As is our tradition, we plan a group campsite booking at Saysutchun once a summer, either on Canada day or Labour day long weekend.
This year we chose to kick off the summer season with camping at Saysutchun. The weather forecast was solid and amazingly we had a South Easterly forecast for Thursday.
My sister was my crew and the rest of the family took the bus and ferry over. Our plan was to meet up with my friend Justin on Shamrock in the strait as he was leaving from mosquito Creek marina in Burrard inlet. We indeed had a good SE from Vancouver to Newcastle for 2/3 of the way and and even put in a couple reefs for the early part of the crossing. The last 10 miles were light for which I used my electric motor. We found Shamrock which is a 26′ keel boat with a much smaller sail area to whetted surface ratio than An Aod Oolichan. The had at times used over 1000W on their electric motor to motor sail to keep up with us. Along the way we were treated by a nice visit of Humpback whales with whale watching boat in tow. Total trip time 8h55 min .
We had a wonderful stay on the island and I kept the boat anchored at Brownie Bay. Except on the eve of the departure I moved it to the docks so that we could leave even at low tide and it was easier to load the boat.
However the way back for my brother in law and I on Monday had a strong wind warning of NW winds against tide from 11:30am onwards. So I stayed an extra night and set out at 10am on Tuesday in 18-23 knots with all three reefs in the main. It was a beat in short chop to get around the north end of Gabriola, but after that we had a fun broad reach to Vancouver. Half the time it was wind with a falling tide. With the swell we started to surf and peak on these boats should be going. The rest of the time we were cruising at 5.5 to 6 knots until the wind died and we had to shake out all the reefs.
I just motored for 45min and caught the thermal at the entrance to Burrard inlet and sailed all the way in. Total trip time 7h05 minutes.
It is a big exposed crossing and so far the wind has slackened somewhere along the way. It is nice to know the boats can do it but I certainly want to continue to respect the strait. I’d much rather sail for 3 to 4 hours and get somewhere fun to shake out the legs. My kids are not really into the super long crossings either. So the next trips will be looking for shorter legs and changing up the camping locations.