Sunday, August 25, 2013

OHYC Member Circumnavigating the Globe in a SJ24

From club member John C - a local sailor from Oak Harbor is attempting a circumnavigation of the globe on a San Juan 24. He would be the first person to ever do so in an SJ24. To boot, he's doing the trip non-stop and solo. Boats from this era are known for broaching downwind. It will be interesting for him in some wind.

He's set up a SPOT so you can follow his progress:

An interesting story to watch.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer of Duck Dodge nearing the end

With only a few more Duck Dodges left in the season (check out the schedule if you like), here's a video compilation from an August Gold Duck aboard WYC keelboat Rascal.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Anthony A posts about racing the club J22 "Freedom"

Greg and I took out the J22 and opted for the 15-minutes-late start. We passed a similarly-sized boat with a crew of 4 or 5, who were disappointed that we weren't interested in tossing around a tennis ball with them while short-handed. Surprisingly, we did not pass any of the fast third-start boats while rounding the course. Overall a fun night, but an outboard is highly recommended.

Here's a pic of Wizard from last night:

Leo M posts about Friday night racing...

Friday night racing took place with 8-10 kts of wind and warm clear skies last night. Wizard was in the second start along with a t-bird, J29 and other boats. We started less desirable side of the start line but with clear air and room to maneuver.  This turned out to be the right decision as we quickly accelerated past the other boats in our start. Half way to Juanita Bay we passed boats in the first start.  At the mark we were passed by a McGregor 65', leaving us in second at the mark rounding.  On the way to the finish, we managed to hold off a J209.  Because the J209 has an asymmetrical spinnaker they were not able to sail as directly down wind as Wizard with its symmetric spinnaker.  In the end, they crossed the finish 2-3 boat lengths ahead of us.  After the race the J209 congratulated us and ask, what is your PHRF rating?  I replied, not as low as yours for sure.  So we ended up third behind the McGregor and J209.  Not a bad night for a novice crew and skipper.

Join us for Friday night keelboat racing!


Dennis B. sends a pic from the San Juans

pictured: club boat Nightshade, a Cal 3-30

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Watch out for the cut!

From club member Raz:

Hi Sailors, 

Summer is very nearly upon us.

For everyone who has joined the club since this past autumn, you all are in for a treat. Warm water, long days, sunshine. It is amazing. 

One thing to be aware of:

For most of the year the predominant breeze in these parts come from the south and tend to blow across the lake and union bay as sou'westerlies (trivia: "sou'westerly" is a wind. "sou'wester" is a hat). This is a generalization of course, but is largely true (the winds, not the hat).. 

But during the summer, especially in the afternoons, the wind pattern switches and we get lovely northerlies. They tend to build in the afternoon and peak an hour or so before sunset, dropping off quite rapidly after the sun goes down and becoming dead calm by the end of dusk. Again, also a generalization. 

You might be thinking, "Raz, this is a great piece of trivial, but why does this matter?"

It matters because with the switching of the breeze, the lee shore of Union Bay switches from very expensive real estate and swamp ("wetlands"), to the extremely busy montlake cut shipping channel. I don't recommend drifting into the real estate (expensive!) or the swamp (smelly!), but I REALLY advise against the shipping channel (hazardous!). It is a good idea to avoid it altogether. If conditions are testing your limits, try to stay in a part of the bay where you have adequate sea-room to right your boat before you drift into the cut. This is especially important if you are sailing the cats or bravos.  If you find yourself becalmed in the cut (how did you get there!?) then scull or paddle or bow-steer your way out of it. Don't bob around. 

Have fun. Get wet. Enjoy yourself. Practice your form so you can test in the higher winds that come in Autumn. But avoid the area between the red and green markers. 

Fair winds, 


Monday, June 24, 2013

Motor vs. Sail peeps

From club member Brent:

I was having a debate with a powerboater yesterday about whether or not sailors were better boaters than powerboaters.  My contention was that they were - predicated on the idea that sailors need to invest more time and effort into sailing, so they tend to be more aware and informed, whereas powerboaters frequently just jump in a boat and drive it like a car.  Sailors are much more aware of environmental considerations, and less likely to go out while intoxicated.  I also hypothesized that a sailor was more likely to be wearing a PFD if they went in the water.  Mostly conjecture just based on my biases.  So, I decided to figure out if was true.  

His argument, by the way, was that powerboats are more controllable, and therefore safer.  I conceded that, while that may be true, it didn't offset the generally higher level of seamanship exhibited by sailors.

Here's what I found out:

In 2012, there were about 12,101,936 state registered recreational vessels in the US.  That alone blew my mind.  Of these, 244,264 were some type of sailboat (about half with a motor and half without).  Keep in mind, in some states, you don't need to register some kinds of boats (including sailboats).  So, roughly 2% of all registered boats were sailboats.  Also, about 11,097,404 were mechanically propelled with no sail - or 91.7%.  (The remaining 6.3% were kayaks, canoes, rowboats, etc.)  That means there were just over 45 times as many powerboats as sailboats registered.  So, for my assertion to be true, powerboaters should have at least 46 times as many accidents.  This is skewed somewhat because USCG (where I got my stats) report all accidents, even in states where an involved sailboat was not registered.  But, it should be close.

