Shaula’s Great Voyage

After a weathered out first attempt the weekend before, we were finally able to bring my good friend’s new 1968 Choy Lee Off Shore 36′ named Shaula to her new home. The first few hours in and around Anacortes were pretty rough and we were not sure what the next two days had in store for us weather wise, it was late October after all. Nor were we at all that familiar with anything about this classic plastic sailboat. I was probably the most nervous of the bunch, having only sailed four times and just recently having recovered from a herniated L4 disk. Oh, did I mention that I sometimes get sea sick too?

As we motored out of Anacortes, the weather closed in and the swell went up to 3-4 feet but Shaula rolled through the waves with a gentle confidence that made us all feel at ease, she was a very solid 36 feet. That calm came to an end about an hour or so into the journey just as we hit some of the more open water on the trip, when we noticed a rubber smell and steam rising out of the engine compartment. Damn, I thought, we really needed to be under power with this bad weather that was in on us. We hoisted the sails to keep us moving forward as we were on a bit of a tight schedule as well. After much poking and prodding we agreed that we should see if it was just an anomaly and fired her up once again at a lower RPM. The motor putted along with a steady pumping sound and looked to be ok and we made the assessment that it was most likely a loose rad cap and nothing more. We made our way through the San Jaun islands and the weather started to clear up nicely. By the time we cleared San Juan the sun was out, the swells were down, and the wind was up all the way to Poets Cove on Pender Island. We arrived right at dusk per our plan.

We had dinner on the boat and lit the old school mini coal fireplace to take the chill off while we had dinner and a few drinks to unwind. Not really knowing what the little fireplace could handle we kind of over stuffed it with fire log material and let’s just say it was a nervous few minutes as we waited for the excess to burn off! Then it was to the pub for a few more and then an early turn in for a 6am start to the next day.

We woke up early and the stars were still out in the crystal clear sky, it was quite the sight. We pushed off as the sky started to light up and we made a race for Active Pass, as it was essential that we get to Active Pass before the 9:45 tide change. If we were later than that it would have put us a full day behind due to the fact that the motor would not have enough juice to push us against a fast-moving tide in the pass. It was tight, and a bit touch and go with the wind but we sailed in at 9:40 on the dot. We had made our second major waypoint on the trip with in minutes of our projected time, not bad considering the amount of things we were battling. Now it was the long haul across the widest part of Georgia Straight that I kind of dreaded. It’s long and pretty rolly polly at times and for a guy with a propensity for sea sickness not usually the most fun 6 hours. The crossing was long and there was weather on our tail that we really were trying to avoid because the Straight can sure get nasty in bad weather

As we pulled into Eagle Harbour the wind kicked up and the rain hit and made docking a bit of a hassle to say the least. We were greeted by our wife who were more than happy to know that we made it safe and sound.

Yes, I have the sailing bug now!



  1. Gillian Shaw says:

    Wonderful story of a late fall crossing and even better that it left you with the sailing bug JP. As someone who counts The Curve of Time as the book I would want to take with me if I ever left BC, I love that people discover our coastal waters and the joy of sailing.

    • jaypiddy says:

      My wife grew up on boats in and around the coast and loves that book too. Thanks for the comment Gillian.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic madden voyage for us! – I think Shaula is happy to be free – and do what she does best…. sail, and sail well she does!

    So glad that you were able to come and can’t wait for more family adventure in the spring.

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