Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. Plans are to head north. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)



Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Pacific Earns its Name

Pacific Crossing, Day 27: Hooray for the spinnaker! Without this bright green big balloon of a sail, we'd be dead in the water. As is, we're moving very slowly--but moving--in fitful fluky air one could hardly call a breeze, hand-steering. And to think we considered sending the spinnaker home because it hadn't been used! It takes a lot of space in the sail locker, but it's earning every inch now. Who could have predicted the Grand Lake O' the Pacific? A sailing friend on a boat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico emailed us with this: "...from all reports, there simply hasn't been any wind. Boats on their way to the Marquesas have been becalmed in the doldrums. Boats already in the Galapagos (we hear there are 40 in San Cristobal alone!) are waiting for wind to leave for the Marquesas. The GRIB files show winds of 5 to 8 knots with big holes devoid of symbols indicating no wind at all."

A sailor's life is ruled by wind. And waves--there is still an un-lake-like swell upsetting the sails every so often and making keeping the course a bit of a challenge. But we're moving, and that's good enough. It's utterly amazing to see Sockdolager move right along in almost no wind at all. She's a heavy little boat and it makes us smile to watch the wake. There's a small school of light blue yellow-tailed fish (maybe flying fish?) swimming under the boat, and every so often one darts out to snatch a tiny morsel of something or other too small for us to see. Then it quickly darts back to the protection of the mother ship. The other night I heard Jim yelp in surprise on his watch; then I heard flopping and laughed. A fairly large purple flying fish landed right next to him. He threw it back. It'll have a good story for its grandchildren. And each night before the full moon rises, we can see the constellation Southern Cross and many other new ones to learn. The North Star has nearly dropped below the horizon.

We sure hope the Trades come back soon. An epic fast sail would be fabulous!

Lots of experienced voyagers have written in the past about the frequency of light vs heavy winds, and the need to keep the boat moving in light air. After lots of thought and discussion, Jim and I decided to invest as much in our light air sail inventory as in our heavy weather one. Right now, with 665 miles still to go after 27 days at sea and no significant wind in sight, we're mighty glad about that. Part of why we could afford it is the small size of the boat. Thanks to our dear friend and sailmaker Carole Hasse of Port Townsend Sails, for all the good advice and excellent sails.

Sent via Ham radio

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