Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 30 May 2015 04:34
2000 Position: 52 06.0 N 128 37.9 W
Course: South Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: West Sou' West, F3 gentle breeze
Sea moderate, Swell West 1.5 metres
Weather: foggy, cool
Day's run: 46 nm

This morning I awoke at five-thirty with the sun streaming through the skylight, as the dinghy which usually sits on top of it was in the water. I looked out the companionway at Sylph's ensign. It hung limp – no wind. Even allowing for the shelter of the inlet, if there was any wind at all outside it would have at least fluttered. I took the opportunity for a bit of sleep in.

At the much more civilised hour of eight o’clock RC and I arose. We had breakfast and then I secured the dinghy on top of the coach house. By this time a hint of a breeze could be felt, so I got under way. Out in Finlayson channel we did in fact find a very light breeze, a head wind of course, but sufficient to sail with. We tacked down the broad channel in the sunshine. As usual, by early afternoon the wind had freshened considerable necessitating a reef in the mainsail and a partial furl in the jib. The fresh breeze quickly carried us out of Finlayson Channel and into Millbank Sound, beyond which I could see the open ocean.

At this point we had a couple of options, namely we could head east back into the channels, or we could continue out to sea for an overnight sail. Looking at the charts, the channels from here to Queen Charlotte Strait twist and turn in a maze like fashion. If we went that way I suspected we were going to have several long days of motoring. I preferred the option of a night at sea, especially if we could find some wind, as once we had gotten out into Millbank Sound we found ourselves becalmed and drifting.

A tug and her tow bearing down on us, and a fishing boat not far behind her, prompted me to start the motor and clear what appeared to be a bit of thorough fare for shipping coming into the inside passage. I also suspected that if we were to head out to sea little and clear the lee of Price Island to our west, that we might find a useful breeze. This indeed proved to be the case. At 17.14 I shut down the motor, set the jib, and settled on spending the night at sea. However, one thing that I did not take into account was the fog. As we cleared Millbank Sound and gained the open sea we entered a fog bank. Bother! It was not very thick but without radar sailing in fog is always a bit of a gamble. Fortunately I think it is unlikely that we will see much traffic out here. We are not in a shipping lane and smaller vessels are likely to stay within the inside channels, nor are many of them likely to travel at night. Though fishing boats might be a concern.

I have just had a quick look around. The fog appears to be lifting out to the west. My fingers are crossed. If the wind holds we should be approaching Queen Charlotte Strait during the forenoon watch.

All is well.