Well Offshore

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 19 Sep 2015 20:57
Noon Position: 47 44.7 N 126 17.8 W
Course: West sou' west Speed: 3 knots
Wind: South sou' west, F4 moderate breeze
Sea: moderate. Swell: South west, 2 meter
Weather: mostly cloudy, some showers, fog patches
Days run: 85 nm (40 in the right direction)

Sylph's crew is slowly acclimatising to being offshore once more, and I am pleased to report that for the first time ever, the first mate has not been sea sick on the first day out, which, given the conditions and the length of time that we have been in sheltered waters is something to write home about. Well done RC!

Conditions continue much as yesterday, with fresh winds from the south to south west. Closer in to shore we had quite a bit of merchant ship traffic, which regular patches of thick fog made a little more interesting. Thank goodness we now have an AIS. In particular, one interesting moment was an encounter with a tug towing a large barge. The tug was wallowing around in the lumpy seas, just giving its tow a gentle tug, coaxing it, rather than pulling it, in roughly the right direction. The wind seemed to be doing most of the work as the towing cable, which consisted of two large heavy chains hanging over the barge's bow, hung vertical and appeared to have no strain on them at all. Needless to say, we kept well clear of the ungainly monster.

Overnight the wind eased appreciably and allowed us to reset full sail, but come dawn it has freshened again and we are now back down to a reef in the mainsail and 80% headsail. The winds are forecast to freshen further later in the day, so I expect I expect further sail reductions will be required.

We have worked our way a fair way offshore as that was the advice I received from all the sailors back in BC who had made the trip down south. But now that the wind has veered more into the south west we are making very little ground to the south. Sylph's windward performance falls off markedly as the seas pick up, and the seas are now very lumpy so we are not making very little ground to weather. I expect If we tack we will only do marginally better than the current tack, and the opposite tack will take us back inshore among all the shipping traffic. So, for now, we will continue heading offshore, probably tacking later in the afternoon. I sure hope the weather forecast proves correct and that the north westerly arrives tomorrow.

I received an email from the Muktuks (Karl, Ali, Jan, Noah, and Sooty) and learned that they are still snug at anchor in Neah Bay just inside Cape Flattery. If I had known they were still there then I would have joined them. I had thought of hiding in there until the wind shifted into the north west but thought that getting out of Juan de Fuca in a north westerly might prove an unpleasant business, so, since we were secured for sea and at sea, and as the conditions were quite moderate, I decided to keep on going and wait for the north westerly change at sea, rather than in harbour. Hopefully we will catch up with the Muktuks in San Francisco.

All is well.