Thursday, March 3, 2011

55 Days to Departure for the 2011 Adventure

Since Spirit arrived back in Anacortes after the sojourn in Lake Union, planning for the 2011 trip to SE Alaska has been intense. We spent time at the Seattle Boat Show looking for additional safety equipment to better prepare for offshore cruising and additional equipment for fishing while cruising.

In February we took Spirit back to Seattle's Bell Harbor Marina for the Roche Harbor Yacht Club event over the Valentine's Day weekend. We took 2 days to go south; spending an evening at the Everett Marina moored next to the Matheson's (fellow RHYC members) on their 65' Pacific Mariner "Sea Jay". The trip down was uneventful under clear, but cold skies. The weather continued to cooperate the next morning as we made our way down to Bell Harbor where we joined a total of 8 more RHYC boats.

We had a great potluck dinner on Sea Jay, but the next morning the weather deteriorated, with high winds and waves coming in the marina entrance. We doubled up the lines after the potluck breakfast on Spirit. We had 20 people on-board for that event. Dinner that evening was at Anthony's Bell Street Diner. Sunday morning was the main event, brunch at the Space Needle Restaurant, with 76 attendees. The service, views and food were all great, since the weather had cleared.

Since the event ended in early afternoon, we decided to stay one more night and return on Monday in a single leg back to Anacortes. The weather report was deteriorating, with gale force winds predicted, but not till noon, so we had hopes of beating the wind.

No such luck! By the time we entered the Swinomish Slough the winds were in excess of 35 knots and the waves washing over the entrance breakwater made for an interesting few moments until we were inside the channel proper. We were glad we had not gone out the west side, since Smith Island was reporting sustained winds of 38 knots, with higher gusts and seas to 8 feet.

As we headed out the north end of the Slough, the wind increased to a steady 35 knots, but now the gusts were in excess of 45 knots from the SE. Visibility was poor going down the channel to Anacortes Marina due to spray over the bow and we were worried about getting into the marina entrance which requires tight turns even in calm water. However, lots of throttle and thrusters worked, but once inside we needed reverse thrust to keep the boat speed down due to the wind pushing us.

The tricky part turned out to be the turn into our slip, when the wind gusted to 45 knots on our stern, but once again, the thrusters were able to allow us to stay in control and we actually docked without any particular problem except keeping more reverse thrust than usual to stop us in the wind.

The cold weather has persisted, and except for having the diver change zincs, we have not done much work on Spirit except to keep Spirit winterized so the outside water lines do not freeze.

Except for provisions, we are ready to depart. We now plan on attending the annual Selene Rendezvous the end of April at Roche Harbor and departing directly from there on May 1st.