Coming home from the Rendezvous

I didn’t sleep well last night. Opus was too warm and stuffy, but the mosquitoes were far too numerous for me to leave any windows or doors open. I preferred stuffy to being bled to death in my sleep! As a result, I was definitely not at the top of my game for the trip home right from the beginning, unfortunately.

Once again, it was a parade of C&Cs with the occasional odd duck interspersed such as the impressively large motor yacht that had also been staying overnight at Telegraph Harbour. There was really, “clumps” of departures for various destinations. I was part of a group headed for Porlier Pass, about 10 miles away. As with the trip from Nanaimo to Thetis, I had wanted to sail as much as possible. However, it ended up being too much work for my state and I motored most of the way. The headsail got fouled three times during one tack before disgust and frustration head me furl it up for a bit.

The tide was coming in as we passed through Porlier Pass, pushing Opus through the gap at a brisk 6-7 knots. I figure the current was running at about 2 knots plus about 4 knots of boat speed. On the outflow side (Georgia Strait), were the standing waves that the chart symbols warn you of. While not very big compared to Opus, they certainly did push her around a bit and it reuiqred brisk and lively helming to keep her on course. That zone was only about 100-150 meters long, but I can see how I wouldn’t want to deal with it in a small boat. It would definitely be worth waiting for slack under those circumstances.

Once clear of the outflow, it was one more attempt at sailing, this time successfully for the next 7 miles before the wind dropped, which was expected. Between being tired, and having been on the helm for 4 hours already, when the “TTD” (“Time to Destination”) indicator read another 4 hours to go, with SOG (“Speed Over Ground”) showing 2.9 knots, it was time to fire up the engine and proceed with a bit more alacrity.

Two things of note occurred. At one point a distress call came in and, reluctantly, I turned to respond. They were about 10 miles away, which was 2 hours at my speed, and in the wrong direction. Fortunately, for me, there was a boat that was further away, but faster, and they responded as well, freeing me to head on home.

The second thing was the disparity between customs into Canada and customs into the USA from the water. Both countries use apps on my phone to file the paperwork. For Canada it’s ArriveCan and for the USA it’s CBP-Roam. Even using that, Canada requires me to tie up to the customs dock before I then have to call in, though the process is a bit more streamlines since they have all the paperwork already submitted. US, you can submit as soon as you’re in their waters and they will, generally, clear you while you’re still out on the water. None of this “We won’t talk to you unless you’re docked” business. It was a welcome relief not to have to dock up twice!

Anyway, Opus is home once again. Today is going back down to her to clean her up, take more stuff off, etc., only to load her back up again for the next cruise, and then prep her for racing season!

A Gathering of Likeness

This past weekend was the annual C&C Rendezvous, a gathering of C&C yachts from the area. All in all, we had 25 yachts at the gathering at Thetis island — thank you to Telegraph Harbour for hosting us!

Because Opus is kept in the United States, I had to determine where to go through customs on the way to the gathering. I elected to go to Nanaimo the day before and go through customs there, then go to Thetis Island on Friday. The trip up to Nanaimo was thoroughly unpleasant — single-handed motoring straight into the teeth of the wind and waves for the slog up the Georgia Strait, and arriving at Nanaimo completely knackered. It lacked only rain and cold to make it one of the most unpleasant legs I’ve had in a long time.

Arriving in Nanaimo, I tried calling in to Canadian Customs while still 30 minutes from the dock. I had to wait on hold for 10 minutes before talking to an agent who, when informed I was still 20 minutes out, informed me that they couldn’t talk to me until I was at the dock and then hung up. So, I putted to the dock, jumped off, tied her up, called in, waited on hold for 10 minutes, answered 4 questions and was cleared into Canada. Why in the world couldn’t we have done that while I was still out in the bay? Don’t misunderstand, I’m not blaming the customs officer – they have to follow the procedures given to them. Anyway, immediately undock and move back out the way I had come, across the bay, and into the mooring field for the night. The moorings at Mark’s Bay, btw, are a great deal. $14.00 for the night!

Next day dawned bright and clear and beautiful and I resolved to sail as much as possible. Being single-handed, I usually will just sail on the headsail as it can be managed completely from the cockpit. Sure enough, there were a few other sailboats headed towards Dodd Narrows with their sails up as well, and we threaded through the ferries and other traffic plus the anchored freighter and a few logs floating in the water just to keep it really interesting.

We all arrived at the narrows just before slack time, which was perfect. One by one, the sails were furled and the parade continued onwards. I had wanted to try sailing through the narrows, but it was so busy, plus there was a Tug boat patiently and politely waiting for us all to pass before he went through with his long log tow, that I decided to power through. I was last in the parade, other than the tug.

About a mile past Dodd narrows, I hauled out my 140% genoa again. Ahead of me, others also started putting out sails. With the engine off, I checked behind me to make sure that the tugboat wasn’t going to catch up. No, we were slowly leaving him behind, so I turned my attention to the boats ahead of me.

5 boats headed to the east side of Thetis, 2 boats headed to the west side. West side was where I wanted to go, so the race was on! Relatively quickly, I and another left the 3rd boat behind. Not a word was spoken by any of us, but I think we all knew the game was afoot. I was either holding on or slightly catching up to the lead boat as we sailed down. All too soon, unfortunately, the entrance to the narrow channel I needed to use came up, and I turned out of the race to furl sails, put out fenders, and set my lines. When I looked over, the other boat, too, had done the same thing and, for the first time, I could see her in profile. She was, indeed, another C&C and was obviously headed to the same rendezvous.

The rendezvous was definitely enjoyable. I met a lot of other C&Cers, made a number of excellent contacts. I’ll post more about it in my personal blog (“Captain’s Corner”).

Next entry, the return home.