With the red buoy off Bainbridge Island’s southeastern tip fine on the port bow, Yahtzee healed hard on port tack. A wet, blustery squall had just passed and in its wake left sunshine and a stiff 25-knot breeze that scuttled clouds quickly across the sky. Glancing down from the mainsail to see our speed, I couldn’t contain my smile when I read 8.4 knots. Yes!
Shortly after, gusts in the mid-30s kept the adrenaline pumping and a rainbow framed the channel markers leading us into Eagle Harbor. We’d sailed 20 miles in under three hours in what turned out to be one of those days on the water that wiped away the fiberglass dust, boatyard grime and dollar signs that inevitably came with all our recent boat work. This was a day of sailing we’d been looking for.
When we’re cruising in our normal winter routine, we typically plan to sit and wait places for days if necessary to catch favorable breezes — sailing to a schedule just doesn’t suit us. Earlier this week we’d headed down to Gig Harbor in the snow, knowing that when a warm front came on Thursday we’d be in for a predictable southerly and smooth sail back north. Boy, did we get it. Continue reading The sailing we needed
When we rounded the northern corner of Salt Spring Island the squall overtook us. Big drops of rain coupled with strong headwinds brought visibility to almost nothing, and I hoped we wouldn’t hit a log or snag a crab trap. I knew it was just a passing shower, but I wanted it to end.
With one reef already in the main, we beat slowly towards the southern end of Tent Island and, as expected, it soon passed. Blue sky followed and the sun filled in brilliantly, causing my black Musto jacket to steam and gleam in the warm light. I took it off, tossed it aside and rolled the jib out on a broad reach to sail the remaining miles to Ladysmith. Such has been life aboard for the past seven days — sailing all the way, and loving it. Continue reading Why we’re out here: 7 inspiring days of sailing
Under a thin veil of cloud cover, an unexpectedly fresh northerly breeze had the fleet of 105 sailboats for the 42nd annual Round Saltspring Island Race (42 miles) milling about and set to start in Ganges Harbour, British Columbia. When our division’s five minute starting sequence ticked down to zero, Jill and I, along with our friends Will and Sarah, had Yahtzee right on the start line with full sails and good boat speed. We absolutely nailed it. Continue reading Yahtzee’s Round Saltspring Race, and the highs and lows of sailboat racing
We were just a couple miles across the Canadian border when I noticed a few powerboats milling about in mid-channel. Taking a closer look with the binoculars, I could tell they were looking at something — orcas. Shortly after spotting them, I saw the small pod of whales they were watching. The unmistakable spout and tall black dorsal fins emerged off our port side, and then the small group disappeared.
Seeing orcas in the wild is an experience that never gets old, and a few minutes later, one of the whales appeared again and swam parallel to us for a few hundred yards; seemingly escorting us into Canada. When she went on her way, I got us back on our course and noticed very quickly that an official looking black and gray powerboat was speeding our way. Continue reading A Canadian welcoming committee — cops & whales
Three storms landed haymakers on the Pacific Northwest this week that brought gusts of wind in the upper 60s and low 70s, knocked out power to many, downed trees, and for mariners, caused a good bit of anxiety. We got socked with the first punch while at anchor early on Tuesday morning before retiring to our corner in Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor to watch the rest of the bout unfold on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday night when the gusts started I immediately knew they were in the mid 50s, but we didn’t really see much above that. Thankfully.
What this succession of storms did, though, is upped our overall preparedness. Not for another round of storms per say, as we’re generally always geared up for those this time of year, but for the arrival of our son. Jill’s due date is just a few weeks away now and we’ve decided—along with some gentle nudging form our midwife—that staying in Bellingham until he arrives is the best thing to do. So no more anchoring out in places like this…
…until this guy is here, which is just fine with us. We’re ready now. We’ve secured a temporary slip in the harbor, have Jill’s mom aboard to hang out with Porter, rented a car so we can make a dash for the delivery room, and have the new babe’s room waiting. We’re ready when he is.