Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Young Sailor's Story

Following is a story, in her own words, of a young woman's adventure in her family's Iain Oughtred skiff, Lively. Holli is obviously smitten by boating, and up to the challenges. Immediately following the squall she describes, she rowed the boat about two miles back to the dock. I was so impressed by her skills, I captured her rowing technique in the video below, for your viewing pleasure.



The Power of the Wind

I struggled to hold onto the jib. The sails flapped and jerked, trying to escape. I gritted my teeth and pulled again. If only I could tie the lines to the cleat hitch attached to the mast, and not send Lively, and her occupants, into the water. How did I get into this predicament? Well, the easiest place to start, by far, is the beginning…
My dad and mom took my sister and I to Twanoh State Park, for the Traditional Small Craft Association’s (TSCA) Oyster Messabout. While we waited for Dad to rig up Lively, our handcrafted wooden sailing dory, we talked to the others in the area, scouted out the area, found shells in the area, and assisted him.
After a half an hour or so, my dad, my sister, and I loaded in, and Lively is set afloat. My mom decided to stay behind and catch up on some reading. The cool, crisp breeze and to plop, plop of Dad and I’s oars hitting the water was a perfect, calm prologue to the rather wild, exciting sail we are about to undertake. After awhile, however, it began to rain.
You can imagine my excitement when Dad had me help raise the sails, placing me in full command of the jib. As he pulls on the main and sprit halyards, I pull up the jib. Suddenly, the wind grabs the sails and off we go!
I struggled to hold onto the jib. The sails flapped and jerked, trying to escape. I gritted my teeth and pulled again. If only I could tie the lines to the cleat hitch attached to the mast, and not send Lively, and her occupants, into the water. I tugged on lines again, bracing myself. I’ll have rope burns for a week! After one final pull, I managed to hook the cleat, tying it off. Before I knew it, we were heeling at a very dangerous angle, but that only gave me more pleasure.
Suddenly, we hit a strong and very wet squall; a sudden powerful gust of wind with a front of rain. We heeled so far we took in water, more shocking us then doing much harm. Over the din of rain slapping the deck, water lapping over the sides, and startled squeals, Dad commanded me to take in the jib. Having rehearsed the exact maneuver on land, I swiftly did so, and then helped him reef the sails. When Dad and I controlled our assigned sails, my sister acted as coxswain. Though when we hit the squall, my sister was released of her duties, and she settled down on the bottom of the dangerously tilting boat as ballast. Soon though, due to the part of Dad’s splendid captaining and the fact the wind decided to give us a break, we soon righted ourselves and continued to shoot back and forth across the southern part of Hood Canal.
The wind blows in my face and water sprays my back as we go faster, faster, and faster still. The speed was so exhilarating, the choppy water so enchanting, the air so fresh and clean; not to mention cold, salty , and wet; nothing could ruin my perfect mood. I was so proud of Lively. Pity I couldn’t hear what the people on shore had to say.
The wind quit suddenly on us and it began to rain again. By now, everyone was hungry so we rowed back into the boat launch. We greeted the TSCA members and my mom as the boat reached the dock. I hopped out as plans were made. We were going to have lunch in the covered area and conversationalize. As I met and talked to some very nice people, my mind continually strayed back out onto the water. What a pleasure it was! One of the times my whole family will always remember in years to come.

By Holli Welcker
Age Thirteen

  Holli at the Oars from doryman on Vimeo.

Keep up the good work, Holli. You go, girl!
Thank you very much, for this fabulous story.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Merlin Yawl

I heard from Bill Bronaugh recently about a boat he built after a stint as a student at the Great lakes Boat Building School. Our good friend Kees Prins was an instructor there last year, during an eastward bound cross-country trip he made. Bill had a definitive idea of what he wanted in a boat and Kees had the talent to make that boat a reality. Bill built his boat after graduating, while working at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum and has been applying his newly developed skills. It shows in his first build, of the Merlin Yawl, Falco.

