Lower Hood Canal to Bellingham and back

Albin Sightings! Where did you go, who did you meet?

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WillieC
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Home Port: Hood Canal, WA

Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:11 pm

The Route
Bellingham trip.JPG
Home is at the bottom
Pleasant Harbor is the first squiggle to the left.
Port Ludlow is the next squiggle near the top of Hood Canal.
Camano Island is to the east of Whidbey.
Penn Cove is the indent in the middle of Whidbey, below and to the west of Oak Harbor
The Swinomish is actually a canal, not merely a blue line off in the dirt by Mt. Vernon.

Monday, July 24, 2017
The plan was to go as far as we felt comfortable with both the recently rebuilt engine and our own capabilities. Ultimately we wanted to reach Bellingham to attend a celebration of life gathering for a dear friend. This would be our first trip longer than a couple hours from our hook in the Canal, due to the previous failing engine. How we ever made the trip down from Bellingham when we first bought the A25, I'll never know. You can read all about the rebuild in another post in the A25 section.

First leg: Home in lower Hood Canal near Belfair State Park to Pleasant Harbor Marina. This is about a five hour trip at 6kt average and we left on a stunning morning around 10 am. Traveling the lower end of the Canal, which is actually a fjord created by one of the ice ages, is a real treat even to me, having been acquainted with the area for some 45 years. Lots of beachfront cabins and gated mansions, endless oyster beds, forests with interspersed clearcuts, high class resorts like Alderbrook Inn, and other more colorful hideaways. Depths range from wading pool at Belfair to over 600' around the Great Bend up closer to the Bangor SubBase. Popular shrimping holes near Hoodsport produce results around 300-350 feet. The lower Canal where we live is very popular with the locals for early morning waterskiing as the water in the dead of summer is very often glassy if you are the first one out.
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Rounding the Great Bend near Ayres Point, AKA Bald Point, gives a magnificent view of the Olympic Mountains to the west. Putting along at 6 knots you will see lots of crab pots and get to watch the tribal fisheries in action. And plenty of sport anglers as well.
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The world at 6 knots is amazing to us. We like that pace. We sneak up on otters and seals (at least we think we do), fish jump out of the water, eagles drop in and come away with lunch chased by the gulls and crows. Heron stalk the shallows and rarely miss a bite. In the spring the killdeer convene in our little cove by the dozens then pair off later to be seen with their young, forever doing the broken wing act to draw predators like us away from their charges. We motor on past Dewatto, Lilliwaup, and Holly. We have a book on local place names. We have plenty of time to read the articles aloud to each other.

As we approach Pleasant Harbor, we notice a Coast Guard vessel and soon a CG helicopter off towards Dabob Bay. Then a pan-pan that a white boat may be adrift with one person in the water. We are in sight but of little use, at least 45 minutes away. By the time we reach the turn to Pleasant Harbor we hear on Channel 16 that it was a false alert. With a lot of resources consumed.

Five hours and about 29 NM for our first day we tie up at the guest dock around 3pm and kick back for the afternoon. Dkirsop gave me the idea for an over-the side zinc to use especially at marinas to ward off the evil ju-ju of stray electrons. I read 30mv on my meter, about the same as on the hook at home. Don't have the right meter for measuring current. Since this is an extended shakedown cruise, we pull the engine cover and check all systems either at the end of the day or before leaving the next day. 1700 rpm for five hours and nothing out of the ordinary. Being a bit of a skeptic myself, every time I open the cover I expect to see oil all over the place and shreds of fan belts and pieces of impellers embedded in the cover insulation, all sheened over with fresh antifreeze. Like we used to see with the original MD3B. I thought that was normal. Not anymore. Small fuel leak at the lift pump diaphragm, impossible to tighten the screws without removal so it can wait. A tiny bit of Delo in the engine pan from the same vicinity. Can't tell if it is residual from previous overfilling, or exactly what it is. Will keep wiping and watching. But nothing major. Off to the hot tub that I have to myself. Not bad.
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Off to Port Ludlow at 10am. Added the first five gallons of fuel from the yellow jug. After trying to pour fuel from the incredibly over-regulated, spring-loaded, idiot-proofed, commie-inspired, fake-news fuel spout for the first couple years of boat ownership, I have since switched to the shaker siphon method. What a no-duh experience! Remember, this is our first boat and we are new to ALL things boaty. Ran across the shaker siphon in Carolyn Shearlock's blog and thought, huh, I'll have to try that! Only after chasing one down in the local Fred Meyer's, no less, I found one stuffed away on the boat! Go ahead and laugh, at least we are learning.

