Perfect Long Weekend

Sometimes having an older car sucks – like when you lose 3 weekends of sailing to Owen trying desperately to save my baby (which he did! Yay Owen!).  After being away from the boat for way too long, we finally managed to get out for 2 weekends in a row…

The weekend before last we met up with friends back at Herring Bay – no wind to sail unfortunately, but a wonderful weekend of hanging out on the boat and visiting with friends.

This past weekend, being the Canada Day Long Weekend, seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a bit further out.  We settled on Ganges on Saltspring Island, knowing that they were having fireworks over the harbour.  After a stop off at Tent Island on Friday night, we headed out Saturday, dead into the wind, with not quite enough of said wind to sail.  We rounded Tent Island and headed towards Southey Point (on the North end of Saltspring – I know – who named that?!).   As we got closer to Southey, we could see that the wind in Trincomali Channel looked pretty fresh – sure enough, we rounded the corner to find white caps greeting us – we got the sails up asap, and had a rocking sail all the way from Southey Point, around Nose Point and into Ganges Harbour.  The wind ranged from about 12 knots to 20 or more at one point – fishies were definitely looking in the windows at that time!  The sail couldn’t have been more perfect – lifts on every tack, sun – what more can you ask for?

Perfect tacks

reefed head sail

Our reach around Nose Point had us hit over 8 knots of boat speed!  Remember – this is a heavy steel boat – we don’t do 8 knots!!

We were happily sailing downwind into the harbour and realised that the anchorage had somehow morphed all the way down the harbour and right into the float plane landing zone – apparently we were not the only people who had the idea to go to Ganges this weekend!  We did finally manage to find a little hole not too far out from town, and after one failed attempt, got the anchor down in 20 knots of wind.  Almost as soon as we got the hook down, the wind eased, and we were able to get the dinghy launched and head into town, where a friend was docked.

A great afternoon visit led to a wonderful dinner overlooking the Canada Day Festivities, followed by fireworks seen from the marina.   A perfect day!

Sunday was a lazy day – we finally made it into shore around noon.  After completing our usual rounds of bookstores and bakeries, and venturing a little further out of the main village to see what might be hiding down the side streets, we headed to the Taco Truck that we had spotted the day before, enjoying a spectacular late lunch.

So after such a perfect weekend, what could go wrong on Monday?  Well – first we had to get the anchor (and 25 pound ball of lead that Owen had attached to keep the chain from lifting) up in quite a lot of wind.  Owen was working hard at that while I kept the boat relatively over the anchor to make things easier.  After a couple of backs and forthes, Owen asked me to back up – I put the boat in reverse and the engine died.  Hmmmm… weird – okay – fire up, put the boat in reverse – dead engine.  Oh, oh.  Owen’s first thought was that he was swimming because something might be wrapped on the prop.  Luckily the go-pro that he bought me for Christmas and which I had only thought to bring to the boat that weekend, saved him a swim.  The camera, mounted on the boat hook, allowed us to get a good shot of the prop and confirm that nothing was wrapped around.  Alright, good – no swimming – but what now?  Owen took a peek below and asked me to put the boat in neutral – umm – it is in neutral – cool, okay – so the transmission is stuck in forward.  Well I guess we are not getting diesel – hope there is enough wind to sail home!  We headed out and sailed (not quite so fast) back out of the harbour, back around Nose Point (no 8 knots this time!) and about 1/3 of the way back up the Island before the wind shut off for good.  Fired up the engine – at least we have forward – and continued on.  At one point the engine noise changed pitch – put the boat in neutral, then reverse – everything good!  An hour later – change in pitch again – slide it into reverse – dead engine.  This happened 3 times on the way home – finally, we were coming into the marina – having called a friend to warn him we may come in hot!  Put the boat in neutral (phew!) and coasted around – but I had done that too early – now we are not going to make it back to our slip – back in forward (please let it go back to neutral, please let it go back to neutral) and luckily, just as we coasted into the slip, I managed to fire it into reverse and we stopped right where we needed to be.

Owen has dumped the oil and cleaned everything up and hopefully it was just a piece of gook jamming things up.  So far it seems to be working.  However, we will be bringing the come-along and rebuild kit with us on holidays – oh the joy of boat ownership!

We finally made it in the door at 10:30 on Monday night – we definitely did not waste a moment of this perfect Long Weekend!