Assertion #1:  Sailors get in fewer accidents than smokers.  (Waterworld reference)
Nope.  Of the 5900 vessels involved in accidents, 5106 were powerboats of some kind, and 330 were sailboats of some kind.  That is one powerboat accident for every 2173 registered powerboats, and one sailboat accident for every 740 registered sailboats.  Or, a registered sailboat is about 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident than a powerboat.  (Of course, this doesn't account for time on the water.  One could argue that sailboats spend a lot more time actually moving - possibly three times as much or more.)

This is also tricky, though, because a high percentage of accidents are due to vessel collisions.  So, if a powerboat and sailboat collide, this will skew the numbers drastically in favor of powerboats, rationally speaking.

1 in 45 boats were sailing at the time of the accident, though 1 in 50 boats were sailboats.  This suggests that the actual act of sailing isn't any less dangerous than motoring - a little more, in fact.

Assertion #2:  Sailors are less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
This is also a little tricky because the high percentage of vessel collisions, particularly where fatalities are concerned.  But, the fatality numbers pretty closely mirror the vessel numbers:   476 powerboat fatalities, 27 sailboat fatalities.  That's one fatality for every 23,314 powerboats, and one for every 9047 sailboats.  You're about 2.6 times more likely to die on (or near) a sailboat.

Assertion #3:  Sailors are more experienced and better educated about safe boating than smokers, leading to fewer accidents.
Well, it's a little hard to nail this one down, but there does seem to a be a direct relationship between boating safety instruction and boating safety.  I don't know if we can say that this is causal.  It may just be that people who take boating safety instruction are just more serious about safety, and therefore less likely to be in an accident, regardless of specific instruction.  But, it does look positive.  About 3/4 of all accidents were caused by a person with no or unknown boater education.

Bad news is that experience is no predictor of safety.  The most destructive category, by far, is the group of boaters with 100-500 hours of experience - people who are just confident enough to do something really stupid.  (By the way, this is almost exactly the same stat as for pilots.)

I don't know if sailors are more/less likely to have formal safety education or any amount of experience, but the proof of sailors' ultimate superiority (or not) is in the primary cause statistics.  When you look at the primary cause listed for each injury accident, in powerboats, some form of operator negligence is named in about 57% of accidents.  For sailboats, the percentage is almost exactly the same.

A few stats about primary cause:
  • Interestingly, excessive speed is listed as the primary cause in the same percentage of powerboat accidents as sailboat (no motor) accidents.  In other words, excessive speed sailing is statistically as dangerous as excessive speed on a powerboat.
  • Weather is listed as the primary cause in about 12% of sailboat accidents, but less than 5% of powerboat accidents.
  • Navigation rules violations were the primary causes of about 14% of powerboat accidents and about 16% of sailboat accidents.  (I wouldn't have predicted that.)
  • Drugs/alcohol was listed as the primary cause in about 7.4% of powerboat accidents, and about 4% of sailboat accidents.
So, even though sailors are a little more susceptible to certain factors (such as weather) and a little less likely to make certain kinds of mistakes (such as alcohol), it is hard to paint these statistics in any way that proves sailors are better, safer, or smarter.

Assertion #4:  Sailors are better looking.

Bonus Stat:
By the way, though WA state has about 4.6% of the registered recreational vessels in the country, we have only about 2% of the accidents.

Be safe out there,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How not to use the tidal grid

Getting out of the boat this morning I came across this:
From club member Mark (somewhere in Alaska)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Post from club member Marc in Alaska

The totems at the Wrangell library (part of the previous episode):Friday 31 May

We got to Petersburg and did some laundry, showered, toured the small town, bought a few groceries and an extra 6 gallon gas tank to make it to Juneau with sightseeing detours. We refueled and took water on departure and made it to Ruth Island Cove in Thomas Bay for the night. 

Saturday 1 June

We motored all the way north in Thomas Bay to the Baird Glacier. It has receded enough so that it no longer touches the water and can't calve into it. There are no icebergs in the bay therefore. It's a bit ugly with the mud flats in front of it but it was still very impressive to watch the colossal amounts of ice with the binoculars.  The shear bulk of it is mind boggling. 

The water is milky white with sediments and you can't even see the propeller of the outboard anymore. 

We left the bay and hugged the north shore of Frederick Sound and turned to the right into Stephens Passage at the very beginning of which we spent the night in Fanshaw Bay. 

Sunday 2 June

We crossed to Admiralty Island under sail in very sunny weather.  In the distance we could observe a couple of whales with our binoculars for quite a while. One of them was splashing a flipper continuously and at times was lying on its back to splash both.  The other whale wasn't impressed and left after some time. The splashing whale disappeared maybe ten minutes later. 

We sailed in between The Brothers, a couple of islands, for fun. The wind dyed shortly thereafter and we motored and motorsailed all the way Across Pybus Bay to our anchorage in Cannery Cove. 

