Thursday, August 21, 2014

First offshore passage

Ok to begin with this is Scott not the artful Cindy,
We set sail from Neah Bay at 0810 bound for Newport Or.
This will be not only our first offshore passage but also our first overnight passage, I know the boat is well prepared but am nervous none the less.
The trip length is about 250 miles, we decided that we would sail about 30 to 50 miles offshore to accomplish a few things. First and foremost it would give us sea room in case a bad storm came up and blew us around a bit , second we would be clear of the crab pots that are set by the commercial fishermen, and third the wind would be more steady and constant.
We set a course for 125 degrees west and would follow that south.
Well, it was foggy as all get out (again).
We had to motor until about 1600 due to lack of wind.
The wind picked up at about 1600 so we hoisted the Main and unfurled the Genoa and Staysil, the wind was about 9 to 12 knots.
The wind was on our Starboard rear quarter about 120 degrees, with the wind there the boat wanted to turn into the wind (round up) we had to turn the wheel to the left to counter balance the sail plan.
The monitor wind vane steered the boat like a dream.
The wind then moved a bit further aft and things went wrong, we should have put a double reef in the main and just used our Genoa to pull us down wind. The boat was overpowered and the Main sail was covering the Genoa and the Wind vane couldn't overcome the weather helm.
I spoke to a sailing pro Allison HickenWood from Port Townsend sails to confirm my suspicions.
I can't thank Allison enough for the advice and encouragement.
Live and Learn.
Well, instead we started the engine and motor-sailed with a single reef in the main for the next 35 hours.
Its was foggy for the entire trip.
We arrived at our Newport approach waypoint at 2345 and found that our visibility was less than 100 feet. Truly if the Nav lights had not been on I wouldn't have been able to see the bow of the boat.
As I was ready to turn into the jetty I hear on the radio that a Tug and Tow was headed out the jetty, I called the captain and told him that we would hold and jog at the green entry bout until he was clear.
He was 500 feet behind our stern but we never saw him (heard him loud and clear though).
He could see us on AIS and Radar and we could see him by the same means.
We told the tug skipper that we had never been here before and he gave us some very good advice about getting in the jetty.
As an aside one day earlier in better conditions but still very foggy two commercial fishing boats collided in this very spot.
Well, we did manage to navigate into the harbor, found the entry to the marina found the very first slip open docked the boat at 0103 and went to sleep.
We had acomplished and learned a great deal about our selves and the boat.
Bucket was awesome he entertained himself from his "nest" on our bed. He watched movies and ate snacks. What a great guy.
Cindy was the ultimate trooper, I had painted a mental picture for her of warm breezes and smooth sailing. Our trip was anything but that, it was bumpy and grey and really kind of dismal.
We will set out tomorrow Friday the 22nd bound for Coos Bay, only a short by comparison 80 miles.
We will employ the sail plan that we discussed with Allison and are sure that it will be an enjoyable passage.
You will be happy to hear that Cindy will be back at the keyboard soon, 'til then Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you.

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