The first week proved to be quite the challenge as the first day leaving Neah Bay brought in a gale and confused seas lasting for nearly two days. Cascadia performed spectacular as the waves pummeled the starboard side. These waves sound unlike anything you might imagine, instead of the tranquil sound of water lapping against the hull they sound more like colliding with some sort of solid object which produces a very disturbing heavy thud. Even more worrisome was the ones that broke on top of Cascadia, as water would rush across the decks filling every port light so that it would appear, albeit only temporarily that we were underwater. However, Cascadia shrugged off every wave and instilled more confidence that she was up for the task. [spacer height=”20px”]
Nevertheless, the gear on board hasn’t faired as well. On the second night, the control lines on the wind vane shredded, causing the boat to round up in the middle of the night. It was quite dramatic given the high winds. I turned on the electric wheel pilot and reduced sail until I could remedy the situation. However, that too turned into quite the task as my plan was to take down the main sail completely and just sail under half of the genoa unfurled, but the main sail jammed with only being halfway furled in, with the only remedy being to round up into the wind and strap on my harness and go forward to unfoul it. I chose instead the reduce headsail even more and sailed for the next two days in that configuration until the winds finally settled down. [spacer height=”20px”]
The following morning I went to turn my inverter on to charge my computer which has all my navigation software, only to find the inverter has shorted out. This too was worrisome as this computer was my primary means of navigation and without it I would be back to charting by paper, a task that I was up to, but troubling nonetheless as I was already down to GPS’s and the trip had only just begun. [spacer height=”20px”]
So as I neared the closest point of land before making my right turn to Hawaii I had a decision to make. “Should I stop for a few days and remedy these minor fixes or continue forth?” Having been in constant contact with my cousin Zach and my friend Kramer about the current weather and hurricanes raging in the Pacific, they seemed not too confident that now would be a wise time to cross as the Pacific High pressure zone was extremely far north allowing for hurricanes to move well past the Hawaiian latitudes . With that advice coupled with my already minor malfunctions, I chose to err on the side of caution and I’m glad I did. I pointed Cascadia east towards California, as Crescent City would be her first port of call. On the transit into port I encountered heavy fog so I energized the radar only to find it too had stopped operating, it was only minutes later that I found myself wild off course due to the electric autopilot that had also stopped functioning. So now while import, I am busy with repairs doing some laundry, and chomping at the bit to get back out there.
Author: Andrew Stephens
A Pacific Northwest native and recent graduate from Seattle University, Andy is currently sailing his 30′ Cape Dory sailboat around the world. You can find more information him by visiting his website SailingWithAndy.com or on his YouTube channel.