Sail By on the Adventuress

The three-day Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival concludes on Sunday afternoon with a grand finale in an event known as the “Sail By.” For three hours from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, it’s a mass exodus of the sailing fleet as 300+ boats congregate in Port Townsend Bay for a festive informal parade.

In doing some research prior to the festival start, I somehow landed on the website for the Sound Experience, an environmental education and sail training program on Puget Sound aboard the historic schooner, the Adventuress. Sound Experience is a non-profit whose mission is “to educate, inspire, and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment.” The Adventuress was offering a three hour passenger sail during the Sail By, and it was listed as one of the best vantage points for viewing this end of festival celebration. And so I splurged.

Boats are lined up to leave the Point Hudson Marina to participate in the "Sail-By."

Boats are lined up to leave the Point Hudson Marina to participate in the “Sail-By.”

I have booked a ticket for a four hour sailing cruise during the Sail-By on the Adventuress.

I have booked a ticket for a three hour sailing cruise during the Sail-By on the Adventuress.

Vessels of all shapes and sizes enter Port Townsend Bay for the Sail-By.

Vessels of all shapes and sizes enter Port Townsend Bay for the Sail-By.

I am pleasantly surprised to learn the Captain of the Adventuress is female. In fact, there are as many young women on the ship, some paid, some volunteer, as there are men.

Sails are hoisted.

Sails are hoisted.

Captain Rachel gives us a safety briefing.

Captain Rachel gives us a safety briefing.

Adventuress is identified by Sail #15.

Adventuress is identified by Sail Nbr 15.

Once on board, we get a bit of history and sailing lore mixed in with a safety briefing in our muster station. We learn the 133’ Adventuress, a gaft-rigged schooner, was built in 1913. With a rich history which includes whale hunting in Alaska to guarding San Francisco Bay in WWII, she was added to the National Historic Register in 1989.

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It’s a quintessential sailing day in Port Townsend with blue skies and steady breeze. Cool, with that nip of fall in the air that I just adore about September sailing. There aren’t as many aboard the ship as I had feared, making it easy to find a spot on the rail to view the gorgeous boats sailing by. Many are locals who know each other, so it’s fun to hear them shouting back greetings between boats.

This boat appears to have some tribal reference, but not sure what.

This boat appears to have some tribal reference, but not sure what.

Lots of traffic in the bay

Lots of traffic in the bay

On lookout...

On lookout…

Lifeboat doubles as fender storage.

Lifeboat doubles as fender storage.

The Lady Washington, replica of an 18th century, 90 ton Brig.

The Lady Washington, replica of an 18th century, 90 ton Brig.

Unlike other Tall Ship sailing cruises I have been on before, we are actually going to raise the sails and turn off the motor! What a novel concept for a “Sail By!” The crew enlists help from the passengers to haul the heavy sails. Instead of a “heave ho,” this is done to the cadence of the traditional Sea Shanty, “Runnin’ Down to Cuba.”

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Practicing my homework from the digital photography seminar, "Don't be afraid to shoot into the sun."

Practicing my homework from the digital photography seminar, “Don’t be afraid to shoot into the sun.”

Captain Rachel navigates us through the heavy traffic as boats of all sizes and shapes fill the small bay area along the waterfront of historic Port Townsend. Everything from tall ships to stand up paddle boards.img_6883

Lady Washington has starred in many films, including role of HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean. She has a foreboding profile on the water.

Lady Washington has starred in many films, including role of HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean. She has a foreboding profile on the water.

Even a few fishing boats get in on the festivities.

Even a few fishing boats get in on the festivities.

Striking the sails.

Striking the sails.

As the sun drops lower in the sky, the crowds on the water begin to wane. Now with less traffic to navigate on the bay, Captain Rachel asks, “Anyone want to take the helm?” I can’t imagine a more thrilling ending to such a fun-filled weekend!

First time I have ever received navigational instructions to "turn three 'pegs' to port." ;-)

First time I have ever received navigational instructions to “turn three ‘pegs’ to port.” ;-)

We’re bound to Cuba with a load of sugar
Way me boys for Cuba
We’ll make ‘er run you limejuice bugger
Runnin’ down to Cuba

Running down with a press of sail
Way me boys for Cuba
Slinging the water over the rail
Runnin’ down to Cuba

Oh good lord how the winds do blow
Way me boys for Cuba
And our old man he cracks on soooo
Runnin’ down to Cuba

I got a sister nine foot tall
Way me boys for Cuba
Sleeps in the kitchen with her feet in the hall
Runnin’ down to Cuba

I got a sister and her name is Jane
Way me boys for Cuba
When you guess where she give me a pain
Runnin’ down to Cuba

