90, 91, 92, 93
A Winter Outing
Any excuse for a boat trip
Newport to Poulsbo
We turned a family commitment to attend an
engagement party across the Sound into a 4 day outing. The party
happened to be at a lodge on the water in Agate Pass with a deep water
dock just waiting for our boat. The timing was perfect as the party
coincided with the Presidents Day holiday and winter break for the kids.
We are traveling across the Sound in split fashion as
extra things need to be transported to and from the party. Dawn and Nick
are crossing the Sound in the van on the ferry while Sam, Mike, the dogs
and I are bringing the boat over. It will be nice to have not only the
boat along but a car for side trips.
Sam and I headed down to the launch at 11:00 am, over
an hour later than planned and set the boat up in the vacant parking
lot. It's been a while since we've put up the mast and this is the first
time for Sam to handle the major tasks. Setup took 40 minutes from
climbing out of the Suburban to backing into the water. Once floating I
left Sam in charge of the boat and took the truck and trailer back to
the house. Dawn then brought me back to the launch with Mike and the
dogs. This will be the first boat trip for our new Yorki-Poo Jenny.
We set out at 12:20 pm headed across the lake. The new
custom wiring splicing both the GPS through the water speed sensor and
the NMEA output for the autopilot into the single plug on the back of
the Eagle GPS looks to have worked, all systems are go. On the way
across the calm lake I fine turned the speed through water (+5%) to
match the speed over ground and put up all the canvas while Sam drove.
Once done with that we engaged the autopilot and let it steer across the
lake and under the SR520 west channel bridge. (Note: move that north
waypoint a bit farther east.) From there it was an un-eventful cruise at
the 7 knot speed limit through the Montlake Cut, Portage Bay and into
Un-eventful that is until we rounded Gasworks Park and
were greeted by the Coast Guard. Being the only boat moving we were an
easy target to be boarded for an inspection. They had us come to a full
stop and then came up along side. We tied to their port side and
proceeded with the inspection. They never really boarded the boat, they
just huddled around the cockpit opening and asked for us to show them
various items. We went through the registration, PFD's, fire
extinguishers, flares, head, horns, whistles, etc. All was well and we
had every item they asked for. (Note: Mark old flares training, current
ones expire in June.) It took forever for them to get the data entered
in their little Pocket PC and to print out the report. We turned to idle
talk with the rest of the crew to kill the time. 40 minutes later we
were free to go.
Finally we were back under way, for a whole 2 minutes
to be stopped yet again, this time by the Fremont bridge. Two other
sailboats were already circling and we joined the line. Once we had
circled for 10 minutes I went up on the bow to set up the mast raising
gear so we could dip the mast and get going. Of course that was when
they finally decided to open the bridge. We scooted through and
proceeded to the locks. The large lock was being loaded and following a
brief wait we entered and rafted third boat out in the fourth row back.
It was a quick trip down but by now we were far behind schedule. After a
call to Dawn, who had missed the 2:05 ferry and was on the 3:00 boat, we
decided to go directly to the Kiana Lodge dock.
Sam did a great job handling the bow in the locks and
soon we were cruising past the Shilshole entrance buoys. The Sound was
dead calm and the water was like a mirror, a rare winter occurrence. We
pulled up all the fins and powered up to 13 knots with the autopilot
handling the driving chores all the way across and in through Agate
Pass. Upon locating the correct dock we were soon tied up and ready for
the party. Dawn however was still on the road stuck in traffic trying to
get to Brownsville to reserve a slip. We called off that task and she
turned around to come back to the lodge.
As it turned out we were both first to arrive, by land
and sea, and after tending to flowers for the dinner tables and the
music system for later dancing we changed into our party duds and
relaxed. Traffic and full ferries delayed many but by 7:30 pm all 80 of
us were enjoying a great dinner of salmon and flank steak. As chance
would have it we found other trailer sailors at the party to swap
stories with and in no time it was 11:00 pm. We wrapped up the dancing
and packed to leave.
Dawn didn't want to try and find the Brownsville
marina in the dark by road so we switched to the Poulsbo marina as our
destination for the night. Sam, Mike and I made our way to the dock
while she and Nick drove in the van. The tide was very low at -2' but we
were happy to find the boat still bobbing happily at the dock. Once we
left and made our way out into Port Orchard that bobbing soon turned to
crashing through the 4'-5' wind driven waves. We had to slow to under 5
knots to keep the un-ballasted boat in the water as we made our way west
toward Keyport. Running at night in these sea's is very different than
in the day light as you cannot see what is coming. All you can do is
react at the helm when the waves hit. Once past Keyport we picked up
some wind protection and soon were in Liberty Bay headed to the Port of
Poulsbo. Dawn met us at the dock and we were quickly tied up in a slip
on F dock. By the time the dogs were walked, the spring lines set, and
the electrical cord run it was 1:00 am when we turned in.
