Saturday, August 1, 2015

Day 58-59 of the 1st Voyage: In which we come full circle and end up where we began.

With proper planning, we could have made the journey from Rosario Resort to Everett in one day but opted instead to take the long way around and stop at Port Ludlow one last time. There’s not much to the place—a small marina, a tiny convenience store/office/bait shop, and one (very nice) restaurant at the adjoining inn/vacation residence resort. But Port Ludlow holds a special place in our hearts because it was the destination of our first-ever overnight trip on Raven—specifically it was the site of the 2014 Nauticat Regatta & Rendezvous. Now those who know us (dammit, quit rolling your eyes!), have heard us wax poetic about the Nauticat line of sailboats and its relative rarity. Built in small numbers in Finland for the “discerning yachtsman”, they just aren’t as prevalent as other lines of sailboats like Catalina, Beneteau, Jeanneau, etc., especially here in the Pacific Northwest. So whereas a Beneteau Rendezvous will fill up a good-sized marina, in 2014 a little over a dozen Nauticats arrived in Port Ludlow. We ranged in size from 33’ to 52’—most of us being the second, third, or fourth owners. Jules arrived in his Nauticat 525 which is the modern version of ours. As he was the first owner, Sitalia Yachts flew him out to Finland where he observed the building of the hull and personally chose his below-deck layout, finishings, etc. In other words, Jules was the “discerning yachtsman”. The rest of us were what I like to call the “deferred beneficiaries”—in other words, thanks to the inevitable passage of time (aka depreciation), we could own a “discerning” boat without the “disturbing” price tag.  But personally, I think we got the better boat. Jules’ new 525 was very nice, but just didn’t have the charm or craftsmanship of our 32 year-old girl.
I remember when we arrived at the marina for the rendezvous. We were very nervous because it was the first time we had docked at an unfamiliar marina, so of course they directed us to a dock that required a sharp right, followed by a sharp left, followed immediately by another sharp right into the slip. The Captain had to rely heavily on the bow thruster (which he rarely uses now) and my feeble skills were camouflaged by the fact that a couple of people had come over to help with the lines (although that didn’t stop me from tying the stern so loose that the line dropped into the water, putting it at risk of getting wrapped up in the propeller—otherwise known as “grounds for divorce”.)

And now here we are again—full circle—our first overnight stay, the first stop on our current voyage, and our last stop before stage one of the odyssey ends in Everett. A lot has changed between then and now. Not just in terms of new equipment, overhauled systems, enhanced off-shore capabilities, or the noticeable glow (for lack of a better word) that comes from constant upkeep, but the crew is more confident.

The Captain has pretty much proven that he can guide Raven through the trickiest of situations and dock her in any conditions. The Deck Boss has become a competent line tosser as well as our designated anchoring pro (she gives directions to the Captain on which way to maneuver the boat to correctly position the anchor—my job is to push the button that lowers the anchor. Yes, I have the monkey job.) As for me? Let’s just say that I used to have a look of terror on my face when docking—now I just look like I’m concentrating real hard on the task at hand (aka constipated). But I am happy to report that the Captain only had to leave the helm twice in the past week to fix my eff-ups (a 20% improvement!) so “well done, me.”

The next morning we set out for Everett and for the first time in 59 days we actually had enough wind coming from the right direction to put up the sails. We spent four hours slowly gliding through Admiralty Inlet at 4-5 knots (I didn’t say it was lot of wind) thinking about all we needed to accomplish in Everett before heading out to San Diego and, of course, reflecting on the last two months. I think the Captain summed it up nicely when he said, “I think we’re the only people in the world who have been in Admiralty Inlet, Rosario Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, Discovery Passage, and all throughout the San Juan and Gulf Islands and not seen one damn orca!”
Pictured: Raven in Port Ludlow
Not Shown: "Discerning Yachtsman"
Pictured: Sailing back to Everett
Not Shown: Orca