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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 All Catalina Rendezvous with a Gulf Island cruise

2013 Gulf Island Cruise
10 days in pursuit of Leisure

There was an all Catalina rendezvous organized by owners announced for July 12 and 13 at Thetis Island (Telegraph Harbor Marina).  This is smack in the midst of the Gulf Islands which is a favorite spot for Jah Mon exploration.  We signed up via email and spread the word as we had done one there a couple of years ago with 30+ other Catalinas which was very fun.

Friday:  Slated day of departure.  This didn't occur as a new hot water heater needed to be installed on Jah Mon, our Catalina 42 (1994 Mk 1, fin keel, 2 stateroom model)

Saturday, July 6:
Departure from Anacortes, arrival in Prevost Harbor, Stewart Island, in the San Juans (US)
13:15 to 17:30

Full sun, not much wind (there will be a lot of this weather)

A crowded anchorage but peaceful and pretty.  Fireworks were shot off at dusk from the shore.  We took a short walk in the park on Sunday prior to departure.

Jah Mon in Prevost Harbor.  Note the water and sun, a trademark of this cruise.
The Countess and the large madrona tree on Stewart.
These will be called arbutus in BC.  We want one for home.

Sunday, July 7:
Departure Prevost Harbor, Stewart Island (San Juans)
Full sun, not much wind

Sunday's route

Arrival Bedwell Harbour (South Pender, BC)
Checked into Canada by dock telephone @11:30  Departed

Arrival Port Browning (North Pender) 13:30 where we docked for free and had a great pub lunch.  Very high marks for good food at reasonable prices.  This is a favorite anchorage for us but today we experimented and found we could dock for a free touch while we had a meal.  All was good but the Count received a bee sting while practicing his disc golf putts on a recreation target on the lawn.  Departed 15:00 

The pub in Port Browning.  A great place for food.

Contact was made on the VHF with our sister ship Comocean, owned and crewed by live aboard couple Sonia and Greg Hurt.  They had made it to Winter Cove, slipping by us as they had come from Todd Inlet for the Saturday night fireworks at Butchart Gardens (world class show).

Radio conversation ensued and we agreed to meet at a new anchorage for all, inside Curlew Island just a bit north of Winter Cove.  The Count took some Benedril for the bee sting and promptly took a nap while the Countess steered through the new waters at 9+knot over the bottom with lots of current pushing us along north.  Care must be taken in this area.  Lots of rocks lurking.

Arrival next to Curlew Island @ 16:30 where we rafted to Comocean in full sun and no wind and even out of most of the current running through the bay.
Two C-42s having fun.  Note the mast rake differences
if you can.  Jah Mon seemed further raked aft.

Greetings were made and cocktails imbibed.  Dinner was concocted between the two well stocked larders with steak, brauts, mac n cheese, and a huge salad.  After too much food it was decided a walk ashore was in order.  We all loaded into L’il Mon ( the second L’il Mon, and new this season for Jah Mon, a 10’3” aluminum rib with 10 hp two stroke Mercury), after adding motor.  The public wharf was directly across so that was our destination.

The walk was ~3 miles out and back, we took a right turn off the dock and walked the road, encountering a Mayne Island resident, Roy the turkey farmer, riding Paso Fino horses (two) who advised us of the vista from the boat launch another ½ mile along.  It was a worthy look as we had walked around most of the bay by then.  We got back to the boat at sunset.

Fun gate entry on Mayne Island

The evening was completed with a friendly game of cribbage with Astroman, Greg and the Count.

Monday, July 8:
Horton Bay (Curlew Island)
Full sun, not much wind

We planned to go to Campbell Bay but the Count noted a potential shortage of critical leisure pleasure.  The supply of ice was low and certain to expire without resupply within that day.  Greg pointed out there was a store at Lyall, only 2.3 miles away so the Count saddled up with water, VHF, a glass of libation and PFD and took L’il Mon at speed to fetch two bags of the frozen water.  ~20 MPH in the dink is much quicker than getting about in the C-42.  Upon return in less than an hour the mission was successful.
In search of civilization... ICE!  L'il Mon goes fast out and back to Lyall from Horton Bay, Maybe 5 miles total.

Departure@ 13:30 to try and find slack water for a transit through the rocky bit on the edge of the Straits of Georgia and Mayne Island.

Since we were only moving 3.7 miles, we left L’il Mon with engine but it was like towing a tank compared to without engine.
The yellow circle is where we stuck on the rock for 30 minutes or so.  Not a good thing, but no water incoming on the boat so all is good to go for the trip.

