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.


Brandon Ford said...

Sounds like a great trip. I look forward to more detail. Now I'm going to see the pics.

Good to have you back.


shipwright said...

It was great fun Michael. Where are we going next year?

Bursledon Blogger said...

Welcome back sounds like a fantastic trip

Joel Bergen said...

A trip of a lifetime, Mike! It was great seeing you at Sucia again. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to enjoy such a journey. Welcome home.

doryman said...

I hope so too, Joel. And Paul - as for next year, how about a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island?

Good to be back, though I'm itching to do it again.