|Rae - Chilling on the Tramp
Sharon Furling the Main
was a nasty surprise for us yesterday - Saturday July 2, 2005.
A leisurely downwind sail from Umpqua River (Winchester Bay)
around Cape Blanco (pictures left and below) to Port Orford
became a little more exciting than planned. We slipped over the
at 6:00 AM and motor sailed south until about 1:00 PM. By then
the prevailing wind had strengthened enough to shut the engines
down. The North wind continued to build and as we approached
Cape Blanco at about 4:00 PM. We tucked a precautionary cape
rounding reef in the mainsail.
My wind instrument showed the wind at about
8 knots and the boat was moving at 6-7 knots totaling 15 knots. I
was a bit surprised that the boat did not slow down after the reef but
15 knots should not problem. We considered a second reef - but it
didn't seem necessary.
clearing the cape, we turned east toward shore and the wind speed
doubled. Mustang Sally took off like a race horse headed for the
barn. Boat speed zoomed up to 11-12 knots and the boat was flying
through the water at breakneck speed. Streams of white water
cascaded off the bows and flew over the boat as Mustang Sally sliced
through the waves. "Hang on baby" I shouted to Sharon over the
screaming wind and roaring water.
Sharon climbed up on the salon top and cranked a deep reef into
the foresail. I kept my eye on the auto pilot, which rounded
up a couple of times but recovered and got the boat back on track.
The boat speed continued to climb so I eased out the main sheet to try
and power down. But there was nothing that would slow that Mustang
We needed another reef, but with
the anchorage 5 miles away and the boat speed exceeding 10
knots, it would take more time to reef than it would to
get there. "Lets run for it" I shouted to Sharon.
Mustang Sally had already made up her mind and we hung on for a
wild ride.Now we prefer a leisurely approach to an unknown
anchorage. And here we are roaring in at - darn - 14
knots!We are scurrying back and forth between the helm, the
navigation computer, the charts and coast pilot to confirm
our position while Mustang Sally charges ahead barely in
control. As I ease the mainsheet some more, we are hit by
a gust and the line is torn from my grasp. Diving from the
salon top to the traveler, I grabbed the end of the line
before it unravels completely. Sharon and I work together
heaving in the sheet to pull the boom and sail off the
rock to the left is called Graveyard point. This is a 200
foot cliff and it forms a lee at the anchorage at Port Orford.
The lee breaks the wind and flattens the seas. This is where we
As we approached the lee, I notice that the mainsail
halyard had slipped and the sail is drooping. As we turn
the boat into the wind to drop the sails, Sharon dashes to
the mast to apply topping lift to hold the boom in place.
One more minor smack from Cape Blanco for today - The lazy jack
flies out of my hands and blows useless to the sky.
all was well as we tucked into this lovely lee at Port Orford.
We hear the winds howl above us. But behind this
cliff the seas are calm and the boat rocks gently with the few
gusts that hook around the point. Here we gather our wits
and determination - and wait for ideal weather to for the next
leg to Crescent City, California.
Two lessons learned and reinforced:
1) Wind really accelerates around the capes. Capes
are areas where the land sticks out into the ocean. The
prevailing winds usually run parallel to the coast and around
the capes. It is a similar phenomena to a sail or an
airplane wing but on a much larger scale. The wind is
deflected from its normal path and compressed to go around the
Cape. On the downwind side of the cape the wind
accelerates and creates a area of low pressure and BIG wind.
2) Mustang Sally loves to run at
breakneck speeds in winds over 10 knots. If you want to control
her, reef the sails early and reef the sails deep!
Some Pictures from Winchester Bay (Umpqua
Canada Day Dress Up
Planning the Next Leg
Sun Over Main
Rippin' up the Dunes
Sharon and I did our first
overnight sail on Friday June, 24th and 25th. We had carefully
plotted the times to go over the Gray's Harbour and Columbia
River bars. The timing meant a 4:30 AM departure and swift trip
to the Columbia. Rae set the alarm for 4:30 PM and we slept
in. We dragged our butts out of bed, rushed around, cast off,
and went out to look at the bar situation. (more on bars below)
The bar was ugly, big nasty breaking waves covering the bar.
So we turned around and high tailed it back to the harbor. Time
to get out plan B. Plan B was to leave at 11:00 and sail
overnight to Newport. At 11:00 the bar was rough but not
nasty. With a reef in the mainsail and a roll in the genoa, we
punched through the bar in 20 knot northwest winds then dove
Nice sailing all day. I had to work to keep the boat speed down
under 8 knots to prevent arriving too early for the Newport
bar. The skies were grey and dull and the sea was much the
same. Occasional rain showers rinsed away the sea's salty
brine. Winds eased and backed to the North as the day turns to
night fell I saw little to fear in the inky black seas, the
black starless, moonless cloud spattered sky. We could see only
a few tens of feet beyond the boat. Darkness clamped down and
the sound of the boat creaking and groaning became louder. The
waves smacking and splashing seemed more focused as we munched
down noodles and dreamt of the fruits of Mexico and warm weather
sailing. The occasional sneaker wave zero's in on us and whacks
the boat with a startling ka bang! The wind starts a whistling
in the rigging. The boat was rocking and swaying and our world
pitches and yaws with the sea. I said to Sharon, "This is
great! isn't it Sharon? ...... Sharon? .....Sharon!!???"
