Friday, July 5, 2013

June 2012: Long Jaunt Preparation

Weather:  n/a

The month of June was spent prepping for our trip north into British Columbia's Desolation Sound and its fabled warm waters.

A new cockpit cover was built and installed for us by Tradewinds Canvas in Anacortes.  They used the original design as a base but modified it to our specifications.  More and larger windows being primary but also including a modified bimini along with larger, removable entry panels (the T-tops!).

We also decided this 5-7 week trip required a freezer, meat being expensive in marina areas but also ice cream was an essential!  An 43 quart Engel refrigerator/freezer was purchased.  With a few modifications, it fit into the forward space between the port settee and the table.  I did cut the forward half of the table off to make access to the opening top easier.

We also prepped the meat to go into it!  Dinners for two of pork chops, chicken, steaks and some sausages and burgers were frozen then vacuum sealed.  Garlic, salt, pepper and herbs such as rosemary, sage and lemon verbena were added to the chops and chicken before sealing.  This worked out really well.  In the late morning/early afternoon, we would pull a package and let it thaw and marinate in its own juices, herbs and spices.  Very convenient and tasty meals!

We knew there were markets available in most of the places we intended to go, including supermarkets in Sydney and Nanaimo, so we did not need to bring everything for the trip - just things we might miss or things really expensive.  So breakfast cereal, coffee, the meat mentioned above, snacks, pasta, rice and beer/soda.  Canned beer/soda is really convenient aboard.  The cans are light, don't break and once empty, are crushed into small size.  While canned soda is easy to find, I have a hard time finding canned beer I can drink.  Sorry Bud/Miller/Coors etc, I live in the PNW were not only are we coffee snobs, but beer snobs.  This is the land of micro-brews.  New Belgium is my favorite and in spite of my prompting, they do not can their beers.  However, Blue Moon, another Belgian style beer does do cans!  While some will argue Blue Moon is no longer a craft beer because it is owned primarily by a big company or because production is above the craft beer limit, it is still a Belgian style and I like it.  We stocked up on Blue Moon, Diet Mountain Dew and a smattering of Coke.

Continuing the anti-glass bottle theme from above, an alternate for wine in bottles was sought.   Known as boxed wine in the US, casked wine in Australia (thanks Richard and Jude), they are collapsible and the bladder prevents air from coming in, spoiling the wine.  Further, the bladders anc be removed from the box, placed in net bag and suspended in the cool water to chill!  Quite a few wines were sampled.  We found most white wines were OK:  pinot gris and sauvignon blanc and no particular brand as a favorite.  Reds on the other hand...yuk for the most part.  Found one, Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon as palatable, but only just.

No proper sailboat is complete without a bottle of rum.  Since the Captain Morgan's had been consumed in eggnog over Christmas, replenishment was required.  Pusser's came highly recommended, I mean, what sailor could resist this from the Pusser's website:

"Rum and the sea are inseparable, and no rum is more akin to the sea and the sailor than Pusser's Rum–the Original Navy Rum. For more than 300 years, from the earliest days of wooden ships and iron men, sailors of Great Britain's Royal Navy were issued a daily ration–or "tot"–of rum by the ship's "Purser" (corrupted by the sailors to Pusser's)."

Well, I couldn't and guess what?  It's good!  All I need now is a little ice.  Wait, there is a freezer!

Everything on the boat must have at least 2 purposes.  For instance, we found a collapsible salad spinner.  The inside, drain part doubles as a fruit basket, triples as a colander and quadruples as a dish drain.  The outside bowl doubles as a, well, bowl.

So what for ice?  We found Rubber Maid makes a 2oz container with lid.  Like the bases, the lids stack together for compact storage.  Further, the base of the container locks with the top of the tops.  A container like this is really useful holding butter, salad dressing etc.  But also for making ice.  A freezer is most stable when it is full.  So, once something is pulled out, the space is filled with one of these containers filled with water.  Ice!  The 2oz cube is abnormally large, but it fits well in a Tervis glass, lasts a long time and can be busted up pretty easily.

Lesson Learned:  Ice

Lesson Learned:  Pre-made meat dishes

Tuesday, 29May2012: Port Townsend to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Calm.  Seas:  Mirror.

Uninspiring motor to Skyline.  Timed the departure with the tide.  Did have to avoid the washing machine at Point Wilson, where the incoming and outgoing tidal flows slam into each other.  Moved east towards Fort Casey and went around it.

No wildlife spotted.  Like I said, uninspiring....

Monday, 28May2012: Poulsbo to Port Townsend

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  S 5 to zero ultimately NW 15-20.  Seas:  Calm becoming 2-3ft.

Strider inport Poulsbo with Captain's Mast

After a nice, warm weekend in Poulsbo and satisfying our Viking Cup (Sluys Bakery) needs, watching bald eagles fishing between the dock and sea wall (including roosting on Captain's Mast - poop on the boat, poop on the boat!) departed Poulsbo with the tide anticipating a push north.  With Kelly at the helm, departure was pretty, like we had done it before!  Motored out of Liberty Bay in company with Captain's Mast.  RT checked our radar signature, which was nearly zero, pointing out reflectors were needed.  Water balloons were exchanged!

