I laid in my bunk listening to the cold fall wind blow. There were gale warnings just outside in the straits but it didn’t seem to be blowing more than 20 with some good gusts where we were.
We had already dragged anchor twice, not because of our boat, or poor anchoring technique but rather because other boats dragged across us pulling our anchor free. I was warm and comfy snuggled up with Chloe listening to the wind blow us round and round. There were 4 people on the boat, we had a diesel engine, diesel heating and a windlass. I love situations like this because it is a realty we all face, what would I do if I was alone, no engine, and in a tight anchorage with poor holding ground. The anchored boats were a mix, half had all chain, the other half short chain and rode, all in tight quarters where it was hard to lay more than a 3 to 1 scope.
The obvious solution would have been to anchor outside in deep water but all the fun and the parade of classic yachts sailing by was inside. Saturday night at 2:00 Am the wind shut off and every boat was awake just paying attention. Virtually every boat with rope and chain laid in a different spot than when we went to sleep.
The sail home was beautiful, I spent half of it curled up under the dodger, watching black clouds blow by, it was a perfect weekend. The trip to Port Townsend was a bit rushed due to everyone’s work schedules, we got a very late start at exactly 5:00 PM and motored through a dead calm anchoring just after dark. We slowly crept into Bowman bay just north of Deception Pass on one of the darkest nights I have ever seen Our only real obstacle was Coffin Rock, we entered with extreme caution and dropped the hook all alone in the middle of the calm bay. Friday brought a windless sunny day and again we motored all the way to Port Townsend.
The trip down took a total of seven hours, in my boat it would have been two to three days. Back home I cranked the electric heater in The` and it was good to be home living in my little ukulele. My thoughts turned to what sailing really means to me and what I want and need in not only my boat but my life. I loved sailing a beautiful new yacht with hot water, a flush toilet, oven, and all the fancy things like a windlass and roller furling but I had to ask myself is it worth the cost.
If I choose to upgrade to a Nor’ Sea 27 Bristol Channel Cutter 28 I can have every luxury available. The question is, do I want to always be motoring from port to port, rushing everywhere I go so I can get back in time for work to pay for my boat?
I’m in the fortunate position that I own my boat and while cash is always short I still live by my, if cant afford to pay cash I cant afford it. Its been a frustrating summer but for the first time ever I went back and read my entire blog. I’m right were I should be and when the day comes that I choose to sail on I know I will be free to voyage at my own pace. Its been 16 months of hard work and sacrifice to get where I am, I still think I have the perfect boat and the best cruising season is upon us.
I have reluctantly decided to temporarily find a small outboard motor to get me in and out of the harbor while I work on the Yuloh mount. Its funny that little piece of wood has become such a huge part of me it has come to represent so much more than just engine-less sailing, it represents freedom, it is a blanket statement sitting like a hood ornament, or a beautiful peace of jewelry on my bow. It also reminds me that I am no Larry Pardey and have much to learn over the coming fall and winter. I’m in the fortunate position that I am surrounded by sailors and good friends, its a beautiful little community, it doesnt matter where I am, or where they are, these people are my home.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”