While assisting with preparations to a sailboat that I race on, the 2007 McConaghy-built Reichel/Pugh 55 Zvi, I got thinking that doing another trip across the Pacific Ocean would make a fun summer vacation. Zvi was signed up to race in the 2022 Pacific Cup and had just done the 2021 Transpac Race the previous year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the 12-person crew for the Pac Cup, but lucky for me another door opened. An opportunity came my way to help deliver the 2011 Outremer 49 Stray Cat from Honolulu to Seattle, which Swiftsure partner Pete McGonagle had just finished listing/selling.
The delivery would take us approximately 2,400 nautical miles across the North Pacific Ocean and the crew of four was: Jim Beekman, Captain; Ken Monaghan, Crew; Wayne Keith, Owner; and Margie Enquist, Owner.
Deliveries are fun and are also a great way to add to your personal experience and improve your boating skills including passage prep, provisioning/meal planning/cooking, sail handling/trim, yachts systems, and more. In my case, I wanted to focus on route planning, weather, and navigation. For our delivery, Stray Cat had Iridium Go!, which is how we stayed connected and received updates, weather feeds from the outside world, and info from a land based weather router that Wayne and Margie had hired to follow and support us on our trip.
We left the Hawaii Yacht Club in Honolulu on Wednesday morning, July 6, on what whould end up being a 19-day delivery—my longest Hawaii delivery ever! In all fairness, the winds just didn’t cooperate. It was either too light or in the wrong direction, which forced us to motor a lot and typically on one engine to conserve fuel. When had 10 yellow diesel jerry jugs topped off and stored in the port/starboard forward storage compartments of each hull and Stray Cat has two fuel tanks for a total of 89 gallons when left the Hawaii Yacht Club.
On July 24, after already passing Neah Bay, we were basically running on fumes with still no wind. Fortunately, Wayne was able to connect with Austin at Makah Mini Mart about getting fuel and he asked me, “What should we do?” I quickly responded, “We’re turning around!” And promptly whipped the Outremer cat around and we headed back for Neah Bay. What a great relief, it was the best thing to happen on our delivery. With fuel, we could all relax and enjoy the remaining trip down the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into Admiralty Inlet. Coincidentally, this decision proved even more invaluable as over the next 1 ½ days there wasn’t a breath of wind anywhere to be found until we got off Edmonds and then Meadow Point. A highlight of the voyage was passing Shilshole Bay Marina and West Point, and then tying up at Elliott Bay Marina.
Lessons learned for my next delivery:
- Get/have my own Garmin inReach GPSMAP 86SCi
- Get/have a Kindle (Book Reader)
- Download books, podcasts, music, etc.
- Bring my waterproof digital camera
- Bring my Crocs!
- Learn more card games!
Here are my highlights from the passage:
- Showers with warm water! – love me a Spectra water maker and heater to warm the water being made.
- Ripping along at 13-16 knots! (when we had wind)… being on plane and not even noticing. Catamarans are super comfy and bonus, performance cats like the Outremer are very stable.
- Shaker tube siphon, aka “Jiggler”! I’ve never used one before and they are awesome for doing fuel transfers. They’re really slick, simple to use and make a potentially messy job, extremely easy and very clean.
- Jim’s Bread! The captain had other skills that we didn’t initially know about. This then became a daily ritual after lunch and I highly recommend learning how to make and bake bread underway. It’s a nice way to pass the time and a treat to look forward to.
- Whales! On Tuesday, July 19, we all ended up on deck, looking over the port side hull in awe and amazement of the magnificent creatures. We each had our phones out to take video and pictures of the pair that followed for a while and breached a few times.
- Land Ho! On Friday, July 22, while approaching Cape Flattery we came in high to catch the wind that we actually saw Canada, the westside of Vancouver Island (Ucluelet/Bamfield area) first.
- Fuel! Topping off in Neah Bay at Makah Mini Mart. Austin was my hero!
Thanks to the listing broker for Stray Cat Pete McGonagle and Ryan Helling, who are also the owners/partners of Swiftsure Yachts, for suggesting and then presenting my sailing resume to Wayne and Margie for consideration as crew. I appreciate the support of Swiftsure Yachts; Pete, PJ, Ryan, and Kurt during my almost one month absence and for the opportunity to join Jim, Wayne, and Margie for the Stray Cat adventure during my “Summer Break/Vacation”!