Saturday, 23 March 2013

Pelagia sails again -- Mast re-stepped (finally)!

Sailing home after re-stepping mast (Point Grey and North Shore mountains in distance)
After way too many months without mast and rigging (late September 2012 to March 2013), Pelagia is again a beautiful sailboat.

Again, the weather made things difficult for us. With an appointment at 2pm on Tuesday with the crane in Steveston, Sunday and Monday gave us strong (20-25 kn) northwesterly winds -- which would make the 27nm trip at best uncomfortable and possibly worse (wind over tide at Sand Heads). We waited and watched all day Monday; finally saw a decrease of wind and seas late afternoon. Forecast was for a further decrease, so we left at 5pm, making for "Coward's Cove" at the end of the North Arm of the Fraser River, with plan to anchor just before the sun went down at 730pm.

Arrived Coward's Cove 7pm, after an exceedingly rolly trip when beam-to the seas around Pt. Grey. (My goodness, how a sailboat without its mast ROLLS with small waves!). "Cove" was empty and looked like a good choice for the eve (this was our first time here). Charts show 10 ft at zero tide; we arrived on a rising tide, currently at ~4ft above datum. Surprise, surprise, we bump the soft sandy bottom (i.e., <6ft). Becoming darker, we decide to anchor closer to the river channel in about 8 ft. Luckily, a calm night windwise, but the river remained busy with commercial traffic all night. Not much sleep -- noisy and rolly; up at first light to hi-tail it out of there. (No, we're not likely to re-visit Coward's Cove!)   

Arrived Steveston early (1130am) -- moved crane appointment earlier due to coming severe weather forecast. (Gale warnings, rainfall warning; even a waterspout warning!)

Mast re-stepping went very smoothly -- again thanks to Paul and Gus at Ocean Rigging.

Mast in parking lot (in the distance, Michelle checking out boom)
Mast rolled out to crane/travel lift slot

Mast lifted

Gus and Paul being very careful...

putting in mast partners

Mast boot... tried-n-true inner tube method

Completed mast boot (lots of rain overnight w/o a leak!)

Next day (Wednesday), we were stuck at dock in Steveston with gale-force winds all day, until sunset. Thursday morning the winds were down to Northwest 5-15 knots, giving us a perfect sail all the way from Sand Heads (end of Fraser River South Arm) to Snug Cove on Bowen Island (after first visiting the Stellar's sea lions and cormorants near Sand Heads). Our first night "cruising" since September! Friday, we managed another sail most of the way back to Vancouver.

A very large (male) Stellar's Sea Lion

Cormorants and sea lions at Sands Heads

Sailing north

Finally, a mast with sails!
Pelagia at Snug Cove (Bowen Island), after a great sail from Sand Heads

Great to be sailing again!

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