After puttering around the boat and seemingly finding endless more projects that needed attention on the boat (nothing major), Rob and I finally decided that we should go out sailing for a couple of days or we would never get off the dock. We did take the boat out previously for a couple of evening sails around Cowichan Bay but we wanted to do something longer to get more familiar with how our boat sails.
We decided to head down from Cowichen Bay to Mill Bay on the first day. It was a bit rough for me with small whitecaps and wind gusting from 15 to 20 knots. It was not necessarily the wind or the whitecaps that made me nervous but the boat heeling at 15º and sometimes closer to 20º. At one point when I went down below to the galley and looked out the port hole, I almost got seasick from the motion and seeing the water. For this part of the sail we only had the jib and main sails out as we felt putting out the staysail might have been a bit too much. As you can tell, we are still learning on how to use our boat as both of us are not used to the cutter-rigged style boat (we took our sailing lessons on a Beneteau). It took us about 2 and 1/2 hrs at an average speed of 4 knots to get to the Mill Bay Marina. We stayed the night at the transient section of the marina and had the fortunate (or unfortunate) luck of being docked behind a 43 ft Catalina that refused to move slightly forward in order to allow us to connect our power cable to the power post. We asked politely if they would mind moving forward so that we could connect but was greeted with a “I don’t think so” and when we said that well we would be without power tonight (not that it is a big deal, we have house batteries), the response was “well, don’t be that way”. Well, what way would you like us to be? All they had to do was move 5 feet forward to allow us access to move forward to connect to the power post.
The marina at Mill Bay is relatively new as the old one was taken out by a winter storm a few years ago. We had a great evening with sea otters and sea lions playing around the marina and a wonderful full moon to complete the night.
The next morning, not too bright and early, we tried again to empty out the holding tank (10 Litres) but with no success. The holding tank has not been used since we’ve bought the boat and the contents might have dried out by now. Yuck!! We left the dock late in the morning and ended up having to motor most of the way to Ganges Harbour as there was very little wind. We got the boat moving with the sails up to 2 knots at one point!!!. In Ganges, we anchored for the night which was another new experience for us. We had to guess the amount of rode to put out as our ‘new’ depth finder was not working properly. It has been reading 0.5 metres ever since it has been installed. From my understanding, it might be getting interference from where it was installed in the boat and needs to be moved to the aft section of the boat to work better. The village of Ganges is located in about the middle of Salt Spring Island and is a popular destination for boaters from all over the Pacific North West.
After spending a slightly restless night on board the boat wondering if we set out the correct amount of rode or not and whether we would start dragging during the night, we left Ganges after Rob pulled the anchor by hand and we headed back to Cowichan Bay. The sail was a combination of motoring and sailing as we had some good spots with some wind and we travel from 1.6 knots to 6 knots while other times we had no wind at all and had to start the motor just to move forward. Once we entered the Saanich Inlet and heading towards Cowichan Bay, we were running with the boat. We were able to set both the mainsail and staysail on opposite tacks to run downwind. It was a great experience if not a bit nerve racking!
The sail was a success and we learned a few things as well such as the boat travels better when it is heeling and don’t forget to close the seawater valve to the head after flushing! I almost sunk our boat in Mill Bay when I forgot to turn the valve to the off position. – Sophia & Rob