Thursday 4th Oct - Lovely sunshine, calm seas ... but what COLD air!
Just turned the eggs and I'm sipping a hot coffee after finishing a late breakfast of cereal with some fresh blueberries - I'll enjoy the fresh items on board for as long as they last - a real bonus.
My last sight of land for several months is the hazy outline of the Washington coast about 25 miles off to port.
What a delightful send-off I had yesterday - absolutely wonderful! For a start, the rain and W wind of Tuesday had cleared away to give occasional sun and there was a pleasant ENE wind to add to the ebb tide which helped me out through 60 miles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the open Pacific to the W.
Several friends and well-wishers came by to wish me good luck (as over the last few days, while I've been busy working on board at the Causeway Dock in Victoria Inner Harbour). The Prince of Whales whale-watching boat came to tie alongside for the tow I needed to my start line off Ogden Point breakwater (my engine had been sealed off last Friday so it could not be used to help me on my way through the Harbour - or at anytime until after my return next May/June).
Three of the tiny Victoria Hbr ferries (some of the famed 'ballet dancers'!) were to be part of my escort - they formed a 'V' ahead of us as we made our way to the fuel dock to top up the main tank (diesel needed for charging the batteries using either my small generator, or the main engine in neutral, when wind and solar power aren't enough) before continuing on to the Harbour entrance.
What a delight to see them ahead of me, with a Harbour Patrol boat ahead and astern of our convoy, blue lights flashing, and some friends in three saiboats who also kept me company - all the way to Race Rocks! Despite almost no sleep the night before, and not too much the prior two nights, I felt fine - there was so much friendship in the air - smiles and waves everywhere I looked! Absolutely wonderful! I can't thank the many Victorians (and several others elsewhere in B.C.) enough for all their help - a lot have offered and many have given me much-appreciated practical support over recent weeks and days of preparation.
I crossed my 'start line' off Ogden Pt at 11.42 a.m. PDT (local time) - under full sail in bright sunshine, with friends' boats close by. There had been big last hugs all round as the tow lines were released and I took off alone under sail.
So lovely to be underway at last, after several months of intensive work on board. Waves and 'thumbs-up' all around as my escort of tiny Victoria Harbour Ferry-boats and Hbr Patrol boats left and I continued on towards Race Rocks - the distinctive horizontal black-and-white stripes of the light-house beckoning.
The sail along the Strait was generally great. Although the wind was light at times, we made over 7 kt for quite a time and generally 5-6 kt otherwise. There was very little traffic and no fog.
Sunset was beautiful over Cape Flattery, with clearing skies which later gave a beautiful starry night sky. We cleared the Strait entrance around 1 a.m., in dying wind, and eventually turned to the south once the shipping lanes were cleared.
With lots of traffic around, I'm using the autopilot now, instead of 'Fred', the windsteering Hydrovane, to keep a constant course in the still-very-light winds (2-5kt) astern - too many ships are passing close by so I don't want to wander around and confuse them as to my intentions...! That uses battery power so I started up the little generator - the red temperature light came on after a few minutes and it stopped. Trying it again a short while later, the same result - has the seawater pump impellor gone already? It was changed very recently... I'll have to investigate and use the main engine for charging in the mean time. That's the beauty of wind-steering - no battery use!
I managed quite a few good naps overnight (and will take some more over the day also), so I'm feeling good - looking forward the the air getting warmer though, as we get further south - it's feeling very cold now.
Had hoped to post some photos from yesterday but I'm having a 'technology problem' which needs sorting out - I'll post them if and when I manage it.
Really enjoying this calm, sunny start and getting used to working the boat again - lovely to be back out at sea with the prospect of a long passage. Only slight fly in the ointment is the amount of shipping around - a problem I usually avoid by being a lot further offshore - TG for AIS - at least I 'see' them and they 'see' me and an alarm sounds if they look to be passing too close by.
My position report just before noon PDT (at the end of Day 1): TIME: 2018/10/04 17:41 LATITUDE: 48-07.51N LONGITUDE: 125-18.86W COURSE: 194T SPEED: 2.5 WIND_SPEED: 6 WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 0.3M CLOUDS: 1% BARO: 1014 TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 13.0C COMMENT: Goose-winged almost dead downwind in light air - 25ml off WA coast.
Wind now is ~2 kt... We're going to be just a bit (!) slow until it picks up - seems I'll get a chance to fly the red-and-white spinnaker soon - but just went to look at the generator problem. The intake seacock was closed, for some unknown reason, and strainer was empty of water so no cooling water was getting to seawater pump. Have opened it and filled the strainer - but now need to work on getting the water into the genset... At least it's a minor problem, not an insoluble-at-sea major one - I hope! Might need to change the impellor anyway since it's been running dry a bit.
I'll have a small nap for now and then work on it again - must get that cooling water flowing. Angled the solar panels - makes a big difference - now getting power into system despite the AP power use - that's good.
As well as posting my own noon (GMT) position and weather reports daily, there's a tracker in the Aurora terminal which is putting out hourly positions automatically - the link to that will shortly be on my website 'Travels' page if it's not there already.