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Old 22-08-2016, 16:10   #1
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Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Boat: Gulf 32-Aeolus
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Week in San Juan and Gulf Islands and summer storm to remember

We are just back from a small trip in our home waters to get some summer swimming and Salish Sea time before school starts. All this was true, but we got an unexpected gift of an unforecasted storm with 54 knot winds as we attempted to return home. It was high drama in one area, with a rescue helicopter and rescue boats helping some poor soul, and the conditions were bad enough to have anyone not in a very large boat thinking twice about the choice to be boating that day.

It was a reminder that every day we go out, we have to anticipate that the conditions may be far, far worse than forecasted. In this case, the NWS forecast was for south 5-15 knot winds. And building in the afternoon to 15-25. Normal summer conditions that make for lovely sailing.

Instead we got this storm with sustained 30-40 and gusts to 54 against a strong ebb and confused currents, creating some of the worst conditions I have ever seen in thousands of miles of cruising the Salish Sea all year long.

Were any of you out around Sucia island on Sunday morning of 8/21? You'd have a story to tell.

I give a bit more detail on my blog: Stories of Aeolus- Our Gulf 32 Pilothouse

I was grateful for having just a done a major fuel tank repair and clean out, as the washing machine conditions would have plugged any filter on any boat without an impeccable tank!

Keep the keel side down out there.
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Old 23-08-2016, 09:20   #2
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Location: PNW 48.59'45N 122.45'50W
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Re: Week in San Juan and Gulf Islands and summer storm to remember

It was quite "nautical" up here in Drayton Harbor, too. One boat dragged onto the sea wall and was holed below the waterline. Everyone here trying to help but the poor guy seems mentally paralyzed by what happened and keeps telling us not to salvage the boat so it's just sitting there getting worse with each tide.

Glad you rode it out OK. Many boats went past us (we're near the harbor entrance) took one look and sailed right back in. I think they were probably wise.
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Old 23-08-2016, 10:49   #3
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Re: Week in San Juan and Gulf Islands and summer storm to remember

Yeah, I think they were wise. Sorry for that guy. I don't know your area but being east I guess you have some good fetch from the SW. On our trip we had endured the 40-55 knot winds and crazy seas near Sucia and thought we would continue down to Anacortes, but when we got within a few miles of Cypress and Rosario Strait we saw the sea was solid white caps, the air was filled with spray, and a ground swell of 4 feet or so was already reaching us from the area.

We put our exhausted tails between our legs and headed back to Sucia for the day, and saw three or four other boats do exactly the same thing.

Discretion is the better part of valor, right?

The sea is such a temperamental and mysterious lady. No way to fully comprehend the chaotic systems that result from an interplay of changing currents and winds and barometric pressure. It is simultaneously what I find incredibly compelling, and the source of serious trepidation.
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Old 25-08-2016, 18:48   #4
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Re: Week in San Juan and Gulf Islands and summer storm to remember

Here is the boat I told you about. Now declared salvage. Some very nice people patched it and pumped it, but I think the owner will walk away. Sad.

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Old 25-08-2016, 18:52   #5
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Re: Week in San Juan and Gulf Islands and summer storm to remember

Wow, it's one thing to end up on the rocks, but to walk away? That's a heartbroken man or something.
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