Rendering Assistance - Newcastle Island to April Point Cove- Day 7: June 8, 2022

I woke up today at 6:05 am.  I looked out to see what kind of day it was.  It was raining.  Rain doesn’t stop mariners, so I got dressed, started the motor, raised the anchor and headed out.

As we headed out toward the Strait of Georgia, on the northwest side of Newcastle Island, I saw only one other boat out.  It was a small sport fishing boat.  As I was powering by them, I noticed the guy in the boat whipping his fishing pole back and forth, as if he was fly fishing.  I thought this was a weird way to cast your line for salmon.  He kept flipping it back and forth with more vigor as we got closer.  I finally realized he was trying to flag me down.  I slowed the boat and turned toward him.

As we approached, I could see he put the cowling of his outboard motor on the roof of his hardtop.  That was a sure sign he was broken down and needed a tow.  Ancient mariners’ tradition is render assistance to other mariners in need.  In fact maritime law in some cases requires boaters to lend assistance, provided assistance doesn’t put you at risk. 

We tow the small fishing boat with two people on board back into the boat launching ramp in the harbor. They were grateful, and wanted our phone number.  Heather asked “Why do you need the number?”.  The owner of the boat said he wanted to provide us a salmon down the road once he was actually able to go fishing.  Heather told him we would not be back in town for a while.  She also added we were paying it forward, so hopefully when we are in need of assistance someone will come to our aid.

Boat in Tow

After a quick turnaround, we were back on track, heading northwest up the east side of Vancouver Island.  Shortly after Horswell channel, the wind filled in from the southeast.  I raised the main, rolled out the headsail, and turned off the motor.  Sailing is a priority this trip for obvious reasons (hint price of diesel). 

We sailed all day.  Sometimes doing 3 knots, sometimes doing over 9 knots, but most of the time going faster than we could motor.  When the winds got really light, I raised the spinnaker.  15 minutes after the chute went up the wind started coming more out of the west. Really strong! I’m guessing around 20 knots.

I struggle to get the spinnaker down.  Once it was down, I rolled out the headsail again.  The winds kept building and the waves got bigger and bigger.  It was work keeping the boat from getting rolled over by the waves.  It took a lot of concentration and arm strength to keep the boat in control, and surfing down the wave.  At one time Heather said she saw 9.5 on the knot meter. 

We screamed along at over 8 knots of boat speed for well over an hour before the winds lightened up.  I was glad, my arms were getting tired. When we got down to only 4 knots of boat speed, I told Heather I was going to put the kite (another word for spinnaker) up again.  She convinced me to wait.  Telling me remember what happened last time. 

After 15 minutes or so we were down to 3 knots.  I then rolled in the jib and raised the spinnaker.  Our speed went up to 4.5 just like that.  Then of course the wind filled in some.  Before I know it, we were doing 6.5 to 7 knots, and sometime higher.  We maintained this speed for a really long time. 

We sailed with the spinnaker almost all the way to Discovery Passage, which is the channel leading to Campbell River.  Once the spinnaker was down, I rolled out the jib and went wing and wing (main out on one side, jib out on the other) up the passage.  We sailed a little past Campbell River and dropped the sails at the entrance to April Point Cove.  We had been sailing for around 12 hours. With the sails down we motored in and anchored.  It was now 7:40 pm.

Today went 76.6 miles with an average speed of just over 6.3 knots.  Our longest days run so far.  Of that distance we sailed 71 miles.  To date I’ve sailed 54% of the total distance we have traveled from Tacoma.  On days like today I’m sure glad I have a sailboat.