May 30, 2017: Sailing, splicing, and thundering

Tuesday morning brought us gloomy gray clouds, smooth steely seas, temperatures in the low 50s, and little wind, and after a perfectly peaceful night, hot oatmeal, and Morning Prayer, Walt and I raised Braesail’s mud-and-shell-encrusted anchor and motored out of spacious Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island at 9:30 am. When we checked the temperatures in the galley’s fridge and freezer, we found that, even after they had been defrosted, temperatures in both compartments remained too high, which indicates that coolant has probably been leaking slowly and we will have to take care of that before we leave on our three-month summer excursion (I’m glad the problem has presented itself now!). Once out of the five-mile-long harbor, we headed north for Bainbridge Island, raising first the mainsail and then the yankee (foresail) as well as the wind rose to about 10 kts., and running the engine too at about 2000 rpm to give us a speed of six to seven kts. Walt was able to return to splicing loops into the ends of lines while I was at the helm–Washing State ferries were the only vessels out on the water to watch for and avoid even though we were in the official shipping lanes.

As we approached Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island at about 1:30 pm, having downed sandwiches and apples in the cockpit, the wind speed and direction at last allowed us to shut off the diesel engine and actually SAIL for about half an hour. Soon, however, sooty clouds assembled, thunder began to grumble in the distance, and I could see silvery veils of rain draping the hills to the West. Large raindrops soon started to splatter the cockpit cover and decks, lightning shimmered here and there, and thunder clattered from one end of the harbor to the other. Walt furled the sails and we motored through a transient torrent, circling the harbor in search of a holding tank pump-out station. Some men on the dock near the facility helped us tie up after I had set out the fenders and lines, and with that task completed, we motored deeper into the harbor until we found an appropriate anchoring spot.

While Walt napped, I straightened up the lines in the cockpit and on deck, began work on this post, started to learn how to tie the clove hitch (I’m doing relatively well with the other knots I’ve been practicing), did some reading, and called the Point Roberts Yacht Club near the Canadian border to arrange reciprocal moorage for the 27-ft. Erickson sailboat, Sagres, whose ownership Walt and I share with our son Martin and our mutual friend, Hans Johnson. (I’ll be taking the train from Edmonds to Bellingham, where Sagres is docked, on Thursday night to meet Martin, who’ll be coming from Vancouver BC by bus. We plan to sail (motor?) north to Point Roberts on Friday; Hans will arrive there by car on Friday night, we’ll spend the night on Sagres, and then Hans and Martin will bring the lovely “little” boat to its new home in a marina in Vancouver on Saturday while I drive Hans’ car back to Vancouver to meet the sailors that evening. I’ll stay overnight with Martin, take a VERY early train back to Everett, and Walt, who’ll have brought Braesail by himself from Edmonds to Everett on Friday and put her into dry dock from some repairs, should be able to pick me up at the Transit Center and take me back to the condo to begin work on the great many chores that I’ve put on my “to do” list. Once Sagres is in Vancouver, Martin thinks that some of his sailor friends will be interested in purchasing the half-share in the boat that currently belongs to Walt and me, and we will have only ONE boat to care for and feed!)

Another brief thunderstorm swept through Eagle Harbor shortly before Walt prepared a delicious dinner and set off BOTH of the boat’s smoke alarms by frying steak in the galley (one is in the main “saloon” and the other resides above the pilot berth), which resulted in an appalling, squalling detector duet! I enjoyed the storm in the covered cockpit, from which I could best hear the resounding thunder timpani and watch the ever shifting patterns created by the myrad tiny rings tossed onto the waters’ surface by the tumbling raindrops.

With the galley cleaned by me and Braesail’s exterior washed by the rain, Walt and I began to consider tomorrow’s travels and to make a list of all the things that need to be accomplished before the journey that begins in June.

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