Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Red Lantern Rally

A quick note for all you potential Scamp owners. Just four short years ago, the John Welsford Scamp came off the drawing board and today, it might be the most popular little homebuilt sailboat around. I hear that last Saturday (the 16th of August) John flew in from New Zealand to Mystery Bay, Marrowstone Island, Washington State to celebrate his creation with Josh Colvin (Small Craft Advisor), several Scamp owners, crew and fans.
Below are a few photos of the event, provided by our good friend, Marty Loken. John Welsford is sailing with Josh Colvin in hull #1.
I'm tempted to excuse these diminutive boats as mere whimsy, but sometimes whimsy is just what is needed. All you need for proof are the huge grins on this crowd.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Angus Cruising Rowboat

Sailing to Desolation Sound is a great experience. The trip we took involved a full range of conditions and challenges. But the area has it's limitations for a keel boat. We saw many kayaks, often lurking in the lee, watching for a weather opening.

Some coves and inlets were very deep - too deep for safe anchorage. Signs were evident that previous visitors had stern-tied to a rock or tree, since the cove might not have enough room to swing on the scope necessary for a single anchor.

Being avid rowers, we often discussed the possibility (probability?) of making a similar voyage in a rowboat designed for use at sea.

Back in Port Townsend, with Belle Starr at anchor (she makes a wonderful condo), I had the opportunity to assist (compulsive boatbuilder) Marty Loken, in the construction of the new Angus Cruising Rowboat, from Julie and Colin Angus. Plans for this boat were completed at the end of last year. A prototype was built for a client, who took off for places unknown and hasn't been heard from since...

So, Marty's RowCruiser is the first boat of this design, made from a kit. He is working under a schedule, with the intention of having the boat ready to display at the upcoming Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, the first weekend in September.

Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I have never built a boat from a kit. This was my first go. A neighbor of Marty's had been by the day before to help stitch the planks and bulkheads together. Our task on the second day was to true-up the hull shape, taking out any twist or lack of symmetry. It was a pleasure to see how well the planks fit and how simple it was to see a truly beautiful design emerge. The boat is essentially a
canoe, with an efficient double-ended waterline.

For a burdensome 18.5 foot boat, this is going to be a fast, quick, rowing machine. The Angus Cruising Rowboat is designed for an owner-built sliding seat, though it would be easy and effective to simply use a fixed seat.

Marty has initiated a website for this design, which will feature his own experience building the Cruiser. There will be a workshop in February of 2015, for those interested in building this boat, with coaching from the Angus team. You can visit his new site at RowCruiser!

While working, Marty and I daydreamed about the potential of gunkholing with a flotilla of RowCruisers next summer. And there is a good chance for a Desolation Sound rowing voyage. The British Columbia Kayak Parks found on the Sunshine Coast are wonderful, but imagine being able to anchor in a remote cove, with not another soul and sleep comfortably aboard your own rowboat.

Angus RowCruiser:

Length:  18'-8.5" (570 cm)
Beam:    46"        (117cm)
Waterline: 17'-9" (541 cm)
WL Beam: 33.4" (85 cm)
Draft:         3.6"   (9.1 cm)
Weight:  148#      (67 kg)
Volume:147.6 cu ft (4.2 cu m.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Strait of Georgia

Let us resume our voyage to Desolation Sound. On June twenty-third, this year, we left Silva Bay on Gabriola Island, headed for Halfmoon Bay on the Sechelt Peninsula, on the mainland of British Columbia. This meant crossing the fabled Strait of Georgia.

For small boats, the San Juan Islands in the US and the Canadian Gulf Islands to the north, form a safe archipelago of protected waters. Though the islands, reefs and shoals offer the mariner a plethora of challenges, the winds, in summer, are likely to be light and variable.
After traversing the maze of islands off the southeast shore of Vancouver Island, eighty nautical miles north to Nanaimo, our protected paradise gave way to the vagaries of weather and tide, in the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.