Another glorious day on the water. We are in the series of over forty days of no rain. For Western Washington, this is as good as it gets. Summer usually doesn't start till after the Fourth and Memorial Day is almost always drenched in winter monsoons. Not this year. We cruise past the Bangor Submarine base keeping well to the western shore on a falling tide and gentle following breeze. 8.1 kts at 1700 rpm! Smoking!
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The Hood Canal floating bridge is our next milestone. Used to be a ferry between Lofall and South Pass. When the 120 mph gusts took out the western half of the bridge in 1979, the ferry was pressed back into service. See this link for more info. http://www.historylink.org/File/5501
Fortunately, the winds are somewhat more our speed during our passage. We make it to Port Ludlow, having made arrangements by cell phone and tie up before 2pm. Hook up the anti-matter flux-capacitor magic zinc over the side and read 44mv. Hmm.
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Port Ludlow was the site of the first part of the PNW AOG group we missed a couple weeks ago. The dock hands, great guys, recognized our boat and mentioned the gathering. We WILL make it to one of the events. Don't count us out. The area is growing in popularity, at least in advertising, for retirees with a planned community development aimed at all us boomers. Every week in the local daily there are ads for the fine new homes and condos being built with us geezers in mind. It does have a certain appeal, but it IS across the Bridge which does close to traffic when the winds are over 40 or during routine maintenance, guess when, in the summer. And the houses? Don't plan on downsizing unless you are Bill and Melinda Gates. And keep the lawn guy on retainer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
After a decent night's sleep we wake to the rumble of the fishing fleet, mostly divers, heading out...in the fog! Not in The Plan. We check the weather reports and run across a Small Craft Advisory starting at 5pm extending for 24 hours for the area we are hoping to traverse. Decisions, decisions. Where can we reasonably make before 5pm? The course we plan to take is across the Admiralty Inlet and the shipping lanes, southward around the end of Whidbey Island and up the east side in the Saratoga Passage. The fog is not helping and we have no radar. Channel 16 is urging all who dare to check in with Seattle Traffic on Channel 14 before attempting to cross the lanes. What is this!? Fog? In July?

After waiting for the fog to lift, we think we see the mist rising so we venture out of the marina around 715. We have miles to go before we sleep. This we soon learn is a foolish thing to do as the fog gets thicker, not thinner. A couple larger boats roar past and I am not about to go any farther under these conditions. Tala Point lies at the mouth of the entry into Port Ludlow and there is an ATON there marking shallow water to the south of it. We aim the boat at it on the gps and anchor on the inland side of it in one hella current and plan on waiting out the fog. This takes a couple stabs as the current is whipping us around in the fog and the gps is telling us the ATON is on the port side and my brain says it should be to starboard. Sure enough, the gps is correct and the marker looms out of the fog less than fifty yards to port. I think we are reasonably safe hugging the shore behind the marker so I toss the anchor into the kelp marked on the charts. A little drifting is ok with me as long as we keep the marker in sight and don't drift into it.
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We hear, but don't see, a few boats venturing out, either down the Canal or across Foulweather into the Admiralty Inlet. Not us. One hour passes. Two hours and we can make out the end of Tala Point. Nope, the fog settles back in just as the sun starts to break through. Is the sun making more fog? How about a little breeze to clear the air? I work on the Sunday NYT crossword and walk around the boat and peer into the fog and wonder about the SCA and completely forget that we had bail out points in our journey. I am bound for Bellingham and there is no turning back. How many books have been written on this very theme and how many souls lost to the sea, and I am just one more fishes fodder in the grand scheme. I just want to play on my boat!
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Three hours, it is 1030 and we can see enough to hazard a go. I stand watch on the bow and the Starfleet Commander eases our way across the Canal to Foulweather. I swear she is headed back down the Canal and she swears right back at me. Life is good. How about Foulmouth bluff? She is the Starfleet Commander for a very good reason, but she is also new at this and we need to work on our communication styles. Note the editorial “we”.

