Fossil Bay, Sucia Island, near the Canadian Border in the San Juan Islands is the scene for a gathering of small boat enthusiasts the second weekend in July.
This year was a quiet one. The weather was postcard perfect, unless you're a sailor. Boats came and went in an erratic schedule, so it was hard to tell how many attended. A couple big production boats were in the line-up, which was a new twist.
For the sailors, the week was a tease. When a breeze came up we were all seduced but most often, once out of the harbor, boats drifted on the tides while skippers and crew baked in the sun.
Please make no mistake - getting up to a brilliant sunrise every morning is a wonderful thing! I suppose it would be brash to take credit, though I'm convinced the weather was so fine because I made up a heavy-duty boom tent that could stand torrential rains for weeks (nay years) on end. That tent became my penance. It is so heavy and ungainly (and I must say unattractive) it took an hour to set up and an equal amount of time to strike. If it weren't for the heavy dew fall, I might have abandoned it altogether.
Lets look at the line-up...
Katie Mae belongs to Lynn Watson of Port Townsend. She was built by the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, under the supervision of Ray Speck
She is a modified 21 foot Drascombe PeterBoat.
Well sailed and an exceptional design, she is hard to keep up with.
I include this photo to demonstrate the contrast of vessels found in Fossil Bay.
Here's Joel and Tim Bergen in their Welsford Navigator, Ellie.
Joel has some more details about this gathering on his website.
Paul and Arnie sailed in from Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.
Paul's boat is a Friendship Sloop designed by Jay Benford, named Friendship. We've talked about Paul and his fine boat before.
Arnie is a former bosun in the Canadian Navy and an accomplished sailor. It was a pleasure to make his acquaintance.
Marty Loken, from Marrowstone Island brought his newest acquisition, a Iain Oughtred Willyboat.
Marty is as bad as I am about boats - if he loves 'um he has to bring 'em home.
Marty runs the Island Boatshop on Mystery Bay, Marrowstone Island, east of Port Townsend.
Ron Mueller cruises the San Juan and Gulf Islands every year in his power cat, Just Enuf.
This plywood EcoCat from Bernard Kohler has a king sized berth, standing headroom galley, and a private head. Ron stores two inflatable kayaks and two folding bikes in the starboard ama. Cruising speed is 10 knots with a top speed of 15 knots, using a 20hp outboard motor.
Bob Ennenberg hails from Vancouver, BC, where he built this Jim Michalak pram, Duck. It's Bob's first build and I was impressed how well it sails. He has no permanent furniture inside and it's a regular ballroom down below.
Bob is a grade school teacher with perpetual good humor. Hope he comes back next year.
These folks were not here to join us, but what a happy coincidence!
Their beautiful vessel is a Connecticut River Shad Boat.
James McMullen showed up from Anacortes, WA in his sail-and-oar boat Rowan.
James had places to see, so he was there only one night. He told me later that he covered over 60 nautical miles in four days under sail and oar alone. The man has ambition!
James is part owner of Emerald Marine in Anacortes.
And here we have Jamie Orr of Victoria, BC in his Phil Bolger Chebacco, Wayward Lass.
I've had the pleasure of sailing with Jamie quite a few times, though I'm a bit tired of looking at his transom. The Chebacco is an amazing little boat and Jamie handles her well.
Thanks to Jamie for all his organizational efforts concerning this rendezvous!
He has a website to keep us updated and is one of the best cat-herders I know.
You recognize this guy. It's Doryman in Saga. Jamie was gracious enough to circle around and take my picture before he took off for the horizon.
The jib was an experiment and we'll come back to that later.
Saga is a modified William Atkin Valgerda faering.
I call this the Mother Ship. Chuck Gottfried, his wife Shay and good friend Dean chartered a Baba 30 for the week. Not my cuppa tea, but what luxury!
Here we see Dean firing up some Super Tramp on his digital music player just before breakfast. Not my cuppa either, but the man is happy and that's all that counts.
They sailed in company with some old friends in a C&C 35 and I'm sorry to have not gotten a photo of them.
Martin Schneider came from Port Townsend in his Allegra 24 cutter, Clover
That's a lot of boat in a tidy package. I hope to sail with Martin someday.
That about covers it, hope I didn't miss anyone.
The slideshow from Sucia Island 2012: