Sailing up Jervis Inlet I

Motoring up into Jervis Inlet–the point where the wind began

13 June 2012

The cruising guides warn sailors to be prepared for a long motor up Jervis Inlet, a 46 mile fjord, if they’re headed to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls. If you’re lucky, they say, you might have a spinnaker run.

Sailing under the Yankee

We left Pender Harbour early in the morning under the iron sail, turning up into the Agamemnon Channel–named for another British Navy ship, of course, 19th century Britain apparently stuffed full of officers trained in the classics.  At Sechelt Inlet, the wind was strong enough to turn the blades of the wind generator, so we hauled out the Yankee and shut down the engine.  As the wind grew, our hull zinged along the water almost on a dead run.  As Karin and Elisabeth dashed about the deck taking photos of the snow capped mountains and countless waterfalls, Skipper Marike couldn’t decide which she was enjoying more—the scenery or the sail.

Elisabeth enjoying the scenery

Happy skipper

Quietly we screamed along the waveless water, jibing the Yankee around bend after bend for 40 miles to Malibu Rapids.  At times we kept up with a trawler or two roaring along at 8 knots.  The hull speed of Quoddy’s Run is supposed to be 7.25 knots, based on a mathematical formula for the length of a displacement hull, but obviously she does not know that.  Sailing up Jervis Inlet on a clear day with a following wind was one of the best—and most unexpected—sails of our lives.

Screaming along

Alas, the sail back out of Jervis Inlet a few days later was in pouring rain, overcast skies, low visibility and no wind….for hours on end.

Return in the fog

About Karin Cope

Karin Cope lives on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. She is a poet, sailor, photographer, scholar, rural activist, blogger and an Associate Professor at NSCAD University. Her publications include Passionate Collaborations: Learning to Live with Gertrude Stein, a poetry collection entitled What we're doing to stay afloat, and, since 2009, a photo/poetry blog entitled Visible Poetry: Aesthetic Acts in Progress. Over the course of the last decade, with her partner and collaborator Marike Finlay, Cope has sailed to and conducted fieldwork in a number of remote or marginal coastal communities in British Columbia and Mexico. Their joint writings range from activist journalism and travel and policy documents, to an illustrated popular material history of the Lunenburg Foundry entitled Casting a Legend, as well as their ongoing west coast travel blog, West By East.
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