_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Leaving Washington State! Peter

Here is Marcy ready for the passage south. I'm a northwest guy at heart, so I loved Neah Bay - with its grey skies, dampness and cold wind. The mood among the crews of the sailboats gathered here is something like that of a mountain climbing high camp, with nervous anticipation and excitement about the upcoming passage. We chatted with one boat we might meet in the Channel Islands, and another we might see in Mexico. We shopped in the little groceery store (with suprisingly good produce!) and visited the excellent Makah Cultural Center. We saw three beautifully crafted replica log canoes, as well as artifacts from the Ozette dig. The Makah certainly are are artistic and skilled woodworkers.

As we cleared the coast the next morning, the wind was light to nonexistant. When we set sail, the slatting and slamming of the rig exposed a weakness in the mast step. The point of attachment where the vang meets the mast and step was moving around a bit. I'd like to see that area beefed up before we really stress it.

Before long a nice breeze came up, and built up into a real blow. Luckily the mast step showed more signs of stress in light wind than a strong one. This photo shows the hero of the wind - the self steering gear. Just before leaving Seattle, on the advice of dock neighbor (and circumnavigator) Jim Hartman we installed a Monitor vane. It steered perfectly for the 50 or so hours of wind that we encountered. I can't imagine hand steering even for a fraction of that time! Even though we have a nice autopilot, it was not an option during this time, because our batteries had discharged to a very low state. The solar regulator had gone offline for some unknown reason. As soon as we discovered the problem, we wired the panels direct to the batteries, but had it not been for the wind vane we would have been forced to hand steer through the whole storm!Another item that proved out was the seaberth. Here is Ginger looking happy and snug. We both looked forward to offwatch time!

The seas built up, and we got lots of water on deck. We heard a new warning on the radio for me, "hazardous seas warning." I think what that means is that because of the ratio of wave height to length a boat of about our size can expect green water on deck. The waves were steep and close together. We were hit by two big ones - the first of which occured when Ginger was in the seabunk and I was sitting on the cabin sole chatting with her. There was a deafening boom and we were both instantly hosed in jets of saltwater. We later figured out that water came in through openings in the companionway slide as well as the "flying saucer" vents. The second time I was on deck trying to figure out if there was anything to do - change course, shorten sail (by now we were under our tiny little staysail only) when we got pooped by a big one. Ginger was down below - I can't imagine what it must have sounded like. She said she look out the ports and saw green. I was in the cockpit knee deep in water, and was very pleased with how fast it drained out. Ginger popped the hatch open to make sure I was still on board.



At 8:09 PM, Blogger Edie said...

Cool! Way to make all those hard hours working on the boat pay off! I can't imagine being pooped on by the ocean. I've been hit by a pigeon, and that was bad enough!!! Thanks for writing, Peter. We have been looking forward to your blogs, but have been very happy to know that you were doing "other things" out there!! xo E


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