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(Fwd) FW: Sailing, Seattle, Sunday...

San Juan 23 Skippers,

This is the message I was responding to yesterday and 
trying to forward to you. I think I lost it in my Pegasus 
e-mail and it failed to copy.

Chuck Vande Wetering-

From: 	Eric Johnson
Sent: 	Monday, March 23, 1998 10:59 AM
To: 	''; ''
Subject: 	Sailing, Seattle, Sunday...

Had a great sail yesterday...

Weather reports for saturday had said it would be a great day (sunny, 65), 
but it rained all day and was generally miserable. The same reports said 
sunday would be rainy all day, and the NOAA reports on the web said to 
expect small craft advisory conditions (25K winds). I didn't expect to 
sail, but I needed to go check on the boat and bail out any water that 
accumulated belowdecks, as well as replace a burnt-out nav light, etc. But 
I grabbed some food and clothes just in case.

It had been raining on and off all day, but had just finished a quick rain 
when my wife and I arrived at the slip on lake washington around 1pm. There 
was a bit of blue sky and a great southeasterly breeze, so we cast off for 
a quick sail. We only had to motor a few hundred yards to get out into 
Yarrow Bay so we could put up the sails. We hoisted the main then our 
lapper and headed generally west towards Union Bay and Husky Stadium.

The winds were a fairly steady 15K by my estimates, with frequent gusts 
that would heel us over 30 degrees or more. If I had a smaller headsail I 
would have flown it, but my inventory is a little lower than I'd like. The 
seas were only 1-2 feet in these protected waters. After getting sick of 
having to deal with the violent heels, we decided to reef the main. My wife 
pulled down the lapper with the recently-installed downhaul (a first for 
her). While I had installed it with singlehanding in mind, she was quite 
impressed and grateful to not need to go on deck.

Once we reefed and got the sails back up, we still cruised along on a close 
reach often sustaining a GPS-reported speed of around 6.5mph, which is just 
about the theoretical hull speed of the P19, and I was pretty impressed 
that we were pulling that kind of speed on this point of sail.

We eventually made our way the few miles into Union Bay, which is the bay 
you see in the background if you ever watch the UW Huskies in a home 
football game. Union bay is VERY shallow, and even in a shallow-drafy boat 
like our potters, if you wander outside the marked channels, you do so at 
your own peril. To the south of the channel is the UW Arboretum, and many 
people were exploring the shallow aquatic passageways along its marshy 
shore in canoes rented from the nearby UW Waterfront Activities Center.

The channel I am referring to is the Montlake Cut, which is a canal that 
leads into lake union and eventually through the chittenden locks to puget 
sounds. I've never been through the cut on my potter, though I have been 
through it on powerboats. I had to douse the sails since the wind was not 
(and rarely ever is) right for sailing through this east-west channel. We 
passed under the Montlake bridge, passng a large racing sailboat that had 
to wait for this bascule drawbridge to open in order to pass. Somehow that 
seemed funny to me. The concrete walls on the side of the cut were painted 
with various decorations, expressions, and taunts - I hesitate to use the 
word 'graffiti' because these paintings are usually done by the various 
rowing crew teams of the many nearby colleges and universities, who often 
race through the cut. The decorations are tolerated by authorities, are 
generally in good taste, and add to the local flavor of the area. There are 
walkways on both sides and pedestrians often wait and wave at the passing 

The west side of the cut dumps in Portage Bay on Lake Union. Portage Bay is 
a unique mixture of marinas, boating-related industries, UW research 
facilities, and floating homes. The floating homes aren't houseboats - they 
typically don't have any motors. They are just houses built on a floating 
structure. The move Sleepless in Seattle featured one such home; I believe 
it was on portage bay where most of them are, but it could have been 
further into the main part of Lake Union. Its really quite a fascinating 
way to have a house; especially if your sailboat is tied to your front 

Past Portage Bay is a small channel going beneath the University bridge. We 
passed yet another boat waiting for this drawbridge. This one was also a 
racer, and a successful one based on the number of 'duck' stamps on deck, 
which I believe are given out to the winners of the weekly (in the summer) 
Duck Dodge sailboat races on Lake Union. We passed beneath the I-5 Ship 
Canal bridge, but it so high that even the tallest boats don't worry about 
clearance (and frankly, can't, because it is NOT a drawbridge...).

Once you get into lake union proper, the view is fantastic. Facing south, 
to the right you can see various fishing vessls, and Gasworks Park, which 
is the site of an old refinery, now a city park. To the southwest is Queen 
Anne Hill, south of that is the Space Needle. Panning across, you see the 
Naval Reserve Center, the Center for Wooden Boats, the downtown skyline, 
many shops restaurants, etc, most fishing vessels, a big NOAA ship, the 
drydocks, more marinas, and more floating homes. My reaction sailing 
through lake union was "wow, I love this city..."

We headed due south for the southern tip of the lake, hoping to find some 
transient moorage so we could grab a bite at one of the many fine 
retaurants. There were a dozen or more sailboats out on the lake, and 
relatively few powerboats. Our main traffic concern was the dozens of 
seaplanes that were taking off and landing near us. One started south of 
us, heading right for us, and a quarter mile or so ahead of us, it lifted 
out of the water and flew right above us. It was very cool...

It took us a while to find the transient moorage area, but once there we 
tied up, locked everything up, and headed into a local establishment for 
some nourishment and beer. Our waitress teased us that it was going to 
rain, and sure enough, as our food arrived, there was a downpour. as we 
finished up dinner, it was still raining, so I had another beer to kill 
some time. As i finished it up, the skies parted, and the rain stopped. The 
wind was an off-shore wind, so we hopped in the boat, flawlessly sailed 
away from the dock without benefit of the motor, which is quite a feat for 
me. I figured all the people eating in the restaurant overlooking the 
transient dock would jinx me, but I thankfully had no trouble. We traced 
our incoming route on the way back, running downwind back in portage bay, 
where the buildings and land masses made for some weird wind so we 
motor-sailed back through the cut, then sailed for a bit more on lake 
washington back towards our slip in Yarrow Bay on the east side. Once the 
sun was pretty far down we doused the sails and motored the rest of the 
way, since I didn't want to be out too late with my still burnt-out stern 
light. We pulled into our slip on the first try (again, quite a feat for 
me, but today I could do no wrong), and tied her up and drove home.

Its going to be a good sailing season this year, I think. I looked hard for 
some potters, but among all the trailerables, all I saw was the usual J22s, 
SJ21s, and an assortment of other non-potters. I hope to see some more of 
you out there soon...

- P19#461 Victoria

Chuck Vande Wetering
San Juan 23 Internet Fleet Webmaster

"I must go down to the seas again, for the call
   of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be
And all I ask is a windy day with the white
   clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and
   the sea-gulls crying.

Verse 2 of "Sea Fever" by John Masefield
San Juan 23 Internet Fleet:
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