"When last we spoke, I was a student at the Great Lakes Boatbuilding School in Cedarville Michigan where Kees Prins was a guest instructor. Kees and I got on the idea of developing a new boat together. Today I launched that boat."

"It is a derivative of a No Mans Land Boat, specifically the Beetle model, and a peapod. It is 17' 6" in length, 5' 7" beam and carries a gaff yawl rig of approximately 130 square feet. It has a gaff main and a lug mizzen. Construction is glued lap using 9mm ply for the planking, 12mm ply for the watertight bulkheads and 9mm ply for the decks.


"It has a flat keel plank like a wherry and it is two layers of 18mm ply. The stem and stern posts are laminated Angelique, as are the centerboard trunk cap and ends. The double rails on the outside, the inwales, breasthooks, and all of the thwarts and side benches are Honduras mahogany. The floorboards are sassafrass. The mast and spars are old growth CVG doug fir. It has a hollow birdsmouth main mast and all others are solid."


 "The paint is Fine paints of Europe which I had mixed to match Kirbys green/grey for the topsides, the sheerstrake is matched to Marshalls cove off white and the interior is FPOE light grey. The bottom is epoxy and copper powder which I got from Progressive Polymers."




"My sails are on order. I really wanted to use Oceanus cloth, it is just wonderful stuff. I've sailed on three large vessels that used it and its wonderful to handle and to listen to (or not listen to) and it is a beautiful cloth, on the right vessel but the lightest weight they offer is 7 oz and I am limited to 5.5 oz as a heavyweight cloth on my little ship and 7oz wouldn't do. I'm looking around for options that match my wants though. The rig consists of a 109 sq ft gaff main and a small 22 sq ft lug mizzen."



"I named the boat FALCO. The design is the Merlin Yawl after the Merlin Falcon, a small, swift predatory raptor that inhabits coastal regions.

The scientific name of the Merlin is Falco Columbarius, hence, FALCO."






Thank you, Bill.
We hope to have the privilege soon, of seeing your fine vessel under canvas.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival 2014

After spending most of the summer on the water, cruising in Belle Starr, a fitting crescendo was the famous gathering of wood boats from near and far, in Port Townsend, Washington. This festival has grown to nearly fill the Port Hudson marina from shore to shore. Thousands of visitors mingle to view hundreds of boats of all sizes and designs.

The festivities are a bit overwhelming for a boatbuilder from a small coastal town, so I concentrate on visiting with friends and catching up with sailing tales and life's changes. Seldom have I actually taken in the entire show, preferring to spend my time in the blockade outside the marina - the small floating city of water tribe on anchor. If you think that after spending months sailing, I'd had enough, you'd be mistaken. The long weekend offered plenty of opportunity to spread canvas, not the least, the great "sail-by" of wood boats on Sunday, the last day of the festival.


Two boats stood out for me this year. The first is the Blue Moon, Katie & Ginny. This Thomas Gillmer gaff cutter has some unique details that really make her stand out. Her clam-shell cabin is both accommodating and low profile. But most of all, she is pretty under a full press of sail.






 I woke one fine morning to gander about my neighborhood and behold, a larger version of the Stone Horse was anchored nearby. The Macaw is a Sam Crocker design of the same name, and her owner claims his vessel is the only one built to that design. She is 36 feet in length, on deck and sports a gaff ketch rig. I am considering a small pilothouse, similar to that shown, for the companionway on Belle Starr.



'

 As is often said, pictures tell the story. You will find random photos from the festival weekend on Doryman's Flickr site. Please enjoy.

Thanks to all the hard working people who make this giant festival possible. DoryMan raises a glass to you all.
 
