Day 5 of Cody’s San Juan Island cruise

Cody is now in Friday Harbor and his crew arrives –

The arrival of the ferry on Sunday afternoon was a spectacle to behold.  The cars lining up to board the ferry were jockeying for position and more than once the woman directing cars had to yell at drivers who had an agenda of their own.  Stressed looking parents were trying to keep track of their small tribes among the throngs of people as I sat in a coffee shop overlooking the ferry landing, feeling quite carefree.  My only concern was about how well three adults and a small dog could exist in peace and harmony on a 15 foot boat.  Would we all hate each other after the first few days?  Would the boat’s performance suffer so badly from the weight that we would make painfully slow progress when traveling?  I had sailed on the Columbia River with three adults aboard and the boat had performed well, but now I had her loaded with a significant amount of cruising gear.  I decided we would be best to spend the first afternoon and night on the boat in Friday Harbor so we could get an idea of how we all would manage the tight quarters before sailing anywhere.  

Friday HarborAfter a fun day in Friday Harbor and a tasty dinner at a fish and chips place, we all made our way out to the boat for the evening.  From this point on, I would shuttle each of the girls out to the boat from the dock on the SUP.  The board seemed to do fine and was rather stable with two people on it so long as we were both kneeling.  I’m happy to report that after the entire 10 day trip not a single person or item took a fall off the SUP! I had planned to have the girls sleep in the v berth and I would sleep on a cockpit seat, but after all laying across the v berth to watch a Netflix show on my phone, we discovered that all three of us could lie flat on our backs, shoulder to shoulder.  Granted, our feet were somewhat crowded together, but being that we were each in a sleeping bag it didn’t seem to bother anyone and we all slept soundly. Even our dog, Occy, slept well in the cabin on a blanket we put on one of the cabin seats.

Day 4 of Cody’s SageCat cruise of the San Juan Islands

After having some Strawberry Rhubarb “hand pie” Cody travels from Lopez to Friday Harbor –

Fishermans BayThe alarm on my phone awakened me at 6:15 so as to get a good start on arriving at Holly B’s Bakery somewhere near their 7 o’clock opening time.  I dressed for the day and paddled across the bay under yet another crystal clear sky and steady breezes.  The bakery already had a crowd when I arrived only a few minutes after opening, but I soon understood the reason for said crowd.  The pastries available were many and all appeared (and smelled) quite divine!  I ended up settling on a house made Strawberry Rhubarb “hand pie” and it exceeded my expectations!  I can wholeheartedly recommend Holly B’s bakery on Lopez Island to anyone who happens to be traveling through this quaint and spirited little village.  

Lopez VillageAfter breakfast and a quick walk around Lopez Village, I made my way back to the marina, paddled back to the boat and stowed the SUP for the day’s sail.  I was scheduled to meet my wife, one of her best girlfriends Jen and our dog Occy in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island Sunday morning where they would be arriving by ferry.  The breeze was blowing about 8 knots and was forecasted to continue to do so all day, the sky was completely clear and the sail would only be a bit over five miles.  I checked the currents and they were going to be moving at just under a knot during the time of this trip, I I set out for what I hoped would be a short and pleasant sail.

wind reportThe first three miles went very smoothly (apart from very heavy powerboat traffic from all directions which made large wakes converging from every direction nearly the entire time) but as I approached San Juan Island, large gusts of wind began sweeping across the water.  I quickly tucked in the first reef and felt under control again but the gusts continued to strengthen.  Soon the second reef was snugged down and only then were the gusts more manageable.  The sailing conditions were tricky as the wind would go from 10 knots to 25 knots and then back to 10 knots within the span of about 30 seconds.  To complicate matters, the heavy traffic coming into and out of Friday Harbor made for some extra maneuvering in tighter quarters than I would have preferred.  Upon arrival at Friday Harbor I dropped sail, motored into a shallow and secluded corner of the harbor and dropped anchor, a bit frazzled by the hectic last two miles of the trip.

Upon arrival I learned via a text from my wife that she would be arriving on an afternoon ferry instead of a morning ferry the following morning, so I spent the evening walking around Friday Harbor and getting a few needed groceries at the local market.  Friday Harbor is a bustling little town on a summer weekend and it was a fun change to take in the local sights and night life.