Silva Bay, on the south end of Gabriola Island, marked our last night on the west shore of the Salish Sea. From there, we would chart a course east and north, to a landfall in Halfmoon Bay, on the Sechet Peninsula, mainland British Columbia, Canada.
The day we left, the potential threat of the large open body of water was tempered by a calm and smooth Strait of Georgia, to the east. The day would prove a challenge, regardless - our GPS was sporadically reliable and eventually failed completely. This might present few problems on a calm day under clear skies, where the distant shore was visible, but navigation is complicated in this area by a large geometric rectangle marked on local charts with an imposing WF, which proves to be a Naval torpedo test area. Some days the area is restricted to traffic, others it is not. On this day, it was. Though the chart might suggest there is a large fence surrounding the restriction, there is nary an empirical indication the boundary exists.

Our mate, Paul, an area resident, told us the restriction was strictly enforced and we'd be best advised to stay clear. Then, he and the others motored off, in their own boats and left us to our own devices. We did the best we could with our little outboard engine, by taking a heading off our departing friends and dead-reckoning our way into the Strait.

Aside from having to motor most of the way (you know how Doryman despises motors), it was a succesfull crossing of a potential challenging body of water - With an overnight stay in Halfmoon Bay - a wonderfully friendly place (unfortunately plagued with large mosquitoes).

In counterpoint, consider our return two weeks later, over the same stretch of water... A day that started with clouds, rain and fifteen knots of wind and deteriorated to thick fog with rain and twenty five knots of wind.
On that day, we traveled blind. Our GPS had failed and there were no landmarks visible. We made the crossing in the old-fashioned way, by dead-reckoning.

The hazards of such a system of navigation were evident to Captain Vancouver, who, in the log describing his exploration of this treacherous inland body of water, was despondent of his endeavor to the point of naming our beautiful and remote destination, Desolation.

Next installment, Desolation Sound and the Sunshine Coast.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Volta Mallorca

A brief interruption in our story to catch up on some important news.....

While your friend Doryman has been out of touch with the technical world, great events are happening. No, you will not be hearing about some pointless election or an even more pointless war - we have more poignant things to think about.

You remember our good friend and environmental campaigner Giacomo de Stefano? He, of the voyage by sail and oar from London to Istanbul? Well, after a winter of skiing (no, he was not on vacation, Giacomo is no tourist) he has teamed up with none other than our friend David Oliver, the  owner of the New Catalina, a llaüt, in Mallorca. The llaüt is a beautiful traditional sailing vessel once used in the fishing industry, now all but extinct, due to to the proliferation of industrial fishing and a popular boating culture focused more on how much money can be spent than on true interaction with nature.

Well, you all know my prejudices about the abuse of nature. And, if you don't already know, Giacomo and David share my views. They are currently on a voyage circumnavigating the beautiful, but exploited, island of Mallorca. As you might imagine, their vessel is David's gorgeous, motor-less llaüt.

No need for me to go to length, explaining this project any further. Please visit Giacomo and David on their voyage around Mallorca and their effort to promote more with less.

This is no anachronism, or gimmick. The intention is to demonstrate a future in concert with nature, using the best technology humans have ever conceived.

Many thanks to project photographer, Dragan Miletic for bringing this effort to my attention. The following photos are courtesy of Dragan and the Volta Mallorca project. The photo at the top of this post is courtesy of David Oliver.

Be Water My Friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To Desolation and Back

Two months ago, the Doryman voyage ethereal could be found in Olympia, WA setting forth on a trip to be remembered. The Stone Horse, Belle Starr, launched, rigged and headed north for her first real sea trial under her new skipper. At the time, preparations seemed daunting, even overwhelming. Belle Starr needed to be in Port Townsend, WA before the Bristol Channel Cutter, Baggywrinkle set out from Newport Oregon. The two boats were to join in a voyage north to Desolation Sound, Salish Sea, in early June. Doryman was to crew on the latter, then skipper the former.

The trip from Newport, Oregon to Port Townsend, Washington in the classic cutter, Baggywrinkle, took five grueling days. Skipper Chuck Gottfried, navigator Jamie Orr and myself endured all that might be expected and then some, on a northerly voyage "uphill" against ocean current and weather, along the northwest coast of the US. It was too wet and wild for any photos, and I suspect very little could be gleaned from them at any rate. Suffice to say, it is very impressive to sail off the top of a wave crest into a trough twenty feet below, for hours, and days, on end. The intrepid mariners arrived in Point Hudson Marina, all ahoo.


