Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hotham Island to Gore Bay

Tuesday, August 15

0900 Raising anchor at Hotham Island

The sky is clear, but the wind is up. The forecast for North Channel is NW wind at 25 knots diminishing to 15 knots. We have a crew change tonight in Gore Bay.... so it's time to rock and roll.

1000 East of Eagle Island, 3 NM

We are in the lee of Eagle Island. The wind is blowing a solid 25 out of the west. The Bumboat is moving along at 7.5 knots with a reefed main and reefed headsail. Lots of whitecaps.... but, waves are only 2 to 4 feet. The crew is jovial looking forward to a nice sail.

1100 East of Innes Island clearing the south tip, 9 NM

Between the islands to our west we have sailed through open fetches with seas 4 to 6 feet. The crew is getting a kick out of the boat action. As I look out into the North Channel, I warn the crew that the seat belt signs may be required.

1115 Entering the open waters of the North Channel

The wind is now blowing hard out of the northwest..... resulting in, you guessed it, another close hauled sail. The wind is averaging 25 to 30 knots apparent. Waves are building and the Bumboat is riding well.

1130 Well into the open waters of the North Channel

No turning back now. The ride is spirited. I have had to tell the crew to sit down and stay down. There voluntary and involuntary movement is distracting and potentially dangerous to them. The crew is now asking the captain for constant reports on estimated wave height. I'm glad I reefed the sails significantly. I'm not sure this crew could help me much if conditions degrade.

1200 Halfway across the North Channel

Whoaaaa.... instead of falling... the winds are building.... the apparent wind is a solid 30+ knots and the seas are 2 to 3 meters (sounds smaller than 6 to 10 feet). The crew is quiet.... holding on.... and staring dead ahead in awe of the waves ahead of us.... The Bumboat is running great.... and this sail is a blast...... but, with this kind of wind.... any error is magnified significantly.... which concerns me...

1230 Entering Gore Bay

I'm working pretty hard at the helm to claw upwind so we clear Gorrel Point east of Gore Bay. The winds have increased to 35 knots and I'm not sure the crew would appreciate tacking back into the channel to clear the point..... I believe the crew senses my concern.... increasing their concern. Still no crew conversation... just stares toward the bow. It's pretty damn windy.

1300 Docked at Gore Bay, 19 NM

The spirited sail to Gore Bay is a success. We didn't get the protection from the west peninsula, as I expected.... resulting in a rough ride all the way to the harbor. The crew jumped ship as soon as the boat was secure....probably looking for a stable foot hold. In reflection, the crew handled the situation very well.... But... note to self.... I can't underestimate the need to have a seasoned crew member on each leg.

1600 Dock 1, Gore Bay

The Leg 4 crew has arrived on schedule. Bryan's constant calling to the Leg 4 crew did not result in any improvement in arrival time. The Leg 3 crew departed as fast as the Leg 1 crew..... oh boy... fresh crew ready to party....

As the waves built, so did the silence
A 9 footer off the starboard bow!
Janet Head did not provide the protection expected
Crew change
A departing Leg 3 crew
This crew had special needs
Leg 4 crew boarding
At the dock of the bay (Gore)

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