Photos by Wild Heather

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Red Lantern Rally

A quick note for all you potential Scamp owners. Just four short years ago, the John Welsford Scamp came off the drawing board and today, it might be the most popular little homebuilt sailboat around. I hear that last Saturday (the 16th of August) John flew in from New Zealand to Mystery Bay, Marrowstone Island, Washington State to celebrate his creation with Josh Colvin (Small Craft Advisor), several Scamp owners, crew and fans.
Below are a few photos of the event, provided by our good friend, Marty Loken. John Welsford is sailing with Josh Colvin in hull #1.
I'm tempted to excuse these diminutive boats as mere whimsy, but sometimes whimsy is just what is needed. All you need for proof are the huge grins on this crowd.....








More photos of the first Red Lantern Rally can be found here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Angus Cruising Rowboat

Sailing to Desolation Sound is a great experience. The trip we took involved a full range of conditions and challenges. But the area has it's limitations for a keel boat. We saw many kayaks, often lurking in the lee, watching for a weather opening.

Some coves and inlets were very deep - too deep for safe anchorage. Signs were evident that previous visitors had stern-tied to a rock or tree, since the cove might not have enough room to swing on the scope necessary for a single anchor.

Being avid rowers, we often discussed the possibility (probability?) of making a similar voyage in a rowboat designed for use at sea.


Back in Port Townsend, with Belle Starr at anchor (she makes a wonderful condo), I had the opportunity to assist (compulsive boatbuilder) Marty Loken, in the construction of the new Angus Cruising Rowboat, from Julie and Colin Angus. Plans for this boat were completed at the end of last year. A prototype was built for a client, who took off for places unknown and hasn't been heard from since...




So, Marty's RowCruiser is the first boat of this design, made from a kit. He is working under a schedule, with the intention of having the boat ready to display at the upcoming Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, the first weekend in September.



Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I have never built a boat from a kit. This was my first go. A neighbor of Marty's had been by the day before to help stitch the planks and bulkheads together. Our task on the second day was to true-up the hull shape, taking out any twist or lack of symmetry. It was a pleasure to see how well the planks fit and how simple it was to see a truly beautiful design emerge. The boat is essentially a
canoe, with an efficient double-ended waterline.



For a burdensome 18.5 foot boat, this is going to be a fast, quick, rowing machine. The Angus Cruising Rowboat is designed for an owner-built sliding seat, though it would be easy and effective to simply use a fixed seat.

Marty has initiated a website for this design, which will feature his own experience building the Cruiser. There will be a workshop in February of 2015, for those interested in building this boat, with coaching from the Angus team. You can visit his new site at RowCruiser!




While working, Marty and I daydreamed about the potential of gunkholing with a flotilla of RowCruisers next summer. And there is a good chance for a Desolation Sound rowing voyage. The British Columbia Kayak Parks found on the Sunshine Coast are wonderful, but imagine being able to anchor in a remote cove, with not another soul and sleep comfortably aboard your own rowboat.



Angus RowCruiser:

Length:  18'-8.5" (570 cm)
Beam:    46"        (117cm)
Waterline: 17'-9" (541 cm)
WL Beam: 33.4" (85 cm)
Draft:         3.6"   (9.1 cm)
Weight:  148#      (67 kg)
Volume:147.6 cu ft (4.2 cu m.)


Monday, August 4, 2014

The Strait of Georgia

Let us resume our voyage to Desolation Sound. On June twenty-third, this year, we left Silva Bay on Gabriola Island, headed for Halfmoon Bay on the Sechelt Peninsula, on the mainland of British Columbia. This meant crossing the fabled Strait of Georgia.

For small boats, the San Juan Islands in the US and the Canadian Gulf Islands to the north, form a safe archipelago of protected waters. Though the islands, reefs and shoals offer the mariner a plethora of challenges, the winds, in summer, are likely to be light and variable.
After traversing the maze of islands off the southeast shore of Vancouver Island, eighty nautical miles north to Nanaimo, our protected paradise gave way to the vagaries of weather and tide, in the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.



