Sunday morning.  Buddy took me for a walk, first thing.  For an old fart, he can still drag the anchor.  Buddy has far exceeded my expectations and disappointed my fears for the trip... wonderful, really, but he's reached his limit, too.  Much more aggressive about expressing his needs, and even barked a time or two.  He's done yeoman's service, but is clearly ready for a break from the boat.  He didn't get one today.

Gypsy Coffee wasn't open yet when he and I walked, so I had to circle back and get a roma mocha after i took him back to the boat.  This beat up old van serves up great coffee drinks, and social ambiance to match.  I'm a fan.

 I took a final turn around the Hudson Point grounds with my latte, soaking in the richness of this event, and the surroundings, and cultivated a little anxiety for the trip back.  Fresh breeze.  Reefable? A different trip back, than up, to be sure. Before I could lather up much fear, I got a text from Michael Braley, saying they'd be at the festival soon. Michael, his friend Dan, and their daughters had been camping nearby and were eager to see the show. 

Before they arrived, a couple stopped by and chatted me up about Ripple, and said they'd lived aboard a similar sized boat some years back... with two children!  Or at least cruised for 9 months at a time in one.  I gotta say, I was astonished.  Inspired, even.  Slowly, my eyes are opening.  Its lovely.

Michael and Dan and Theo, and Ruby arrived with hot donuts and eight-year-old-amplified-enthusiasm.  I had the pleasure of showing them Ripple and some of my favorite boats in the show, and after a quick tour of the docks, I left them to a leisurely ramble and headed back to prep Ripple for departure.  Strike the signal flags, remove the sail covers, and just then, the woman who brought me into the berth on Thursday showed up and thanked me for my participation.  I had been feeling chagrined for my less-than-graceful arrival at the dock, and welcomed the opportunity to apologize for my churlish expression of anxiety at that stressful moment.  She waved it off graciously, and asked if I'd like help turning the boat?  Would I ever!

Dead-low-tide, and the channel narrower than ever, but I figured it would work, and we did it without touching rocks or other boats.  A very tight fit indeed.  A call to the harbormaster on channel 68 for an early departure, and they sent a boat over to assure a smooth exit.  These folks have it down.  Heartfelt thanks for their care, and I left with more grace than attended my arrival, by a significant margin.

My fears of headwinds and stiff seas were met twice over.  Not an honest tack in five and a half hours... I finally dropped the sails and concentrated on avoiding flotsam.  I thought hard about heading over to Edmunds or Shillshole on the east side of the Sound, but my late start mitigated in favor of the known, and so I headed back to Kingston and an easy entry.  Walk the dog, cup-o-soup, the dregs of a bottle of wine, and a gentle, rocking berth.  It would have been foolish to try to go all the way tonight. 
So, Buddy is dead to the world, and I will follow his lead directly.

I return from Port Townsend a different sailor than those few days ago when I went up.  Connected more effectively with a boat, a dog, a community of people, much of which I could not have anticipated.  Cyndie and Tom and Gary and Bill and Jeff and Carol and Bruce and Alex and a dozen more I don't have names for.  But I know who they are, and am slowly coming to understand I am one of them.

And now, a sip of cognac, and sleep.
Image: This carved squid rail is part of an Atkins Ketch in the show, whose owner came by to see Ripple.  I wish I had his name.  I will.


  1. This is exciting. I just found your blog after a few years of occasionally searching for other Gary Thomas's out there. I have one in SF bay. I'd enjoy a chat with you. I'll send you some pics. Shawn.


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