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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doryman's Kayak

It's been a few months since we looked at the development of last winter's Doryman kayak build. Wild Rose has been outfitted with outriggers so that she can now be paddled or rowed. Being only fifteen feet long, she is quick off the line, though takes concentration to track well under oars.

All said, I am very pleased with this little boat. She weighs 65 pounds and is easy to load on top of a car, yet carries up to 300 pounds of payload. The rowing option is to accommodate my aching shoulders, which I suspect might appeal to others, as well.

Leo Newberg, who designed the original of this kayak, and Rick Johnson, the shipwright who leads the Family Boat Build at our local Toledo Wooden Boat Show, were impressed enough by the changes I've made to implement them in the show this year. These changes include a new, more graceful shearline and an open, more accessible cockpit. Wild Rose is currently in Leo's capable hands, having her lines taken.

This kayak will be the centerpiece of the Family Boat Build at the Toledo Wooden Boat Show, August 16th and 17th, 2014. Follow the link above to the Port of Toledo, Oregon website, for more information about signing up. There will also be a "kid's build" this year, with a smaller, simpler kayak for the little ones. Be sure to get your name in soon, August is just around the corner.

More photos of Wild Rose can be found on Doryman's Flickr Site.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Flota Española Pelican

I recently received a note from Spain in regard to the Pelican class of sailboats.
From Julián: 
"I am also "pelicanero". We are a group of six boat enthusiasts who constitute the "Spanish fleet." Six beautiful Pelican fourteens we sail in northern Spain. "

Julián Fdez. de Velasco del Casar lives in Madrid, and spends his summer holidays in San Juan de la Arena, near the river Nalon, in Asturias. He and his friends sail a fleet of Pelicans in the mouth of the river Nalon. They sail regattas and make afternoon trips in their San Fransisco Pelicans. They claim to comprise the only boats of this class, in all of Spain.

Follow this link to see photos of the Spanish San Fransisco Pelicans during a summer regatta.
More photos of the construction of the Pelican, for those who like that sort of thing.

Bienvenido Julian, y los amigos, a la tribu Doryman de entusiastas de la navegación. Saludos de mi país a la suya, en la comunión. Puede usted tener vientos favorables en todos sus viajes.
Muchas gracias por compartir su amor por la navegación y la alegría de la Pelican en condiciones de navegar con los lectores Doryman.

Monday, April 28, 2014


A Glimpse into the Voyage Ethereal...

Easter weekend was the date for the world famous Depot Bay Wooden Boat Show and Crab Feed. Apparently it wasn't the best time for boat worship. Though the event was sluggish, a good many stalwart attendees braved the hostile weather, none-the-less. Photos can be found on Duckworks (submitted by Richard Green), Andrew Linn's web journal, and the ever popular Mother of Maritime Links, John Kohnen.

I spent much of Saturday afternoon in conversation with the owner of Doineann, the second St.Ayles Skiff to be built on the west coast of the US. This is also the second of these skiffs to be built at the Wind and Oar Boat School in Portland, Oregon. Now that there are two, the races have begun. I have been reporting on and promoting the phenomenal St Ayles project for a few years now. It seems to me the challenge has not quite been met on our west coast. I've signed on as crew on Doineann, and would love to see more of these boats built around here. I pledge to further the cause.

Photo by John Kohnen

Back in the Doryman boatyard, work centers around the Stone Horse, Belle Starr. Last fall, Belle Starr took her shakedown cruise in the Salish Sea. Over the winter and spring months, upgrades indicated by that voyage have been addressed. New safety lines are the latest addition.
By the end of May, we will see her heading north in company with sailors from the Salish Sea Small Boat Society. The destination is Desolation Sound on the west coast of British Columbia. Be sure to stay tuned for that, it's sure to be exceptional.

Saturday last, I took a break from sanding and painting to attend the Twanoh State Park Oyster Feed, a one day messabout sponsored by the Puget Sound TSCA. Randy Jones was gracious enough to invite me aboard his Core Sound 17. I've admired this boat for years and was lucky to be sitting closest to the helm when Randy went forward to shake out a reef. Once Doryman gets his hands on the tiller, it's all over. Randy gave me a lesson in steering with the mizzen. We lashed the tiller amidships, trimmed the main in tight and tacked to windward using the mizzen sheet alone. Too much fun.

Not least, the weekend concluded with a new addition to the Doryman fleet, a flat iron skiff named Stewball. This simple fourteen-foot lapstrake is a museum piece. Built in the 1940's, it was used on Orcas Island, in Washington State's San Juan Islands as a livery vessel. A sailor or a fisherman could rent these boats to sail or row, by the day.
Stewball is rigged with a sprit mainsail.

The builder of Stewball took great care with old-growth cedar and Douglas fir to create an elegant work boat. The knees and hooks are made of carefully selected grown lumber so that the grain of the piece follows the angle of the structure. Pictured here is the breast hook, possibly crafted from a root.