All three boys are sleeping below in the aft berth so
we can close up the hatch and run the heater. They are finally old
enough not to mess with each other.
We slept late rising around 10:30 am. Dawn and the dogs went for a
morning walk and coffee. Breakfast/lunch was a mish mash of what was on
hand. Next up was resting and reading. The boys went to explore on the
beach and boardwalk while we did basically nothing. Just as a boat trip
should be. In the afternoon the wind rose to over 20 knots from the east
even in protected Liberty Bay. It would howl as gusts passed through the
rigging and the upper stays would vibrate like bass guitar strings.
My parents were also on the Kitsap Peninsula having
stayed over from the party. They and the Neal's called to let us know
they would be in Poulsbo around 3:30 pm and would stop by. As it turns
out, in the dark of night we had selected a slip directly behind the
Neal's son's Nick's 34' Trojan. Nicks family was coming to the docks as
well. When mom and dad arrived we first all climbed aboard 'Allegro' for
the tour then went aboard "Makin Waves' to check out that boat. The boys
returned from ashore and we all briefly hung out in the bigger boat.
Ready for a rest we declined the invitation for a crab dinner back at
the cabin my parents had rented.
With the boys busy aboard Dawn and I went up to the
Bayside Grill to order takeout fish and chips (and a burger for Mike).
We relaxed around the fire with a tasty Alaskan Amber as we waited for
the meal. Everyone enjoyed the food once we arrived back at the boat.
Then it was time for a movie. We made root beer soda in our new soda
maker (but skipped the popcorn) and settled in for Star Wars episode VI.
Everyone was pretty tired when the movie ended and we turned in around
9:00 pm. The boys didn't even complain. We all fell asleep to the wind
which continued to roar even after dark.
Poulsbo to Brownsville
We rose around 9:00 am and had a healthy cinnamon roll and donut
breakfast. After a few strolls on the boardwalk we decided to head out
around noon. Sam and I took the boat out of Liberty Bay past Keyport and
down the west side of Port Orchard to the Brownsville marina. It was a
calm simple trip.
We pulled into the end of the main breakwater dock to
stop and empty the head then went on in to the inner small boat dock.
After a bit of a struggle to get docked in the tight quarters we went up
to the office to register. It turns out the empty slip on the side of
the dock we selected is not available. We didn't like the look of the
ones on the inside of the dock facing the launch ramp so we elected to
go back to the protected side of the main breakwater dock. Once there we
found many open spaces but they were all posted reserved. We finally
found one side of a 40' finger dock that wasn't posted. The wind made it
hard to come along side the dock so I dropped Sam off from the bow with
a line and then used a reverse forward spring to suck the stern up to
the dock. Nicely executed if I may say so myself. As it turned out not
one of the spaces posted reserved ever became occupied for the night. We
had a nice private slip with our nearest neighbors 3 double slips away.
Dawn, Nick, Mike and the dogs became delayed while
shopping (how is that?) and even with our slower travel by sea we were
tied up well before they arrived. We all had a late lunch out on the
picnic table at the end of our slip and decided to go to the Keyport
Undersea Warfare Museum. It was a short drive back up toward Poulsbo. We
spent an hour and a half wandering the exhibits of undersea warfare
weapons (lots of torpedoes), submarines (lot's of trident info) and
diving equipment. We left at 4:00 pm when the museum closed.
Back at the marina the boys were attracted to the sand
beach and began building sand creations. Dawn and I took the dogs back
to the boat and enjoyed some quiet time. As the time for dinner
approached we decided to test our new Zodi hot water heater tank. This
is a double walled stainless steel 3 gallon tank you heat on the stove.
It took about 20 minutes to heat the 3 gallons of water up to 120
degrees, using our Origo alcohol stove, the highest temp on the built in
temp gauge. Once heated we strapped it back to the post aft of the
galley and ran the hose to the sink. You then pump it up (like a bug
sprayer) to produce running hot water. This worked great for washing
dishes. The thermos like container keeps the water at over 100 degrees
for about 8 hours.
Once we had cleaned up some dishes we put the griddle
on the stove and cooked up fried chicken strips and fish along with
mashed potatoes. The boys finally returned after dark around 7:00 pm. We
had dinner and another movie, this time "The Ringer". From there we were
off to bed on our last night out. It's much calmer tonight.
