Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tuesday, 7July2015: Port Townsend to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  0.  Waves:  Flat

Awakened at 0515 by a neighboring engine.  Slack tide was right now.  Since I was now wide awake and the tides dictated leaving soon or have to wait until 1100, I got up, adjusted the waterstays after they had been stressed the day before and we were underway by 0630...a little behind the tides/currents.

Initially, caught a nice eddy pushing us north towards Point Wilson at 6kts.  At Point Wilson, encountered rips.  Fortunately, they were not the big washing machine kind and they just slowed us to 3kts.  Pushed through, angling towards Partridge Point on Whidbey Island.

Encountered more rips and oceanic swells off Partridge Point...along with harbor porpoises!  Made it through the rips and the northbound flood started pushing towards home.  By the entrance to Burrows Bay, we were making 6.5kts!  Encountered a strong cross current at the entrance to Skyline, requiring a large crab.

Went straight to the fuel dock, fueled and folded while Kelly walked the dogs.  Cracked the homecoming beer at 1200.

Overall, slow going.  21nm in 5.5hrs.  Tides have been 10ft or 2ft with the current, huge, full moon.  The morning one has been the big one.  Got lucky on last Thursday's trip and was able to ride well.  Not so lucky on this trip.

Monday, 6July2015: Gig Harbor to Port Townsend

Weather:  Sunny and warm turning overcast and cool.  Winds:  S 0-10 becoming N 10-15 gusts to 20.
Waves:  Flat becoming 1-2ft.

After adjusting the waterstays (becoming a theme) and clearing the boat, departed Gig Harbor around 0930 to catch the northbound ebb.  Motored out and briefly sailed under the genoa alone to the Colvos.  Motored to the north end of Vashon Island and was able to sail again under the genoa only. 

Intended to go to Bell Harbor Marina in downtown marina setting us up for an easy jaunt to Elliot Bay Marina to pick up a watermaker Tuesday morning.  Just east of Blake Island, called the retailer and found out the device had not been shipped and probably would not arrive until Wednesday or Thursday.  We decided to skip downtown and pressed towards home.  Wind died and we motored along, around 6kts with the current.

Arrived at Kingston around 1430 and since it was early, decided to press on, perhaps Port Townsend as there are not a lot of places to pull over between Kingston and Port T.  Vicinity of Point No Point, winds had picked up and we were working hard against the flood current.  Made 2.5kts around Point No Point.  Wind waves were starting to hit us making things more difficult.  Angled towards Foulweather Bluff at the entrance to the Hood Canal, unfurled the genoa, stabilizing Strider and motor sailed at 6.5kts!

Briefly furled the genoa and motored around Foulweather Bluff.  Once around continued the bash towards Oak Bay Park.  As we got protected by Indian Island, the wind calmed and we motored towards what we thought was the park.  Indeed, we had found the place, but the water was so full of algae and crud (technical term), we decided to press on, through the Port Townsend Canal, towards Fort Flagler Marine State Park.

Once into the bay, the wind and chop hit us again in the face.  Motoring around the Indian Island Naval Facility, we could see a couple of the park buoys were occupied, but more importantly, the wind seemed to be blowing straight into the anchorage.  Since the distance to Point Hudson Marina was roughly the same as to the park, we decided to go to Point Hudson where the wind was generally moderated.

Due to the rough waves outside, did not fold until inside the marina.  Got inside and the real difficulty began.  There were several open slips, including a perfect one where we would not have to fold.  All but one had 'reserved' signs.  Attempted to back into one with the wind blowing us off.  Gooned it and ended up on the neighboring boat fending off our boat.  Said the heck with it and made a smooth landing on the 'Do Not Moor Here' pump out station.  It was now 2000, a long day and WTF?

Tired, we took the dogs for a walk and treated ourselves to Elevated Ice Cream.  Hit the rack around 2130.

