Back to Reality – Get Me Outta Here!

It was a cool, grey morning as we raised the mains’l, slipped the mooring and put The Outpost and Port Louis, in our rear view mirror before anyone else had risen.  The evening before, after having eaten dinner in the lodge with the crew, we said our good-byes and returned to Cosmic Debris.  Before dark, we lifted the dinghy aboard and made the final preparations for our early morning departure.

This was the end of our third year as caretakers of The Outpost.  Normally, the crew would arrive right around the May long weekend to prepare for opening day in early June.  This year though, the opening date was delayed by two weeks due to a poor season the prior year.  That made for a pretty long stay for us, as they had also shut down and were gone over a week early at the end of the previous season.

We sat there for that final week, watching the weather and the forecast very closely and watching perfect sailing weather blow on by.
Finally, the crew arrived on June second and we were on our way out into the last gasp of those northwest winds.

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Names of waypoints are Trip name, day number, time. Eg – OP.Van (Outpost to Vancouver), d1 (Day 1), 1507 (3:07 PM).  Waypoints depicted by the large star were entered at midnight.

That first day was pretty nice, the rain cleared up early, temperatures warmed up and we had a nice calm sail down the coast a ways.  We saw some whales and sea lions and a cruise ship.

As predicted though, the wind became very light and variable later in the first day.

I have to give a big thumbs up to for an accurate wind forecast.  You can see by our tracks, (recreated from logged waypoints), how in order to keep sailing, we had to respond to wind direction changes.  In the first twenty-four hours we sailed only fifty-four nautical miles, averaging out to a little over two knots. Worse yet, we made it only about 35 miles down the coast.  By around midnight of day two, we were literally just bobbing around in the swell.


Early in the morning the wind did come around in our favour again and that day we put on about thirty miles in a good southerly direction before having to veer off course again to keep the sails at least somewhat filled.  I was bound and determined to get every mile I could out of that light air because we had only about thirty gallons of fuel on board.  The long stay at the Outpost had depleted their fuel supply within a hair of running out completely so we were unable to top up our tank before leaving.  By nine o’clock that night we were once again bobbing around in what seemed like a vacuum.

At 03:00 on day three, with the wind “kicking up” to 5 knots, we were underway once again and doing about 2 knots in the right direction and the M/V Matson Tacoma appeared on the AIS five miles to starboard.

The wind filled in nicely that day and we were seeing 15 knots by the evening.  Our best speed so far, at that time, was sixty-five nautical miles covered in twenty-four hours.

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We were very pleased to finally be sailing in some decent wind but the catch was that our wind was accompanied by some pretty substantial seas, making for quite an uncomfortable ride.  Even with our new found wind we were still having trouble getting our speed up.  We chalked it up to a combination of opposing current and a dirty bottom.  As I alluded to in the accompanying video, our plan was to “beam it out as far as we can”, meaning that we hoped to sail far enough from shore on a beam reach, before losing our wind, in order to skirt around the opposing current closer to shore.    Unfortunately, we did not have enough wind to get us out far enough. Once we reached the cape, though, our speed improved markedly.

Thanks for stopping by, please make sure to check out the next instalment for our journey around the cape and “Back to Reality”.


The Sailing Infidels

© 2019 Ron Morrison

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