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Whitecaps

We had motored away from Sidney Spit in a dying westerly breeze. An hour before I had tucked away everything below, expecting a romping beam reach but now that we were underway the wind had decreased to…nothing at all. But once we were out of Sidney Channel and into Haro Strait we found our wind.

Forecast wind today in Haro Strait: 15-20 knots southwesterly. A fine wind to make our way south again towards Victoria, then west out the Straits this weekend. We raised our full mainsail and the genoa. Ten minutes later someone opened the faucet and more wind came pouring across the Sannich peninsula, then even more. Wondertime careened to port and all that I’d overlooked tucking away came hurtling downwind as well. I checked on Holly napping in her bunk, then Leah playing in our protective bunk. I told her that she’d want to stay in there for a while and she told me no problem and went back to playing her Leapfrog.

Back outside, we reefed the mainsail down all the way, furled the genoa and unfurled our tiny staysail. Michael went below to check the chart and I was alone with the whitecaps.

With less sail up, Wondertime only heels slightly. The autopilot steers the boat easily and her motion is smooth and even. The waves are choppy with the opposing current but we slice right through most of them. Even so, when the wind comes like this, I shiver and grit my teeth. I am afraid: of more wind, of something breaking, of not knowing what will happen next. The wind howls. Wondertime cuts through a wave and the spray is thrown into the cockpit. I duck behind the dodger a little too late and taste salt. This does not help the shivering.

More wind comes pouring over us. I can hardly believe it. Paradoxically my nerves calm as I see we are only a few miles from the sheltered bay we will anchor at tonight. (When we arrive, we check the buoy reports and find it’s 34 steady, gusting 40 just south of us outside of Victoria). We are also tucked behind the lee of the land and the waves have gotten smaller. Wondertime continues to jaunt along close-hauled at 6 knots like she’s pleased as punch. All the wind being hurled at us seems a bit silly now. We can do this.

More gusts, higher gusts. Wondertime shimmies, she skirts around like a filly trying to shake off a bit. She seems…uncomfortable, restless. Michael and I furl the staysail until it’s the size of a hankie.

Then the boat is satisfied again, and continues on her merrily way south. I am satisfied too. I trust we’ll make it.

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