Thursday, November 20, 2008


Tim McGivney is surveying my Folkes 39.9 foot 13 ton steel hulled cutter today. Last night I was on my boat delighting in the nostalgic feel of a loyal old friend and lover. After years of living on my boat now it's a weekly visit as I wait for the autopilot to be restored and the compression pole supporting the mast to be welded. Thanks to Laura Murray and Eric at Steveston Marina I was put in contact with Tim McGivney this summer on my Satellite phone when a thousand miles from Hawaii and 1700 miles from North America the rigging on the mast went slack as the compression pole supporting the mast collapsed. After that the topping lift became the back stay, the boom stayed in the rack and Tim's idea of a Spannish Touriquet around the rest of rigging allowed us to use the main sail to return much as I was using the main sail in this picture coming up the Juan de Fuca. It was taken 10 years ago when I began solo sailing and was returning from my first trip to the open water off the west coast of Vancouver island.
This summer, 34 days at sea, with the rigging problem and loss of autopilot and having to rely on our Hydrovane and hand steering, Tom Kennedy and I were ecstactic to see this bit of Canada appear on the horizon.
In 2005 I'd set sail solo for Hawaii in November and close to where my boat is in the picture I'd been knocked down 3 times in 40 foot seas and over 50 knot winds crossing to get in the lee of Neah Bay in the wake of a passing hurricane. "I'll never forget catching my little scotty dog Stuart by his life jacket as he was being washed to sea when the cockpit filed with water and there was that horribly long wait before the boat righted itself that first time. Stuart stayed close by my side pressing his little body against my leg thereafter becoming quite blasse by the third time we were knocked down and the boat lurched and staggered back to upright.
Further south on that journey, I'd escape another hurricane stealing into the Columbia River, hitting bottom crossing the low tide sand bar, but reaching to the safety of Astoria when the hurricane hit the coast and the wind was 50 knots.
In the 25 day passage from San Francisco to Hawaii that winter, with only my scotty dog Stuart and calico cat Angel for crew, I'd only have 3 days of storm while the rest was idyllic. I especially loved losing the winter clothes to sail in shorts, warmth and sunshine, knowing the mates back home were bundled in parkas or rain gear.
Tom and I on this trip back had only a couple of nights of bigger seas and stiffer winds but we had to contend with the mast and steering issues slowing our speed. Listening to the Pacific Sea Farers Hamm Radio net we heard another boat had hit a whale and were glad to keep our own problems.
Landing in Victoria and having sailors hamburgers at the Empress was both relief and joy. Now I'm restoring the boat after passage and looking forward to summer sailing the spectacular British Columbia coast after sailing the Hawaian Islands. Thanks to Tim McGivney whose help has already been indispensable I'll know what has to be done before I do any more passages. Nothing like a good survey to indicate a boat's strengths and weaknesses and where and often even how best to begin the work

No comments: