Threading my way home

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Small green circle is WestWind II at 38.43 N, 140.57 W April 29, 2017 @04:45

Position: 38.43 N, 140.57 W

Having another great sail this afternoon (yesterday). Blue sky, sunny, steady wind, WW II sailing off the wind making good time on a great course. Looks like we are just threading our way above the high and below the low headed home.

(From ML) Thanks to the ham radio operators W7ABT in Oregon, and W5AQZ in Denver who heard Glenn on the radio last night and sent me an email to relay his “All is well on board” message. Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.


On to a new chart !

04:15 am Saturday April 29, 2017

I have just finished a tour of the deck and spent an hour and a half repairing a parted reefing line. Wind has died down a fair bit and we are down to 4.5 knots but WW II is still moving well. The sun is coming up in a little while so the sky is flooding with tangerine light. We have a big cloud bank just south east of us that seems to be moving towards us. I have been up several times during the night and feel tired so will be going back to my bunk soon. Its cool here low 60’s and lots of dew on deck.

Big day here as we move on to a chart that shows the west coast and Vancouver Island. 1016 miles to go!


Great run last night. We are halfway home !

Lat 35.55 N
Long 144.46 W
course 045T
Speed 6+knots
Log: 1157 to go

Distance in last 24 hrs: 150 nm

Things are great on board tonight. I have a new stew on the go and looking forward to that. We are making good time and our course is very good. I am so looking forward to sailing on for home. Feels emotional for me. I have done a lot sailing since I left the Straits the first time in our little Haida. I feel very lucky.

Enjoying pleasant weather …for now

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Position: 33.45 N, 147. 61 W @ 20:45 Pacific Daylight Savings time

It is a splendid afternoon, the sky is bright blue and the ocean a deep indigo. Our speed is not earth shattering but for a light ten knot breeze coming just off our stern starboard quarter we are doing a respectable 3-4 knots. I can not maintain a course dead down wind or North in this light breeze with a fairly active swell on our quarter because the sails will not hold the wind and Fleming can not steer. I am just off a broad reach with the yankee poled out to Port along with the a triple reefed main. Both sails guyed down as much as possible to keep them from spilling the light wind due to the swell. I have the Ray Marine 2000 electric auto helm doing the steering, which has me running the engine an hour or so to charge the batteries.

The air is warm and pleasant enough to sit outside and I have been doing some reading sitting on the foredeck so all in all a very pleasant sail. I’m reading  The Island by Victoria Hislop set in Crete. Good read. I spend most of my day reading and some time carving another chain. I have good music and the food is excellent. My nights are full of sleep in such conditions as there is no need to be jumping up putting on rain gear to take a reef in the main or jib.

This will change in a few days I’m sure but in the mean time I’m enjoying the whole experience. I realize that all too soon it will be over and I will be back to my regular activities on land dreaming of days like this.

The miles I make at night while I sleep are very sweet. So great to wake up in the morning and look at the GPS and see we have done 40 miles or more. I hope I can keep this weather for a few more days at least till I reach the half way point, which is just 200 hundred miles away. Been a little out of contact here these last few days and looking forward to getting back in touch. Miss you lots.

A fine balance

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tonight, I watched the blazing orb of the sun set for the second night in a row. It slipped quietly into the grey molten sea without a splash as if an act in a magic show.

Without the light of day, night sailing takes on a rather white cane approach. All my senses are piqued and shift into another realm. The humming of the wind generator signals the strength of the wind, the sound of the waves as WW II moves through the water signals our speed. A slight luffing of the sails lets me know we are off course. The movement of the boat as the swells manipulate her keep me abreast of sea conditions. The wind is very light and without WW II’s sizeable tonnage, she would falter in the fickle wind, but during the lulls she presses on against her own inertia. I still have one reef in the main as to let it out would be just too much sail and with the swells she would start to flap maddeningly. Her course, if plotted on a small scale, would reveal a rather drunken stagger but for that weight and clean bottom she recovers easily and keeps a forward motion.

I feel the fine balance and know that Fleming can only steer if the wind blows a certain strength, so I am ready with Ray, the electric auto pilot to
take over at any time. All these parts must work together or the game is up and we are “rollin’ in the deep”.

Fleming under sail

Fleming tied up

Perkins, of course has retired with a broken leg for the rest of the season and can’t be relied upon to take over as the iron sail. For such little wind, I am always amazed at our progress. West Wind has proven to be a more than able world cruiser, from the gales of the Southern Ocean to the equatorial calms and doldrums. She will, without a doubt, make a great coastal cruiser for Marylou and me.

Perkins diesel engine at rest

More common view of Perkins

Cruising the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.