Present and Past Tense

Stack of Willow's and Zapatito's Logs?????????????????????????????????????

I don’t know what got into me the other day, but I decided to pull the recent logs I’ve had in the ship’s library. Encompassing the time I owned Zapatito and then Willow, the years have flown by. Strangely enough though, I distinctly recall actually writing some of the entries: the time, place, conditions, destinations. It brought so many great memories back to me, and I enjoyed reminiscing immensely.

Handwriting rules the day still.  Initially, I even used Polaroids in some of my entries.  Time flies...

Handwriting rules the day still. Initially, I even used Polaroids in some of my entries. Time flies…

The book that’s in the left lower corner belongs to Zapatito, a Pacific Seacraft Flicka.  I lived on that boat for a bit over 4 years, and loved every minute!  Hull number 7, she sailed from the States to Hawaii, through the South Pacific to New Zealand, and BACK, on her own hull.  She was a simple and elegant sail, balanced and trim, and sailed herself countless miles.  She had a very effective windvane, super simple, that I re-built during a long haulout.  I replaced or restored everything on her, and added a few features along the way as I learned, except for the cushions down below.  I just didn’t get to that point.  I purchased her for $16K and sold her for $25K.  The difference in price was definitely put into the boat in newer and better gear, but how many times do you get to get out of a boat in dollars what was put into it?  ‘Tito cleaned up really well, and the buyer became a great friend as he introduced the boat to his soon-to-be wife.  It was such fun to see something you’ve worked hard on and enjoyed so much find a new owner who really appreciated the same things.  I lost track of Zapatito about 6 years after I sold her.  She had been re-sold a few times more, and I saw her back at the Dana Point guest dock in really sad condition.  After that, I don’t know…

Zapatito in her Christmas finery...

Zapatito in her Christmas finery…

Zapatito's windvane drawing that I used during a rebuild.

Zapatito’s windvane drawing that I used during a rebuild.

Polaroids of the interior refit of 'Tito, fresh paint and varnish on everything...  Polaroids!

Polaroids of the interior refit of ‘Tito, fresh paint and varnish on everything… Polaroids!

In 1993, I sailed from Maui to Victoria, BC, on the Huntingford one-off 43′ ketch Saramin.  I met the Detwieler Family when I took my first boat, Samgeo, up to Santa Barbara for the first time.  My cat’s leash tripped their little girl, Tania, and the rest was history.  Francoise is an artist with a paint brush, and can turn the ugliest craft into an elegant and flowing, graceful boat with a few weeks of intense work.  She’s also an amazing sailor.  If I recall, she met her husband Steve up in Canada, and they married and had Tania.  On the boat, during winter!  Pretty hardcore and pure.  Steve was the second captain on commercial ships, freighters and tankers delivering goods and fuels to the world.  He was also a bush pilot in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, taking hunters and fishermen to their game.  I met them, as I said, in Santa Barbara, and we hit it off.  I wound up crewing with Francoise as Saramin was on her way up to Canada for sale.  Steve and Tania stayed with friends and family in Maui until after we arrived in BC.  I learned so much from Francoise, not just the complete sailing part, but how to be a steward for the seas.  We ate simply and well, sailed the boat well, only had one storm on the way up, and had 6 days of dense fog.  I remember feeling unwell the last few days, and now know I was pretty dehydrated.  I read that Francoise’s back began to give her quite a bit of trouble, and I’m betting being low on fluids was responsible a bit there, too.  This was my first long, offshore passage, and aside from missing my family, I loved it.  Our navigation tools were a sextant and a twice daily satnav flyover, only.  We had an old weatherfax, and an SSB receiver for voice weather forecasts.  We’d tape record those and extrapolate them onto a chart later when we weren’t so busy trying to copy things down.  Ah, memories…

My own written log of the trip from Maui to Victoria BC, doublehanded with Francoise.

My own written log of the trip from Maui to Victoria BC, doublehanded with Francoise.

Then, there’s Willow.  Ah, Willow.  I bought Willow in 1997 in Honolulu.  I was working for the Fire Department still, and had the ability to get some lengthy segments of time off in order to prepare her for the trip home.  Willow’s a Pacific Seacraft Orion 27, and also was featured in various sailing magazines as an ad for Pacific Seacraft.  When I bought her, she was 14 years old, and simply equipped.  She had an Aries windvane, a HAM radio, a radar detector, and a VHF radio.  I added an autopilot and GPS in Hawaii, and once home, she’s had virtually everything replaced but for the mast, and depth sounder.  I get alot of laughs regarding the depth sounder, but it’s simple, works very well, and I don’t see the need, for my uses, for a unit that sees more than 200′ in depth.  There are three and a half logs detailing the maintenance and use of Willow, and it’s enlightening to read of the work done, additions made and deleted from her. 

Willow's logs are the large brown, dark blue, small sketch book, and half of the light green book.

Willow’s logs are the large brown, dark blue, small sketch book, and half of the light green book.

All of this reading has brought me up to today, with Willow now 31 years old.  One of these days, I’ll add up the sea miles she’s shared with me, and tally up the friends I’ve made through this amazing medium.  I’ve saved a drawing and short essay a friend’s daughter made for me after she and her family visited me on Willow.  The text reads, ” The Beach.  Today we went to the beach.  We went to get some furniture from Wendy.  She is a paramedic that works with my dad.  She has a cat that has no teeth.  Wendy lives on a nice boat.  She has lived there for 13 years. I have been there before, and swam in the ocean as well.  It was very cold.  The End.”  On the lower half of the page is Christine’s rendition of Willow, and I’ll treasure this always.  It’s become my page marker in the log…

Christine's essay and drawing of Willow.  Priceless...

Christine’s essay and drawing of Willow. Priceless…

I hope everyone enjoys August, stays cool, and keeps their keels wet and off the beach!  Keep doing good things!



2 thoughts on “Present and Past Tense

  1. Sue Worthington

    That is so great you have all those records and life stories of all your adventures at sea.. Enjoyed so much. Thanks Wendy..


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