Give me a gal, can dance fandango
Way me boys for Cuba
Kiss like a melon and sweet as a mango
Runnin’ down to Cuba

Running down me bucko boys
Way me boys for Cuba
Let’s all haul and make some noise
Runnin’ down to Cuba

Loading sugar on the homeward go
Way me boys for Cuba
Oh Mister Macey told me so
Runnin’ down to Cuba

A Closer Look Inside the Wooden Boat Festival

I spread out the three day seminar program from the Wooden Boat Festival to plan my weekend with low expectations.   Not being exactly skilled in working with my hands, I didn’t have much interest in learning laminating  techniques or tying thump mats, though some of the tech sessions like Maintenance of a Diesel Engine could have transferred over to RVing.  Still, I anticipated that most of my time at the festival would be spent outdoors, going from boat to boat Continue reading

Port Townsend’s 40th Annual Wooden Boat Festival

I’m not sure where my fascination with wooden boats comes from…a most unlikely passion for a person raised on a land-locked farm in Central Texas for the first third of my life.

My first introduction to sailing came in an attempt to make the PE requirement at the University of Texas more palatable.    Bobbing around on the Colorado River in a twelve foot Laser while the instructor screamed at me through a megaphone from a rowboat, it’s a wonder I ever set foot on a boat again. Continue reading

Harvest Moon

We interrupt this blogcast from the Port Townsend 40th Annual Boat Festival for a quick music break.

If you are not familiar with Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” do yourself a favor and click on the link or go to Youtube and have a listen to one of the best “feel good” tracks of all time, while you enjoy this slide show of the Harvest Moon, straight from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Continue reading

Hull Raising

Now within striking distance of Port Townsend, my “pinnacle of summer,” I needed a place to hole up for the Labor Day weekend before I and a few thousand of my like-minded friends descend upon the small town for the 40th Annual Wooden Boat Festival.   The Evergreen SKP park in Chimacum, Washington seemed like a convenient place to ride out the holiday weekend, particularly with their $5 per night dry camping lot. Continue reading

So What if the Mountains Are Calling…

So what if the mountains are calling but you can’t see them?  Would you still go?

That’s the question I asked myself sitting in the dry camping spot, 50 miles down a lone road from the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking the socked-in gray wall of clouds that lie between me and Mt St Helens.   “If I can’t see the volcano, is it worth the 100 mile drive?” Continue reading

Last Look at Astoria…

There are many things I enjoy about blog writing.   First and foremost, it helps me relive the experiences through writing and photography.  It helps jog my memory of the many wonders I have had the privilege to see, touch, taste, and smell.  And it’s a great way to meet people, having led me to 75% of my current RVing community.

But of my 484 posts here, none have been so fun as my Astoria post from 2014.  I had never had a blog post go “viral” before, but suddenly I started getting comments from people I didn’t know.  Someone posted a link to a local Facebook page, and many Astorians came calling to offer more suggestions.   It was so much fun to have them validate that I had captured the essence of a town for which their affection was so palpable.   For this reason among many, Astoria will always have a special place in my personal history book.

Not only did I want to show Don Astoria, but given how much I enjoyed it last time, it was a “non-negotiable” stop on my return trip to the PNW. Continue reading

A Few of My Favorite Things…

During my 2014 tour through the Pacific Northwest, I must have thought a thousand times, “Oh, Don would LOVE this place!” Some of our greatest outdoor adventures have been trips we have taken together, from my Dad’s cross country road trips from Texas to Knotts Berry Farm as kids, to tent camping in the wilds of Alaska. We even rented a nine-speed manual gear shift RV with a steering wheel on the “wrong side” to tour Continue reading

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Back in early 2011 when I first informed my friends and family that I was considering full timing in an RV once my Atlanta house sold, most expressed shock while others dismissed in disbelief.   All except for my brother Don.   Having been an RV owner himself for many years, his only “shock” was why it took me so long to finally come around to his way of thinking.  😉    Shortly after my declaration of intent, Don sent me a link Continue reading

Hoodwinked

I don’t often rant, but when I do…it’s about feeling crowded in or squeezed out.

As I have mentioned, campgrounds in the PNW have been impossible to get this summer. It’s noticeably more crowded here than my trip in 2014. Two years ago, I had no problem finding a place to park at the scenic state parks up and down the coast without a reservation, as long as it was mid-week. This year, whether it be looking for a campsite or strolling the aisles of Fred Meyer, it’s hard to tell a Tuesday morning from a Saturday afternoon. In short, it’s getting crowded out here, folks….at least in the PNW. Continue reading