Monday, January 1, 2018

"Savior" has been published!

Written by Kerry

Donn has been writing a novel for the last 3+ years among all the other things he had on is plate.  We agreed in the late summer of 2015 that I would keep working to pay the bills, while he quit his day job to work on getting the boat ready to go, and to write this novel.

Well today, we successfully self published the e-book version on Amazon:

Savior by Donn Christianson

A modern romance with some sailing thrown in for good measure, this is an enjoyable read with great characters. 

If you like reading your books on a device, give it a try!  If you'd prefer a physical copy, stay tuned... I'll post again when that version is available - hopefully soon!


Friday, November 24, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Homish

Written by Kerry

We've been back in the Puget Sound for two weeks.  A lot can happen in two weeks...

Since leaving Tacoma last December, we've created a new term for wherever we are - "homish". Where our boat is, that is basically home, but since no home is permanent these days, "homish" seemed appropriate.

Our original plan at this stage was to head out again right away, turning left at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and heading southward, ending in Mexico sometime in November.  Soon after we arrived in Port Angeles on August 7th, we started having serious conversations about what we truly wanted to do next in our journey.  Donn's eldest daughter is expecting her first child in September and after some introspection, he realized he wanted to ensure he was nearby for this exciting family event, and not away at sea.  This path of thought led us to the question "if we don't go now, then what do we do instead?"

We've decided to stay in the area for awhile - specifically Port Ludlow until October 1st, and then Port Townsend at least until May 1st, if not beyond.  We have secured slips in Port Ludlow marina from now until the end of September and in Point Hudson marina starting October 1st.  I am now actively looking for work in the area and Donn is getting ready to publish his novel and start up on his next few books. We also have a few small boat projects to finish while the sun still shines.

Priorities shift and plans change.  Change.  The one constant we can depend on.  Donn and I have had an incredible adventure on our shake down cruise and learned SO much.  It'll be good to let it all soak in and continue to dream and plan for further cruising adventures down the road.

We'll continue to post about our times here at "Homish".  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 11, 2017

1180 nm of Lessons

The Parents Await

David Cohen, Kerry and Donn about to land after 55 hours under passage.

Written by: Donn


  • It's 1180 nm from Port Townsend to Port Angeles, Washington as long as you go via, Hunter Bay, Blind Bay, Deer Harbor, Jones Island, Sucia Island, Port Browning, Ganges Harbor, North Cove, Herring Bay, Dodd Narrows, Naniano, across Queen Charlotte Strait, Bedwell Harbor, Melanie Cove, Grace Harbor, Owen Bay, Otter Bay, Johnstone Strait, Pt. Neville, Port McNeil, Namu, Shearwater, the Price Island reefs in some real weather, Aristizabal Island and the Beaver Family, Winter Harbor on Northwest Van Isle, and a long straight shot (55 hours and 256 NM) into the Straits of Juan de Fuca) at midnight and zero fog visibility that did not let up until Port Angeles.
  • Bringing on crew, especially experienced crew, is a damn good idea.
  • Bringing on extra crew doesn't necessarily make things easier. 
  • Bringing on extra crew, who we trusted and appreciate to no end -- that was well worth it. We could not have done the voyage we did without David, our 2nd mate. Our thanks go out to him for his time and energy, getting Brigadoon homish.
  • Our Hydrovane is a game changer. It rocked, especially when combined with our $400.00 tiller pilot, which was a better alternative to the original $13K autopilot bid. Autopilots make standing watch so much easier. They steer better than we can, most of the time.
  • The Rainman portable water maker is well worth having, even if the only storage spot I have for it causes a serious list to port.
  • The remoteness of the various bays and harbors we visited cannot be overstated. Namu was rocky, remote and in a radio hole. We could not hear weather forecasts over VHF. The only thing you could hear were waterfalls and birds.
  • Canadians are, by and large, pretty damn nice folks. They seemed happier, less stressed and more willing to engage than Americans. The only unpleasant Canadian we met was over the size of his wake in the very tight marina. Aside from that...
  • Our IridiumGo Predict Wind combination made for effective weather decisions. We were 10 out of 10 on our decisions. We never sailed into a known storm and we planned ahead for things like waiting out a gale for a day or so. It all worked.
  • Brigadoon is stout and strong. We can trust her.
  • Brigadoon does not like sailing DDW in two meter, slightly confused seas. It's very unpleasant if she starts to roll and the sails aren't adjusted right. Once they are adjusted, it's just unpleasant. It can't be made much better. Slightly off the wind is better.
  • Brigadoon loves, loves 120 deg and 15-20 kts. We saw speeds in the sevens.
  • We are stronger than we thought and can do more than we expected.
  • 1180 nautical miles, some offshore, in intl waters at times, 55 hours straight, sailing in 20-25 kts in two meter swell -- all things that taught us much.
  • We circumnavigated Vancouver Island, a good part at night, and in 20-25 kts of following, rolling seas. All of us were offshore for the first time. 
It seems like we've accomplished so little compared to so many other sailors we know but, for us, it feels pretty epic right now.

