Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

Some extracts from our Logbook:

Recently we motored from Port Townsend, Wa, where our Skoota 28 was launched, to Sidney, BC via a "drive past" of Friday Harbor. A distance of 49.3 miles. We left 8.30 am, arrived 1.45pm, and used 7 gallons of fuel. No photos as it poured with rain all day. The Skoota was very heavy as not only did we have all the tools and spare epoxy/glass etc aboard, but also I had the outriggers and complete rig for my new Strike 15. Plus lots of gear/clothes for 5 months in Canada.

==========================


So we took off for the weekend in our Skoota 28. We motored up through the Gulf Islands about 20 miles to one of our favourite spots, Wallace Island, for the night. The small harbour is well protected, but it means we have to "med moor" - ie take a stern line to the shore while anchoring from the bow. That's a bit tricky with no dinghy and a rocky shoreline, but we managed it.

Next morning we were off at 7.30am to catch the tidal gate at Porlier Pass. At its peak the tide runs through the pass at 9 knots so getting slack water is essential. From there it was a 20 mile crossing of the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver.

Unfortunately we had to "bash to windward", yes you do that even in motor boats, for about 10 miles before we began to get into the lee of the Whistler mountains. One reason why Jetti stayed below and in her pajamas until we got to Vancouver.

Despite the wind we still tied up at the free dock at Granville Island at 11am. Granville Island is a big market with fresh produce, restaurants and buskers. So something like London's Covent Garden but by the water.

Lots of people visited us, including a very experienced cruising couple who were interested in building their own Skoota. They have been out on our Skoota and spent time on board however they have decided to build a Skoota 36 as a liveaboard cruiser in the PNW. They will start work July 1st

We wanted to get back to Saturna before dark so left at 2.30pm. 38 miles later at 5.50pm we tied up to our dock and were at home by 6.30pm

===========================

We left later than expected and motored 15 miles or so to one of our favourite anchorages, Wallace Island, for the night. Then onto Nanaimo via Dodd Narrows for shopping and some boat jobs. The main one being fitting a (temporary) table.

We left there at 7am for the 50 miles crossing of the Strait of Georgia to Powell River. The forecast was for light SE, instead we got 20 knot NW - you can guess which way we were going. Quite bumpy at times when it was wind against tide. But even so we averaged 9 knots and used less than 10 gals of fuel.

Of course no sooner had we arrived then the wind dropped and it got very hot. 40C in the cabin, not sure what that is in F, over 100 I think. The water temperature is also increasing, despite the fact that we are going north and towards snow capped mountains and glaciers. On Saturna the water temp is 51F, today it is 65F, tomorrow maybe 75F.



We are now in Lund, gateway to Desolation Sound and literally the "end of the road". That is because it is Mile 0 of the 101, or Pacific Coastal Route, one of the longest roads in the world. The other end is in Chile, over 10,000 miles south.

A day of hot sun, no wind and no clouds. More weather like that to come as we head into the fjords. But no internet. So I won't post again for a few days

We ran all day under one engine at half throttle at 7 knots. Very economic and shows just how much drag increases with speed, as we need more than twice the HP to go just 3 knots faster.

We left Lund and cruised on one engine at 6 knots (and 8.5mpg) up through Desolation Sound on a scenic tour that in late afternoon took us to the head of Pendrell Sound on East Redonda Island. Which at 50N is the same latitude as the most southern part of England

This is a strange island. One approach channel has the deepest water anywhere in the coastal N America, at an amazing 2400 ft (730m) deep, just a mile from shore. Although it is an island of less than 35 square miles it boasts not one, but two, high mountains (over 5000ft with snow on top year round) which looked magnificent from our anchorage underneath them.

But most surprising is that the water temperature is indeed often 75F, although we only saw 73-74F (22C). That is water warmer than anywhere north of Mexico or even the Bahamas.

So it wasn't a problem to swim ashore with a sternline.



