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Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 C42 Spring Rendezvous at Deer Harbor, Orcas Island in the San Juans

Wednesday May 16:

Departed home @ 9:15 drove the 50 minutes north and arrived in Anacortes, loaded the boat with luggage and left the dock aboard Jah Mon at 11:15 AM.

Total crew:  Count and Countess Ferrari and general good dude, Blingster.
Count and Countess Ferrari on Patos, Jah Mon in the
background before the storm hit.
The Blingster, ready for action!

Destination:  Patos Island
Jah Mon on a State Mooring buoy.  It held in 35 knots of wind, thankfully!

This island is the furthest north island in the San Juans.  We motored, sailed and motored arriving  around 16:00.  There are two state maintained mooring buoys there and no one else when we showed up.
The lighthouse and concrete path from the bay to the lighthouse!
A leftover from WWII.  It is the only concrete sidewalk
on any of the State Park islands.

We deployed L’il Mon and discovered the fuel bulb had deteriorated over the winter to junk.  The new fuel additive of ethanol rotted it in less than 6 months.  We had to row the three of us to shore.  Not too bad in the sun and flat water.
Jah Mon at mooring on an idyllic day before the storm hit.

We took a hike over towards the lighthouse and discovered a concrete path that runs from our bay all the way to the lighthouse.  This is a remnant of the WWII infrastructure.  This feature is totally unique in the entire San Juans.  Additionally, the lighthouse had been restored in 2008 and has  a historical write UP and photos that one can view through the windows.
Count Ferrari exploring the sandstone on Patos Island for the
first time.  VERY cool!

We had a great salmon BBQ dinner, played some cards and went to bed.  We were all woken around 2:30 with big wind and big waves moving us all about.  The wind was intense with Count Ferrari speculating on the 35 MPH range.  The huge white caps were visible just outside the harbor but ended up coming inside as big swell moving the boat side to side and pitching on the mooring buoy.  The wind was whipping straight into the harbor.  There was very little sleep that night and thought were abounding, should we move? 
This is Jah Mon's path out and back from Anacortes WA.  The purple color is motoring
while the green line represents sailing.  The red dots are our destinations.  Patos,
Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, and finally Eagle Harbor on Cyprus Island.

Thursday May 17:

Moving in the middle of the night is always tough and things can go wrong easily.  The Count decided to ride out the evening and in the AM the wind started to abate.  By 8:00 we slipped the mooring and motored dead to weather and out of the bay into 20+k winds.  We turned left and deployed the 140% headsail and took off south.  There was a 3k tide taking us directly south.  It was lovely and smooth.   The wind and water just layed down to nothing in the next 7 miles and 5 hours.  Motoring was required to get us into Deer Harbor on Orcas Island.

By the time we arrived there were already 4 other C42s waiting.  6 others rounded out the C42s for 10 total 42s and we welcomed in Ruffian a C-320 too.

It was fun seeing old friends and wandering the dock at Deer Harbor.  They have nice wide docks and clean showers and restrooms.  This dock is used by the local islanders to load UP groceries and other essentials into their work boats to transport out to the island that are not served by the State Ferry System.

Dinner was enhanced lentil soup with toast.  MMMMM!

Friday May 18:

Beautiful weather made us all happy!

In the morning after a blessed peaceful sleep in NO wind or wave. A group of 5 of us walked the scenic trail the end of Deer Harbor road.  We passed by all kinds of gorgeous houses and a buffalo farm and other fabulous places built on the edge of Orcas Island.

They all arrived by Friday’s ‘Appy Hour’ where we all shared appetizers and socialized on the dock around the picnic tables.

The revelry went on well into the night and dinner aboard Jah Mon was reduced to awesome quesadillas as we thought we should eat something substantive in addition to the multiple awesome snacks served by each boat.
Ruffian is a 2007 C320 with Brad Blyemeyer and
his two long hair dachshunds Isabelle and Angel.

Cross Wind 2004, two cabin, (and the only boat
with stern davits) with Gary Joseph and his cat Baby.

Comocean 1993 three cabin (and the only wing keel)
with Sonia (Fleet Captain) and Greg Hurt and their cat Cinnamon.
Solaria 2005 three cabin,  with Ken (C42 National President)
and Rita Fisher
and Geoff (Ken’s partner in the boat).

Sutlej, 2005 three cabin, with Warren and Sally Jewel
featuring Sonia.

Solitare III, 1988 (hull 28) three cabin, with Al and Paul
Griffin the Corgi. 

Arbutus, 1991 two cabin,  with Stuart and Taz,
On their first experience with this group.
They are from 
Canada in their newly purchased boat.

Tehilla , 2007, three cabin with Don Paget and Laurence
from Maple Bay YC on 
Vancouver IslandBC Canada.