Now we sit for a week or so and figure out the next steps in The Freedom Project.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

We take pictures


We sit in Winter Harbor, on the north coast of Vancouver Island, waiting out a gale and preparing to head south to Port Townsend in a couple days. Here are some pics of our voyage so far.


Our closest Orca approach -- about 1/2 mile.


Being chased by a large sea lion. We suspect the thing thought we were trolling for salmon.


It would roll over and give us the stink eye.


Sea Otters like Winter Harbor. This one hunts off the docks, cracking mussels on it's chest.



Beach combing in Tate Cove was productive. This urchin was bigger than a softball.

The fierce eagles of Prince Rupert.


And a Kiingfisher for my friend Trevor.



We love wildlife, just not the buggy kind. Fortunately, I had saved some teak strips and screens in deep stores. I was able to build this while at anchor in Tate Cove.

Brigadoon, ready to head out on our last leg south to Port Townsend
We expect to be in Port Townsend within the week. Our first offshore, at night, in roller-coaster, two meter swells, was pretty exciting. It's amazing the stuff that is thrown around in Brigadoon. We will spend Friday securing everything, including the wandering 60lb sewing machine, before we leave.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Thank you, Prince Rupert, it's been a wonderful visit!



Brigadoon at the Breakwater dock at Cow Bay Marina in Price Rupert
Written by: Kerry

So we've been here for almost three weeks and it's been a lovely visit.  We've enjoyed a few restaurants, a couple of movies, some library time, four visits to the local aquatic center, a few museum trips, some good ice cream, and a good deal of much needed relaxation.  Cow Bay Marina has been nothing but lovely - great staff, great location, and superb facilities.

Donn got a few projects completed while here, including: installation of our tiller (auto) pilot, replacement of running backstay shackles half way up the mast with lower profile pins, replacement and redesign of the staysail sheets for a 2-1 purchase, installation and testing of the lifeboat canopy for our dinghy, and various boat maintenance/chores.  We also both worked on editing Donn's novel and are getting very close to publication - hoping to do this when we get back to Port Townsend in August.

Speaking of Port Townsend... tomorrow, Saturday, July 22nd, we begin our return trip southward towards our home waters of Puget Sound.  This past Wednesday, our friend David, an experienced sailor in his own right, flew in from Seattle to join us as a third crew member for our foray into offshore sailing.  He's settled in nicely, we managed to make room for him, and we think it's going to be a great trip back.

Me, David, and Donn - One big happy crew!
Our plan:

Tomorrow we leave the dock, head out into the Prince Rupert Bay and commission our tiller pilot, work the sails and hydrovane a bit and acclimate David to our boat.  We'll anchor in a nearby bay on Saturday evening.  Sunday we'll retrace our steps back towards Borrowman Bay on Aristazabal Island - including anchorages in Newcombe Harbour, Patterson Inlet, and Weinberg Inlet.  From Borrowman, the current plan is to head directly south into Queen Charlotte Sound making a beeline for the outside of Vancouver Island and arcing out into the western offshore waters and down to the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  We hope to do this last part non-stop, 24/7, keeping a watch schedule and experiencing night sailing for the first time.  We have all agreed that we'll head into one of the harbours on the west coast of Vancouver Island if we need/want to or are having any weather issues, etc.  If we do manage to do it non-stop, it'll be a 3-4 day trip from Aristazabal to Port Angeles.  If you want to follow along, you're welcome to check our progress here:  Brigadoon Tracker.

We'll be away from wi-fi starting tomorrow, so we'll be going internet silent until we get home.  We'll catch you up on all the adventures then!

During our last visit to the Aquatic Center, I had the fun opportunity to test one of our older life vests, which we needed to re-arm and update for David.  Here is the video of how that went:


And here are some photos from our time here - Enjoy!  

