Sunday, February 24, 2013

Passage Planning

Waiting is the hardest part. My mind was busy with coordinating moorage, insurance, final payments, delivery, my work schedule, and of course the trip down stateside to pick 'er  up. That would be the fun part, bringing her back.

I gave my friend Kinc the first right of refusal to come along for the adventure. He didn't refuse. So I guess he's my crew. I'm glad he's along for the ride. The plan would have us travel to Bellingham WA and take possession of the Corleto and set sail and head north. It sounds simple enough, how hard could that be? But these waters are somewhere I have not been to before, there was research and charts to be studied.

The sound of pencils, dividers, plastic parallels hitting the table got Charlene's attention.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"I am going to do some calculations and planning as to how we will travel from Bellingham north"
She left me to it and I spread Chart #3462- Juan De Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia. and began my passage plan.

I scratched notes and muttered to myself as I drew course lines and translated tide tables and currents. It was a task that has to be done and I took a great deal of satisfaction when I was finished. Surely the Coastal Nav course of last year was a big help. I sent the plan to First Officer Kinc for his opinion.
I had calculated that our trip to Point Roberts would be some 31 nautical miles and would involve 4 waypoints with course changes to avoid hazards on the journey.

Making my Passage Plan- photo by Charlene

He had taken the liberty of pre programming his marine GPS and wouldn't you know it, our course plots were damn near identical. This gave me confidence in my plan. All I needed now was to check the Marine forecasts and we will be off to the races.

As with so many good plans, mother nature lays them to waste. The routing was fine, but the forecasts called for Gale Force winds. This is not unusual for this time of the year, after all it's still winter. But we have had rather benign winter with little or no major storms.

I got the word from my perspective delivery skipper that the weather was suspect for the delivery window of Feb 22-25. This was the first setback since embarking on this whole adventure. It might mean I have to wait to get my hands on the tiller.
Then, what I thought was my second setback, my man Jack, who was going to deliver the boat had to back out. I now was faced with perhaps aborting the handover and postponing for a couple of weeks.
Before I could begin with making the calls cancelling Kinc, and time off, my phone rings and Dave the Boat Broker has already found me a new delivery skipper.

This was a good sign, the new skipper was a very experienced sailor in his own right as well as a marine designer and marine surveyor. What luck.
His name is Richard and his plan was to leave on a favorable tide in the wee hours of the morning and have the Corleto in Bellingham before the end of the day. He would call and update his progress as he set a course up the Rosario Strait north toward Bellingham. As it happened, he would set out on the morning of Feb. 21.
I ended up with a wicked head cold as a result of an earlier road assignment. When Richard called on route, I was hopped up on cold meds. He explained to me that a bilge pump had failed and that there was "considerable water" in the bilge. In my state I thought that the boat was about to become a submarine and that I would be the proud owner of Das Boat and my adventures would be of the underwater kind. Needless to say Thursday was an anxious day.
When Richard called from the Bellingham dock, he told me that the boat had performed "very well" and that the bilge thing was more of a piss off than a major problem. That "she was not taking on any water" and was nicely tied up at the pier. The problem with the pump was likely a fuse and that the water was likely a bad check valve. All things that can easily be repaired or at least dealt with before the journey to Point Roberts.

Rechecking the Chart- photo by Charlene

But my imagination coupled with my lack of sleep would get the best of me. The wait to get to Bellingham taxing, the weather forecasts have been less than promising. I was beginning to think that when I get there all that would be showing is the top of the mast at the slip. Fortunately its only my mind playing tricks on me. And what snapped me out of it, reviewing my passage plan, re-calculating and redoing tide predictions. It has me focused on the task at hand.

And that task begins tomorrow at 07:00.

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