Thursday, May 4, 2017

No Man is an Island

Written by: Donn

As we begin this journey, both north to Alaska and into our new lives as sailing vagabonds, we are filled with gratitude for the many great businesses and fine people that have helped us along the way. We could not have done this alone.

Thank you to...

Bob Perry, the designer of Brigadoon. Not only has Bob designed a beautiful pilot house in a 35’ sailboat, he’s become our friend as well. We never expected to meet the designer of our boat, much less be guests in his home. It’s an honor to call Bob and Jill friends.

Tori Parrot (Signature Yachts), our broker. She gave us all the time we needed to fall in love with Brigadoon over a Saturday and Sunday in October of 2010. Tori walked us though the negotiation and purchase in a way that seemed almost effortless. Tori was a great sport when, on the day the deal was finally closed (Nov 1), we excitedly asked her to help us deliver Brigadoon to our slip at Tillicum Marina. It was a blustery 15-20kt northerly and, even if she didn’t have her proper boat shoes, she jumped aboard without complaint and got us to our berth safe and sound.

Mark Nelson, owner and manager of Tillicum Marina. He gladly caught our lines on that blustery day and helped us land Brigadoon on our beautiful end tie slip, where we lived for five years. We always appreciated Mark’s approach, that of treating us like adults and expecting us to act like it. It was a good foundation for our relationship. He even offered up his own parking space when our scooters were hit by battery thieves, so we could park closer to the marina. Mark has since passed away after a long battle with cancer. We’ll always remember him for his good humor and wry smile.

Brion Toss completed our first rigging survey, setting us on the path to make Brigadoon stronger and safer. We have attended numerous talks and workshops held by Brion over the years.

Carol Hasse (Port Townsend Sails) built the current sails for Brigadoon. The set that came on the boat were likely the original and were well past their “turn into nifty nautical bags” date. While we could have spent less on a set of sails, which was argued by more than one experienced sailor, I doubt we would have been as happy. Not only are they the engine that drives Brigadoon, they are also a work of hand-made art.

Gabriel Marine, for coming out to the Perry Rendezvous in 2011, on a Saturday, to save my incompetent ass. We had lost our engine due to fuel contamination on our way to our first Rendezvous. In the process of trying to restart the engine, while under sail in busy shipping lanes off Whidbey island, I flooded the rear cylinder with seawater. This hydrostatically locked the motor, making it impossible to start. The “thunk” of the starter when I pressed the button matched the feeling of dread in my heart. He walked me through the troubleshooting process as we pumped the cylinder out, changed the oil, assuring me I didn’t destroy the engine. Years of reliable performance by the same engine proved him right.

Foss Harbor Marina, our last dockside home. After an arduous search for a new marina (we wanted to be in salt water) outside the locks, we found Foss Harbor in Tacoma. Ian and his crew, to a one, were helpful and friendly, always willing to make things happen for us. The facilities are excellent and the tenant lounge was a little home away from boat for me as I spent the first part of my retirement working on Brigadoon and my first novel.

Jeff Galey, one of the co-owners at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op, was a most excellent project manager for our Port Townsend refit. He was the epitome of “Yes, and.” Whatever we needed, he had a solution. When things didn’t go just right, he made it right. I’ll never forget the moment when he cracked one of our pilot house windows. He wasn’t being careless. Things happen when you work on boats. Looking positively heartbroken and without skipping a beat he committed to replacing that window. He had it in the next day. Jeff is an awesome guy. We will never forget his friendship and commitment to our plan and dream.

Anders Kulin, was the rigger Jeff brought in to teach us how to rig our boat. When we explained what we wanted, he didn’t hesitate a second. He provided ongoing guidance and support as we tackled strengthening Brigadoon’s rig, and educating ourselves on its creation. Anders’ easygoing manner made him a gem to work with. His respect for Kerry was hard to miss. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him interact with her, as an equal, and student at the same time. We learned a lot from Anders. Engage him if you need rigging services.

