Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sailing with Gilbert and Horizon Unbound

Dr. Phillip Ney, Christian Psychiatrist runs three programs, Hope Alive, Mount Joy College and Horizon Unbound.  His Horizon Unbound program is aboard his three masted ship Horizon Unbound. As an ex Navy man and fellow sailor he invited me to join him on his summer training cruise months ago.  I’ve been working to get my 40 foot ship, SV GIRI, prepared so I could at least join him for part of that trip.
I left work on Thursday night at 6 pm and was on my sailboat with Gilbert, the cockapoo dog, by 7 pm. That night we drove through First Narrows and English Bay,against rain and wind and current, to anchor off Kits Beach for the night to get an early start the next morning.  Up at dawn we still had grey skies but a beautiful view of Vancouver.  We sailed the GIRI across the Strait of Georgia.  I read Terror on the Alert, Robert Mackay’s submarine adventure.  It was a leisurely lovely summer day sailing quietly across  the Strait.
My friend Laura, Gilbert’s special special friend, was staying with her artist sister Carolyn at her Mayne Island home.  She’d called to say she’d come by the Miner's Bay dock with Gilbert’s dog friend, Jack, to see us go by.  It was an ebb tide with lots of whirlpools and current when I entered Active Pass but I was still able to get close to the Mayne Island dock. Gilbert was all excited being able to smell his friends and hear their voices from above but not able at first to see them.  Laura took a lovely picture of the GIRI at that time then because of the currents I couldn't stop and  continued on.
Dr. Ney called me on the cellphone just as I exitted Active Pass. He told me they’d left Sooke and were in Victoria and suggested we meet up next night in Genoa Bay.  I drove on to Cowichan and anchored in Genoa Bay. The Saltspring Island AA Round Up was going on that weekend and I had my tickets for this annual lamb roast.  I’d been tempted to go there for a night and then come back to meet in Genoa Bay.  Too busy. Instead I simply went on to anchor.  With the dinghy I took Gilbert ashore and had a walk in the evening and another in the morning.  I love the reliable 20 hp Honda on the AB Profile dinghy.  It slows me down to tow it but is such a simple pleasure to have along side whenever I want to go ashore.
Dr. Ney met up with us next night and we had a lovely evening on his very big ship.  I wrote about the Horizon Unbound with lots of great pictures on the earlier blog, “Horizon Unbound Sailing Ship and Dr. Phillip Ney”.  Here I just wanted to record the pictures I took with the SV GIRI and Gilbert mainly ,and include some notes about what happened this weekend  as well as when we weren’t sailing in tandem with the Horizon Unbound. My sail with Gilbert back from Thormanby Island to Vancouver with Gilbert was quite idyllic.
In the morning at Genoa Bay., we had the most beautiful sunrise as we motored out into the channel leading up to Dodd’s Narrow.  Motoring, SV GIRI and Horizon Unbound travel about the same speed. Under sail, the Horizon Unbound leaps ahead and I'm a very slow second to this grand 4 winged vessel.
Motoring in the fog with the sun rising, porpoises playing in the passes, I was able to get some great photos.  Gilbert whined whenever he caught a whiff of the other dogs on the ship ahead of us.  The dogs stared moon fully across at each other when our ships were abeam.  When we were together the three of them played, running circles about the Horizon Unbound deck and having even more fun when we all went ashore on Gull beach.
After Nanaimo, where we lost Ken, our psychologist/cook, (he literally skipped ship claiming work obligations demanded he return to the city) .  Meanwhile, leaving Newcastle Channel,  we had a magnificent sail across the Strait of Georgia to Merry Island Light house.  I lowered the sails there and motored to catch up with Horizon Unbound who’d gone on to anchor in Buccaneer Bay on the North side of Thormanby Island.  I was fishing there last summer and truly love this area.
We rafted up and had another lovely meal thanks to Phillips wife and co researcher, Anna Marie provisioning.   Then we all went ashore with the dogs who had to be hoisted into their dinghy.  Conversations about God, God and Sin, Navigation and Survivalism, sailing and family.  It was one of those wonderful times when being a Christian is so rewarding and meaningful.  There’s a shared seriousness of life coupled with a joy of living.  There’s depth without the shallow silliness that is so often celebrated by the secular.  In the ships on this coast I felt apart of the unfolding of God’s plan the progression forward with all it’s convolutions. Jesus said we are to love each other as ourselves and that we should love God. What can be simpler, but what can be more difficult.  Dr. Ney is a prophet and wiseman. I love to share with him and hear his Bible and life enlightened comments.  He has achieved so much in his life and is loved by so many.  Always he’s followed Christ’s teachings.
In the morning, after we’d travelled up the bay ,rafted together, the Horizon Unbound pulling the GIRI, we separated ships. It was fond farewells till another time.  I loved Phillip’s wave as he headed north to the wilderness of Desolation Sound and I headed south back to the city of Vancouver.
That day I had a truly marvellous wing on wing sail along the Sunshine Coast.  90 degrees compass bearing.  10 knots wind from behind. The seas built up a little so it was a bit of a camel ride. I didn’t have a whisker pole, mine’s in the storage locker,  so had to steer by hand wing on wing.  This is too much work for my kind of sailing ,so after an hour or so, I headed up further wind and put the genoa over to the same side as the main. On the broad reach the autopilot worked just fine.  I could get back to reading.
I love reading novels and drinking coffee in the cockpit lounging in my captains chair, interrupted regularly  by Gilbert wanting me to throw his tennis ball down into the cabin.  This results in a mad scramble, a frantic search and the joyful return of the ball. It could go on all day and isn’t that distracting but intermittently I take a break, which doesn’t make any sense to Gilbert. He sleeps on a pillow under my chair when he's not fetching ball.
I dropped the sails coming around Bowen Island.  Passing under Lions Gate Bridge I drove on to the fuel dock and filled my tank.  Altogether I’d used 125 litters of diesel, something like 30 gals.  I figured out I do roughly an hour of engine running per gallon and get about 6 or 7 nautical miles per gallon.  I sailed a whole lot more than I used the engine. When I get the new through hull speedometer to replace the old one whose hamsters grew too old, I’ll actually be able to keep track easily again of the actual trip length in miles.  There’s always something to fix on a boat but mine has been doing so well this year with it finally restored to offshore readiness.
There’s a vibration on the shaft which occurred with heeling and sailing which the Stem to Stern folk will sort out now that I’ve got over 50 hours on the new engine.  It was 65 engine hours at the end of this trip. They wanted to see the engine after the 50 hour break in.  Now that the engine is broken in I can also go fishing, trolling speeds, no longer a concern for a broken in engine.  I love the Volvo Penta D2 40.
The new motor gets a check up. Then the fall hunting season begins. I’ll not be out in the sailboat so often.  I do expect to do a winter sail to probably to Salt Spring.  I’ve done that often in years past, crossing the Strait in the cold and enjoying tying up at the marina  when there’s not all the tourists.  The restaurants in winter on the islands are still the best.  I’ve fond memories of chills and stews I’ve had in winter on Bowen and Saltspring.
It was a great August weekend of sailing.  BC Sailing is the finest.  It was joyful to meet up with the Horizon Unbound and share time with it’s captain, Dr. Phillip Ney and it's impressive crew. Gilbert so enjoyed his two great dog friends, Star and Bosun.   I am truly blessed. Thank you Jesus.
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