Sunny sailing over water, with impressive cloud-cover anywhere over land:
 Cannery Cove in Pybus Bay on Admiralty Island:
 We were miffed to find a fishing resort and other buildings in the cove. It is branded as an excellent fishing spot for crabs and bottom feeders and we were concerned that the human presence would have spoiled that. 

Laszlo started to bottom-fish as soon as the boat was anchored. At the first cast and first wiggle he hooked a rockfish!  As he took it in I ordered "a halibut" next. He casted again and nearly instantly pulled up a small halibut!  It wiggled itself loose from the hook but fell right into our bucket and Laszlo could cast again without interruption. 

That would prove to be the end of the miraculous catch however. Laszlo kept going at it, after dinner too, but no more fish were caught and our crab basket would also come up empty the next morning. 

The halibut:
 Monday 3 June

We crossed Pybus Bay again and then sailed at an incredibly slow pace around the northeast corner of Admiralty Island. Ultimately we had to turn on the engine. Soon thereafter a pod of about twenty Dahl's Porpoises came to play around the boat for at least a quarter of an hour! They look like mimi orcas with their black backs and white bellies.  We watched them with great enthousiasm, taking turns to sit on the bow. As usual it's possible to properly photograph them but I can't wait to see Jenny's movie. 

Dahl's Porpoises:
 We slept in Tracy Arm Cove, strategically located for our trip to the glaciers the next day.

Post from club member Marc in Alaska

Also it should have read: "As usual [the Dahl Porpoises] are nearly *impossible* to photograph..."

And Laszlo did catch some more fish in Cannery Cove the next morning if I'm not mistaken. 

Tuesday 4 June

We woke up in Tracy Arm Cove and the small icebergs in the anchorage hadn't really moved during the night, which was somewhat a relief. 

We had spotted our first iceberg in the distance while approaching the entrance to Tracy Arm the evening before. At first I thought it was a boat, but a closer look with the binoculars revealed the icy nature of the object. When we turned the bend to enter Tracy Arm we saw several more. 

This big iceberg was right next to the red channel marker with a bald eagle perched on top.

Laszlo clambered to the bow and kept a good eye out until we dropped the hook. 

After breakfast the tender was deployed on a tow line as a life raft and up we went into Tracy Arm, hoping that the ice wouldn't be too dense and we would be able to find a path all the way to the south arm glacier. 

The spectacular granite cliffs in Tracy Arm:

We saw the odd large iceberg but as we moved deeper and deeper into the arm with the upcoming tide, more and more smaller bits of ice started cluttering around us. Some of them are white, others a magical intense blue, and the nasty ones are perfectly transparent and low on the water. They're hard to spot and should the propeller hit any bergy bit, as they are called, then that would be "game over" for us. Of course hitting any but the very smallest at high speed could also hole the hull. 

One of those intense blue bergs with a mother and baby seal resting on a smaller bergy bit in front (the dark speck):
 Unfortunately the little iPod I use can't capture the beauty of that blue. The berg in the picture above was entirely blue to the naked eye, no white whatsoever. 

Many icebergs have seagulls or bald eagles perched on top of them. At some point a bald eagle was harassing a small aquatic bird that I call "little divers" as a generic name for several species of tiny birds that paddle on the surface and frequently dive and swim under water to catch some fish. I thought the eagle was trying to steal some fish from the little diver. It repeatedly ended up in the water and then had to take off from there again. A couple of big seagulls briefly harrassed the eagle and pecked at him in flight. Suddenly it struck me that the eagle wasn't after fish but after the little diver itself and the latter was diving for its life in the milky, turbid water. But the eagle, crashing relentlessly into the water, hit the little diver badly on a couply of occasion before laboriously taking off again to gain a vantage point in the air and observe where its prey would surface next. With the third strike, there was a really short, final struggle with some splashing and then the bald eagle sat still in the water. Unable to take off with its victim clutched in its claws under the surface, it amazingly proceeded to swim to the nearest iceberg, using its wings as a swimmer would when doing the butterfly. It took quite some effort to cover the 7 meters but then it got out off the water and on the ice surprisingly easily, given the now ruffled and limp little bird occupying its claws. 

We had observed this whole remarkable scene of bird on bird violence from less than 15 meters distance with the engine in neutral. Now we thought we had an excellent photo opportunity believing the drenched eagle would't be able to take off with its prey so we moved in closer. But without giving us a second glance the bald eagle took off and delivered the dead diver to its nest. Then he chased away another bird of prey that came too close, and then he took position in a tree for further hunting. All in a day's work for a bald eagle...

Soon after witnessing these events the ice became denser and denser and we had to reduce speed and send somebody on bow watch. I took the first watch with the boat hook ready to push any bergy bits away. As soon as I reached the bow it felt like my feet were freezing through my double layer of thick woolen socks to my shoe soles and the deck. My gloved hands gave me pretty much the same feeling. Within minutes my feet and hands started hurting badly from the cold and I didn't dare move much anymore. Yet I had to push away some ice at some point and obviously proceeded to do that. It was a chunk not bigger than a small person's chest yet it was incredibly heavy and took quite some effort to get moving. Now I totally understand how icebergs, even small ones, can sink ships. 

