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Thread: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

  1. #1
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    Default Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    A year and a day after I ended my 2017 trip in Fire-Drake down the north side of the Inside Passage at Port Hardy on the north end of Vancouver Island, I am back. The year before Yeadon and I had come from the south, as far as Telegraph Cove. Astute observers will note that Port Hardy and Telegraph Cove are separated by about 35 nautical miles, by water. So, there was a gap in the IP that I hadn’t crossed with my own boat. It rankled a little even though the Inside Passage is an arbitrary designation, a notion with no objective reality on the water in terms of beginning and end points. But, the gap in the middle in terms of my own journey is real and so I am back to cover that gap and, while I am at it, carry on down Johnstone Strait and end up at my friends’ place on Quadra Island, across from Campbell River.

    Readers of the thread about the 2017 trip will recall that I mentioned that I am now dealing with atrial fibrillation. Before the afib situation, I had always believed that age was just a number. I had persuaded myself that if I just stayed fit, just continued to push myself, I could keep doing this sort of extended physical endurance thing for another couple of decades at least – I could cheat the aging process. But, I guess I’m really no different than anyone else – my past and my age-related infirmities have caught up with me. After more visits to the cardiologist and thinking about it over the winter, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that, in order not to aggravate the afib, I really shouldn’t do weeks-long trips that involve multiple days where I am rowing 6-9 hours each day. So, I have fallen completely from sail and oar grace and bought a little outboard motor, a Yamaha 2.5 HP 4 stroke, for those days where the wind fails completely. I’ve built a little demountable clamp/bracket thingy to hang it off the gunwhale midships and which allows me to yank the motor off and stow it on the floorboards when sailing. I may have to travel with a bag over my head when near other sail and oar boats now, but if it’s a case of not going at all or going with a kicker, a kicker it is.

    Kicker


    I am apprehensive about the trip, as immediately out of Hardy Bay there are some big waters, which as Yeadon put it, are “very energetic”. Get the weather wrong and there is not a lot of shelter for quite a distance once you’ve committed to going south. Then there are the likely big winds a little further south in Johnstone Strait, with the forecasts routinely issuing strong wind warnings for the afternoons in the stable high pressure pattern such as I am facing for the next week or so. The currents in Race Passage and Current Passage (I wonder how they got those names?) on either side of Helmcken Island can produce strong eddies, upwellings, whirlpools, rips and general tidal weirdness.

    Finally, near the end of the planned trip, there is the gauntlet of Seymour Narrows. Tidal streams can run up to 16 knots there in full flood or ebb. The BC Coast Sailing Directions have this to say about Seymour Narrows: “Caution – mariners are advised to navigate Seymour Narrows only at or near slack water if their vessel is of low power, towing other vessels, or is a small vessel under 20 m long. Fatal accidents have occurred to small vessels when attempting to navigate this narrows when the tidal stream is running at full strength.” It goes on to say “Small vessels have been capsized with loss of life while navigating Seymour Narrows even near slack water and in reasonable conditions. They were in light condition with considerable top weight. Precautions should be taken to maintain adequate stability and trim even when planning to transit at slack water. All crew members should be alert and ready to cope with any emergency.”

    So, Fire-Drake in Seymour Narrows:
    Under 20 metres long? – check, in fact under 20 feet long.
    Of low power? – check.
    Considerable top weight? – not really, should be OK there as long as I don’t stand up.
    Ready to cope with any emergency? – I hope so, I’ll find out if one happens.

    Is it any wonder I am nervous? I think my best strategy will be to get going early, when the probability of the wind being light is the highest, make the best time that I can, and be prepared to get off the water early if/when the wind comes up. Kind of like summiting by noon for mountaineers.
    I set the alarm for four thirty and when it goes I stick my head out of the tent and see thick fog in the pre-dawn dark. Turn over and go back to sleep. Awake again an hour later. This time it’s a little lighter out and I can see that the fog has thinned and lifted a little, it’s no longer down to the water and it’s dead calm. No excuse now, I get up. Anxious not to lose the tide, I pack up without breakfast and get all the gear stowed. The kicker starts on the second pull and I am motoring away from the dock an hour after getting up.

    The cloud is low and thick, like fog that hasn’t quite made it down to the water, but underneath it, visibility is good – at least ten miles. Motoring along out of Hardy Bay I munch on a clif bar and chew on some chocolate-covered coffee beans, brought along for just such coffee-less exigencies. There are lots of other boats around, even this early – commercial boats, hopeful recreational fishermen.

    Port Hardy receding behind me


    Coming through the Masterman Islands off the peninsula that forms the bay, I have a choice when heading south. I can go wide of the islands that form Beaver Harbour, or go inside, which will be a little longer but more sheltered, if I need it. I opt for inside as I want to check out Patrician Cove, which has been pointed out as a possible anchorage in a northwest blow. Beaver Harbour also fronts on to the site of Fort Rupert, a Hudson’s Bay Company fort established in 1849, one of the earliest on this part of the coast. There was a short-lived attempt at coal mining, before they gave it up and moved operations to Nanaimo further south. The present day Fort Rupert village is a historic Kwakwaka'wakw village.

    When I get to Patrician Cove, there are two boats at anchor that look like they have been there overnight, and were probably there during yesterday afternoon’s wind, so it looks like a good anchorage to know about. I am surprised to find boats anchored on the south side of Peel Island, which is a much more exposed location, and I would have thought open to swell and wakes from out in Queen Charlotte Strait. However, they are bigger boats so perhaps not as affected as would be a smaller boat.

