No. 18 - September, 1975

A CRUISING GUIDE to DESOLATION SOUND

Roy Behm (who was left a few months back at Deer Harbor.)

 

The next day the weather was good, but winds were light. We left at

1830 headed on a generally westerly course for Stuart Island. We passed Speiden Island. There were some mild rips and eddies near the south side of this island, which got stronger at the west end. We close by this island to see if we could spot any animals. In 1970, on a previous cruise we saw musk ox, impala, elk, deer, turkeys, and other exotic animals there· It seems that promoters of a hunting enterprise had imported animals to this island. Public pressure against it apparently required the removal of the animals. Anyway, we didn't see any.

 

We arrived at Reid Harbor at 1100 and moored to one of the dozen or so mooring buoys placed there by Washington State Department of Parks. There is also a dock to give access to a camping area. The State has made similar facilities at other islands in the group. These conveniences, the moderate remoteness, abundance of good anchorages, scenery, etc., attract many boaters to the San Juan’s. This particular harbor is very popular, one of the reasons being the abundance of butter clams. We arrived at low tide, took our Avon dinghy to the beach, and had a bucket of clams in 15 minutes. We used to find oysters at this beach; but they are no longer there.

 

The next day there was a light breeze, so we sailed until it quit. Our next harbor was Roche Harbor on San Juan Island - a popular place. There are the usual facilities and Customs Office. Personally, I dislike Roche Harbor because its beauty has been spoiled by the marine facilities The mooring fees are too high, the showers dirty, and the harbor too crowded. An interesting feature of the place is the flag raising and lowering ceremony place to stock up before entering Canadian waters.

 

June 24th we left for Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island and checked into Canadian Customs, which is no problem here. (It sometimes is not so easy getting back into the States.) We purchased a B.C. fishing permit for $25. This is required for salmon, crabs and shell fish. Bedwell Harbor has a pub, a grocery store, shower and laundromat. One can buy beer at the pub; but it is $4 for a case of 12. We met an interesting couple here. They live on a boat they have been building for 5 years. It's a 41' wooden ketch, nearly completed. Over coffee, they gave us some helpful cruising information.

 

 

 

We decided to go to Thetis Island the next day. The winds started out at about 3 - 5 knots. So we sailed awhile and then tried fishing for salmon when we arrived at Active Pass, which separate Mayne Island from Galliano Island. We didn't catch any.

 

In freshening winds and drizzle, we continued on our way. Nearing Houston Passage near the North end of Saltspring Island, we had to change to a southerly course to make the passage. Our easy run changed to a beat, and the wind continued to pick up, getting up to 25 - 30 knots. I’ve found we were unable to make enough headway, and so we dropped sails and continued on under motor. We got around the rocks at the south end of Kuper Island and headed north-westerly paralleling the shore of Kuper island. Our dinghy swamped partially on the turn. Luckily, we found a small Harbor on Thetis Island - tired and glad to have arrived. We stayed there 2 days as the wind kept up, accompanied by rain. This is a nice anchorage with crabs, oysters and clams nearby. The facilities are tidy and the store has charts and current tables, and interesting handicrafts from the area.

 

We needed current tables since we were heading for Nanaimo via Dodd Narrows. The tidal currents can run as high as 8 or 9 knots through this channel which is only 200 - 300 feet wide. He wanted to be sure that we were there at slack tide. Our timing was dead on and we had no problems. We arrived at Nanaimo on June 28, spending the night at the public docks after a good stocking up. The city has provided many slips - 10 cents/foot, and showers. A gas dock is nearby; and just across the street from the docks is a large shopping centre. Down the waterfront are other stores, chandleries, marinas, etc.

 

We crossed the Strait of Georgia the next day, ending up at Secret Cove, a small inlet on the mainland. The Strait of Georgia must be crossed with caution. It is about 16 miles wide and south-easterly winds can make it very rough. We, however, found no wind at all and had to motor. We hadn't figured on Dominion Day weekend, and there was a very busy harbor at Secret Cove. A lot of Vancouver boats had planned a cruise to this spot, and it was like an on-the-water boat show - our Tanzer 22 being dwarfed by most of them. Boats entering Secret Cove should stay clear of the rock in the center of the entrance. It is submerged at high tide, but marked with a red buoy.

 

Next day we left Secret Cove for Powell River, fished for awhile near the cove, and then headed northward in Malaspina Strait. This is a beautiful channel between Texada Island and the B.C. Mainland. The wind freshened and we were headed. Not being inclined to tacking, we ducked into Thunder Bay at the entrance to Jervis Inlet, and anchored. This is the arm leading to the widely publicized Princess Louise inlet. It is 44 miles distant. We relaxed at the anchorage and remained there overnight.

 

On our way to Powell River, we stopped at westview for ice, water and gas. We thought of staying at the government docks, but they were too crowded. The facilities at Westview are not too convenient or numerous; but there is a liquor store there. Maybe that's why it's so popular.

 

We went on to Lund, which was also quite crowded. It has a large government dock, a gas dock, a tavern and a store; and it is convenient to Savory Island and Desolation Sound. Savory Island is often referred to as the Hawaii of these Canadian waters because the beaches are sandy and the water temperature about 700. Since no moorage was available, we went on to a small place called Bliss Landing.

