Monday, October 4, 2010
Traditional Small Craft at Fort Worden
The Puget Sound Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association hosts a messabout in October as a final farewell to the summer sailing season.
Port Townsend, on the Salish Sea and the east coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State is on the verge of an ancient rain forest. The east shore of the Pacific ocean is rugged and weather beaten, the bane of mariners since humans have sailed these seas. But Port Townsend has the happy circumstance to be in the lee of the Olympic Mountain range and thus in a rain shadow. Even in tempestuous weather the waters of Admiralty Inlet can be balmy. (But don't be deceived. The mixture of currents and unpredictable winds challenge the best sailors.)
October is a perfect month to experience this area. The sailing is often excellent as it was last Saturday when a few friends gathered to share sunny weather, light steady winds and a potluck lunch.
It's a long seven hour trip from the mid-Oregon coast where Doryman lives to the convergence of the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet but as the photo slide show will attest, it's worth it!
The old Fort Worden is the scene. My grandfather was stationed at this fort in WWI. His job was to log ships as they passed the fort to and from the Pacific. He often told of logging ships going one way then logging the same ship as it drifted back the other direction on the tide a couple hours later. Those were the days of the transition from sailing vessels to engine driven ships and this story illustrates the reason that the diesel engine was so important to the development of commerce in these waters.
I have lived to rue the day... the beach you see in these photos is often exposed to the ravages of surging waves from passing tanker ships and tugs with ocean-going barges. Long after the ship has passed from sight or sound, the waves will crash on a tranquil beach, seemingly without warning.
I had my Pete Culler Good Little Skiff pulled up on the beach when a set of waves began to build and crash at my feet. The sheer of the skiff is low to the water, which is one reason she is such a pretty little boat.
As I watched the waves build against the low riding transom of the beached boat it did not occur to me at first to be concerned. By the time the waves were breaching the transom it was too late. In a few short moments so much water had washed into the boat that it sat sunk at the water's edge.
Next time I'll anchor out!
There will be a next time, I assure you...
Thanks to my friends on the northern Puget Sound for a great day of sailing and camaraderie!
The slide show tells the story. Enjoy!