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November 2006
Our nylon staysail, the one we call the Red Baron, got a lot of use as we beam reached southward. Larry is repairing two small holes that developed when the jib sheet caught the sail against the staysail stay during a gybe

Dear Friends:

Ten to fifteen knot northwesterly winds were forecast as we began our last tack toward Cape Flattery in early September. Though we'd had banks of fog drift over us as we'd used the currents to work from Port Angeles toward the open sea, they had cleared by mid-afternoon. When the current turned foul and another fog bank rolled in from seaward to obscure the islands at the entrance to the straights of Juan De Fuca, I plotted a course in to Neah Bay. Sure glad we did. By the time we reached in past the rocks and channel marker into the still waters of this isolated native town, though most of the inner waters of this mile bay were still in sunlight, the island protecting its northern side, the channel markers and everything to the west was shrouded in heavy fog.

We had a few hours of clear skies the day before we came into San Francisco. I spent every minute of those hours on deck enjoying Taleisin showing off her long legged stride now she had plenty of sea room.

As with many of the unexpected stops we have made in our sailing careers, Neah Bay was an unexpected treat. We heard the sound of shouting and drumming coming from a festive crowd on shore as soon as we cleared the inner marker. Then we saw the reason. Six teams of native rowers, escorted by the local coast guard crew, were in a heated race around marks set through out the bay. We'd arrived just in time to watch the grand finale of Makah Days, a celebration of not only sports, but cultural aspects of the five tribes of the Makah Nation. This is the only group in the US who has rights to hunt for whales, but these rights are limited to using native methods and have not resulted in the capture of any whales since the rights were found to be legal.

San Francisco has always been a favorite destination. But we had not sailed under the Golden Gate in almost 27 years and it felt just grand to be doing so again.

Two days later, though skies were heavily overcast, we got a break in the fog and once again headed out, close hauled in 15 knots of wind, bundled in warm clothing for our dash to open water. We were not the only sail in sight; two other yachts had arrived in Neah Bay during our short stay. Now all of us were headed for warmer climates. As soon as we could lay clear of the rocks off Discovery Island, we tacked to lay south down the coast. But by evening the winds began to ease off and both of us agreed we wanted more sea room and tacked offshore. The other two yachts continued south along the coast. For about an hour we jogged along at maybe four knots on this offshore tack, then suddenly the wind freshened by at least eight or nine knots and headed us. We tacked over, eased sheets and shaped a course that lead us to a waypoint about 120 miles off the Oregon Coast and had lovely reaching for the next five days, with never less than 12 knots of wind, never more than 18. Each weather forecast reported southerly winds or light winds along the coast with heavy fog banks, but fresh northwesterly winds and cloudy skies 60 to 200 miles offshore. Later, in Sausalito, we met one of the boats we'd left with. They had chosen to stay within ten or twenty miles of the coast and found fitful winds and confused seas.

Craig and Kaye Compton sent us these wonderful photos of Taleisin, taken as we were sailing north from Port Ludlow toward Port Townsend.

We also had a wonderful bit of good luck as we made our landfall. Though every forecast we'd had for the week before we actually got out into the Pacific and all during our dash southward had mentioned heavy fog banks near the Golden Gate. So we were a bit apprehensive as we closed the coast. But Larry greeted me for my 0300 watch that last night at sea with some wonderful words, "I picked up the Point Reyes light house two hours ago, visibility must be 25 or 30 miles, not a sign of fog."

Our luck held beautifully and we made a delightful landfall with only a few minutes of apprehension when we were actually sailing between the headlands that support the beautiful Golden Gate bridge. The wind eased right off, sucked away by the warmth of the land. A large freighter, accompanied by two tugboats decided to overtake and pass us right as we were slowly running wing and wing on the very last of the incoming tide, right at the bridge. But they were moving with just enough speed to give us the whole span to ourselves when we actually arrived to sail into the famous fresh afternoon breeze that began to funnel through the narrows. With in two hours we lay at anchor in 2 fathoms of calm water just off Sausalito, a grand parade of Sunday sailors passing close off our stern as they headed home for the week. We both were feeling a bit weary and weathered, but not too tired to row ashore for dinner at the buzzing fish restaurant that lay only 300 yards from Taleisin.

Craig and Kaye Compton sent us these wonderful photos of Taleisin, taken as we were sailing north from Port Ludlow toward Port Townsend.

It had been almost three years since we'd been out in open waters, and over a celebratory dinner of superbly cooked local fish, I commented on how much I had enjoyed being offshore again. "Sure is nice to set the windvane, lay back and read a book," Larry added. "It's definitely easier than having to pay attention to your navigation all of the time like we had to do in among the islands and rocks of the Puget Sound. I feel a lot safer with sea room."

"I really like the feeling of being cut off from shopping lists, to do lists, being able to put away my handbag and forget about money and just concentrate on taking care of the boat and ourselves." I added.

As we rowed back to Taleisin we were both ready for a good long sleep in, uninterrupted by the need to stand watches. Even better, we were now safe in harbour as the heavy fog once again rolled down across the hills behind Sausalito and the sound of fog horns reminded us of the lucky break we'd had that day.

May your fog banks always be brief

Lin and Larry

Just a few notes - If you would enjoy listening to two the interviews we did over the telephone with Furled Sails, you can follow the link directly from our opening page and either listen on line or download the two half hour programs onto an ipod.

Also, I have often mentioned Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger, two sailors we have enjoyed meeting in a grand assortment of different locations. Theyhave just set up a website that you might find useful and definitely interesting - it is www.bethandevans.com.

Final Note - Paradise Cay Publications, who sponsor and coordinate this website, are currently creating a new, expanded website for us. It should be online within the next few weeks. It will still have the same web address. Please let us know if you have any trouble accessing it when it goes live.






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