If you are a dreamer, a doer, a horizon viewer - come in! come in! Announce yourself and let it be known.
The seed of adventure has been sown.

The goal is to take this boat on a trip that no other Wharram boat has taken.
From Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories up the MacKenzie River to the Beafort Sea
and westward to the Bering Sea and south to the inside passage on the Alaska and British Columbia coast.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I feel like a chapter of my life has closed and I can't wait to turn the page and start the next one. Yesterday I sailed Tsunamichaser into a small bay where I have left her temporarily while I figure out what to do next. She is sitting deep within the bay beyond where others can go. To get home I tramped for two hours along country roads and then caught a ferry to the land where I live. It is the first time I have not been near by her for almost a year and it feels strange. This coming week I will try to find a home for her nearer home.

Partly I came home to my house as I had to get my daughter back for school and partly because I have a massive clean up to do. I have a trashed backyard to straighten up. I garage/shop that I left in tatters and a house with bits and pieces and tools everywhere. What a job. Worst of all we had two disasters happen while we were gone. The refrigerator stopped running at some point during the early part of the trip. For two weeks everything in the fridge and freezer cooked. My wife came home to a stench of death. She dealt with that! (trooper!). In the midst of that the sewer blocked. I guess the house felt jealous of all the attention the boat got. Today I snaked out the sewer - not a fun job but that solved the problem though there was an overflow of ripe sewage at one point. N ow I'm not digressing but I have been thinking about simplicity. That is what I like about the final assemblage of my Tiki 26. It is so simple and sails so well. With a few modifications it will border on comfortable. Everything is minimal. Lights - solar powered with integral solar panels. For task lighting - head lamps with rechargable batteries and a solar powered recharge panel. For mellower lighting - candles. Navigation - all handheld. Cooking - a camp stove and a JetBoil. Tools one small tool box, spares and equally small tool box, water a selection of water bottles including one three gallon jug and the rest 1 gallon or smaller stashed where ever. Food the same. There is pleny of room with all the compartments available. It is not space but weight that is the limiting factor.

Now I know that I have things to fix or modify. Some of it stems from the rush at the end. But by launching when I did I finished wondering what would be the best choice and got to the testing stage - way more informative.

On sailing, I am impressed by the performance of this boat. Who ever said a cat, particularily a Wharram cat can't point or tack doesn't know what they are doing. Yesterday was a nice breezy one (maybe 15 knots) in the afternoon. As I sailed from where I dropped off my daughter and personal gear, I sailed through the fleet out enjoying a Sunday afternoon sail. I was able to point higher and sail faster than the monohulls I snuck up on and then passed. To the crew of the generic 38-40 foot cruiser/racer who snickered as I had to back up to make a missed tack - yes I saw your jaws dropped as Tsunamichaser suddenly went from sailing backwards to leaping ahead enough that it threw me backwards and I looked on too in amazement at my rooster tails. Your sails probably cost more than my whole boat!

Late summer in the Pacific Northwest, particularily the inland waters, are fraught with light winds. The Nissan 6 pushed me for 17 hours to get home. Depending on the current, boat speed ranged from about 4 to almost 9 knots at 1/2 throttle. In those 17 hours, I burned about five gallons of gas. That amounts to about 1 liter per hour or less than 1/3 of a gallon per hour. It seems to be a good outboard for a Tiki 26.

What is spectacular about the Tiki 26 is how much bigger the ocean has become. In my keelboat, a Westsail 28, I needed to navigate carefully to avoid running a foul of the bottom. In the Tiki, it is more casual- relaxed even. You want to see what is happening in the shallows I wouldn't want to have an accidental grounding still but I keep it simple. I carry only a hand lead and otherwise rely on the signs all around. Kelp, color of the water, surface ripples. This is in touch sailing - read the elements instead of the instruments. Coming back I crossed a rocky bar that only kayakers would normally venture to explore. I floated in a bed of kelp marveling at the waters below. A little later I was rewarded, as the picture below shows of a grand visit. This majestic whale chose Tsunamichaser to explore. It came by swimming closely and surfaced just as it past the boat. I was stopped and drifting so my daughter and I could watch. With all these great experiences, that is how the ocean has become much larger. Large enough that I can't wait to venture out and explore some more.

A male Orca cruises by a drifting Tsunamichaser at less than fifty feet from the stern.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Ethnic Catamaran Company said...

The encounter with the orca must have been an amazing moment to share with your daughter (I have three, aged between 8 and 20!). It's stuff like that which excites me about getting to sea with my kids aboard the Tiki 38. Really enjoying the seagoing chapters of your narrative. Can't wait for more. btw, how comfortable (or not) did you find the 26 to live on for a while?

10:58 PM  

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