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Old 07-29-2006
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Post Our First One-Week Cruise (San Juan Islands)


Our course for the week.


Okay, we’re back from our first “real” cruise. We’ve done overnighters, but this was our first full-week cruise on a chartered sailboat. We had an Islander 28 for a week in the San Juan Islands from San Juan Cruising in Bellingham, WA.

Lessons Learned:
First and foremost, we can do it all, on our own, with no big problems. We used all we learned in the ASA classes, and more (anchoring, mooring balls, fuel dock, managing the head and provisions, navigating with chart plotter and paper charts, checking on the diesel, etc.).

Additionally, our kids did great. Our nine year-old son fished almost every day, and our seven year-old daughter became increasingly relaxed throughout the trip. We worked hard on not “overdoing it,” and we succeeded.

The trip went so well that we’re already planning next year’s trip. We hope to reserve the same boat for two weeks, but visit Victoria, Canada, for three nights, and then one or more of the Canadian Gulf Islands before checking back in to the US. We looked over a Crealock 34 as a possible alternative boat, but it didn’t seem worth the extra $$$ given that we fared just fine on the Islander 28 with the two kids.

As for the Islander 28, it sailed beautifully. We could balance the boat perfectly when sailing, and let go of the tiller for brief periods with no problems. The main was perfectly manageable, and the roller furling on the 130 genny worked fine. We liked the open interior and fold-up table in the cabin. In fact, my wife has a crush on Islanders now.

Pictures from the trip are available here:


http://photos.sailingvoyage.com/v/Sa...006/?g2_page=1

(There are 75 images in the gallery, so feel free to feel bored.)


Vamanos, our chartered Islander 28, during provisioning.



Day-by-day Account

Day One: Drive five hours to Bellingham, WA. Check out boat. Spend 30 minutes getting the oil dipstick back into block via blind angle. Provision boat. Sleep on boat at marina for the first night.

Day Two: Sail and motor (50/50) from Bellingham Bay to Echo Bay, on Sucia Island. First time with a dinghy off the back. First time setting an overnight anchor on our own in a crowded harbor. First time using a dinghy back and forth to shore, etc. The boat did great with some sizable swells going to Sucia. Even our seven-year-old daughter got used to it. Hiked to Fossil Bay and Shallow Bay. BBQ’ed ground turkey burgers in Magma on stern pulpit rail.

Day Three:
Stayed in Echo Bay, but moved to an open mooring buoy. Used advice from charter company to put a full loop of the mooring line around the mooring loop, to prevent chafing through. Hiked to Shallow Bay, snorkeled and swam. Lost Teva and spent an hour finding it at China Rock. BBQ’ed chicken on Magma.

Day Four: Sailed/Motored (30/70) from Sucia to Stuart Island. Encountered serious current (5.7 knots on knotmeter, but 1.5 knots speed over ground) near rocks. Encountered real “rip” action with breaking swells. Boat and kids did great, and we learned that the course plotter projected our actual course adjusting for current. From that, in one case, we aimed right at some rocks in order to avoid some down-current rocks. Depth finder on boat only works at zero knots, so the chart plotter was essential. Navigated past three reefs going into Prevost Bay with no problem, and got a mooring buoy. Hiked to Reid Harbor for fun. BBQ’ed hot dogs.

Day Five: Stayed at Prevost Harbor. Hiked 2.5 miles across island to Turn Point Lighthouse for some great views of Gulf Island (Canada). Stopped at one-room schoolhouse, bought tee-shirts and cards to support school. Son fished on Charles Point and caught/released two copper rockfish.

Day Six: Sailed/Motored (40/60) from Stuart Island to Rosario Resort Marina on Orcas Island. Most complicated navigation of the week to reach and pass through Harney Channel. Some excellent sailing. Toured mansion at Rosario, ate out for both lunch and dinner. Kids swam in pool while I washed, re-iced and cleaned boat at slip.

Day Seven: Sailed/Motored (40/60) from Rosario to Chuckanut Bay. Best sailing of trip crossing Rosario Strait. Dropped anchor in north Chuckanut Bay, but strong winds came up and really tossed us around. (Probably should have dropped hook in south end of Bay, since winds were from south.) Stayed aboard and relaxed on our last night.

