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Day 4. Brutal. We only made it ~10 miles in 24 hours.
After spending the night in Rock Bay we set sail early in the morning, and tried working our way back up the straight. We ran into 30+ knts as soon as we rounded the corner and headed west. Ducked out of the wind in a nice little cove on the south side of West Thurlow Island.
An absolutely beautiful spot, but we hated being stationary. As peaceful as this video looks, it was absolutely ripping just around the corner.
We stayed in the cove for most of the day, had a small fire that evening. Drank some coffee and left around 8pm hoping the wind had quieted some. It had, but by 1am it was piping again. The gusts were unpredictable and well over 30Knts. We found some shelter behind Helmcken Island, and slept the night through there.
One interesting discovery while we were at anchor was the fact that one of the bolts that held the forward most beam to the deck had sheared, and the nut was floating around the starboard bunk. We replaced it with a spare, and went about our day… We would come back to that multiple times over the next 4 days…
As we woke up on day 5 the wind was still up in the high 20’s outside our protected anchorage, so we hung tight for a few hours.
We were anchored (tied) to a log raft which wasn’t the best place to be, but around 10am we were able to set sail and started to make some serious ground. We spent the morning “racing” a cruising boat that was alternating sailing and motor sailing. It was fun to see sails again, as we hadn’t seen another boat in 48 hours or so.
Throughout the afternoon we passed fishing boats, cruise ships, and log barges. By far the most heavily trafficked leg of our trip. As the afternoon wore on the wind kicked back up to 25 knts or so, and we were pacing a few of the small (~40ft) fishing boats that were headed in the same direction.
As we neared the end of Johnstone Straight and entered Queen Charlotte Sound, the waves started to build. The wind was steady, and we finally were finally making some real progress. It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon as we rounded Malcom island and started across the first real bit of semi open water that we’d seen in 3 days.
As the waves built and we started crashing into them again. Nico and Matt developed a pattern.
Nico would ask, “How’s the boat feel Matt?”
Matt would reply, “Fine – Look at that VMG!”
As it turns out the waves were a bit too big (and square) for our poor boat. Most waves were fine, but every 20th one we’d have a big crash that would bury the leeward hull and rattle the shit out of Josh, who was attempting to sleep through his off watch.
About 5 minutes after the last time Matt said, “look at that VMG,” we crashed into a particularly large wave. Simultaneously submarining the leeward hull entirely, ripping our sole remaining hatch cover off, and soaking Josh to the bone. We quickly ran a man (hatch) overboard drill and saved our luckily still floating hatch. Josh correctly and firmly pointed out that it was really stupid to be out in those waves and we bore off on a ripping beam reach over to the Polkinghorn Islands.
We dried out for an hour or so, had dinner and headed out again hoping for slightly calmer seas. A beautiful sunset, strikingly barren and rocky islands, and a small pod of humpbacks made it one of our most memorable evening sails of the trip.
We sailed into the night feeling happy to be alive, and lucky enough to be sailing one of the most beautiful stretches of coast we’d ever seen.
We made some decent miles through the night and the morning greeted us with good wind (16-18knts) and moderate chop.
As the sun rose higher, the seas built up to 6-8 feet again. Around 11am Nico noticed some flex in the forward starboard hull. He went forward to check it out. He came out white faced and said. “There’s a hole in the deck. Time to go in.” We made a beeline, yet again, to the closest decent looking duck out spot.
After over an hour working to find an anchorage that was doable with our limited ground tackle, we finally were anchored and had a chance to really inspect the damage to the hull.
After spending a good chunk of the day working on the boat we moved anchored to a slightly less precarious spot. Josh took one for the team and sacrificed his body to keep us off a particularly poorly placed rock. In doing so he also fell in the water and soaked yet another dry set of gear… This helped us make the decision to take a 2 hour nap, dry out clothes, and pound some food before heading back out.
As the sun was setting we set off into the night, and back into the swell. Over the next 8 hours we made only two tacks, going 12 miles out into the ocean, before turning north and aiming for Culvert Island. We were feeling pretty apprehensive as every crash through a wave felt like it might be breaking our new bodged fix in half. However, we made some good ground, and everyone got a few hours of rest throughout the night.