Day 10 of Cody’s San Juan Islands trip in a SageCat

Day 10 – Fisherman Bay to Anacortes –

I had shared my tales of Holly B’s bakery with the girls the previous evening, so we all got up early and made a pilgrimage to this baking holy site in the morning. After again being dazzled with their confectioner’s wizardry, we spent a few more hours exploring the village shops and getting a few things at the grocery store for our afternoon sail.

Our plan was to sail back around Lopez Island and spend a few hours enjoying the beaches and views at Spencer Spit state park and then making a short hop over to James Island, another state park, which would be a good jumping off point for crossing the Rosario strait on Saturday morning to get back to Anacortes, where our truck and trailer were parked. There was not a breath of wind when we got back to the boat at around noon, so we motored the roughly eight miles with a hefty current helping us for the first half of the trip to Spencer Spit. Upon arrival, we again anchored and paddled ashore where we had a few fun filled hours of beach combing and hiking. I even got in a quick nap on the warm sand. At about 5 o’clock we got back to the boat and again began motoring toward James Island which was about four miles away, where we planned to stay for the evening.

I had been a bit stressed about crossing the Rosario Strait with the girls aboard since I had experienced some rather rough conditions and unpredicted winds a week and a half ago. The winds were forecasted to be about 10 knots from the north, which should have been fine, but the slack tide window on Saturday morning was very short, with strong currents from the south before the slack and quickly turning to strong currents from the north. The late afternoon slack tide window on Saturday had much more moderate current velocities and a longer slack period so I knew I could always wait for that time, but still I was feeling uncertain about what the conditions would turn out to look like.

As we motored up to James Island on a completely glassy sea state, I was finally able to look across the Rosario Strait. It was as flat as a board. Not a ripple to be seen all the way across to Anacortes. I pulled out my current tables and we were perfectly timed to cross the strait in a large window of slack tide with very small currents predicted on either side of the slack. I made the decision that we would be wisest to cross while the conditions were perfect and find a place to anchor near Washington Park, where the trailer was located, and then simply pull the boat out of the water in the morning and get an earlier start home. The girls both seemed happy with this plan so we enjoyed a delightfully uneventful motor across the Rosario strait.

As we approached Washington Park, I had planned to anchor just off the beach as it was protected from the direction of the light winds predicted during the night. However, I also quickly noticed a huge sign on the beach, facing toward the water, reading “DROP NO ANCHOR. ELECTRICAL CABLES UNDER WATER”, or something to that effect. The sun was getting low on the horizon and there didn’t seem to be any quick protected anchorage to get to, so I tied up to the dock, raised the dagger board, backed the trailer in the water and hauled Sweet Potato up into the parking lot. We were all famished after a long day of hiking and motoring in the sun, so we left the boat on the trailer and drove into Anacortes for a meal. We ended up at a great little Mexican place called Real Tequila and we all ate until we were about to pop. The food was fantastic and the service was equally so. Back in the campground, now nearly dark, I reconnected the truck to the trailer and we all walked down to the beach to enjoy the final colors of the sunset and the lapping of the water on the pebble beach. Now that the boat was on the trailer and had the centerboard taking up one sleeping position, I was relegated to the bed of the truck since I had the warmest sleeping bag.

Day 7 of Cody’s San Juan Islands Adventure

SageCat Sweet Potato goes from Jones Island to the famous destination of Roche Harbor –

We paddled ashore in the morning with our breakfast supplies and cooked a mountain of a meal.  Eggs, hash browns, warmed tortilla shells, coffee and some bananas really started the day off on the right foot.  After cleaning up and taking our cooking gear back to the boat, we set off to hike around Jones Island.  There is a nice path around the perimeter of the island which is about four miles long and provides some wonderful views of the surrounding islands and waters.  After our hike, we were all rather over heated so we paddled back to the boat, changed into swimsuits and went for a (rather short) swim!  The water in the islands hovers in the mid to low 50s year round and so you don’t see many swimmers in them and when you do, they tend not to linger too long.  

sailing near Jones IslandAfter cooling off, we stowed whatever gear we had out, weighed anchor, and headed off to our next stop, Roche Harbor, about six miles west and slightly north of our anchorage at Jones Island.  We again were treated to light breeze and calm seas for our day’s sail.  As we cruised along we listened to an audio book and enjoyed the sun and cool breeze.  We were able to sail the entire way to Roche Harbor, only dropping sail as we entered the crowded and bustling bay.  After a few minutes of motoring around and looking at my charts, struggling to find a spot suitable to anchor, I finally selected a spot to drop the hook very close to a beach and not too far from the full-to-the-brim guest dock.  After checking our depth and the tide charts, I decided that it would be most prudent to anchor off the bow with our primary anchor and off the stern with our secondary anchor to prevent us from swinging during the very low tide in the middle of the night toward the beach, which could possibly have left us with our keel resting on the bottom.  Stern anchor set, we inflated the SUP and headed into Roche Harbor for a couple hours of sight seeing before the sun set.  

It was during this evening that we noticed some very beautiful colors in the sunset, which alerted us to a thickening smoke in the air.  The previous day we had thought the air looked a bit hazy, but hadn’t thought much of it.  This evening was a different story.  As the sun sank low on the horizon, you could easily look straight at the dull orange ball.  Our air quality and crystal clear skies would not be nearly as pristine for the remainder of our cruise.  As it grew dark, we made our way back out to the boat and slept deeply as we were all exhausted from a long day of hiking, swimming, lounging during a sunny sail and exploring a new town.  A day well spent.  

SageCat is again a cat

Over the past week work has been done to upgrade SAGECAT, the prototype Sage 15 catboat, to reflect the advancements made on the Sage 15 sloop ASOLARE.

Since early August Sage 15 ASOLARE has been sailing with the catboat rig.  The was done primarily to test the strength of the resin infused deck.  Testing was also done on the catboat standing rig, including the tabernacle post, reefing systems, and mainsheet cockpit floor block and bail on the boom locations.  These tests have been conducted with good success … though we still want to sail the catboat rig in stronger winds.

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SAGECAT’s cockpit full of tools and boat parts. The hardware on the cabin/cockpit bulkhead starboard (right) of the companionway is for the daggerboard raising system.

Besides getting her standing and running rig back, SAGECAT has also been modified with the following improvements –

  • retrofitted to have the same daggerboard raising system as ASOLARE.
  • mainsheet cockpit floor block moved forward.
  • changes to how the sail control lines are routed to the cockpit.
  • cabin top handrails
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Handrails in place on SAGECAT’s cabin top. The improved tabernacle post is also in place with new hardware to send the lines aft to the cockpit.

With two S15s ‘water ready’ we will now begin testing the boats at the same time to compare their performance similarities and differences.

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Catboat rig back on SAGECAT.

 

Video

Been a very busy six days …

After all the hard work the first Sage 15 SageCat has been launched and completed her first sea trail!  Here is a short, and quickly put together, video of the occasion –

I will post some details and pictures of the process shortly … right now we are getting the boat cleaned up and ready for her trip to the Annapolis Sailboat Show 8-12 October ’15.