A while later my extremities didn't hurt that badly from the cold anymore simply because I started loosing feeling. I remained as immobile as possible, till the bitter end of my mission, until we had twisted and turned to find a path through the denser ice and made it in sight of the glacier. It was quite thrilling for Laszlo to steer knowing that there was absolutely no tolerance for mistakes. 

We stayed about 1.5 km away from the glacier for safety. It can calve huge chunks that create really big waves and slosh all the ice around. We heard it groan and explode all the time, impressive noises like canon shots. And on a couple of occasions we saw it calve large pieces that fell down in a cloud of icy debris followed by spray when hitting the water.

The million dollar shot: WYC burgee in front of South Tracy Arm Glacier:
 Jenny and Laszlo at the glacier:
 We bobbed around a little while enjoying the scenery. There were plenty of mother-baby seal couples lounging on the ice at regular intervals. 

When we left, Jenny observed the biggest chunk ever calve from the glacier! She had trained the binoculars on it and waited for it to happen and enjoyed a first row performance. 

As expected, with the now ebbing tide, the bergy bits were drawn out over a much larger distance and it was way easier to sail through them. 

Laszlo on bergy watch, his turn to freeze his extremities off:
To our surprise we passed 2 large cruise ships on our way out. We didn't think they went in there. As one sailed by we laughingly yelled: "Suckers!  With your champagne and caviar, your central heating and hot tubs!". We had been eating tinned food forever now and we were exposed to the outdoors all day long. Heating was a luxury at night only. 

Tender in foreground and cruise ship Oosterdam in the background:
After a whole day of rain and drizzle the sun peeked through the clouds for the last hour of the trip and never was sunshine so welcome!  I exposed my frozen feet the best I could and slowly I started to feel them again. We made it back to our anchorage without incidents and before dark. 

Wednesday 5 June

The crab pot yielded 3 Tanner crabs but they were all too small for (legal) consumption. So far we had only caught Dungeness crab. I guess I'll have to buy some Tanner to know what it tastes like.

Tanner crab:
 We spent the morning observing some brown bears on shore. There was a female with two cubs who stood on their hind legs a couple of times. And elswhere there was a lonely bear, probably a male. 

Then we slowly made our way to nearby Taku Bay where a few unattended docks are available for free. 

Vestiges of old cannery in Taku Bay:

Thursday 6 June

From Taku Bay there's only 30 km to Juneau. We spend a lot of time trawling at 1.5 knots but didn't catch anything. We looked into Taku Inlet (not Bay) with the binoculars to peer at the glacier there and the outlandish snow capped rocky peeks above it. 

In the evening we made it to Juneau, the end destination for Laszlo and Jenny. We celebrated with a sushi dinner. 

The next few days Mariposa was cleaned inside out after which Laszlo and Jenny had the time to go hike. There are great trails all around Juneau and the weather was absolutely fantastic again.   We've been so incredibly lucky over all.   

Then it was time for us to part. They flew home and I'll take a short break from cruising too. 

A clean Mariposa in sunny Juneau:
 Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau calves into a lake and is a popular destination with cruise ship tourists. There's also a great hike on its west side that Jenny and Laszlo did:

         The End

                 ... or is it?

Summer Snooze 'n Cruise!!!

Event Date: Saturday-Sunday, August 17-18
Mandatory Work Party: Thursday, August 15, 6:00-7:30 pm

Sign-ups Open:
 Thursday, August 8 (until full)
I will send out an email to announce when sign-ups open.

$25 members, $30 guests, $10 children under 12
Guests are limited to one per member.

About the trip:
Snooze 'n' Cruise is a weekend sailing adventure hosted by the club during the warm months.  We depart early Saturday morning, sail over to Blake Island for the night, and head back to Seattle on Sunday morning.  We've reserved a group camp site to put up your tent and a picnic shelter for meals.  Saturday's dinner, Sunday's breakfast, and a bagged lunch for Sunday's trip home are included.  Please note that you are required to provide your own mess kit.

Skippers may take out dinghies so...go get your single-handed, double-handed or cat skipper ratings!
Those lacking skipper ratings will be placed on a keelboat (or you can request to crew on a dinghy).

How to pay:
The Thursday before SnC there is a mandatory work party 6:00-7:30 pm) where you will pay (cash or check) and help with some task to prepare the boats (e.g., load gear, clean dishes, food prep, ...). You will receive your boat assignment later that evening or the following day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

from club member Marc who is sailing to Alaska

Saturday 25 May

From Kelp Passage Cove it was only a few hours to Prince Rupert, the last town of British Columbia before Alaska. It is connected by a road and is large enough to find most anything. 

We had run out of propane during the night but the only propane dealer in town was closed on weekends. We'd have to sleep without heating and deal with the condensation until Ketchikan in Alaska. Fortunately the next nights would be relatively benign. 