    Patrician Cove


    Once out of the shelter of the islands, I am completely open to the Strait, which is about thirteen miles wide at this point. There is a long low swell, but visibility is still good and the little outboard is running fine. With the engine running at about a quarter to a third throttle, I am making about three and half to four knots over the ground, according to my GPS. Some of that is no doubt due to the flood tide. The outboard runs its tank dry after about three hours and I refill it from the jerry can. It has carried me about nine-ish miles on a litre (roughly a US quart) of gasoline, at this speed. Shortly after I start the motor, a light wind comes up from out in the strait. This is it, I think, and I stop the motor, stow it and raise the sails. I am moving nicely, not as fast as the motor, but it feels good to be sailing. There is some sea life around. A Harbour Porpoise puts in a brief appearance above water, there are clumps of Rhinoceros Auklets about and I see a solitary Loon and later a lone Wester Grebe. After half an hour of pleasant sailing the wind, instead of strengthening, dies away altogether. I drift hopefully for ten minutes but can see no wind approaching and the water surface goes back to being smooth and oily. Down sails, install motor on gunwhale and start ‘er up.

    Malcolm Island in the distance off the port bow


    The rest of the morning wears away as I motor along the Vancouver Island shore, which seems interminable. I pass Polaris Materials’ Orca Sand and Gravel terminal where a freighter is being filled with gravel from the nearby quarry. It is a partnership with a US company and the ‘Namgis First Nation, bringing economic benefits to a community otherwise short of them. Gravel for concrete aggregate is surprisingly hard to come by. This facility ships gravel as far away as California and Hawaii. If you are going to transport heavy materials like sand and gravel long distances, at least shipping is the least energy-intensive way to do it.

    Freighter loading at Orca Sand and Gravel terminal


    Finally Malcolm Island looms larger and larger on my port bow and I am alongside Pulteney Point, with its light station. Pulteney is one of the stations that reports on weather conditions for the coast guard continuous marine weather broadcast so it is like meeting an old friend to see the location and the red and white buildings of the station that I have heard about for so long. There is a little tidal turbulence off the point but it soon settles down and steadies to a bit of a push from behind.

    Pulteney Point light station
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Thanks, seems like a great trip. How fast is the fastest stable speed? My gut says it's 7.5 knots, that could work well to get you home safely.

    And'
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    Eventually, Singapore Slim will forgive you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Love the adventure, Alex. Thanks for sharing. You don't need my opinion but I think your decision was a good one. Age is a state of mind and it's interesting how that is affected by aging.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Thanks, seems like a great trip. How fast is the fastest stable speed? My gut says it's 7.5 knots, that could work well to get you home safely.
    Fire-Drake is essentially a displacement hull, with a design waterline length of about 15 1/4 ft. Using the standard wavelength formula yields a maximum hull speed of about 5 1/4 knots. That, or a little bit more, is about what I find in practice. Half throttle gets me there easily and full throttle just seems to dig a bigger hole in the water and hugely increases the rate of fuel consumption without increasing the speed noticeably. One half to one third throttle yields 3 1/2 knots to nearly 4 kts if it is flat calm and the fuel consumption is way down. There is a limit to how much fuel I can carry when out of reach of sources of re-supply. Besides, that speed is faster than what I could row and about average for reasonable sailing breezes, so I am quite happy to cruise at that speed.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Age is a state of mind and it's interesting how that is affected by aging.
    Jeff
    Jeff, I may finally have to admit that I have joined the ranks of old geezerdom and begin to act accordingly. I'll start practicing smacking my gums and relating a lot of "when I was a boy" stories.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Huh, I'm already there. Congratulations on not just giving up……….. and more strength to your arm.

    Your complaint may account for someone I knows' symptoms. Getting them to a doctor is another matter.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    With that new motor you could take a side trip deep into Port Neville. I found it to be a magical place. South of there I head for Green Point rapids, and east around from there. Johnstone Strait is ugliest from Kelsey Bay to Chatham Pt. Hope you had a great trip, trouble-free! / Jim

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    It is three more miles to Ledge Point off Port McNeill and it is past lunchtime. I am tired of listening to the outboard by this point, I have covered about twenty one miles, the tide is about to turn and besides, I want to see Port McNeill, so I turn in and head for the public marina, where I find a vacant piece at the jog of the main dock that is just the right length for Fire-Drake.

    Fire-Drake at the dock in Port McNeill


    I tie up and go up to the marina office, where I learn that for a few bucks added on to the moorage, I can have unlimited use of the shower. I go for it and emerge clean and a little cooler in the gathering heat of the afternoon. I head up into town to pick up a couple of items that I have forgotten. It seems like a nice little town, just the right scale for a pedestrian based out of a boat. Enough basic shops like grocery, pharmacy, restaurant, pub and marine-related businesses to help you out if you need them. I stop in a little coffee shop on my way back down to the boat. There is a glass-enclosed outside deck overlooking the water and I find a table right in the far corner in the shade. I get talking to the couple at the table next door who are exclaiming over a mega-yacht that is manoeuvering into position at the marina. It turns out they are from Portland, OR and have spent nearly a month vacationing here on Vancouver Island. They tell me they love it and volunteer, unasked, that they would be Trump exiles to Canada in a heartbeat, were it not for kids and grandkids back home in Portland.

    Back down to Fire-Drake, where I host lots of questions about the boat from other boaters walking by to and from their boats. I am the only sail and oar (plus OB) boat in the harbour. The local Bald Eagles have taken to roosting on the masts of boats in the harbour, in the absence of suitable trees.

    Eagle on tug mast


    The evening finally begins to cool as the sun gets toward the horizon. Warm temperatures like this are very uncharacteristic for the North Island, even in the height of summer.

