Sailing At Last (well mostly drifting really)

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 18 Sep 2015 01:37

1800 Position: 48 23.0 N 123 15.8 W
Course West Speed 4 knots
Wind: West sou' west, F1-3 light air to gentle breeze
Weather: mostly cloudy
Days run: 20 nm

Having got our clearing in formalities and other administrative chores out of the way yesterday, this morning we were free to get sailing again. My plan is to make the best time we can to San Francisco, under sail as much as possible of course. If the weather permits we will keep sailing and head for the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait, and from there we will turn left and start heading south. To this end I lashed the dinghy on deck for the first time in several months, having scrubbed off all the slime that had accumulated on her bottom over the past several weeks yesterday evening.

We got under way at just after ten, and motored then, as a light breeze picked up, sailed out of San Juan Channel with the ebbing tide in our favour and adding about two knots to our speed. Once out of the San Juan Channel we bore away to pass over the shallows of Salmon Bank, where the wind abandoned us and a fog bank rolled over us.  Fortunately the fog did not last long, clearing after about half an hour to a mostly sunny day.  the wind on the other hand has not returned and subsequently most of today has consisted in motoring, drifting, and attempting to sail the light and fickle winds. We have therefore not made much distance, but as the sun lowers in the west a light but consistent breeze has picked up, allowing us to make good close to four knots, mostly in the right direction.

The entrance to Juan de Fuca Straits lies sixty miles to the west of us. The forecast is for continued light winds, so when we will be able to get clear of the Strait is very uncertain, but I am hoping for late tomorrow. Given the navigational constraints and the likelihood of quite a bit of shipping in the Strait, I expect it is going to be a long night.

But for now, Sylph is moving, heeling over at a slight angle to the gentle breeze, surging perceptibly to the small waves, and the sound of water chuckling past the hull can be heard as I sit here and write.

All is well.