June on the Hook – Day 23 – Appletree Cove, Kingston
I sailed out of the Utsalady Bay anchorage at 9am with a light South wind and a waning flood tide. I sailed around the North end of Camano Island and beat my way down Saratoga Passage. The flood turned to ebb but the current was “weak and variable” in this area. Still, I made decent progress. As I approached Camano Island State Park, I got a lift from the wind as its direction seemed to veer to the SW. This may have been an effect of Holmes Sound tucked into Whidbey Island as it appeared to funnel from this direction. I was able to hold the starboard tack and sailed an arc which took me very close to the point at Camano Island SP. I was trying to make the most of it, all the time ready to tack over if it looked like I would run out of room or the wind decided to change direction or strength. I made the point and soon after the SW wind faded and shifted back to the South, which was right on the nose. It was light and variable and just enough to keep me moving in the ebb tide. I tacked back and forth, trying to make the most of it through the afternoon. Eventually, the tide turned to a flood and at 5:19pm, I started the motor.
Leaving Utsalady Bay
Looking Back at Utsalady Bay
A Good Beat Down Saratoga Passage
The Beat Slows Down
I was still thinking I could make it back to Ballard that evening, but my hopes faded quickly as I realized I was fighting a 1-2 knot tidal current in Possession Sound. I considered my options.
- First, I could go for Ballard. I would likely get there between midnight and 2am. I would still have to transit the locks, which are open 24/7, but I also was concerned that I could run out of gasoline. It can be difficult to judge how far you can go on a given amount of gas. I tend to think more in how many hours I can run, rather than how far I can go. Factors such as wind and tide can slow progress. Another significant determination is how many RPM you are running. The fuel used and the progress gained is not linear. As you approach hull speed, it takes more and more energy to eke out each fraction of a knot. Finally there is a point where, even though the engine will continue to increase RPM, get louder and use more fuel, the boat will not go any faster through the water. Hull speed for a full displacement boat such as mine can be determined by a the formula, HS = 1.34 x √LWL with LWL being the length of the boats water line in feet. My water line is 18’2” so my hull speed is about 5.7 knots. I find the sweet spot where I can balance fuel economy, engine volume and progress is about 4.3 knots through the water.
- Second, I could go to Everett which I have never sailed to. This would take me a bit off course and would also mean I would need to rent a slip, as I do not know of any anchorage in the Everett area.
- Third, I could go to Edmonds. This is on the way and they would have fuel in the morning, yet would require renting a slip, as there is no anchorage there. I have been to this marina before and in fact, Sampaguita was in this marina when I purchased her.
- Fourth, I could go to Appletree Cove at Kingston. Here I could get a slip or anchor out. I have never anchored here but I have read about it and I have seen it done often. If I needed fuel, I would be able to get this there in the morn. Appletree Cove is the farthest of the four choices, but the anchoring option was a big plus and it would be a fairly quick trip to get home the next day.
I decided on Appletree Cove. I motored and fought the current past Possession Point. I set the sails again on a WSW course in the light S wind, and in the open space of Puget Sound. Once past Scatchet Head, the flood tide on the nose, became a flood tide on the stern. This is because the tidal current floods through Admiralty Inlet into Puget Sound from the North, then fills into Possession Sound from the South.
Sailing With the Sunset
Evening Push to Appletree Cove
I found myself running out of light for the second day in a row. The return legs from a trip always seem the hardest. The territory is familiar and the real exploring and fresh scenery is long gone. The urge for some might be to motor up and beeline to the home port (I call it home port fever,) making the return leg a chore to be done as quickly as possible. I could do this, if I was smart enough. Instead, I drag the trip out as I meander from beginning to end worshiping the sail. Still, I see the end goal and recognize my hard push to achieve it in my own way.
I found myself in the shipping channel with the waning light and in between two converging tugs. I turned on my navigation lights, turned the motor on and lowered the sails. I figured I could get to Appletree Cove in an hour if I didn’t hit any floating debris. I made it across the ferry lane and to the anchorage with the stars beginning to show. There were two fishing boats at anchor, the wind was calm and forecast to remain so. At 10:30pm, I dropped the hook in 40 foot of water and let out 130 foot of scope. The anchorage would be a bit rolly from the ferry and from boats coming and going from the marina, but manageable. I tidied the boat up, exhausted from a second long day, and crawled in to the berth.
Stats: TO – 46.86, MS – 6.1kt, MA 3.5kt, TT – 13hr 48min, AD – 40ft, AS – 140ft
Misc.: Motor on – 240mins, First time in Kingston anchorage