    Day Two

    On these trips I can rarely sleep in, even if there is no cause for hurry in the morning. The forecast is for high winds later, but the waters immediately ahead are more sheltered than yesterday, so there is isnít quite the urgency today. Nonetheless I am awake at five and canít go back to sleep so I get up, make breakfast and coffee and, thus fortified, am under way before seven.
    It is calm again and, motoring out of the bay, the last high tide seems to have floated all kinds of debris off the beach, logs, bits of weed and a great profusion of various kinds of seaweed. Weather-wise, it looks like today is a repeat of yesterday, with low cloud but there is more patchy fog in view in the distance. At my ľ throttle setting, I am doing 3Ĺ kts at first but an hour and a half in to the day, the ebb current strengthens and I am down to less than 2 knots. I have been noticing vapour coming from the OB exhaust, which at first I put down to condensation in the cool and humid morning air. Then I start noticing that the water pump tell-tale stream isnít flowing as strongly as it was earlier. After thinking about this for a while (I am slow on the uptake this morning), I stop the motor and tilt it up to find slimy weed clogging the intake. I clean it out, start the motor again and hey, presto, lots of water flow again. Not sure how hot the motor was running, but it canít have been too bad as the engine was running at low load and the seawater temperature is cool here. I hope there has been no damage done.

    I can see fog banks ahead of me and out to sea but the visibility is still OK immediately ahead.

    Fog ahead and around


    As I approach Cormorant Island, the fog suddenly closes in on me and thickens up. I am not worried about my position because of my GPs, but I am worried that I am in danger of being run over by larger boats. In a small wooden boat, I suspect I donít present a very large radar target, assuming they even have radar.

    Thickening fog off Cormorant Island.



    I decide the best thing to do is to head into Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, as it is close, to wait there until the fog lifts. As I alter course toward the point at the west end of the bay, I suddenly hear the blast of a foghorn belonging to a large vessel. $h*! - itís the ferry! It sends chills down my spine as I canít tell exactly where it is coming from but it is probably close. I alter course even more to shave the point as the horn repeats itself, coming closer. Finally, the ferry looms out of the fog maybe a hundred yards away, but on a course that will pass me to starboard. It sweeps by and I follow it into the bay but it disappears into the fog before we arrive. I canít see the shore even though it is only about a ľ mile away. With only a cable or so to go, the breakwater in front of the public dock materializes and I motor in, shut off the OB and row into the dock.

    By the time I make my way up to the head of the dock, the fog has already begun to thin somewhat along the shore but it is still thick out in the bay and the Strait.

    Public Dock at Alert Bay


    With nothing to do but wait, I first have a snack and then head up into the town to see what has changed since I was last there eight years ago. Just down the road a hundred yards from the head of the dock is a coffee shop where I stop to grab some more caffeine and sit on the deck (sense theme here?). I use the time to update my journal and keep an eye on the fog. By the time Iím finishing my coffee, the resident no-see-ums have found me and are just irritating enough that I have to get up and move. Walking the length of the main drag along the water, I poke into a couple of shops and galleries and reach the end of the commercial area, I turn about and head back. I had thoughts of going to see the Uímista Cultural Centre. The centre was built in the 1980ís to house the returned cultural artifacts of the local First Nation that had been seized by government at a clandestine potlach, long after they had been declared illegal. I had seen it a couple of time before but it is well worth re-visiting. However, on the way back I see that the fog is rapidly thinning and lifting, unexpectedly, as earlier it looked like it was here for the day. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to travel while the wind is light and visibility is good, I hurry back down to the boat, cast off and motor out from behind the breakwater toward the Strait, where there is not much fog left at all.

    Colourful houses along Alert Bay waterfront
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Along the waterfront, I see one of the most ill-proportioned boats I have ever laid eyes on:

    Boat Ė is it coming or going?


    Itís a double-ender and it has sails and a wheelhouse, but somehow they all come together wrong. In fact, if it wasnít for the boom of the mainsail point aft (presumably), I wouldnít know which end was forward. It is, however, painted in jaunty colours, so it has a certain screw-you defiance.

    It is still calm as I come out of the bay into the Strait proper and I see a little fog ahead, off Telegraph Cove, but it lifts by the time I get there, about an hour later. The flood current has set in by now and is giving me a distinct boost in speed over the ground. The sun starts to come out as I motor past Telegraph Cove and now I have covered the gap in the previous two yearís trips, so first objective accomplished.

    Telegraph Cove as I motor by


    By the Blinkhorn Peninsula, less than two miles further on to the east, the sun is out completely. Immediately after that, I begin to see Harbour Porpoises everywhere. Some even get close enough that I can get pictures of them with my little point and shoot camera that sort of look like porpoises, not just dots on the water.

    Harbour Porpoise


    There are lots more Rhinoceros Auklets about, Iím beginning to see Pigeon Guillemots and even, to my surprise, one Storm Petrel actually sitting on the water briefly before it takes flight again.

    Eight miles beyond Blinkhorn is Boat Bay on West Cracroft Island, which I think will make a god destination for the day but before I get there, a good sailing breeze comes up. I stop the motor, stow it and raise the sails and now am sailing downwind in glorious sunshine. After an hour and a half of this the wind increases to the point where I have to put in a reef. After half of hour of the stronger breeze, it drops again but I donít trust it and leave the reef in. Sure enough, the wind comes up again and the reefed sail is just right.

    Downwind sailing in a fresh breeze


    Relaxed downwind helming, although the helmsman looks like he has a poker where the sun donít shine


    Itís a busy marine highway, although there is plenty of room to avoid the other boats. On a day like this, even towing a barge must seem like a good way to pass the time

    Seaspan tug towing empty self-loading log barge
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Readers of the thread about the 2017 trip will recall that I mentioned that I am now dealing with atrial fibrillation. Before the afib situation, I had always believed that age was just a number. [snip] After more visits to the cardiologist and thinking about it over the winter, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that, in order not to aggravate the afib, I really shouldn’t do weeks-long trips that involve multiple days where I am rowing 6-9 hours each day. So, I have fallen completely from sail and oar grace and bought a little outboard motor, a Yamaha 2.5 HP 4 stroke."
    You're a smart man for adapting to a different health picture, Alex. Fall from grace, phooey; I'm here to argue that your life is absolutely still a picture of grace, outboard bump or no. This is a wonderful thread and I admire the heck out of your achievements, have no wish to rain on this epic adventure.

