June on the Hook 2017 – Day 5 – Blind Bay

San Juan Islands

Day 5 began by doing the chores I meant to do in Port Townsend, such as gathering water, emptying the garbage, various boat tasks and exploring a bit. No Safeway, fuel, electricity or beer though, but they’re all overrated. It turns out Spencer Spit is one of the more popular marine parks. It was a Saturday and several boats came and went. There are several mooring buoys and also a slew of land based camping spots. Also, kayak rentals and guided tours.

I kept myself busy here until the mid-afternoon and then decided I would head over to Blind Bay, which is on the north side of Shaw Island. A moderate S wind had been blowing all day, but wouldn’t you know it, it let up once I was underway. I drifted and sailed in light wind until Harney Channel when the breeze filled in again. Then it was great sailing on a beam reach.

The rig was balanced, so there was no need to helm, and I was able to stand up on the cockpit seat with the breeze in my face. It was pretty awesome. This is what I am always striving for, but it requires consistent wind which is usually pretty rare. It gives me some relief from the helm and it’s fun in a physics geek sort of way. It is also difficult to achieve in anything from a broad reach to running point of sail. Some would say that a rig this balanced might be considered dangerous or inefficient. What if I fell overboard? Would it keep on sailing? Why don’t you use an autopilot? What about a windvane? Is the rudder working most efficiently and creating lift?  Much of what helps this boat track well, is the full keel beneath her and the barn door rudder behind. The rest is good rig design. Good sail trim, which is on me, helps, but sloppy sail trim can be balanced too. To answer the questions:

  • If I fell overboard, let’s remember that my boat is small. While I have been watching my weight with diet and exercise, I can still throw it around and use it to trim and steer the boat. If I fall overboard (because I’m standing on the cockpit seat with the wind in my face,) the boat will no longer be balanced and should round up into the wind and stall out….in theory. Let’s call that a small boat advantage.
  • I don’t use an autopilot because a) if I fall overboard it won’t round up into the wind as previously mentioned and b) it takes electricity which I do not have an abundance of on the boat. I go from being a slave to the helm, to a slave of electricity. The first is simpler and cheaper, the second goes down a road of complication and expense.
  • I have been studying windvane steering and it looks like the trim tab set up would be best for my boat. This will likely be a self built or custom built set up and we are not there yet. There is also some impracticality to using it for short stretches such as in Harney Channel. If we were on an ocean passage….bring it on. Oh yeah, this system will also leave me behind if I fall overboard.
  • Coincidently, the large rudder sags a bit under its own weight when the boat heels over. Just about the 3 degrees you might want to create a little lift from the curve.

In the approach to Blind Bay, there are some rocks and an island that need to be negotiated and some tacking was in order as I was going straight into the wind. We lived to tell about it and I picked my spot and set the anchor. There were several boats on buoys as well as several at anchor, but it is quite spacious and well protected from the predicted south wind. I had been choosing my destinations and anchorages as per the weather forecast for the whole trip, letting that decide where I should be rather than a set agenda. A great aspect of today was that I did not need to start the motor at all. Sail it out, sail it in.

Blind Bay

It was early evening when I arrived and below is an unchoreographed and candid photo of the “veranda.” Homemade blackberry wine, Josefina’s corn chips, hummus, carrots, grapes and other items I’ll let you guess about. The string hanging down is attached to the camera and I didn’t realize that was there when I took the photo. I never claimed to be good with a camera.

Flicka 20 Cockpit

And below, a photo from the “veranda.” I thought I heard a live band playing when I was eating so afterwards I paddled the kayak out of the bay and across Harney Channel to the town of Orcas on Orcas Island. By the time I arrived, there was no band, it was dark and a much like a ghost town. Small town island living. I took a stroll and then paddled back with an incredible, rising full moon.Blind Bay

TO – 7.54NM, MS – 5.4kt, MA – 2.1kt, TT – 4hr, 3min, AD~30ft, AS – 130ft

Misc. – scrubbed rudder zinc, checked oil, exercised, sussed anchor line chafe

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3 Comments on “June on the Hook 2017 – Day 5 – Blind Bay

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