Silva Bay, on the south end of Gabriola Island, marked our last night on the west shore of the Salish Sea. From there, we would chart a course east and north, to a landfall in Halfmoon Bay, on the Sechet Peninsula, mainland British Columbia, Canada.
The day we left, the potential threat of the large open body of water was tempered by a calm and smooth Strait of Georgia, to the east. The day would prove a challenge, regardless - our GPS was sporadically reliable and eventually failed completely. This might present few problems on a calm day under clear skies, where the distant shore was visible, but navigation is complicated in this area by a large geometric rectangle marked on local charts with an imposing WF, which proves to be a Naval torpedo test area. Some days the area is restricted to traffic, others it is not. On this day, it was. Though the chart might suggest there is a large fence surrounding the restriction, there is nary an empirical indication the boundary exists.



Our mate, Paul, an area resident, told us the restriction was strictly enforced and we'd be best advised to stay clear. Then, he and the others motored off, in their own boats and left us to our own devices. We did the best we could with our little outboard engine, by taking a heading off our departing friends and dead-reckoning our way into the Strait.


Aside from having to motor most of the way (you know how Doryman despises motors), it was a succesfull crossing of a potential challenging body of water - With an overnight stay in Halfmoon Bay - a wonderfully friendly place (unfortunately plagued with large mosquitoes).


In counterpoint, consider our return two weeks later, over the same stretch of water... A day that started with clouds, rain and fifteen knots of wind and deteriorated to thick fog with rain and twenty five knots of wind.
On that day, we traveled blind. Our GPS had failed and there were no landmarks visible. We made the crossing in the old-fashioned way, by dead-reckoning.




The hazards of such a system of navigation were evident to Captain Vancouver, who, in the log describing his exploration of this treacherous inland body of water, was despondent of his endeavor to the point of naming our beautiful and remote destination, Desolation.






Next installment, Desolation Sound and the Sunshine Coast.
 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Volta Mallorca


A brief interruption in our story to catch up on some important news.....

While your friend Doryman has been out of touch with the technical world, great events are happening. No, you will not be hearing about some pointless election or an even more pointless war - we have more poignant things to think about.


You remember our good friend and environmental campaigner Giacomo de Stefano? He, of the voyage by sail and oar from London to Istanbul? Well, after a winter of skiing (no, he was not on vacation, Giacomo is no tourist) he has teamed up with none other than our friend David Oliver, the  owner of the New Catalina, a llaüt, in Mallorca. The llaüt is a beautiful traditional sailing vessel once used in the fishing industry, now all but extinct, due to to the proliferation of industrial fishing and a popular boating culture focused more on how much money can be spent than on true interaction with nature.

Well, you all know my prejudices about the abuse of nature. And, if you don't already know, Giacomo and David share my views. They are currently on a voyage circumnavigating the beautiful, but exploited, island of Mallorca. As you might imagine, their vessel is David's gorgeous, motor-less llaüt.

No need for me to go to length, explaining this project any further. Please visit Giacomo and David on their voyage around Mallorca and their effort to promote more with less.

This is no anachronism, or gimmick. The intention is to demonstrate a future in concert with nature, using the best technology humans have ever conceived.

Many thanks to project photographer, Dragan Miletic for bringing this effort to my attention. The following photos are courtesy of Dragan and the Volta Mallorca project. The photo at the top of this post is courtesy of David Oliver.













Be Water My Friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To Desolation and Back

Two months ago, the Doryman voyage ethereal could be found in Olympia, WA setting forth on a trip to be remembered. The Stone Horse, Belle Starr, launched, rigged and headed north for her first real sea trial under her new skipper. At the time, preparations seemed daunting, even overwhelming. Belle Starr needed to be in Port Townsend, WA before the Bristol Channel Cutter, Baggywrinkle set out from Newport Oregon. The two boats were to join in a voyage north to Desolation Sound, Salish Sea, in early June. Doryman was to crew on the latter, then skipper the former.





