Two days after leaving Insignia in San Francisco, I flew back in reloaded with fresh crew. Due to our earlier weather delay, Alison had a work meeting that she had to be in and the others had other life obligations to tend to, so we flew home the morning of July 4th. Somerset Fetter and Thane Gill made the trip south from Seattle with me while Zach Meyer actually flew in from Nicaragua, arriving a few hours behind the Seattle group. Our weather window for leaving started the next day (Thursday). The plan was to leave at 5 am to catch the correct tide as we left San Francisco Harbor.
First priority after giving Somerset and Thane a walk thru was to fuel up the boat, hopefully before the afternoon winds kicked up. We released the lines and motored a quarter mile over to the fuel dock at Gashouse Cove Marina. It takes a while to pump 500 gallons of fuel so we rotated thru keeping an eye on the fueling process while the others made sandwiches for lunch. I felt a little bad as we had a line up of boats waiting for our spot on the dock. It is enough fun trying to do little circles in a confined area but add in a building wind and more boats and the enjoyment is off the scale! We finally wrapped up fueling about the same time the winds gusts were a consistent 30 knots. Off goes the lines and we head out of the small marina, dodging the circling boats and back to our moorage. On the short run back, we are distracted by several whales in the harbor. The winds are in full effect, just what I was trying to avoid, as we shoot thru the narrowed entrance of our marina and in to our slip. We had a near picture perfect docking, even with the winds on our beam blowing us away from the dock. Looking back, I count that this is my 4th time pulling Insignia into a slip. A testament of a well designed and easy to handle boat. Love our Nordhavn.
After snugging up lines and power, we were off to Safeway to provision for the trip. After an hour of milling around the store, we had a very full cart of food. Frozen dinners, jerky, fruits, munchies and other quick and easy for one person to eat items were chosen. Out comes the smartphone and I pull up my UBER app and call in some transportation to the boat. After seeing our stack of groceries and hearing that we were taking off in the morning to head up the coast, he didn’t mind driving us the short distance (less than 1/2 mile) to the boat. Shortly after putting away groceries, Zach arrives and we have our full crew on board. Everyone worked to settle in and we discussed best practices, engine checks, watch schedules, navigation/routing, safety/emergency items and departure time. Somerset (a SF native) and Zach headed out to meet his parents for dinner. Thane and I decide for a quite evening at the boat.
Thursday morning comes quickly. I hit the brew button on the coffee maker before jumping in the shower. I fired up the electronics and put them in to night mode. An pre-start engine check was done prior to firing up the Lugger. Power cord stowed, extra lines removed and stowed, headsets on, last walk around the deck is completed and we headed out of the marina. As we eased out of the entrance, the radars (and AIS) picked up an incoming freighter as well as the pilot boat coming in under the bridge. We maneuvered well out of her way and we point the bow NW and between the uprights. San Francisco Harbor and passing under the Golden Gate Bridge is very cool, memories that we will hold forever.
Once out of the harbor and past the channel markers, we turned towards Point Reyes. The forecast had the remains of the earlier winds and swells but dying down through the day. I hate to say that there wasn’t much excitement to most of the trip, there always is something happening to keep one’s attention, but the crew really settled into a good routine of watches, engine room checks, sleeping, gaming and occasional social media reviewing.
Off the coast of Oregon we did experience some weather again that came in from the west. Wind in the 30 knot range with 10′ swells. We positioned our course to take the swells on the port quarter, allowing the stabilizers to keep us level as Mother Ocean lifted us up and over each wave. The bigger seas lasted about 8 hours and settle down before dusk. We were kept entertained that night as we traveled thru the Oregon fishing fleet and past the NOAA weather buoys. I woke up the next morning with a report from Somerset stating that we went thru a rain shower that came down harder than he’d ever seen. That’s saying something.
I was introduced to the (apparently) wildly popular game of Settlers of Catan. Zach had packed his near antique rated edition for the trip. The three occasionally had to decide which version of rules were to be followed while I worked to grasp the strategy of the game. It did take many attempts over several days, but I did claim victory once. I would say that the guys felt sorry for me but they are were die hard competitors – so it was a hard fought win!
Off the coast of SW Washington, the sun came out for a spectacular evening. All four of us headed up to the flybridge. An Elton John CD was found in the stereo, which was the perfect soundtrack for the moment! And a few gray whales graced us with their presence, the last large mammal sighting of the trip.
Monday morning found me on watch. It was a beautiful trip around Cape Flattery and down the Straight. Just inside the Straight found near glass conditions. Home was calling and offering ideal seas to speed us home! Our timing to Seattle would have put us to the dock in the middle of the night. Between a plan to offload Zach somewhere and wanting a place to anchor for the night, it was decided to run into Roche Harbor. We arrived around 7 pm – what a homecoming (always love our time at Roche)! We dropped anchor and put the dinghy down prior to digging into the chili that I had started a few hours earlier. We all enjoyed not needing to stand watch as well as a good stiff drink! The next morning, we dinghy’d over to Garrison Bay where we delivered Zach to a friend’s sailboat. We all bid Zach a safe trip home and cruised back to Insignia where we hoisted up the dinghy (and Somerset!) before we pointed south.
Somerset, acting serious. We don’t typically ride the dinghy up but after almost 4 days at sea, a little silliness happened…
Anchored at Roche Harbor
The trip south to Shilshole Marina, our home port, was easy, peaceful and non-eventful. It was so good to pull in to our slip, again, thankful for the easy to handle elements of the boat.
At this point, it has been around eight years of dreaming about Nordhavns, 7 months of intense work and 1300 nm to get our dream boat to Seattle. Oh she is worth it!