Motored through Agate Pass, picking up a south wind in Port Madison and sailed @5kts under main and screecher.  Watched a bald eagle attempt to take a fish.  Attempting multiple grabs, the eagle nearly settled into the water like a goose before recovering and flying off!  Since this was within 150ft of the boat, it was quite a show.

Wind totally died as we exited Port Madison.  Motored until the wind started to build from the northwest, around Kingston.  Started sailing, tacking back and forth up the Sound.  Wind continued to build, along with some rain.  Reefed the main and as the wind fluctuated, reefed the genoa as required.  Managed 8-11kts with 12-26kt apparent winds and the reefed main provided a nice, stable ride!  Reef early, reef often!

Approaching Admiralty Inlet, 3ft wind waves, with a fetch from Victoria, made their appearance.  While Skyline was only a couple hours away, the day had been a long beat.  3ft waves would have only exacerbated the pounding and we decided to go into Port T and crossed Port Townsend at 7kts.  Once again, Kelly at the helm, entry into Point Hudson Marina was a coordinated and smooth effort.

Kelly deserved a dinner out and we hit Fin's Coastal Cuisine followed by Elevated Ice Cream.

Lesson Learned:  The convergence zone.  Now had first hand experience and recognized it.  The dead wind zone south of Kingston was the heart of it, could see the clouds were different.  Perhaps, in the future, I can take it into account and take advantage of it...somehow.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Friday, 25May2012: Skyline to Poulsbo

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

West winds 8-9kt early on allowing for a great reach to Admiralty Inlet.  Winds became southerly and we beat to Kingston.  Motored the rest of the way into Poulsbo with dinner underway grilling sausages as we crossed Port Madison.  Arrived in Poulsbo around 2030 and since we did not have the dogs, anchored out for the evening.

A several items of note:

First, a monohull was motoring directly south as we beat back and forth across the Puget Sound.  We were making 6-8kts.  Both of us kept the same VMG and crossed paths several times.  Strider would gain a little on one tack, loose a little on another.

Second was an encounter with a flotilla of northbound cruise ships.  The last, "Rhapsody of the Sea," was coming north fast, like it was late for something and started blasting its warning horn about 5 miles south of us.  Since we were crossing the southbound shipping lane on a westerly heading, we did not think much about it.  As the damn ship kept getting closer, its horn sounded more and more often.  Constant bearing, decreasing range and the law of gross tonnage dictated we change course.  Since we were motor/sailing it was not difficult.  Still, by rules of the road, Strider had the right of way (coming from the right and in the southbound lane).  Pissed me off and made a radio call on 16, "Way to go Rhapsody of the Sea.  Last I checked this is the southbound lane and you are northbound.  You are in the wrong lane."  I refrained from swearing.  Radio call went unanswered.

Third was our first encounter, and unrecognized, with the Puget Sound Convergence Zone.  Off shore, Pacific Ocean winds are split by the Olympic Mountains.  Those on the south side of the Olympics hook counterclockwise and enter as southerlies into the Puget.  Those winds split north, enter Admiralty Inlet as westerlies and hook clockwise into the Puget Sound.  Normally, these north and south winds meet somewhere and uplift, creating clouds and rain, usually in vicinity of Everette.  Usually, there is a dead zone where the CZ sets up.

In this case, west winds to Admiralty Inlet then becoming south was a hint.  Obviously, writing in hindsight it is easy to say it would be several more encounters before the lessons would sink in.

Tuesday, 15May2012: Roche Harbor to Skyline

Weather:  Cooler.  Winds:  S 10.  Seas:  <2ft.

Roche to Skyline via North Pass, Wasp Islands, south side Crane Island, Harney Channel to Thatcher Pass.  Sailed when we could, motored through the shadows.  Sailing in the San Juans is a challenge as the winds are not consistent, coming and going with each land mass.  Always something to do!  6kt beat across Rosario to home.  All in all, nice day!

Monday, 14May2012: Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor

Weather:  Hot and sunny.  Winds:  North 0-5kts.  Seas:  <1ft.

Started with a nice northerly breeze and we beat northwards, averaging 8kts and hitting 10 just before tacking NW at Lopez Island.  Winds dropped as we continued north.  Winds became NE and light entering Spieden Channel.  Broke out the spinnaker...need more practice.

Roche Harbor was unseasonably hot, but empty.  Moored at the transient dock and kept the amas out!  Kelly got to see the flag ceremony for the first time.  Because Qatar is sensitive to loud noises, I kept the dogs behind the grocery building while Kelly watched the ceremony.

Sunday, 13May2012: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  Variable with some good winds.  Seas:  <1ft.

A combination motor/sail to Friday Harbor via Lopez Pass, Lopez Sound, Spencer Spit, Upright Channel to San Juan Channel.  Nice winds allowed sailing when not in a wind shadow.  Had to motor through the shadows.

 In Friday Harbor.  Note the new sail cover and striping!
Nice sight seeing tour of the area and Friday Harbor was empty!  Kelly tripped on a dock cleat and went down hard.  Had dinner at Friday's Crabhouse.  Not bad.

Tuesday, 8May2012: Day Sail

Weather:  Cloudy with nice breeze.  Seas:  <1ft.

Prepping for a longer trip to Poulsbo over Memorial Weekend.  Just a nice excursion south through Burrows Bay to Williamson Rocks.  Easy sled ride home.

Amsteel for the ama in/out lines is working fine!