Duane, Dawn,
Sam, Nick, and Mike
(Jessy and Jenny)

Home Up Family Pictures Music



Logbook Day 77, 78, 79 and 80
6/22/2006 - 6/25/2006

BlueWater Yachts Rendezvous
Time away, almost.

Laconner to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Ahh, the best laid plans. We’d been planning on attending the Blue Water Yachts rendezvous for a couple months. Everything was set, Wednesday around noon Dawn headed off to my sisters to deposit the boys and we were ready for our first adult only boat trip. Four days, sun, sea, and no kids. Then Wednesday evening she called, my sister was at the hospital with one of her kids, the outlook for a weekend alone looked bleak.

Thursday morning we switched to plan ‘B’. Sam was to stay home alone under the care of our neighbor (he is 15 after all), and the other two were off to the rendezvous with us. We headed off to LaConner just past noon. We kept the fact that Sam wasn’t coming low key with the other two and it took almost a half hour before one of them noticed we had ‘forgot’ Sam at home.

The launch via the La Conner sling went smooth once we had convinced the operator it was OK and we had launched there before (technically they don’t do sailboats). This is the first time we have completely set up the boat including raising the mast on the water. It also went well and wasn’t really any more difficult than setup on the trailer.

We were under way at 3:30 headed north through the Swinomish channel. We motored the whole way and the passage was trouble free on calm seas. We arrived in Friday harbor at 6:45 and were directed to slip G52. We backed in without a hitch and settled into the gathering. There are 45 Macgregor’s present for the rendezvous. The mix looks evenly split between X’s and M’s and one lone 19. The boys quickly met the G dock host who’s boat was across the dock from ours. He directed them to all the sights to see including the marina aquarium and provided books to study the sea life. There wasn’t a lot going on besides dessert as part of the rendezvous that evening and we had a quick dinner and got settled in for the night.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Friday morning brought a pancake and sausage breakfast followed by seminars for the guys and gals. I attended a portion of the electrical session but soon found it too basic and limited to only Blue Waters view of what they install in the latest M’s. I have a different philosophy about what is required for these boats.

Most everyone disappeared into town for lunch while we just relaxed and took naps. The afternoon saw the tours where everyone hosted everyone else showing off their boats. As “The winner of the boat with the most mods” according to a few guests, Allegro was a popular destination. We had pictures and music of our Canada trip running on a PowerPoint loop down below. Our new fender step worked great getting everyone in and out. Dawn had snacks set up on the dock attracting people and we saw a lot of traffic through the boat.

Friday evening was the potluck BBQ dinner followed by a presentation of Chinooks trip up the inside passage in his X. While the trip looked quite interesting the presentation lacked the pizzazz needed to keep us interested. We retired for a movie and a quiet night aboard.

Friday Harbor to James Island

Saturday morning was lazy without any planned activities other than preparing the boat to leave. I skipped the skippers meeting for the ‘around Shaw Island sail’ as we were not making the trip with the group. Once Dawn and the boys were back from were ever they went we headed out for the 11:00 start.

We left the dock and quickly raised the sails to get under way. Because of this we ended up in the front group of boats. When actual starting horn went off we were well on our way. The required course was almost dead down wind as we made our way to upright channel. I cheated a bit to port as long as I could on a broad reach but finally had to turn down wind to clear the south tip of Shaw Island. This left us to struggle with the headsail as it became blanketed by the main. To solve this I brought it out wing on wing to the port side. It flew there reasonably well, but our speed was down and the boats astern were closing. It was time for the pole. I handed the helm to Nick and went forward to set up the whisker pole. Yeck, better clean the inside next time I thought as I extended it. Soon it was set and the sails were once again pulling hard as we rounded the point and headed up the channel. The boats that were closing now receded into the distance astern.

The next challenge was a spot of weak wind coupled with some very confused seas. All the boats were sailing into this hole and coming to a stop. As it started to get crowded and difficult is was time for the iron genoa. We quickly lowered the motor and found our way to clearer air and water. Since we were almost to where everyone was going to go left and we were going right we went ahead and left the motor in service motor sailing around Upright Head.

The wind got even less and it was time to abandon the sailing and move on. We quickly stowed the sails and headed east. Our first thought was to go to Spencer Spit and we were almost to the Frost Island cut when we changed our mind and headed for a look at James Island. We had never stopped there before. To hasten this trip we began dumping ballast. About half way through this we met up with some strange wind, wake, and current situation that threw the boat into a strong heel to starboard. With a half empty ballast tank the weight shift was accentuated. Dawn and Mike were on the bow at the time along with the dog and they fought mightily to avoid going over the side. Mike was wrapped around the lifeline and claims he got his feet wet. Dawn elected to grab the dog rather than Mike. As quickly as it happened the boat righted itself and we continued on our way.

