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.

img_6815

img_6820

img_6847

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.”

img_6866

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

16 thoughts on “Sail By on the Adventuress

  1. What adventures you’ve had! I was trying to think of suitable quote and this one appeared. -Maureen
    …now and then a giggling trail of mermaids appeared in our wake. We fed them oatmeal.
    Tove Jansson, Moominpappa’s Memoirs (The Moomins, #4)

    • Yes, a very big, unwieldy truck! The wheel was really hard to turn, and it was at a weird angle, slanted toward the stern. There was a raised box behind it, and so one has to stand to the side to steer. It took both hands to muscle it on around. Give me a J24 and “Don’t tack till you see the whites of their eyes” tiller any day. 😉

  2. What a great way to end the wooden boat festival. The weather looks just about perfect for sailing and wish I could have heard you salty gals singing the sea shanty.

  3. What a fantastic thrill that must have been! I have been dreaming of just being able to get on a ferry again, and there you are “three peggin’ it”! Oh, to be young again! Isn’t that what we all think, no matter our current age? ;->

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

  4. What a fantastic “splurge”. For sure!! I love sail boats almost as much as lighthouses. I’ve always had a sail on a tall ship on my bucket list. Yes, it still sits there. I can’t even imagine what thrill it was to take the helm. Color me a brilliant shade of green. Loved reading this and the pictures are outstanding. Carry on!

  5. Wow. Just wow. I can smell the air, feel the wind, and am grinning from ear to ear. So glad you splurged and shared your adventure with us!

  6. Hi Suzanne –
    These past few months have been quite hectic in our lives with parental health care, but all is well now and I am finally catching up on my blog reading. You have had quite the wonder-filled time in Washington. Fun to see that your brother joined you in Oregon. We missed out on the crab on our last visit to Winchester bay but enjoyed grilled oysters instead! I absolutely admire the way you immersed yourself in the wooden boat festival experience. Will you be heading to Utah again this fall? We are thinking of going that way either before or after Thanksgiving. I’ll be reading some of your previous posts about that area later today.

    • Imkelina, so nice to hear from you! Yes, I will head through Utah at some point, though the route and timeline is still yet to be determined. Please do keep me posted in case our routes cross…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *