A Travellerspoint blog

New Plan

overcast 56 °F

Sunday, June 10, 2018

It's simply a matter of the numbers. We have been trying to break the trip into 40 nm chunks. Figure six knots for about seven hours; getting under weigh and mooring at night fill out the minutes. That's a full day, since I am at the helm for almost all of those hours, in the sun, in the wind, in the rain, no sitting down. Seven hours is a full day for me.

So, to go north would have required at least one ten hour day, or a day and a half. Then we would need those days and several more to get back to Bellingham Harbor. It was a close call even as a planning exercise; having lost the days in Pender Harbour it became impractical, no way to make the numbers work.

We got under weigh at about 0600. It looked like a dark and stormy morning. Well, maybe, but maybe not. There doesn't seem to be any strong correlation between the ominous sky index and the actual weather. This was the sky to the west as we left Egmont Harbour. I have a working hypothesis about rain in these parts. It's fairly simple: if a cloud has a light colored bottom ... no rain; if it has a dark bottom you will get wet. This theory is supported by all the available data points.

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As we went into the channel this was the view over the stern. Passing through Agamemnon Channel there were two massive sets of power transmission lines. Since there is little population to the north, these most probably power Vancouver. Best guess is some hydroelectric dam to the north. The chart showed over 30 meters of clearance, but these things always make me nervous. The downside risk of being wrong is enormous. When we were boat shopping in 2007 saw a boat we liked until the due diligence brought out that it had hit a power line. Zero interest.

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As we exited the channel into open water, we saw, actually we didn't see, Pender Harbour under this small cloud.

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I think that I am going to have a small regret about not getting all the way north. The combination of mountains, sky and water is literally awesome, as in inspiring awe. The Sunshine Coast as we cruised west (irony intended).

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As we rounded Texada Island, there was a very low cloud on the water; no rain. The sun hit it just right to show a partial rainbow which lasted quite a few minutes,

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The weather forecast was the same one that had been issued for several days: winds 5 to 15 knots in late morning, picking up later in the day. So, it sounded like time to get back on the horse. Using Sprague's rules, not the owner's, we gingerly got the mainsail ready to hoist. One of the things that is as basic as oxygen on a sailboat it to put the boat in irons, i.e. point and keep the bow directly into the wind. Pretty hard to get sails up and down without mastering this basic skill. This usually is not hard to do; there are tools to tell you how you're doing. Except, big exception, none of them are working on the boat. The Raymarine wind instrument is dead; the windex on the mast is a mess. So, today I piloted the boat through this exercise and Carol provided the muscle. Much better result ... certainly not a flawless, well oiled machine, but adequate.

It was good to have done this because seeing the mainsail fully deployed I was able to grok how it works. Pretty simple once you get it. We waited an hour for the wind, not making enough way to put enough water over the rudder to control steerage. Then it freshened, a little and we began to move. After a while it picked up again, and it felt like sailing, the boat heeled at a modest angle. We ended up making five to six knots, good enough for the wind that we had, although without the Raymarine wind instrument, we have know idea about wind speed other than reading the surface of the water. Prior to the trip I was reading Dana's Two Years Before the Mast for the umpteenth time. It seemed like good preparation for our Two Weeks Before the Mast. They figured all this stuff out without any electronics. So, how wimpy are we?

All of this got me to thinking about boats and sailors. This is a sailing boat, built and equipped the get the last fraction of a knot from the sails. We were not sailors, we were cruisers who sailed. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but I will beg to differ. Cruisers get the point of sail right, have to do that. They will make some sail trim adjustments, but these are simple such as light winds, tight sheets. And if a cruiser is going 5.0 knots while a sailor is is making 5.2 knots with perfect sail trim, who cares. Sail trim only lasts a few minutes anyway until a new trim is required. A cruiser will sit back, we always have a way to sit, not stand, and relax. If a three day trip takes an extra hour and fortyseven minutes, not a problem; you arrive safely and that is the whole deal.

We arrived and moored in Nanaimo on Victoria Island by 1500 , traversing the entire not very wide width of the Salish Sea. Nanaimo is the second largest city on the island after Victoria. The new plan is to wend our way south through the Gulf Islands, which are Canadian, and get to the San Juan Islands, which are American and be in a good position to get back to Bellingham on June 19th.

It's a plan and will likely be less intense than what we were doing.

Posted by sailziveli 17:39 Archived in Canada

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