Channel 16 is repeating the heavy fog warning across the Admiralty Inlet and directing boaters to Seattle Traffic. We stay to the western shore headed to Point No Point as we have pretty good visibility. To the north, there is no problem. To the south we see the heavy fog bank obscuring the Kingston-Edmonds ferry, which should be well in sight from where we are. We check the AIS on the cell phone app we recently downloaded and see no ship traffic whatsoever in our area and none approaching. Useless Bay and Double Bluff across the Admiralty loom out of the fog. Finally when we can see Possession Point on the end of Whidbey we decide to make a run for it. Plenty of miles of visibility both north and south and I calm down enough to carry on. Three hours behind schedule.

The falling tide impeded our progress to 3.4 kts so I cranked her up to 2100 or so and maybe squeezed another knot out of her. Not the way I prefer to cross the shipping lanes. It was close to an hour and a half before we made the outer mark of the lane on the eastern side, though we were not crossing at right angles. With nothing on AIS, that seemed acceptable.

So where do we aim? Langley? Too close. Penn Cove? Too exposed to forecast westerlies. Oak Harbor? Maybe, but still pretty exposed. The goal is LaConner well protected and a great place to hole up as the SCA extends for a full 24 hours. We'll try for LaConner and bail at Oak Harbor if we have to.

We approach the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry at scheduled departure on the half-hour. The ferry sits. We can't see much action as we are headed almost straight to the ferry landing. Are they still loading? Did the Captain get locked in the can? Ten minutes after scheduled departure we have slowed considerably and finally the stacks on the ferry start blowing black. She's off and so are we.

Up the Saratoga passage, the winds start to pick up out of the northwest. I envy the “planers” I'll call them who will be sipping margaritas in LaConner while I pick my way through their wakes and the building winds, dodging crab pots and foolhardy kayakers and day-sailers out of Camano Island to the east. Approaching the north end of Camano, the fetch from Penn Cove on Whidbey really picks up the waves which are now 90 degrees to our intended course. I head slightly into them heading for Crescent Harbor but my goal is still LaConner. Hugging Poinell Point on Whidbey, I turn east with some substantial seas at my stern. I am learning how to ride these things with an active rudder. I find that if I let the boat rock and roll, it will do just that, but with help from the rudder, you can control the pitch and keep the boat reasonably level as the waves pass under. It becomes almost a dance. As you feel the starboard rise, you crank the wheel to the right, but not too much as you will need to go hard left as the wave passes and tries to pitch the boat the other way. I can feel the wave pass under the hull, against the rudder, through the steering cable, through the wheel and finally into my hands. I feel the pulse of the prop on the rudder and I get into the rhythm of it all and I actually enjoy this simple motion of machine and sea. Just pay attention because you can get sideways in a heartbeat. I knew once we rounded east point of Whidbey we would be in the lee and things would calm down immensely. Just make the point. We are getting late in the day, maybe 4:30 or so and we have to make the Swinomish Channel.

The winds died dramatically once we rounded Whidbey and we high-fived each other and bragged how home-free we were! SCA be damned! We made it!

Lesson 389: You aren't docked until you until you tie her off.