The trip from Newport, Oregon to Port Townsend, Washington in the classic cutter, Baggywrinkle, took five grueling days. Skipper Chuck Gottfried, navigator Jamie Orr and myself endured all that might be expected and then some, on a northerly voyage "uphill" against ocean current and weather, along the northwest coast of the US. It was too wet and wild for any photos, and I suspect very little could be gleaned from them at any rate. Suffice to say, it is very impressive to sail off the top of a wave crest into a trough twenty feet below, for hours, and days, on end. The intrepid mariners arrived in Point Hudson Marina, all ahoo.


 


 Experienced mariners will tell you, any successful passage has had a good bit of luck. Luck was with us as we rounded Cape Flattery and into Neah Bay. Two days later we sailed into Port Townsend to rendezvous with Belle Starr and crew members Suzy Jo and Heather. I vowed at the time this was my last boat delivery northbound along this coast, but already the pain has subsided and the memory become heroic.





After a couple days of provisioning, the two cutter-rigged boats left for an overnight stop at Spencer Spit, Lopez Island, on the way to join with Paul Miller and his Friendship Sloop, Friendship. The voyage to Desolation Sound had begun.










One more night and we were in Bedwell Harbour, Pender Island, checking in with Canadian customs.


The twentieth of June found us visiting Paul and his wife, Elinor, who treated us like royalty, with a fine dinner, showers and their wonderful view of Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.. The next morning three wooden sailboats left the North American home of the Cittaslow movement, on a voyage of discovery.

How fitting is that?




An overnight stop in Telegraph Harbour on Penelakut Island, brought us, on June twenty second, to Silva Bay, Gabriola Island and the remaining member of our flotilla, Jamie Orr, in his Phil Bolger Chebacco, Wayward Lass. Jamie is our piper and ships his bagpipes everywhere the 'Lass sails.

Gives us courage, he does.


In our next installment; crossing the legendary Strait of Georgia.






 Though Belle Starr is a cutter, she performs best in winds less than twenty five knots, rigged as a sloop. Her new tanbark genoa drives well in light air and is the only foresail we used the entire trip. There were times when less sail might have been prudent, but changing head-sails underway is quite a task. Fortunately Belle Starr is a well founded boat and performed exceptionally under a press of sail, earning her the moniker, The Red Rocket. We found the hard-chined, plywood Stone Horse to be a fine combination of performance, comfort and stability.

Our experience in the Salish Sea this summer is documented photographically on Doryman's Flickr site. The photos are not in any particular order and were submitted by all participants. In time, I may be able to add descriptions, but for now, I'm sure you will enjoy the exquisite beauty of the area regardless.



This voyage ended with the annual gathering of gunkholers at the Sucia Island Rendezvous. Some of the photos toward the end of this album are from that event.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Desolation Sound







About two weeks ago, Belle Starr hit the water in Olympia, WA, and she and I immediately sailed one hundred miles north, on the Salish Sea, to Marrowstone Island and Mystery Bay. She sits quietly on anchor at this moment, waiting patiently for her skipper, while he returns home to crew on a delivery, on the not so calm Pacific Ocean.










I'll be joining Chuck Gottfried and Jamie Orr, on Baggywrinkle, Chuck's Bristol Channel Cutter, for the trip from Newport, Oregon to Port Townsend, Washington, where we'll pick up Belle Starr and head north.







The trip this summer will be to Desolation Sound. Once in Canada, we'll meet Jamie's Chebacco, Wayward Lass, in Victoria,BC, then finally stop off in Cowachin Bay, on Vancouver Island, BC. This is the home of Paul Miller and his Friendship Sloop, Friendship.





These four boats (and possibly more) will comprise the Desolation Sound fleet on a voyage scheduled to last three to four weeks, viewing some of the most majestic scenery in the world. And sailing some of the most challenging waters in the world. Many of you have visited this area, and I'll bet anyone who has, would go back. For one, I can hardly contain my excitement. It can't help but be simply wonderful - beautiful scenery, great comradery, worthy sailing vessels... who could ask for more?







Sorry to say, there will be no updates while underway. But I promise you all a detailed account when we get back. If any of you readers happen to be in the area and see our flotilla, please stop by for a visit.