Category Archives: Boating

52 Knots!


Woke up at 2:30 AM when the big storm rolled through. We don’t get too many westerley blows in the winter, but boy do we rock’n’roll in the bad ones.

Still, we fared significantly better than the people whose trees fell on their cars. And we still have power. We just lost a few hours sleep. I noted only one boat that dragged overnight.

Our wind instruments recorded a top gust of 52 knots.

[2012/06: This post was formerly found at Kat’s now archived blog from her old section of this site]

The Risk of Deadheads

[2012/06: This post was ported over from Katrina’s former blog on this same site]

Many people highlight the risks of floating logs when sailing in the waters of British Columbia or the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Booms towed by tugs often lose a few logs during the journey over water. One of the more insidious risks is that of the deadhead – a log that does not float horizontally in the water, but that is instead so waterlogged that it floats vertically. Often these deadheads are barely visible, peeking out from a wave trough every so often.

Deadheads are dangerous because they’re difficult to spot, and because they are quite heavy. A boat that is pounding up and down in the waves runs the risk of coming down right on top of a deadhead and being holed. Hitting a regular log isn’t as dangerous as the log will often glance off the reinforced bow, or roll underneath the boat. Sure, the prop can be damaged, but I’d rather take that over a two-foot hole in my hull any day.

The sight of a deadhead floating through local waters is quite common. From the dock where we moor our boat, I see them at least weekly, if not more often. Late the other evening, when we went to walk the dog, we were presented with yet another dramatic example of how much damage a deadhead can cause.

We had a particularly low tide the other night. As our floating docks descended with the lowering water level, they got hung up on a deadhead that in turn had bottomed out in the soft mud of False Creek, so it was no longer free to float away with the tidal currents.

A few feet in either direction and the results could have been disastrous. As it was, when the problem was discovered, the concrete dock plates were bulging up, and the top of the deadhead was putting pressure on the electrical, cable, water and gas conduits that run underneath the docks and supply the marina. Five more feet to the west of where the deadhead settled lies the marina office. Thirty feet to the north lies the shower, laundry and lounge building. What ended up being a curiosity and nice phot-op could have been far worse.

When the tide finally rose enough to let the deadhead float free again, it was towed to the seawall and tied there to await pick-up.

Volvo Ocean Race

[2012/06: This post was ported over from Kat’s very old blog formerly in her section of the site.]

I took in some television coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race over the past couple of weekends and my jaw just dropped. Who says watching sailboat racing is boring?

These boats are nuts. The people who sail them must be wet for weeks at a time. Walls of water come pouring over the deck. The boats are going so fast they fly off the waves. Listening to the sounds as they interviewed crew members while underway – it was a constant rushing noise punctuated by intermittent booms and bangs.

Now, multi-hulls have been crazy to handle for several years now, but these are monohulls we’re talking about. Hats off to the crew. I couldn’t do it.

Judging by the damage reports coming out of the first leg, there’s room for plenty of drama on this race.

Abacos Islands, Bahamas

From Feb. 17th to the 24th, 1996, 10 intrepid cruisers sailed, laughed, snorkeled and drank their way around the Abacos Islands, Bahamas. These are the results.

The happy, happy crew in Marsh Harbour

My happy, happy Guylain

Kat snorkelling

Larry, Moe, and Curly

Breakfast at Treasure Cay

Sunset at Guana Key

Yeah, we know you're faster...

Still faster, who cares, because...

... we've got the hammock!