Roberta and I really have only one goal for our cruising this summer: To relax. It’s a long story, but we’ve had a lot happening in our personal lives over the past year (sold our place in Mexico, building a house, help one of our mothers move into a senior community, among other things).
Our goal is to find a couple of quiet anchorages, tune out the world, and just be mellow for a while.
You might wonder why we’d anchor in front of our own dock…
Our slip at Roche is on a tight fairway. Getting the boat in or out of its slip is easy when there is no wind. But if the wind kicks up it can get a bit more exciting.
Also, and more importantly, we just like the feeling of being at anchor more than being in a boat slip. I remember once asking Steve Dashew, a legend in the marine industry, how much trouble he had finding a slip for his 83’ boat in Europe. He looked puzzled and asked, “Why would you want to go into a marina?”
In the picture above you might notice the blue shades. We have a series of panels that roll-down from above and surround the dinner table behind the pilothouse. We drop these to block the sun so that we can have dinner in comfort. It can be a bit trickier than it appears, in that the boat rarely sits still while at anchor. It shifts direction with the wind or current. It is not uncommon for the sun’s position to change during dinner and another sunshade panel to be required. Like a fly on an elephant’s back, it’s a minor annoyance, but overall the shades have been a tremendous add-on to the boat.
Our time at anchor didn’t last long…
A glance at the weather report showed that the next morning there would be a wind warning in effect and by the evening a gale warning was anticipated. Sans Souci is a strong boat and would be fine in those conditions, but one thing we have learned well is that when given the choice of cruising on lumpy seas or flat seas, flat seas is better.
Thus, we decided to “beat the weather” and departed at daybreak the following morning for Victoria, Canada, a short 30 mile run.
Even though we prefer anchoring to being in a marina, we had committed long ago to a marina in Victoria. There were a few reasons:
- A friend convinced me that it was time I get the boat waxed and that an incredible team of boat waxers are based in Victoria
- I have been receiving spam for almost a decade about a new marina being built in Victoria, “The Victoria International Marina”, and it recently opened. I was curious to see how the marina turned out.
- Although we live in Seattle, not too far away, we’ve never “done the tourist thing” in Victoria. It seemed like a fun and mellow way to spend a few days
Here’s a cute and short video that I took of Roberta trying the steering wheel. The steering wheel was hardly working. I was having to spin the wheel dozens of times to get even one degree of turn. I asked Roberta to give it a try, and in this video you see her spinning the wheel to no effect.
As a byproduct of digging into the steering issue I decided to add a new gauge to my Maretron monitoring system that would give me real time feedback on the pressure of the hydraulic steering fluid. I am loving the easy extensibility of Maretron!
Our clearing into Canada was much simpler than expected. On approach to Victoria there is a long customs dock (Over 150’ long!) We arrived early in the morning with no other boats in sight. I stepped off the boat to a telephone and was immediately connected to a customs/immigration agent. He asked some easy questions and then gave me a number to display in my window. In minutes I was back on the boat.
From the customs dock I could see our marina directly across the channel. The marina is so new that it didn’t appear on my chart. So, I called the marina to ask if there was anything I should know about the approach before entering the marina. They suggested I contact “Victoria Harbor Control” to ask if I could cut directly across the channel to enter the marina.
The Victoria International Marina
To my surprise, we were the only boat in the marina! I didn’t object. Any time I can enter a marina and have easy access to a slip, it’s a good thing.
The marina is unusual in that it targets only super-yachts. The smallest slip is 90’ and most slips are 120’. They hope to attract larger, typically crewed, larger yachts cruising in the area.
I was warned that the marina is a bit out of town. Prior to arrival I asked the marina’s concierge to get me a car and one was waiting when we arrived.
I have spent thousands of dollars with mechanics over the years fighting this problem, and decided the time had come to solve it once and for all. I hired a local electrician and had him remove the automated system for the 50 amp cable. It is a bit of a radical solution but solves the problem permanently. I now have a connector on the back of the boat and can keep the 50 amp cable coiled up in a locker. I only use the 50 amp cable on rare occasions so it really isn’t a big deal.
If you would like to comment on this blog, or respond to the blog, there are a couple of methods. You can go to my website, www.kensblog.com Or, you can simply reply to this email. I do read everything that comes in, but much of the time I don’t respond. My apologies for that. We are on the boat and I get a lot of email. Sometimes I can’t answer it all. If you really want a response, email me directly. I’m easy to find: email@example.com
Ken and Roberta Williams (and the pups, Toundra and Keely)
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci