Thursday September 4 Friday Harbor. That Angel is still perched on my shoulder.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 5th, 2014

But first in chronological order. I met Mike St. John-Smith on Granville Island on Tuesday for lunch. We have been friends since he started crewing on “Gemini” in 1978, he was then living in La Conner, where I kept the boat. He bought the third NAJA that I had imported and sailed for about ten years in British Columbia as “Soul Fisher”.  It poured all day. There is not one single leak in this boat. I could not say that for the old “Fleetwood”. Later in the evening I met Martha Verazain and Al Loewen long time business friends. We had much to catch up on. Few businesses have changed as much as the wood products industry in the 10 years that I last worked in it. I got an early start on Wednesday and made it to Jones Island by 6.30 p.m. This island is just a short distance from Friday Harbor. I had some good sailing once I was in Strait of Georgia. I very much enjoyed my visit to Vancouver. The scenery, the world class architecture, the Asian Influence, being able to listen to the French language stations, etc. Yesterday and today turned out to be fabulous sunny and warm but the nights have become quite a bit cooler.

Now the story about my guardian angel. Since it is just a short distance to Friday Harbor I did not bother to put both sails up, just the main, but when the wind died I ran the engine as well. There was a strong flood current and I was being set towards a reef, then the engine stuttered and quit. My main worry was not to be driven onto the reef. I brought the light Genova on deck, hanked it on and now I was able to have better control. I quickly bled the fuel line, but that turned out not to be the problem.Fortunately there was enough wind to sail into the bay where the port of Friday Harbor is located. I sailed into a small bay next to it.It was relatively deep and how was I going to set the anchor? I had never done this yet under sail. When you are with two on board one can steer while the other backs the main against the wind to be able to reverse the boat. It did not seem to work till at last the boat came to a stop just a few feet from another anchored boat. I tried bleeding the fuel line again but there was no air in it. Then when I took the fuel line off the out side of the fuel pump there was no fuel coming out. Then when I started the pump there was no movement at all. This is the new pump that I installed just before leaving Gig Harbor.  Fortunately I still had the first pump on board because I had started to question if that had been the problem after all. Bingo! It worked. Before I had the pump hooked up I had to quickly put the hatch back in and get the anchor up and the sail raised because my anchor was dragging. Chinese fire drill. This time I was able to set the anchor by sailing sideways under the genoa away from the anchor. Without wind and the strong flood current I might have had an emergency again. If Robert Redford could just have had the company that I am privileged with not “All would be lost” for him.

I am planning to be with Marlys and Greg Clark tomorrow to help them celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in Roche Harbor, where they were married. And leave Saturday morning for Port Townsend. Back late Sunday or more likely Monday in Gig Harbor.


After sunset

After sunset

Jones Island

Jones IslandDSC_0017



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