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October 2003

Dear Friends:

"You know, I am actually tired of sailing," Larry said to me a week after we left Port Townsend in mid-September. I was busy writing up the log for our days drift north from Bedwell Harbour on North Pender Island, toward a dinner rendezvous on Saturna Island, about 30 miles from Victoria. As I noted that during the previous 210 days, we had been at sea or sailing for 114, I had to concur. It was time to consider a week or two off the water. So instead of exploring the Gulf Islands searching for the perfect winter spot for Taleisin, we decided to leave her with Richard Blagbourne who arranged to secure her to a dock for three weeks. Then we set off by ferry, bus and Amtrak Train to Paso Robles where we have left our old turtle shell, Brownie, the ¾ ton Ford Truck and 8 ½ foot camper we use when we go around the country to give seminars and slide shows. That is where I am writing this at "Baldwin Manors, a slightly irregular happy place" (that's what the sign put up by its owner Mary, says.) as Larry checks the beast over, puts on new tires and gets ready to drive it north. Meanwhile Mary is entertaining, pampering and in fact spoiling us.

Lin furls working jib as we reach along with the nylon drifter set forward of the staysail.

Meanwhile back to where we left off in the last letter - Victoria definitely ranks as one of the best city ports in the world but after two weeks it was time to find a quieter spot so we had no excuses to avoid the bit of paint work we needed to do. After 12,000 miles and two years of sailing, Taleisin's bulwarks and topsides had some interesting nicks and bruises plus a bit of crazing in the paint. We had used Polybrightside by International and think it was exceptionally. It stuck to the teak beautifully and with some heavy sanding, two touch-ups and a final brush on coat, the boat glistened. For two weeks we worked on paint, varnish and giving the whole interior a good clean up, while we were tied at a friends dock on Gabriola Island. We were assisted by Laura, a young woman sailor who took a boat-building course at the school on the island. Several old friends and family members caught up with us. Then after hiring a diver to give the bottom a scrub, we set sail bound for two of the biggest parties in the Pacific Northwest with Taleisin looking like she had never crossed any oceans, to others eyes, but we could still see the battle scars which will probably take another week to finish off next spring.

Right now we are cruising through waters very much like those we found in the Scottish isles. This was actually shot near the Mull of Kintyre.

As those who live in the Northwest know, sailing can be a bit slow due to very light winds and currents that run up to three knots between the islands. So it took us three days and three anchorages to reach Victoria, 60 miles from our quiet spot. We sculled in at 2 AM and at noon the next day there were 140 classic boats secured around us with the majestic Empress Hotel as a backdrop. We must have had fifty folks show up from our very early lives together, and a hundred more from our cruising days, most saying, "Remember me." Surprisingly, Larry recalled the faces (changed as many were) of friends from his high school days. I cannot say I did as well. The boats surrounding us were a magnificent display of everything from rowing classics to restored and converted commercial tugboats that are now used for living aboard and exploring the amazing labyrinth of water to the north. The third day of the festival was a sail past and regatta then awards dinner. We were delighted when Taleisin was awarded, Best of Show, Sail, plus Best New Classic. But we feel the judges were slightly prejudiced, one being John Guzzwell who was Larry's skipper for the round Van Isle race four years ago, the other being Carol Hassee, sail maker and long time friend from Port Townsend.

This happy sailor is yours truly at the helm of the 53 footer owned by Hugh Gladwell in New Zealand.


The next day we set sail for Port Townsend where we were joined by our favorite sailing friends from Falmouth England, Gillian and Phil Slater, plus Neil Beken of New Zealand who was crew on Jonquil the Buzzards Bay 25 we campaign when we are at our home base. For the next week Taleisin was open to the public, with volunteers from the festival showing over 800 people through her, we joined John Guzzwell to give slide shows, 200 wonderful wooden boats came in , music seemed to emanate from every corner of the festival grounds and every night we partied with our invited friends, plus literally several hundred others we've met through the years. The day after the show closed, we took our special visitors off for two days of sailing.

Neil Beken from New Zealand brought is this photo of Jonquil from our racing season back in New Zealand.

And the weather for all of this? One of the driest summers in history, with only two days of rain from the time we arrived in mid July, until we stopped just now. Unfortunately there were a lot of light winds and Larry has done more sculling in and out of ports over the past month then we normally do in three years. His shoulders are looking grand, a lot of folks have seen the art of sculling live and we learned first hand that schedules and engineless sailing definitely do not mix in this area. We always found enough of a breeze to work into the next anchorage, but often the next anchorage was only 12 or 15 miles along our course. But, according to folks in the know, now that the autumn is advancing, we will get the best of northern sailing with fresh day time breezes bright colored autumn foliage, good crab hunting and crisp cold nights when we get back to Taleisin. Our plan, find a special spot for her with access to a cottage we can rent for two months, then set to work on some writing projects. We'll be presenting a seminar and slide show both in Vancouver and Victoria in early October, then the first week in January we head east in our land yacht, Brownie, for a full schedule of programs. Hope we meet some of you along the way.

This Azorian whaling boat may have the same type of rig as Jonquil, but these working boats have actually been clocked at speeds of 17 knots.

Best wishes,
Lin and Larry

P.S. Several folks have asked about these web pages. They are arranged and put on line by the webmaster at Paradise Cay Publications who provide this website. We send these newsletters and photos to him by post or when possible by email. I think he is doing a fine job in spite of getting some photos capsized, understandable as he says, "I'm only a neophyte sailor."

(For current information on where and when we will be doing seminars click here)

POSTCARDS FROM VICTORIA B.C.






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