Under the lee of the mountains the wind was calm and the sun baked us until the cockpit temperature reached 40C, over 100F again. So no work was done on the boat until evening when I finally fitted the boarding ladder - climbing on board over the engines is possible but not recommended!

We stayed there two days before moving on, via another scenic route (plenty to chose from in Desolation Sound!) to Von Donlop inlet on Cortes Island. The cruising guide warned of a central dangerous rock in the middle of the narrow inlet channel but even at low water we had plenty of room. The inlet is about 2 miles long and opens out into a shallow lagoon where about 20 boats were anchored, sheltering from the forecast gales, although of course still no clouds despite the wind. We spent the time drawing, boat jobs and making a couple of videos



We are now back at friendly Lund, on our way home, heading back via Jarvis Inlet and Nanaimo and should be back on Saturna Thursday

=============================

To recap: I motored our Skoota 28 south from Saturna to Port Townsend for the Wooden Boat Festival in thick fog. Fog is always stressful when travelling, whether by car or boat.

So I did my normal trick of finding a shallow area inside a navigation buoy to wait until the thickest fog cleared.

My reasoning was that any ship would run aground before it hit me. I did hear lots of powerboats running at full speed in convoy close to me. Just like the crazy drivers who think because they can see the car ahead they must be safe. Later I realised that I could receive AIS signals on my iphone, so would know where ships, at least, were.

So I was a bit delayed arriving in Port Townsend, not to worry, I was still the first boat into the show area. It was interesting to watch the other boats come in. Those under 40 ft had no problems berthing with their normal crew. Those over 60ft had to be pushed around by RIB tugs and had an army of onshore helpers taking warps. No wonder so few big boats cruise far, or end up anchoring off, its just too stressful when getting into port. An indication of the weather to come was the fog and torrential rain for the first 2 days of the show



Fortunately for the last day of the show the sun came out and we took 10 people out on Skoota to watch the Sail Past



With the WBF over we planned to cruise round Puget Sound and the San Juan islands for a few weeks. Last year the weather was perfect for cruising, indeed we had 49 consecutive days without rain. This year was completely different! It started with several days of thick fog. That turned to thunderstorms. One day we bizarrely had thunderstorms and thick fog at the same time. Then more rain and wind

So we gave up our cruising plans and instead went and hid in Port Ludlow marina, about 10 miles south of Port Townsend. And that is where we still are. The boat will stay safely moored until May. It's a great marina, cheap and safe. It's up a narrow creek and we are on the inside so completely protected even when its blowing 40 knots, as it is as I write.

We even have a view of snow covered mountains from the boat (sometimes!)

============================

The forecast was for fog, then maybe some sun before the rain came, for sure there would be little if any wind. Temperature around 8C (45F). Although we'd spent Christmas Day on Skoota we had stayed in our marina. We hadn't used our own boats since September, so the weather wasn't going to stop us going out on New Year's Day

However we decided to go out in our Skoota 28 instead of sailing the Strike. The fact that Skoota has a cabin and a heater had nothing to do with it!

The forecast was indeed accurate in every respect. We decided to motorĀ  to the Port Townsend Pocket Yacht meeting on Rat Island, about 12 miles from our marina. It would have taken a long time to sail there, even in Strike



I was very glad to have my balaclava, for even in a flat calm we still have 12 knots of apparent wind. Fitting the new windscreen is high on the "to do" list!



It's great to be able to run the boat up onto a beach and get ashore dry shod. 25 miles motoring, 4 gallons of fuel used at 11 knots. Another "to do" job is to scrub the coppercoat which hasn't really been touched since launching.



Despite having motored over 1000 miles and having the boat in the water nearly a year, the list of to do jobs doesn't seem to get any shorter. Fitting the solar panels properly is another urgent one, we shouldn't really go far with them just lashed in place.

But we got home before the rain came! A great start to 2014