Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fog in the Channel

La ConnerSunshine spread across the fields behind La Conner and snuck up to our hotel and broke through our curtains early enough to remind us we had a full day ahead. After breakfasting, we got in our car and turned towards the Pacific and Anacortes. Low, grey clouds brought the smog of the refineries into clear relief and made our destination that much less attractive. In 20 minutes we were at the Anacortes Marina parking lot and in contact with our yacht broker who was another 30 minutes away. We found good coffee at the Penguin Café and bided our time looking over a few boats on the hard, comparing the relative advantages of keel and rudder designs - at least in the abstract.

We made our way down B dock to a venerable Bob Perry designed, and Taiwanese built, Norseman 447. This is a big boat and given it's 30 years of age seemed pretty well found. Sporting its original teak decks begged the question of how much, if any, water may have found its way into the laminate. Whatever! It was going to be a lot of work and substantial amount of money to bring her back to blue water standard, but her bones looked solid and for the right price she might be quite splendid again. 

From Anacortes we planned a short drive to Keystone followed by a quick hop on the ferry to Port Townsend. That did not happen. On arrival we discovered that morning fog had forced the cancellation of two ferries and without a reservation we were looking at a three hour wait. Now what? Well there was the long route back through Mount Vernon and down 1-5, itself glowing a furious red on Google Maps, or we could hop off the south end of Whidbey Island via the ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo. From there it's a short drive on down to Edmonds and another ferry hop to Kingston. Elapsed time was roughly the same, but the adventure factor was higher on the ferries, so that's what we did. 

Our last viewing of the day in Port Ludlow, a Pacific Seacraft 40, being much favored by your correspondent since he was a pup, was delayed only 90 minutes thanks to all the ferrying falderal. Our broker, Murray, has been sailing the area since he was a boy and remembered Port Ludlow as a timber town without a marina, but good anchorages and fresh oysters along the beachfront. Now as a retirement community it has enough money for a yacht club and a harbor-full of expensive and seriously under used fiberglass. The Pacific Seacraft 40 is a fine boat and our example, while little used, is still 20 years old - with all that implies in terms of what needs attention. Close inspection is necessary before a purchase, but it's still a boat that will get you there. Her faded luster and spirit pulls at the imagination and whispers of distant anchorages reached there in security and relative comfort. Ahhh, yes... But this is a partnership after all - man does not make decisions alone. Stay tuned. 

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