Day 3 of Cody’s SageCat cruise

Spencer SpitThe sun rose the next morning to a lighter breeze but still the same clear and cloudless skies.  After an eggs, toast and coffee breakfast, I set to work tensioning the rig.  It all went exactly as described by Dave and I was able to do it rather easily while swinging at anchor with the mast still standing.  Spencer Spit is a beautiful place and I would have happily spent a day there, but the tides and currents would be helping me along if I got an earlier start for my next hop over to Fisherman Bay on the opposite side of Lopez Island.  I cleaned up my breakfast, stowed some gear, pulled up the anchor and set sail.  The day was glorious and under full sail I coasted along at about 4.5 knots for the entire 8ish mile trip.  The first half of the sail was downwind and around the north end of the island followed by a very fun upwind leg traveling south down the west coast of Lopez island.  The rig now looked and behaved perfectly and I was able to really sail Sweet Potato as she was meant to be sailed.  

After motoring through the tight and winding channel channel entrance to Fisherman Bay, I was greeted to a large but completely protected bay with plenty of space to anchor.  I picked a nice and secluded spot with plenty of depth for my little craft and set about inflating my Standup Paddle Board (SUP).  I own an 8’ zodiac that I had used as a tender for my Cape Dory 25D, but it seemed rather large, bulky and heavy to carry on the much smaller Sagecat.  The SUP worked very well for me and, when rolled up, could either be stowed under the cockpit sole in the main cabin or, more commonly, under the tiller in the cockpit.  

I rowed to shore and was apparently just in time to catch the tail end of happy hour at the marina restaurant which overlooked Fisherman Bay.  Some other boaters told me about a bakery in Lopez Village (about a 10 minute walk down the road from the marina) that had a reputation for being in a league of its own but was know to sell out rather quickly, so I’d be well advised to get there shortly after their 7 o’clock opening time. I thanked them for the tip and as the sun was getting low in the sky, paddled back across the bay to the boat and enjoyed yet another marvelous sunset.  The temperature quickly dropped and the breeze was still present, so again I hopped in the cabin and settled into a few more chapters of the book before retiring for another pleasant sleep.  

Second installment of Cody’s San Juan Is. cruise

Here Cody describes the second day of his San Juan Islands cruise –

I was awoken just after dawn by the clanging of my halyard on the mast and immediately knew that the wind was blowing harder than had been in the forecast.  Sure enough, looking out over Rosario Strait I could see churning water and steep, short chop being driven by a wind of about 18 knots opposing a current of about 3 knots.  This did nothing to help the already uneasy feeling I had in my stomach.

I should point out that my new Sagecat was not my first sailboat.  I began sailing as crew on a stranger’s 1978 Crown 34 on the Columbia River in southeastern Washington nearly 10 years ago.  He saw me admiring sailboats in the local marina and asked if I’d like to help him on his boat in an upcoming race.  I readily accepted the invitation and he and I are now old sailing buddies and good friends!  Over the course of the next decade I ended up with a Compac 23, then a Cape Dory 25D, and then a four year absence of any sailboat due to life and financial circumstance.  Both of these boats I had bought, in part, because they were “trailerable”.  Although they both did indeed have trailers, I rarely ever took them out of the water because they were such a chore to rig/de rig and tow (especially the Cape Dory).  I had grand plans with both of those boats to sail in the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands and even the Sea of Cortez, but these plans had never materialized for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was how much time and effort they took to transport and set up.  So when I saw plans coming together for the Sagecat several years ago on the Sage Marine forum, I knew I had found a boat that seemed to fill a void in my sailing life I had been missing.  

rosario straitMy planned departure for the day was to have Sweet Potato in the water by 8:30 and begin crossing the Rosario Strait as the tide began to go slack and hopefully cover the roughly 5 miles to Thacher Pass (and more protected water) before the current changed direction and really started ripping the water in the strait up again.  As I finished stowing all the final gear on the boat and put on my foul weather gear, I continually looked out over the water I was about to cross and it did not put me at ease.  The wind was not abating and the water was a dark and churning mess for large portions of the strait. When 8:30 and launch time arrived, I decided that I’d better listen to my gut and delay till the next slack tide and hope that the wind conditions were more manageable.  I cooked a good breakfast and coffee on the tailgate of the truck and did my best to enjoy the day in the park as I observed the water and weather for the next several hours.

