This poor neglected boat sat patiently for over a decade before I found her. For a year and a half I treated her like a part time job, averaging 3 to 4 hours a day working on her. I’d hate for something to break right now. The chop is too severe to operate my outboard above quarter throttle. I’d make it back to shore, but it would be a long, painful day. But I’m not worried. She’s got this. I have faith because I’ve tested her. I’m just along for the ride. The sails and autopilot move to constantly correct each other and I just let Solace do her thing.
And now here we are. The picturesque mountains of the Sunshine Coast loom above my bow.
The morning of the race, I left an hour before the first wave of racers. I was sure to get around the bottle neck pass between Saltspring and Prevost Islands (what’s it called? It’s not marked on my chart) and get as far out of the main course on Trincomali Channel as I could before throwing up the sails and catching a sweet breeze north. Inevitably the entire racing fleet passed me. It was amazing to see all those sailboats on the water at once. I felt like I had ringside seats. It was my closest experience to date with sailboat racing.Eventually the wind died down and I was stuck bobbing around in the doldrums with the racers. This is why ‘sailboat racing’ has always struck me as an oxymoron. Thanking myself for not being a racer, I fired up the engine and continued riding the flood tide north. I made it to Clam Bay, a popular stop-over anchorage that I used a couple times last year. The next morning I rode the same flood tide all the way to Nanaimo where I anchored behind Newcastle Island.
Just past Silva Bay my engine started sputtering. After fiddling with it for a bit, I was pretty sure it was the fuel filters. I throttled down and was able to make it to Newcastle Island at about 1/3 throttle. I changed out both fuel filters and could see a thin film of varnish on the first filter. Looks like I’m still working the bugs out of the tank. I restocked supplies in Nanaimo and met Ken, owner of S/V Full Circle, while anchored there. Full Circle is a beautiful boat that he picked up for cheap as a neglected cast-away that he’s spent a significant amount of time restoring.
After carefully picking my tide and weather window, I set out across the ominous Strait of Georgia, which brings us back to the beginning of this post. The adventures continue next week…