Monday, February 15, 2010

Light wind winter sailing

Luckness has been out sailing in February several times.  Winter in Seattle is rumored to have strong south winds all winter.  I've heard that winter is the best time to sail locally, as in summer the winds are light and inconsistent.  Winter sailing is real sailing.  Winter sailing around Puget Sound rocks.  This is my first winter owning my own boat and having the opportunity (now that I'm only working on the boat during the week) to sail on the weekends.

We were out on three weekends in February.  

Feb 6th and 7th Joe, Tim, Ivy and I left Shilshole to visit Port Orchard for a night.  There was a little work remaining to do on my anchor chain connection so I choose to not anchor out - the system was usable but I wanted to finish off a detail.  So we all left at 9am Saturday morning hoping for a nice winter sail - and were presented with blue skies and light wind.  We sailed for a while, barely making headway against the various currents until we had to start motoring.  We arrived at 4pm and were the only boat in the guest docks at the marina until 5pm when one other boat arrived.  Its a nice destination.  The town has a couple places to eat, a few bars, coffee, a bakery, etc.  We hit a few bars, played some pool, etc.  The next day the winds were just as light and the skies just as blue.  We made a stop at Bremerton marina to get some more coffee into our systems and then headed out again.  We ended up motoring most of the day once again.  As wind paws would appear on the still water we would pull the sails up - and then the motor would come on again when we stopped making progress.

The weekend of the 13th, 14th and 15th Ivy and I set out with a destination of Quartermaster harbor.  Again, we had blue skies and light winds.  We were able to sail most of the way to Blakely harbor where we anchored out.  This harbor is a nice local destination, with good anchoring and views toward Seattle's lights at night.  We were anchored toward the back of the harbor and were a little startled by a low rumbling toward the evening.  Looking out, there was an Argosy ship heading deeper into the harbor, where it get shallow pretty quickly.  They did a back and fill to turn around and then headed back out.  The boat must have been rented and the captain was giving his guests a tour while he was practicing his skills.  Cool.  There was one other boat in the anchorage all evening.

The next day we were able to sail most of the way to Quartermaster harbor, motoring the last hour or so in order to arrive before it was too dark.  It was a beautiful peaceful night at anchor - we were the only boat in the harbor at anchor!  Home made pizza for dinner - this isn't exactly like camping where you need to rough it eating freeze dried with bugs.

On monday we motored out of the harbor through fog into clear air to find no wind - flat calms.  We motored back getting there around 4pm.  Lunch time found us around the top of Bainbridge were we powered down to watch the views while we ate.

All the new systems on the boat worked well.  The new furnace kept us very warm and doesn't draw enough power to be a problem while at anchor for a few days.  A better test of the power draw will come when we have better winds and don't motor as much which ends up charging the batteries.  The windlass is great, the autopilot works well.

The downside for the two weekends was that there wasn't much wind.  There were a lot of upsides - sailing slowly or motoring with good company during warm days with blue skies in February is not such a bad thing!

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