Ice cream run

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Moderator: GreenLake

Ice cream run

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 05, 2021 7:07 pm

Who wouldn't sail 9 nautical miles (each way) to get their favorite ice cream?

It's not real time, but it happened recently enough,I thought I'd write up my ice cream run here. Probably split across a few posts. And I still need to collect some suitable photos. (Update: I'll put those at the end).

Here's the teaser:

On a neighboring island there is a small city with a charming historic downtown adjacent to what I believe is the site of the ferry landing in earlier days. It's now a small marina. There are a number of restaurants and touristy shops in easy walking distance. One of them is famous for its ice cream.

To get there from our beach, you round a headland, cross a moderately traveled passage between the islands, cut across the opening of a wide shallow bay bookended by cliffs, and continue well into a long narrow fjord, known for its mussels. I've been there before, but that was "pre-pandemic", which somehow makes it part of a different era. Also, with the pandemic far from over, we weren't quite sure what to expect, so I went online to check for news. One web-page had a mention that part of the waterfront had been condemned. That wasn't promising. Another had a link to the police blotter, and I learned that local residents complained about invisible people hiding in trees. That was intriguing. However, none of that threatened the supply of ice cream.

That left the challenge of getting there: even with a favorite forecast, it is far from certain whether you'll be able to make it there. And whether it will be day or night when you return.

Next: the forecast.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby tomodda » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:09 am

Clever Cow Creamery? Just a guess, looking forward to your tale!

I had a wonderful day out on my local lake yesterday, sailing with a good friend. Sun, wind, companionship, and a ripe Carolina watermelon in the cooler... Life doesn't get much better. Unless there's ice cream! :)
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 06, 2021 7:54 pm

tomodda wrote:I had a wonderful day out on my local lake yesterday, sailing with a good friend. Sun, wind, companionship, and a ripe Carolina watermelon in the cooler... Life doesn't get much better. Unless there's ice cream! :)


Totally.

Now, doing the ice cream run is a bit involved. Here's the next installment.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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The Forecast

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 06, 2021 7:57 pm

The forecasts agreed on that it would be a nice cloudless day on the water, with perfect temperatures, but they did not agree on anything else: no two had the same wind direction, strength or time of day for the expected wind, let alone the gusts. I even looked at sites that I normally don't go to, to see whether I could arrive at some majority opinion, but to no avail.

On this route, the winds have a tendency to fall asleep in the late morning. And like anybody oversleeping, they are far from vigorous when they finally wake up. You may have to leave later, with slower progress than you’d like. The hope is for a sea breeze developing, which would make an easy downwind run on the return, but can mean upwind work on all or part of the way there.

Some days, that breeze really blows, and you’ll be thankful for experienced crew. Other days, it can leave you hanging, and you’re better off with a hobby astronomer along for the return, so you can discuss the constellations overhead as you are gently wafted along.

The tide prediction was less equivocal. It would be against us at every turn, and with a full moon we could expect noticeable currents.

Next: the route.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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The Route

Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:05 pm

As I wrote in the opening post, the big attraction is the ice cream place (and it's the reason the location of this trip will remain undisclosed). Now, the ice cream place is one of the first businesses to close in the afternoon. The challenge becomes to make it there in time.

Depending on the day, the wind and the tide, the GPS track may come to anywhere from 8 to 12 nautical miles, so the tide will turn somewhere along the trip. Not only that, but it may go in different directions at the same time, for different locations along the route.

As some of you here know, I have a very small electric motor (0.3HP) with a range of just about 3 miles at full power. I checked the charts, and while you could follow the contours of the shore, the more direct routes pass through a point somewhere in the middle, where the nearest shore (in any direction) would be well over 2nm distant. Is it really worth bringing a motor like that on a trip like this?

But when it comes to ice cream, not all decision making is fully rational.

Next: the crew.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby tomodda » Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:46 pm

Ice Cream definitely scrambles the brain. On the other hand, no fair keeping your Ice Cream Mecca a secret! :P Oak Harbor somewhere? I haven't been on Whidbey in ages, Navy no longer interested in my computer skills....
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:54 pm

Speaking of skills: some people have managed to cash in on skills in dying technologies - when clients must maintain systems no newcomer has any experience with.

But boating skills don't go out of style. Now, the crew I took had a mix of skills, and different levels of enthusiasm. Not always in the same person. Here's the story on the crew.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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The Crew

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:57 pm

The thought of ice cream had me hoping for a return for a few years now: some years, I couldn't find wind, other years I couldn't find crew. This year, a colleague told me his daughters were interested in sailing and ice cream (not necessarily in that order) and his family would be up for an adventure.

We’ve sailed together before, so they have some familiarity with the boat and I have a good idea of what each of them can do. The DS is an amazing boat: it did not feel crowded, although it didn’t hurt that some of them spent time in or on top of the cuddy. The top of the cuddy was a favorite look-out position. At one point, the youngest member of the crew started building a fort in the cuddy using all available bungees, a camping blanket, seat cushions and spare life jackets. All we saw of her was a single eye peeking through one of the small gaps.

By the time we had everything and everybody sorted (including the mere 40 liters of reserve drinking water they had brought) and assigned crew positions for four people, the bands of wind I had seen all morning were beginning to separate into isolated patches. We set out against the tide, tacking from one wind patch to another, very slowly making progress until we got out of the lee of the island.

Next: the passage.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby tomodda » Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:07 am

GreenLake wrote:Speaking of skills: some people have managed to cash in on skills in dying technologies.


