Voyage 1

Anacortes, Washington to
San Francisco, California

July 9-18, 2017

Day 1 – Sunday, July 9th

I departed Skyline Marina, Anacortes, Washington, a little before noon.  The wind was light, so my speed was mostly 4-5 knots.  I sailed to Smith Island, which is just off the west coast of Whidbey Island.  At dusk, I anchored for the night.

Day 2 – Monday, July 10th

I discovered it’s not easy trying to sail westbound through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The winds were light again today and were mostly from about 285º, which was the direction I was trying to sail.  I had to tack back and forth across the strait.  My distance today was about the same as yesterday.  At dusk, I anchored off the coast of Sequim, Washington.

Day 3 – Tuesday, July 11th

Slow going again today.  It took me half a day to get into the middle of the strait. I sailed a little longer today. I finally anchored at a little after 9:00 PM, off the coast of Sooke, BC.  It started to get foggy, so it was a good place to stop for the night. 48º 21′ N 123º 47′ W

Day 4 – Wednesday, July 12th

My cats were restless this morning, so I was up early. I raised anchor before 7:00 am. The wind was light again today, 2-4 knots most of the day.  I hoped that, when I got out of the strait, the wind would pick up. At about 9:30 PM, I was nearly out of the strait. I anchored southeast of Tatoosh Island. 48º 22′ N  124º 32′ W

Day 5 – Thursday, July 13th

I was up early again this morning.  I raised anchor and headed for the open ocean. Wind was 7 knots right away this morning. It looked like a good sailing day. Once I actually got off the coast of Washington, I expected the wind speed to pick up. It didn’t. For most of the afternoon, the winds were light, around 3 knots. I would have to wait until I reached Oregon to take advantage of better winds. It was looking like that would be Saturday, maybe.

Day 6 – Friday, July 14th

I sailed all night, letting the auto-pilot keep me on course. This morning, the wind was stronger, but it was coming directly out of the north. That’s directly astern, which means the boat doesn’t go as fast. I decided to try westing a bit. I got more speed, but then it took me off course. I ended up making some good distance today. The wind settled to the northwest, which allowed me to set a course of 180º.  At the start of the day, the GPS said 5-6 days until the next waypoint. In the evening, the estimate had dropped to 3-4 days. I had clear blue skies as well today. At 8:30 PM, I passed the mouth of the Columbia River. Tomorrow, I would be sailing off the coast of Oregon.

Day 7 – Saturday, July 15th

I slept in a bit this morning. I sailed about 60 nm last night and found myself between Portland and Salem this morning. The wind picked up in the afternoon. It got up to as high as 6.5 knots at times. I had to adjust course to about 190 later in the afternoon because the wind was too direct astern. GPS said about 2 days to the next waypoint.

Day 8 – Sunday, July 16th

Last night, the wind really kicked up. The cats were restless, so I was up a couple of times during the night. I checked the helm. The ocean had been smooth for the past week, but not today.  The boat was rocking and rolling.  I made a couple of heading adjustments. The wind was 18-25 knots and the boat was making 7-10 knots. At around 1:00 PM, I caught sight of another sailboat about half a mile behind me.  It turned to starboard and it was not long before I was pulling away.  I had him on radar.  The distance between us continued to increase until it went off scope. By 1:30 PM, I was doing a steady 8-10 knots. I expected to reach abeam the California border later this afternoon. I set the helm to continue past the next waypoint and figured I’d readjust in the morning, if necessary. It was still very windy and rough seas.

Day 9 – Monday, July 17th

I was up at 5:00 AM. I was past the last waypoint, before the turn to the southeast toward San Francisco.  By about 3:30 PM, I hadn’t made very good time. I was still 7 hours from the next waypoint, outside the bay. I continued the downwind run. I was close enough to the coast where I could see land. It was my first sight of land in several days. I arrived at Point Reyes at about 11:15 PM. I decided it would be best to anchor in Drake Bay instead of trying to get into San Francisco Bay in the dark.  I figured I’d get a good night sleep, and then head into San Francisco Bay in the morning. It was nice to be anchored after several days of continuous sailing.

Day 10 – Tuesday, July 18th

I was under way again before 8:00 AM. Only about 35 miles to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. I figured I should be there a little after noon. Unfortunately, real life sometimes interrupts my simulator life. I was sent out of town for work, so I could not watch the boat sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. I set the auto-pilot and I arrived safely at Fisherman’s Wharf by mid-afternoon. My trip from Anacortes to San Francisco took a total of 9 days. I had a few days that I didn’t sail for 24 hours straight. In San Francisco, I planned to resupply, repair and refresh for a couple of days. Next trip, sailing to Hilo, Hawaii.