 

We had a most pleasant stay at Bliss Landing, however facilities are very limited and there is no store. They do have showers and a laundry, though. It also has poor protection, so we were lucky the water was quiet; and we slept well.

 

The next morning we cruised into Desolation Sound and into Refuge Cove. Desolation Sound is the goal of many cruising people. There were many anchorages, shellfish, and places to fish for salmon. The waters are clear and blue and there is little danger from bad weather. The place consists of many coves, channels and islands. There are just enough marine facilities to keep one provisioned, but not so many that the mark of development is radily obvious. Behind the islands, snow-capped mountains are visible' on the mainland and on Vancouver Island. We spent 8 days cruising this area.

 

(We'll continue next issue. And hope that Roy has inspired more of you to send in cruise reports!)

 


NOTES ON CONVERTING FROM A K/CB to FIN KEEL

Peter Evans (597)

3G Weavers Hill, Greenwich, CT 06830. Home Phone - 203 - 531 - 7959.

 

We initially bought the centreboard version with the expectation that we would be doing a lot of shallow water cruising and beaching. As it turned out, in our first season we never sailed in less than 6’ of water, and never beached the boat. Also, I became increasingly disconsolate that when beating we made too much leeway, and in less than 5 knots of wind we'd barely move and would just sit there listening to the board clunk and the sails slat! Oh, that clunking!

 

In September I contacted Eric Spencer to ask about the feasibility of a conversion. He was most encouraging and advised that since the keel­centreboard unit on my boat was still being used in production, the factory could probably allow $800 credit towards the $950 price of the fin keel. Eric told also that Jeff Creamer had decided to make the same conversion.

 

After much discussion with Jeff, it seemed the most serious problem was getting my old keel back to the factory, and getting two fin keels back on some kind of schedule. We decided that Jeff would rent a panel truck, pick up my old keel, drive to Montreal and return with two predrilled fin keels. Jeff made a template for his, and Tanzer used my old keel as a guide.

 

The new keel bolted on perfectly, though there was one hole from the old keel which needed filling. I used Marine-Tex for this. (The K/CB has 11 bolts, the fin keel has 10.) All the centreboard hardware was easily removed once the keel was off, and the resulting holes easily and neatly repaired with gel coat.

 

The only two problems experienced were the initial removal of the old keel and the fairing in of the new one. When we removed all bolts from the old keel, it simply stayed attached to the hull. With the use of wedges we were finally able to break loose the seal created by the

bedding compound.

 

As for the fairing, Jeff had theorized that the keel probably causes a bit of working, or flexing of the hull when sailing, so resin would be inappropriate to fill in and fair up the new keel. We decided to use Boat-life Caulk, and this caused the second problem. Two weeks and four days after the application of the caulk, it still had the consistency of Silly-putty, despite daily applications of water, which aids its curing. Boat-Life claims that total cure occurs in 4 - 7 days. By now, it was the last week in April and Lynn and I could stand the wait no longer. We had done everything else we could think of - applying at least 5 coats of wax to hull and decks. After speaking to the Boat-Life people, we decided to shave the partially hardened surface as much as possible (sanding was out of the question), paint the bottom and launch. The Life-caulk would be left to cure over the summer, and could be sanded in the fall.

 

As a result of my experience, Jeff used a two-part life-caulk, which I didn't even know existed. It cured overnight.

 

We used a yard for removing the old keel and lowering the boat onto the new one. We were charged $200 for this. Lynn and I did all hull preparation, hole filling and fairing. The boat was launched May 9 and I simply can't believe the difference. The helm is far lighter, better balanced and more controllable.     While the boat doesn't feel appreciably stiffer, it is infinitely better hand­ling at large angles of heel, when the centreboard would seem to dig its leeward aft corner in and slide across the water. In approximately 10 knots of wind, we can make 6 – 6 1/2 knots at about 60 degress. The boat moves superbly in light air - and there's no clunking!

 

So, if any of you are unhappy with your centreboard, by all means ­switch. My cost was approximately $550, including the cost of Jeff's truck rental.


 

AND A COUPLE of HELPFUL HINTS:

The problem of detaching rubrails can be cured without screws. Get some Dow-Corning RTV 732, pull off the rail, wire brush the inside rubber, fill with RTV and press on.You won’t be able to remove it with a crowbar after it sets. It will also cure the leaking hull-deck join. The RTV 732 may be difficult to obtain - contact Dow Corning. You'll need one gunning sleeve for the rail. I have to credit Jeff for this idea.

 

To get your rub rail spotlessly white: Ajax cleanser and water. It’s easy.

 

ANOTHER RUB RAIL HINT - From Ken Hone (681): to cure hull-deck join leaks: seal with Life-caulk. This requires removing the rubrail (leave it connected at bow and stern) and replacing it. Sometimes rust streaks turn up, caused by the steel pin being left in the rivet. Take off the rub rail and knock out the pin.

 

SAVE YOUR BATTERY: So that someone doesn't accidentally switch on and leave on your running lights - which you don't see 'on' in daylight: a red pilot light on the starboard face of the hanging locker to show when lights are on. (Stan Gasner)

 

 

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