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Thread: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

  1. #1
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    Default To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    The weekend before last, I had the opportunity to take Rowan to the 2nd Annual Pocket Yacht Palooza in Port Townsend. Originally, both Ben Sebens and Dan Murdoch had made tentative plans to launch at the Keystone Ferry Landing on Whidbey Island and sail across in company with me, but a number of things combined, including mega tide ranges, unpredictable weather, and Ben's whole family coming down sick meant that I ended up crossing solo anyways.

    The launch ramp at Keystone (Coupeville) is right in the basin where the ferry comes in. I mean, like right there! You actually need to keep an eye out for the ferry coming in and out in order to have enough room to get in or out yourself. You can see just how tight it really is in this pic--that's not a trick of perspective. You can also see that it was pretty well socked in right there with plenty of fog to go around.



    But I have made this particular crossing plenty of times before, and with the tides being at pretty much at the extreme edges of their range, I pretty much had to go right then, right there to catch the slack or lose my opportunity to go at all. So after a quick check-in with Seattle Marine Traffic Control to see how much traffic was out and about (VHF Channel 5A in this part of the Sound) I rowed out of the tiny harbor and into the fray.

    I kind of like travelling through the fog, except when it's scary, of course. But when it's quiet and you're out in the middle, there's something sublime about your entire world being reduced to just you and your boat.



    This was the first time I really got to use in earnest the old-timey compass that I had restored. And I needed it too, as there was a swell coming in that was definitely sloshing me around in ways that were really hard to judge without looking at the compass needle sway. I've decided I really don't need to make any chocks or anything to peg the box in place. It sits very comfortably against the weather side of the CB trunk, and the box registers on the trunk for alignment automatically.



    Seattle Traffic reported a tug-and-tow inbound that was going to cross my projected path, so I steered up until I could catch sight of it, and then steered for his stern.



    What the hell is that?



    Crushed cars, heading to a scrapper, I think.

    Last edited by James McMullen; 07-28-2013 at 10:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    But I finally made it all the way across and in to the beach at the Maritime Center, where I saw the welcoming sight of dozens and dozens of cool little boats. The tide was still way, way out, really about as low as I've ever seen it there.



    It's great to see so many people come and participate with so many different cool little boats. This lil' honey is the Deer Isle Koster built by fellow forumite stromberg.



    And this one is a cedar-stripper version of Dave Gentry's skin-on-frame Ruth design.



    What's more, the fog eventually started lifting, and when I returned to my boat I found that my brother had arrived in his Ness Yawl Dragonfly, along with my little niece and nephew.

    Freya here has been boating before she could walk.



    So of course we had to go out sailing with Uncle James.



    Finn told me very excitedly that since he'll be 8 next year, he'll get to go to sailing camp next summer. Uncle James is pretty proud, all right!\

    Last edited by James McMullen; 07-28-2013 at 10:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Dan Murdoch showed up with another Ness Yawl, his lovely Otter, and now with the fog completely gone and the wind piping up it was time to go out for some serious sailing again. Dan really did a fantastic job on this boat, so you're just going to have to put up with a whole buncha pictures of her.






    I even managed to get a little video:



    We were having so much fun sailing that we were late for the potluck. . .but oh well. I stand by my decision. It was worth it. And later in the evening there were some slideshow presentations and stuff that were pretty neat. There were three of us who were staying aboard our small boats moored out that night, Jamie Orr in the green Chebacco Wayward Lass, and Dan and me in our double-enders. It was another extra-low tide predicted for the early morning, so we had to take all that into account. Here's a shot from the balcony in the evening--many of the smaller trailered boats have already been pulled away home, so the courtyard is actually quite thinned out from how packed it was, if you can imagine.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    The next morning "dawned". . . .sorta. . . . In fact it was even foggier than the morning before. And the tide was waaaaaaaay out. And there wasn't a breath of wind. But those of us who slept out, and a smattering of the others who had attended the day before were keen to go for a morning jaunt anyways.



    Besides. . .there were . . things. . .moving out there in the fog. Interesting things. . .



    So we rowed out from Point Hudson around and to the northeast, towards Fort Worden. Total whiteout. And every now and then fascinating things coming out of the mist, headed the same way. . .





    The fog started to lift as we neared the park, and all the time we are being passed by a constant stream of dugout canoes, headed the same way. There are a few moderns sprinkled through the fleet, but still most of these were carved out of a cedar log--a single cedar log! Whoa!

    Last edited by James McMullen; 07-28-2013 at 10:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    So when the beach comes into view, the full scope of the number of canoes travelling in the Canoe Journey really becomes apparent. The Canoe Families who own and maintain these boats pass them down through the generations, just as they've done for hundreds of years. It's really quite a moving sight.




    And more and more and more of them coming in every few minutes!



    The different shapes and styles are all historic, regional differences. If you know your canoes, you can tell which area each one comes from at a glance. Different treatments for the bows and sterns and the sections and the proportions to optimise the canoe for its home waters--just like any other class of working boats--plus different styles and sensibilities for the decoration.



  6. #6
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar




    Most all of them are painted red on the inside.


    Us Pocket Yachters all tied up to the dock inside the pier at Fort Worden as the sun came blazing out and it got all hot all of a sudden. I was happy enough not to have to plan on another fog crossing so soon.



    And the way back was visibility unlimited! Because I had come so far north to Point Wilson to see the canoes, I decided to go ahead and jump into the major flood current that was rolling in to kick me back down towards Keystone. I had never been in a favorable situation to cross at max flood like this before, and soon it was pretty interesting--basically one giant, low-amplitude, but constant roiling, unsettled tide rip for nearly 2/3ds of the way across. It was kinda spooky, but neat.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Here's a link to a whole bunch of good pictures of all the boats on shore during the Palooza--taken by the DoryMan, Michael Bogoger.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2668736...7634788739137/

    The DoryMan's blog is well worth checking out too, by the way.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Looks like a great time. I'm bummed I missed it.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  9. #9
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Marty is doing a great job with this event. It looks like a fun weekend. Lots of great boats on the hard, though not nearly enough in the water. I'll try to remedy that next year with a visit from Big Food.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Great James! Thanks for sharing these.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    It was a good preview for the Festival coming up in a month or so, where a great many of these little boats will be back, along with all the big, fancy ones as well.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    The big fancy ones become less and less interesting to me. Fascinating in their own right, but so out of reach....

    Small boats though, that's where its at!
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  13. #13
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    I had really hoped to make it to the event, but I had no trailer ready, and we had just put the rig up once and it was a barely controlled disaster. This weekend we modified the rig and had pleasant sail. After running to weather I tucked a reef in and turned the helm over to my wife and she sailed for a few miles tacking jibing and going where she wanted with a big grin an her face. I pretty much just sat in front of the dagger board and enjoyed the ride, and my wife's smiling face.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Great stuff.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Thanks for your perspective, James! I too will come by water next year. There were some boats that sailed to Rat Island on Sunday, but I haven't seen any photos from that trip yet...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    I was a day or two short of motoring up in Kutty (10hours @5.5kn).
    Sorry I missed it .
    Thanks for the thread Mc M.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Well done James! I felt like I was there.

    Neil

  18. #18
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    Excellent report, almost as good as being there.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: To the Pocket Yacht Palooza--by Sail & Oar

    I'm jealous my friend. I do hope to hit one of those events one day, but until then I'm glad you're taking us along.

    Jim
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
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    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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