We had a ways to go up Skagit Bay to reach the Swinomish and we aren't exactly time travelers in the A25. Farther up, on the tippy north end of Whidbey is Deception Pass with its own section in the Tides and Currents book, for a good reason. The Swinomish is a man-made cut that avoids all that and takes you up into Padilla Bay east of Anacortes and is a piece of cake, though with its own challenges. Motoring north through the lee, in which we were so happy to hang, dissolved as the winds rounded the island from the north through Deception Pass. This is somewhat shallow along here and one needs to pay attention to the ATONS to keep you out of Skagit Bay. And now white spray is coming over the bow with not a lot of room to move to ease it. Counting down the markers to the entrance to the channel the wind keeps building and now the spray is over the roof. One swell spews spray into the gap between BC hardtop we have and the original Albin roof. I was going to caulk that, but not just yet as I plan on removing the top this winter for some repair and repaint. I shoulda caulked it. The boat is pounding and water is dripping on the helm where we have the computer using SeaClear to make out the ATONS and the daughter of the Merchant Mariner is doing her best imitation of her dad's boaty colloquialisms with me at the helm trying to time the hard right turn into the channel without swamping.

This portion of the trip is basically a reverse of the trip we made with the Previous Owner who graciously helped us move the boat from Bellingham to Port Orchard, near Bremerton, when we bought the boat some three and a half years ago. I recall those idyllic November days with a faint nostalgia of calm seas, windless fall days and no traffic over Thanksgiving weekend. Ah...boating...how peaceful...

I remember being at the helm lo those fond days years ago and I strayed into Skagit Bay too early and saw the sounder at three feet and asked the PO if that was problematic. Yes it was, but what a simple problem to solve. Just get back between the markers and life will be good. Ahhhh...boating....

Now I found myself just trying to keep the boat from taking on water over the very substantial A25 gunwales. Making the turn was everything and I was back to surfing the waves while the Starfleet Commander regained her normal composure. Just stay between the channel markers and we will be joining the planers for margaritas before you know it.

The currents in the Swinomish are another fascinating topic but we made the guest dock at LaConner with no more issues. The SC made a perfect approach and our new best friends lining the pier took our lines and made them fast. Time: 630pm. We were out of the wind and hungry. Our planned 8 hour jaunt took 11 hours and the most challenging water yet. Ahhh....boating... It can only get better from here on out.
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Found a great pub and food and Manny's Pale Ale on tap. Who needs margaritas anyway? If only we could get the room to quit swaying.

We holed up all day Thursday in LaConner to do boat chores, adding another 5 gallons of fuel, walking the waterfront and pondering our boating future. Noted 100mv on the magic zinc! Engine is looking good with the same non-issues and nary a hickup in the rough water. This is very good news to me, the Chief Engineer and bottle washer. The SC trusts me explicitly but I keep reminding her this is her boat, this WillieC, named after her grandfather whose modest bequest allowed us to get into boating in the first place. She reminisced that he would have loved this old boat and all the sweat we have poured into her. She remembers that he actually built a boat back in the day and was forever tinkering on engines and things mechanical. Her childhood memories of his basement, the whiff of grease and paints and oils and solvents is very like my shop, my dad's shop, where I spend most of my time in my dotage doing things mechanical and boaty. I love this life and am grateful for the long and twisting path that brought us here, with all of its pain and wonder. Thank you, thank you, thank You!

Talking to our new best friends on the guest pier in LaConner, we find that the railroad bridge at the north end of the Channel is under repair and periodically closes to water traffic. Reminder to self: Check the Local Notice to Mariners BEFORE plotting a course. Fortunately, the closures are indeed periodic and will fit our schedule nicely.

Friday, July 28, 2017
The leg from LaConner to Bellingham should be about 3:45 hours. Wanting to spend time with son number two there and catching up with ancient friends from college days we head out of LaConner at 611 am. A three hour cruise...ish.

Weather check: no fog in Anacortes, light winds in Padilla Bay, heavier as one approaches Bellingham. Rising current from the north in the Channel, broken clouds overhead. Let's move.

“No Wake” appears to be more a matter of discussion, a wide variety of differing opinions, for which there is apparently no absolute definition. Is that to be observed only if someone is standing on the shore with a gun aimed over one's bow? Is it ok if the spray from your waves only reaches halfway up the riprap on the shore? Maybe a little could shoot over the top of the rocks, just not very often? If it is early and nobody notices perhaps they should post applicable times, much like school zones on the land? Just wondering.

