (as it should) and the amperage dropped to 2.5 (as it should).  The alternator appears to function properly.

Suspect a cell in the engine start battery might have failed.   Since the alternator is a stupid alternator, I have kept an engine start battery aboard to control the alternator.  Will need to experiment with this configuration....  Else, I wonder if the battery alarm has started to fail.

Saturday, 29June, 2013: Watmough Bay to Fox Cove, Sucia Island

Weather:  Warm and sunny!  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

After a pleasant night in Watmough, we headed north in company with Steve and Janet of Flexible Flyer.  While glass like, it was unfortunately a droning motor trip. 

While they had been to Echo Bay in Sucia, they had not been to Fox Cove.  Being fairly small with cliffs surrounding and only 4 state park mooring buoys, Fox is an intimate anchorage compared to many on Sucia.  I understand it can be rough in there with a strong SW wind, but both times we were there, the winds cooperated and the nights were pleasant.

Kelly and I took a mooring buoy and Flex Flyer tied off during the day and then moved off to anchor for the night.  Apparently Steve had had a rough night with squeaking fenders.  Based on a comment by Steve, I modified our attachment to the buoy, rigging the harness to hold the buoy ridgedly between the ama and vaka.  This configuration was stable and kept the buoy off our hulls!

Whilst Steve and Janet paddled there inflatable kayaks around the cove, Kelly and I rowed Bug around, stopping ashore to register the mooring.  Very pleasant.  Fossil Bay was packed and most of the campsites were in use.

Gorgeous sunset after a shared dinner of italian sausages, mozzarella alla caprese with cookies for desert.  Regarding the sunset.  Last time we were in Fox Cove, we took one of the south moorings.  The sunset was blocked by Little Sucia Island to the west.  I sat there while another boat, in the north mooring, sat in their cockpit, drinking their wine, basking in the glow of the setting sun and announcing, "It don't get better than this!"  Lesson learned:  We took the north mooring and had a great sunset!

A Fox Cove Sunset.  Canada is under the clouds.

Love the reflection.




On a mechanical note, the battery alarm sounded, nearly continuously.  I isolated the engine start battery and the alarm quit.  Perhaps the engine start battery is going bad?  Alternator showed 14 volt, normal is 14.2, but plenty of amps going into the house batteries.

Replaced the block ball bearings on the starboard side.  Like all the others, the old ones were bad.  Kelly assisted and between us, we completed 4 in about 1/2 the time it took me to do 2 previously.

Friday, 28June, 2013: Skyline to Watmough Bay, SE Lopez Island

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable, somewhat NW.  Seas:  Flat.

My mentor Steve and his wife Janet aboard Flexible Flyer started their trip to Desolation Sound today.  Unfortunately for them the winds did not cooperate and they had a motor from their home port and put into Watmough for the night.

Expecting the above, Kelly and I had dropped the dogs off at the sitter's (affectionately called Aunt Nina's).  Steve and Janet have two cats aboard.  Last summer we hooked up and the dogs spent most of the day staring into their cabin at the cats.  The cats spent the night staring into our ports.  No aggression involved, just curiosity on their parts.  Since we did not know where we would end up and if public access to land would be available, we left the dogs.

After an hour motor, including an attempt to air out the spinnaker (too little wind and too northwesterly), we met up and rafted off.  Watmough is a nice place, surrounded by cliffs on most sides with a large sandy beach at the head.  It is open to the east and passing boat wakes do make it into the anchorage.  I would go back!

T'was great hooking up with Steve and Janet.  I picked their brains over many a subject, including how to go through the Ballard Locks.  We grilled chicken, had salad a pasta dish and fresh strawberries for desert!

Monday, 17June, 2013: The search for a Screacher.

I attempted to get a few bids for a new screacher to replace the shredded one on Memorial Day.

First went to UK Sails Anacortes and got a bid of $2774 plus tax for 2.5oz CZ30 cloth.

Second, went to Port Townsend Sails.  Email and talked with the lady there, but no bid was actually received.  This was ok as orders received at the time would have been filled in November...a little late.

