Adventures on the Blue

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May 10th, I headed out to the old stomping grounds of caddy bay for a paddle with some unexpected company. The tides were due to be insane all weekend, so why not have some fun in Baynes channel. Today, meaning may 9th, I met Paula on the beach and Bernie was out making sure he'd dialed in his boat's seat setup. (ed: sorry for the narrative shift) I left the beach at gyro in light wind and overcast conditions. I was pretty sure the currents would be transitioning about 1 or 2 knots if we left the beach near noon.



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The tide change ended up coming about 30 minutes earlier than expected and it was a steep curve to either side, giving us no real slack period. We paddled up the east side of Cadboro Bay, mostly gabbing and catching up. It's been a while since I got paddling in with the group. The current had already set up eddy lines in Baynes, but I was pretty determined to cross the channel today.



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Paula and I met up with Bernie in Sheep Cove, a small, rocky beach between the properties that border the bay. He was wearing his Chinese supercooler hat!!! We decided to round Flower Island and take some photos of the weasel holes in the shrubs on the east facing side. There was a small current in the channel between Flower and it was definitely flooding. We paddled down to the Cadboro Point light, and found ourselves scooting down current whenever we stopped paddling.



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My friends are still pretty wary of current, so I wasn't going to force the issue too hard. We paddled back to Jemmy Jones Island and Paula went to check out the wildlife on Flower. Bernie and I saw a nice little eddyline doing it's thing about 100m off the island. I stared at it for a bit and thought it couldn't be much over 2 knots at its fiercest. I entered the eddyline and paddled hard all the way out to Chatham. Baynes was fairly serene in the middle of the channel, but the eddies over the shallow parts were pretty quick.



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I got to Vantreight Island and paddled quickly to not lose ground on the safe zone of Chatham. I was being drawn toward a sailboat exiting the channel between Strongtide and Vantreight islets. Luckily he was caught in the grip of currents as well, so i didn't have to yield and burn more energy getting my foothold again. Seeing Bernie had stayed at Jemmy, I meandered south along the current shadow and took a few photos of the sailboat. That's when I saw a really sweet eddy open up.



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I gauged the distance between me and the bigger boat and entered the eddy with a nice high-angle paddle stroke. I made a bearing of the Cadboro Point light and just zoomed down the eddy for a ways. The GPS said I made a peak speed of 14.3km/h and the GPS tool said i sustained 13km/h for about 500m! I think that's a first for my boat. It felt like warp speed. I realized I was probably going to overshoot Cadboro Point, so i began a ferry back to Jemmy Jones - up current. It was worth it though! What a great workout!



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I met up with Bernie somewhere between Jemmy and the point. He said something to the effect of, "Whew, I thought I was going to meed you at Telegraph Bay" Implying that I was going to slide down the current all the way out of Baynes. The current simply wasn't that strong, though I do love appearing insane. We paddled hard back up to Flower island - what a treadmill!



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Safe and sound back in the shadow of Caddy Bay, we paddled back to the beach and admired the lasers out for practice. We saw a pink dot on the beach and it grew into a Paula. She had entertained herself out by Flower Island and had an encounter with and angry animal that makes an orrt! orrt! noise. I could hear that damned sea lion from Chatham! The weather just wasn't breaking up, so we got the boats all squared away and got a much needed coffee.


Trip Distance: 8km



YTD: 152km



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Sunday, May 10, 2009 Leave a Comment 0 comments

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Today's mission was really a last minute choice between paddlefest and going out sailing. I had it in mind to paddle from maple bay to ladysmith, but the wind model was showing 15 knot headwinds just beyond the north tip of Saltspring Island. I called it yesterday and the paddlefest plans were scrapped. Instead it's sail today and some local kayaking on Sunday. I went down to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to meet up with John, the skipper, and a couple of others who came by to join in on the fun.



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I got introduced to the boat last week at a conference where I met up with John in the first place. It's a Thunderbird 26 in fiberglass by the name of Cool Breeze and she's a heck of a boat! She's rigged for racing control, with nearly every line led back to the cockpit and the stanchions removed to stop the foresail from getting bound up. One thing I immediately noticed is that the boat has a floating vinyl boatbath under it to keep all the sea goo off of the hull. Must be nice not having to bother with bottom painting.



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John had already rigged up a lot of the boat before we got there, so basically I sat back and watched as we left the marina. The wind was a fairly light northeasterly in Cadboro bay and we were able to put up the sails almost immediately. I basically held us head to wind as John ran into the cabin to set the main and jib halyards. The mast on this boat is keel stepped with a nylon compression block inside the cabin at just about waterline. The main sheet is run to a pulley block in the center of the cockpit instead of a traveler and the transom is covered by an enclosure for the outboard.



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We got out of Cadboro bay with almost no effort, the boat is very well behaved and sails gently even by the lee. The Turkey head race was on this morning and we could see the contestants coming around the Cadboro Point light. They were facing a 2 knot flood in Baynes by this point, but the finish line wasn't far off. A small power boat positioned just off cattle point was watching the race times. Our skipper decided to pay a visit to the finish line boat, Lobo, and I began to realize how connected the sailing community is around here. Everyone seems to know one another and the place is full of great stories. The finish line boat gave us a little checkered flag whistle just for kicks.



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The wind piped up a little and we took a nice close haul out into Baynes. The boat got a lot happier as we began hardening the jib and main. looking to either side, the water was fairly calm, but the boat was still getting some great power out of 4 or 5 knots of wind. She likes to sail with about 12-15 degrees of heel, but we got the stories of 35 degrees+ which is something I'd love to try!



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lo and behold, off our bow was a Cal 20 trying to make it through Baynes with almost no wind. It was Red Current with an older couple sitting in the cockpit. We passed her quickly and kept on a course out to the west point of Chatham/Vantreight Island. Baynes was pulling us north, so we crossed to Jemmy Jones and headed back into the bay. Off our beam was a small keelboat doing tacking techiques (to gain speed?) that looked like a bunch of mini capsizes. It was neat to watch and I have nothing but respect for people who can handle and maneuver those little boats with skill.



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We got down to the beach end of Cadboro bay and went out for another hot lap of the bay. The wind had died a bit and veered east, so the second outing was for housewatching. I had no idea how many of these houses were owned by locals! Uplands is one of those places that I'd rather not look at for long, though. All the homes, with their 60' sailboat outside, makes me wonder if I'm in the right industry ;).



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The current had also died a little in Baynes, so it came time to wrap up the day. We briefly met up with the race winner from earlier and her team were all smiles. I'm guessing they won it fair and square despite some much faster boats in the competition. The wind had veered even more toward the south and dealt out a few last puffs from the east. Once we got back to the marina, John quickly dropped all the sails and the day concluded with a little slice of heaven, sitting in the summer weather out on the RVYC grounds with a bit of food and drink. What a fun group, too! The 5 of us sat gabbing for a couple of hours about pretty much every topic under the sun.



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I had a great time out there and thanks again to John for helping to develop my sailing addiction further! All that positivity in the club makes me wonder if it's not a bad idea to join while I'm still in the lower age bracket.


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