The aforementioned railroad bridge is normally open and closes only for train traffic. It was closed when we approached as a freight train was passing from west to east over the bridge. A couple of smaller boats passed under the bridge and I gauged their relative clearance and figured we'd be fine.
The chart notes 5 feet of clearance! A slight bell went off in my head as I tried to remember how these overhead clearances are noted. Something about high tide, worst case situation etc. but 5 feet! Oh well, looks like lots of room.

SCHWANNGG!!!

Oh, yeah, the antenna. The SC was amazed at my calm, which I don't get, I'm calmer than you, dude. Nothing's effed here, dude. The quick release toothed gizmo at the base of the antenna apparently worked as designed or I got lucky as the antenna deftly fell to the starboard deck and landed atop the fenders calmly awaiting its arrival as if planned well in advance by savvy boaters. Ha! Nothing even broke, no stripped teeth, no snapped fiberglass, just a small tear in the black tape I wrapped around the antenna when I got tired of getting fiberglass slivers every time I looked at the starboard side of the deck. It looks like it whacked about four inches from the top of the antenna, or maybe four inches above the light mast. Hard to tell and I don't ask any more questions. But neither will I forget.
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On into Bellingham with a 16 kt wind out of Samish Bay to the east. More surfing as the wind got behind us the closer to Squalicum Harbor we got. So glad we made a short, early day of it as I have lots of life and memories wrapped up in Bellingham, not the least of which are number two son and number two grandson.
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And a Celebration of Life service to make on Saturday. Breathe it in, old man.
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I will add the return trip to this post later. Hint: As the Starfleet Commander tells everybody, nobody died and we are still married.
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amber jj
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Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:07 pm

Great descriptive story. It makes you feel like we were on board with you.Bob

Nancy
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Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:11 pm

Enjoyed reading this. Thanks for posting, and enjoy your time with your family.
Nancy
1995 Albin 28TE
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DesertAlbin736
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:59 am

Rick, you have a real gift for creative writing. Reading your 'log' gives one the feeling like of being right there in the cockpit with you. May I suggest adding a radar reflector to your shopping list? Makes me miss Bellingham. Also, more I think about upgrading to a better VHF the more I might want to splurge for one that has built in AIS receiver. One thing we never had to deal with up there was getting caught out in fog. How did we ever get along without GPS? A25 'rolls on wet grass' in a beam sea as it were, doesn't it ?

So, are you up for Desolation Sound next year?
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

WillieC
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:18 pm

(I am. Don't tell the Starfleet Commander just yet. She's paying for all my gallivanting around. Hoping for her to cut back her responsibilities by then. Not a word!)

WillieC
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:42 pm

DA, thinking about starting a new thread revealing ALL my ignorance, but holding back out of sheer pride....

Topic? How Do You Drive These Boats?

Calm seas, windless days, one hour cruise to Alderbrook for Happy Hour...my grandkids can and have done this.

Out in the current of a narrowing channel with rapidly shallowing draft at max tidal flow with a 16kt wind from any direction...so much for a trip to Alderbrook!

When does a following sea that you are having a hella good time with overwhelm the boat and now you've got issues? When do you stop being clever and a bit foolhardy and become a statistic? I know the boat is way more capable than I am, but we all need to get along.

My course to destination is at exact right angles to that 16kt wind, with a SCA starting in two hours and there is a long fetch feeding that wind. Alter course slightly into that wind and risk 25kt cross blow because I can only make 4kt SOG.? Buy another engine and install it NOW? Never own a full displacement boat again?

Making the turn into the south end of the Swinomish we took on white water over the roof. (I hear you experienced geezers laughing, but this was no joke to the SC and a bit unnerving to myself.) The whole transition where it got hairy was only a couple minutes and we were in the channel with the wind at our back. We had plenty of practice at that so that felt like vacation by then. Now, add a couple hours and darkness and any number of other factors and up goes the anxiety level. I get the Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Predicaments thing. Think ahead. Plan for ways out and alternative exits. Got it. But nothing happens until it happens...then what?