That would be Computer Associates <coff><coff>, company I love to hate...

On a brighter note, I love reading how much your younger "crewmates" enjoy playing on your DS. That's what it's all about, no? Fun for all.
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby GreenLake » Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:29 pm

"Fun for all" that should be the DS motto.

Amazing how much fun we had despite rather slow progress on the way there. In terms of sailing the boat, there was a little less I could ask them to do than I normally would, because much of it was light wind sailing where you need to "know" what the wind is doing and what trim/helm is required and not able to see/feel it directly. Also, not losing momentum was perhaps more critical for parts of it than when you have good wind (and if you make a mistake steering/trimming you can get back quickly).

Here's what happened on the way there.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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The Passage

Postby GreenLake » Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:32 pm

After leaving the lee of the island, crossing the inter-island passage finally gave us weak but fairly steady wind and the occasional dramatic wake from a passing speed boat. The tide changed orientation, though at first not strength and the wind slowly shifted so that we were on a lifted tack.

At several points the wind was dying, and we either motored a bit; or the kids (and the adults) paddled for a bit, sometimes with the motor running along at low power. After a few minutes of this we’d see a wind line, ripples, the works, and we’d sail or glide on steadily for another half hour or so. This slow and steady progress continued across the mouth of the bay; the winds slowly clocking from upwind to a broad reach, all on the same tack.

Along the way we see some jumping fish, a porpoise, a flock of wild geese. At some point, we scraped some rocks and saw an island with a cave opening in a cliff. Time to break out lunch. “I want to eat a lot so I can get heavier” the smallest crew member told us. But we didn’t need rail meat. Far from it.

As we are closing on our destination, right when it had seemed that the wind had died for good, it briefly picks up, but shifted so we find ourselves downwind and down tide from our goal. Instead of tacking the remaining distance, we try the motor. It is enough to get us to the dock in time for the younger part of the crew to rush to the ice cream store before closing.

The rest of us are tying up the boat, stowing the sails, paying the docking fee, and plugging the battery charger into shore power, just in case. It had taken us 10 ½ nautical miles and a patient almost six hours to get there, but we beat the closing time.

Next: the ice cream.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Ice cream run

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:47 pm

I should say, I'm not planning to deep dive into the details of the ice cream; just imagine it like the best ice cream you've ever had, and you'll be close.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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The Ice Cream

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:50 pm

While the crew was off getting ice cream, I looked around at the dock and chatted with several people on different boats. One couple owned a SCAMP, a little micro cruiser shorter than a DS.

By the time we all sat down with our ice cream, the wind had died again, with some finality. From where we were sitting we could see the entire stretch of our return trip: it was a solid sheet of glass.

Normally, statistically, you'd expect something like a sea breeze in the evening, which would blow our way. That day, though, we had seen from the water that the interior of the countryside was under a cloud layer, which disrupts the thermal driving the sea breeze. By this time, those clouds had lifted, so we didn't give up hope quite yet; but so far it did not look very promising — without wind, only the tide might have pushed us part of the way. But at best only as far as that point furthest away from all land.

To postpone the need to come to any decisions about alternate plans we checked out a nearby restaurant and got some takeout food: fish & chips, coconut prawns, crab cakes, shrimp, clam chowder and salad.

No sooner did we have our food in hand, than we saw a small patch off the side of the dock with a bit of a ripple on it. We took that as an encouraging sign, packed food and everybody on the boat and raised sail. By the time we pushed off, the patch had spread far and wide, and once were fully out on the water, the wind picked up and before we knew it we were cruising close to hull speed dead downwind.

Next: the return.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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The Return

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:46 pm

There weren't any white caps, but there is enough fetch along the length of that fjord to produce some good swell; though it only get to about 1' high, it will try to round up the boat if you can't sail square to the waves.

It was lively enough that we didn't sail wing on wing for risk of an unplanned gybe. Instead, we used the jib like a tell tale: if it wanted to come across we'd round up a bit. The older daughter tried her hand at the helm and did well with that method, even though a progressive wind shift meant that we were sailing at ever more difficult angles to the waves.

Eventually we were forced to gybe, but we continued our spirited ride with the sun setting behind us, and the moon rising in front of us. Across from the open bay, the winds were perhaps funneling a bit less and we could take a breather and break out the food. Later, as we approached our own island, the wind slackened to the point where we felt we could raise and fly a spinnaker even with a full boat and a largely novice crew.

Somewhere in all of this, we found a way to take turns, so that everybody had their hands free an could eat their food.

After 8 ½ nautical miles of this, and in half the time as our trip there, we got back to our beach. We had the boat loaded on the trailer and de-rigged without further events about an hour after the end of twilight.

A long day, but...ice cream!

Next: the aftermath.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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The Aftermath

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:41 pm

I enjoyed that ice cream run so much that I repeated it the following week with a different friend. We had better winds going there as well as lower tides and made better time, though we had to tack into a building sea breeze at the end and ended up sailing a bit more distance.

The ice cream was just as good, and we met different people at the dock. This time, the breeze didn’t stop, so we didn’t feel anxious about our prospects getting home. With just one crew, but very experienced and familiar with my boat, we risked flying the spinnaker from the beginning. The first hour was a wild ride that ended with a crash gybe: the wind had shifted to where the swell was hitting us side-on. In the end, that made it impossible to avoid the gybe.

We doused the spinnaker, but the wind picked up a bit, so we were just as fast as before and were back in record time.

Now the boat is capsized on the lawn, awaiting post season repairs and all these trips are pleasant memories.

Next: pictures
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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