Sunday, 8 July 2012

VICE Wasn't Really Nice!

We arrived in Barkley Sound on June 25th, three days before the planned departure of this year's VICE fleet.  VICE (Vancouver Island Cruising Event) is an offshore sailing event put on by the Blue Water Cruising Association and is designed to give those sailors who are headed south to Mexico in Aug/Sept a chance to practise some offshore sailing.  The fleet this year was comprised of 7 boats and their brave crew and we planned to sail to a waypoint 142 nautical miles due west of Ucluelet, out into the blue, blue, Pacific.

Tanner, our extra crew member, arrived at the marina in Ucluelet on the night of the 26th, just in time to join the pre-departure festivities and pot luck dinner, and to help with prepping Vakasa for the voyage.  Then, despite warnings of Gale Force Winds off the West Coast, all 7 boats headed off between the hours of 6 am and 10 am on the morning of the 28th.  Brave?  Or just stupid?

The conditions were exactly as the weatherman told us they would be......for a change.  We had winds of 20-25 knots per hour (about 50 km/hr) and 3 metre seas.  The boat was rocking.  We were averaging about 7 knots/hr, and appeared to be travelling an equal distance vertically for every metre we went horizontally!  An hour or so into the trip our faithful four-legged crew member succumbed to seasickness and tossed her cookies.  Tanner, who had decided to put his faith in holistic anti seasickness drugs, joined Rizzo in her misery an hour or so later.  Fortunately, Tony and Kathy put on Transderm patches the night before and were only a light shade of green compared to the rest of the crew.  As you can imagine, none of the carefully prepared and pre packaged food was eaten!

Of the 7 boats that started the journey, 2 turned back by about noon.  Another lost heart by dinner time.  Vakasa and her crew decided to head back after 13 hours (around 10 pm) of "getting the crap kicked out of them".  3 ultra crazy boats went all the way.  The experience for us was phenomenal.  We coped with heavy weather, successfully practised some storm tactics and realized that both the boat and her crew are made of pretty tough stuff.  We sailed at night, relying strictly on our instruments. We utilized both the Coast Guard and Tofino Traffic when things appeared hairy (think very large Cargo ships on collision courses).   We made good decisions.  We learnt that we will never voluntarily sail in those conditions again!

After Vice, we hooked up with Bryn and spent a blissful 5 days touring around Barkley Sound.  It was so nice to have both her and Tanner on board, especially whent the sun started to shine.  The highlights of the trip were swimming in the falls at Lucky Creek and the Iron Chef Cook Off......Tony and Kathy think that Bryn and Tanner's blueberry/bluecheese burgers beat out their chocolate/chipoltle ribs......

Intrepid VICE 2012 participants

The first crew member to succumb (yes, the salon looks like a train wreck!)

Tanner's in there some where - we know because the puke bucket is always with him

Our brave captain at the helm

Fishing, swimming and glorious sunshine in Pipestem Inlet

Winners of Vakasa's 2012 Iron Chef Cook-off


  1. Swimming (and oysters?) at Lucky Creek is indeed a treat after "treating" yourselves to near-gale conditions out there.

    I would have taken the shortcut route -- a turn to port rather than to starboard when leaving Ukee... :-)

    Guess we'll all get another chance late August.

  2. Great Blog Kathy and Tony ... I will be following you weekly!! I admire you both so much and the crew joining you here and there. Waaatchinnngg you! creeeeepy eh?

  3. Oh and I want to enter the 2013 Vakasa Iron chef cook off next year!!!!!! I am a mobile RV owner and have done plenty of fine international cooking in a tiny RV kitchen with limited supplies and resources ( pots and counter tops) Dates and venue please for next cook off and I will start preparing!