Music Festival Pender Harbour

Pender Harbour or Bust!

Thursday, September 17, 2009S.V. CAMBRIA

Bill and Sylvia upped anchor about 10:30 this morning on their way to Nanaimo. As we left the bay’s entrance a half hour later, we could see them adrift in the water ahead of us with two of their sails up and thought they were making ready for the trip across the Strait of Georgia. As we came closer, we could see Bill in the dinghy and it looked as if Salubrious was aground where there was no ground to be on. As it turned out, the bolt securing the drive-line coupler to the shaft had failed and spun out from the transmission leaving them without the ability to drive the prop and Bill was trying to row them into open water away from the islets and rocks that line the bay’s entrance.

We attached a line to Salubrious and slowly towed her into open water where they planned to sail to Pender Harbour to affect a repair. We would shadow them on the way down reattaching the line once we arrived and guide them safely into the harbour. But you know what they say about best laid plans….

At the time, we had a good sailing breeze and relatively calm conditions but Salubrious is a gaff-rigged ketch and was only able to sail 60 degrees off the wind which put them in a direct line from where we started and they weren’t able to make any southern progress. By the time we decided to pack it in and give them a tow, three hours had passed and the conditions had worsened. We were seeing 15 to 20 knots of wind on the nose and chopped up seas.

During this time, David and Bill were communicating via VHF radio and the Canadian Coast Guard became involved. As we stood off and waited for them to lower their sails, a launch who had overheard the conversations radioed in to see if they could help. We were ecstatic! We were prepared to tow ourselves but, like most sailboats, we have a small engine compared to motor vessels and weren’t sure if we could actually complete the job in the current conditions. We continued to stand off along with Cetus, the launch, when a call from Teal came in. Carl and Kit own a 78 foot motor vessel and are friends of Bill and Sylvia’s who just happened to be passing by on their way down from Alaska and would take the tow. We continued to standby wanting to make sure they all got back to port safely but eventually had to make the decision to go at our own pace because of the conditions and lateness of the day. – by that time, we were bashing into the chop and taking water over the bow up to the dodger.

After loosing their line twice and having to re-attach, Teal and Salubrious made it safely to Pender Harbour an hour or so after us and rafted their boats together for the night in Maidera Bay. We dropped our hook in Garden Bay next to Mike and Lisa on Blue Aweigh and readied ourselves for a weekend of jazz.

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