    I've been living with a fib since 2003 (at 45) so know what it means to make decisions differently, get way too chummy with cardiologists (and hospitals), and redefine goals and expectations. Everyone here should know that a fib is a thunderbolt in life, a sneaky, unpredictable affliction that makes planning and expectations a matter of allowing that healthwise, the "perfect storm" does happen on your watch. As much as I appreciate the idea of a man shaking his fist at adversity and fate, the side of us that are husbands and fathers who want to be around in the future sets goals differently. So I'm honoring that just as much as your quest to live the sail and oar life with that amazing boat you conceived and built with your own mind and hands.

    There are a host of different ways to be on the water, and I hope you have time to discover many more of them. As a coda, you may find that the building side of small boats carries new meaning and satisfaction as you deal with changes in your health. Others can benefit as well from the knowledge and experience you've absorbed.

    Fair winds, Dan

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Thanks for the encouraging words Dan. Coming from someone who has experienced it, it means a lot.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    I haven't experienced it, but I am (trying to) recover from Lyme Disease. It's been a much tougher road back than I ever figured & have had to adjust a number of things in my life - particularly how long I can work outdoors in the heat.

    So - no stones thrown from here - you are out doing it - which is more than 99% of people do. Thanks for the pics & dialog - I'm enjoying the heck out of it!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Thanks for taking us on that journey. My hat is off to you. Very few people would venture out on such a journey in a small boat, with or without a motor. Without that outboard, it looks like you'd still be out there rowing! Not a whole lot of wind from what I can see. Throw a canvas bag over the top of the motor and paint the shaft to match the sheerstrake and hull colors. Total camo!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Fire-Drake is essentially a displacement hull, with a design waterline length of about 15 1/4 ft. Using the standard wavelength formula yields a maximum hull speed of about 5 1/4 knots. That, or a little bit more, is about what I find in practice. Half throttle gets me there easily and full throttle just seems to dig a bigger hole in the water and hugely increases the rate of fuel consumption without increasing the speed noticeably. One half to one third throttle yields 3 1/2 knots to nearly 4 kts if it is flat calm and the fuel consumption is way down. There is a limit to how much fuel I can carry when out of reach of sources of re-supply. Besides, that speed is faster than what I could row and about average for reasonable sailing breezes, so I am quite happy to cruise at that speed.
    I've vicariously enjoyed your journey, and have waited to reply to this. I wasn't suggesting that you travel at wide open throttle all the time. I just wanted to introduce the idea that auxiliary propulsion that can get you somewhere relatively quickly, is another arrow in your safety quiver.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    It is late afternoon and I am abreast of Forward Bay on West Cracroft. The next possible anchorage is at least a couple of miles away and the sailing directions say that it is a reasonable small vessel anchorage in northwest winds. Bay is rather an ambitious name for what turns out to be really just an indented jog in the shoreline, with some additional shelter provided by the off-lying Bush Islets. I drop the sails at the entrance to the small area between the islets and the main shore of the bay and row in. The anchorage feels more exposed than I would like, but although there is some wind swirling around the corner, it has no bite to it and the waves from the Strait donít really seem to penetrate. I step ashore for a few minutes to stretch my legs and then move out to anchor in about 12 feet of water.

    Forward Bay


    As the sun drops down towards the mountains of the Vancouver Island shore to the northwest in the evening, the wind begins to subside in fits and puffs, swinging round the compass as it does so. I had been worried about wakes from passing large vessels, such the ever-present Alaska cruise ships, finding their way into the anchorage, but the water is shallow enough between me and the Strait that it seems to damp them out and I donít feel the effect of them very much.

    Passing cruise ship


    On the main shore there is some sort of pocket catching what waves do come in, compressing and then expanding, sounding like the panting of some monstrous marine leviathan. The sky is still clear, not a cloud in sight and the air cools significantly as the sun finally goes behind the mountains.

    Day Three
    Before turning in, I set the mizzen to act as a weather vane and it does a good job of keeping the bow aligned with the small wind-generated wavelets. Eventually the wind ceases its swirling and settles into the north, from directly over the land, before dying away altogether. Up at 2 AM to pee, the full moon is a high, fuzzy blue-white ball in the gathering fog.

    I wake at 5 AM to fog but decide to get up and get ready anyway, thinking that if it was too thick after sunrise, I can always lie down again for a second sleep. Listening to the weather forecast and current conditions round-up at 5:30, although it is nearly calm here, it is already 17 knots at Fanny Island, 16 miles away and about where I will be in the afternoon if I head down the Strait. The forecast is for 20-30 knots in the afternoon, which is higher than I prefer to sail in, if I have a choice. Between the thick fog, a long ebb tide against me all morning, the strong winds already it doesnít seem like a good way to start the day. Looking at the chart, I think I can creep along the shore in the fog and get in to Port Harvey to wait for conditions to improve. Iíve never been into Port Harvey so this seems like as good a time as any to do so.

    Morning fog (again) leaving Forward Bay


    Motoring slowly out of the bay, I judge the visibility to be about ľ mile, maybe less. It is enough for me to keep the shoreline in sight as I maintain a safe distance off. The shore all along here is mostly rocky and steep-to, with no place to bail out if you needed to, even if you were in a kayak. I see lots of gulls flying low over the water, all heading north, to what rendezvous I canít imagine. Motoring, even at slow speed, definitely puts you at one remove from whatís happening, compared to sailing or rowing. The noise, although not chain-saw loud, is about 70-74 dBA according to the decibel meter app on my iPhone. I canít vouch for the accuracy of that, but it seems about right, as the app helpfully tells me that sound level is about that of ďloud singingĒ. Itís enough that you canít hear the smaller birds ashore. Even the crows and ravens are just audible (to me anyway, I have some measured hearing loss in the mid-range).
    You also miss most of nuances of current and wave compared to rowing. Rowing at 2-3 knots, youíre acutely aware of any change to current in your favour or against you. With a motor, itís more like viewing the scenery through smoked glass or trying to decipher a conversation through a closed door. Notwithstanding all that, Iím glad to be out here.

