Race day with Mazu
Tony and I both really enjoy visiting Hornby Island, in particular Tribune Bay and the funky little Hornby town centre. We departed Squirrel Cove early the morning of July 28 only to be pleasantly surprised to pass by Mazu, a Tayana 37 and also a Blue Water Cruising (BCA) boat, on our way out of the cove. Stefa and Juergen were not on deck and I felt it too early to hail them on the radio. I did hurry below to locate the business card that Stefa had given me quite a while back and was pleased that it had both their email address and cell phone numbers. At an appropriate time, I sent Stefa a text message and was happy that she replied. Mazu had no firm plans and she and Juergen agreed to meet us at Grace Harbour later in the day.
We had a lovely sail to Grace Harbour, all the way down the Malaspina Inlet to the entrance. Happy to find the harbour not overloaded with boats, we found a nice sunny spot and dropped our hook. A short time later, Mazu motored in and took up residence a short distance away. It felt to me like this is what long distance cruising might be like. When you least expect it, you run into an old friend. I look forward to these sorts of experiences along the way!
During the couple of days we all stayed at Grace Harbour, we visited one another’s boats a few times, had drinks and appies, shared stories and talked about our respective offshore sailing plans. Mazu will be heading south in 2017, as far south as the Galapagos Islands before turning west for the South Pacific. Tony and I swam, Stefa and Juergen paddled and brought us some lovely plums that they picked on shore. On day 2, we all talked about our plans for the next day. Having never been to Hornby, Mazu decided to join us there. To add some spice to the trip, we agreed that Mazu and Mayaluga would race. Rules were: sailing only and the first boat to pass Florez Island wins. Start time, 8 am.
Mazu headed south, passing Savoury Island on the east. Tony and I thought we would pass Savoury Island to the west, through Manson Passage and cut off some distance. Bad plan. Manson Passage turned out to be too shallow (unlike Mazu, Mayaluga did not do any route planning the night before). On to plan B…..head north of Hernando Island and then turn south for Hornby. It added 5nm to our distance, unfortunately. Lesson learned.
With winds gusting to 30 knots from the northwest and good sized waves with short crests, our ride was anything but comfortable. Some items below were definitely not stowed to perfection and, on more than one occasion, I went below to straighten up. Luckily nothing broke.
Coming south of Savoury Island, we searched for Mazu with the binocs. At first we couldn’t see them or raise them on the VHF. Maybe we were in the lead? Our fantasy soon came to an end when Stefa responded and it was confirmed, Mazu was in the lead. Tony and I rationalized it though, as any good racer would. J Mayaluga was heavier and older. We must deserve a handicap like they do in real races, don’t we? Apparently not. We caught up with Mazu in Tribune Bay. Maybe Mayaga will get a rematch sometime!