After showering, refueling, eating out, internet, shopping, calling US customs to notify them of our impeding arrival, doing laundry and rinsing and partially drying the spinnaker that had touched salt water, we set off again and motored west-northwest through a narrow winding channel out into the sound where we caught good wind to sail to an anchorage in Pearl Harbor, an uninhabited bay. 

On the way the sun got low enough to get under the cloud cover and we witnessed a rare (because of the usual mountains and clouds) and beautiful sunset:

Sunday 26 May
We caught our last Canadian crab which brought our tally for Laszlo's $112 Canadian fishing license plus lost lures to 3 crabs and 1 small rock fish!

We motored nearly all day and crossed Dixon Entrance, the other body of water that's open to the Pacific Ocean and can be pretty wild, but we experienced only a hardly perceptible swell and glassy waters.  The border with Alaska follows right after and beyond it we enthousiastically spied our first whale in the distance, finally!  Later there was another one but it was hidden behind an island. From the thunderous blowing sounds and the huge spouts, taller than the trees, we figure it must have been a really, really big one. 

For the last few hours of the leg, when a feeble wind came up from the right direction, the spinnaker was hoisted for further drying. The first half hour it could hardly support its own weight for lack of wind but then we actually sailed at 3 to 4 knots. 

Spinnaker drying:
We dropped the hook at Ham Island and enjoyed our very tasty crab:

Monday 27 May

From Ham Island to Ketchikan it's only a couple of hours. Again there was no sailing to be done and only motoring. However, when we got really near to town in Revillagigedo Channel, a nasty wind suddenly blew against us with a vicious chop. 

We radioed the harbor master who basically told us we could pick any spot in any basin so we entered Thomas Basin which was closest to us. 

We spotted a space and I approached it carefully because of the high winds. It was a downwind approach so the maneuver would be to kick in reverse gear when nearly in the spot and bring the stern near to the dock to tie it on first, upwind.

Things didn't work out as planned. The outboard engine kicked up when switched in reverse and with the prop nearly out of the water it did't work properly anymore and we were blown way too fast towards the dock and the boat in front of our spot. I yelled to Laszlo and Jenny to stay on board and not try to get on the dock and bailed out of there with little room to spare between us and the boat in front. I immediately did a 180 degree turn to avoid a perpendicular dock right in front of us and then pushed the outboard engine back in the water and engaged the forward gear to motor into the wind which we were now facing again. 

Outboard engines have a little lever with which you can lock them into position so they no longer can kick up. Evidently something was wrong with that. I never use this lever on my engine which is always in the "propellor down" position so I couldn't immediately remember where it was located. 

I was now upwind again from the dock space and decided to give the approach another try, this time knowing I'd have to make do without reverse. The wind was simply too strong however and I just flipped the gear in reverse anyway knowing it probably wouldn't do me any good and indeed the outboard just kicked its prop out of the water. I narrowly bailed out again. 

That's when I made a mistake. I decided to quickly check out that lever while puttering upwind but since I couldn't immediately locate it I just took too many seconds and the irregular winds in the constricted basin took advantage of my inattention to blow us towards other docked boats. Startled I pulled my head out of the engine well when Jenny and Laszlo started shouting warnings. Fortunately they were alert and fended us off so that no boats came into contact with each other and we extricated ourselves from this pickle a moment later. 

I thought it wiser at that point to pick another spot and allowed the boat to be blown sideways against the perpendicular downwind dock. It would be hard to leave from there if the wind kept blowing hard, which is why I didn't pick that spot in the first place, but at least it was easy to get to and would allow us to check the engine at our leisure. 

It turned out the lever, once located, was simply halfway down and not high enough to keep the engine from moving up...  I pulled it back all the way up and gave the reverse gear a quick try and all seemed fine. 

We called US customs and immigration and waited on the boat for them to show up and clear us in the country. A single female officer dropped by about half an hour later and stamped our passports. All she asked was if we had any pets, no questions about alcohol, tobacco, firearms, fresh fruit and vegetables, etc.  She didn't come on board. 

Thomas Basin is located next to the cruise ship dock and no less than four of them were in town. Needless to say the whole neighborhood around those docks looks like Disneyland with all sorts of kitchy touristy stores. I wonder what it is like to travel by cruise ship where everywhere you land you end up in the same kitsh as if you hadn't even changed location.   We had a quick stroll through there in a mostly vain search of things we needed. 

Doing the touristy thing:

Laszlo hadn't fished all day long anymore for the last few days in Canada but obviously the fire was still burning since he decided to get an Alaskan fishing license too. He got it at Tongass Trading Co.--which name was the source of some amusement that brought new meaning to "tongue in cheek" remarks. 

After all our errands we wanted to move the boat to a fuel dock we had located that would also refill our propane tank. The wind was still blowing even though not as hard as before. But we still had to manually move our boat with the help of the crew on the fishing boat next to us to orient one end into the wind to be able to motor out of there. As it turned out, the stern was the most convenient end to turn into the wind so we backed out. Of course, the outboard did kick up again! Not all the way and fortunately we were still going somewhere. After an expletive that the the crew of the other boat might unfortunately have thought was directed at them, we docked a bit further to have another look at that darned lever. It had sagged a bit again. I had had it with its shenanigans and locked it in the right position with a hose clamp.  

