We took a short cruise north to the Gulf and San Juan Islands during August. It gave us a chance to try out new gear on Gypsy and to work on our rusty sailing skills. Gypsy did great and we found that we did better than expected.
Nina made a cockpit shade, the side curtains and a companionway cover. They were big improvements in our comfort on the boat, protecting us from the sun, wind and rain if it had rained.
Looking forward, port side. The yellow line on the left is a jack line so we can attach ourselves to the boat when we have to go forward in the ocean. Our ocean life jackets have D rings to accommodate a tether so we are always attached to the boat or to a jack line. Toward the center is the boarding ladder Bill built out of teak. To the right of that is the dinghy seat, oars and sailing kit. In the front of the boat is our nesting dingy. In the foreground on the right is one of our three solar panels.
Down the starboard, or right side, of the boat is another yellow jackline. The white canister is our life raft.
This is the view out the dodger window. The gear on the deck blocks some of our view, so we also look over the dodger and around the side to get a complete view.
The first obstacle going down river is the Vancouver railroad bridge. The bridge is too low for us to go under it. It swings open to let tall boats and ships through. Depending on train traffic it can be a slow or a fast wait. This time we got right through.
While everything on deck looks shipshape, we were still figuring out where things needed to be stowed down below. Portland to Astoria is about 100 miles, and when you are traveling at about 6 knots it takes awhile. We split the trip up into three legs. Day one: Portland to Walker Island. Day two: Walker Island to Cathlamet, Washington. Day three: Cathlamet to Astoria West Basin. At Walker Island we met up with Rose City folks heading home from the Lazy Days Cruise: Willow, Lady Louise, Honalee and Crystal Swan. On the way to Cathlamet, Bill organized the head storage and tried to get our Open CPN and GPS to talk to one another. An email to the great folks at Rodgers Marine Electronics solved that problem. The charting program on the laptop now knew where we were. We got to Cathlamet on farmers market day so we got some fresh blueberries and figs. The next morning we headed to Astoria. In Astoria we filled the fuel tank and worked on our offshore prep list. We made a trip to Englunds Marine for some last minute parts.
Day five we were ready to head across the bar. The tides determine when you cross. We left at 8:45 in the morning. It was cool with low clouds and light NW wind. We motored down river with the help from the ebbing (outgoing) tide. At 9:23 Nina lost her hat overboard. We did not rescue it and considered it a sacrifice to the gods of the deep. The ebbing tide had us going 11.5 knots over ground, so it must have worked. That is a five knot boost in boat speed. By 10:10 we past buoy 3 so we were across the bar and officially in the ocean. We started heading north. At 3:00 pm (1500 hours) we started doing watches.
When we are on a passage we take turns being on watch or sleeping. We have found that 3 hour watches work well for us. Nina has the watch from midnight to 3:00 am, Bill has 3:00-6:00 am, Nina 6:00-9:00 am, Bill 9:00-noon, Nina noon to 3:00 pm, Bill 3:00-6:00 pm, Nina 6:00-9:00 pm, Bill 9:00-midnight. While you are on watch you keep a lookout for other boats and ships, set the course and note important information in the log book. Log entries cover where you are, the weather and wind.
Off watch you sleep, if you get caught up on sleep you can read or work on a project or cook.
The northwest corner of Washington State is Cape Flattery. That is where we turned east to head down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
It is a long way down the strait to Victoria. The wind from the west built over the afternoon and by evening was blowing strongly. We kept reefing the sails to keep the boat speed under control. It was well after dark by the time we got to Victoria. We did not want to enter Victoria Harbour at night so we sailed on to Oak Bay, a suburb, where you can also clear customs. We got there and tied up to the customs dock at 12:15 am. We cleared customs and waited until morning to get fuel and a slip in the marina.