When my next slack tide had arrived, the wind had indeed subsided somewhat and the strait looked a bit choppy, but certainly much better than it had in the morning.  I put the boat in the water, pinned down the bulbed dagger keel and timidly began venturing out into the Rosario Strait.  The chop kicked up by the wind and subsiding current was indeed short and steep, but nothing that felt dangerous or unmanageable.  I had a single reef in the sail and all seemed to be going well.  My relative calm quickly turned to worry as I sailed further into the open channel where the winds were a bit stronger and noticed that each time the boat would come down off a steep wave, the sail would naturally load up from the decreased boat speed and rising bow and the forestay would go slack far more than I had seen on previous sails.  My best guess is that the new rigging had “settled” or stretched from my first several sails in the Columbia River Gorge which had been, at times, in rather strong winds in the low to mid 20 knot range.  The boat never showed any signs of struggle or failure, but I was very worried about the rig and the conditions.  

After some doubt and deliberation, I realized I was roughly half way across the strait already, so I might as well continue and do my best to baby the rig and keep the loads on it as light as possible. I tucked in a second reef and called Dave Scobie from Sage Marine on my phone.  From following Sage’s social media pages, I knew that he would be at an outdoor show in Salt Lake promoting their boats, but to my surprise he called me back quickly after I had tried to call him!  How’s that for customer service!  As I continued the crossing, Dave helped describe to me the process for tensioning the rig and some helpful tips for doing so while the boat was at anchor.  

I arrived at my first destination, Spencer Spit state park on Lopez Island, with a huge sigh of relief.  The boat had performed well in spite of my neglecting to double check the rig tension before beginning the crossing.  I nosed my way inside of all the big yachts on mooring balls and anchored in nice and close to the beach on the lee side of the spit of sand from the  forecasted breezy night to come.  I decided that the rig tensioning would have to wait till the morning and got to work cooking a splendid dinner of bowtie pasta.  As the sun set, the sky was crystal clear and the breeze blowing across the water from the south had a distinct bite to it.  I enjoyed the evening until I got too cold in the cockpit and retired to the cabin and a few minutes of a good book before crawling into bed and sleeping more soundly than I had in months.

Cody’s SageCat Cruise Adventure – Part 1

Cody has been kind enough to expand the report on his San Juan Island trip report. Here is the first installment!

Day One

An ever increasing feeling of nervousness grew inside me as I looked out over Rosario Strait for the first time. I stood in Washington Park in Anacortes, WA after a long day’s drive from my home in northeastern Oregon just as the sun was setting, knowing that I would be crossing this stretch of water the next morning. I had been following the wind forecast for the previous week and with each passing day, the forecast for my departure day had been increasing. As I looked again out over the strait, it seemed peaceful enough, but the winds were on the rise and I had not much of an idea what to expect. After all, this would be my first time sailing in salt water, dealing with tides and their associated currents, in unfamiliar islands, in a boat on which I had little experience, and single handed. What could go wrong? I curled up in the cabin of Sweet Potato, my new Sagecat, and drifted off into a nervous slumber.launch ramp

SageCat cruise report

SageCat owner Cody sent a report on his cruise of Washington State’s San Juan Islands in late July ’17 –

I had a fantastic cruise in the San juans aboard Sagecat! The first 4 days I spent alone shaking the boat down in cruising trim and the last 6 days and nights were with my wife and one of her best girlfriends and our dog. I was extremely cautious and tentative about how the boat would do with 3 adults and cruising gear aboard but she did great! Her sailing performance was still quite good and we were all able to sleep, cook and lounge aboard. I never tied up to a dock for the entire trip and used an inflatable SUP to shuttle the girls one at a time to shore each day! The v berth is a marvel as all 3 of us were able to sleep, albeit snugly, lying shoulder to shoulder. A big hats off to Jerry on the design and to you all at Sage Marine for a top notch build!

The pics below are of an approximation of our route and one of us at anchor on the south shore of Jones Island.



Thanks for sharing Cody!

Want to go sailing on SageCat at Annapolis Maryland?

A SageCat will be at the October 5-9, 2017, Annapolis Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD. The SageCat will also be available for demonstration sailing the 10th and 11th of October 2017 (by appointment).
If you are interested in seeing the boat send us an email,, or call 800-621-1065.