After refueling and filling the propane tank it was too late to make it to an anchorage and with spring tidal ranges of over 7.5 m. we thought it better to sleep at Bar Harbor, the northernmost basin in Ketchikan. It has showers, is out of the tourist zone, and has a huge Safeway with good wifi in easy walking distance as well as hardware and boating stores. 


Here are a few more panoramic pictures I received from Jenny. They aren't related to this episode and are from random locations in British Columbia:

From club member Marc who is sailing to Alaska

Tuesday 28 May

Right after leaving the shelter of the breakwater that protects Ketchikan's Bar Harbor, we hoisted the sails and switched off the engine. The forecasted strong southerlies had materialized for once, and even much sooner than anounced. What followed was a long day of exciting sailing, the best of the trip, avoiding most rain and even enjoying plenty of sunshine!

We exited Tongass Narrows and crossed Behm Canal on a beam reach to continue into Clarence Strait. There we ran wing and wing in well over 20 knots of wind, surfing down waves and requiring a great deal of concentration to (successfully) avoid unplanned jibes. After a right turn into Ernest Sound a broad reach brought us close to Deer Island where the wind no longer could reach us and the motor was turned on. We had enjoyed eleven hours of sailing at nearly 6 knots average!  

About to enter Seward Passage behind Deer Island, we noticed some strange splashing on the shore to our starboard. Binoculars revealed it was a whale continously splashing its tail!  We went ahead and approached the show up to a few hundred meters and watched it till the end through our binoculars and camera's zoom lens. The whale would splash for a while next to the steep shore and then dive down along the rock wall for a dozen minutes, and repeated this several times. Our best guess was that it tried to scare fish away from the wall and would then try to catch them.  

After this we started trawling and Laszlo tangled twice with a big beautiful silver and pink fish that managed to unhook itself and evade him. He was totally stoked nonetheless. 

We spent the night at Frosty Bay where we enjoyed a great sunset:

Laszlo fished for bottom feeders:
Jenny enjoyed the sunset:

 Wednesday 29 May

This was the morning that should be inscribed into humanity's annals. Laszlo caught his first fish on this trip!
Wrangell docks at low tide

This sizable rock fish was hooked from the anchored boat and was received to lots of cheering! It was put in a bucket to keep it alive till dinner. 

In narrow waterways where the wind could hardly reach us, we motored most of the way to Madan Bay at the end of Blake Channel where we spent the night. 

Thursday 30 May

It was a short trip to Wrangell over Eastern Passage. 

We refueled and ate halibut burgers, but most of all, we walked all the way to the beach that has the petroglyphs. That's why we had timed our arrival in Wrangell for low tide. 

Reproduction petroglyphs and "information" panels that boil down to saying we know nothing about them:

Searching the beach for the actual petroglyphs
After a long search when we were about to give up I finally found some:
Quickly more were detected in the vicinity:
(They're 50 meters to the north of the deck if you ever go there.)

A crazy dog with slightly crossed eyes was running free on the beach and was barking furiously at us the whole time. It simply wanted to play and we started throwing sticks. It would bring them back and then bark furiously right in our faces again until we'd throw it one more time, over and over. We think it does this to all the visitors of the petroglyph beach.  As soon as we left it went its own way too, expressing a lot of disappointment but clearly set in a routine. 

Crazy dog:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WYC is 65 Years Old! A history of the club, Part 3

by Ken Howe

It may look like Alexia is celebrating turning 65, but it is the Washington Yacht Club that is now a “senior citizen.”  Alexia was asked to blow out the candles for the club.  She was one of the past commodores attending the spring Snooze and Cruise.  The wind beat her to it and snuffed the candles out for her.

In May 1948 the club was recognized as a student organization with the mission to teach sailing and support collegiate racing.  

At the SnC to Blake Island club members signed a birthday card for the club.  The year that each member received a rating was included with the signature.  The oldest rating date was 1964 by former commodore, Tom Schubert.  Another former commodore, John Courter wrote his date was 1976.  That was the next oldest rating.  Everyone at the Snooze and Cruise was invited to sign the card.
The photo of sailing on Union Bay was taken by Jay Flaming July 24, 2011. There is more room on the inside of the card for signatures.  I will keep the card at the shop for a while for members to add their names.
The oldest two classes of boats still in use at the club are the Lightning and the Finn. None of the original wooden Huskies and Penguins have survived. Several boats that the club first sailed like the Geary 18 and Penguins are owned by members of the Center for Wooden Boats.  

The early club members hoped sailing would to be as successful as crew racing at the University.  In 65 years the WYC has yet to have its own building like Conibear Shell House.  The crew members even got to live in their building. Maybe in the next 65 years WYC will have it so good.

1950 Tyee
1950 Tyee
1971 Tyee

Monday, June 3, 2013

Race report

Thanks to Evan for towing boats to and from the WAC last night for Friday Night Racing at SSP. We had a total of 14 Laser racing with wind ranging from nothing to just under 10 Knots.