Brownsville to Newport
The wind is up again this morning and it sounds even higher out in the
Sound. West Point is reporting 32 knots and there are 'small craft
advisories' posted. We decided to send Nick and Mike back in the van
with Dawn and the dogs. Just Sam and I will bring the boat back across
We left the marina a little after 10:00 am and set the
autopilot on a course for Agate Pass. The wind was up and
after two tries trying to turn into the wind inside the marina we
realized the centerboard was not down. Sam lowered it and away we
We had 2'-4' following seas from the starboard
quarter. This proved a bit much for the autopilot to handle and I took
over steering a course for Battle Point to gain a bit of protection.
Once in calmer water we turned more north for the bridge. We've timed it
right to catch the ebb current near it's 3.4 knot peak. We are making 7
knots through the water and greater than 10 knots over the ground.
Shortly after we passed under the bridge Dawn called to say she had just
crossed the bridge and had seen us go under.
Turning east it was clear that the weather service was
not kidding when they posted the 'small craft advisories'. The wind
driven waves were up even as we crossed through protected Port Madison
at the north end of Bainbridge Island. Once past Point Monroe we were
really in for it. Before we left the dock I had filled the ballast tank
in hopes of a better, all be it slower, ride across. Even with the
ballast 6 knots was too fast for the conditions. The waves were 5' - 7'
and closely spaced with blowing spray from their breaking white caps. It
was a struggle to keep the boat in the water as it wanted to launch off
every second or third wave and go crashing down. We slowed to around 5
knots and choose a higher course than the direct one to get a wider
angle on the waves. Steering about 50-60 degrees into the waves rolling
up from due south we settled into the roller coaster ride. At least now
the boat is cutting through the waves rather than crashing over them.
Every few waves would bring buckets of spray down on
the front dodger window and the entire starboard side. The 30+ knot wind
on our bare poles heeled us to port as if sailing. The bow would often
bury in the steep faces and the crests of waves along the cockpit
slapped high up the starboard side. Through it all though "Allegro"
steadily made her way across the 5 miles of open water. Sam and I sat
comfortably in the cockpit in the protection of our full enclosure. The
wind was so high that the flap protecting the zipper where the bimini
joins the connector panel was constantly folded back allowing some water
to drip inside. This was just a minor thing compared to what the
crossing would have been like without the enclosure. I do not think we
could have made the trip without it.
We have the Sound to ourselves as no other boats are
out in these heavy seas. Once we gained some distance across we steered
more south bringing our looping course toward the Shilshole entrance. We
converged with a Grand Banks 42' trawler that came around West Point
from the south at the entrance buoys and even though we were now in more
protected waters north of West Point he was heeled over more than us.
His slab sides and full flying bridge canvas were a big sail to the
We pulled up to the locks just behind him to wait. It
looked like they have just taken a load up in the large locks and there
is no activity at the small locks. I called Dawn and let her know we
were safely across. After circling for about a half hour (at this low
tide the waiting pilings are covered with sharp shell) they finally
brought a couple boats down in the small locks and we entered to go up.
Sam did a great job on the bow in the rain once again and soon we were
on our way through the ship canal.
We were stalled once more at the Fremont bridge and
had to wait 20 minutes circling in the narrow ship canal channel for the
tender to open the span. Then we were off for the rest of the winding
trip to Lake Washington. Using the SR520 bridge for shelter we crossed
the lake to the north of the floating bridge and turned under the east
channel high rise.
Once again we encountered 5'-6- wind driven breaking
waves. This time though we had to go dead south into them. We were
forced to slow to 4 knots as we made our way south along Medina. We
finally gained some shelter from the north end of Mercer Island and were
able to speed up for home. Just short of the I-90 east channel bridge we
ran out of fuel and had to switch tanks. From there it was a few more
minutes to the dock at the Newport Shores launch.
I called Dawn to tell her we had arrived and were
ready for her to bring the truck and trailer down. We busied ourselves
in the wind and rain with packing up all the wet canvas and cockpit
cushions in preparation for lowering the mast. Dawn arrived and I backed
the trailer in to load the boat. This is one of the few times we have
loaded the boat with full ballast. We had to get the trailer deeper than
normal. Once pulled up we opened the transom valve and waited for the
1200 lbs of water to drain from the tank.
It took about 20 minutes to get the mast down and
everything secure enough to make the short drive back to the house. Just
before dusk "Allegro" was back secure in her boathouse at the end of the
All in all this was a great mid winter trip. The
weather cooperated for all but the last day and even the rough ride home
was a fun part of the adventure. The only uncomfortable part of the trip
was the miserable wind and rain during tear down at the dock.