Wind in my face

I seem to recall a song, maybe a 70s one-hit wonder type, with lyrics along the lines of, “I love to feel the wind in my face… blah, blah, blah…” I don’t know whose idea it was to write those lyrics but I’d like to set the record straight… Feeling the wind in my face is good only if said wind is generated from the speed of our boat plus the wind at our backs. Taking 18-24 knots directly in the teeth for most of the day, four days running is NOT something I love. As any good sailor knows, fair winds and following seas is the desired state under sail. In the Pacific Northwest, this is, more often than not, simply that: a desired state. The predominant wind direction here, regardless of the direction in which one is headed, is in your face. At 3-5 kts, 10 even, wind directly on the bow is nothing more than a minor annoyance. When it reaches 15+ kts, however, it becomes a frustration and, more importantly, a hindering factor in getting anywhere quickly (yes, I realize “quickly” is used in a strictly relative sense when speaking about sailing). So, after a very rough crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound in a 15-20 kt headwind, followed the next day by 15-20 kts in the face for most of the day in Fitz Hugh Sound, we found ourselves this morning motoring north along Fisher Channel in 16-24 kts, again, right in the teeth… a bit disheartening, to say the least, when the fastest we were able to eek out was only slightly faster than walking speed – unless we were racing a speed walker, in which case we would lose. Thankfully, our luck was about to change. After two hours, we made it to our first turn and, magically, it seemed, the wind was finally, after all this time, on our beam. Oh, wind, the kind not in our faces, how we missed you! Up went the sail to provide some much-needed assistance, and our speed ratcheted up to 8 kts. For much of the afternoon, with 15-20 kt winds, sometimes gusting to 25 kts, at our backs (Did you hear that? Our backs!), we relaxed, soaked up the sun, and enjoyed the sound of water rushing past Gadabout’s hull. Then, we reached our next turn. And the feeling was gone. So it was that we finished out the rest of the day with a headwind before dropping the anchor in a small cove protected from all but the 15 kt gusts popping over the island, in our faces. It may be a long night.

— Paula

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