We followed Comocean out and through a passage in the rock but where their 5’ wing keel was able to get over the rock or a small deviation in following, Jah Mon and the Countess had a surprise.  We found mother earth and stopped hard in a river flowing 3-4k!  We were being pushed onto an up-swelling of rock!  Not good.  It was the first time the Countess had found rock on Jah Mon.
Following Comocean through the rocks.
Fortunately, the tide was rising and there was no wave or swell to bash us, just the current pushing us onto the shallow bit.  The boat was pointed sideways to the flow and the bow was over deep water.  With the heavy crew on the bow and the Countess on the throttle we were able to bounce off within 15 minutes or so.  No water coming in so we will assume all is good except for cosmetics.  Haulout check  is required on return to home base.
The rocks....  OUCH!
Arrival in Campbell Bay @ 15:00 (?)

This anchorage was good in a north wind or in our case no wind for the night.  Comocean rafted to Jah Mon using the same fenders and lines as the previous night .  Dinner was aboard Jah Mon with buffet burritos featured.  No one went hungry. 

Dominos (Mexican Train) were played aboard Jah Mon and Sonia dominated us all.

Tuesday July 9:
Campbell Bay (Mayne Island)
Full sun, not much wind (is a theme developing?)
Campbell Bay to ourselves.

We all went walkabout on Mayne Island again, from a different bay, in the AM to find what we could and we discovered another boat launch on Mayne Island that goes out in a dimple of a little bay right on the Straits of Georgia.  Noteworthy was a house that was small but VERY nice, with high quality.  A favorite design for the future?
What a great retreat.  Quality all the way on Mayne Island.

Photo of cool cabin!
Messing about in the Straits of Georgia, coming into Active Pass with lots of ferry traffic and barges, then a leisurely motor to Wallace Island's Princess Cove.  A bit of sailing as noted by the green line, motoring when the line is red.
Departed @ 11:00 looking for slack water in Active Pass or wind in the Straits to sail with.  There was a bit of wind (not much) but we dove into Active Pass, dodging 4 ferries and a tug/barge with no issues.  There was a close overtaking 500’ ferry that barreled past and did an impressive turn in the midst of the Pass at speed.  We encountered up to 1 knot of anti-water against us but that was sporadic and not a problem.

Trincomali Channel was flat and calm.  Comocean motored straight for Wallace and explored a bit in Conover Cove and even with their 5’ draft decided it was too shallow.

Arrival @ Wallace Island 14:00

We all went down to Princess Cove and found hanging chain to use for stern ties and nestled in for the night.
Greg and Sonia rescuing L'il Mon from the beach in Princess Cove.  It went walkabout!
The Countess looks on from Jah Mon in the background.

We walked to the north point where the kayak camping is during the pre-cocktail hour. The group used the 4 mile walk to converse and burn calories to make room for more food.   On return to the dinghy dock it was discovered that L’il Mon had escaped and was in a small cove near the dock.  The Count had not properly secured it.  Greg and Sonia salvaged the wayward dink using their own and all went right with the world again.

Showers aboard are heavenly once more and the motoring made our hot water almost plentiful.  For those who have not been aboard a Catalina 42 with a forward head, there is a shower in the very bow of the boat that is a sit down bench and wash area with lots of elbow room and if one is 5’5” then there is stand up room as well.  This is one of the better design features among many on this model of boat.

Dinner was a huge pot of lentil soup prepared aboard Comocean, completed with the long baking biscuits being made on Jah Mon and transited with hot biscuits and home made black berry jelly, soup and good company for a great meal.  Temperature outside was in the 80+F so it was nice to get out of the sun in the cave of a C-42 cabin. 

The Count faded early socially, so it was home around 22:15 for a game of crib where Astro finally won his first game of the voyage.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Princess Cove, Wallace Island to Ladysmith on Vacouver Island
Full sun, not much wind, which changed to 7-18k over the voyage

Departure for both Comocean and Jah Mon around 10:30 and motoring out to the channel setting up our spinnakers for the scheduled race which was to commence on rounding Kuper Island.

(FYI  The name of Kuper island has been changed to Pnelecut island by the First Nation tribe who live on it since that is what they always called it.  I, as author, will refer to it as that for any needed references.  It just seems proper to do so.)

Both boats emerged from the cut between Saltspring and Pnelecut which had 18k apparent winds.  The wind in Stuart Channel (between Ladysmith and Thetis) was under 10k but enough to have fun.

Comocean got her chute up first as she was set up to deploy on port (always is due to halyard block at the top of her mast).  Jah Mon had to do a shift from starboard to port which delayed her hoist a bit but in time to keep Comocean on her hip.  Identical boats flying asymmetric chutes in a sock without mainsails was a fun sight.  Comocean has a chute built of 1.5 oz cloth and Jah Mon’s is a ¾ oz chute.  We both think the other’s sail looks a bit larger than our own. 

