Wednesday - June 10 - Griffin Bay (10 NM)

Today's sail was filled with a wide variety of experiences. I went with goal of testing the new table I had created by modifying the forward hatch. This project is a direct ripoff of Tim Lackey's cockpit table. The only real difference is that I used an already existing part for my table top, the forward bulkhead hatch. Well that and I used schedule 80 plastic instead of aluminum and, well, I ended up with a gorgeous varnished table top (small gloat intended).

Reality probably favors Tim however. He could likely cut up fish on his table and be none the worse for wear. Where my delicate varnished top and plastic base are best used gingerly for drinks and chips. In any case all I am missing now is the galley (which is in work as we speak) and we are good to go.

I had been deliberately and slowly enjoying the table installation for two reasons. First, it was very satisfying to finish this small project and get it installed. And second, today was another low, low tide. But with the wind coming up, I could wait not longer. So I stowed everything, hoisted the sails and cast off (solo today).

Today was going to be a really tough exit. The low was a minus 1.5 ft. We have entered and exited at this low of tide before but it is really tricky. In addition I am still a little hesitant after our Yellow Island Reef incident.

Typically I follow almost the same exact course out of the bay every time I sail out. And today was no exception. Until that is, I was thrown a curve. As I rounded the Fisherman Bay Channel Daybeacon 5 there was a very large motor yacht entering the channel. Since he was favoring the center and eastern part of the channel I beared off towards the west. This is a common practice of ours to get out of the strong flood currents, but risky at such a minus tide. Just as he pass and I changed course back towards the center of the channel, I nudge into the sand.

Perhaps I should have been a life guard with all the time I seem to be spending on the beach. But this was really a nonevent and actually was great practice and kind of fun. The only real issue was that I was on a downwind course. Since the tide was coming in really strong that wasn't an issue at all. So I quickly set the anchor, rounded into the wind, dropped the jib and pulled Bolero off the sand. Probably on the beach for 8 minutes.

So I sailed back into the bay under the mainsail alone and then hoisted the jib and sailed back to the mooring. A couple of solo practice attempts and I was tied off. I wanted to clean up and secure some lines and let just a bit more water flood into the bay.

But quickly the wind convinced me to head out again. And this exit was flawless at a zero tide.

Today was one of those perfect days. Good wind, calm water and plenty of sun. And for some reason I had Griffen Bay and San Juan channel all to myself.

The was enough wind today to test the latest configuration in a reefing system idea that I have been playing with. It worked very, very well. I was able to quickly and easily reef by myself tensioning the luff and foot were quite easy.

The improvement that I really liked, however, was how well the mainsail fell over the port side of the boom. This reduced the friction of the reefing line, eased chaff on the mainsail and kept the reefing and topping lift lines on starboard side of the boom free and able to run. All in all I am like this new approach.

But perhaps the nicest revelation of the day was how well Bolero, well Shields in general, balance under sail. She would have sailed like this for an extended period of time. It was no problem going to the mast to tuck in or shake out a reef. No running back and forth between the helm and the mast. I just fell off onto a reach, luffed the mainsail till there was just a bubble and trimmed the jib for balance. Then going forward I took up the topping lift, dropped the main to the first reef crinkle and attached the shackle, tensioned the main and finally took in the clew line. Reef done. If I knew I was going to be reefed for a while, I would tie up the reef lines, but it is hardly necessary.

There was method behind all this reefing madness. The wind seems to funnel through our bay and we are often on the verge of being overpowered as we sail back to our mooring. So I decided to reduce sail coming back into the bay in anything but the lightest wind. Today was the first try at this and it worked great. A nice controlled entrance. Not nearly as flashy, but I can live with that.

June 10 Tides - Friday Harbor

June 10 GPS Track

2009 Sailing Summary
Sailing Days-15 / 36 (42%)
Blissful Hours of Hand Steering - 3:03 hours today & 50:29 hours for the season
Total Miles Sailed - 179 NM