Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eureka, California layover - Standing Rigging evaluation

 Aloft  to inspect the forestay mast fitting.  This old Sta-lock swageless fitting is slated for replacement with a Hayn Hi-Mod swageless toggle.  For the remainder of the standing rigging I'll be using Navtec Noresman fittings as they have a swageless shroud terminals that are compatible with the existing mast fittings for the 'diamonds'.
 Decks of LightSpeed from 62' above.
We pulled into Eureka, California for a layover as we make our way toward San Diego from Astoria, Oregon.  Working on ordering parts and supplies prior to heading into Mexico. 

New Crew member 'Shell' the kitten

'Shell' is a Siamese Tabby mix kitten with lots of energy.   So far Shell has racked up a few hundred ocean miles.  She was a little sea sick the first day, but quickly gained her sea legs.  While exploring the dinghy davits yesterday she slipped and fell into Humboldt Bay, luckily we were at the dock and fished her out pretty quick. 

  Shell checks the log book.

The Kitten loves to be the center of attention and just typed this message as she walked over the keyboard to plop in my lap:  'tyyyy333333333333333333333ujideeeeeeee'.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cooking Coho Salmon on a Cedar split

 This Ling Cod made for a number of tasty meals.

 Kelp bed in the Broken Group, Barkley Sound, British Columbia, Canada.
 7-3/4" Dungeness Crab is a nice keeper.
How to cook a salmon on a campfire
How to cook a salmon on a campfire Pacific Northwest style
 Coho Salmon ready for cooking.  Next time I would use fewer cross pieces and make them thinner.  This design was overkill, but I didn't want to take the chance that the fish would fall in the fire. 
 Kathy enjoying our beach BBQ.

 Fish slow cooking over a Alderwood fire.
 It turns out the fish was a little too far from the heat so we needed to move it closer to the coals as the fire burned down.
 Dave making an adjustment to the split.  Note: XtraTuff boots that help tame the wilds of BC and Alaska. 

 Munching on the tail as the fish comes off the fire. 

 LightSpeed in the Astoria, Oregon West mooring basin.  Spinnaker is aloft to dry out after sailing overnight from Barkley Sound. 
 Astoria Bridge on a remarkable day when the skies were pretty clear allowing a full view across the Columbia River.
 Astoria, Oregon West mooring basin.
 LightSpeed in the travel lift at the Port of Astoria.  Not much room to spare with out 23'-3" beam.  The Port of Astoria offers one of the best values for a haulouts on the entire West Coast.  Actually, if you require a high capacity travel lift with a 25' beam capacity there is nothing cheaper.  Our round trip, pressure wash and lay days in the yard came to a total of $336.36 which is stellar deal. 

 Steve at the helm of the travel lift is super great to work with and very accommodation of our request to block LightSpeed on here under wing.  By blocking the boat on the under wing we had unrestricted access to the hulls and keels.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blast from the past: Flash Back Update 4-3-06

Ok, Just found this post in my 'drafts' and decided to post it more than five years later. 


It's pretty weird to sail away from a perfectly good continent and not expect to see land again for 20+ days. It is now our second day underway bound for the South Pacific island group called the Marquesas. Yesterday, everyone was feeling a little sea sick and any activity requiring a trip into the cabin was not so popular unless it was to get some sleep. Julie who has crossed the Atlantic twice was wise enough to pre-cook an awesome lasagna which was really nice for dinner last night. Today, everyone is feeling fine as we have all gained our sea legs.
The excitement for yesterday was "blowing up" a spinnaker. A spinnaker is the big colorful balloon sail used for sailing with the wind. The one we had up yesterday now has about a 75' long tear from top to bottom. Unfortunately, this sail was a year and a half new and really expensive ($4500) and it will take a zillion hours to repair if we decide to try, but we do have plenty of time on our hands.... We have another Spinnaker but will save it for the lighter winds ahead.
The wind has steadily increased, since leaving Puerto Vallarta when I typed this email.  This AM it was blowing around 25 knots and we are flying along at 7-8' knots. We are currently sailing on a beam reach to lay our first waypoint some 1700 NM distant. Beam reaching is not so comfortable with the swell rolling us from 10 degrees on port to 25 degrees on starboard about every 20 seconds. This makes it challenging to stay seated in front of my computer as I type this email. The boat is creaking and groaning (this is normal), hammocks full of fresh fruits and vegetables are swinging about quite violently and a full bunch of bananas is turning in to a banana smoothly and dripping on Karl as he sleeps. I just noticed this and woke him up for a little damage control and a mushy banana.
As I sit back down at my nav station and peek out the port hole I see a squid stuck on the window. Six inch long long squid are on deck this morning and a few 8" flying fish as well. Last night as we put a reef in the main we had a dolphin escort us off the bow creating iridescent tracers in the sea and shimmering sparkles that seemed to match that of the thousands of stars above.
Despite the chaos of the current swell and wind direction, I'm having fun and feel great today with any sea sickness now behind me. The first 24 hours of the trip we logged 156 nautical miles. This is good and if we can keep it up we will be in the Marquesas in 18 more days.
As of 2100 UTC 4-3-06
18 degrees 43.2 minutes N
107 degrees 34.5 minutes W
Course 251 M
Speed 6
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Baja Ha Ha crew position opening available

