Weeks? Months? We will be back. We just aren’t sure when.
The passage to Mill Bay would take from 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Little wind was in the forecast till after 2pm or so, and then only in Swanson Channel.
Past Swanson Channel we started to pick up a following sea, with wind at 10 knots. Not in the forecast. From everything I’d read, Saanich Inlet was calm. Always. When we rounded Moses Point, the entrance to the Inlet, I expected to find a windless expanse of smooth water. Right. It just kept building.
I always watch for whitecaps. They tell me it’s time to pay attention. Now there were whitecaps as far as I could see. The anemometer was reading a constant 12 knots, so no fear of storm winds. It is surprising what 12 knots of wind can do with several miles of fetch. By the time we approached the marina, the wind chop was creating a lot of noise. Three feet or so up against the hull. That’s when the crew said “Let’s put a sail up.”
Now, I had a PLAN for the day. That PLAN did not call for sailing. Get up, pull anchor, get to Mill Bay. Simple. Raising sails in building seas didn’t fit THE PLAN. I guess my crew hadn’t been fully briefed on THE PLAN. Doing the only thing I could think of, I mumbled something and prepared to raise a sail.
Main first. Of course it stuck on something before fully raised. It was close, but close doesn’t count. It goes up or something is wrong. After a bit we found the offending snag and fixed it. By this time I was getting into the spirit of things. We hadn’t been blown over, the wind wasn’t gusty, and there were miles of water for us to mess around in. Out came the headsail.
Odyssey started to accelerate. 5, 5.5, 6 knots. Amazing. Her hull speed, the theoretical maximum speed she can go, is 7.1 knots. We made it to 6.8 in only 13 knots of wind. We were sailing faster then we could motor (unless we kept the engine at full speed.)
It didn’t last long. We were running out of water while I was trying to guess a lay line to sail right into the marina. Sarah was amazing. Wanting so much, yet willing to do as her captain wished. A nice tack headed us right in. At some point we had to just relax, put the sails down, and motor in.
At the dock, we are facing the Saanich Inlet and the wind waves pushing against the breakwater. Looking out from the cockpit, it wasn’t the whale we had seen, or the new vistas that held my attention. I was captivated by a sailboat approaching the marina, on a familiar path. I smiled as he tacked as we had, letting the wind power him towards safe harbor.
Sarah had been talking, but stopped and smiled. We had been discussing what of today’s trip was most important to me, what captured my attention. She knew. I excused myself and headed to the bow to watch the lone sailboat’s passage.