A long day.  Should probably just bit the bullet and anchored in Oak Bay.  Once back home, called Point Hudson and spoke with a nice lady.  I asked what is the policy regarding reserved signs:  Such as after 2000 they are no longer reserved?  She stated normally the reserved signs meant something, but not currently.  She was doing the normal work of 4 people and with the adjacent RV park, just could not get down to the docks to pull any signs.

I also got a bit frustrated with the boat owners in the marina.  Several stopped what they were doing and watched us fold and attempt to moor, but not came to help us get into the first slip.  Yes, an indictment.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunday, 5July2015: Blake Island to Gig Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm to hot.  Wind:  N 5-10 gusts to 15.  Waves:  1ft.

Since the wind was northerly and we were headed south, rigged the spinnaker before departure.  Checked the waterstays and adjusted since the boat wakes had compressed the fibers - slackening them.  Departed around 1000 with a sailing start.  Started the engine just in case, but released off Freestyle and let the wind pushed us clear and aft.  Did a Y turn and popped the spinnaker, heading south at 5kts.  The wind died at the north end of the Colvos and I was nearly temped to start the engine, but saw a breeze building to the south.  Also, Freestyle had wind to the NW of us.  RT, also did a sailing start - said he was goaded into it!

So, waited a bit while Freestyle caught up and then the wind picked up and we were off at 6.5kts.  After having done a light wind gybe solo, I thought I could handle one with a stronger wind.  Completely gooned it and twisted the sail in the middle.  Socked it and completed the gybe.  During this time, Freestyle closed half the is a fast boat!  Strider gained some and then came time for another gybe...and once again, gooned it.  Socked it and completed the gybe.  During this 5 minutes of fiddling around, Freestyle closed half the distance once again.  Damn fast boat.  Did one other gybe but socked it first (maybe I can learn something).

Sailed to nearly the harbor entrance, socked the spinnaker and motored in.  Kelly did a fine job avoiding kayaks, powerboats, small sailboats and other hazards moving around the harbor.  We motored to the far end of the bay, just looking around while waiting for our floating dock to arrive.  Freestyle arrived and dropped their hook just off Arabela's Landing.  Fenders were already over the side and we motored right up, tied off and opened a beer...two of mine since RT had drank all his...seems I'm always bailing out my little brother.

Enjoyed the busy Gig Harbor boat show:  Near collisions, big boats attempting to get into a slip, clueless kayaks and the occasional dinkus making wakus in the no wake zone and then making dumb ass excuses.  Watched the kids jump into the water once gain, at least this time it was 63 degrees.  Entertaining!

A pleasant evening eating mozzarella a caprese and left over chicken:  Perfect for the hot day!  The wind scoop was great at keeping the boat cool.  Slept well!

2-5July2015, Blake Island

Weather:  Sunny and hot!  Wind:  Calm to N@10-15.  Waves:  Flat except for wakes.

Anchored on the east side of Blake Island State Park for the 4th of July holiday.  From the east side, we had a tremendous view of Vashon Island to the south, and from Tacoma all the way north of Seattle.  Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle were clearly visible.  Impressive view and a great place to watch fireworks without the boom and bang to scare the dogs.

Thursday evening, after tying to a mooring buoy and walking the dogs ashore, taking care to avoid the abundant deer and raccoons, we settled into a nice, quiet sleep.  Early Friday morning, the dogs got us up and we took them ashore for their morning constitutions, once again, avoiding the deer and raccoons.  The dogs would have loved to chase the critters.  The deer would have outrun them and we probably would have lost our little girl in the woods since she does not know when to call it quits and come back.  Though the dogs think they are tough, the raccoons would have torn them to shreds.  Still, once sighted, the dogs would set off a caterwaul to wake the dead.  We tried to keep them quiet and let the campers sleep.

The island had more tent campers than we had seen before, but it was only the beginning.  By Saturday night, the NE corner of the island was nearly packed.  One of the park employees stated there was even a special ferry coming out, depositing more people just for the fireworks.

