Day 3: Seymour Narrows

We got off to a slightly late start on day 3. Nico went back up the mast to play with halyards, Matt sewed our ripped jib with some duck tape and twine, and Josh made sure we had a few thousand calories each before we pulled anchor.

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The wind was somewhat down, so we set a course for Discovery Passage and just went for it.

We held 10-14 knts for the next 8 hours or so and made fantastic ground across the straight to Discovery passage. We entered the passage with the ebb tide and had the current helping to sweep us down the Discovery, towards Seymour Narrows.

We arrived at the entrance to Seymour around 3PM. The ebb had just hit it’s peak and the wind was up to a steady 18. We had been thinking about Seymour Narrows for months, this was reported to be one of the most challenging parts of the journey. We decided stopping was slow. Threw a second reef in the main, and sent it.

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Around this point, we ran into our friends from the previous night, Golden Oldies. They’d had an issue with their main halyard (we empathized) and had to turn back to attempt to fix it. They waved us through and cheered us on as we lined up to make the plunge.

We charged into the Narrows with adrenaline pumping. Nico calling tactics, Matt at the helm, and Josh handling the sails. We flew through, blasting across whirlpools, short tacking, and avoiding the wicked looking eddies along the rocky shore. We made it threw pretty quickly and we were into Johnstone Straight.

The ebb tide was flowing against the wind, which was up to 25-30 knts, and the chop had built to 5-6ft square waves. The boat was getting battered, and we learned something fun about our rig. Our diamond wire configuration was not designed for a double reefed modern flat topped mainsail. The diamond leeward diamond wires were going fully slack at the top of the wave as the main filled up suddenly. Watching the mast make S shaped had us properly freaked out, so we dropped the main and sailed on jib alone. We fought our way through the waves and got thoroughly wet.  We lost a leeward hatch cover on a particularly big wave, but didn’t notice until some time later. By the time we were looking for it, it had disappeared or sunk.

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We eventually found a nice place to hide out for a few hours. There was a 30ft cruising boat sharing the cove with us, but they were a good mile or so away. We ate, built a new hatch cover out of plywood, and waited for the wind and waves to settle a little bit.

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We left our cove around 9 pm and made some good progress up the channel. Once we turned the corner south of East Thurlow Island however, the wind was up to 30+ and our mast stared to make the scary S shapes again. We spun back and found shelter in Rock Bay. We slept the night through there.

Continue to day 4 >
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