Occam’s Spring Training Weekend

The weekend of February 18/19 saw a crew of 14 set out on Occam’s for a weekend of long distance sailing practice.  The primary goal of the weekend was to allow team members the opportunity to practice in their alternate positions that they will be assigned to during the longer legs of Van Isle.

The plan for the weekend was to sail over to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island on Saturday, and return to Vancouver on Sunday.  The exact route each day was to be determined by the wind strength and direction in the Strait of Georgia.

Saturday was a light to medium air day.  There was little wind inside English Bay, where we met up with Raven who were out for sea trials with a potential buyer.  Together, we motored out to the Pt. Grey Bell Buoy where there was a decent 6 knot breeze.  We hoisted our sailed and set out into the Strait, with Raven keeping us company for the first hour.  The wind built to about 10 knots, which gave our rookie foredeck crew the opportunity to practice a headsail change to the #2.  With the wind out of the northwest, we sailed a close hauled course towards Entrance Island for over half way across the Strait, until we could bear away and hoist the S3 reaching kite (more practice for the foredeck!).  As we neared Gabriola, the wind lightened, and we hoisted the Code 0 (more practice!), and eventually the #1 (still more practice!).

Heading out into the Strait with the #2

Leaving the gloom of Vancouver behind, heading for sunny Gabriola!

Shortly after 4pm, we motored in to Silva Bay, and tied up at Page’s Resort and Marina (www.pagesresort.com) in bright sunshine, where we were greeted by the resident Golden Retriever, Morgan (and her owners).
Pulling in to Page's

There were a lot of sailed to be packed up once we got to Page's!

 The crew enjoyed a dinner of pizza from Woodfire Restaurant (www.woodfirerestaurant.ca/), in two of the cabins at Page’s Resort.

Sunday morning, we awoke to a strong wind from the South-East.  We headed out, eager to see what the Strait had in store for us.  With the wind hovering at around 15knots, we hoisted the new #3, and beat our way South past Thrasher Rock, towards Porlier Pass.  The original plan was to get far enough South to allow us to hoist a kite into the Bay, but the wind was more easterly the further East we went, so we ended up on a close reach under the #3 and reefed main (even more practice for the foredeck!).  The sun was not out like it had been on Sunday, but the good wind made up for that.  As we entered English Bay, the rain intensified, and the wind moderated, so thoughts of sailing a few laps of the Bay diminished, and we headed for the barn.

The trip home was pretty windy, which made Alyosha happy, but Cambie took a nap.

 All in all, it was a successful weekend of training, practice, and crew bonding.  The biggest lesson for me was probably that hungry sailors need more than 3 pieces of pizza each for dinner!