And way too many more questions. Nobody talks about their failures too much, so I don't really plan on starting that thread. Just watched a series of bar crossings in NZ on the youtube. Scary stuff there. Looking back we will laugh at ourselves like I am sure some of y'all out there may be doing now. But we want to learn and we are undaunted by these "incidences".

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DesertAlbin736
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:14 pm

When does a following sea that you are having a hella good time with overwhelm the boat and now you've got issues? When do you stop being clever and a bit foolhardy and become a statistic? I know the boat is way more capable than I am, but we all need to get along.
Ha, talk about pucker factor, you should have been with us when we lost our old dinghy off Nelson Island on the Sunshine Coast, 6 miles out of Pender Harbour en route to Lund! Hmmm, let's see adrift off a lee shore in 3 foot seas building to 4 footers. Not gently rolling ocean swells mind you, but steep wind waves, drifting toward a big rock less than a football field length away, prop fouled by dinghy painter, dinghy capsized & jammed up under the stern, doing who knows what to the prop & rudder. On the radio to Canadian Coast Guard declaring a PAN, PAN emergency. Canadian Coast Guard saying sorry guy, no Coast Guard assets near, eh! Big 46 foot motorsailer hears our call, comes by to give us tow, but seas too rough to get close enough to toss a line. So he does a go-around, trails 200 feet of floating poly stern tie line astern, does a sweep past, while I, up on the forward deck, grabs it with a boat hook. But it snags something under the boat, so I can barely get a half turn around our sampson post bow cleat before it snatches up tight, but also it's over the cross bar of our bow rail, so it's chafing away, rubbing as we go, head-on into building 4 foot seas, being towed faster than we can normally go under our own power. Me with my inflatable PFD with D ring harness shackles on, tethered to the forestay chainplate that we have for the sailing rig, riding atop the cabin roof like a bucking bronco while the Admiral steers, waves breaking over the bow, me getting soaking wet. Now that's what I call fun!


Click the photo to see it right side up. Wavy breadcrumb track is before getting towed, straight line is us under tow.
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Click photo to zoom in & look closely at the rudder in this pic, you can see the scrape marks in the paint left on the rudder by the old dinghy.
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Last edited by DesertAlbin736 on Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

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DesertAlbin736
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:05 pm

My course to destination is at exact right angles to that 16kt wind, with a SCA starting in two hours and there is a long fetch feeding that wind. Alter course slightly into that wind and risk 25kt cross blow because I can only make 4kt SOG.? Buy another engine and install it NOW? Never own a full displacement boat again?
Best you can do in heavy beam seas is set a course quartering the waves & do long tacks/gibes like a sailboat.

It helps to think of the principles of form stability designed into the Albin 25, as written about in the original owner manuals, which I'm sure you've read before, and if you don't have a copy there's one published online here. The plain fact is, with a round hull that depends on hull form for stability, these boats have a nasty tendency to snap roll "on wet grass" in certain conditions. But they are not likely to be 'knocked down', according to the design notes are practically "uncapsizable" and that adding ballast down low is not necessary, and in fact is counterproductive. If anything, having a lighter engine helps things. Which is small comfort to those hanging on for dear life, and/or puking their guts out from being seasick.

http://www.jonesboatyard.co.uk/document ... Manual.pdf

Some of our mods have put some weight up high, which supposedly helps dampen roll rate, like for example our hard top & hatches add around 60 to 70 lbs or so to the wheelhouse roof, and having the new dinghy, which itself weighs a bit over 70 lbs plus another 20 or 30 lbs for the flotation fenders, carried up above deck level. How much that helps dampen the actual roll rate I'm not sure.

But there were times, like crossing Chesapeake Bay, when we rocked and rolled enough for our little ship's bell to ring. It helps to have a crew not prone to seasickness.