Sharon battled nervousness and sea sickness and won the battle.
In the early morning, Sharon's bleary eyes spotted a pod of
frolicking Pacific dolphins .
We landed in
Newport Oregon in the mid morning, - and gave my sprained ankle a chance
to heal. We faced the feared US medical establishment and paid $380 for an
x-ray and consultation. Not so bad! It is not broken and I should be back
to leaping in a few weeks.
An unexpected challenge to our habour hopping strategy. Tidal
bars block our way. You can think of these as giant metal bars
that come up from the ocean floor at semi random times to block
our way. When the bars are up (i.e the bar is closed) it is
dangerous to try and pass. Before we left we did not understand
the subtleties and timing needed to pass the bars. But we have
a better understanding now. You can read more about tidal bars
Sailing Down the
We have experienced some incredible scenery and a fair amount of
grey skies and seas. I left out most of the grey pictures and
that left just a few. Click
here to view.
Treasure and Tsunami
What a way to start a trip around the world. Two of our most
feared scenarios came to pass in the second week. And buried
treasure to boot.
pirates were the worst. They attacked us on the remote coast of the
Olympic peninsula as we were working our way out the Straights of Juan de
Fuca near Port Angles. They came in fast in three slow moving ships.
One of them leading the attack and drawing our attention while the others
rushed in from the opposite direction.
They were on board in a minute,
brushing away our clumsy bear spray and flare gun defenses.
One of them,
- they called him - could not keep his
filthy paws off of Sharon, and
another - a keeper of the armory - forced me into a
But the good Sheriff,
and his fair
Dee came to our rescue and offered us safe passage and
men to escort us safely through the waters off the Olympic
land security showed up to investigate. They had a good look at
Mustang Sally. But - they missed the seven illegal Mexican
immigrant worker we were smuggling into the country. They missed the six
pounds of Canadian beef in the glove compartment. And the 140 lbs
of fresh fruit and vegetables in the bilge. But they arrested me
and put me in jail. I called my daddy to make my bail. My
daddy said son, you are gonna drive me to drinkin if you.......
Anyway, we had way more fun than expected in
Treasure? Well, as some of you know we have long considered
it every Canadian's patriotic duty to do everything legally possible to
avoid taxes. When we had to clear into Canada, we knew
customs would confiscate much of our duty free golden nectar of the
gods. So what to do?
We tried to drink it all but it was too much for even someone blessed
with my abilities for consuming copious quantities. Can you guess
the solution? We buried it on a secret island in the San Juan's
and will pick it up on our return.
Tsunami? Early last week (June
14th) there was a six and a half on Richter scale earth quake in
northern California. That event set off Tsunami warnings up and
down the coast. We were anchored in a snug little cove doing
boat projects and
enjoying blisssome days. About 4 PM the boat started bucking and
swirling about. But that was just the wind puffing up a bit.
We felt nothing - nada - waloo. I understand that alarms went off
up and down the coast, but we didn't hear about it until the
following Monday. May the rest of our Tsunamis be as blisssome.
Fond Farewells to Canada the Beautiful
Our hearts are heavy as we leave
Poets Cove in the Gulf Islands and say good bye for now to fair Canada.
We must be cra-zzzzy to want to explore the world when Canada is so fine.
But the dye is cast and we are on our way!!
out our checklist for sailing around the world
Below are a few shots of some fun we had when
the wind kicked up on Sunday. We needed to reef the mainsail then beat
our way down San Juan channel to Friday harbor through winds gusting to 25
knots. Good robust sailing, good practice for the ocean and
or How we Dally in
Juan Islands in early June.
computer install reworked so everything is tucked away in a
safe dry place with good ventilation. Tramp rivets are 110%
ran into while beavering away on the boat at Stewart
Island. Thanks for the burgers Tony and Frances and wonderful
to see you all and say bye bye.
day cruise with son Joshua and his family - Harper,
Thea and Justin. To Sucia, Roche and Point Roberts.
Sharon got her art fix at Roche harbor's wonderful art garden.
20 knot breezes zinging us across the Straights of Georgia.
and commissioning gear. All is looking good.
But we are thrashing back and forth a bit.
Crossing the Straights of Georgia 6 times 11 days. Killer Whales and
porpoises show us the way.
A good way to
get in the groove of our new life style.
|Now just the
radar, tramp rivets, some caulking and a few other jobs and we will be
ready to take on the the ocean. So put down this computer and to work with
me! ....computer habits linger.
Dock lines were cut on schedule June 1.
Ready or not the adventure begins.
It was wonderful to see our good friends out on the Blaine and White Rock
piers and on the water to wish us well.
that Aoleus delivered a good breeze to get us on our way.
Sally picked her skirts and romped - 7.5 knots all the way
across the Straights of Georgia.
Gotta love Josh Roger and Dave Firby for the Dom
Perignon toss. You guys got style!
thanks to the International Yacht Club, Bob and Karen
Bezubiak, Dave and Moe, and many others for putting
on a wonderful bon voyage party. Great fun partying,
feasting and dancing at the Blaine Boating Center. We
rocked the joint!
So long for now!