Friday, September 7, 2012

Brigadoon's 2012 Summer Cruise

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  • 300 nautical miles
  • 16 days
  • 10 ports
  • First Canadian crossing and back.
  • Deepest anchor to date 50+ feet
  • Fastest true boatspeed @8kts
  • Fastest GPS speed (tide helping) of @10+ kts
  • 30% sailing and 70% motoring is my guess -- winds started out great but calmed out the last week.
  • The new sails are great and the engine ran like a champ.
  • Longest passage under sail - Pt Townsend to Victoria.
  • Longest day on the water -- about 12 hours
  • First trip to the Gulf Islands, Victoria, Sidney, and San Juans by boat.

Highlights of the trip:

Perry Rendezvous: The trip there was great.  No hassles whatsoever.  We didn't have any failures in anything.  We had a great time there.  Kerry got to see a dingy she is enamored with (Portland Pudgy -- to which Bob responded with, "Ehhhhh!  It's nerdy. However, it has a certain dignity.")  I also had fun playing for the dinner crowd before the real band started up.  Pt. Ludlow marina staff are awesome. It was a blast.

Pt Townsend to Victoria:  We had a great crossing.  Our trip planning is really getting good.  Usually Kerry creates the route and I check it.  Sometimes I create the route and she checks it.  Either way, it's working out great.  We made the crossing on one port tack the whole way.  The only casualty was a smashed lamp globe and some paraffin oil on the pilothouse sole because things weren't secured properly.  That was my fault and a good lesson in rigging the boat for sail.  Winds were stiff and so were the seas but it was blast crossing the strait.  Our old autopilot worked really well too.  We spent a couple nights in Victoria.  It's a nice place and all, though we are unlikely to return by boat anytime soon.  The town is too touristy for us.  The marina staff was really friendly and helpful.

Victoria to Sidney:  Another great sail, where I also discovered I'm not correctly rigged to reef my mainsail.  That shouldn't be hard to fix.  I also got to rig Brigadoon to run wing on wing with a correct preventer on the boom and the Genoa poled out for the first time.  It worked great.  Sidney is a nice enough town and the marina was very clean. Two notes: they will put your 30 amp boat in a 50 amp slip then tell you you have to walk to the office and back for an adapter that they provide.  Then they will tell you you need Loonies for the showers and only give you one key to share between you for the Men's and Women's showers. They are very professional and a little brusque.  Did I mention that the marina docs are such that it's one very long walk to the office/showers and back?  It's even longer when you are beat from being on the boat all day and it's two trips because they don't tell you everything you need to know at first.  I'll chalk up my lack of patience to being tired, grumpy and needing a shower.  

I have to learn to rest on longer sails.  I walk and stand around too much.

Sidney to Poet's Cove on Pender Island:  We motored here in a couple hours.  This was our first Gulf Island.  Poets Cove is a bit resorty, but it's pretty nice.  Great restaurant, nice bar, spa, and docks.  The bay is really easy to access, the staff is great.

Poet's Cove to Otter Pay on Pender Island:  We motored there too under very light winds and the fact it was so short a distance.  The place is very nice, if a bit tight to get into.   Imagine the most beautiful little trailer park -- nice pool, great little store, nice staff, great buildings.  There are even the old guys, locals, sitting about in the morning, complaining about local politics.  We were entertained.

Otter Bay to Stuart Island (Reid Harbor):  on the advice of Boomberries (I think) we chose this over Sucia Island.  We didn't regret this a bit. Our Nexus cards worked great for returning back to the States.  As soon as we crossed the border, mid sound, and had good cell service, Kerry called Customs and, after a five minute phone call, we were cleared.  We sailed into Reid Harbor, picked up a buoy and had a great time hiking about this small island.

Reid Harbor to Deer Harbor on Orcas:  I've always wanted to anchor near Doe Bay but, there really isn't good shelter, so we picked Deer Harbor on the west end of Orcas.  It's a great place, with good docs, a great store, nice people and great service.  We even rented a convertible Mustang to run around Orcas for the day.  They deliver it right to you, with paperwork and keys, you drive it, and leave it where you found it.  It wasn't cheap but it was a great way for us to drive to Doe Bay and confirm that, indeed, you can anchor there.  We will do that next time, I think.

Deer Harbor to Friday Harbor: another motor but, a short trip and a great place to recharge and get ready to cross the strait again.  Our goal was back to Pt. Ludlow.  We left before sunrise to catch the tides and get a good push.  

Pt.  Ludlow:  There were no slips to be had so we decided to anchor.  The bay is pretty deep in most places to so we dropped the hook in 48 feet of water. It was our deepest set yet. It worked great, though the manual windless, dependable as it is, is a bit of work lifting 200' of rode and chain.

Pt Ludlow to home:  Motor again.  No wind. Our original plan was to overnight in Shilshole on Saturday night and hit the locks early Sunday morning, missing the madness that Monday would be.  As we approached Shilshole, ahead of schedule at 3:00, I asked Kerry about trying for the locks.  She said yes, so we went for it.  I joked that it would be a breeze: railroad bridge up, locks green and clear, Ballard and Fremont bridges opening right away.

"Sure," she said.  "Now visualize that lottery ticket too."

However...the railroad bridge was up, the small lock had just emptied out, and we were the first boat in.  As we left, two larger sailboats were ahead of us, coming out of the large lock and they managed all the bridge notifications.  I never dropped below my comfortable cruising speed of 4kts until we stopped at the dock.  It was great.

Lessons Learned:
  • When you are on passage, sit the hell down and relax -- fool.
  • *Eat* something goddammit!
  • Cross checking the charts worked great.
  • Trusting my safety officer worked out well.
  • My jacklines work really well.  I trust them.  The tether is easy to use.
  • Coastal Explorer navigation software is awesome.
  • My new NMEA 2000 network and Garmin GMI10 instruments are just as great.
  • I made assumptions about my reefing -- I was wrong.  I have to fix that.
  • I need a lot more practice working on deck and moving about.
  • Spending too many nights at marinas and eating in restaurants is expen$ive.  Next time, more anchoring out and eating in.
  • And finally...

Brigadoon is the right boat for us and Kerry is the best first mate I could ever want. 

More pictures and details of this trip to come...