The 20 Mile Day Sail

We took advantage of high pressure pushing out the last low front to go for another sail. The forecast was for 5 to 15 kts from the SW and we left the mooring on the last of the ebb. We decided to sail south with the current towards Cattle Pass with the thought of riding the current home later in the day.

As it turned out, our short day sail turned into 20 miles of sailing.



We left about 1:30 on the ebb and sailed through the entrance of Fisherman's bay just before 2:00. This was a corresponding low tide of about +0.



This is quite low for traversing the channel entrance but with the wind from the southwest, we could sail a direct line from channel marker to channel marker (The mostly straight track is leaving the zig-zag tacking track is our return).



This is really important when entering and leaving Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island. The water can get very, very thin and one of the summer pass times is watching the unfamiliar boaters sit aground waiting for the tide change.



Also, the rock just to the northwest of the Entrance Day Beacon 4 is pretty gnarly. I have sailed in and had a boat just ahead of me hit it and come to a complete stop. Ouch.

We had a great time tacking our way down San Juan Channel. Little by little the tide changed and we started fighting the flood current. But we did just make it to Cattle Pass.





Not quite into the Strait of Juan de Fuca but close enough to feel the beginning of some swells.

So at 3:45 we turned back and rode the current home.



The sail home actually went too fast and we arrived at the entrance to Fisherman's Bay at about 4:45. I had planned to get there with a bit higher tide. So we sailed around a while but still entered the channel at a +1. This is definitely a local knowledge only decision. The water depth at the center of this narrow channel was maybe 10 ft at a +1 and we had to tack our way in. In addition the flood current wants to take you into the docks just inside the channel. So it is very important that you hug the entrance Day Beacon. Once past you need to get out of the current and hug the west side of the channel. Best to do this at high slack if you haven't done it before.

As is often the case with sailing, there is little time to pat yourself on the back. The channel entrance when flawlessly so of course picking up the mooring under sail sucked. I am on a roll. This is the third (out of maybe five attempts) bad mooring pickup of this short season. My main problems is that I am still not use to how much way Bolero carries and just how quickly she gets up to speed with not much wind.

Last night was particularly frustrating as the wind was light during our approach but changed directions and increased significantly near the mooring. Argh! Practice, practice, practice. I am going to figure out this hot new boat.