This past weekend was a sunny, picture-perfect time spent on a 46.5′ foot sailboat learning more skills in our quest to become efficient sailors. Bryan, Mark, Philipp and I headed out of Seattle at 7 am on Saturday morning, met north of the city to carpool together the 90 minute drive north to Bellingham, WA to San Juan Sailing School. We were excited for the experience and the glorious weather predicted for our sailing weekend. Upon arrival we checked in and carried our weekend bag and the school-provided weekend provisions to boat dock W16 to the Misty Blue Yonder we were to be sailing for the weekend. We met our skipper, Tim, and the new shadow instructor, Margaret and embarked for the first time on our sailboat.
Saturday we spent from about 10:30 am-6 pm at sea. After introductions, safety information, and boat information we were ready to head out of the marina. Saturday we spent time learning how to do 360 degree turns on the water, went over the points of sail, how to tack and jibe, how to perform a man-overboard procedure, how to reef a sail, and how to operate the inboard motor. We “heaved-to” in Bellingham Bay to break for lunch of Trader Joe wraps and salads, which we ate on the exposed cockpit table in the sun. The wind died in the afternoon so we essentially slowly coasted south to Chuckanaut Bay before bringing in the sails and motoring to the north end of the Bay to our anchoring spot for the night. By the time we learned how to set out the anchor it was just about 6pm. We had “happy hour” of chips and salsa and the beers that we brought. For dinner we were provided with chicken breasts, BBQ sauce, fresh bread and butter, green beans, and quinoa to make for ourselves. I was elected chef for the night but Margaret helped grill the chicken on the top deck. The whole meal was delicious and we all cozied up pretty easily around the saloons dining table. Tim did the dishes while the four of us went over the test questions. It was nearly 10pm by the time we were done and the wind and sun had done us in. We all settled into our respective cabins (there were four on board) and fell asleep.
Sunday morning was another beautifully sunny day and we were up simultaneously thanks to the noise in the boat that carries. Around 7:30 am we all came out of our cabins to make coffee and have breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit (my kind of breakfast!). We dressed and were ready to bring in the anchor and head out of the bay by 9am. Sunday morning had very light winds so we again spent much of it just coasting and talking in the sunlight. This is my favorite part of sailing! We learned how to tie up to mooring balls and went over sailing knots. We had our lunch on board again of more TJ salads and wraps. We headed into the marina and each practiced docking the boat which was the most frightening experience of the whole weekend. After we each got two tries we fueled up and pumped out the boat and then headed into our slip. Once tied up we had our exam to take. I came in first place and beat all of the guys in speed, missing only 3 questions out of 100! After our exams we got our certificates, cleaned up the inside cabins and sprayed off the top deck. We said our goodbyes to Tim and headed back to Seattle.
Bryan took us the long way home driving along Chuckanaut Drive to take in the beauty once more. We got back to Seattle just before 7pm and Bryan and I got dinner at Eastlake Bar and Grill at the bar with our favorite bartender, Bruce. Bruce was giving me a hard time with jokes but we love the guy. I ended the weekend with a great meal of fish and chips (sweet potato fries), ice cream at home to Goldfinger!