Friday - June 12 - Cattle Pass (25 NM)

Today was just the best day sailing ever. Okay, I know I say that after every sail but really today was just perfect. It started innocently enough, I presented Laura with two sailing options based on today's tides.

We could leave around noon on the last of the ebb and head south through Cattle Pass, sail around on the south end of San Juan Island or we could leave around three and have a nice late afternoon day sail in San Juan channel. She chose the more adventurous first choice.

The weather forecast was perfect. The wind had been upgraded from 5-15 kts from the SW to 10-15 kts from the SW. This may sound the same but in the San Juan's having a slightly higher low wind forecast is great insurance. In addition the wind forecast for tonight was 10-20 kts. So good wind today and a strengthening forecast. All good.

We have been getting more and more proficient at readying Bolero for sailing and it showed today. We left our house a bit before noon and cast off the mooring line just before 12:30.

The exit from Fisherman Bay was uneventful with about a +1 tide. And as planned, we flew down San Juan channel tacking towards Cattle Pass with the current at speeds of between 5 and 8 kts.

Which brings up an aside.
Two of the primary reasons that inspired our Bolero project were room for weekending and additional sailing performance. Today's total sailing miles were around 25 NM. Our total time on the water was just shy of 5 hours. So during all this time of upwind and downwind sailing, with and against the current (mostly with today) we averaged 5 kts of boat speed. In addition, Bolero's ability to point well makes quick work of the many channels in the San Juan Islands that seem to funnel the wind straight up or down the channel.
About two thirds the way down the San Juan channel we tucked in a reef. The wind was brisk, but in addition a nice swell for the south was making its way through the pass. In fact we took our first ever water over the bow. We were actually quite shocked. We haven't had any real wind or waves to speak of this season but we haven't even had a bit of spray over the bow. All in all it was grand fun sailing Bolero up and over the swells. She handled them fine although slowing a bit. The one big splash was most of our wet fun although there was a small bit of spray.

We shook out the first reef as we were passing through Cattle Pass as the wind lessened. This has been typical of our recent experiences heading south. We fly down San Juan channel, often reefed, and then the wind lightens or completely dies once we get through Cattle Pass. There was still some wind today but one of my destination goals is Port Townsend 20 NM to the South East of Cattle Pass.

The length of the trip to Port Townsend combined with currents and shipping lane hazards will necessitate boat speed. So I still need a very light air reaching and running solution for Bolero. Something that will stay filled in the wind chop from the south or the ocean swells from the west. One more thing on the list.

We played around south of Cattle Pass until the tide changed and then headed back north towards Turn Island. We thought briefly about sailing around this little island but the low tide, strong currents and great wind in San Juan channel deterred us.

So we ended our day windsurfer style. Sailing on a reach back and forth from the Turn Rock Marker to the Fisherman Bay Sector Light.

And of course we ran into Eric in Lucy, our old Bluenose Sloop.

The sailing was absolutely great but eventually we both headed in. I had decided on Wednesday that in any real wind we would always enter the bay with a reef. So we quickly tucked one in. Eric elected to go in under full sail. Well the wind was rocking in the bay. Highest wind we had seen all day. I don't think I quite caught the moment when Eric said he buried his coaming mount jib winch but his bottom paint looks to be holding up.

June 12 Tides - Friday Harbor

June 12 GPS Track

2009 Sailing Summary
Sailing Days-16 / 38 (42%)
Blissful Hours of Hand Steering - 4:59 hours today & 55:28 hours for the season
Total Miles Sailed this Season - 204 NM