2005 Seattle Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; Canadian Gulf Islands
Date August 10-17, 2005
Students: Roberta and John Carey, Bruce Dennis, John O’Neal, Phillip Reese
Captain: Bill McClure

We all met on 9 August 2005 for dinner at the Brown Lantern Pub in Anacortes, and introduced ourselves all around and began the discussion of sailing and learning objectives, and I got the feeling that this was going to be a fun week. 

Day 1. After an early rising, showers and breakfast at the Deli, we discussed meal planning menus. Jay said he was prepared to take the ASA 101 challenge test, which he did at this time and passed with flying colors. We proceeded to boat inspections and learning of all through hull valves and safety equipment. The owner had replaced the dodger since last year and the boat looked very good overall. We left Skyline and sailed to Anacortes to provision. After provisioning we sailed for three hours to anchor for the night in Shoal bay on Lopez Island. Dinner, lessons and some sea stories, and it was time for a good night's rest. 

Day 2. We began the day with breakfast followed by lessons. Safety issues were discussed and watches assigned. The crew practiced reefing and further familiarized themselves with the boat; then we did a nomenclature review starting at the front of the boat and named every component we came to. Later in the day we discovered that it was Jay's birthday so a decision was made to head for Victoria for a celebration dinner. We took time out for a navigation lesson and then our navigator of the day laid out the course. We were in Victoria at the customs dock at 4:35 in the afternoon. We had a short lesson in line handling to enable us to back into a slip on the Causeway in front of the Empress hotel. It really went well and the people on the dock were very complimentary about our boat handling skills. Phil, Bruce and John left for the Empress to have "High Tea" but finding it was $55.00 per person declined the experience. Robbie and Jay took a walk to explore the town and I headed off to make reservations for Jay's birthday dinner. Dinner was superb and I enjoyed some of the best wines I have ever tasted. After dinner, a walk along the waterfront and a stop to watch the entertainment on the Causeway we called it a night. 

Day 3. The morning was cool (58 F) and not a cloud in the sky. We did classroom studies until noon. Then sailed out of Victoria around Trial Point and north to Active Pass and into the Straits of Georgia. This was to be our overnighter and I revised the watch schedule so that two people would always be on watch but they would rotate every hour. The forecast was for light wind but increasing overnight. As the sun set we were gliding along at about 3 kts. The wind held until about 2200 while we worked our way up the Straits using compass navigation and DR staying close to but not in the commercial ship traffic lanes. Tugs with their tows, ships and ferries but not very many small boats passed us in the night. By midnight we were sailing again. 

Day 4. Sometime during the night the winds died completely and finally just after sunrise we decided to motor to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. We were now headed back and by 0730 the winds were blowing again and we were headed to Silva Bay on. We tied up at Pages Marina at 0930. I was pleased to find that the pie lady had returned to Gabriola and treated the crew to a fresh picked blackberry pie for a late breakfast treat. Showers, some rest and we headed to a local restaurant for a lunch of salmon and cod and a pitcher of beer. After lunch we had lessons and a prepared a navigation plan for the cruise to Montaque Bay before nightfall. We almost made it as the sun set just as we were exiting Active Pass. We found a spot to anchor in the dark and had dinner aboard and were early into our bunks; everyone was ready for a long nights rest. 

Day 5. John was our navigator as we made our way to Customs at Roche Harbor and then anchored for the night in Garrison Bay, site of the locally famous "Pig War" between England and the USA. In Roche Harbor we had purchased some nice wild salmon and we set up the barbecue. Jay and John had selected a wonderful bottle of wine to have with our meal and with friendly conversation the evening passed swiftly. 

Day 6. It was back to Friday Harbor, but now the winds were blowing 15 and the sailing was better than expected. Half way down the San Juan channel we were challenged to a race by a 40 foot Valiant. The Valiant took the lead but our tacking was better and after four long tacks, the Valiant found himself on port and we were on starboard. He had no choice but to fall off and go behind us. Soon after that he gave us the thumbs up and broke it off. In the excitement I had forgotten to do our afternoon MOB drill, which we'll do tomorrow. 

Day 7. Our last day on the water was a sailing day to be remembered. A tough navigational problem, sailing through some close passes and variable winds in the morning led to a consistent 12 knots building to 22 knot wind in the afternoon . Under a reefed main and the full jib we sailed across Rosario straits with snow covered Mount Baker as a backdrop. At the Marina, we cleaned up the boat, and had our last meal out together. 

Day 8. In the morning we took our final tests, Robbie, Jay and I fueled up and did the pump out. Tests over, good-byes said, everyone headed home. All agreed it was a great week spent on the water.

Captain Bill McClure
Skyline Marina, Anacortes, WA
August 17, 2005

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