Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Soft Cities


Soft Cities, a set by George on Flickr.

soft cities

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Visit from my Bros

In October my brothers visited from MN & TX. We had a great overnight to Port orchard, then picked up elder son at Bremerton & sailed back to Seattle. Andrew shot this pic as we motored to the ferry dock to pick him up.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I purchased pontianum (Fair Winds in Latin) in December of 2006. The first ride was unforgetable. My older son, Andrew, and I sailed her back from Port Angeles on Christmas Day.

We waited for a good weather forecast--light & variable winds. Those light & variable winds reached 40 knots somewhere near Port Towsend. There were waves crashing over the cabin top. We had planned to stop in Port Townsend for the night, but it was too cold to figure out where it was & how to get there. So we pushed on & reached the locks around 10 PM on Christmas night. Apparently the lockkeepers were having their Christmas eggnog, because it took a long time to get anyone's attention.

We made it through the bridges before 11--the cutoff for on-demand opening. The next week we were each sick for a few days--probably from hypothermia. But we made it.

Pontianum is an Islander Freeport 36 designed by Bob Perry, who lives and designs in Seattle. It's a 70's design, but has a few unusual features for its time. It has large ports in the salon to provide light. More importantly for me, it has nearly 7 foot headroom. No more ducking!

There is also a queen-size pullman bed--not the usual v-berth. And she has a large head with standup shower. There isn't much guest space--but every sailboat design is a compromise.

She also has a walk-through stern & folding ladder. In the Keys or Virgin Islands this would mean great swimming. In the Sound, this means easy dinghy handling and boarding.

As soon as I got to my slip in Tillicum Marina, I realized there were leaks in Pontianum--including one right over the berth. I also found that the diesel wall-heater was not enough for Seattle's winter and the marina had less than adequate wiring to support the 2 space heaters I needed to stay comfortable. So for many weeks, I was wet, cold, and wondering why i'd chosen this particular form of hell.

Getting two circuits in the marina & the right fittings to use them, buying a de-humidifier from Amazon, fixing leaks, receiving flannel sheets from a very kind friend and other seemingly minor improvements made it gradually more liveable. And now, finally, in July, the weather has turned around. It's even been too hot--tho I'm not about to complain about both extremes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First Trip

After a long, cold winter on the Freeport I purchased in December, I finally left the shadow of Seattle & sailed to Bellingham. It wasn't really that far, but I got a taste of the San Juans and an opportunity to enjoy the boat.

BJ Hawk, from Ft Collins, CO, and I set out Thursday, 6/28 at 2 PM & headed north. Vancouver was our ultimate destination, but after two days motoring in cold rain we set our sights on Bellingham.

The Freeport was a progressive design for its time. The stern walkthru is great for handling a dinghy--and in retrospect--probably a good place to hook onto a mooring ball. We had to let one go that we couldn't reach from the bow.

We rigged the sailing dinghy in Bowman Bay & enjoyed a brief sail to shore where we explored the lush woods along neighboring Deception Pass. We watched an eagle swoop down & catch a fish in the fast-moving rapids.

The sunset in Bowman Bay was spectacular. Until then, the trip seemed like a lot of work. But the glow of the setting sun raised our spirits & set the tone for the rest of the trip.

The next day we had a great reach down Bellingham Bay. My jury-rigged autopilot performed well & we sailed on the same tack for a couple of hours. You just can't do that in Colorado!

When we reached the marina, I realized I'd put a wrap in the main halyard on the winch. We were trying all kinds of things to get the wind out of the sail so we could go into the marina for the night. BJ saved the day by taking the main out of the boom so I could do 360's with the boat to wrap it around the mast & tie it down. Wasn't pretty, but it got us into a safe berth for the night.

In Coupeville, I couldn't start the engine. Pontianum normally doesn't leave the dock for more than one night, so it wasn't until the trip i found out my batteries were pretty weak after a night on the hook. Marty, the owner of Coupeville's only service station, brought down & installed a new battery. Even though he had to order it from the next town, he didn't charge yacht prices.

All in all, a good start to many more expeditions in Puget Sound.