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September 2006
Fourteen months after we last applied varnish, we found Taleisin's spar was in fine condition. Guess there is a lot less sun at this latitude.

Dear Friends:

Port Madison, where Taleisin spent the winter, is a true sailor's haven. Some of the most beautiful six meter yachts we have seen lay at anchor here. About half a dozen ocean voyagers have made this their home base. Other locals include fishermen who have worked from this well protected spot for decades. It would have been easy to spend the whole season right alongside the dock at Craig and Kay Compton's home, enjoying a full social life, talking about sailing, doing a few chores around the boat and eating an abundance of fresh crab while black berries ripened all along the shores and roads of an area that feels more like isolated country than a small town within 5 water miles of Seattle.

The whole crew came home laughing after each day of racing on board Saga. They took second in their class for the weekend.

Kimo came by one day to introduce himself one day. He mentioned he owned three wooden boats including a 28 foot Thunderbird, a San Francisco Bird Class sloop and a six meter built in Sweden in the late 30's. "Which one?" Larry asked. "Saga" was Kimo's answer. "I lusted after that boat when I was a kid," Larry said. "It was queen of the fleet in Seattle or thereabouts in the early 60's." That led to an invite to sail on Saga one day. One day turned out to be sooner than expected when Kimo found out he was short one crewman for the Lipton Cup regatta happening that weekend. So Larry had two grand days of sailing on a true classic speed machine and with his usual good luck, there was wind in an area that often lacks this valuable component of grand sailing. In fact the winds were strong enough to challenge some of the gear on the six meters and Larry's bag of fix-it tricks and jury rigging ideas were a welcome addition to the day according to Kimo.

We were made honorary members of the Port Madison Yacht club and had the use of their tidal grid for three days. Thank you Bob Schoonmaker and all the pleasant folks at this user-friendly club.

I was also offered a place on board another of the ten six meter yachts that raced that weekend, but I instead took the opportunity to spend the time with Beth Leonard who, with her husband Evans Starzinger on board their 47 foot Hawk, had arranged to rendezvous with us on their way to Seattle. The two day rendezvous grew to over a week as they too fell under the spell of Port Madison. And what do two women sailing friends who only get together about once every year, talk about? In our case it usually seems to be about writing, about the ideas that are spinning around in our heads, about integrating writing into our wandering lives so we enjoy both.

A highlight of our nostalgic summer was definitely cousin Kellei and Scott Bakers wedding at Sechelt, British Columbia. The bride arrived by sea (Kellei and Scott are both Coast Guard boat crew.

We also talk of mutual friends around the world and about finding the right place to settle - if and when. But this time, aging parents also came into the picture as my Mom, at 85 was going through an awkward patch, which made me feel I should fly down to be with her and take some of the load from my generous brother and sister. Beth and Evans also feel this concern about spending time with their aging parents and have plans to return to be near them on the Atlantic seacoast sailing by way of the Chilean Canals over the next year or so. Larry's folks are now gone, but having some time with his mother while she was still alive, was part of the reason we sailed north to Canada after rounding Cape Horn.

Richard Blagbourne is one of Larry's oldest sailing buddies. We had three lovely days with him and his partner Nancy at their cliff edge home on Saturna Island. (I had a blast of a time doing something terribly old fashioned, assembling a 750 piece puzzle with his 8 year old grand daughter.)

Another reason for coming to these waters was for Larry to catch up with old friends and take a serious look at his old home waters once more. So after finally dragging ourselves away from Port Madison, we only sailed for a week, then left Taleisin at anchor in another beautifully protected spot, Port Ludlow, went back to get our trusty old pickup truck (called Brownie) and its compact camper, then set off for a two week visit to Canada, where we visited many of the good friends we made during our two seasons of cruising, plus people who Larry grew up with and who became close friends to both of us through the years, even though we only saw each other every four or five years. We drove into the interior of British Columbia, through stunning mountains and along beautiful lakes to the Okanogan Valley where Larry lived until he was 14 years old. There we camped along the lake where he learned to swim, row, and sail the old Indian dug out canoe he found on the beach. He relived his days of playing cowboys and Indians with local natives and being the only cowboy in the group.
Larry used to swim across the Shushwap Lake when he was a kid. When I saw it and realized it was a mile and a half across I was really impressed.

The grand finale of the tour, a two day reunion with 30 of Larry's high school buddies. Talk was of rugby games won and lost, cars souped up and raced through the city streets. Beautiful as this area of British Columbia is, heartwarming as the welcome his old friends gave him, Larry looked back as we drove south toward our sailing life and sailing plans and said, "If I had stayed in the Okanogan I probably would have ended up driving a logging truck, wishing I was out having some grand adventure. Now I sometimes wish I could have spent more time with my old buddies, but this week has shown me that most of them only see each other once a year at best." His words sum up the answer we give when folks ask us about the downside of our cruising life, having to say good bye so often.

Kay and Craig hope to sail offshore sometime soon on Little Wing. While we stayed at their dock, Craig built a windvane like ours.

Now Brownie is parked in back of a barn on Bainbridge Island. She may stay there for a year or two, who knows. We are car free (and fuel bill free) and Taleisin is provisioned sufficiently for a month at sea. Just before we left Port Ludlow, Craig and Kaye sailed their BCC Little Wing from Port Madison and tied alongside for a final evening together. Then in the morning, with Christian Toss and her son Cody on board, we had a wonderful day of sailing, the best we have had in the Puget sound in fact, beating across a sparkling sea, warm, sunny and with another boat alongside to keep us on our toes. At the end of the day we anchored of Port Townsend. This must be our favorite northwest town and it definitely (as home to the wooden boat festival which we have attended with both Taleisin and Seraffyn) is full of old friends. Brion Toss, Port Townsend's well known rigger, charmed us into taking a bit of the modern world back to New Zealand for our lovely lady Thelma. After looking carefully at pictures of her with all sails set in a fresh breeze he commented, "You are never going to keep the topsail jackyard snug against the mast with a normal halyard, too much stretch. I am going to make you a spectra topsail halyard." Paper napkins were soon filled with doodles as he and Larry tried to figure a way to attach the spectra halyard without tying a knot as Brion explained that a knot weakens Spectra by 70%. Be interesting to see if this bit of the modern world makes 111 year old Thelma faster. Also be interesting to figure out a cost to speed ratio for this if we had actually had to pay for the time both men spent developing such a highly sophisticated halyard to replace a simple piece of Dacron line, one knot and three wraps around a belaying pin.

Brion and Christian Toss took us to a grand Mexican dinner just south of Port Townsend. Grand margaritas, grand company!

As I write this I am at a lovely café in Port Angeles, Larry is off taking care of our laundry. We got here after a two day stop over behind Dungeness Spit. Tomorrow, if winds permit, we will sail towards the entrance to the Straits of Juan De Fuca, and then turn left towards San Francisco.

Wish us luck in finding fair winds and following seas,

Lin and Larry

P.S.
Be sure to check out a new pod cast interview with the Pardey's available at no charge on Furledsails.com at http://furledsails.com/article.php3?article=681

 

 






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