On a tip from Phil aboard S/V Naga, a Privilege 37 catamaran, I contacted Rush Sails, the Neil Pride rep in the area.  From Phil, Scott Rush had a lot of multihull experience and recently had completed a set for Naga.  Scott immediately traveled to Skyline and measured and measured and measured and...get it?  Further, we talked a lot and I got a few tips!  Scott then went home and worked up a quote:  $2877 using LSP Pen 60.  Naturally, there was confusion regarding materials and Scott was very patient explaining:
"The LSP Pen 60 is basically a light genoa laminate material.  My thought in recommending this fabric is that here in the NW, you will want to use the screacher as a light air genoa. On the F-31's we have worked with, we used a 2:1 halyard and were able to use the screachers close hauled  to about 12 knots apparent, before luff sag caused the boat to point lower than with the genoa attached to the headstay. I think, given the area of the screacher on your boat, the LSP Pen 60 should be adequate. If you have the 2:1 halyard for the screacher and want to carry it in more than 12 knots apparent, then maybe we should look at the LSP Pen 90.
Quickly, the way of looking at the differences between polyester (dacron), Pentex, and Kevlar (aramid), is that polyester has a relative stretch of 100, Pentex is 250, and Kevlar is about 800. On the other side, Kevlar has bend / break flex issues, polyester and Pentex almost none at all . Kevlar is also susceptible to UV degradation, polyester and Pentex much less so.
The Dimension CZ 30 you were quoted, is designed for a Code Zero application, which is more of a close reaching sail and doesn't have the bias (45 deg.) strength that is needed for close hauled loading. The close hauled loading will cause the draft to move aft in the sail, thus the sail will develop less power and be more difficult to sail to.
Once you ease off to a reach, both materials will work well. I think that the LSP Pen 60 will have better tear strength than the CZ 30."
I asked where the sails were made, Philippines and China.  "Great," I said, "the land of not quite right and dubious."  Scott went to great lengths to explain how the shops were ISO 9000 certified and quality sails were being made.  This sail would probably be made in the PI.

I went with the Neil Pride/Rush Sails.  To be delivered 3-4weeks.  I told him we would probably be in South Sound.  He said no problem, he would deliver where ever we were.

Sunday, 9June, 2013: Fox Cove to Skyline

Weather:  Gray to sunny.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  <1ft.

Departed Fox Cove and continued our tour of Sucia.  Having seen Fossil Bay during our walk about, we skipped past the entrance and made for Echo Bay via the channel between North and South Finger Islands.  Echo Bay is huge compared to the rest of the anchorages around Sucia.  Reputed to have good holding, we know we could go there.  We exited via the channel on the south side of South Finger Island.  There were quite a few boats anchored in this channel.

Mostly a motor home.  Did pick up some SW wind in Rosario and beat home at 6kts.  Great fun watching a lot of boats motor while we sailed!

Saturday, 8June, 2013: Roche Harbor to Fox Cove, Sucia Island

Weather:  Grey to sunny.  Winds:  0.  Seas:  Flat.

Woke again to Kelly asking, "Where to today?"  Love that gal!

Wanted to explore, go someplace new.  Had heard nice things about Sucia, so lets go there.  If we don't find something interesting/available there, we can continue home.

It was a motor, out Roche, east out of Spieden, NE in President Channel to Sucia.  Had intended to motor around the island, looking into all the bays and coves, just to see what was there.  First looked into, but did not enter, Shallow bay and there were a lot of boats there.  Continued into the channel between Little Sucia and Sucia to Fox Cove.  Only 1 of 4 buoys occupied in this quiet little cove!  We took one and did not move on.

First time on a mooring ball for the dogs and they did not know what to make of it.  Their barks are probably still echoing off the cliffs there.  Our mooring harness had more drag than the boat did and the boat kept bumping up against buoy, setting the dogs off again.  So I rigged a drag anchor using a bucket and line.  Tossed it off the back and the slight current dragged us away from the buoy.

Whilst the cove was calm, from the mooring buoys inward, the current in the channel ripped.  A kayaker came by and told us this was a great place unless there was a SE wind and then it would get bad.  Probably why no one was there as we found Fossil Bay crowded when we walked the dogs.  Dinghy ashore was easy with a big, wide beach!

Sunset was behind Little Sucia.  The boat on the north buoy however, had a full view and kept commenting how beautiful it was as they sipped their wine.  North buoy noted.

