However I soon discovered that compared to Long Island Sound…and to Minnesota for that matter where I got to experience lake sailing, southern Puget Sound’s a whole lot better for cruising and paddling then it is for sailing...at least for me. The water is near-freezing and there are many summer days with no wind at all. Some of the best sailing seems to be in late autumn and very early spring, and in those seasons I can't find enough gear to put on so I can stay warm.
Still, I didn’t give up on my sailing dream easily…still haven’t. When I first moved to Vashon I bought myself a 15’ day sailer…it had been a winter restoration project for someone whose interest was more restoration than sailing, so when the seasons changed the boat was for sale and I bought it. Sailing was fun for a while, however the boat was slow and so I was never able to go far enough to get beyond Quartermaster Harbor and out into the Sound. I’d have had to pack for an overnight voyage to get further. When the wind blew harder the boat would heel further and just vibrate…it just wouldn’t sail faster. Eventually I sold it and went boat-less for a few years, dreaming of speed.
Until I found the Rave. With 10 knots the trimaran foiler would lift a couple of feet out of the water and take off like a missile. I first sailed it in Florida and thought I’d gone to heaven...very quickly. In fact if I lived in Florida with 80 degree water I'd still have it. I dreamed of loading it with my camping gear and then sailing north to Canada along the inner passage. I planned to camp at water trail sites along the way…it was a great dream. It was a rush!...and it was terrifying. I figured I could actually make it to Canada in two days. Unfortunately it was also a really wet boat to sail. When the wind blew the Rave screamed with speed. And in the 48 degree water even with paddling gloves my fingers froze, I'm sure I chattered my teeth down a few sizes and there was no way I could control the boat...at least no way that was fun. So in the end I sadly passed it along to a hyperactive guy with a monster truck and death wish, and the Rave became a memory. Shortly after he bought it he bent the mast.
A friend of ours has had a sailboat on a trailer parked in the weeds in front of his house for as long as we’ve known them. It was full of many seasons’ fallen and rotting leaves, and overgrown with blackberries and assorted other trash vegetation. It had been totally neglected. I’ve been curious about it for years but only a couple of months ago stopped and took a good look. It’s an O’Day 17’ daysailer...a lovely little boat with nice lines and a large cockpit. When I asked if he was interested in selling it and, if so, what he wanted for it, his wife Jodi said, “Just tow it away.”
So now it’s behind my barn, mostly cleaned and needing only a small bit of fiberglass repair and wood trim refinishing. Getting the paint off the deck is a bit of a chore but the exercise is doing me good. The mast, boom and rigging are now clean and in pretty good shape…I’ll treat it to new lines just to make sure things don’t come crashing down on my head. And the sails look fine, at least for now.
I’m thinking this will be a nice boat for peacefully sailing around the inner harbor. Stay tuned.