Interested in the Baja Ha Ha?  As of today we have a crew opening available for the 2011 Baja Ha Ha.  Drop us a line if you might be interested in sailing on a high performance Catamaran for the Baja Ha Ha. Contact us at:email(at)DKsail(dot)com or give us a call at the phone numbers listed on or

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in Oregon

September 11, 2011
Astoria, Oregon

Sailed into Astoria, Oregon this afternoon closing the loop on 100 day journey to Alaska. Tomorrow we hope to haul the boat for an inspection of the hull and routine maintenance.

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Barkley Sound Adventures

September 10, 2011

Barkley Sound remains a stand out, even after a summer sailing in the more remote regions of British Columbia and wilds of southeast Alaska. The Broken Group National Park offers hundreds of islets diverse marine life, First Nations sites, good fishing and plenty of adventures.

Ok, here is a one recent day in Barkley Sound....

We spent a night at Effingham Island, woke to bright blue skies and set out on a hike across the island. Decided to follow a side trail and ended up bush whacking around a bit, literally off the beaten track and enjoying a oneness with nature infrequently found. Making our way back to the dinghy we set out to circumnavigate Effingham island exploring each of the mini bays along the rocky shores and even an ancient First Nations village site which included a 100 meter long shell midden. A midden is basically an old garbage dump comprised of shellfish shells. This one is maybe 2000 years old and impressive in both length and height. Imagine over 60 dump trucks brimming full of clams and mussels. We harvested a few mussels ourselves from the rugged seaward side of the island. A bit of a challenge that required carefully timing between wave sets of huge swells. Looking for another unique experience we also ran our dinghy through an impressive sea arch a few times which can be quite a rush with surging white water coming from alternating directions. Pulled the prawn trap which yielded a small haul of spot prawns then went Salmon fishing where we landed a nice Coho.

Anchored behind Protection island near Lucky Creek we were surrounded by huge schools of small fish. Maybe many tens of thousands of fish which attracted a few savvy sea lions whom were having a feast on the dense shoals of fish around the boat. The water would erupt with furry as the sea lions drove the fish to the surfaces as they gulped down the unlucky ones. A humpback whale was also in the neighborhood and we could watch him feed from our anchored boat. We tore ourselves away from the action to take a trip up Lucky Creek for a swim in the fresh waters above the falls. With the sun well into it's daily downward arc, we made the trip in an outboard powered dinghy (you'll need a rising mid-tide or better to navigate the shoal waters at the bar and again near the falls). Keep a sharp lookout for bears as they might be feeding on the abundant oyster beds or the grass flats along the creek. Once at the falls you can carefully climb the rock face to gain access to the series of falls and pools above. One pool features a rope swing and on a sunny afternoon the creek waters will warm to a pleasant temperature allowing more than a brief splash in the water. We took the opportunity to enjoy a nature bath amongst this amazing scenery. Grabbing for my towel I knocked my sunglasses off the falls. They landed in a pool mid waterfall which I lowered Kathy into so she could grab them with her toes. This didn't work so well so Kathy took the plunge and grabbed the glasses. Once again she bails me out of a jam.

Back on the boat after our swim I set out to catch a few of the zillions of fish in and around our bay. Outfitted with a light weight spinning reel and a herring jig I quickly secured a number of what I believe to be Mackerel. My intent for the oily fish was bait. I loaded the crab trap with a few of the fish and overnight secured a 7-3/4" Dungeness Crab. The remaining fish I cut into strip bait, covered with salt and stored in the refrigerator for future fishing expeditions. After a great dinner we wrapped up the night with a movie. Yes, life is good.