    Coming into the narrow part of Port Harvey, I am nearly alongside Mist Bluff before I can discern the Mist Islets opposite, which are only a couple of hundred yards away. The spot I had picked to anchor, behind the main islet, is occupied by a dock and float, so I come back to a micro-cove, still mostly in the lee of the wind which is now finding its way in. After I anchor, I am pleased to see a very healthy mature purple sea star on the rocks across from me. This is an encouraging sign of a comeback, after the devastation of the sea star wasting disease that wiped out most of them in the previous few years. Last year and the year before, while I had seen a few specimens, they were mostly smaller ones.

    Mature purple sea star


    As the fog dissipates in late morning the wind picks up and swirls into the cove more so I decide to move to the Port Harvey Marina further in the bay. It is less than ĺ of a mile away so I row the distance, needing at least some exercise. There are not many boats there this early and George Cambridge, the owner, welcomes me and I tuck in to a sheltered spot behind the main building. George and his wife Gail are rebuilding after the previous building sank or burned, I am not clear which. He is having a great deal of difficulty getting planning permission and is not happy about the industrial-scale barge repainting operation planned by his next-door neighbour, which apparently contravenes bylaws and official community plans. That kind of operation does seem out of scale for a remote cove with no road access and no major support infrastructure. If it goes ahead it will likely scare away most of the boat tourist traffic and destroy Georgeís business. George is taking the regional district to court to have it stopped.

    At the dock Port Harvey Marina


    I pass an uncomfortable afternoon. An episode of afib starts while I am eating lunch, followed shortly by the onset of a migraine. I swallow my meds, rig the tent as an awning against the heat of the sun and lie low for a couple of hours. The afib resets after an hour and a half, the migraine eventually recedes and I start to feel somewhat more human again. I go for a stroll ashore, in the tinder-dry forest behind the marina. Gail will provide supper if you let her know by mid-afternoon and I think not only do they need the business, it will be a chance to socialize with any of the other boaters who have come in and who decide to do the same.

    A couple of the boaters stop by to ask questions about Fire-Drake and one of them comments that it is blowing about 25 knots out in the Strait, which validates my decision to come in to the marina. At supper I sit down at a table already occupied by a couple. They have a large sailboat, which they keep in Seattle, although they now live in Wisconsin. They lived in Seattle for many years but moved to Wisconsin to be near family. So many people I know and have talked to live not where they would really prefer to be but where they are near family. They all have their priorities straight but I do wonder what the demographics of the continent would look like if everyone moved to where they say they would like to be.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Day Four

    The night was warm, much warmer than the previous night. Almost warm enough not to need a sleeping bag, which is very unusual for this part of the coast. Awake at quarter past five and under way by six thirty in the morning calm. There is some low and thick fog about in the inlet but it is not deep and I can feel and see the sun trying to come through.

    Sun breaking through the fog above the Transit Point


    Shortly after crossing the mouth of Havannah Channel, the fog clears away from the immediate surroundings and there is only a little bit of lingering fog in Johnstone Strait ahead.

    Broken Islands and Johnstone Strait


    My speed drops in half as I round the southern tip of the last Broken Island where the ebbing tide sweeps around the point. I will be facing the ebb all morning, but the norther shoreline is indented enough that I think I can make reasonable progress by working the eddies, same as I would if rowing. The forecast is for strong northwesterlies in the afternoon, but I figure Iíll get as far as I can before they get too strong.

    I work along the shore, averaging about 3 knots, watching the boat traffic out in the Strait. It is very busy this morning compared to yesterday. West of Port Neville, the Strait constricts before widening out again. At this point, the main inside passage channel turns southeast to pass by Hardwicke Island. I cross the Strait and hit the south shore just east of St Vincent Bight. Now I have wide open vistas into Blenkinsop Bay, up Sutherland Channel and of Fanny Island, site of the one of the main automated weather reporting stations and Yorke Island behind it. Yorke Island was the site of a WWII gun emplacement apparently, although I have not stopped to see it. Next trip. The wind remains calm and the sea smooth as I motor along the south shore. This stretch of shore can be bad when the NW wind opposes the outgoing ebb, but none of that is in evidence this morning.

    Calm along the south shore of Johnstone Strait opposite Sunderland Channel


    Approaching Kelsey Bay just after lunch, a breeze comes up, enticing me to stop the motor and raise sail. The wind dies as soon as I get past the bay though and I see no wind ahead, so it is back to the motor. I conclude that it was just a sea breeze caused by the heated interior of Vancouver Island drawing the air in off the water. The day becomes hot occasionally now, to the point where I have remove layers to just shorts and a T-shirt, but then it gets cool again and back on go the layers. This is the pattern for the afternoon.

    About this point, the tide switches from ebb against me to flood in my favour. The speed over ground really picks up. Iím averaging over seven knots for several miles and at one point the GPS shows me nine knots over ground. The wind still hasnít shown up and the water would be flat if it werenít for the tidal currents. The great mass of water, moving at least at five knots, seems placid at first but periodically great swirlings and rippled wavelets give a hint of the vast forces generated by so much kinetic energy.

    Race Passage waters


    I am past where I thought I might end up for the day and am nervous about the threatened wind. In this much heat, I am certain it will arrive with a bang. But the flood current is still boosting me quickly along. In fact the further I get east in the Strait, pretty much the later the turn back to ebb is. When will I ever get more favourable conditions? I press on, past Ripple Point, named for the potentially nasty conditions there, without a hitch. Iím within a couple of miles of Chatham Point now, another key reporting station and the tide still hasnít turned. The water now, as it approaches the point, displays some serious tidal weirdness, with lots of upwellings and sheer lines, throwing Fire-Drake about, but I am still being pushed strongly from behind so I crank up the throttle a little and power through, I see seine boat ahead, who swings wide around the point. Figuring that he probably knows what he is doing and that there is likely a lot of turbulence as the water turns through more than ninety degrees, I follow his line.