After breakfast, while still calm, I adjusted the waterstays.  Later, after other boats were moving about, Kelly hoisted me up the mast to retrieve the errant spinnaker halyard.  It was not as easy as I thought it would be.  The passing boat's wakes made life up the mast difficult.  At one point, I could see a set of big ones coming and I called for Kelly to hurry up about 3 more feet so I could stand on the spreaders and hold on.  But, got the halyard down!

RT, MM and Em arrived aboard Freestyle about 1130 Friday having rode the tide from Gig Harbor.  They tied off of Strider and then, since Freestyle weighs 27,000 pounds and Strider only 5,100 pounds, the mooring buoy was transferred to Freestyle.

Spent the next couple days comparing notes, telling lies er embellishing stories, watching Em and her friend Andrew jump into the 55 degree water (kids are insane), watching RT deplete his beer store.  Found a way to turn a hanging chair and a hammock into wind scoops.  Played with white tarps as sunshades...if Washington state can have blue tarp campers then it can have white tarp sailors!  The combination aft tarp and wind scoop kept Strider very comfortable.  Saturday, Em and Andrew fished in earnest and caught enough rock sole, augmented by 5 rock crab, to make a meal!

Saturday evening...great place to watch the fireworks.  The view, as mentioned above, was panoramic.  Once the sun was down and dusk nearly over, the fireworks began and did not really end...though most were over by 2300.  The display from the Federal Way/SeaTac area was consistent and long term leading us to believe we were seeing individual and not city fireworks.  Tacoma's was probably the longest large display and was quite lovely.  Seattle's, while spectacular, was very short.

Thursday, 2July2015, Skyline to Blake Island

Weather:  Sunny and warm!  Winds:  N 0-10  Waves:  <1ft

Moved aboard Wednesday night to get an early start to catch the tide on Thursday.

Thursday morning, moored for 30 minutes at the fuel dock to check the waterstay tension.  Adjusted them and we motored out around 0830.  Hooked a right into the Burrows Channel taking advantage of the westbound ebb.  Turned south in Rosario and the southbound ebb bumped us up to 7kts!  Wind picked up some and the main and genoa were set.  Wind died after an hour and we were back to motoring.

Hugged Partridge Point on Whidbey Island at the eastern entrance to the San Juan Strait to avoid the normal rips at Point Wilson.  Entered Admiralty Inlet with a slight ebb slowing us to 4kts.  We were off Port Townsend at slack.  Soon, a strong southbound flood had us moving fast again.

North wind started to pick up around 1300 and I thought to take advantage and raise the spinnaker.  Nearly to the top, the pelican hook lanyard caught on something up high on the genoa furler and the spinnaker dropped to the deck with a bang.  Fortunately, most of the spinnaker was on the deck and only about 15ft was in the water.  Pulled it out and set it on the nets.  Problem now was the the spinnaker halyard was up the mast and impeded the unfurling of the genoa.  I thought to lower the main and use the main halyard to go up and get it.  Kelly talked me out of it.  Frustrating to see the sailboats actually sailing and we were motoring.  Found a solution by furling and unfurling the genoa, each time slightly getting more slack in the spinnaker halyard.  Finally, the halyard dropped free of the furler and we were able to use the genoa!  The halyard though, was still at the top of the mast....

Sailed for about 2hrs, gybing back and forth under the main and genoa, staying in the southbound current, making 6.5kts.  Winds died off Kingston and we were back to motoring.  Arrived Blake Island State Park east side mooring buoys around 1900.  2 of 5 buoys were available and we took the middle one, the one closest to shore.

62 miles in 10 hours.  Not too bad.  Liked to have done it sailing, but after the spinnaker halyard goat rope, Strider was limited to the heavier weight sails, just not practical for the light winds.

We encountered several large ships, including a US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Momsen DDG-92 and several other powerboats creating large wakes.  These wakes caused concern as the waterstays were stressed and slackened, still 'stretching'.  The material is not really stretching, but being pulled into position, kind of like getting the air out.  Still, there was no unexposed place to pull over and tighten them.  So, the hinges, particularly the port side, took the brunt of the forces.  Waterstay tension will need to be monitored and adjusted for quite some time.