Next morning, got the fly rod out and toured the cove in the dinghy.  No luck, but it was fun!  Got back to Strider, retrieved the dogs and walked them along the south side cliffs.  Someone had hung from a shore side tree, a wind chime made from driftwood, shells, stones and line found on the beach.  I wondered if Katya had been there.  Rounding the corner, outside the cove, someone had made a 4ft tall driftwood stick man.  Really:  Had Katya been there?

Friday, 7June, 2013: Fisherman Bay to Roche Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  S 20.  Seas:  2-3ft.

Woke this morning and Kelly asked, "Where to today?"  Small craft advisories and strong S winds and seas dictated a northerly transit:  Roche Harbor!  Motored out of Fisherman Bay at low tide, following the rules.  Apparently there is a rock near the exit on the west side of the channel as we struck something, popping the centerboard.  RT said he had come to a standstill one day hitting something there.

Once out, raised the genoa only and made 7.5kts on a nice sled ride.  Following seas are great!  Winds declined as we entered Spieden Channel and were zero as we motored into Roche.

Once again, on the dock (this place is expensive) but since it was one of the first excursions of the year and we had the dogs, on the dock was ok.  Backed into the slip, misjudging the turn a tad early and narrowly missing a stern/dock kiss as the chicklet on the dock nudged Strider out.

While not a favorite place, Roche Harbor is nice.  Dog walking is easy with a lot of things to see.  Chandlery there is not expensive (Power Stove $20 less than at Fisherman Bay).

Thursday, 6June, 2013: Friday Harbor to Fisherman Bay

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  SW 10-15.  Waves:  1-2ft.

A short jaunt across San Juan Channel to Fisherman Bay so we motored deeming the effort to raise sails not worth it.  Entry through the channel was uneventful, though tight.  Thought to anchor out, but the bay is chock full of mooring buoys not allowing much swing room.  Further, the winds were gusting strongly through the bay.  Decided to use the dock at Island Marine Center.  End tie so we did not fold.

Walked the dogs the mile into Lopez Village and grabbed some ice cream.  Had my M hat on and the proprietor of the Bay Cafe asked if we had brought in the trimaran flying the M flag!  Turns out his wife attended another B1G school and noticed the flag on our way in!  Met quite a few people from a week long tour based out of Friday Harbor on a day trip to Lopez.  Previously they had been to Orcas.

Used the good showers at IMC.  Walking the dogs in the evening was interesting as there were a lot of rabbits getting the dog's attention.  Purchased a Power Stove, 65,000 btu stainless steel propane burner at the IMC store.  Found the same burner for $20 less at Roche the next day....

This was an OK place overall.  I understand it is a zoo during the summer weekends.  Don't think I'd go back there though, all the mooring buoys create a problem.  What I don't understand is a private mooring buoy in public water.  Can an unoccupied buoy be used?

Wednesday, 5June, 2023: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Variable.  Seas:  <1ft.

Typical San Juan sailing, sailed when able, motored when we had to.  Thatcher Pass to Upright Channel and across San Juan Channel to Friday Harbor.  Had winds across Rosario and made 6kts on the main and genoa.  No winds after until Upright Channel.  15kts up the channel and we tacked SW making 7.5kts.  Winds died as we crossed San Juan Channel and we motored to Friday Harbor.

Brought the dogs with us this time.  Enjoyed walking them around town.  Visited one of Kelly's favorite stores, the Pelindaba Lavender Farms store in Friday Harbor.  Lavender shortbread cookies!

Monday, 27May, 2013: Poulsbo to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Calm to SE 25.  Seas:  <1ft.

Interesting day and interesting with all its connotations.

Started calm, with the tide and a boring motor making 7-8kts with a 2-3kt current.  An uneventful ride to Port Townsend then a SE (off shore) wind started to pick up.  The main and centerboard were already up so the screacher was unfurled.  Broad reach turned beam reach by boat speed.

5kts.

6kts.

7kts.

8kts.

30min later, 9kts by Point Partridge.

