Safety Cove – Port Alexander

Safety Cove – Port Alexander

Sunday, April 11

Another still morning was upon us as we weighed anchor with only the faintest of an eastern glow behind the Coastal Mountains of BC. With just enough light to pick our way through the driftwood that had sought refuge along with us, we were southbound toward Cape Caution. I was anticipating some good sailing that day with a forecast 10 to 15 knots northwest blowing from behind. As we motored down the last two hours of Fisher Channel with 5 to 8 knots of apparent wind on our stern, we raised the main, furled out the yankee, and stayed the course with Garth providing the lion’s share of the power. A northbound tug, with a barge loaded with containers, passed by about a mile to starboard and I remember thinking that our sails were just full enough that at least we looked good.

As we left Fisher Channel, the tidal flow changed to an ebb and we had a northwesterly swell running behind us pushing us along. It probably provided more assistance than the sails at that point. As the day wore on the swell would change to a south westerly, a north westerly, and a westerly. It just couldn’t make up its mind. I watched the wind and waves as Cape Caution grew larger on the coastline, but the only whitecaps observed were when the swell was opposing the ebbing tide.

By lunchtime Cape Caution was behind us and the wind finally started to pick up. I had timed our departure from Safety Cove to take advantage of the ebb tide of the morning and then the flood tide as we entered Queen Charlotte Strait. Thanks to Garth, we were right on schedule for slack tide to transit Browning Passage between Balaklava and Nigei Islands.

We dropped the main just before entering the pass and had a solid 12 to 14 knots of wind directly on the stern for our entrance. We were about half way through when it died out so I rolled up the yankee and continued on through. Coming around Hussar Point we found the wind again – Up to 25 knots right on the bow. We powered through it into Port Alexander and proceeded to anchor. Oh what fun!

I picked our spot and dropped a mark on the chart for Wendi to slow up to. I went to the bow and (almost) untied the Rocna safety line. I say “almost” because to secure the anchor in place on the forward roller, I tie a line up to the bowsprit. Though I had released that line, I had forgotten about the excess that I had tied loosely to the top of the bowsprit to keep it from dragging in the water when underway. I had forgotten to untie that last bit. When I untied the line to the Rocna, I then proceeded to drop the anchor and did so without noticing that it was still tied to the bowsprit.

I told Wendi to reverse, which she did. When she tried to take the gearbox out of reverse, to straighten out, it would not come out f gear. That’s when things got interesting.

The immediate priority, at that point, was to stop the boat. I rushed back to the cockpit and killed the engine. Wendi wiggled the shift lever a little and it came out of gear, so we resumed anchoring. Wendi went to the bow, and I started backing. That’s when she noticed what I hadn’t – the anchor was hanging only a couple of metres below the surface of the water. She came back to let me know. Again, the gearbox would not come out of reverse. We quickly dealt with that again, and by this time, we were a long ways away from that dropped in on the chart.

Once we finally got the anchor on the seabed and were securely anchored I started trying to figure out what the problem with the transmission was. I was not able to diagnose the problem that night but did figure out that the way to get it out of reverse when it stuck really bad was to hit the shift mechanism, on the top of the transmission, with a hammer. Hammers are great, aren’t they?

Thanks for your time, we hope you enjoyed the read.

Captain Clown Boy / Wonder Woman


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© 2021 Ron Morrison

SAILING INFIDEL: Def. An unbeliever, heathen, pagan, heretic, agnostic, atheist, non-theist, freethinker, libertine, dissenter, or nonconformist of the sailing variety

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