First SE Gale of the Autumn, posted from the kitchen.

Here , hopefully , is a link to the Comox aviation weather map showing  a front crossing our area right now.  Twenty-five to 35 knots SE wind for today with rain. This is good. We are still in Courtenay in a dry house. Forecast is much better tomorrow.

It is one thing to be out in conditions that have changed and worsened while underway , but it is another thing to set out into the teeth of a gale. So we haven’t.

The worst of the weather is quite local , less wind only 90 miles south. Tomorrow is predicted to be lighter and starting with NW winds – favorable.

I have been gleaning weather information from several sources. I am not convinced that it is very useful once we are out in the thick of it , but for departure planning it is good.

The Environment Canada forecasts are alright. I also use their Comox DND Aviation Wx map , see above.

On BigWave Dave’s website he has a windmodel with data from WFS-GFS weather program which is very useful.

I find the NOAA ‘weather discussion’ really interesting , then I go to the actual forecasts.

PassageWeather is also good especially for the graphics.

Once we are underway , offshore , we pretty much have to take what comes , as we only travel at a running speed at best. Six knots is about 11 Km/hr.

We do have options. We can stop and wait by heaving-to or riding to a drogue. We can run away from bad weather , but sometimes that might prolong it all , if the weather system is travelling in a similar direction. We can also keep bashing along if it might pass over us quickly. In our small boat in the open ocean bashing into it is usually not the preferred opton. Gear breaks , everything gets wet , everyone gets tired for very little good outcome.

So today we will buy fresh food and settle on board , then say good bye tomorrow morning.

This is the last post from the kitchen.

Home Bay , Jedediah Island

Barb and I went to Gibson’s Landing by sailboat to attend a ‘Fibreart Festival’. That was a success and very interesting.
On the way back to Comox we were very lucky with the winds. We made ourselves available to be blown northwards from Gibson’s to Jedediah Is , near Lasqueti Is. We had a day layover in Home Bay where we dried out in the tidal lagoon and it blew NW. The next day, yesterday , the SE wind arose again and we sailed off the anchor all the way to Comox breakwater.
That little trip epitomised coastal cruising under sail for me. The wind dictates. What a treat.
Here are some photos.

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Visitors and Monkeywrenching

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A broken motor mount didn’t stop our boat.

Two broken motor mounts didn’t stop it.

The two aft motor mounts were both sheared right off. The actual fractures weren’t visible until the mounts were completely removed.

The forward mounts were fine.

I replaced all four mounts and put the two intact old mounts in the spares box.

Between replacing 4 engine mounts and visitors to the boat, I was at it all day. It turned out to be a good day.

The first visitors were Darren and Tamera who were cruising around Desolation Sound in their 32′ Robert Harris trimaran named ‘Paudeen’.
We first met Darren and Tamera in Radio Bay , Hilo , Hawaii in May, 2002. We had sailed from the Baja Peninsula after a winter of exploring in Mexico.
Our passage was marked by fresh breezes and wet decks ( and wet bedding in the aft cabin).
We travelled fast.
Paudeen had to slow up to retain control and took a lot longer than they expected to sail to Hawaii from Zihuatanejo. There’s is a small boat.
Two weeks later when we were sailing in company off the west end of Molokai in the late afternoon, their rig came down, unannounced. A swage failure.

We managed to get the wreckage on deck , I went back to our boat , and we started to motor into Lono Harbour.

The radio still worked on Paudeen despite the masthead antenna dragging in the water off the bow. Tamera used it to announce that their engine had quit. This was completely unrelated to the dismasting (we discovered weeks later) and was pretty bad luck.

Dusk deepening. We took Paudeen in tow and headed the 5 miles to Lono Harbour. The entrance is small, unlit and shallow. Nobody lives there. Using the radar, GPS , spotlight and eyeball we anchored in Lono.

A day to lash down the rig aboard Paudeen then we towed her the 15 mile or so to Ala Wai harbour in Honolulu.

The next weeks were spent splicing the mast with an internal sleeve on the dock at Ala Wai. It was still a little bent but looked OK.
They sailed that rig back to Victoria and are still using the same mast.
We eventually discovered that a spring was broken inside the fuel injector pump , causing the engine failure at an inopportune moment.

A few minutes to work on my engine as this morning slipped by and along came Andrew Gray.

He has just finished re-building his 36′ Brentboat. Thirteen years ago he and Lavida did a north Pacific circle including Japan and the Aleutians.
We were talking about ground tackle and Andy told me their story of an isolated anchorage in the Aleutians where they sat out a 50 knot blow for days. Watching the beach only a couple of hundred meters to leeward. Only a half mile fetch but lots of wind. They were slowly dragging.

Andy got into his drysuit and swam to the beach with several coils of rope and a big scotchman.

He walked around to the windward beach and found an isolated boulder to wrap with a cable strap and tie on the line. The scotchman drifted downwind to the boat dragging the line. Secured to their bow they were able to take the strain off the anchor rode.
In fact they discovered that they had been sitting in the middle of a Venturi funnel and by moving just a few meters the wind was much easier.
Andy and Lavida are going to re-launch their boat next week and plan do another big cruise leaving in a year or two.
That story makes me glad that we have decided to have drysuits aboard.

I worked away and was finishing off the 3rd engine mount when Jack Carson climbed aboard.

Jack and Monica have sailed their 36′ Brentboat around the world. They arrived home on ‘Island Breeze’ after a 5 year circumnavigation in about 1992.

Their experiences sailing around the world pale in comparison to the years they spent on the north coast of BC doing PSP surveys for the Geoduck industry.
After they sold Island Breeze they landed a contract to conduct systematic bi-weekly surveys of shellfish harvesting sites scattered around the BC central coast and Haida Gwaii. They had to not only dive in all weather and all seasons and very exposed places , but also get the samples to a place where an aircraft could get the samples to Vancouver as quickly as possible.
They needed a boat. They bought a canoe stern Brentboat 36′ hull and lengthened it to about 42′. Added a pilothouse , dropped in a John Deere, stepped two junk-rigged masts and 3 or 4 months later it was launched.

For several years they would leave Comox in the fall and return in early spring having survived and worked in frequent gales and icing in the rigging. Not fun.
Now the ‘Bella Via’ is in the Sea of Cortez where life is a little easier.

The fourth and most inaccessible mount went in and bolts went back on. I had also taken the opportunity to enlarge the holes in the engine beds to 1/2″ , even though there were no signs of failure in the smaller galv. bolts.
Four o’clock had come and gone , so I checked the bolts and fired up the Suzie. I couldn’t tell any difference at all. In fact there is probably a little more fine vibration because the new mounts are stiffer. I know , though, that things are much better in the engine space on Silas Crosby

Tomorrow I will do the alignment. I will need to remove the shaft zinc so that when I remove the plastic ‘shaft saver’ between the coupling faces ,there is enough sliding movement in the shaft so I can bring the two coupling faces together to measure alignment.
To remove the zinc I will put the boat on the beach for a few hours and let the tide dry us out. I do not think that this boat flexes enough to affect the shaft alignment whether floating or beached.