A Travellerspoint blog

Prideaux Haven, Laura Cove

sunny 68 °F

50 08.762N, 124 40.044W

Woke up Thursday morning; even groggy I noticed that the boat was pitching fore and aft. That had to mean wind. When I went topside the red and white maple leaf flags were extended nicely.

The Lund harbor is fairly small, not a lot of maneuvering room. Just as we started to move away from the pier, another boat entered the harbor. With the wind, at the time, on our beam it got a little dicey, but no damage was done.

After clearing the harbor to open water, stowing lines and fenders, we ran out the sails. I don’t know what the wind speed was, the anemometer problem again, but it was probably around 10-12 knots with some gusts. Out first point of sail was a close haul. With a modest wind I would not have guessed that this was going to be a “bury the rail” day, but it was. Burying the rail means heeling the boat over so far that the rail, the edge of the deck, is in or almost in the water, in this case more than 35o. Despite having done this many times, I was struck by how violent this can be. It is a physical struggle to hold the boat on the correct angle to the wind without going inside that line and losing speed. The boat heels over, tries to head up, and when a gust comes, it seems to want to break away in a new direction. It is fun for a while and seems to me to be the sailing experience distilled to its very essence. Having had that thrill, I decided that I had had enough; we adjusted the traveler, got the boat under better control and went on our way.

We were headed to Prideaux Haven, part of the Desolation Sound Marine Park. In straight line distance from Lund, maybe 8 miles. On the water, dodging islands and obstructions, no more that 20 miles. The wind was sailable for most of the trip with long reaches of several miles each. Finally, when our speed dropped below 2 knots the sails came in and the motor started. There are some die hard sailors here; many boats just kept trying to make headway under sail and were barely able to keep their sails filled.

We covered the last 3 miles quickly and arrived at the entrance to Prideaux Haven, a small cove. The entrance is very narrow but easy enough with these modern chart plotters. There were 4 boats already anchored there, but the was plenty of room for another. I drove around a bit to study the bottom, picked a place and told Carol to drop the anchor. I decided that I didn’t like that place and had Carol recover the anchor. In doing so, Carol figured out how to simultaneously blow the circuit breaker for the anchor windlass and, somehow, to get the chain out of the gypsy, jamming the anchor. It was rock solid.

This problem required me at the bow and Carol cannot maneuver a boat well in these close spaces. So, back out of the cove to deep water. I found the Lewmar circuit breaker; we had the same one on our boat so after a second of thought, resetting it came back to me. Then, get a winch handle to the windlass to loosen the gypsy; I did that and dropped maybe 40 feet of chain and anchor before re-tightening it. I recovered all the chain, but the anchor wouldn’t align; so, I hung over the bow with a boat hook to pull the 45-lb. Rocna into place.

And that was the high point of this edition of Anchoring Follies. It got worse. Generic anchoring is simple; point the bow into the wind and drop the hook. There was a good breeze though the cove and it was directly on our port beam. Sometimes the anchor would not set, an exercise in ups and downs; other times when it did set, the wind absolutely pushed the boat sideways, making it impossible to bring the stern into position for tying. And, we hadn’t even got to the point of bringing the dinghy into play. My plan was we that had eight more hours of daylight, and even if by accident we would get set.


Finally, two guys took pity in us and motored over in their dinghy and offered to help. Between the three of us we got an inelegant, but workable, solution. Was it successful? The boat was in the same place the next morning as it had been the previous evening. So, yes. Lesson learned; stern tied anchoring is no different from regular anchoring save for the line on the stern. The wind will have its way, sailor!

The past two evenings have been very pleasant and warm enough that we have had dinner in the cockpit. This evening, Friday, we watched a boat pull in and set about anchoring. We thought that this might be a good opportunity to “go to school.” So, we watched and waited until the food was almost cold, had dinner, cleared the dishes, had a bit of chocolate for dessert and they still were not completely done.


I had read that many anchorages have rings set into the rocks. That was, more or less, the case here. Except there was simply a chain and you thread the stern line through the links. The problem, at least for our instance, is that the line is so large relative to the hook that it does not easily balance in length. Had I known this, I would have brought a very large shackle, attached it to the chain and run the line through that; lot of free room to keep the lines equal in length.

It’s pretty here, but different from the awesomeness of Princess Louisa Inlet. The shore is line with trees, my guess is that they are spruce. There is no shoreline or beach, just rocks; the branches of the trees overhang the water. These islands are low, 100 – 200 feet high.


On Friday morning, day seven of the trip, the sky was cloudy. The clouds were thin, occasionally the sun would break through a hole, to disappear again as the clouds scudded by. The barometer is still above 30 inHg, fair weather, so maybe the clouds will pass.

By noon, the clouds had broken, and the sun was shining, warming everything nicely. This seemed the right time for a dinghy put-put about, so we did. The motor is stored on board with a very nice davit arrangement. The harness that holds the motor is a real problem. The motor should approximately vertical when being winched up and down. With this harness, 45o is pretty much the deal. That can be worked around. My fear is that the harness will give way and we will deep six the motor.

We tried to motor to Melanie Cove. The tide was low, and our first attempt put is in water too shallow to transit. So, we found a deeper passage and made over there. Big Surprise! Every boat there was swinging on a standard anchor; not a single stern tie in a couple of dozen boats. No regrets; we are wiser for our experience.

Most of yesterday at anchor and today were low intensity, a whole lot of doing not very much. Naps were taken; books were read; food and noshing when the mood struck. A restful time, probably necessary.

Now that we are in Desolation Sound, the distances between places will not be very great; a couple of hours will take care of most trips. I suppose in the next few days I will start planning on how to get the boat back to Nanaimo by Thursday night. Today, not a concern.

Carol is deciding where we will go tomorrow. Wherever it may be, we will be rested for the journey.

Posted by sailziveli 09:03 Archived in Canada Tagged boats sea canada cruising sailboats salish

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