    As soon as I get properly around on the new heading south in Discovery Passage, it is like someone has turned on the furnace. The air temperature shoots up and all the layers come off again. Now the current finally turns against me and my speed slows to a relative crawl. It is late afternoon and I have come about forty miles so I figure I have earned the right to call it a day. I turn aside into the anchorage in Otter Cove, just south of Chatham Point. There is a power boat anchored there already in the spot I would have chosen, so I move off to the south a little, drop the lead line to check the depth and set the anchor.

    The wind still hasnít put in an appearance and the heat immediately becomes oppressive. I get out the tent and rig it between the masts as an awning over the cockpit. The shade is welcome and I relax and re-hydrate. After supper, sitting reading at quarter past seven, I am still in shorts only and not cool at all. This is a remarkable situation to me, that it should be this warm this late on this part of the coast. Fifteen minutes later, the north west wind finally shows up with a sudden rush in the trees ashore then it reaches across the water. Chatham Point is on a rather narrow peninsula and Otter Cove is just behind it, so the wind is not blocked completely, although the fetch is so short in the bay that there is no weight in it. I estimate that it is at least fifteen knots as it hits Fire-Drake at anchor. It is enough that the wavelets it generates ripple along the hull, making about the same chuckling noise on the laps as sailing at four knots would do.
    When the sun sets behind the trees, the sky is nearly devoid of colour. It is the palest blue overhead shading through gray to the merest hint of pink in the horizon. All at water level is turning to shadow now but 40,000 feet up the contrail of a jet, locked on to the great circle route to Asia, flares bright in the high sunlight before dissipating in the high, dry air.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Alex,

    thanks for the thread--not a fall from grace at all in my book. I'm glad to see you're still able to get out there.

    Firedrake looks enormous compared to Alaska--is that your impression as well? Significantly more freeboard, lots more volume. Definitely not the small side of sail & oar (plus outboard).

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Alex,
    Firedrake looks enormous compared to Alaska--is that your impression as well? Significantly more freeboard, lots more volume. Definitely not the small side of sail & oar (plus outboard).
    Tom
    You're correct Tom. Fire-Drake is a significantly bigger boat than Alaska. That was by design. There was a number of times in big water in my Alaska that I was worried about the freeboard, when I reefed way before I thought I should have to and generally wanted a boat that would stand up to its sail area better. I also thought that having built-in buoyancy that doubled as storage would be a good thing and I wanted to be able to sleep on the floorboards in rolly anchorages, which I seem to encounter more often than I would like.

    I've achieved all of that with Fire-Drake and with the increased volume comes the ability to provision for a much longer trip. The downside is that boats, like nature, abhor a vacuum and if you have more room you tend to take more stuff. A certain amount of discipline is called for. The other trade-off is that Fire-Drake will never row as easily or quickly as Alaska, even if I were young and strong again.

    I would basically characterize Alaska as a large rowboat that you can also sail reasonably well, Fire-Drake as an open sailboat that you can also row reasonably well.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    I so enjoy reading your accounts Alex, and glean a great deal from them. I have not yet traced the route on a chart but I will. The familiar and the unfamiliar. That stretch between Hardy and McNeil always struck me as desolate.

    As to the outboard, interesting to read about travel in this kind of boat in a somewhat different context.
    Cheers,
    Eric

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Better on the water with an outboard than in the shed with oars.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Day Five
    The usual pattern of the last few days of wind late going calm before dawn doesnít hold and when I wake at five, before dawn, it is still windy. Chatham Point light station reports ten knots, estimated. It feels at least that much here in Otter Cove. My goal for the day is to get down Discovery Passage to Seymour Narrows in good time to catch the turn to flood just after lunchtime. In thinking about how long it might take to get there if the morning ebb is strong, I decide I better leave early Ė better to arrive early and have to wait than arrive late and miss it.

    The predawn light to the northeast is absolutely sublime, the colour and progressive shading of the air looking like a veil of gauze is suspended in front of each successive hill. It has the appearance of a painting and I think it is early morning haze but discover later in the day it is due to forest fire smoke from both Siberia and California.

    Pre-dawn light to the northeast


    With the wind, I have no need for the outboard so I get the sails ready and as soon as the anchor is up I bear away and surge out of the cove. As I am leaving, a tug and self-loading log barge are just coming around Chatham Point and past the cove in the beautiful light as the sun makes its way above the mountains. I figure he is also heading for the same slack at Seymour Narrows.

    Tug and log barge at sunrise


    I am out of the cove and heading south at a good clip but about a mile down the passage, the wind that was coming over the point dies away and I slow then start actually moving backwards on the ebb, even though I am sailing forward. Reluctantly, I drop the sails, mount the outboard and begin motoring. Once again it is a morning of working the eddies along the Vancouver island shore to make the best progress, speed over ground varying between two and four knots.

    I have nearly come to terms with the outboard. I have begun to think if it as being akin to a motorcycle I owned in my youth, albeit a slow speed one. The constant drone of the motor is like a long motorcycle road trip. Eventually it becomes mostly background noise and you can start to take in more what is around you and so it is this morning. It is a beautiful morning in the sun with the light dancing off the wavelets generated by passing boats and point after point slips behind me.

    Sunny morning in Discovery Passage


    I am in fact early when I approach Separation Head north of the Narrows. I am on the Vancouver Island shore but want to pass over to the east side and wait in Plumper Bay. The ebb is still running strongly but I judge that there will be a significant back eddy or at least shelter, behind the bluff that is north of Brown Bay. I plan to creep up to the bluff and when my speed drops, to ferry across to the bay on the other side. At this point I am more than a mile north of the Narrows proper and the channel widens out considerably so I think I should be OK. The chart indicates currents of up to four knots but I wonít be trying to stem it directly, just ferry across it. What the chart doesnít indicate is the swirls, eddies, upwellings and whirlpools that develop. I have the throttle cranked so as not to dawdle and am trying to read the water but am thrown around and at one point a small whirlpool suddenly develops right beside me. I am instantly spun ninety degrees and then just as quickly spun back again as I am out of it, before I can react. Heart racing, I power through the rest and in about ten minutes am out of the current into the calm of the bay.

