Northwesterner in transition
Iíve been sailing for over 40 years, and Iíve decided that it may be time to get a boat with a head. I grew up sailing on the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, and kept an 18í Billy Atkin Bluebird at the 79th Street Boat Basin in the decade I lived in Manhattan. I moved to Oregon 21 years ago to teach architecture at the UO, and while teaching in our grad program in Portland, I bought a beautiful cold-molded William Garden Eel canoe yawl to sail in the lower Columbia.
I then moved back to landlocked Eugene to get married, and spent a few frustrating years as a trailer-sailor. To correct this problem, five years ago I built (and continue to build) a cabin on Whidbey Island, where I can moor my boat within sight of the house for the summer. In the winter, she goes into her shop under the house, which protects her all-brightwork (except for the decks) finish.
But it has recently become clear that if Iím ever to induce my Kansas-bred wife and ten-year-old daughter to sail more with me, I need a larger boat with some accommodations beyond the pup-tent level, and a head with a door. (Maybe an engine too. When the wind dies now, I pull out the nine-foot oars.) Iíd probably like a larger boat myself Ė unlike the rest of the Northwest in the summer, Penn Cove has very good winds much of the time (being lined up with the end of the Straits of Juan de Fuca), and as I age, I find myself less interested in sitting on the rail while beating homewards on a cool NW evening (Iím not in Long Island Sound anymore.) So in September I bit the bullet and sold the Eel, and will deliver her to Seattle next spring, after a last winter in the shop.
Iíve always been a reader of Wooden boat Magazine, and a fan of traditional cruising boat designs Ė Herreshoff, Garden, Atkin, Alden, Rhodes, S&S, etc. But lurking on Sailnet in recent years, reading very insightful posts by Jeff H and others, Iíve had to acknowledge that there may have been some advances in knowledge and ideas about boat design in the past 50 years that it would behoove me to understand. Iíve also had to admit that no matter how beautiful it is, a Bristol Channel Cutter may not be the perfect boat to meet my current sailing needs. (My Eel may have a bowsprit and a mizzen, but it also has a SA/D ratio of 26, and Iím not ready to move on to a slow boat.) I even made a foray into defining the ideal boat for this stage of my life, arriving at a design for a 26-foot, center-cockpit, aft-pilothouse, cat-ketch. But after ascertaining that this would cost upwards of $150,000 to have built, Iím back on the used boat market.
So over the next few months, as I try to find the ďperfectĒ boat for the rest of my life (hopefully single-handed daysailing and coastal cruising into my 80s, with occasional pre-teen and eventually-older girls as passengers), Iíll be following relevant threads here on boat design, and probably submitting some questions of my own, to gain the benefit of your collective expertise.
Salish Sea, Washington
William Garden Eel
1983 Schooner Creek
18'-6" LOD, 25' LOA
(but I have just sold her)