Preparing

Sailing with Mt. Rainier in the background

We bought our boat, s/v Emmylou, in San Diego (more on that process in a later post), and needed to get it home to Seattle. We could have had the boat hauled out of the water, the mast and rigging removed, put it on a truck, and paid for someone to drive it to Seattle. Or we could bring it home ourselves on the water. Most any salty sailor with knowledge of sailing the Pacific coast of the US avoids taking this route north. They’ll either truck the boat north, or they’ll sail out to Hawaii and then to wherever they are going. When you ask one of these people their thoughts on going north, they’ll usually respond with, “Don’t.” However, we decided that the experience of bringing the boat home ourselves, rather than on a truck, was too valuable of an experience to pass up. On a trip like that you learn a lot about sailing and a lot about your boat, both of which we needed. Either that or we’re gluttons for punishment.

The Pacific coast can be a real bear, which is putting it mildly. Not only because predominant winds are coming from the north, causing one to beat into the wind the whole way, but also because there is a steady current of 2+ knots from the north that is pushing against you. There is no ICW like on the Atlantic coast. Spring is usually the best time to do it, if you’re lucky you can ride the tail of a high pressure system in order to get winds going in your direction. We had hoped to leave in March, but some delays in the purchase and repairs on the boat caused us to have to wait until May.

Almost every project begat other projects and took far longer than we hoped, as everything on a boat does. Thankfully Beau and my dad were able to take some time to work on the boat before we left, spending the equivalent of 3 weeks on board getting everything ready to go.

Some of the major work that needed to be done between when we purchased the boat and when we set sail included: replace corroded bobstay, replace fuel hose and forward vent, rerun propane lines, fix steaming light and corroded running lights, inspect rigging, install new electronics, and repair of the sink that would not drain (and only now does so intermittently). We also had the engine inspected and he installed a system that would allow us to polish our own fuel. And these are just the big projects that had to be done before this trip. We have done many other small projects, and our list of short-term and long-term projects after this trip continues to grow. Some of the projects and work that has been done we knew about when we accepted the boat. Others have come as a surprise. There is a saying, a boat is a hole in the ocean you throw money into. For this boat, though, we feel it’s worth it.