Two Lefties 2008, three cabin, with Dick, Bill, and Jerry

Saturday May 19:

Listening to the estuary talk from Rachel.

Gorgeous blue skies and sun again made all the informative programs even more interesting.

Whale Talk:
There was a talk from two Orca experts about the local pods and their habits and the regulations on how to act when the whales approach your boat.  This was put on by The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor (800-946-7227) and the two presenters were very knowledgeable.

Winch Maintenance:
Count Ferrari serviced one of his main winches on Jah Mon with several boat owners watching.  This maintenance is  recommended for every two years if racing and 3 if not.  One of the pawl springs was broken and replaced.  It was discussed that most of the owners do not do this often.  Just do it and have fun but don’t touch anything until done to keep the grease where it belongs. You will have grease all over your hands.

Estuary reclamation:
Rachel gave a 3 hour talk and walk about the 60 acre lagoon/estuary and surrounding fields with Fish Trap Creek feeding it.  Contact info if interested in hearing more:

Rachel Benbrook
North Sound Restoration Ecologist| People For Puget Sound
911 Western Ave, Suite 280 | Seattle, WA 98104

Fire Safety on Boats:
Fire Chief and Inspector Dave from Everett Fire Department came and talked about fire safety.  He mentioned watching the AC part most closely.  IF the cords or ends are warm or burned, buy new ones!  Boat fires in a marina ?  Send the unburning ones away, do NOT push the burning one out as the fire cannot be fought out there.   Also suggested were smoke alarms in the sleeping cabins and possible CO monitors.  Be sure and shake UP your fire extinguishers annually.  Check them to see if in the green zone.

The Cat Toss:

Sonia tosses the cat to the bucket.   No felines were hurt
in this competition.

Saturday Pot Luck:
All the boats brought too much amazing food to the dock tables and we all ate way too much.

Too much food! Nice docks and sun!
A good time by all.

Sunday, May 20:

We were the third from last to depart.  Others had chosen times that went with the tide and destination.  Our destination of Eagle Harbor on Cyprus Island was only 2.5 hours away so no hurry.  The weather was overcast with a light bit of rain coming and going but no worries with our roof UP.

We pulled into the harbor and found two other boats on moorings the DNR has deployed.  Many of them are too shallow for our 7’ draft but we found one with plenty of water under it and immediately launched L’il Mon (our 10’-3” hp floor Zodiac with a 10 hp Mercury).  It only takes Bling and Count Ferrari 15 minutes to get the dink off the deck and outfitted, ready to go to shore.

It was near 3:00 PM and we noticed a bit of smoke on Guemas across Bellingham Channel.  The smoke seemed too dirty for a slash fire and we also heard sirens.  More on this later.

There are walking trails galore on this island and not much else.  We got to the nice steep graveled landing area and consulted the trail map.  Our goal was to walk UP to Eagle Bluff so we could look out over the San Juans.  A 2-3 mile round trip walk.

The rain had stopped but by the time we had made most of our elevation gain it had restarted with a determination.  The Countess had been leading the walk to that point but had discovered she had wet legs from all the wet underbrush on the trail.  She chose to be 2nd after that.

We returned to the boat in a good bit of rain.  We had to shed our gunked up shoes off prior to loading in the dink.

Popcorn and cocktails and then dinner. We ate so much food on this trip and it must be boating but the Count ended down 1.6 lbs for the week in spite of eating and eating and eating!

That night we watched the fire on Guemas Island fully engulf most of an 11,000 sq. ft home with apparently 100s of people trying to get the fire under control.  A very spectacular fire.  It was good the rain was coming down hard!

Monday, May 21:

We motored and motor sailed home the 1 hour to Anacortes Marina and were off the boat by 12:30 and heading home.  We were sure tired even though there was very little work beyond moving dock carts UP a stupidly steep ramp to get the bedding, dirty clothes, and some leftovers back to the car.  As usual, it was good to get home and with a new set of good boating memories.

Jah Mon at Patos Island.  Guess who forgot to take
their own photo at the rendezvous?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Sucia Cruise, San Juans WA

NOTE:  This site is under construction.  Come back in Mid May for complete idiocy.
Shazzamber prepares lunch for all!

"One must do, to be leisurely"  Coach Koci

A discussion of leisure during our weekend cruise to the island park of Sucia came UP with the above quote.  Doing 'nothing' might seem attractive to many who try and do too much during the day or week while working or dealing with life, but the truth is one feels much better when doing an activity that engenders relaxation as opposed to vegging on the couch.  As a self styled Leisure Expert, Count Ferrari supports exactly that attitude towards a lifestyle.  Do you know anyone who does it better?

