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 10, 2007

To get to where I keep Tsunamichaser, I need to ride my bike and take a ferry. It's a great ride and I like getting to my boat that way. I have her holed up in a protected cove that use to be the home of the world's largest saw mill and the site of a busy ship building industry. Follow this link and you can see an image of it today - http://www.kitsap.biz/virtual_sample/blakely_harbor.htm. Today there are remnants of the the old tidal water mill they used to power equipment and many rotten pilings.
I've got Tsunamichaser anchored deep in the bay where she is away from the wind and other boats. As you can see in the photos below I can get my bike into one of the hulls. It requires removing the front wheel but thats all. If I took the seat off too I'd be able to put the bike well forward.
To get out to Tsunamichaser I launch my tiny dinghy, a Sevlor Trail Boat that weighs just two pounds. It's a great way to go though blowing it up gets you hyperventilating. Of course to get the bike and other stuff on board you just sail in onto the beach. Having put myself on the beach, I spent a few hours modifying some of the rigging issues that were not right from the shakedown. I added a turnbuckle below the roller furling. Easy to do as to support the mast forward, I simply swung the running backstays forward and cleated them off on the front beam cleats. I added a double upright lead block below the Staylocks for the main halyards and replaced the traditional cleat , at the mast bottom, that I was using to secure the down haul with a jam cleat. All these modifications corrected the issues I'd had and improved sail handing.
The weekend was one of those awesome late summer days that make the PNW great. Clear, warm and windy. The sailing was equally great. It was windy enough to require a reef in the main and one in the jib to avoid being over powered. With little onboard and minimal draft, I sailed straight out the harbor on a couple of tacks and entered the clear air beyond. The other boats out sailing were having a good time of it so way ver powered for the conditions and struggling to reduce sail.
Tsunamichaser really flies. I'm super impressed. With the rudders humming and the wind on the beam I made quick work of getting to my planned anchorage for the night. Part way there I decided to see if I could get fuel in a little place that has a dock and boat ramp but little else. There's a store there too but sadly they've given up selling fuel so back I ran to my anchorage. I anchored of Blakely Island behind a nice sandy split to the northwest but ran up onto the beach first. I really like this feature of going right up onto the beach. After hanging out on the beach and talking with some campers I pushed off and threw the anchor over in six or so feet of water, feathered the rudders so she would get pushed off shore by the current and enjoyed the evening aboard. Blakely is a pretty popular spot with boaters so I didn't have it to myself but I was plenty far enough away from other boats.
Unusual for Puget Sound the wind did not lay down through the evening. Towards morning it even picked up and so I ended up on deck fiddling with lines that were making a racket. Then back to bed to dream of some sailing fantasy to the south. I woke and got up with the sunrise excited to go for an early morning sail. The wind was humming at 18-20 with gusts into the mid-twenties so figuring I'd be taking some spray over the bow, I geared up in my drysuit. It turned out to be a wise move as I was taking spray over the whole boat while beating to windward. With the washboards in and the hatches closed, no water came below to my surprise. The current was ebbing and was right against the wind so the waves were stacking up into a short choppy sea of about four footers. Once again I was hugely impressed with how she sails. Not once did I experience the dreaded hull slapping even though I was burying the bows to the rails. The trampoline I made showed its second purpose during this sail in that it broke up the waves, as they hit, into a mist that dissippated before they hit the cockpit. With the wind at tweny I had a reef in the main and soon discovered that I needed a bigger one in the jib too. The camcleats were not holding the jibsheets which let go explosively a couple of times. A bit of a shocker the first time it happened. To prevent this I roller the sail into the second reef point and continued on bouncing over the waves. I experienced the 'hobby horsing' effect that some say detracts from the performance of Wharrams but personally I kind of like it. It's unusual but not detrimental. Sitting at the back of the cockpit it isn't that noticeable and for the most part it follows the waves.
Still in search of fuel for the outboard I sailed to Eagle Harbor skimming through the shallows beyond the channel as the low tide was in the negative numbers. At the public dock, a crowd was gathered around a keelboat that had tide up at the head of the dock at high tide and was now hard aground and leaning in over the dock. The guy was lucky as his mast was between the pilings that the dock is secured to. Otherwise he would have lost his rig. You had to duck to get under his stays at one point. There is no fuel near the dock so I loaded a gas tank in my backpack and one on the back of the bike and pedalled off in search of a gas station. I got some funny looks and some great comments at the Blackbird Bakery where I was sucked in for a coffee and a pastry.
The public dock has a time limit to how long you can stay and can get pretty busy on nice weekends so I left as fast as I could. With the wind holding me against the dock, I hand turned the boat until it was perpendicular to the dock - rudders in, gave a big push and jumped on. With a scurry into the cockpit I had the jib rolled out, the boat turned and off I sailed back to Blakely Harbor. Blakely use to be pretty much an uninhabited back water after the sawmill and boat yards shut down but these days it's becoming home to some big fancy houses. Luckily the old saw mill is a park now so access is still possible. As I was unloading my bike and stuff that was coming with me home, a fellow from the house right beside the park came stridding towards me purposefully. I wasn't sure what to expect when he said "is that a Wharram Cat?" As it turned out he wasn't there to tell me that I could anchor in the bay but rather to gam about boats. He introduced himself, said he was sad when I had sailed out the day before as he liked having boats in the harbor and got my number if there was any issues as he'd give me a call. He himself had a power cat that he uses for commuting to work and a very beautiful Aage Nielsen monohull that he sail off the dock with no fixed motor. He had removed the diesel and now had just a Torqueedo 2.0 electric outboard that he kept in the lazarette in case he got caught out on a windless night. It's powered by two big truck batteries that are charges with solar panels. We ended up talking about how cats will be the wave of the future and how great it was that I could carry my bike onboard. Now if only I could tow my boat behind my bike sort of like Colin and Julie Angus do. See: http://www.angusadventures.com/adventures.html After a good half hour of chatting he remembered he was suppose to be getting the boat ready for a sail and so trotted off across the beach to his boat. Nice to meet avid sailors who are also avid cyclists but then the two traditionally go together.


Tsunamichaser at anchor


Bike and boat - all the transportation you need!


Cooking dinner on the Jetboil


Sunset over the Olympics


Bike in boat

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