Getting to know you...

My third day in Port Townsend... the second day of the festival, and I feel as though I've turned some mysterious corner.  I met people, engaged them, welcomed them aboard Ripple, was welcomed elsewhere, and in general came to feel that I belonged here, that I'd earned my keep.  After breakfast, I determined to attend more talks (there is a diverse schedule of topics to choose from), but a disappointing first session, and a surprisingly sunny day deflected my course towards  the docks and entertaining visitors.  I learned less, perhaps, but enjoyed the visits in particular.  Ripple is known to a surprising number of people here, and many others stopped to admire her.  Buddy is no small part of her draw, as well.  He has played well the role of sea dog.

People who admired Ripple wanted to stay and chat, and I learned things about the local boat building community, about PT real estate, about Ripple, and about some of the characters in the Port Townsend story.

A Devlin owner with whom I had breakfast told of a young girl who wanted to steer her boat... and the satisfaction she found in encouraging the 8 year old towards a future of command.  Tom Tucker, a local boat builder told me about the Gary Thomas (my boat's design) that he is rebuilding for a client, and took a particular interest in Ripple details and engine installation.  A gentleman from Mississipi drawled to me of the Atkins project he was undertaking. Bill Frame, who I had seen in Kingston with his 40 foot Ketch on the way to PT, described how he'd found his boat as a given-up project at the Jensen Boat Works in Seattle.  Lawrence Cheek and his wife stopped by and chatted with me about Ripple.  A year before I met them, they changed my life by deciding that buying Ripple would be too much  to take on given their current boat building project, thereby saving me from a fiberglass pocket cruiser, or worse, simple boat envy.  I've met at least three people this weekend who seriously considered buying Ripple at a previous time. I think they are all a bit wistful.

I saw LED light strips for $30/foot, tiny wooden stoves to fit even my boat, brass lighting fixtures to take away one's breath with their elegant luster and price, and more Lie-Nielson tools than I knew existed.  The Wooden Boat Chandlery has supple, dacron line that feigns a natural color and a soft, triple-stranded lay that would be a welcome change from the hardened sheets that I am sure date to the early days of the Clinton administration.  Pursue good stuff!

I came to an intimate familiarity with the inventory of the Wooden Boat Chandlery and the Port Townsend Foundry, each of which sports an excess of droolable hardware and other necessities of nautical life.  I followed Donald, a machinist at PT Foundery, who was waxing eloquent and enthusiastic about  each bronze geegaw in the PTF showroom... such was his joy in the artifacts of the age of bronze. Who knew that bronze was a precious metal?  Any boat owner, certainly.

Last night I danced in the main tent till midnight, dragged onto the floor by locals who ridiculed my texting-on-the-periphery.  Tonight I listened to the music a bit, but my thoughts are already turning to tomorrow's tides and a south wind that is going to make it hard to reach Shilshole by dark (let alone, Lake Union).  I'm planning a southeast tack across Admiralty Inlet, maybe with my Yankee to spice the ride, see how the seas run on the east side of the Sound, and play it by ear from there in.  Forecasts of 12-15 knot winds make me wonder if I'll learn reefing on the fly, or maybe just learn to fly.  What could be better than a 4 hour close reach in a fresh breeze?  Tomorrow will tell.


  1. My weather forecast shows winds on Monday becoming Northwest 4 to 7 mph, and on Tuesday 6 to 10 for a glorious ride south.

    Hasse visited Stuart Island in the old days and was a good friend of Gary Vesoja's who had an open Bristol Bay and a little Garden whaleboat conversion called Tortuga. She may have made the storm sail for Tortuga - who knows? It was long before Peter and Susan (competitors) moved to Stuart Island.

    See you later!


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