Of course, there are many components to leisure.  Some like to hangout on their own finding that in solo company  they discover the one they can abide by.  Others are more social and look for playmates.  If so called 'playmates' are wearing bunny ears, so much the better.  A successful association of social interactive playmates requires a good attitude on all the part of all parties.  A good attitude could be defined as open to new activities, polite and respective of personal and emotional space, willing to pitch in for the common good, and show up with a smile.  Attitude is Everything.
Bling and Count Ferrari discuss cribbage results.

The Cruise to Sucia:

Where in the world is this odd named island?

North America and the San Juans

Zooming in to Puget Sound.

The route taken for this cruise.  Purple is powered with Mr. Yanmar, Green is sailing, and red dots are docked.
Sucia is the island at the top of the chart with the red dot.  Fossil Bay is on the south of the island.

This island is the crown jewel of the Washington State Marine Park system.  It was purchased by many yacht clubs and donated to the parks by them in the '60s.  Located on the northern edge of the San Juans, it is 23 miles from Anacortes.  Services on the island include many trails, campsites, excellent composting toilets, mooring balls, two docks, shelters for gatherings, water (limited and best used for washing UP), and summer time rangers.  There are moorings in 5 bays.  We chose to go to Fossil Bay as that is where the docks are.  It made it easier to get the campers to the sites and since we were ahead of Turon season (Tourists + Morons = Turons) we were able to tie UP arriving near 7:30 PM.  Don't try to come in late in the sunny season.   This place fills UP!  Summer season sees regularly 80+ boats in Echo Bay alone although it can take around 150 or so.  Arrive early for a spot if going.

Jah Mon in Echo Bay from a past outing.

Cruising vs Racing:

The concept behind this weekend was to show the race crew of the Mighty Jah Mon how well it does cruising.  As owner, Count Ferrari is aware, his Catalina 42 is a better cruiser than a racer, but endeavors to optimize his use of the hole in the water he pours money into.

The invitation was issued and the date was set but on common consensus we had to let the first weekend (Last weekend in March) go due to inclement weather.  Cold, wet and windy.  Not so much fun.  We rescheduled for April 25-27, 2012.


Race crew:

Count Enrico Ferrari

Rear Admiral John Papajani





Shazamber, plumber with a smile
Lucky's harem:  (He had informed us there were to be 5 ladies joining in and camping with him ashore, 3 were brave enough to attend.

Coach Koci, Can you believe she is on a helm for the
first time in her life AND talking on a cell phone?



The Rear Admiral was on the boat Thursday night and met with all the next AM, having arranged things well for cruising.  He had taken the extra sails off the boat, the dehumidifier and stashed the canvas and covers as well.  Lucky, Count Ferrari, and Bling all arrived around noon on Friday with provisions and gear.   The harem was close behind with their own supply of goodies.  Last aboard was Polisher as he had put in a good early day of employment and shopping for beer and Rockstar beverages.  At a guess, we filled 9 dock carts with stuff to take to the boat.  The ladies must be complemented on the reduced luggages.  For the three of them they only used two carts.  This included camp gear, clothes, snacks, and booze.  These three are worthy of more boat training sessions.
The beach at low tide.  (Note:  Black and White photo credits to John Papajani)

The trip over:

These guys have a jones for sailing.

We had hard intermittent shadows with maybe 10k of wind to start.  The race crew raised sails instantly and we were moving 7k + heading out Guemas Channel, bound for Thatcher Pass.  We eschewed the short route to Sucia from Anacortes in favor of seeing the interior of the San Juans.  There was an ebb tide that convinced us we didn't want to deal with antiwater (current flowing against the line of travel).

What is in a word?

When Count Ferrari was asked for a word used aboard a boat that might be often used, he had no idea what he set in motion!  He was of the impression Shazamber merely wanted to be instructed in the finer points of on board communications.  The initial word nominated was 'AFT'.  All the ladies were paying rapt attention and the Count merely figured they knew they were getting  supreme instruction.  Ahhhh... slowly it dawned.  The synapses under the platinum hair noted an elbow mechanism working on all three girls each time 'AFT' was mentioned.  Soon there were derivatives in use, 'aft'er, 'aft'ernoon, etc....  The first all female drinking game on Jah Mon was established.  OH MY!  There was a lot of l'augh'ter.

No pain!

We pulled into Fossil Bay and noted the docks were basically full except for the 15 minute loading zone on one dock.  This 25' section of dock was on the end and we managed to fit our 42' boat onto it for the evening with a bit of fiberglass protruding into the bay.  The boat directly astern was Ruby Slipper, a Jeaneau 49 with friend Jim Rard aboard as part of a 3 boat fleet out for an extended weekend.  He had a way cool blue light mounted on his swim ladder.  When deployed under water the critters came and flitted about his light!  Note to owner:  Get one!