Pete and Kathy Langley at Port Townsend Foundry, created and supplied our new bronze chain plates and spurling pipe. They even turned out a quick replacement cap for our primary surpling pipe as part of the work. Our original plan was to pull the chain plates, inspect them, and order replacements if necessary. They didn't sell on anything but, though our discussions, it made sense just to order new and have it made. I like dealing with competent and friendly crafts folk.

Hydrovane was our choice in a self-steering system, for many reasons. John & Karen and Will & Sarah were very generous with their time, every boat show, for four years, as we finalized our plans and pulled the trigger on their product. I don’t think we will regret this decision one bit.

Thor and Kerry Radford were the first to show us their liveaboard Catalina 36. They were encouraging at every turn, ending up being good friends and neighbors over the five years we lived on Lake Union.

Kim and Susan Bottles, we met through getting to know Bob Perry. We’ve moored off their water side home more than once. They’ve been kind, informative, and supportive in ways that are hard to express without getting all gushy. People of that quality are hard to find. It’s heartening to know we have their support and friendship.

Peter and Ginger Niemann of SV Irene took an evening out of their own very busy refit to host us aboard the Irene. During that night, we learned that they had crossed Cape Horn, the Mt. Everest of sailing. It was in that moment that I actually imagined Kerry and I doing the same. Ginger had quite an impact on Kerry, who came away imagining the possible in much broader terms than before.

Teresa and Rob Sicade of SV Yohelah, shared their south sea voyaging experience with us early on. Hosting us on their capable and beautiful Baba 40, they walked us though many of the practicalities of crossing oceans and voyaging.

Bruce Christianson, Kerry’s father, who started us down a serious path of exploration with his casual, “You guys should live on a boat.” Yes, the Freedom Project is Bruce’s fault.

Pete McGonagle (Swiftsure Yachts) was the first broker to look us straight in the face and say, “Of course you should live aboard,” with such truth and clarity. He showed us our first possible boat (a Brewer 40) and warned us off her at the same time (blisters and leaking pilot house windows). But Pete wasn’t trying to sell us a boat. He was showing us the possible.

Captain Linda Lewis, taught a class in navigation spanning eleven weeks. Her approach to modern navigation was practical and thorough.  A few years ago, she invited Kerry to crew on her trawler from Blind Channel in BC to Anacortes.  Kerry still talks about things she learned during that week, and many of those protocols have become part of our routine as well.

Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op (PTSC) was everything we needed in a place to refit Brigadoon and get her and us ready for our adventure. Our standards of customer service and delivering on commitments is pretty high. To a one, they surpassed our expectations. It was clear, from the start, that everyone there is committed to doing quality work. It showed in every aspect of our interactions with them. Their open shop policy made so much possible.

Port Townsend Rigging provided invaluable secondary support to the fine rigging work of Anders. Whether it was our new running backstays, shackles, or climbing gear, they had what we needed and were happy to help.

Admiral Ship Supply, and all the nice folks who work there, were a crucial point of support as we toiled during the four-month refit at PTSC. Most of the time, they had what we needed, all doled out with a friendly and helpful attitude. Whether it was fasteners, a cool stainless steel grappling hook, new foulies for Kerry, or a twinkie and a soda when all I wanted was a bad snack on my walk home; they were all there for us. We also really appreciate the swag tossed our way when we closed our account. I love the soft beanie hat, that was originally given to Kerry.

The Parents (Ray, Gail and Barbara) gave us a place to stay, food, hot showers, love and care. It would have been impossible to do this refit while living aboard. Having them share their brand new, just built home with us was a gift. Just knowing that, no matter how beat we were, we had a place to go, made this doable. Their commitment to our adventure was clear and present in everything they did.

Donald Pedro, my father, for teaching me how to sail and showing me that I could be competent and capable in whatever I chose. All I had to do was look beyond the problem until I found a solution.


Portland Pudgy --This mostly positive review has been removed and updated in a separate post here:

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