Dead Rockfish found in the middle of the street - photo by David Cohen

New tiller pilot - photo by Donn Christianson

Storm windows installed on the pilot house - photo by Donn Christianson

Ruins at Historical Northwest Cannery - Photo by Donn Christianson

Historical Northwest Cannery - Photo by Donn Christianson

The Sunken Gardens in Prince Rupert - Photo by David Cohen

Otter mural on the outside of the Earl Mah Aquatic Center - Photo by David Cohen
Stone carving outside totem carving hall in Prince Rupert - Photo by Donn Christianson


Friday, July 7, 2017

Decisions, Decisions...

Written by: Kerry

At the dock in Cow Bay Marina, Prince Rupert, BC
I think it first occurred to us that we may not make it all the way to Alaska when we hit Nanaimo and realized that we were already half way through May.  It came up in conversation once in awhile, but I always countered that we still had time and the whole goal of this trip (for me) was to make it to Alaska!  So onward we went, ever northward, with the goal in mind of making it, at the very least, to Ketchikan.  You see, when one cruises to Alaska on one's own boat, you must check into customs in Ketchikan - that is the process and there are no alternatives.

With this in mind, we did not waver on our commitment to take as much time as we needed to journey north, whether from waiting out bad weather, or simply needing a day or two of downtime to rest and enjoy the beauty around us from a safe harbor or anchorage.  We reached Shearwater, another milestone along the way, on June 20th.  Time was ticking away.  We'd agreed to be back in Port Townsend by the first week of August, so that we'd have enough time to see family and friends, attend the Perry Rendezvous (an annual gathering of Robert Perry designed boats) in Port Ludlow, and prep for our big trip south.  The plan was to leave PT by the end of the summer, heading to San Francisco, down the rest of the California Coast, and on to Mexico by winter.  We wanted to reserve at least 2-3 weeks to make the trip home from Alaska, planning to travel quickly via more open water on the west side of Vancouver Island, but also account for weather delays, etc.  On June 20th, with not a lot of time left, we pressed on.

Fast forward to the last couple of days travelling up to Prince Rupert.  I started seriously questioning this need to get to Alaska.  Donn listened. He kept telling me it was my decision - saying he had always signed on to go up to Alaska and we would, because it was my dream.  My original plan was to get up there with enough time to truly explore SE Alaska a bit and see some of its beauty from our own boat.  But with time ticking away, my heart and brain were struggling to come to terms with not making it all the way to Alaska on our trip to ALASKA.

On our 10 hour day motor-sailing to Prince Rupert, we reached a point where our cell phones started receiving service again.  I hadn't talked to my mom in a few weeks, so Donn encouraged me to give her a call.  I did.  We were so happy to hear each other's voices again and, as we quickly caught up, I explained my dilemma to Mom.  She listened.  I kept talking through my thought process and the pros and cons of each path.  If we stayed in Prince Rupert and didn't go on, we could actually spend a couple of weeks relaxing in one place, explore a new town, get some more projects done and prep ourselves for the adventure of getting home.  If we continued on to Ketchikan, we would have fulfilled our goal of getting to Alaska and we'd get to experience Ketchikan.  As I talked, it became really obvious to me that my mind was reaching a decision.  Our conversation ended with my promise to call after arriving in Prince Rupert to fill her in on final plans.

Can you guess what we've decided to do?  Yeah, we're staying put.  The minute I said it out loud, a huge peace fell over me.  That night I slept over 12 hours.  My body needs rest, my soul needs to put down (temporary) roots for a little while.  Donn is pleased also.  We worked with the marina manager to stay here for a few weeks and voila - here we are.  We've already explored town a bit, they have a nice library and pool that I hope to make use of.  We've done some grocery shopping and lots of laundry.  Tonight we may even go see a movie!

Having that goal to reach Alaska got us this far.  I'm really happy about that.  As far as needing to go all the way across the border, well, I'm okay with not making it.  This trip is for us - to learn, to shakedown the boat and ourselves.  We're doing that.  We're seeing amazing places and meeting awesome people.  I really have no complaints, and so much to be thankful for.

So we're in Prince Rupert until July 22nd or so.  Another exciting announcement is that we will have a 3rd crew member joining us for our trip home, to help with our virgin off-shore passage.  David Cohen, a good friend of ours from Seattle, is flying up here on July 19th.  He's part owner of a J-boat, has lots of sailing/racing experience and in Donn's words is "competent, sane, responsible and familiar".  Should be a good trip home.