It was a good race, Comocean tried to come up and send her cone of death (wind shadow that extends ~7 boat lengths) to Jah Mon but she couldn’t quite make the cone effective and ended up going too high while Jah Mon took the low road and rhumb line to the finish.  When Comocean had to come back down to proper course Jah Mon had built a lead that would prove to be enough, finishing about ¼ mile ahead at Ladysmith.

A quote from Astro:
 “My fun meter is peaked on this sailing”
The green line is a spinnaker race between Comocean and Jah Mon.  Great fun.  No mainsail.
Count Ferrari watching the spinnaker trim on Jah Mon while Comocean threatens her 'Cone of Death'.

Ladysmith Marine Historical Society:

I cannot say enough how pleasant this marina is.  One enters the harbor into the Ladysmith area, and this is the first marina on the left.  One goes around the huge floating propane tanks that are moored as a breakwater and enters.  The guest dock (B) is the middle of the three docks and one can moor on either side in the space available.  There is 65’ of turning room if there are no boats on ‘B’ dock.
Ladysmith Historical Society Dock.  A must stop!
The rate is $1.30 a foot and a bit more for the 30A power so is lower priced than most docks in the Gulf Islands.  Amenties include a new office with coffee and treats cafĂ©, TV with lounge chairs, outside tents over picnic tables and BBQ for guests, a couple small heritage museums, purple martins abound on the dock in houses, new showers and heads (2012) with showers by donation.

Wednesday night is Jammin’ at the Dock and there were a 3-6 performers, singing, guitar, percussion on a box, tambourine, violin, clarinet playing to the lucky ones who made to the performance.  Great fun was had by all.  Astroman (my ace crew) limbered up his voice as he used to sing with the Seattle Symphony and accompanied the guitarist in several songs.  

Recycle for local funding has barrels on the dock, the garbage is no cost to unload at a dumpster at the top of the dock.

Ladysmith (the town):

A short walk up the stairs finds a large building that used to be used for rebuilding the islands locomotives.  Today it is used for housing artist studios and gallery.  Well worth the look!  The gallery has a changing theme every two weeks or so.

From there is is a ¼ mile walk across the island highway (careful, fast traffic) to the road that runs through the center of the commercial district.  If one has walked straight up from the marina you could turn left and go up the hill to the historic section which has all manner of excellent shops, including the best selection of sticky buns ever seen.  There is a great tourist info store too up there.

At the bakery, you can take the extra large chess set to the sidewalk board and play a game on the 12” squared painted on the sidewalk.
The Old Town Bakery with giant chess set and a selection
of sticky buns to die for!

If you turn right and go flat, you will come to the city store and liquor store in the same building.  This is located at the round about at the end of town.  There are many logging and train equipment bits that act as art located on the wide sidewalks of town.  I only saw one empty storefront (2013).

The grocery is well equipped and staffed with great people.  They offer a free shuttle back to the marina with groceries and even waited a bit while I got some beer to haul back too.  The wine selection is HUGE and they even keep cold beer on hand.

Thursday, July 11
Broken clouds and some wind but no matter as we didn’t leave the dock., Temps in the high 70s F.

Town exploration and waterfront walked each way.  There is a public Fisherman’s Wharf to the right from the top of the dock on the waterfront trail (part of the 16,000 km trail that goes all the way across Canada).  To the left the trail went to a gorgeous city park that had kayaks for rent (50 or so, 7 paddle boards), amazing amphitheatre, lovely green lawns and a water sculpture one can run through and get sprinkled.  There are pavilions, what appeared to be champion horseshoe pits, and lots of benches.  The beach is sandy to play in and was not crowded.

Friday, July 12, 2013
Ladysmith to Telegraph Harbor Marina (Thetis Island)
Broken clouds that dissipated to severe clear by 9:00, a light wind maybe
A lazy day of sailing with the headsail.

We departed Ladysmith after the art gallery opened (12-4 or whenever the door was open which happened to be at 11:10 AM).  We had to pay for our painting, Primordial Soup which was a bargain at $45 and Lori found a blue ceramic pear which was like Astro’s yellow ceramic pear, a very reasonable $10 each.  There was lots of cool stuff but most of it was priced outside our economical art budget.

The Countess got some backing out practice from the dock and soon we were in the main channel heading for Thetis, about 7 miles away.  We were able to sail, using just the headsail we were doing ~5k in the sun with a north wind that tapered off as we neared the entrance to Telegraph Harbor.