    It is a different world, calm but stinkiní hot and I stop on the beach to stretch my legs, but the beach is soft slurpy mud and covered in eel grass which attracts flies so I donít linger.

    Fire-Drake in Plumper Bay


    I move out and anchor, take out my umbrella for shade and settle down to eat lunch and wait for the turn. The heat becomes oppressive so I am stripped down to just my shorts again and basically just sit and vegetate. There is a chorus of complaining gulls on the opposite shore of the bay and immediately ashore I can hear a Pileated Woodpecker performing major wood removal on a dead tree. There is a lone seal in the bay who drifts with the counter-clockwise current and checks me out as he goes by.

    Show time. I top the fuel tank on the outboard, stow anything loose and start moving across the bay, aiming to get to the beginning of the Narrows about twenty minutes before turn. The Narrows are about two miles long and I am hoping to arrive at the halfway point at the predicted time of turn. I literally have sweaty palms as I arrive at the point and have trouble gripping the tiller. My heart is racing again but nothing is to be gained by hesitation and I crank the throttle to hull speed and charge into the Narrows. Glancing at the GPS, I seem to be only losing a knot or so to the last of the ebb. Everybody and his dog is transiting the Narrows at the same time, including my friend on the tug pulling the loaded log barge, who I saw at dawn. He has timed it perfectly and I think ďHe has done this before!Ē

    There is a lot of turbulence but it is manageable. The worst thing is the large powerboats, including a large police patrol boat, that power through at much higher speed than I am making, and their wakes leave standing waves in the current. These induced waves are worse than anything that occurs naturally and I bucket up and down passing through them. I donít take on any water though and continue hammering through. I look back at the tug and see that the barge is getting swung to one side and then the other of the tug. In the picture I manage to snap, the tug is pointing his bow directly at me but the barge is at a twenty degree angle to his starboard. Five minutes before it was twenty degrees to port. And this is at ďslackĒ.

    Tug and log barge in Seymour Narrows.


    After what subjectively seems an interminable time, but objectively, when I check my watch, is only twenty-five minutes, I am passing the quick-flashing red light on Maud Island marking the southeast entrance to the Narrows. Iíve done it, Iím through!

    Or am I? All that water immediately makes a hard left turn in the channel that is only a mile and a half wide then makes a hard right in another mile and a half at Race Point. Menzies Bay opens out to the west of the south entrance to the Narrows and causes the fast-moving water to swirl about before it rejoins the rest of the mass moving east. The rips and eddies continue and I give Race Point a wide berth, heading for the Quadra Island shore as quick as I can. I have a whole new level of respect for both the commercial tug operators who have to do this in all weathers, and the R2AK racers, who have to do it without the benefit of fossil fuel, hoping for a decent wind or relying on muscle power.

    It is only now, heading south, that I can really notice the effect of the flood tide on my speed over the ground. A moderate breeze comes up from the south and, added against my speed, cools everything right down to the point I have to shrug on the jacket again. I keep the throttle cranked and rattle and bang through some wind-against-tide chop as I come alongside the Copper Cliffs. Turning in to Gowland Harbour, out of the wind, the temperature shoots back up and I have to de-layer right back to shorts again. The motor chooses this moment to run out of gas so I stop and fill the tank. It has only lasted an hour and half at the speed I was running it, a valuable data point for the future. I motor on in flat water and waves of heat coming off the land to the inner harbour. I arrive at the dock of the home of my friends, who have been watching my satellite tracker progress and have come down to help me tie up and to greet me with cool drinks and munchies. It is a wonderful welcome and a fine end to the trip.

    Journeyís end
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Better on the water with an outboard than in the shed with oars.
    My sentiments now, exactly.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    That stretch between Hardy and McNeil always struck me as desolate.
    Eric
    Eric,
    It is very exposed to Queen Charlotte Strait and on a gloomy day it does indeed feel desolate. On a sunny day, the whole area feels different. Last year, sailing fast across the Strait from the north in a brisk beam wind and in the sun, it felt exhilarating.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    With all that water trying to move to and fro, I wonder if a slack ever truly exists there. More likely there are probably local mini-slacks occurring at different times and places. In any event, transiting in a small craft must be interesting, to say the least. Alex, having done this now, if you were to become fit enough to do the transit via oars, would you?

    Thanks for sharing this adventure.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    With all that water trying to move to and fro, I wonder if a slack ever truly exists there. More likely there are probably local mini-slacks occurring at different times and places. In any event, transiting in a small craft must be interesting, to say the least. Alex, having done this now, if you were to become fit enough to do the transit via oars, would you?

    Thanks for sharing this adventure.

    Jeff
    Jeff, I don't think the water in Seymour Narrows is ever "slack", in fact the tide tables don't use that term, they say "turn" instead, which I think is much more accurate. My observation was that the water quit opposing me and then it didn't, maintaining its chaotic turbulence all the while.

    As for being fit enough, I'm fit enough now when my heart isn't fibrillating. I had a stress test recently and they told me I had the heart of a 30-year-old in terms of capacity. The issue is that if I continue to do long duration high level aerobic activity, it is highly likely to increase the frequency and probably duration of the afib episodes and if that happens then its probable that the afib will no longer be episodic (paroxysmal in medical terms) but continuous. Which I would like to avoid.

    So, would I do it under oars, were that not a consideration? Yeah, I would like to give it a go. It would be a challenge.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Thank you for posting all of this Alex. I enjoy it very much, and your writing is so easy to follow.

    Regarding the a-fib, I think I mentioned this in a previous travel thread of yours, but here it is again.