The evening started with only 1-3 knots of wind from the North, and when the wind line actually reached us by about 7pm it was  a stable 10 knots or so.  Lots of good racing and swearing on the course.

It was a great time had by all.  I was wondering if there was anybody with a whaler rating who would be willing to drive the whaler up next week?  If we can get a schedule running then it would be easier to send out an invitation to Friday Nights  earlier knowing that we have a tow organized.


Cruising report

From Bryan: Nightshade is back from the weekend with a very full tank of fuel and cushions and sails stored below.  We swept the inside, wiped the counters & power washed the outside.  

We left the WAC around 7:30pm Friday.  At the locks, the lock tender asked us to stay right outside the small locks with fenders out in the future so they know we're waiting to pass through (we had circled around and backed out to be in view of both stoplights for the large and the small locks, then tied off after waiting awhile).  In other words, if you're in sight of the stoplight for the large lock, you're farther away than this guy prefers (their station is behind a concrete structure in between the two locks).  

We sailed to Kingston past sunset to spend the night and checked out the farmers market saturday morning before casting off for Langley.  Was a nice sail once the wind picked up in the afternoon coming around south Whidbey.  Langley was beautiful at sunset and well worth the walk around and we got a beer at the pizza place.  Can't wait to go back.  Sunday we set sail at 8:29AM and had a nice 5-hour spinnaker run all the way back home.  Lots of traffic waiting for the locks as a fishing vessel came in to occupy the large lock and an Argosy boat passed us to occupy the small lock.  Motorboaters were fiercely anxious to pile inside once they called us through.  

Here is a "damage report" of some notes we made during the trip.  There were a couple nice knives in the second drawer - could whoever took them please return them?

Traveler track pulls up away slightly from fiberglass on starboard end
Starboard running light not working
V-berth cabin light not working - one of the new fixtures (we think its the connection at the split across from the head)
Cabin light across from head not working - one of the old fixtures 
Auto pilot fuse needs replacing
Left burner on stove leaks alcohol when system is pressurized - BE AWARE!
Tiller stop bolts have fallen out (prevents rudder from turning too far over).  They are on the shelf above the captain's table.
Tiller has been drilled for tiller extension by someone and the wood split (anybody noticed the old tiller extension on a bracket above the battery switch?).  The little metal piece and the one screw that was installed fell out and is now above the captain's table. 
Aft side of port settee the wood panel needs to be secured
Depth sounder display not bright enough to see
Knot-o-meter not working

Race report

Thanks to Evan for towing boats to and from the WAC last night for Friday Night Racing at SSP.  We had a total of 14 Laser racing with wind ranging from nothing to just under 10 Knots.

The evening started with only 1-3 knots of wind from the North, and when the wind line actually reached us by about 7pm it was a stable 10 knots or so.  Lots of good racing and swearing on the course.

It was a great time had by all.  I was wondering if there was anybody with a whaler rating who would be willing to drive the whaler up next week?  If we can get a schedule running then it would be easier to send out an invitation to Friday Nights  earlier knowing that we have a tow organized.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Club member Anthony posts a video from Duck Dodge, where he skippers club boat "Charlotte," a Catalina 27 along with club member Josh (who's also our Purser)

Josh Solomon and I bought the Kabuki Maru, a Japanese-built 30 footer kept in Salmon Bay, with some others over the winter in order to give us easy day-sail access to Bainbridge Island BBQ (which subsequently went out of business after only one trip). A group of us have been taking out Charlotte to Duck Dodge for the past few weeks, and in addition to our inability to start on time, we decided to take it easy and not fly our chute this week. As a result, the two boats were particularly inseparable this past Tuesday, hence the sappy tune I decided to set this video to.

Report from club member Marc in Alaska May 13-14

As said previously we spent Monday morning at the Squirrel Cove General Store to refuel, shower, etc.  

We first docked at the public dock failing to find a fuel dock. Somebody pointed out that fuel would be available at the general store when it would open at 9 am. So I walked over there to check things out and found a tiny dock with a single fuel hose leading to it. I peered into the water and saw it was deep enough for Mariposa. So we moved her to that tiny dock and eventually the store opened and we went at our business. 

A guy walked up to me and said he owned the same sailboat as I did and thought I was very "brave" for daring to dock there since at low tide the whole dock would be aground... Needless to say we moved Mariposa back to the public dock as soon as we were done!. 

It rained badly all day.  While we had lunch, safely moored to the public dock, with the little fuel dock now nearly hitting bottom, we were lashed by unbelievable downpoors of hate rain again. There was a continuous stream of water over the portholes as we were looking out, not rivulets but a thick uninterupted layer of water gushing down the entire side of the boat like a waterfall! We stopped eating and watched in amazement.

We would have toodled around Deception Sound before moseying on to cross the rapids, but with the rotten weather we just stayed put at the dock until about half past three when we had to leave to still make it to the rapids on time. 