10kts and still increasing.  With no reefs in the main, decided to bring the screacher down in favor of the genoa.  Made a mistake....  Should have blanketed the screacher with the genoa before attempting to furl.  The stress was too much and the sail shredded along a couple seams.  Damn and a lot of noise!  The genoa was unfurled (too late for the screacher).  Kelly took the helm and turned us more into the wind.  I went forward and managed to stuff the wreckage into a hatch.  All the while making 8kts, depowered, in a close reach!  Since it was an off shore wind, the wind waves were only about 6in!

Once again at the helm, we made for home, quickly accelerating.

8kts.

10kts.

12kts.

We entered Burrows Bay at a sustained 14kts, full main and genoa!  We had previously had momentary excursions to 15kts and have sustained 12kts for 10min or so.  Off Harrisville, MI, we sustained 11kts for a couple hours.  But this was new and we were moving!  Spray was flying off the downwind port ama, to the point I could not see it at times!  All the while, the ama bow was only down about half way - no problem!  It was fun doing speed/distance/time calculations and realizing we would be home lickity split!  Can you tell I'm still excited?

NAS Whidbey flew by (pun intended).  Deception Pass disappeared (historical reference intended).  14kts boat speed GPS, 20kts apparent wind speed in a beam reach.  25kts actual wind was a broad reach.  Perfect!  Finally got a chance to see our planing wake!

Once in Burrows Bay, we tucked in behind the east side cliffs and dropped the main in the lee and sailed under the genoa only to the marina entrance where we furled and motored in.  Winds inside were moderated and mooring was uneventful.

What a ride!

Aftermath:  Took the screacher to a local maker and it was pronounced DOA.  The seams could have been repaired, but there was a lot of delamination, the polyester had stretched causing the mylar to delaminate.  "I like to use this sail a lot."  "I know," he said, "your signature is all over it."  Got a bid from him.

Lesson Learned:  Blanket the screacher or spinnaker with the genoa.

23-27May2013: Poulsbo!

Weather:  Mostly cool with sun breaks.

For the second straight Memorial Weekend, hooked up with RT, Merry Margret and Emma in Poulsbo!  This is a good rendezvous spot for us, about 5hrs for him, but a bit longer for us.  Since they are constrained by girl-in-school and girl-on-swim-team (Emma's Indian names), we give them the shorter distance.  Weather this year was not as nice as last, but still a wonderful place to be.

Brought the dogs with us this time.  The knuckleheads like to awaken at sunrise and it is early this time of year.  Fortunately, Sluys Bakery is open early and I could get a tasty treat while walking them (Viking Cup)!

Did not go out to dinner this time, but extensively tested RT's new grill (worked great).  Did a bunch of newly discovered boat maintenance.  Found many of the plastic bearing in the blocks had deteriorated when the main halyard block was discovered to busted and it was swapped out with a lesser used block off the preventer.

Got hauled up the mast to lube and apply di-electric grease to the wind instruments and VHF antenna.


Thursday, 23May2013: Skyline to Poulsbo

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  <1ft.

1300 departure with enough west wind to make 7kts initially under genoa and main.  Approaching Admiralty Inlet, winds died and we managed to stay under the convergence zone all the way to Poulsbo.  A motoring day.  Kept getting strong south wind reports from RT throughout the day as he had a great sled ride to Poulsbo, "Strong winds in Liberty Bay."  Until we arrived.  Granted, docking was easy, but a boring motor.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Friday, 19April2013: Anacortes to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and cool.  Winds:  SE 5-10.  Seas:  <1ft.

April weather slowed the bottom job, but Strider was finally released!  While in the yard, the lower end of the centerboard was sanded narrower and the centerboard now fully retracts.  In the past, it would retract leaving about 6in below the hull.  More than once, we had retracted it too far and it stuck.  Sometimes it was colorful removing the salon table (20 screws) to force the centerboard down.  No more!