    I, too, have been living with it for quite a while now, anywhere from 3 per day, which is exhausting, to only once per week. While you were on your trip I was camping and bombing around in a 14 foot aluminum boat right across the island from you. Have lots of pics and will post them soon, but the fibrillation never happened. That's because, for me at least, it seems to be positively correlated to whatever stress I'm feeling. Things that went unnoticed for me a few years ago are now mildly stressful. Go figure, but the lesson is that I should spend more time out there.

    The only meds I take are aspirin whenever I have an "attack". I use the aspirin because it will help to avoid the clotting that fibrillation can cause. I don't take other meds because I have seen so many people adversely affected by beta-blockers and SRIs and heavy duty anti-coagulants. I've tried them all, but beta blockers and/or SRIs slow me down way too much, and anticoagulants leave me too prone to bruising. So far so good, but it is obvious that the longer this goes on the more often it occurs, as you say.

    Something that seriously aggravates the condition for me is the theobromide, a pretty strong stimulant that is in chocolate. When I read of you chewing chocolate coated coffee beans, which contain caffeine as well, my heart skipped a beat. You might do well to wean yourself of stimulants, which are stress agents in themselves.
    Keep on truckin', dude.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Gib,

    Thanks for the tips on the stimulants. So far I haven't seen any direct correlation between them and the afib. In fact I went 9 months between last September and June without any episodes, without any change of routine, and then they started up again. But, painful as it may be, it might be worth a try to forego them for a while.

    I hear you about the bruising. Before the anti-coagulants, I practically had to lose a limb before I would show a bruise. Now, if anyone so much as looks at me, I bruise. The uniformed might suspect me of being victim of spousal abuse.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Great notes Alex, thanks for sharing them.

    Any thoughts on putting an outboard well in Fire Drake ala Drascombe Dabber?

    Cheers
    Kent

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Thanks for this thread, Alex. I'm 67, and I've been having a lot of trouble with pain in my right shoulder during the last six months. Reading about your situation, and those of some of your other readers, has given me a real feeling of the normality of my current status. This is a wonderful thing, as the recent changes in my physical ability have been a deeply disturbing development, one that I have probably upset myself over excessively by doing straight line projections of a dramatically and unhappily diminished future.

    I am grateful for your courage, flexibility, and honesty. I'll be seeing my primary care doc in a couple of days, and hope to start getting some clarity on what is going on there.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Hey Chris, sorry to hear about your shoulder troubles. I can relate to that too. I had an ankle swell up on me suddenly a little over a year and a half ago, triggered by no specific incident that I could identify. Couldnít walk for a week. It has taken me over a year and a half of physio, trips to specialists and impatiently waiting for it to heal to get it sorted out. I figured I would never be able to run again, which was a depressing thought, but I am finally working my way slowly back into it.

    The other thing that I am slowly coming to realise is that while none of us get out of this alive, I think we have to do our best to maintain our health through best behaviours and things that we can control. After that, the thing is to focus on what we still can do, not to mourn excessively what we no longer can do, due to advancing age and accumulated infirmities (donít know about you but I am adding at least one per decade). Although it still pisses me off that I canít do some things I used to be able to. Canít help but mourn a little, just donít let it dominate your life.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by signalcharlie View Post
    Great notes Alex, thanks for sharing them.

    Any thoughts on putting an outboard well in Fire Drake ala Drascombe Dabber?
    Cheers
    Kent
    I thought about it briefly, Kent but I am not sure where I would put it. Maybe I just donít have enough imagination but most of the likely locations seem to me to have fatal flaws.

    Further aft would seem to make sense but the buoyancy/stowage compartment is there and it would have to be compromised pretty severely to stick a well in it. It would lose the volume of the buoyancy and if I made a slot in the transom for the OB to kick up, there goes the aesthetics as far as I am concerned.

    Ahead of the compartment bulkhead would be another location but I find that location to be too useful for moving around when sailing, as living space when the tent is up, and as the location of the foot stretchers when rowing. I still row the boat a fair amount, just not all day on long trips.

    A well further forward alongside the CB case, for example, would also severely compromise the rowing position.
    The final objection I have to a well is one that showed up on this trip. If/when the cooling water intake is fouled by weed, it is pretty handy to be able to just tilt the motor up to clear it. A well, unless it is made really long to accommodate tilting, and thus be even more intrusive, means that you have to lift the motor out to get the intake.

    The current arrangement, with the OB being mounted when in use and de-mounted and stowed alongside the CB case, actually works pretty well, it just means the sail/motor/sail transitions arenít as fast as sail/oar transitions.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Olympia, WA, USA
    Posts
    2,123

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    ...if I made a slot in the transom for the OB to kick up, there goes the aesthetics as far as I am concerned.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one to sometimes consider brute pragmatism secondary to aesthetics. Then again, I haven't even managed to figure out a good way to mount an outboard *anywhere* aboard Bucephalus, so I'm hardly one to talk.

    Thank you for this thread, Alex. I've been bookmarking your "series" as a cruising guide to pore over during winter dreaming.

    (The other) Alex

  33. #33
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ballard
    Posts
    8,008

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Just read this thread. Shocking.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Alex, I appreciate the tale. Thanks for all the details. It gives a fellow in a motorless boat a lot to think about when that day comes that I run the Inside Passage, in whatever form that takes. I almost bought a Garden designed Eel a while back and that seemed like an ideal boat for the trip- it just wasn't so useful for all the other pursuits that I have, so I'm sticking with my Arctic Tern.

    And good on you for being on the water in any form. When you're outside, you win.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    2,385

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Falls from Grace

    Wonderfull story and pictures thank you.
    I spent around a decade living and sailing around Port Hardy and Nanaimo and while I met a number of small boat cruisers, engineless boats other than kayaks where unheard of in those days.
    Unless a camp cruiser does not have a timetable to adhere to an engine represents prudent seamanship in that part of the world.

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