Sunday, August 5, 2012

Passage to Neah Bay: day 22, at anchor!

Date: Aug 4, 2012, Time: noon PST
48° 22' N  125° 01' W
Wind speed: 14 / wind dir: 060 (ENE), Heading: 090, Speed: 5.5 Motoring
Barometer: 1016, Water Temp: 57.2
Log: 8177.3
Previous 24 hour run: 138
Final noon to finish run: 17

I finished my passage to Neah Bay yesterday, August 4th at 4:30pm.  Yay!

I left Hanalei Bay on Kauai on July 14th at 3:30pm.  This makes this passage 21 days and 1 hour long.

The noon to noon runs I recorded were: 122.5, 150.2, 160, 154, 145, 145, 102.3, 148, 165, 154, 92, 54, 121, 155, 116, 145, 169.5, 135, 131, 146, 138, 17.  If I added them up correctly, the total distance I traveled was 2865.5nm.  That turns out to be an approximation as each day's recorded number was as a straight line from the previous noon's recorded position - the boat never sailed in a straight line and so that number is on the low end.  My ship's log shows an elapsed 2514nm traveled.  The ships log shows the distance traveled through the water and does not account for any currents.  I think I'll refer to this as a 3000nm trip, accounting for a little artistic license...

The final day since my last noon report was a tale of diminishing winds, raising winds, diminishing winds.  The last report had the winds in the 20-27 knot range which resulted in a fast if wet and rocky ride.  Since then, the wind slowed down to 18 around midnight, 10 by 4am and 6 at 6am where my boat speed had fallen to 2.5 knots.  At that point I was 50nm from Neah Bay and at 2.5 knots I would be arriving at night, so I started to motor.  This was the first time I had turned on the engine since leaving Hanalei Bay in Hawaii - I was glad when it started immediately as it always has.  From that point, the wind veered around to come eventually from the east, directly where I was heading, at 14 knots.  I didn't want to get involved in a tacking exercise in this area with its freighter and fishing vessel traffic...and as I was relatively close to my destination I left the motor on and continued to Neah Bay.

My final sunset the previous night was amazing.  The sky was cloudless, which was a rarity.  Just as the sun was setting a full-ish moon was rising.  I could look west to see a sky lit up with oranges, yellows, blues - a typical gorgeous sunset, and then look east and see a large orange moon just above the horizon directly in front of me.  It was another good moment, this passage has been full of them.

Soon after turning on the engine at 6am I had my first and only whale sighting of my passage - a large whale of some type (sorry, didn't catch its name) broached four times 500 to 1000 feet to my port side.  It was spectacular but I felt somewhat relieved when I got further away from it.  I would rather see a critter that size jumping out of the water from some distance.

When I arrived at anchor the sky continued to be completely cloudless.  I was in Neah Bay with the waters almost completely flat, with 5 knots of wind, looking around and being able to see clearly north toward the mountains on Vancouver Island and north west along the Vancouver Island coast.  Neah Bay itself is a beautiful place, made all that much more impressive by my being at sea for 22 days with nothing much more to look at but water, clouds and waves.

I took a moment to relax and then started on the chores to turn Luckness into a comfortable coastal cruising boat.  The last portion of my passage was done in very high humidity, and that combined with my sleeping in full foul weather gear which didn't come off since it had turned cold resulted in a rather damp and smelly boat interior.  Mildew has started to grow on many of the surfaces, salt water has slowly been tracked around the cabin sole, I had a minor water leak from the forward water tank's inspection port when I was a little aggressive in my water making and had some cleanup to do.  I got through enough of those chores to be able to sleep in my forward berth comfortably and uninterrupted last night.  I tried turning on the boat's furnace to hear a horrible screeching sound from its fan - one more thing to look at when I get back to Seattle.  However its warm enough, even at night here that I'm comfortable.  Not having to get up every 20 minutes contributes greatly to that comfort, it was a relief to turn off the WatchCommander which has kept me from getting more than 20 minutes of continuous sleep for the last 22 days.

I expect to be here in Neah Bay for a few days, after which I'll make my way slowly back to Seattle.

The passage was amazing and difficult to summarize.  I would do it again, and there is a possibility that if my future cruising plans work out that I will in fact be repeating this passage in the future.

Luckness continues to impress me.  This boat is a passage making machine and never gave me a moments worry.  I had no equipment failures and only a few more items to add to my project list to address when I return to Seattle.

I'll try to post a few pictures over the next few days, although I took very few during the passage.

For those of you who followed along on my passage through this blog - thanks!  I hope you enjoyed the journey.  I certainly did.


  1. Congrats Craig, hope you have a huge caesar salad when you finally make it to town. Don't fall down when you find dry land! -- desiree

    1. Hi Desiree! Thanks! I'm still looking for the Caesar, I don't think its going to be found in Neah Bay. There's a place I know in Ballard which serves an _awesome_ Caesar...I'll head there when I get back! I had a limp side green salad with lunch yesterday, underwhelming... On the other hand, I did have my helping of Perfect Food everyday on the passage, its good stuff! Thanks for that recommendation.

  2. Welcome back to dry land Craig. Congrats on a successful first run.
    How lovely to have the moon and clear skies welcoming you home.
    xo Mum

    1. Hi Mom! I don't have cell phone service here, but should once I get to my next anchorage, where ever that happens to be. We'll talk soon!

  3. Congrats from a fellow PS37 owner. Been jealously following your adventure.


    1. SvChchulain - Hello! I'm glad you've been enjoying my little adventure. I left Neah Bay last year impressed with this boat we own and came back feeling even better about PS37's. Its a wonderful boat, comfortable on a passage and at anchor. I hope you enjoy your own adventures, and if/when you start a blog, drop me a hint about where it is :-)

  4. Hell yeah! Welcome back to North America! That's a helluva passage.

    sv hello world

    1. Thanks Jason! I've been enjoying following Christy and your travels through Alaska. For other readers, follow these two on their own blog: Its good reading!

  5. Welcome home, Craig! What an amazing experience - can't wait to hear all about it in person over a glass of rum or two! :)

  6. Job well done mate! I am glad the whale reception I set up arrived just in time. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be there personally, so I hope Moby was a pleasant surprise. Not sure when I will be back in Seattle, so If you head back east via friendly skies look us up in NY. Congrat’s again! Joe

    1. Captain Joe! That was a thoughtful gesture arranging the whale, thanks eh. There is a chance that I'll find my self out on the east coast sometime early next year - if I get out there I would love to meet up and hear the stories of your last year sailing in the Caribbean, living in France, sailing around Turkey, visiting Turkey...and more. It sounds like you and Marcie have had an amazing year. I'm looking forward to catching up over a beverage or two :-)