We arrived at the Yukulta Rapids at 7:15 pm, 15 minutes earlier than planned and it looked calm enough to proceed. We'd have three knots of current against us *on average* at that point. Laszlo had piloted us through tiny vicious Malibu Rapids on the way out of Princess Louisa Inlet, at perfect slack without turbulences, and now it was time for him to measure himself against a big guy like Yukulta with current still flowing. He had read the cruising guide on how to tackle it and how to play the eddies, he had looked up the tides and currents, and I had shown him the general route on the chart.  All the homework was done so in we went. The two first eddies caught him by surprise and the boat got pivotted 90 degrees each time, but after that Laszlo held the tiller with a firm hand and quick reaction times. It was fun to see our progress on the chart plotter. Even though we were pointing in a certain direction, the actual direction in which we were progressing could be 90 degrees to one side and then a second later 90 degrees to the other side!  Worst speed over ground was around half a knot and Laszlo had to find another way amongst the eddies at that point. As time went by, the currents and eddies abated and we passed through the adjoining Dent Rapids at full slack at around 8 pm, which was the goal of taking an early start in Yukulta Rapids. 

Over an hour later, as we approached our dock for the night in Shoal Bay, one of our fenders was dropped over board. It was black and it was night but we managed to keep track of it and fish it up. Soon we were all safely docked and sound asleep. 

Tuesday we got up at 5:10 am to catch the slack at Green Rapids. Jenny took the helm to tackle this one but we encountered hardly any turbulence since we hit it right at slack. It's always weird to sail over a placid rapid that doesn't seem different than the rest of the channel yet to know that at full strength it has the power to swamp boats or to smash them against the rocks.  

We kept motoring on, all the way to the Johnstone Strait where we started sailing the wind that was forecasted to keep increasing.  At he end of our run with the current on the Strait, to avoid the coming counter-current of the flood, we turned back into the side channels where we first had to motor again against the now strong winds. (In the Havannah Channel). 

The depth sounder had been acting up and was now refusing to display our depth at all. Since we were headed towards the Chatham Channel, which is shallow and narrow, I wanted to check that thing out and simply started by wiggling the wires. To my surprise water just dripped out of the enclosure!  (Thank you so much, hate rain.) I took it apart and the thing isn't even caulked. It worked for a while again to get us through the Channel but then gave up on us and life and the universe. It stubornly displays two dashes, no depth. We'll see if its attitude changes after a night of drying. 

When we neared the Chatham Channel our ever intrepid Laszlo decided to unfurl the headsail to motorsail against over 25 knots of wind while I was inside. Needless to say that the result was a big roll while I held on to all our stuff inside, followed by lots of flogging of sail and sheets, and then a neetly furled headsail again after I had come out to lend a hand. Somewhat subdued by the events, Laszlo and Jenny then motored most of the way downwind in the Chatham Channel. I came back outside in the cockpit a while later and promptly fell asleep with Jenny at the helm. When I awoke we were in Knight Inlet and found there was good wind and lots of space.  The engine was shut off altogether and we sailed for nearly the remainder of the day. 

We even passed in between the islets located between Spring and Retreat Passages under sail, which required a lot of play with the ever shifting and dissapearing winds of those near landlocked areas, and good fun was had avoiding the shores and reefs under those conditions. Then we motored into Waddington Bay, our landlocked anchorage for the night, forecasted to be pretty stormy. 

No pictures were taken due to the weather again.

Report from club member Marc May 20-21

 On Monday morning the crab pot yielded only one starfish:

We refueled at Shearwater and then slowly motored and sailed the first bit of the Seaforth Channel to allow Laszlo to trawl for salmon. No fish were encountered, not even on the fish finder. 

The second part of the Seaforth Channel, which is open to the ocean, was a hard pounding into the waves at a high RPM and a slow speed. Near the end of it we tucked into Reid Passage and started trawling under sail. In Percival Narrows quite a few fish showed up on the fish finder but we just lost our lure and hook again, one of the new ones bought in Port Hardy. 

We sailed all the way to Rescue Bay where we anchored for the night.  It is located on Mathieson Channel and Jackson Pass. A dark sky compelled us to unfold the tarp over the cockpit and soon enough light rain trickled down till darkness fell. 

The next morning we found a single crab, male, and of legal size, in our crab pot to our delight! This is only the second one we catch during this whole trip. The remains of the little rock fish were used as bait. 

We motored at a really slow pace to preserve fuel and visited the whole Fiordland area. A radiant sun dissipated the rain and clouds within one hour of our departure and the tarp was slid aside. The weather got so warm that at some point I considered sailing in T-shirt but I just quite didn't. It was perfect to take many pictures again. 

In Fiordland there are oodles of towering waterfalls, many of which can be approached by boat until you can almost stretch your hand out and touch them. 

Jenny declares this one to be the coolest:

A few falls later, another one is declared to be her favorite and she has stuck with it ever since. 

Kynoch Inlet in Fiordland park:Kynoch Falls.  We switched off the engine and had lunch drifting around with this awesome background. 

We found quite a bit of a yellow algal bloom in this inlet: