Day 5: Johnstone Straight to Queen Charlotte Sound

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.

Screen Recording 2015-10-04 at 09.50 PM


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.

Screen Recording 2015-10-04 at 10.07 PM

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.

Continue to day 6 >

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Nico Colomb

Born and raised in Northern California, living in Oakland, working at Berkeley Marine Center. Has worked in sailing as an instructor, charter captain, delivery captain, and boat builder. Most recent big race was the 2014 Pac Cup.

Last week he murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. He's so mean, he makes medicine sick.

Matt Sornson

Born in Michigan, living in Oakland, working in tech, sailing in San Francisco Bay. 1st in class 2013 Everglades Challenge on a Hobie 16.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead, some come from behind. But i've bought a big boat. I'm ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.

Josh Lehman

Hailing from Oakland, Josh championed the UC Santa Cruz open water rowing team, where he took 1st place in the 5th National Open Water
Rowing Championships (Aero class).

wrassled with an alligator, tussled with a whale, done handcuffed lightning to throw thunder in jail.