Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Boomerang Start ... so lets try that again

Success with my mate Jeremy a "legend" who took the night at short notice to drive me through the USA border to get me my visa waiver form. 

So the trip is off to a flying start as we did not even make it into the USA. Just like a boomerang, the Aussie went out an back. Loree and Vada we fine to enter it's just the dodgy Aussie without the right paperwork. So any way we had to go back to Canada because of an omission in the visa waiver program for Australians and all other Visa waiver countries where the issuing of USA Visa waiver works for all ways of entry except for entry by private boat/plane. There are only two work arounds to either get a USA holiday Visa which takes a month or to enter by land or Commercial ferry/plane and get t Visa waiver that way. Once I have the waiver I am good to enter whatever way I like, say by private boat.

So this is the plan to try and keep the trip on schedule

  1. Motor back to Sidney on Vancouver Island 
  2. Clear Canada customs back into Canada 
  3. Go to mooring, unpack dinghy and row to shore
  4. Catch taxi to Schwartz bay
  5. Catch ferry to Tsawassen (mainland BC)
  6. My mate Jeremy (a legend) will pick me up in his car and drive me through the USA border so I can get my visa waiver form
  7. Stay with Anne-Marie,  Jeremy and cute baby Logan overnight. Thank you guys for helping out.
  8. Catch ferry back to Sidney on the island 
  9. Get back to boat and pack up dinghy, etc again
  10. Get back on my boat and re-enter the USA
And ooooohhhhhhh take a big breath the trip can start

See below the BC ferry that is taking me back to the mainland to cross USA land border 

Monday, 26 September 2016

How to be a good crew - "Yacht World"

So I thought of writing something like this and then I came across the article below and I could not have summed it up any better so instead of me writing something here it is...

In addition I would like to reinforce the first point to be willing and flexible as that is at the core of sailing is that we can't control the weather so one needs to be flexible. It also means willing to help as it is a sport which means there is work involved even when cruising as opposed to racing. But that's all I can really add.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Shake Down Cruise Success

So the shake down cruise was a success with a few lessons learned. We left at lunch time on Thursday 15th Sept. and sailed out going through Victoria on sun set. We had fair winds blowing about 10 -15 kts which made for a great sail.
Sailing up the Juan de Fuca Straight in the dark with all the shipping going to both Seattle and Vancouver kept us on our toes. We saw about a dozen large ships through out the night. The prettiest ones were the cruise ships as they had so many more lights on them, however this did end up ruining your night vision.
By the time we got to out of the Juan de Fuca Straight past Cape Flattery the wind had died and the tide was pushing us back the way we came. So we had to use our engine to motor out of the shipping channel. Once out of the channel we went back to sailing but we became engulfed in fog. This meant putting on the radar and staring at the screen and the wall of grey/white all around us as we slowly went along the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
We also saw some wildlife too inlcuding whales, sealions, many birds and a seal as well. We had one of the sealions playing our bow wave which was kind of neat too.
The fog cleared by the afternoon but this brought stronger wind along with the building ocean swells which lead to some very lively sailing. The swells were not too big, being only about 8 to 10 feet high and the wind were steady at 25 knots gusting to the occaional 30 knots. This lead to some very lively sailing as we countinued in a north westerly direction sailing down wind. By the time it came to turn around and start heading back it was dark. Sailng to windward in over 25 knots with a reefed main the boat handled beautifully and was so light to steer with only a small amount of weather helm. The sleeping in the front bunk was anything but restful though with the bucking boat leading to bouncy ride in bed Loree finding Vada in her lap as the boat pounded to windward heading back the way we came.
Vada (dog) was fine with no sea sicknesses and only a few nervous moments. Additionally Vada is now toilet trained to go on a mat in the cockpit of the boat, which is a relief. All in all Vada handle the rough weather very well. Loree while feeling nausis ended being fine without being sick.
For me I was super happy to be sailing at sea and battling the elements. By the time morning came the wind had increased again the weather report forecasting even more wind. This meant I took down the 140% head sail and rasied the 90% head sail. This was the first time using the sail in any decent wind and I was please to see it performed well, even if the forecasted wind increase never came.
By the time we got back to Juan de Fuca Straight it was dark again which lead to another night passage avoiding all the big comercial shipping. Loree did a great watch steering by herself for 6 hours up the very busy shipping lane allowing me to sleep. This was a fantastic effort as by only her 4th night watch she was able to navigate busy shipping lanes in the dark. I can't take the credit for teching Loree though as she is a fast learner. We finally made it home safe at about 4am and tied back up to our mooring in the light of the almost full moon.

Lessons we learned from this are great preperation for the upcoming trip

  • Manage fatigue better by ensure getting enough sleep and sticking to watch schedule
  • Loree to gain more sailing skills (but we knew this any way)
  • Don't worry about sail changes (down to smaller sails) unless you have to. Just keeping reefing/furling instead because sailing short handed sail changes any sail changes increase fatigue.
  • Keep an eye on electrical power levels when we have constant days of cloud, rain, fog as we need power for the Autohelm to work.
All in all it was great preperations for the upcoming first leg of the trip to San Francisco.