Monthly Archives: January 2016

Always something for a sailor to do in Port Townsend

Yahtzee leaving Mackaye Harbor. (Photo by Sarah Curry).
Yahtzee leaving Mackaye Harbor. (Photo by Sarah Curry).

Port Townsend certainly needs no introduction to Northwest boaters. Many profess it to be one of their favorite places to visit in the area, and we’re no different. It’s just a special, salty spot for any and all manner of sailor and boater.

We’ve visited PT countless times aboard Yahtzee and each time we find something more we like about the quaint seaside town that absolutely drips with nautical heritage, and this past stop was no different. After a raucous morning hop across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Mackaye Harbor on Lopez last week, we settled in at Boat Haven and I made for a coffee shop and then Port Townsend Brewing to get a little work done.

Buddy boating with us on their Jeanneau 43 KaiQuest were our friends Will and Sarah from Vancouver. We were hopping our way down to Seattle for the boat show together (they’re with Hydrovane Self Steering, booth 2212) and they’d never visited PT before, so we figured it was our duty to show them around — which we were happy to do. Continue reading Always something for a sailor to do in Port Townsend

Finding our winter cruising groove

Porter flipping on the anchor light in his pajamas
Porter flipping on the anchor light in his pajamas

Jill and I watched as Porter climbed up on the seat of the nav station and flipped on the anchor light. It’s a job that he takes seriously and is one that he’s become used to doing on a near daily basis. The only problem with that night was that we were at a dock. We explained that to him, but after five days straight at anchor, he’d just grown used to completing his evening task.

This time of year, five consecutive days of anchoring out seems to be our sweet spot before stopping for a night or two at a dock to complete any combination of showers, laundry, provisioning and topping up Yahtzee’s fuel, water and batteries. As the days get longer and warmer, that number will increase, but right now it’s working well. Continue reading Finding our winter cruising groove

Crew overboard maneuvers and fun while testing our new staysail

Our new stays'l up and flying
Our new stays’l up and flying

As I hoisted the mainsail, Jill stood at the mast waiting to attach the first reef. We were making our way out of Reid Harbor on Stuart Island and the wind had been funneling through the anchorage at about 20 to 30 knots all morning. We don’t regularly venture out into that much breeze to a destination directly upwind of us, but we were looking to give our new staysail a good test and to practice sailing together in those conditions. There’s only one way to do that — go sailing.

Our inner forestay was rigged and the staysail was ready in its bag on deck. Once clear of the harbor I hanked on the sail and Jill hoisted the halyard while I trimmed the sheet. With it and the reefed main full, Yahtzee took off like a shot into an adverse current and I’m sure the smile on my face was as big as the sail itself. Continue reading Crew overboard maneuvers and fun while testing our new staysail

Adding two new anchorages to our trophy case

Porter loves looking through cruising guides with us at night. Note his "work gloves."
Porter loves looking through cruising guides with us at night. Note his “work gloves.”

It’s no wonder someone (Ann Vipond and William Kelly) wrote a cruising guide entitled “Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage”, because you can basically collect them like trophies as you travel up and down the passage’s watery corridor from Olympia to Skagway. And while we have a treasure trove of “bests” stashed away, there’s always room for more, and we’re more than willing to find them.

So what are the latest anchorages to be hoisted into our trophy case? Russell Island and Winter Cove.

RUSSELL ISLAND

Situated at the mouth of Salt Spring Island’s Fulford Harbour, we’ve wanted to drop the hook and explore Russell Island since passing by last spring. After clearing customs in Sidney last week we made the short jaunt north in a dying breeze and just before rounding the western corner of the island I spotted what looked to be a wake from a boat. Curiously, there were no other boats around, so I kept an eye on the water and to my excitement, two orca broke the surface soon after. I called to Jill and the boys and we sat in the cockpit watching as the pair slowly made their way behind us. That sight never gets old.

Continue reading Adding two new anchorages to our trophy case

A very dinghy Christmas: Part II

A look at the moon and mountains from our friend's front yard on a crisp morning.
A look at the moon and mountains from our friend’s front yard on a crisp morning.

Sand. Epoxy. Varnish. Repeat. Ski. Snowboard. Sled. Repeat. Sand. Epoxy. Varnish. Repeat.

That was the basic rhythm of our days spent in the beauty of winter in the Cascade Mountains with our friends over Christmas and New Years. But as the fun of the holidays came and went, progress on all of our dinghy projects (see Part I here) moved slower than anticipated — which was not shocking considering that they’re boat-related and we were in a winter wonderland.

When the old rudder became firewood we expected the new build to take less time than refurbishing what we’d had. Oh, how silly was that logic? But after designing, building, shaping and epoxying it and the new tiller, the updated versions are far superior to the old and — thanks to Mike’s superior craftsmanship — look great, too. Continue reading A very dinghy Christmas: Part II