 Experienced mariners will tell you, any successful passage has had a good bit of luck. Luck was with us as we rounded Cape Flattery and into Neah Bay. Two days later we sailed into Port Townsend to rendezvous with Belle Starr and crew members Suzy Jo and Heather. I vowed at the time this was my last boat delivery northbound along this coast, but already the pain has subsided and the memory become heroic.

After a couple days of provisioning, the two cutter-rigged boats left for an overnight stop at Spencer Spit, Lopez Island, on the way to join with Paul Miller and his Friendship Sloop, Friendship. The voyage to Desolation Sound had begun.

One more night and we were in Bedwell Harbour, Pender Island, checking in with Canadian customs.

The twentieth of June found us visiting Paul and his wife, Elinor, who treated us like royalty, with a fine dinner, showers and their wonderful view of Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.. The next morning three wooden sailboats left the North American home of the Cittaslow movement, on a voyage of discovery.

How fitting is that?

An overnight stop in Telegraph Harbour on Penelakut Island, brought us, on June twenty second, to Silva Bay, Gabriola Island and the remaining member of our flotilla, Jamie Orr, in his Phil Bolger Chebacco, Wayward Lass. Jamie is our piper and ships his bagpipes everywhere the 'Lass sails.

Gives us courage, he does.

In our next installment; crossing the legendary Strait of Georgia.

 Though Belle Starr is a cutter, she performs best in winds less than twenty five knots, rigged as a sloop. Her new tanbark genoa drives well in light air and is the only foresail we used the entire trip. There were times when less sail might have been prudent, but changing head-sails underway is quite a task. Fortunately Belle Starr is a well founded boat and performed exceptionally under a press of sail, earning her the moniker, The Red Rocket. We found the hard-chined, plywood Stone Horse to be a fine combination of performance, comfort and stability.

Our experience in the Salish Sea this summer is documented photographically on Doryman's Flickr site. The photos are not in any particular order and were submitted by all participants. In time, I may be able to add descriptions, but for now, I'm sure you will enjoy the exquisite beauty of the area regardless.

This voyage ended with the annual gathering of gunkholers at the Sucia Island Rendezvous. Some of the photos toward the end of this album are from that event.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Desolation Sound

About two weeks ago, Belle Starr hit the water in Olympia, WA, and she and I immediately sailed one hundred miles north, on the Salish Sea, to Marrowstone Island and Mystery Bay. She sits quietly on anchor at this moment, waiting patiently for her skipper, while he returns home to crew on a delivery, on the not so calm Pacific Ocean.

I'll be joining Chuck Gottfried and Jamie Orr, on Baggywrinkle, Chuck's Bristol Channel Cutter, for the trip from Newport, Oregon to Port Townsend, Washington, where we'll pick up Belle Starr and head north.

The trip this summer will be to Desolation Sound. Once in Canada, we'll meet Jamie's Chebacco, Wayward Lass, in Victoria,BC, then finally stop off in Cowachin Bay, on Vancouver Island, BC. This is the home of Paul Miller and his Friendship Sloop, Friendship.

These four boats (and possibly more) will comprise the Desolation Sound fleet on a voyage scheduled to last three to four weeks, viewing some of the most majestic scenery in the world. And sailing some of the most challenging waters in the world. Many of you have visited this area, and I'll bet anyone who has, would go back. For one, I can hardly contain my excitement. It can't help but be simply wonderful - beautiful scenery, great comradery, worthy sailing vessels... who could ask for more?

Sorry to say, there will be no updates while underway. But I promise you all a detailed account when we get back. If any of you readers happen to be in the area and see our flotilla, please stop by for a visit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doryman's Kayak

It's been a few months since we looked at the development of last winter's Doryman kayak build. Wild Rose has been outfitted with outriggers so that she can now be paddled or rowed. Being only fifteen feet long, she is quick off the line, though takes concentration to track well under oars.

All said, I am very pleased with this little boat. She weighs 65 pounds and is easy to load on top of a car, yet carries up to 300 pounds of payload. The rowing option is to accommodate my aching shoulders, which I suspect might appeal to others, as well.

Leo Newberg, who designed the original of this kayak, and Rick Johnson, the shipwright who leads the Family Boat Build at our local Toledo Wooden Boat Show, were impressed enough by the changes I've made to implement them in the show this year. These changes include a new, more graceful shearline and an open, more accessible cockpit. Wild Rose is currently in Leo's capable hands, having her lines taken.

This kayak will be the centerpiece of the Family Boat Build at the Toledo Wooden Boat Show, August 16th and 17th, 2014. Follow the link above to the Port of Toledo, Oregon website, for more information about signing up. There will also be a "kid's build" this year, with a smaller, simpler kayak for the little ones. Be sure to get your name in soon, August is just around the corner.

More photos of Wild Rose can be found on Doryman's Flickr Site.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Flota Española Pelican

I recently received a note from Spain in regard to the Pelican class of sailboats.
From Julián: 
"I am also "pelicanero". We are a group of six boat enthusiasts who constitute the "Spanish fleet." Six beautiful Pelican fourteens we sail in northern Spain. "

Julián Fdez. de Velasco del Casar lives in Madrid, and spends his summer holidays in San Juan de la Arena, near the river Nalon, in Asturias. He and his friends sail a fleet of Pelicans in the mouth of the river Nalon. They sail regattas and make afternoon trips in their San Fransisco Pelicans. They claim to comprise the only boats of this class, in all of Spain.

Follow this link to see photos of the Spanish San Fransisco Pelicans during a summer regatta.
More photos of the construction of the Pelican, for those who like that sort of thing.

Bienvenido Julian, y los amigos, a la tribu Doryman de entusiastas de la navegación. Saludos de mi país a la suya, en la comunión. Puede usted tener vientos favorables en todos sus viajes.
Muchas gracias por compartir su amor por la navegación y la alegría de la Pelican en condiciones de navegar con los lectores Doryman.

Monday, April 28, 2014


A Glimpse into the Voyage Ethereal...

Easter weekend was the date for the world famous Depot Bay Wooden Boat Show and Crab Feed. Apparently it wasn't the best time for boat worship. Though the event was sluggish, a good many stalwart attendees braved the hostile weather, none-the-less. Photos can be found on Duckworks (submitted by Richard Green), Andrew Linn's web journal, and the ever popular Mother of Maritime Links, John Kohnen.

I spent much of Saturday afternoon in conversation with the owner of Doineann, the second St.Ayles Skiff to be built on the west coast of the US. This is also the second of these skiffs to be built at the Wind and Oar Boat School in Portland, Oregon. Now that there are two, the races have begun. I have been reporting on and promoting the phenomenal St Ayles project for a few years now. It seems to me the challenge has not quite been met on our west coast. I've signed on as crew on Doineann, and would love to see more of these boats built around here. I pledge to further the cause.

Photo by John Kohnen

Back in the Doryman boatyard, work centers around the Stone Horse, Belle Starr. Last fall, Belle Starr took her shakedown cruise in the Salish Sea. Over the winter and spring months, upgrades indicated by that voyage have been addressed. New safety lines are the latest addition.
By the end of May, we will see her heading north in company with sailors from the Salish Sea Small Boat Society. The destination is Desolation Sound on the west coast of British Columbia. Be sure to stay tuned for that, it's sure to be exceptional.

Saturday last, I took a break from sanding and painting to attend the Twanoh State Park Oyster Feed, a one day messabout sponsored by the Puget Sound TSCA. Randy Jones was gracious enough to invite me aboard his Core Sound 17. I've admired this boat for years and was lucky to be sitting closest to the helm when Randy went forward to shake out a reef. Once Doryman gets his hands on the tiller, it's all over. Randy gave me a lesson in steering with the mizzen. We lashed the tiller amidships, trimmed the main in tight and tacked to windward using the mizzen sheet alone. Too much fun.

Not least, the weekend concluded with a new addition to the Doryman fleet, a flat iron skiff named Stewball. This simple fourteen-foot lapstrake is a museum piece. Built in the 1940's, it was used on Orcas Island, in Washington State's San Juan Islands as a livery vessel. A sailor or a fisherman could rent these boats to sail or row, by the day.
Stewball is rigged with a sprit mainsail.

The builder of Stewball took great care with old-growth cedar and Douglas fir to create an elegant work boat. The knees and hooks are made of carefully selected grown lumber so that the grain of the piece follows the angle of the structure. Pictured here is the breast hook, possibly crafted from a root.

Art in nature.
Restoration of the flat iron skiff will commence next Fall.

Yes, the name will remain the same.