I’ve done a fair bit of solo sailing at this point, but for the first long leg, I decided it would be wise to have a crew member along. As with anything these days, there are websites for this purpose and just a few short months ago I was on the other side of the same coin, searching for a boat to crew on to build my sailing skills. Thus, I met Bonnie on the internet and after some email correspondence and a few phone calls, I found her to be not just sane, but downright charming.
She is a welder in Denver and dabbles in production / set building in LA, NYC, and Iceland. She once sailed across the Tasman Sea with long periods of hurricane-force winds, so I judged her to be sufficiently salty to weather whatever the PNW had to blow at us. She also plays the guitar and brought it along to serenade the winds into our favor (which was delightful to listen to, but ultimately ineffective at cajoling the winds in the proper direction).
As with all my planning for this trip, I’ve been trying to stay flexible and allow the winds and weather to dictate the best path and timing. Thus, we hoped to cover enough ground to get out into the Pacific, but I wasn’t sure where we’d really end up and Bonnie’s return flight home was flexible in location. We departed on the afternoon of the 20th and anchored or sailed each night until the morning of the 25th when we crossed the Grays Harbor bar and moored in Westport, WA.
Our introduction to the Pacific was… well… not so pacific. We studied the forecast carefully for days, and while the wind appeared to be contrary for much of the week, there was a period of unsettled weather on Wednesday that brought breezes from a more favorable direction. We knew this would come with higher winds and bigger seas, but we were well rested and we figured some storminess would be a reasonable price to pay for more ground made in the proper direction. As it turned out, we were correct and we were able to reel off lots of miles in the right direction that first evening under reefed sails, with Wendy the windvane steering us on a starboard tack.
After a couple of days and nights out on the open ocean, we decided to get back to land so that Bonnie could make it back in time for some engagements this weekend. The weather had abated to a large degree, so we waited for a favorable tide and we were able to cross the bar at Grays Harbor on Friday morning. I’m currently moored in Westport, WA; drying things out and getting a day or two of rest and relaxation.
I’m planning to take off on Sunday or Monday to start the next leg toward the south, with plans of stopping into Tillamook or Newport sometime early next week. I’ll be sailing solo for a while, but I’m open to having a crew member on board if someone wants to join me for a couple days. I’m still planning to make it to San Fran in mid-May and I’ve been thinking some sort of “Catalina Wine Mixer” would fit the bill nicely as far as partying is concerned. Also, I’m hoping to do some resupplying in the bay area, so I’ll probably be around town for a week or so.