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.)



Friday, April 13, 2012

Small but Mighty

Pacific Crossing, Day 32: Yesterday evening was Mother Nature's "Welcome to Friday the 13th" joke. The frequency of nasty squalls increased to one every 20 or 30 minutes, with calms in between. As the fifth one in a two-hour period rumbled over us, I shook my fist at it and yelled, "COME ON, YA BASTIDGE! GIVE US YER BEST!" It did, but this doughty little wonder of a boat sailed right through it and kept going into the stormy night.

The good news is we've got wind, but the bad news is it's SSE and we've been beating into it all night, with 6 to 7 foot seas slowing us to 2.5 knots. So life is being lived at an angle as we heel, but we're moving, we're moving.

This could be a trade wind; it's steady enough if a bit too southerly. The sky's a chaotic overcast mess of clouds. The highest layer is thick gauze; the next is long rolls of densely packed blue cotton wool; and the lowest is shredded cloud pieces escorting cumulus piles aspiring to squalldom. It'll probably be this way for another couple of days. Whatever. 50 miles a day, we'll take it.

I have to stop and marvel at this little Dana 24 we're sailing across the sea. She doesn't have the long speedier waterline or long range motoring capacity of bigger boats, but by God, she can sail. Her rig is strong as an ox, and her hull is beefy and strong to match. And beautiful. She can't appreciably shorten the passage time by motoring for long periods, and we do feel a twinge when hearing of larger boats that left a week after us arriving a week before us, and we wish the southern hemisphere had not given us so many calms, because Sockdolager can turn in 100 mile days when there's enough wind. We might have arrived by now, too, if we hadn't been stuck in a windless part of the ocean. But we play the cards we're dealt.

So, watching this little boat go as she labors through a squall, or tries to move along as we coax all possible speed out of her in a calm, or picks up her skirts and runs when a proper wind blows, all of this making the miles-to-go dwindle slowly but steadily, we feel an immense affection for and pride in our Sockdolager, the smallest but among the mightiest of boats crossing the Pacific this year.

Early afternoon update - The good news: The squalls have gone, the sky is clearing, and the winds have shifted to the southeast! The bad news: There is none! Woot!

Sent via Ham radio

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