A couple days ago as we approached Nootka Sound, sailing close hauled, I remarked “it’s all downwind after this!” That evening, a southerly moved in bringing rain and south winds just as it was time for us to head back south. The fun downwind sail I had envisioned evaporated into a long upwind slog. But, no matter – we ended up having some fun, challenging ocean sailing, even though it ended up a tiring day.
The south wind was only 9-12 kts, but the waves were much larger than you’d have in those conditions on a sound. Exiting Nootka, we were motoring with wind and swell on the nose, only making 5 kts when we’d normally do 6, and rolling from -10 degrees to +10 degrees. There was a 3 foot westerly swell with SW wind waves mixed in. We decided to sail, even though going upwind around Estevan Point would take a really long time. But setting sail actually made things much more comfortable – we were no longer rolling 20 degrees.
It took us nearly 4 hours to get around Estevan though, 8 hours overall from Friendly Cove to Hot Springs Cove. The swells approaching Estevan were really large, and if only 10-12 kts does that, I’d hate to be caught out there in 20.
Normally we’d consider waiting a day for the wind to switch back to northerly, but we were running low on water (~9 gallons of 34 capacity), and hadn’t been to a marina in 2 weeks (which is why we were also approaching a dire coffee situation – we had only whole bean coffee left, with no real way to grind it. We thought we could run our coffee grinder off a small portable inverter we have, but it turned out the grinder uses more than 70 watts. So we’ve been grinding coffee with a battery powered Cuisinart, but it just produces a coarse chop).