Each year SBYC (Shilshole Bay Yacht Club) hosts an annual event called the Burger Burn. This year’s event was extra exciting because it is the first cruise with Shadow! Also Clara’s first cruise, and my (Ben’s) birthday!

It was a wonderful event. Clara did fantastic on the boat. We were at anchor, and only got off the boat once, for about an hour, from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. She loved it, though we will bring more toys next time to entertain her.

The destination was Liberty Bay, and we did it in two hops, and a single hop coming home.

May 14-16, 2021 SBYC Burger Burn Route
May 14-16, 2021 SBYC Burger Burn Route

Friday, May 14th

Prepping an empty boat is a lot of work! Thursday, the night before we left, I spent a few hours loading gear into the boat, so all that was left for us was food and clothing. That turned out to be a brilliant idea that lowered stress levels considerably.

We left the marina around 1430 and arrived at Blake Island around 1800.

There was a big tide against use. The flood was -1.4 ft to 11 ft. Yikes! Luckily Colvos passage, on the western side of Vashon Island, always has a North flowing current. You have to get a bit inside before it picks you up. We took advantage of it and made the trip faster than I expected.

Wind was light in Commencement Bay, about 6 knots. We were able to motor sail with the headsail and keep a GPS speed of around 6.5 knots, while at 1700 rpm on the motor. Coming up to Colvos the wind died out completely :(. The headsail was furled and we throttled up. When going North against a flood, you have to get to about Point Richmond before the current changes and starts heading North with you. Coming into Colvos we were making 6.3 knots, but as we moved closer to Point Richmond our speed dropped dramatically, down to around 5.1 knots. It felt as if we were in battle against some jealous sea god, who, unwilling to give us up, clung as tightly as possible to the slipper underside of Shadow. With the help of valiant Richmond we were able to fend off the watery grasp and regain a respectable 6.5 knots of speed for most of the trip.

I LOVE Blake Island. It is my favorite spot to visit on Puget Sound. Located only 8 miles from downtown Seattle, there is no bridge or ferry to get the general populace there, making it feel like a private island oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a major area.

Over the last few years, Blake Island has skyrocketed in popularity with the local boating population. There is a small marina on the island, but unless you are very lucky, and early, it is nearly impossible to get a spot in it on a Friday afternoon. Seeing as it was nearing dinner time and we were all getting hungry, we bypassed the marina altogether and anchored on the South West side of the island.

Although I have anchored many times before, this was the first time anchoring in Shadow. She has a Danforth anchor, connected to about 50′ of chain and 150′ of rode. The anchor deployed like a dream and set instantly. Blake Island typically is a good anchoring ground. Alix was at the helm while I deployed the anchor. After releasing the anchor the boat has to be backed down to “set” the anchor into the mud. Well, Shadow pulls hard to port (left) in reverse and we wound up simply spinning in circles. Oh well, the anchor set and held perfectly.

At -1.4 tide we were in 39 feet of water. At high tide it was about 50′.

Sleeping on anchor can be nerve wracking. There is alway a danger of dragging, which happens when the anchor is not set right, or there is not enough rode out. Being the first time on this boat, and with my family aboard, it was a bit more nerve wracking than normal. I slept in fits and snatches, till about 0200, when I checked our position on Navionics and saw us swinging peacefully around the anchor. That must have soothed me well because the next thing I remember is opening my eyes to the morning sunshine!

Saturday, May 15

Happy Birthday to Me!

Woke up at 0600, gently bobbing on anchor. I missed this. Slid out of bed and poked my head out the hatch. Stunning silence. Absolute peace. Made myself a pour over coffee and watched the sun rise over the Cascade mountains and tumble over the other sailboats anchored nearby.

Alix and Clara awoke some time later and we had a lazy morning. After breakfast I pulled up the anchor and we motored away from the anchorage in 2 knots of wind.

Coming into Rich Passage, the current was against us. The charts said the tide was against us all weekend :(. The current can whip through Rich Passage at upwards of 3 knots. After consulting the chart, I took a guess that the South side of the passage would have the least current. Tangent, another sailboat, took the North side of the channel, which provided a great opportunity to validate my idea. Tanget races in the Shilshole Bay area, so I knew the boat was fast. My hunch was right! The slow old cruising boat beat the hotshot racer through the passage. They eventually figured it out and crossed over, but it was too late, we crossed to their side because at the bend the water was boiling with current. We may pretty good time!

Alix helmed us most of the way. She is doing great helming. On the way into Liberty Bay, Anne’s M/V Jasper passed us. Anne is another SBYC member. We pulled up close to the Poulsbo Marina and tossed the anchor back out. The tide was at -1.4 again and there was 10 feet of water. Luckily we were at the lowest point of the tide and not worried about hitting bottom with our keel. Jasper rafted to Shadow.

Lunchtime! Alix has done a great job of pulling together all the various bits and implements needed for the galley (boat kitchen) and cooking in a brand new environment. While she made lunch, I pulled the dinghy off the foredeck and got it ready to use for our trip into town.

After lunch Alix and Clara took a nap and I went out on the dinghy. Located S/V Slow Dance, with Colin and Patricia aboard. Hop aboard for a beer before heading back to pick up the girls. We walked around Poulsbo, which has a fun little “downtown” area for boaters. There is an amazing ice cream shop that we had to stop at too.

Not much else to report for the day. Most of our time was spent relaxing on the boat. It is difficult to describe how relaxing it is to be on your boat, at anchor, away from the world, not a care in sight.

Sunday, May 16

Another lazy morning. The best kind when cruising on a boat! We have no schedule. Woke up sometime after sunrise, made some coffee, enjoyed the stillness.

Eventually Alix and Clara woke up and Alix made us breakfast while I hauled the dinghy out of the water and put it up on the foredeck.

M/V Jasper’s lines were released as I began the manual process of pulling up the anchor. No windlass on the boat, yet. It is still in the box, in my garage. Pulling the anchor is relatively easy in 22 feet of water though, considering I had about 120′ out, and of that 50′ was chain, with the rest being a rope rode.

NO WIND… ugh, again? Tide against us all the way home and no wind? Lame. Oh well. We are on a boat because we want to be on a boat. We motored the entire trip home. Even though the tide was against us, we took advantage of the features of the shoreline and were able to keep up a respectable 6.2 knots or more the entire trip home. The pacific northwest and Puget Sound is such a gorgeous place. It is impossible not to marvel at the beauty of it all when we are out.

We cannot wait till the next adventure!