Like this:
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baycrossing screen shot2.jpg
Small round hulled WWII era British Royal Navy anti-submarine convoy escort ships known as 'corvettes', like this one, were also notorious for being very rough riding for the same reasons.
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YouTube video about British Corvettes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNcdq9QXLoE
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Last edited by DesertAlbin736 on Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

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DesertAlbin736
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:14 pm

PS, how about running the notorious Dodd Narrows, Vancouver Island south of Nanaimo?
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La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

WillieC
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:45 pm

DA. Yes, I have thought of your ordeal often. My take-away is that it doesn't take much for a lot of things to go wrong almost simultaneously. One cannot take things for granted. That was my concern when the anchor lifted out of the cradle and started banging against the hull in those 6 foot wind waves. Now if the anchor lifted out of the cradle on a calm Canal day like today, say gravity takes a brief hiatus on earth for just a few minutes, I'd crack another beer, think about it for a while and mosey on out to the bow and take a lookee-here and see what all the fuss is about. Never happens like that. Maybe the lion's share of smart boating is a healthy, practical acknowledgment of Murphy's Law and honest assessment of doomsday scenarios. Nothing comes at you one-at-a-time. You don't get to pull over to the curb if your prop fouls in the anchor rode that just launched off the bow and you are headed to the rocks. Even on a sunny day in the Sound.

I was way ahead of you on the dinghy thing. (I even had the drop on dkirsop who towed his dink on his recently described voyage.) I decided early to not tow our inflatable Avon, so we hauled it to the BC hardtop, placed it on two swim noodles, extra large, mind you, and lashed it down with a quarter inch line. I even resnugged it when it deflated overnight and then loosened it when it bloated back up in the sunshine. What a smart boy was I. Then, (when?) during the anchor fiasco I glanced out the Lewmar hatch in the lid and did not see the dinghy! The swim noodles, if you spend a lot of time in your backyard swimming pool, sipping Coronas and lime you will know this, are mostly round in cross section. Nice on the human torso for the intended purpose. Think "roller" when used as BC hardtop paint protector. "Roller" in 6 foot wind waves with a single line tied across and parallel to the noodles. What, Mr. Murphy, could possibly go wrong in this sich-ee-a-shun?

The "gentle" rocking of the boat and one lousy line holding the dink down to its rollers (you observant readers may recall my repair and repaint of the BC hardtop a couple summers ago, which is why I was so concerned about preserving the finish) allowed the dink to slide aft to the point of one of the rollers nearly rolling off the back of the roof. Which loosened the line even more at what one could call a critical juncture. Meanwhile the anchor is banging away at the hull and the SC is sure it will blow a hole and drain the major portion Puget Sound into the bilge. Not. Optimal. Fortunately, the aft roller got sideways and managed to stay jammed partly under the dink and the single line did not let go. Otherwise we would have had another major confluence of inconvenient truths to deal with. My mind couldn't even go there. But, again, nobody died and we are still married. The dink now gets three tie-off points and I am re-thinking the swim noodles.

WillieC
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:55 pm

DA, I do have and have read the Handbook, often, and came to the conclusion that the boat as designed is a whole lot smarter and safer than its current skipper. And I have also read that a certain amount of weight up high does dampen the tippy tendency. Maybe the BC hardtop is a good thing as it is not light. Fortunately, neither of us got seasick on this trip. (We were recently in Monterey and did a whale watching trip. One of us prepped the night before and the morning of with various pills and potions, even rented the James Coburn "In Like Flint" handy-dandy wrist anti-seasick electroshock therapy device. The other of us was too tough to care and did nothing in the way of prevention. Guess which one got green around the gills? And guess who's who? Enough on that topic.)

I think I can see some real value in traveling with another A25 for an extended period. This may be how I can broach the Desolation Sound topic with the SC. Thanks for the insight!

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DesertAlbin736
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Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:24 pm

One of the things about seasickness is odor. Like on deep sea fishing charters, choppy seas + fish smell + diesel exhaust + seasick lubbers puking = more seasick lubbers = more puking etc, etc. Since I lost my sense of smell from a near fatal fall off a ladder and resulting MTBI 4 years ago, I don't have that sensitivity to odors.

As for Desolation Sound, it seems your main issue is available free time. We need to figure a viable workaround for that, likely involving trailering to some degree.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

WillieC
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Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:55 am

When your dear wife mentioned that you didn't smell too good, I thought that was TMI. Turns out it was mTBI!

(Sorry, Steve, couldn't pass that one up.)

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