All Catalina Rendezvous at Telegraph Harbor Marina 2013, July 12-13

We got our slip assignment and Lori got to do a perfect docking, starboard to, assisted by two very capable dock boys.  We arrived in a train of Catalinas that kept coming in all day until we reached the total of 30.

Here is the official Count by the Count:
All are Catalinas but some are mixed for Mk1 and Mk2s:

27 @2, 28 @2, 30 @6, 310 @1, 320 @3, 34 @5, 36 @3, 40 @1, 42 @5, 44 @1, 47@1

This might be a bit skewed or inflated as the Count included a 30 that was owned by the Marina cook, a 40 and 44 that were there serendipitously. 

Kudos need to be bestowed on Barry and Val O’Flynn who organized the entire event.  Many emails and attention to detail formed the backbone of their effort.  Registration went flawlessy after power to the island was restored.  The first official thing was to open one’s packet and fill out an introductory page that we all hung on our boats.  A good way to surf and introduce everyone to everyone.

Simon Cox of Yachts West awards a week's condo in Puerto Vallarta,
gifted from Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts. 

Starting on time (as in all things for this) was our hors de vors ‘Appy Hour’ which really was dinner for most but served with a toothpick, a delicious bite at a time.  Everyone brought some fine grub!  Simon Cox, of Yachts West, both Vancouver and Victoria offices, was our wine host with a good plenitude of the grape.  He is the local Catalina dealer with other lines of yachts too.  He has hosted a couple other rendezvous Jah Mon has attended and brought in good speakers to educate us owners on our boats.
Great fun, food, and folks.  What could be better?
Note the masts.  Most were Catalina of all sizes.  You will have to read the text to get more data.
The food just kept coming!  If you went away hungry you didn't show up.

For the rest of the evening “Make your own entertainment” was the word.  We did!

July 13, Saturday
Full sun, no wind

Open House: (Show off your boat)

This means boat crawling from 10:30 to whenever.  It also means all aboard got into the cleaning mode to best show off our marine vacation cabin, Jah Mon. 

Jah Mon accepting visitors for the entire weekend.

The boat visits were good to us.  We found a cockpit table to replace the one that had rotted out by checking out a C-28.  Also, Wolfgang on Que Sera (C-42) had converted his spice rack to a standard cupboard and found quite a bit more room for stashing galley supplies.

There were 3 two bedroom 42s this time which was unusual.  Included was Dan’s which was the same year as Jah Mon!  He lives aboard and must be a minimalist as his boat was not crowded with stuff like ours.  It was very refreshing.  An effort will be made to try and stop the slow sinking by taking some stuff off.

Also, revealed as good were the 12v strip lights (on a dimmer) on Camelot’s interior.  Bob has access to rolls of this stuff and it has been decreed we upgrade the interior light on Jah Mon and lose all 5 of the Costco battery lights attached to the ceiling.  It is currently hard to see the holes in the crib board at night without glasses!

Last to mention, but, I am sure, not last to think of, were the single handle faucet upgrades on all the sinks.  The Count cannot wait to do more plumbing!

Tech Talk (Share Ideas, Ask Questions, Make a Presentation)

A good discussion of all sorts.  There is a new product for Jah Mon to test.  Gel Gloss from the hardware store for cleaning, polishing, and leaving a wax on fiberglass showers.  It comes in a pink can.

Pirates Dinghy Races (Costumes Required)
The first race of the day.  (Click on the purple text)
2nd race of the day, Rowers switch at the turn.

Pirates race!  Click on the text above for a watching of the blindfolded rower race.  Communication from passenger
was the key to a good run.
There were 5 dinks to make the starting line with some pretty fierce looking characters aboard them.  Swords, knives, flags, striped shirts, hats and a good swagger made for a great event to watch.  The course was from the fuel dock around a piling and back.  Not too tough except the rower had to have a blindfold!

Barry and Val from Seabird (and the organizers of the event and who had a new dink and must have practiced) were the victors in both races.  In the second race the crew had to change seats and blindfolds at the piling and each row a leg of the race.

There were many collisions and some of the pirates were heading out to sea until a recall was sounded.  All had fun!  A good event by any measure.
The dogs of the Catalina Rendezvous.  All were well behaved and fun to have around.  Talking to these
dogos made us miss our own who had to stay and guard the farm.
Closing Dinner and Awards

Jah Mon’s crew napped through the group dinner but made it up (air horn summons) for the awards.  All attending boats got a grab bag through some drawing process with tickets.  Great prizes were donated by many of the attendees. 

