Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sucia Rendezvous, 2011

At one time I was interested in endurance bicycling. Perhaps it is time to renew that interest, it’s certainly helpful for stamina in general. One thing a solo cruiser needs, is stamina.

Take a small boat such as an eighteen-foot faering, open to the weather plus Neptune’s whims and place a man in late middle age.
My friend, Webb Chiles is an older man than I, with an impressive reserve of stamina. He still calls himself a force of nature.
I’d like to think of myself in those terms.

Even with the proper vessel a skipper can not abandon concern for safety. And a vessel must prove itself worthy.

SV Saga has proven herself worthy of her heritage.

(photo by Paul Miller)

During her recent voyage into Northern waters, Saga encountered unseasonable weather conditions, yet remained well-founded. What better recommendation can a skipper desire?
Perhaps a bit less rain and a tad more warmth.

In the Canadian Gulf Islands, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, wet weather comes from the southeast. Suffice to say that during Doryman’s last few weeks on the water, the prevailing winds were from the southeast This facilitated a couple of incredible downwind sailing days, but when the boat headed southward, it was a matter of endurance.

The depth of a wave is measured from the level of static water. So, if you encounter two-foot waves, the trough between the peak and the valley between the waves is four feet. Say for instance that you find yourself in a channel between islands and perhaps the wind opposes a strong tidal current. You have timed your presence there judiciously to coincide with just such a current. But now you find your little faering bucking the standing waves described above with a frequency of a few seconds. It’s true that every seventh wave is the biggest and the crash from the top of one wave directly into the top of the next will stop an eighteen foot boat in it’s tracks. Not to mention drenching the skipper in salt water (plus fresh, if it happens to be raining).
And we call this fun?

Well, it’s no amusement park.

It’s hard to say when a challenge is fun or just challenging. Certainly honing your skills at dealing with nature can be challenging and some would call you a fool for doing so. I certainly would not agree with this acessement, although the older I get, the less confidence comes naturally.

But I am still a force of nature.

As my friend Lou would say, “You’re tougher than I am”.
Or as Jamie could be heard to mutter, “Doryman is crazy”.

All for the love of a little open boat. The Valgerda fearing as designed by William Atkin is a well-founded boat. In tune with the elements and amazingly seaworthy. The critical question is “how fit is her skipper?”

How much can he endure?

Doryman is back safe and sound. A couple weeks of inclement weather were more than enough, thank you!
In the next few days we will review the voyage, but mind you – when conditions are extreme, the camera stays in the dry-bag.

Your visit will coincide with the calm between storms.

(the last two photos are courtesy of Ron Mueller)


Brandon Ford said...

Nice to have you back! I look forward to the rest of the story.


robert.ditterich said...

Looking forward to the gory details. Welcome back.