Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sailing to Poulsbo

This weekend I decided it would be a good idea to spend the night in Liberty Bay, aka Poulsbo. First of all, here's the wind that was detected at West Point (the lighthouse at Discovery Park, for you landlubbers):

This is what meteorologists refer to as "jack shit". I knew this was in the cards, as the forecasts had called for high pressure and (therefore) light air.

This presents certain challenges for an engineless vessel. One thing's for sure -- you've got to time the currents right. Luckily, these are much more predictable than the weather!

I shoved off at 8:30AM on Saturday. There was a light Southerly which blew me across the Sound towards Port Madison. The wind got spotty as I entered the lee of Bainbridge. I rowed and sailed as the wind allowed, making my way towards Agate Pass. The current would begin being in my favor at 10AM. (Ie, slack current was 10AM, followed by a 1 kt flood through Agate). Look here.

Many hours of light wind sailing and rowing later, I was making my way towards Liberty Bay. There was a group of Scoters making their usual ridiculous noises.

I finally dropped anchor, drank a beer and ate some beef bourguignon. The view with my meal was great.

The schedule in the morning was a bit less friendly. There was a 5AM slack tide, which meant waking up at 4:30AM. I pulled anchor and was thrilled to get a light breeze - no rowing! Coffee was made. The sun rose.

Nothing like drifting along at 1.5 knots (rowing, "sailing", rowing, "sailing") will make you so excited to get an actual 6 knot breeze. It feels like a hurricane!

Look at those ripples! I think we're even heeling a bit.

Max ebb was 7:30AM, 2 knots. Good time was made. The wind started coming in from the NW enough that as I headed North towards the Agate Pass bridge on a port tack, I could pinch up a bit to avoid tacking my big ol' genoa. This is much easier to do with current on your butt. Here's what that looked like:

The current spat me into the Sound. Second coffee was made. The wind shifted (obviously it gets funneled by the topography at Agate), and I noticed that it was coming straight out of the East which is not common. The cold inland air was spilling towards sea level, creating offshore flow. I had to tack *across* Puget Sound which (again) is rare.

As the morning wore on, the Easterly pooped out. Some time went by and I noticed a wind line approached from the North. This was enough to get me home. Dock lines were made fast at 12:30PM.

Poulsbo is a great destination from Shilshole, since you are guaranteed to make port as long as you follow the tide cycle. For example, starting at Poulsbo on Sunday at 5AM, I had a 6.5 hour "battery" (ie, energy stored in the risen water) to propel me through Agate. As long as you row at 1 knot, you're going to make the pass. If there's wind, it's that much easier. Then you have the rest of the day to get across the Sound, which you're going to do eventually, even in this shit:


Anonymous said...

Engine-less, Are you crazy? You are violating every law of consumerism known to man :)Hope to cross you wake in the future.

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