Waking after a great sleep and dreams of more grand adventure we found our world obscured in dense fog. The fog obscured even the nearby islands and we could hardly see the bow of the boat. I guess every day can't be perfect so we worked on boat projects until the fog burned off around 1PM. Got underway and tried for another coho, but after a few hours of trolling here and there we pulled the lines and headed toward Dodger channel to anchor. We were in search of a nice beach on which to specially cook our whole Coho in a traditional First Nations fashion. To prepare the fish I carefully removed the backbone without cutting the skin on the back of the fish. Sort of a reverse fillet and quite time consuming. Next we set our to secure some cedar sticks from which to fashion the split that would hold the fish. The beach had lots of chunks of cedar to choose from, outfitted with a pocket knife and axe this went pretty quick. The problem was this island didn't seem to have any Alder trees which are the required fuel for this particular method of cooking. We searched around and almost postponed the cookout for want of Alder wood which is pretty ubiquitous in these parts. Not deterred we set out to find the wood on a nearby island which had a tree with a branch to offer to our cookout. The fish turned out better than delicious. Look for pictures in the next few days.

Today we are sailing the 190 odd miles from Barkley Sound to Astoria, Oregon. The weather is superb with sunny skies and North West winds. With the spinnaker hoisted we're making great time on an easy down hill run. Passed three other sailboats, one of which we hailed on the radio and was heading to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico directly without the aid or backup of an engine. Now that's real sailing.
Right before dinner we spotted a breaching whale which put on quite a show with more than 10 leaps. However, the show got scary as we were hauling along at 9.5 knots and closing in on the whales show as he moved stage right, that's right in front of our boat. After the last leap and crashing breach we held our breath as the whale sounded to leap again in what would be way too close. Luckily he decided to end the show. Was it in part due to the fact that we cranked the stereo and stated an engine to let him know we'd enjoyed the show, but were exiting out the back of his stage.

Topping off our day we had some great BBQ burgers and watched a great sunset with just a hint of green flash. Lingering pastel colors continued to enchant well after the sun itself disappeared for the night. Lucky as well that we have a full moon to guide us through the night as we cruise about 25 nautical miles off the coast of Washington.

Next stop, US customs in Astoria, Oregon. After clearing in we will haul the boat for a few days to do some minor projects. Then head downhill to California.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sailing off the Washington

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Barkley Sound

September 9, 2011
Barkley Sound, West Coast Vancouver Island

Spent the last few days enjoying perfect weather here in Barkley Sound. Anchored behind protection Island last night and went for a swim in Lucky Creek above the falls. Tonight we roasted a whole fresh Coho salmon over a alder wood beach fire. More on both once we are underway for Astoria, Oregon....maybe tomorrow.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

For Southbound sailors on the Wild West Coast the key to a comfortable passage is good weather information.  Once at sea and out of range of cell phone service most sailors are limited to continuous marine weather broadcasts on their VHF radio. Listening to the computer generated voice is a drag and often you'll have to listen for quite some time to 'get to' the information that interest you.  Alternately, you can download the same forecast as a text document via Single Sideband Radio (SSB) using a service such as .  For Sailmail users Coastal weather forecasts for the Washington Coast can be found in Catalogs:  Catalog/Saildocs/Pacific/North/US Coast.
From North to South
Zone Forecast: Coastal Waters From Cape Flattery To James Island Out 10 nm (PZZ150)
Saildocs request: pzz150
Zone Forecast: Coastal Waters From James Island To Point Grenville Out 10 nm (PZZ153)
Saildocs request: pzz153
Zone Forecast: Coastal Waters From Point Grenville To Cape Shoalwater Out 10 nm (PZZ156)
Saildocs request: pzz156
Zone Forecast: Coastal waters from Cape Shoalwater WA to Cascade Head OR out 10 nm (PZZ250)
Saildocs request: pzz250
Zone Forecast: Columbia River Bar (PZZ210)
Saildocs request: pzz210

Not using Sailmail try sending a email to:

Leave the subject line blank

In the body of the message type:
Send pzz150
Send pzz153
Send pzz156
Send pzz250
Send pzz210

In a few seconds you'll receive emails with the weather forecasts for the above zones.  Very cool and much better than listening to the continuous marine broadcast.