The gear was unloaded from the boat and schlepped up the dock to the beach and beyond.  Carts are provided by the parks department. A short exploratory walk was taken to determine which was the ideal campsite.  Of the many campsites on the island, all were open!

Tents were set UP and dinner was served aboard Jah Mon.

A game of cribbage determined who got the guest suite and who got the passion pit (the settee) in the main salon.  Blingster took the cabin over the Rear Admiral.

Dinner menu:  Chicken pasta with garlic and heated rolls and grilled brauts.  Dessert was chewy sticky brownies and sundry chocolate.

A raucous time in the evening!  Holly and Kirsten both
try and slap Kirsten.  Amber is ducking.

After dinner, the girls got silly and ended UP in bed early around 10 PM.  It was questionable where they were going to end UP for the night.

The evening was spent with another crib game and we retired around midnight, having done our best.


Coffee, OJ, cantalope, banana, yogurt, heated croussaint, and muffins was our staple for two breakfasts.  We survived.

Hiking began around 10 AM with a ramble out the point and back, over to Echo Bay for snacks and otter watching.  Then to Shallow Bay and the Timex find.  Next a shore walk to the southern bit of Shallow Bay and back to the boat to consider moving it off the dock for low tide.

Bling, Polisher, listen to JP on a view point into Snoring Bay.

4-5 mile walk on Sucia.  Red dot is the boat location.  Green dot are the tents.   Yellow is the fire pit we used.
Striking a pose on command!

The entire expedition enroute on the single track.
Kirsten shaking off the toxins from the d'aft' drinking game.

There was a bit of shoreside exploration.  Turning over rocks to see the critters was a good time for all.  Amber stalked a large river otter with her camera and tried to get him to eat Polisher.  The otter bounded into the bay and started eating eels in front of us to show how little he feared us.
Snacks got Kirsten back in the groove.

Polisher is filling his pockets with cool rocks!

Looking at the tide pools by ourselves.
Lunch of sandwiches was served back on the boat featuring hoagies with lots of stuff on them.  A good activity after taking the walk.

Polisher and Amber messing about in the rocks.  Cool!

Next to Holly's left hand is a HUGE fossil of a 
prehistoric bug.
Art shot out to Shallow Bay

The return to the boat was intended to prevent going aground since the tide was to go out enough for the boat to not be floating.  However, it was also nap time.  No one noticed if we ever did touch bottom.  We had calculated, looked online at tide tables, dipped the boat hook to touch the bottom, checked the depth sounder, etc... It just didn't matter enough.

There was only one boat on the dock with us for the 2nd night.  I guess we were just too fun to be around, the other boats went away.

Shazzzzzamber testing new digs to move into.

Amber, Holly, and Kirsten turning rocks in Echo Bay.

Shazamber finding a Timex watch on the beach
under the wet rocks still ticking.  See video

Amber turns into a commercial rock star with a find on the beach.Click here to see the action.

The Rear Admiral, navigating using his phone.
We were never lost!
Dinner menu:  Taco salad, made with sliced brauts, lettuce, sweet peppers, grated cheese, beans, onions, and taco chips.  Dessert  was chocolate cake made with chocolate pudding and lots of white icing, served next to the fire.
Amber and Holly shoot it out!  Nice gats!

Saturday night Fire:
The fire was assembled with 8 loads of drift wood.  The salted wood really burns well and quickly.

After dinner was cleared UP, we all meandered over to the edge of Fox Bay.  There was a bit of boat traffic passing by close and far.  JP, our cruising geek, kept trying to spot the freighters that were shown on his AIS app.  He never saw them live, just on the screen.  It makes one wonder if they were even there.

Polisher tended the fire until 1:30AM while most of us retreated to our shelters and a game of cribbage.

Note:  White Man's fire.  Also Amber in high spirits..
"Forget the Tampax, when you have Camp Ax"
Sunday AM:

Displaying our boating skills:
There was a bit of breeze from our stern so we sailed off the dock with no sails, managed to turn to weather and  raise the main in a  death defying move and proceed to sail out of Fossil Bay.
Amber ready for Man Overboard drill.

Once out JP gave instructions to sail to the highest VMG as provided by our handheld Garmin 76CS.
(An amazing tool that is now 7 years old and working great.)  We found a bit of sun and a bit of wind but it still took 5.5 hours to cover the 23 miles.  All good.

We returned unscathed to our slip in Anacortes Marina, emptied all the gear and garbage, cleaned the boat and went home.  Count Ferrari was a tired puppy after his one hour drive home.  "It is amazing that one wears out so much doing so little". (CF)

Amber, Polisher on helm, Kirstan, Lucky Dave, and Holly.
All heading home after a great weekend.