Art in nature.
Restoration of the flat iron skiff will commence next Fall.

Yes, the name will remain the same.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Old Shoe

That would be the Oldshoe by Phil Bolger. One of his "Square Boat" series. My friend Tom Gale is a square boat fan.

Tom sent me these photos of the maiden voyage in his new old shoe. His first impression was that she had a lot of leeway in a breeze. Here he's trying to tack to windward and miss that dock.

My first impression was that's a boat designed for utility and simplicity.
The Oldshoe has been described as a twelve foot cockpit, with the rest of the boat left off. Big, roomy and safe. Just right for Tom and his family who like to cruise Lake Powell every year.

The skipper looks pleased. I've never known Bolger's little square boats fail to bring a smile to the person at the tiller.

Thanks to Heather Gale for the photos.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Early Spring

"A long time ago I concluded that there is enough sorrow in life, some inevitable and much unnecessarily man made, and I would rather be on the side of joy and laughter."

The above quote is from my friend Webb Chiles, who is about to set sail from San Diego for destinations global. I wish him fair winds and good luck.

I have a feeling this is going to be a great year. Not the least because I agree with Webb wholeheartedly in this case. A life spent in the pursuit of joy and laughter is a wonder.

Webb is a profound believer in making lists and recently declared himself listless. Not because he is tired, but since his Moore 24, Gannet, is ready to go. I must admit a bit of jealously, though I have no desire to circumnavigate the globe. Finding yourself at the end of your lists is cause for joy.

The Stone Horse Belle Starr is a fount of list making. Last season, I got her back on the water for the first time since she became part of the Doryman fleet, but that did not mean she was restored to her original glory. Far from it. Her short fall cruise brought out good and not so good details and the winter months have been spent in the pursuit of joy. Early this summer we will embark on a cruise into Canadian waters and I want her to be a happy ship. I won't bore you with details, suffice to say, the entire boat has been repainted and much of the running rigging has been revamped. To ensure the comfort and good humor of her skipper, there is a new set of cushions in the fore-peak. Nothing like a good nights sleep aboard to improve ones outlook.

The list is far from finished. But when Webb sets sail in May, I hope to be on my way as well. His diligence in preparing for a fresh voyage has been an inspiration to me. Thank you, Webb. Happy voyage to you and all good friends who find peace and contentment on the water.

The photo of Webb on Gannet's deck, by Ronnie Simpson.
Photos of Belle Starr under sail, courtesy of John Kohnen. 

New cushions, as viewed from the companionway, off the sewing table of a happy Doryman.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sail to Russia with Woods Designs Sailing Catamarans

 A tidbit recently brought to my attention, that I thought you would enjoy. Three 24 foot Strider Club catamarans were sailed  from Plymouth, UK to Tallinn, USSR. Imagine cooking and eating while under sail, without fear of loosing your dinner in the bilge!

Richard Woods, who is an occasional resident of the Salish Sea, offers his multihull designs at Woods Designs

More about Richard can be found here .

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter on Beaver Creek with Wild Rose

As promised, photo evidence from the Oregon coast on the first day of 2014.

The group of hardy individuals who brave mid-winter weather to drift quietly on local coastal rivers grows weekly. The last time we did this, temperatures were below freezing, but yesterday the most challenging problem was having worn too many layers.

From some of the shots, you can see the brilliant, low-angle winter sun played havoc with picture exposure.

May all lifes difficulties be so taxing.

Beaver Creek empties directly into the Pacific Ocean just south of Seal Rock, Oregon. The estuary is protected by recent acquisition of property by the State of Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department and is quickly becoming a popular kayak destination.

The creek meanders through a marshy estuary and upstream, soon narrows to a trickle. There is a sandbar across the mouth that prohibits salt water intrusion and limits the current flow. You can see the bar in this photo. Yes, those gulls are standing on the sand. To get this picture, I was in a narrow channel in about a foot of water, with a swift current threatening to wash me up on the sand, or out to sea. Just time for a quick shot, then paddle like mad!

Exploring this creek was the initial motivation for building Wild Rose. A row boat just takes too much width to get very far upstream, as can be seen with Lazy Duck. Wild Rose will open a whole new navigational experience for me. I'm looking forward to it!

As always, more photos can be found on Doryman's Flickr site.

All the best to you and yours for the new year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wild Rose

The rose has been the subject of legends, poetry and literature, and often represents love. A prickly wild rose grows prolifically on the Oregon coast, considered a nuisance by many.

Wild roses grow in my front yard and bloom through wind and rain, half the year and more. Tough little beauties. Blooms with thorns pretty much describe my romantic notions.

Wild Rose is the name of my new kayak, in the Doryman tradition of christening his row/paddle boats after local flora. She and I will be visiting a local tide marsh on the first day of the new year, we'll be sure to let you know how it goes. With the solstice behind us and the days growing longer in the Northern Hemisphere, this will be the first of many adventures in 2014.

I hope you will join me as the Voyage Ethereal continues...