Duffin Cove Anchorage, Tofino, West Coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

September 4, 2011
Anchored in Duffin Cove which less than a half of a mile from the Tofino public wharf.  It's been many weeks since we've been shopping so it will be great to pick up some fresh supplies.   The weather is spectacular!   Knock on wood.  Sunny with clear blue skies for so many days in a row I've lost count.    Or maybe we just forgot what summer was supposed to be like having spent ours up North where chilly glaciers meet the sea.

Tofino is a busy place with boats zooming around the harbor.  I guess this is the frontier and the local boat operators are playing their part as modern Wild West cowboys. At the helm of their high horse power boats do they think they are the star of modern boat rodeo.  With engines screaming and rooster tails performing a foamy arch these water jockeys go full speed right up to the docks.  'Wakes be Damned' must be the local mantra.  I guess those extra couple of seconds galloping up to the dock are worth the trade-off a harbor full of chop and boats constantly straining at their lines like wild horses. Makes it sort of rough being anchored out as the boat is constantly barged with waves like dust clouds from stampeding cattle.

We've fueled and watered up and now all that remains is a laundry run and some grocery shopping and we'll be on our way to the Broken Group in Barkely Sound.  From there we'll sail direct to Astoria, Oregon where we need to haul the boat to change zincs, sail-drive oil, and do a through inspection of the hull before setting off for California.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Louie Bay & Hot Springs Cove

Hot Spring Cove is probably one of the best hot springs ever. The pools are clean do to a high volume of water flow, the temperature is perfect and the setting is 100% natural with no sign of man made improvements. The trick is to either go early or go late as tons of tourist out of Tofino clog up the pools between 9AM and 6PM.
Kathy has a mini-spa day with a fresh organic kelp wrap.
Dinghy adventure underway in Louie Bay.

Hanging out at our beach cookout on a quintessential summers evening.
Kathy and Darch at our beach cookout in Louie Bay. Can you belive this is September on the West Coast of Vancouver Island?
Blackberry pancakes and fresh prawns for breakfast with our friends Catherine and Darch of s/v Abundance.
Kathy and Catherine check out the small catch of Spot prawns and Coonstripe shrimp from the combined fishing expedition of Darch and Dave.
Dinner on s/v Abundance.
Catherine gives Kathy some Uke lessons.

Keke gets a ride in LightSpeed's dinghy after our beach cookout.

Abundance and LightSpeed anchored in Louie Bay. What a treat to spend a few days cruising with some great new friends and fellow multi-hull fanatics.

Inner Lagoon of Louie Bay. Careful if you take your dink through the rapids as it get's really shallow for several hundred meters. So shallow that you'll have to lift your motor and drift on the current wondering how you'll ever get back out of this lagoon. Probably, best for a strong kayaker. We got sort of lucky and hit this at the end of the flood tide and were just barely able to make our way back over the shallows to the rapids and back into Louie Bay. Our approach was to go full speed thus by skimming the surface of the water we'd shoot over the shallows or bend the outboard propeller in the process. With less than inches to spare we made it out unscathed.

Louie Bay looking West.
Almost ripe Huckleberries.

Darch and Catherine of s/v Abundance.
s/v Abundance and s/v LightSpeed rafted in Hot Springs Cove.

Dave at the hidden falls near the Mary Basin Anchorage.

Fresh Wolf prints.
These wolf prints were quite a surprise as we returned to our dinghy and found the fresh prints within 10 feet of our boat. We'd landed on the small island and were searching for berries. The island was one of three in a small cluster of islets. Each of the islands was not more than 50 yards long, so the Wolf had to be very close as we rumbled around in the brush looking for berries. Yikes!

Marine Weather Forecasts British Columba and Alaska

Understanding Coast Marine Forecast Areas. Once away from the internet and cell phone coverage mariners rely heavily on VHF Marine Radio continuous marine weather broadcasts. On your typical VHF marine radio you can switch to the 'WX' mode for continuous marine weather broadcasts and obtain a current conditions and forecasts.
One of the challenges of navigation in new areas is a lack of familiarity with the geographic location of the various forecast zones. The voice forecasts are rapid fire so it can be hard to easily determine which zone you are currently in and the next applicable zone.

The above images solve this problem for those heading up the Inside Passage to Alaska as well as the outside routes.

For a really nice high level overview check out this link for Alaska Weather