Jah Mon received a very fine True-rms Clamp Meter, made by Fluke.  Very impressive door prize!  The Count will have to go out and scavenge hard to donate fine prizes for next year’s raffle.

Make your own entertainment for the evening!

July 14, Sunday
Full sun and not much wind
Telegraph Harbor to South Pender

Farmer’s Market at the conference tables at Telegraph Harbour Marina

Two tables full of VERY tempting foods but we resisted as there is still too much food on Jah Mon.
Astroman bought some very nice printed cards of hand painted scenes that were very nice.  He claims $2 each is a good price.  He also got a very nice carved raven from the local First Nation on Pnelecut Island (used to be Kuper).

We got rid of our garbage and recycle stuff, bought two bags of ice and departed around 10:30.
Red line is motoring and green is sailing the 32 miles of this day.  

The plan was to motor south through Samsum Narrows as the current was flowing in that direction but we were able to start sailing next to Invitation II with Kasey, Betty, and Helen on board.  We had our headsail out the they had both main and headsail but it was a smaller boat (C-320).  We were neck and neck until they saw the wind die first (they were heading to Sidney) and they started motoring and we followed suit soon after. 

It appears both the C-42 and C-320 motor at similar speeds.  Very impressive for a boat 10’ shorter to keep that kind of speed!  We went through the small overfalls in Samsum and picked up about 2 knots in the river there, much as predicted by both the 2013 current book and the new Simrad plotter on Jah Mon.

Arrival at Bedwell Harbour at 16:00 in full sun and a bit of wind.  We didn’t find an open mooring buoy at Beaumont Park but our anchor worked well and we settled in for a grand evening of food and fun.

Astroman and the Countess go ashore to exercise a bit.

The Countess liked the looks of a Maple Bay 27 power boat which the Count rowed over to tour.  Plenty of headroom, a 28 hp Yanmar delivered 6k at 6 mpg, showers in the enclosed cockpit, v-berth forward, large settee, aft davits, with two driving stations, one forward and one in the cockpit (no fly bridge).  This is a very likely next boat if one can be found.  Apparently only 20-30 were made.
Beaumont Park on South Pender is great place to walk.  Provisions needed if one is going to the Mount Norman!
July 15, Monday
Full sun and a bit of wind.
South Pender to Customs at Friday Harbor and then to Deer Harbor
Crossing the border and finding a refuge from the predicted 25k night wind from the NW in Deer Harbor on Orcas.

A walkabout was required to start the day at Beaumont.  There are great trails there that can even require supplies (4 km each way).  We took a 1 km hike to a view point near the bridge between the Penders.  This park is very scenic and well worth the effort to go ashore.

We noted Seabird (C-34) in our anchorage, who had been our host organizer in this anchorage along with two other C-42s (one of which had added another back stay mirrored from the original, he also had two grab bars on each ‘cheek’ of his stern. (A thought for the future.)

This was our last stop in BC and we had to ready the boat for US Customs.  We departed for Friday Harbor (18 miles or so) and sailed with the headsail across the border but had to fire up the Iron Spinnaker by John’s Island.

A harrowing moment!

On our approach to the Custom’s Dock a large (50’ new and huge bowed (Nordhaven or Delta?) power boat called Starfish tried to ram us!  He missed us by 10’ or so when he finally got off his bow thruster and found his throttles and reverse!  This idiot was using his bow thrusters 100 yards away from the dock!  After nearly ramming us he tried a downwind diagonal approach to the Customs dock and totally blew that effort.  He then went over to the outer dock of the Marina on the north side and made 3 efforts at getting to the dock before being blown on with his bow thruster going constantly. 

The Countess was at the wheel and was justified in her fear of this guy!  She has had a harrowing and experience gathering trip with rocks and silly boaters trying to sink her.

We cleared quickly as we were the only boat (Monday at 15:30) and then made our way to Deer Harbor to shelter from the predicted 20-25k N to NW winds predicted.   A good choice.  We anchored at the head of the bay and enjoyed the evening with steak, rice, salad, cards, and fun.  A typical evening in paradise!

July 16, Tuesday
Full sun and some wind to 25k from the N

Deer Harbor to Anacortes Marina
The last leg of our fun.

We motored and sailed as indicated with the red and green lines.   We even had a man overboard drill when the Count's San Diego Yacht Club cap blew off and we had to turnaround to retrieve it.  All crew did well.
Count Ferrari with a typical meal, au gratin potato, BBQ rock fish, tossed salad with a toast of chilled wine.
All in and eating way too much the Count didn't gain weight for this trip!
Atown was waiting for us to tie up, clean the boat, and get in the cars by 3:00 PM.

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