25 days of thrills sailing rugged west coast
Offshore sailing is very different from the island-hopping and day sailing we may do on English Bay or through the Gulf Islands.
Instead of lying at anchor in a protected bay in the evenings, we sail the boat non-stop in any conditions. Hiding in a cove or harbour is not an option; instead the crew and boat have to deal with anything Mother Nature may throw at them.
The fog subsided as we headed away from the shore. Far off the coast, the deep blue sea of the Pacific Ocean stretched as far as the eye could see. Strong winds pushed It’s Magic purposefully through the white-crested waves.
The wind never abated and the waves reached a formidable height of three metres or more, some big enough to crash through the cockpit, drenching the crew in a cold shower of sea water.
On the second day offshore, dolphins approached us and playfully cut through our bow wave, zooming under the boat and appearing just under the surface on the other side. What a spectacle — all our hardship from the last night was forgotten and everybody had a big smile on their face.
Full story here....
We just came back from a fabulous five day cruise & learn course to the Gulf Islands, BC.
Neptune meant well and the sun was shining all week.Crossing the Strait of Georgia was a great opportunity to apply the theory learnt during the navigation classes: Taking fixes, plotting positions and estimating our arrival time at Porlier Pass. It certainly is different to take those compass readings from a boat that is heeled over and bouncing through waves compared to the class room exercises.
The first night saw us anchoring in Clam Bay, just off that beautiful white beach on Kuper Island - Celeste was the only boat around. After R&R and a few ‘appies’ we discussed the boat systems and then enjoyed a BBQ.
The next day we practiced different maneuvers in Trincomali Channel. As usual, there was a nice breeze, perfect for sail training. On our way to Ganges on Saltspring Island, we got into a friendly race with another sailboat. They were no match for our crew though and eventually gave up.
The third day we focused on crew overboard (COB) practice. Our ‘dummy’ Charly braved the cold waters and surely was happy when we were through with these exercises. Heading for Wallace Island, a nice breeze blew gently over our stern - perfect conditions to hoist the spinnaker and practice gybes.
The brightest anchor light: It's magical!
After a long day on the water we anchored in Princess Cove under a clear, starlight sky.
Grischuna (named after a Swiss Canton) - After 15 years of being moored at the Maritime Museum - she left her berth for the last time on a voyage to explore the world.
The next morning we headed for Porlier Pass and anchored at Dionisio Point for dinner. We waited almost until sunset, before starting to cross the Strait of Georgia. It was a spectacular night - just a day short of full moon, no clouds and a nice breeze to carry us towards Bowen Island where we arrived around 1 am.
Although not in the curriculum, this was a great opportunity to experience night sailing. We introduced this into our sailing classes for the first time this year and students just love it. Watching the sunset under sail, seeing the moon slowly rising over the horizon and looking gazing up at the stars are some of the most beautiful moments on a sailboat.
The last day we practiced docking, went through one more navigation exercise and sailed back to Vancouver. A great five days with a fantastic crew!
Your Simply Sailing team.
We kicked off the season with two cruise and learn courses to Howe Sound. The islands between the mainland and the Sunshine Coast offer a fantastic training area with small and larger islands for anchoring, several marinas and countless picturesque nooks and crannies waiting to be explored.
The first class was taking an intermediate course where we focused on boat management and navigation. The class was given numerous tasks to find their way between rocks and reefs putting their coastal navigation skills to practice.
The second class was taking a basic course learning the ropes, literally. It is quite amazing to see how someone who never was on a small sailboat before, manages to complete a simulated crew overboard situation and getting our ‘victim’ Charly safely back aboard; and this after only a few days of instruction. Well done!
The weather during both courses was spectacular with lot’s of sunshine and always a good breeze of 8 - 12 knots.
Howe Sound is great that way: While there was only light winds in the Strait of Georgia, the inflow winds filled in nicely into the sound, resulting in a steady breeze between the islands. This cruising area is also fairly protected keeping large waves from developing. Ideal conditions to practice sailing.
We hope to welcome you in one of your next practices.
Your Simply Sailing Team.
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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