(Note: I wrote this post on the day the events occurred, but posted this after the trip, so the dates may be a bit messed up. This post is from the seventh day of the trip, Wednesday.)
We left Smuggler's Cove this morning and headed into the teeth of a big storm. We motored for a while in 2-4 foot seas with 15-20 knot winds and rain coming exactly from the direction we needed to go. It was actually a good day to learn how to handle a boat in heavy weather. It was getting pretty tough with the boat pounding, but I admit I enjoyed it. For a while, the portholes on the low side of the boat (sailboats heel or lean in heavy wind) were under the water (click here for video of pounding seas and green water going past the porthole, 687K .wmv). It can get a little dangerous below in seas like this. I was laying down for a while trying to get a little nap when Mike and Dan tacked the boat (changed directions). Suddenly, stuff started flying across the boat - binders, books, Mike's iPod, jackets, etc. All of this stuff had settled someplace on the last tack, but now that the boat was heeling the other way, it all came shooting out again. Good times.
We hove to for a while so we could cook and eat (heaving to is a cool sailing trick where you almost stop the boat by balancing the sails and steering). It was actually a bit amazing to see the stove swinging around and the pot of hot soup not sliding around. (Stoves on sailboats are gimballed, allowing them to swing to match the heel of the boat so the pots don't slide off). After lunch, we sailed into the storm. Cap't Dan coached us on heavy weather sailing and tacking single handed.
After a bit, we motored the rest of the way into Vancouver, coming under the Lion's Gate Bridge. We're tied up now at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Coal Harbor outstation, on the edge of Stanley Park. We just had a good dinner in the cafe here on the docks. It's nice to have someone else cook for a change.
Michael took off back to Seattle, and we were joined by Brad, a new sailor who will be riding with Papa back to Seattle. I'm staying on board tonight and will hang out on the boat tomorrow for a while before they leave for the San Juan Islands. Michelle and the kids will be joining me here in Vancouver for the weekend.
It's been a great trip - relaxing and fun. It was kind of a gamble getting on a boat with two strangers, but it turned out fantastic. Mike and Dan were easy to get along with and good shipmates, and Papa was a great boat. I highly recommend Dan and SailPapa.com for any chartering.
I'm super glad I did it.