A Travellerspoint blog

A Boat Is not a Bicycle

sunny 60 °F

And, of course, it does not all come back to as soon as you jump aboard. However, I did avoid most of the obvious screw ups. We last moored our boat in September of 2013. Of the roughly 70 intervening months we have only 1 month on the water.

Carol awoke at 0500 and I was up by 0600. By 0700 we decided that we were ready to get underway, so we did. The boat was moored stern in, port side to, and there was a brisk breeze pushing the boat against the dock. Not the best circumstance but, we were early enough that there were not any spectators in the peanut gallery to heap obloquy on my never great and now much-attenuated boat handling skills. In the event, it went very well; larger boat, narrow fairway, no damage done, nothing to embarrass me. I'm a guy; performance matters; a solid 5 out of 10 and better than I expected.

About 30 minutes out the entire engine alarm system exploded with shrieking beeps and flashing red lights. Hay una grande problema! I shut down the engine immediately and had visions of the trip going down the tube and us being towed back to the marina. I checked the obvious stuff by tearing open the engine hatch: oil, OK; coolant, OK; v-belt, OK; raw water, OK. No obvious causes, which could be good, maybe a bubble in the raw water supply; maybe bad, a heat exchanger problem.

So, we re-started the engine and let it run at low RPM’s for a bit. After a while we got underway again without a repeat. Probably some transient issue.

Once we cleared into open water, we made pretty good time, averaging about 6.0 knots, maybe 6.7 mph. Good on a sailboat. This boat has a much bigger Yanmar engine that did ours; its physical mass is at least 50% larger and the write up says that the motor has 7-hp. For all of that, we did no better that we would have done in our boat which, I suspect, was much lighter.

Tried to sail a while in the morning; zip for wind, well under 5 knots, I estimate, because the anemometer does not work. Negative speed for wind is a difficult concept to grasp. The breeze, not wind, freshened a bit in the afternoon bit was still well under 10 knots, enough to help with motor but not enough to drive the boat unaided.

This boat has a brand new, as in just installed, Raymarine chart plotter; it has never been used. After having figured out how to enter way points into the system, yesterday, today I had to figure out how to access and use those way points. By 0930, after 2.5 hours of frustration, reading and re-reading the manual, I had the chart plotter configured exactly to my liking. I suppose it seems inflexible to be doing today what I first learned to do 10 years ago. However, on an unfamiliar boat in unfamiliar waters there is much to be said for going with what you know rather than adding another variable to the mix. Or, just maybe, I nailed it 10 years ago.

At about 1030 the boating gods intervened. We had planned to stay in Eggmont, a good starting point for traveling to Princess Louisa Falls. They were having some sort of Eggmont festival and there was no room at the inn. And, there are no particularly good anchorages in the vicinity. So, the best we could do was to stop at Pender Harbour, where we stayed a couple of days last year. This is not a real problem, but it does add about 1.5 hours to an already long day’s travel. And there is a target to hit: slack water is at 1813, a little after 6:00 pm. There may be a grace period of slack-ish water before the narrows become impassible to our vessel. Regardless, a tough day ahead even with an early start.

It felt good to be on the water again. There seems to be something satisfying for me, even below the visceral level, of standing at the helm of a sailboat and pointing the bow to open water. I have always had a passion for the sea since the days of my earliest childhood. I remember little about being young; I remember much about what I read, Moby Dick, Two Years Before the Mast, Treasure Island, Captains Courageous, and I remember some of my earliest experiences with the ocean. I know that my water days will pass; that just makes these few moments a little bit more deeply appreciated.

So, off tomorrow, out of Pender Harbour, through the Agamemnon channel and on to the Princess Louisa Passage, we hope.

Why do I use way points? This picture is what we saw as we approached the Agamennon Channel. The entrance is there, if you know to look behind one the islands. With way points it does not matter what you can see; it's all about what the GPS can tell you.
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Posted by sailziveli 16:08 Archived in Canada Tagged boats sea canada cruising sailboats salish

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