Day Eight: Sailed/Motored (60/40) from Chuckanut Bay to Bellingham Bay to return sailboat by noon. Only cloudy day. Good sailing on broad reach. Worst part of trip: visiting the fuel dock. There were around two dozed chartered boats returning the same morning, and all were required to refuel on return at fuel dock. Pain in the neck for 5 gallons of diesel (all we used for the entire week). Tired after tidying up boat and unpacking all gear. Drive back to Portland took 7 hours because of Friday-afternoon traffic.

Thanks!

Jim H


On the hook for lunch at Obstruction Pass State Park.

Last edited by Jim H; 07-29-2006 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 07-30-2006
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Did the course come off the GPS or is that from someplace else??
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-30-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Did the course come off the GPS or is that from someplace else??
The course was just a map image downloaded from the charter website, which I then "penciled in" our course in Photoshop. It is close to accurate.

The Garmin 276C unit on the boat was excellent, however. At first, I thought the screen would be too small and hard to read in direct sunlight, but it turned out to be great. We used it constantly on the trip, and it was a great learning tool for the kids, who fought for "chart plotter" duty.

If I had $700, I wouldn't mind having one on my C&C 27, but for river sailing I should be able to survive with paper charts.

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 07-30-2006 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 07-30-2006
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Great report

A great report on a wonderful trip. You made some special memories with the family on that trip. I enjoyed the photos, all of them.

I hope your next voyage is as much fun.

Kay
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Old 07-30-2006
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Kay, thanks for the comments! I have some more time off this week, and we're planning a 2-3 night local trip on our C&C 27 on the Columbia River.

One thing to note-- cruising is still very new to us, and every day last week we did something we'd never done before. (Like running the solar shower up the mast with the main halyard and giving everyone a luke-warm shower on the fordeck.) With kids along, it's somewhat stressful to implement practical and important cruising skills, but incredibly rewarding.

I imagine we could be having worse mid-life crises.

Jim H
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Old 07-30-2006
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Ahh... that's pretty good then. I have a 276C, which I use on my boat as the backup chartplotter and as the primary for my truck. It's a good little unit...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-31-2006
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Memories

Thanks for the tale of the San Juan Islands, it brings back some great memories I spent my summers at a YMCA camp on the north side on Orcas Island. One year we cirmumnavigated Orcas in a 18' Old Town War Canoe, 8 Kids & 2 camp counselors.
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Old 07-31-2006
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Just got back as well.

We just got back last friday from our week long cruise. Our experience was very similar to yours. We chartered a 28' Bristol Channel Cutter and had an excellent time. We have two girls (2 and 6) and they had a great time in the water, looking for shells, watching the wildlife and of course sailing. . Our course was mainly the southern portion of the Islands, but we may have crossed paths at Deer Harbor or Stuart Island.

Day 1 Anacortes to Orcas Island Yacht Club in West Sound (7/22/06)
Day 2 West Sound to Deer Harbour to Jones Island
Day 3 Jones Island to Roche Harbour to Stuart Island (Reid Bay)
Day 4 Stuart Island to Wasp Islands
Day 5 Wasp Islands to Fisherman Bay
Day 6 Fisherman Bay to James Island
Day 7 James Island to Anacortes (7/28/06)

I had never sailed a Cutter before, so that was a fun. It took a while to figure out how to trim the sails to get all three looking good, but by the end of the week I was a pro at moving that 28 footer around.

We will be doing this trip again in the future.
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Old 07-31-2006
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Having chartered in the Canadian Gulf Islands, I'm sure you'll have a great time there next year--great marinas, good anchorages, etc.
Frank.
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Old 07-31-2006
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"As for the Islander 28, it sailed beautifully. We could balance the boat perfectly when sailing, and let go of the tiller for brief periods with no problems." It *is* incredible howthat boat balances, even the designer (Dave Perry) has remarked that it is one of his best designs. Apparently Islander modified the interior layout some and changed to a deck-stepped mast, but somehow Perry got the balance and sail plan plain old dead perfect.
I've yet to see a short list of other boats that can do the same, but I'd sure like to know of them.
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