Up. Shower. Toast.
I was up too early. Stupid morning. I got the stove running and turned the kettle over to C to babysit. The gas system on the Dufour has a lot of switches and valves twixt the bottle and the stove and sailboats seem to be a lot fussier about keeping good procedure in mind. Shower time!
After I got back to the boat everyone was up so I mocked C until she made me toast. Mmmm toast. She didn’t get the first one right, even though Leslie’s had been perfect, so I made her try again… Mmmmmmm raisin toast. After breakfast we cleaned up and waited for Tim.
When Tim arrived we said our hellos and the quickly started in on the Sante; front to back: we checked every through-hull, bilge and seacock. And no one giggled. Out loud. Tim’s a great teacher and 99% of his explanations made more sense than the books ever did. After we were through with belowdecks, it was on to the sailing bits. Halyards, sheets, cleats and winches, the Sante had ’em all. I have to say in retrospect I really appreciate his thoroughness. The briefings for the two boats I have been on with Tim help contribute to a basic understanding of the principles behind boating and boat design: something I have never got from the cursory explanations given by the charter companies themselves. Even thought the first thing you want to do after getting the boat is cast off and cruise, I almost think it would be a good thing to demand a long slow tour from the charter companies; after all we would all benefit.
After all that we paused for lunch (sandwich meat and baguette).
Next up we checked out the chart room and grabbed a bunch of charts, some binocs and the tides and tables. I grabbed the Gulf Islands as well as Princess Louisa Inlet. Back on board, we fired up the Volvo and finally cast off. Away from the docks we turned to port and headed out to Departure Bay and around the north side of Newcastle Island. Pointed into the wind, C and L hoisted the main sail and unfurled the jib. We were sailing.
Right off the bat we headed out into the Strait and some pretty stiff wind. Between the rocks, buoys and higher winds, it was pretty damn intense. We made our first few tacks and gybed and eventually settled into a rhythm. I have to admit it was pretty damn scary. For the first hour I was really wondering if I wanted to sail at all. Eventually though it all calmed down, mostly the wind, and I started to almost, kinda get comfortable with it.
Leslie took over the helm pretty early and I managed to make sense of the sheets and basic actions involved: there are a lot of details to hold on to… Tim showed us the upwind and downwind man overboards (just in case we lost him prematurely) and we basically putted around getting to know the boat.
Eventually we started tacking back north towards Departure Bay. Tim has an early-morning appointment so we were going back to the marina for the night. The winds died as we entered the bay and we eventually had to start the engine again. Tim demonstrated lowering the main and we headed in with me at the helm. Fenders out, docking lines on and it was time to back into the slip. I got us 80% of the way there, but Tim took us in the last few feet. All tied up and the shore power connected and then Tim bid us adieu for the night. He will be back tomorrow am after his appointment.
I have to say it was a pretty rough introduction to sailing for C; given the conditions nothing seemed easy or intuitive and until we got a reef in (another ‘advanced’ concept right off the bat) the sailing was pretty physical. Given all her pre-trip jitters about the concept of sailing on the big seas, I was almost worried she would be getting off the ride before we had a chance to get a reasonable day in. But my fears were unfounded: what a trouper!
It was Miller Time so I sucked back a couple of cold ones and then dinner beckoned. We decided to give the staff at the Beefeater one more try. A nice seat on the patio and some good food, but the service is pretty odd there. Back in April we had terrific food and service, but it’s starting to look like that was a special occasion.
Dinner conversation consisted of discussion of just how bad people’s VHF protocols were. The conclusion? Bad! We heard just about every error and misuse of the system in the book. It was borderline comical. Seriously.
A nice walk back to the boat and it was reading, writing and quiet time before the sandman finally hunted us down and zonked us on the heads.
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