It was calm leaving the strait of Juan de Fuca after our 02:00h departure. Southerly wind allowed us to motor sail out. The group stayed fairly close until near Pachena Pt., when we turned SW and headed off on a reach in the afternoon. The wind piped up around suppertime, and built to 20-25 NW. Despite the relatively light breeze, the seas were kind of nasty: 1-2m swell from two different directions plus some wind chop, made it quite unpredictable. We couldn’t really stand without being hurled across the cabin, and everyone got a bit queasy, one fairly badly.
The odd breaking wave sluiced our decks. We ended up taking two reefs and switched to our staysail overnight to simplify our watches. The “rough” conditions kept up through the night, but we made about 8.5 knots to the SW throughout, and turned around at 04:30h about 100 miles offshore.
Conditions settled around noon and we had a great sail back to the strait of Juan de Fuca, hoisting our spinnaker about 20 miles out, with lots of whales in sight – humpbacks, greys and orcas!
The return down the Strait was uneventful, with very little traffic, and few fishing boats in sight. Dawn at Race Rocks with a 30knot tailwind was spectacular!
We learned a lot, and gained a ton of confidence in our boat. The only incident was a spinnaker pole coming loose from the mast when hoisted for a dip-pole jibe, crashing to the deck about two feet away from my head!
Luckily no harm done, other than a dent in the pole. A backup lanyard on the pole will now be part of our routine.