Sunday, September 16, 2012


 After much stress and perfect conditions for racing down the Johnstone Strait, (where I was able to make 10 kts at times, because of currents) I got to Campbell River and called customs up, and they promptly cleared me over the phone.  So in my mind, I feel like I didn't really need to be here, since they didn't do anything in person.  What a nice welcome back present.
Despite these setbacks, I am feeling bright and chipper and very happy to be landed.  The trip down the island was nice, superbly pretty, and I had some dolphin visitors!
But first, the trip report:
When I left Hanalei Bay, I had a nice trade wind running from about due East, so I was able to point upwind a little (and I was going as high into the wind as I could).   This isn't the most comfortable sailing, so I was trying not to be down below that much.  After a few days of this, though I was making good progress, I could see the boat falling apart slowly from the bashing and beating against the waves.  I had tried to seal it up, but on this trip as well I was taking on water the whole way, and had to bail quite often.  There is a rail (a rub rail) that goes around the boat and it is this plastic thing that covers the "hull-deck join" which is the spot that the deck and the hull were attached together when they made the boat.  That rub rail was torn from the bow (by the waves) and then broke and I lost about 1/3 of the port side plastic thing, even though I tried to tie it back on.  So I had about 15 little quarter inch holes that would get pushed under water when going through a big wave, and that made everything wet in the front, and filled the bilge.  I am currently working on fixing that.
After four days the winds became light and though that was welcome because the seas dropped, so it was almost as calm as being on a lake, I wasn't able to make the progress, and I couldn't point as high, so I was going North and NW, instead of NE.  Still, out in that calm patch (this patch is about the size of the USA) there were lots of interesting garbage pieces, and fish under them.  I hooked into a few Mahi Mahi while puttering along.  I was using the motor on and off to keep moving for the next 11 days, and then ran out of fuel, so I made very slow progress for about 2 days until I was able to pick up a light westerly!  The winds blow in a circle around the North Pacific High, from the East in the trades and from the west above.  I thought I was saved, but the winds dropped and I had calms and winds on and off for the whole rest of the trip, and lots of dense fog making it very cold.
There was one "storm" that came through near the end, and I could see the swell growing bigger and bigger, then the wind came up and I was flying along.  I hit 13 knots down a wave before pulling in sail.

My AIS receiver worked like a charm, and I was able to see all the container ships as they passed, and then call them on the radio to ask if they could spot me.  Most of them could not.  I think that if I do this kind of trip again I will try to get AIS broadcast ability, and then they can see me as a dot on their screens, complete with boat name, speed and direction and everything, so I cannot be missed.  Radar is not necessary until you get close to land and have small boat traffic.
As I was about 400 miles from Port Hardy, I heard on the radio a small boat named "Zulu" calling.  I had met Zulu first in Mexico (or I had seen them there, but not spoken with the crew) and then in Hawaii, and we crossed paths within 10 miles out in the middle of the blue!  They had left 4 days before me, so I was pleased by my progress.

I ate a lot more than the other trip, so I ran out of food that I wanted to eat, and have been dreaming about things lately... 


mlloyd said...

Oh, so you ran out of skittles...

Thanks for the trip report!! Glad you and Altair made it in mostly one piece. I wonder if you ate more this trip because of the cooling temperatures. Welcome back to the land of cold!! See you soon?

Anne said...

Glad your back safe and enjoying the PNW. We met you in Mexico..Dick was sailing from Hawaii on "Music" at the same time as you one point 200nm away but too far for radio. They arrived Neah Bay Sept 5th look forward to pics & video. Bummer about the boat leaks
Anne & Dick s/v "Full & By"

Aimee said...

Welcome back to the lower 48! I'm glad you had a successful trip and that both you and Altair made it back safety. What an amazing adventure!
Danny and I are finally moved in to our new place on Queen Anne (he comes home next week). Our adventure will be cohabitation... almost as dangerous as crossing the great Pacific.

Rachel said...

Yeah Christian! Glad to hear you had a good trip! My guess was that you ran out of Starburst... But Monica says Skittles... Hmmm. I look forward to hearing more stories and seeing more pictures. When will you come down to meet Nora, your new niece?

Love ya,


Matt said...

Starburst jelly beans?

Katrina said...

My vote is for starburst.

Welcome back to our fair continent! 13 knots at one point?! Yowza!!

We're looking forward to your return.

Wes said...

Hey Christian, I'm glad you had a safe passage. Are you planning to hang in BC for a while? Or keep trucking down to the ol' USA? I am heading back to Mexico in October.

Julia Copeland said...

If you hadn't eaten all of your sour patch kids so fast, you could have used them to plug up the holes.
That interesting garbage in the water could be collected and arranged into "found art" sculptures. Did you save at least one piece?!

Anonymous said...

You need to keep carrying your SPOT beacon while on land, so we can continue to track you.