Grinding winches, building fires and changing oil during a dude’s cruising weekend

When we finally got off the fuel dock and out of the marina to start our “Dude’s Weekend” I couldn’t wait to get the sails up. A sunny sky and strong northerly was the order of the day and I knew that a great romp across Rosario Strait was in our near future.

With Jill on the Oregon coast for the weekend to enjoy time with her girlfriends, it was a boy’s ship and neither of them were keen on an afternoon nap. Maybe they were as excited as me to get the sails up and the engine off.

A shot of Mt. Baker after hoisting the mainsail
A shot of Mt. Baker after hoisting the mainsail

As I got the main hoisted with a reef tuck in, Porter and Magnus watched and pretended to grind on winches like I was, and after rolling out the genoa we shot out of Guemes Channel with the ebb. The sun lit up snowcapped mountains in all directions and an azure sky coupled with the blue-green water of the Strait created as gorgeous a scene as can be found anywhere. Yahtzee was absolutely in her element, sailing fast and as the autopilot steered, the boys and I ventured on deck to enjoy the moment and watch the waves go by.

Porter enjoying the ride
Porter enjoying the ride

A couple bowman in the making
A couple bowman in the making

Once across the Strait we continued westward into Lopez Sound and up to a mooring buoy on the south side of Spencer Spit. With Yahtzee swinging in the breeze, I raised our solar panels to catch the remaining rays of the day and promptly dropped Hornpipe in the water for a trip ashore. Spencer Spit is a great spot for the boys and while Magnus climbed through piles of driftwood, Porter and I played chase on the grass until our shadows grew long enough to signal dinner time.

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Overnight the wind veered easterly and I plotted a course west for Turn Island. After a minor bout of, “Where’s Mom?” from Porter, we settled in for a leisurely run over the top of Lopez. Magnus played on deck until he could barely take it anymore and fell asleep in my arms — I laid him in the sun on the starboard settee in the cockpit where he snoozed for the remainder of our sail.

It's tough being a sailor
It’s tough being a sailor

At Turn Island the sun continued to shine and the boys helped me with a few projects on deck before I tossed lunch on the grill. Our new friends Laura and Kevin aboard the Nordic Tug 34 Airship joined us at the park and we hit the beach together before doing dinner on their boat and then wine on Yahtzee (read her blog about our time together here). The next morning we all took a hike around the island and then went our separate ways — it’s always fun to meet other bloggers and the boys loved hanging out and playing on the tug.

The boys and I hit the beach (photo courtesy of Laura Domela and riveted-blog.com, click on the image to read her blog)
The boys and I getting to the beach on Hornpipe (photo courtesy of Laura Domela and riveted-blog.com, click on the image to read her blog)

From Turn we headed north to Blind Island State Park near Shaw Island and after the boys woke from stellar naps it was off to shore with a bundle of firewood and the makings for s’mores. Once again, the boys wanted to be nothing but helpers in getting the fire going, and much like mimicking me grinding winches, Magnus blew from a distance to stoke the flames and pretended to throw little sticks on the pile. Having fires and s’mores ashore is one of our favorite family activities and we missed Jill a lot for this one.

It was a beautiful afternoon/evening for a fire on shore
It was a beautiful afternoon/evening for a fire on shore

As our time ashore came to a close so too did our days of sunshine. Clouds moved in and overnight the rain did as well. After a wet hike the following morning, I decided we’d just hang around the boat after naps and do what else but change the engine oil. Porter has done this with me a handful of times and knows the routine, and Magnus was as curious and “helpful” as ever.

Always nice to have a little help with diesel engine maintenance
Always nice to have a little help with diesel engine maintenance

After four nights and nearly five days with the boys, it’s great to have Jill home aboard Yahtzee again. Cruising with Porter and Magnus by myself is always a special experience, but it also gives me a genuine appreciation for everything that Jill does for us — which is a lot.

 

 

One thought on “Grinding winches, building fires and changing oil during a dude’s cruising weekend

  1. Reminds me of our early years cruising off the Channel Islands with our three kids on our Islander 36. Glad we did it when we did…..a bit harder as you get older and now my 6’3″ son cannot stand up inside our boat. The time goes by fast so enjoy them while they still can fit in the cockpit cushions!

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