A Flawless Solo Cruise


Following a very successful shake-down/maiden voyage to Hornby Island on our new sailboat, we felt confident that she was ready for her first real, solo cruise.

Our short cruise from Deep Bay to Hornby had been with a much-appreciated escort boat, and, had anything gone awry, we wouldn’t have been in much danger. We did have sails, but we’d never flown them before, so having a buddy along was ideal. But our friend had departed Hornby Island long before us, and now we had to make a move to avoid strong winds forecast to blow in from the south, a direction not favourable to boats anchored in Tribune Bay.

We prepared to leave at first light, and were underway well before the weather turned ugly. In fact it was a beautiful morning. The sun had popped out to see all the boaters off after a rainy night, and the sky had a surreal kind crispness to it after many days of hazy summer sunshine. A good omen for our first cruise.

Last Morning on Tribune Bay

Our next destination wasn’t that far off (approximately 24 miles), and we had plenty of time, which was a good thing because we were heading into the wind and could expect very little help from nature.

We anticipated that it would be almost entirely up to diesel power to propel us toward our next anchorage at Northwest Bay, a small, quite protected anchorage near a logging sort located between Parksville and Nanoose Bay. Our prediction about getting little to no help from nature was, indeed, mostly accurate, but there were a few opportunities to fly the fore-sails, which we gladly took advantage of, with absolutely no issues.

As a precursor of things to come, “Ready” steadily ate up the distance without the slightest complaint. From the first time we motored away from the dock to the last time we were to tie her up, months later, she did everything we asked of her absolutely flawlessly. The little Yanmar diesel reliably plodded on hour after hour after hour, needing only one minor repair the entire season, and burned next to no fuel. The sails and rigging never faltered once, and the deck and hatches developed only a few minor leaks over the months, but it’s a boat. They all leak somewhere.

The time and effort invested into getting “Ready” to proper trim proved to be time well spent. She woke up every morning prepared for duty, and she unfailingly executed her tasks. A truly marvelous example of the C&C name.

Underway and Overjoyed

The initial solo voyage went without a hitch and we arrived at our new anchorage with a late afternoon sun guiding us in to find our spot and drop anchor once again.

Northwest Bay, just around the corner from the small community of Nanoose Bay, was to be our home for the next five nights as we rectified any issues we thought may spring up if not tended to. We adjusted some of our interior layout and stowage, relaxed, took care of a few chores on land, and had my sister-in-law aboard for an overnight visit.

Although the next day’s cleanup took hours, it was a good visit. It was to be the first of many nights spent with friends or family aboard, because the thing about boats is, when you have one, everyone wants to go boating. And, really, who can blame them?

Northwest Bay, a quiet little anchorage after the first real cruise.

We now felt very secure in the ability of our beautiful little boat to bring us wherever we needed to go. Which was essential, because very soon we would ask her to put in some serious overtime.

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