We headed into the small bay for a look at the west side of James. The current was running strong with many boils and whirl pools. As we pulled up to the dock the only open space was out the outter end behind a larger powerboat. The space wasn’t long enough to go bow in so we would have had to park cockpit to cockpit which didn’t appeal to Dawn. We circled briefly surveying our options. The space on the other side was taken up by a smaller fishing boat toward shore and two inflatable’s. Seeing us looking at the dock apparently broke up the picnic and the owners of the two inflatable’s made their way to the dock and departed. This opened a nice space for use. The current was running strongly across the dock as it swirled through the small cove. With better planning we could have executed a neater spring line approach to the dock, but as it was we still did a pretty good job. Dawn got a line to our neighbor who tied off the bow well enough but left the line a bit too short for a good spring line. I had to back out a bit to get the right angle and was then able to power against the line bring the stern to the dock into the flowing current.

This is just a lovely little island with a perfect cove. There is room for 4 boats max at the dock with one buoy at the far end of the cove. There is one large boat anchored out, but the guide says the bottom has poor holding. Around the other side exposed to the Strait are 4 more buoys. It turns out the other boat at the dock is a Tolly 30 with another family aboard. The smaller fishing boat is a family that is camping. We quickly met up, the kids headed off to play on the rock and caves and the dogs went romping on the beach. The power boat having the largest cockpit meant the happy hour was aboard their boat. It’s amazing how much more space there is on this boat that is only 4’ longer than ours.

The one empty space behind the Tolly was filled by some teens out for a afternoon cruise making the dock look full. A larger sailboat arrived and indicated they would like to raft to us but I asked them not to as their load on our light boat with the current running would be too much. Turns out they went around the other side and got a buoy there. They later came down for a tour. The island is very small and it’s a 3 minute walk from one side to the other. The view from the saddle is great. Check out the mount Baker picture.

We were filled in on the raccoon situation by our neighbors. Turns out a few years back the island had a real problem and all the pesky critters were removed. They have since found their way back and are starting to cause a problem again. We were advised to secure all our canvas tight and get all food stored inside.

We had a lovely evening with a good meal and retired for the night. The teens left around dusk leaving one slot at the dock empty. After dark I heard a small boat arriving. I watched their lights as they slid into the spot on the opposite side of the dock with no problems so I didn’t open the boat up to go help. The boat was to small to stay on and they unloaded their gear to camp. Because they arrived so late everyone else on the island had turned in so they didn’t get the word about the raccoons. After their first trip ashore I heard them talking about something one of them saw on the dock, an otter perhaps they thought. They got the rest of their gear and set up camp. 

James Island to La Conner

Perhaps this was a good thing as the raccoon party was definitely aboard their boat that night. I heard the critters board our boat and scramble around 3 times throughout the night. They never found a way in and only left muddy little paw prints on the deck and canvas. The boat next door didn’t fare so well. From what they explained in the morning they had been out late shrimping and had a big catch of large prawns. They also had various cat food for use as bait. The raccoons hit the jackpot and had a midnight feast. I guess the boat was quite a mess in the morning. They also had food in their tents and the sneaky animals opened the tents and raided them during the night. They were not impressed with the wildlife situation on the island.

We headed off fairly early the next morning making our way south east out of the cove and across Rosario Strait to the Deception Pass entrance. The flood current was running at about 5 knots and we easily squirted through the pass into Cornet Bay. We stopped at the park dock for breakfast and to go to the store. The boys fished from the dock for a while then we ate. Dawn never made it to the store.

As the time approached noon we left for the last part of the trip back to La Conner. We have never gone in the Swinomish Channel from the south end and it was an interesting passage. The tide was very low still and you have to enter way in the middle of nowhere to be in the dredged channel. It’s fairly narrow and goes shallow quickly on both sides. Once you pass all the mud flats you come to ‘Hole In The Wall’. Approaching it looks like you have run into a dead end. At the last minute you make a 90 degree turn to the left between two rock outcroppings. This leads you to a slightly more open area and another sharp turn to the right into the more recognizable part of the channel we are used to. From there it is a short ways to the bridge and La Conner.

We pulled into the first set of guest docks at the marina and prepared to take the mast down. The wind was really up by this time and it was quite hot. Lowering the mast went smoothly and without to much trouble we had everything down and buttoned up for pulling the boat out.

It was a bit tricky pulling away from the dock with all the traffic backed up in the channel waiting to pull into the pump out station. We had to back out and do a loop as the strong wind plays havoc with the bow in these conditions. From there we made the short trip to the sling launch. With the boat tied to the dock I headed up to get the truck. By the time I was parked Dawn had the boat loaded on the sling and it was flying my way. The trailer loading went slick as can be and we were ready to leave. Oh wait, one problem. We needed to pay for the loading. Now we remembered, that’s why Dawn was going to go to the store, to get some cash. We scrounged up $3, now where to get the other $7. (We had no checks along and it’s a long walk to an ATM.) Dawn improvised and started hitting up other boaters for some cash. Boaters being friendly and all, in no time she had the money and we were on our way.

It was an un-eventful drive home once where got out of La Conner where they were having a street fair. All the heat on the blistering day convinced us to stop at Home Depot on the way home for refreshments and a portable air conditioner for the house.


























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