Passagemaker Gunter Sloop - Destination Sail

Since we moved to Camano Island, I've been eyeing this cute little island out in Saratoga Passage just off Whidbey Island.  We've lived here since June and I've been frantically trying to finish my PMD to be able to use it this season.  Yesterday, I took a mental health day and launched at Camano Island State Park again with my eye on Baby Island.  It was also a good opportunity to test out my little dolly at the launch ramp.

It was blowing 8 knots at the ramp, so I felt pretty safe with the beach launch.  Of course Baby Island was almost directly upwind, but that's why I opted for the gunter sloop (and longer rigging times).

"TOY YOT" performed beautifully.  I experimented with mainsheet trim and sculling to induce apparent wind.  It took about an hour to get close enough to realize that my preferred tack wasn't going to take me to the beach, so I did a 90° tack for a few, then made a beeline for the beach.  On the way across, I had encountered 1' waves and when I sailed the boat flat, the bottom bashed a little bit, but I noticed that if I induced a little heeling, then the bottom/garboard chine would slice into the waves a little easier.

As I approached, I could see a couple of hundred seals sunning themselves on the beach.  They all walloped into the water as I pulled my daggerboard and slid up onto the crushed shells.  Before I left the house, I had focused the binoculars to the island, so as soon as I landed, I Facetimed my wife.  She could see me waving to her in the distance.

The seals hung out in the shallow water waiting for the intruder to leave.  I had lunch, walked all the way around the little island and hopped back in the boat to head back.  The funny thing is that a couple of seals kept following me for several hundred yards.  I could see their puppy dog faces popping out of the water behind me for several minutes.  Why is it it's always upwind both ways?

I got back to the launch ramp, but with the light wind, the ebb tide was making it impossible to make headway up the beach, so I just walked her up the shallows.  As usual, I had a couple of people stop me and ask me about the boat.  Once again, I'm thinking about making a sign with the pertinent info on it.

All in all a really fabulous day.  Now when I look out the window at Baby Island, I can say "Been there, done that".  I'm starting to gain enough confidence that I will be able to take the family out on a lake soon.  I hope this little essay might inspire some of you who are still in the building process to keep powering through it.  The rewards are worth it.

You can see all the seals in the water.  Baby Island even has a shipwreck!

- Captain Skully

4 replies:

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RE: Passagemaker Gunter Sloop - Destination Sail

Thanks for a wonderful tale well told.  We wish you all joy of TOY YOT!


RE: Passagemaker Gunter Sloop - Destination Sail

  Great story Captain.  I have started to paint/varnish my PM take-apart, so I am close.  Your adventures keep me going.

RE: Passagemaker Gunter Sloop - Destination Sail

Thanks guys!  Here's a link to a short beach launch video.

RE: Passagemaker Gunter Sloop - Destination Sail

"Bye, Daddy!"  Cute.  <;-)

What a lovely area to have right to hand there for some serious messing about in boats!  Small Boats = Big Adventures


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