Amongst the tasks accomplished during the layup was correcting after finding the reef lines were not routed properly inside the mast - this was after I had pulled the 1st reef line out accidentally.  Whilst trying to re-rig it, the line entered the mast via a block in vicinity of the boom, but then where?  Straight to the deck did not appear correct as the line rubbed the mast fitting.  There is a stainless steel plate riveted to the front side of the mast, directly forward of the entry block.  Could there be another set of blocks here?  Sure enough!  I monkeyed around with various techniques to thread the line through the forward block and did...but something did not feel right.  After screwing around some more, I finally drilled out the rivets and pulled the block set out.  I had accomplished the first reef threading, but through the starboard block and not the port block as it should have been.  Starboard belonged to the second reef line, but no line!  It entered the mast and went straight to the deck, bypassing the forward block and chaffing in too many places.  I rerouted both lines, lubed the blocks and re-riveted the forward block using aluminum rivets vice the original stainless.  There appeared to be galvanic corrosion between the mast and the original rivets so I used aluminum rivets figuring it was easier to replace aluminum rivets corroded by the stainless block plate than a mast corroded by stainless rivets.

Results?  Reefing had never been easy, too much binding/effort.  Now?  None!  Very easy to reef!

Motored out of the Anacortes Marina, encountering a couple kayakers, a couple harbor seals resting on the breakwater and a powerboat coming up our stern.  Once out in Fidalgo Bay, raised main and genoa and had a nice sail out of the bay into Guemas Channel and a port beam reach.  Wind died around Washington Park and we motored home.

Nice day on the water with Kelly!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunday, 24March, 2013: Skyline to Anacortes

Weather:  Sunny and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable (NW-ish).  Seas:  Calm.

Delivery of Strider to Marine Servicenter for a bottom job.

Richard, a Brit dock neighbor, had just returned from wintering (summering) in Australia and wanted to get out on the water.  The two of us hopped aboard Strider and got underway, sailing initially under main and genoa.  After chasing the wind for 1.5hrs, we gave up around the Anacortes Ferry landing and motored to Fidalgo Bay where the wind picked up again!  Then sailed to the entrance of the Anacortes Marina.

Entry in was uneventful and we tied off at MSC's fuel dock in anticipation of a lift on Monday.  Jude, Richard's Aussie wife, picked us up and delivered us back to Skyline.  G'day!

Winter 2012-2013: Projects: Bottom Paint

Really wasn't much after the big upgrades last winter.

The electronics are just fine.

The sails are just fine.

The batteries, solar etc upgrades are doing great!  I hook up to shore power in the winter only to run a 115v space heater to keep the moisture/condensation down.

The waste hoses concerned me.  RT has had several masserator pump failures, the combo salt/waste corrodes the stainless steel pump head bolts.  Further, the Dragonfly is reputed to have problems with the holding tank rotting.  To date, the holding tank flexes (whomp sound) when pumped so it is still solid.  The hoses are also original, but of high quality.  Further, Strider was in fresh water and Fred hardly ever used the head (easy to see why and hence the upgrade last winter).  I pulled one of the hoses and found it to still be in great shape.  I did replace it with a 1.5in PVC hose - which actually fits better than the original.

Interior is in great shape - just need to keep it clean, wood oiled and leather treated.

Exterior always needs polishing.  Found Flitz works great!

Replaced the ratty main and genoa sheets, genoa traveler lines.  Also got a bottom job.

Strider had Interlux VC17 on her when purchased.  The previous owner put her on the hard every winter and added a coat of VC17 in the spring prior to launch.  During our travels last summer, I noticed some of the paint was flaking off, exposing paint layers underneath.  Too many layers!  Further, algae beards grew very quickly in the marina, 2-3ft in a couple weeks!  VC17 is a slick racing paint, but does not handle long term exposure to salt water.  Made for fresh water....

It was difficult combing through all the product literature and culling the unacceptable.  Interlux or Pettit?  Micron CF W/Biolux/Econea or Trinidad SR.  Liked the colors available with the Micron, but decided on the Trinidad SR.

From the product info:

"Trinidad SR is a hard, protective paint that yields the most durable finish for long-lasting performance that still allows for easy burnishing. It can be applied over most hard antifouling coatings. Be sure to remove old, soft antifouling paint before applying to any surface. Excellent adhesion to fiberglass, wood and steel hulls, but do not use on aluminum.
Trinidad SR is the standard by which all bottom paints are measured. It remains the longest lasting, strongest antifouling paint available. Utilizing the dual biocide combination of a high copper load and slime resistant Irgarol, Trinidad SR provides unprecedented resistance to all fouling. Its hard protective coating has excellent adhesion, and withstands the toughest abuse. Left in the water, it will provide years of dependable service. So effective it earned Practical Sailor’s "Gear of the Year" honors twice."
 Red, Black, Green (yah, right):  Blue (lightish, but could work...)

Skip at Marine Servicenter was very patient and helpful!

The Day After Early November, 2012: Friday Harbor to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast, rain and cold.  Wind:  Occasionally S.  Seas:  <2ft.

Last sail of the year!

Motored out of the marina and headed south through Cattle Pass.  Once into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, we sailed a bit, but mostly motored all the way home.  Disappointing.

Still, the new enclosure was great!  Put the t-top on the windward side and stayed dry and warm inside!

Topped off the fuel at Skyline and put her to bed for the winter...sniff.

Early November, 2012: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Sorry, not sure of the date....

Joe, now living in Alaska, came into town and I offered to take him out to San Juan Island so he could visit his siblings.  Predicted weather was to be rough:  Winds SE 20-25 with 2-3ft seas and rain.  Definitely out of my comfort zone and therefore, a challenge!  Kelly would not like it, but Joe would.

The weather did not materialize and we timed our entry through Cattle Pass at slack.  Something I did not know is Steller sea lions winter over in the San Juans and Cattle Pass is crowded with them, lounging on the rocks on the Whale and Mummy Rocks on the east side.

Motoring through the Pass, we were trailed by a sea lion for about 10min, about 15ft behind us.  I noticed him, I'm guessing a him as it was HUGE, when I kept hearing an exhalation.  I finally looked back and saw this brute.  He continued to follow us.  I wondered why.  Joe stated it might be because we almost ran over him.  Joe had seen him off the bow, but did not alter course.  I would not have also.  Could it have pissed it off?  After 10min, he had apparently had enough and departed after an awesome display.  Once again, this is a huge animal and only 15ft behind us.  As we watch, he submerged and then leapt completely out of the water, made a smooth entry back into the water and then immediately leapt back out of the water and another smooth entry and then we did not see it any more.  Really, really cool.

Friday Harbor was nearly empty and we did not need to fold for a slip.  Apparently we impress some other boaters in the marina with Strider's maneuverability, one asked if we had twin engines!

That evening, Joe and I had dinner at his sister's with one of his brothers.  After, I was dropped off at the boat while he went to his brother's for the night.  I had a pleasant night on the boat!

Mid October, 2012: Attempt to Sucia

Weather:  Scattered clouds and cool.  Winds:  NW 15-20kts.  Waves:  2-3ft.

Not sure of the date.

Attempted to go to Sucia Island and would have made it but for an equipment failure, more like a failure on my part to ensure all the equipment was ready.

Exiting Skyline, sailed west under main and genoa to Rosario Strait and then north between Blakely and Cypress Islands at 6kts.  Winds and waves at this point were comfortable enough not to have a reef in.  Rounding Lawrence Point, the east end of Orcas, the full brunt of the wind and waves hit.  Put a reef in the main and genoa and made 8kts.

Just west of Barnes Island, there was a CRACK...from starboard, the windward side.  Nothing seemed out of place, but things just don't go CRACK.  I kept looking, particularly with these strong winds, there was a lot of stress on the rig.  Finally found the source:  The captive pin on a D shackle had released.  This was the lowest shackle, holding the running backstay tensioner to the ama.  The shackle was bent wide open, the pin was still there, holding onto the block.  The other end of the shackle was jammed into the ama fitting.

All seemed stable.  If it failed completely, the rig would not go over the side as the tensioner was only the tensioner, the rest of the stainless backstay was in place.  Sure, the rig would list badly, but not fall over.  Still, a lot of pressure on that side.  Motoring to Sucia, in these winds and waves, would have been insane.  Still plenty of daylight.  No spare.  What would tomorrow be like?  So, with Sucia in sight, we did a 180 and headed home.  A much nicer ride downwind!

Back in Rosario, between Blakely and Cypress Islands, the wind died and we motored the rest of the way home.  Even though a motor, the weather was great and the sun shown to the west.  Very pleasant, with auto engaged, sitting up on the bow, enjoying the moments with Kelly!

Lesson Learned:  Safety wire all the captive pins and shackles.