This blog is devoted to my John Welsford designed 15' Navigator yawl Ellie. I built her in my garage over a period of 18 months and launched her in 2011. She sports a sliding gunter main, roller furled jib and sprit-boomed mizzen. Her construction is glued-lapstrake over permanent bulkheads and stringers. This blog is a record of her construction and her voyages here in the Puget Sound area and (hopefully) a useful resource for fellow Navigator builders.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eastern Washington Moveable Messabout: Day 2

Sept 10.  EWMM day 2.  We crawled out of our respective tents into the crisp morning air. There wasn't much time to spare before our 8am breakfast and crew meeting in Priest River Idaho.  Just enough time for a quick shower (who knows when the next opportunity will be?), to break camp and hit the road.

We crossed the border into Idaho and arrived at AJ's Cafe in Priest River, ID about 15 minutes later.
Now, for the moment of truth.  As is the case with many Messabouts, you never know for sure who's going to actually show up until the day of the event.  Our group consisted entirely of a group of hardy sailors.  When Dan first organized the event, he envisioned families, wives, maybe children, many in campers, coming and going for parts of the messabout.  Such was not the case.

Attending the event was (clockwise from the bottom) Dan Rogers from Diamond Lake WA, Mike Cox from Everett, WA, Kim Apel from San Clemente, CA, Dennis McFadden from Burnaby, BC Canada, Steve Lansdowne from Austin, TX, Tom Gale from Port Townsend WA, Joel Bergen (me) from Mukilteo, WA, and Thom Vetromile from Sagle, ID.
After breakfast, the caravan hit the road to our first destination, Blue Diamond Marina and Resort on Priest Lake, ID.
Launching the boats took several hours. Each boat had to be backed down a narrow dirt road, rigged, and launched one-by-one.
There was very little wind, but Dan cautioned us that the wind was forecast to blow later in the afternoon. Dan suggested that we should all sail to Indian Creek campground instead of Bartoo Island, for safety sake, to avoid getting trapped on a lee shore. Steve and I ghosted along in the warm, gentle breeze while the last few boats finished launching.  Sailing was rather dull, the skies were clear, and I scoffed at Dan's weather report.

With all boats launched, we set forth as a group towards Indian Creek.  Sailing was pleasant at first, but ahead, in the distance, I thought I saw whitecaps.  A few minutes later, the whitecaps appeared to be headed our way.  Fearing Dan might be right after all, I began to tie in a reef.  Halfway through tying in the reef, WHAM it hit us.
The lake churned like a washing machine.  It was so rough I couldn't finish tying in the reef.  I had a double reef on the forward end and a single at the back.  The sail was flogging. One of my battens flew out of the sail and sank to the bottom of the lake.  We got the boat under control and pressed on.  Steve, and my camera lens did a good job of blocking much of the spray, but Steve's foul weather gear was on one of the other boats.  He was wet and starting to shiver.  I looked behind us and saw that all the other boats had turned around and were headed back to the launch.
Steve and I abandoned our attempt, turned around and rejoined the group at the launch.  We waited for a while to see if the wind would die down, debating if we should try again or pull the boats and go somewhere else.  After an hour or so, conditions seemed to improve.  We decided to make a dash to Indian Creek campground, under motor, as quickly as possible.
We beached our boats on a beautiful sandy beach and set up camp.  The water looked tranquil in the little bay.  A while later, another sailor in a Lightning sailed into the bay.  He was headed to the North end of the lake but couldn't make it.  He said the conditions were too rough.

We named this windstorm "Hurricane Dan".

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