When we rounded the northern corner of Salt Spring Island the squall overtook us. Big drops of rain coupled with strong headwinds brought visibility to almost nothing, and I hoped we wouldn’t hit a log or snag a crab trap. I knew it was just a passing shower, but I wanted it to end.
With one reef already in the main, we beat slowly towards the southern end of Tent Island and, as expected, it soon passed. Blue sky followed and the sun filled in brilliantly, causing my black Musto jacket to steam and gleam in the warm light. I took it off, tossed it aside and rolled the jib out on a broad reach to sail the remaining miles to Ladysmith. Such has been life aboard for the past seven days — sailing all the way, and loving it.
Seven incredible days of sailing
Seattle > Port Townsend > Shipwrights’ Regatta on PT Bay > Port Townsend > Henry Island > Sidney, B.C. > Prevost Island > Wallace Island > Ladysmith.
It isn’t often here in the Pacific Northwest that we sail more than a few days in a row. Either the wind doesn’t cooperate or we are static in one place for more than a day. Over the past week, though, we’ve had wind. And we’ve been using every bit of it.
When we set the spinnaker just north of Seattle on Friday, February 26, we didn’t plan on sailing so many days in a row. We actually didn’t have much of a plan beyond racing in the Shipwrights’ Regatta and then getting north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which I detailed here). But that’s the best part, we can take it one day at a time and use the breeze to our advantage. Or, we can sit and wait.
After checking into British Columbia and spending the night in Sidney, yet another gale swept in off the Pacific Ocean and we thought we’d wait a day for it to abate. But when the wind calmed enough for us to get off the dock, we left. Just outside the marina we rolled out the genoa and, fighting the current, we sped north past Portland Island, up in-between Salt Spring and Prevost islands and dropped the hook in James Bay on the northern side of Prevost. Along the way we were treated to winds in the 30s, rainbows, showers and boatspeeds ranging from 3 to 10 knots.
Wallace Island was next and another following breeze had us scooting northward up Trincomali Channel. Again, rain, sun, wind. After setting the hook in Princess Cove, we played on the green grass of the forest that we shared with bald eagles and nobody else. Overlooking the channel, we enthusiastically chatted about all the sailing we’d been doing before concluding — “This is what it’s all about!”
Our routine of sailing a few miles everyday has also allowed time to stop and enjoy the world around us. The weather has been decidedly spring like and the islands are coming to life. I’ve had plenty of time to fulfill my work obligations while Jill and the boys explore hiking trails, beaches and anchorages on foot and by dinghy.
And when we sailed into Ladysmith Harbour seven days after leaving Seattle, my grin was as big as when we popped the spinnaker on day one.
This is why we’re here
As I’ve said before, we’re not keen on sitting in a slip, leaving Yahtzee to gather moss or polishing her so she’s the best looking boat in the marina. We love to be out sailing, cruising and exploring, and the Pacific Northwest is a great place to do it.
And when a reader recently commented, “Every time I read your stuff it makes me want to go sailing.” I thought, “Yes, that’s exactly it!”
That is a huge compliment because that’s what we’re all about. That is Rollin’ With Yahtzee. We hope our passion and enthusiasm for what we do shines through in our conversations, writing and images. When I worked as a sailing instructor and coach, it was always my aspiration to inspire others to love sailing as much as I do — and that goal remains.
Sailing — whether racing or cruising — is what we love to do. Onboard Yahtzee and at Three Sheets Northwest, we want to get people out on their boats learning, discovering and having a good time. That’s part of the reason we choose to be out here living and working without a permanent slip, because if I sat in an office and tried to do this 40 hours per week it would be impossible to live these experiences and write these stories (and I’d probably have a meltdown).
I’ve worked in the boating magazine and web industry long enough to know that being on the water creates genuine content. Try as you might, you can’t make it up from behind a desk, you can only stoke people’s dreams of sailing by actually trimming sails, dropping anchors and exploring new places.
Keep sailing, boating, cruising, racing, kayaking, fishing and enjoying the water however you choose. We love bringing it to you in real time and hope to inspire and meet you along the way. So if you see us out here, please say hi.