Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Summer Solstice Classic Day Sailing Orcas Island

We are all aboard and ready to go.

Skipper Ward Fay prepares the crew.

After leaning some basics about this Blanchard 33 George backed us out of the slip under the guidance of our skipper and we were on our way.

Blanchard 33 #5 out of 10 built on Lake Union. Skipper ward said there are only three still Sailing.

Simple and elegant craftsmanship.

Original spars, blocks and hardware

I asked the Skipper how often does the Varnish have to be renewed, "Every three Years"

This was Hobie Alters home, the Skipper told us several storied of Hobie when he was living and sailing here.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobie_Alter

Skipper told us of this land owner who made their own day/night marker to help friends find their way to their home. These are not allowed by the Coast Guard but this one was allowed to remain since it had been here so long.

Russell takes the helm as we sail into West Sound, which was really cool since I had never been here before.

Sailing through these passages with current and light winds is interesting for sure.

Looks like just a bunch of rocks at first.

The Seals reluctantly share the space.

And more Seals!

Lots of stories surround the many Wasp Islands, Some are even for sale so take a sail and be sure to learn about this one.

We had all sorts of winds from all sorts of directions as we sailed among the many islands on the South West side of Orcas including the Wasp Islands.

This vessel had a wonderful and graceful motion, so I asked the skipper what she was like in stormy or rough conditions and he replied "Rough" 

This original winch handle has survived 66 years.

Lia the planner secured this Awesome day for our family by checking out Living Social and finding the Deal. Russell has great eyes and is great for spotting the wildlife and pointing it out to the group.

2014 Summer Solstice Classic Day Sailing Orcas Island

My Planner Daughter found a great deal on LivingSocial.com for a day sail out of Deer Harbor. It was especially fun for me since we would be sailing on a Blanchard 33 made by the same company as the Blanchard 20's that I teach on at the Center for Wooden Boats. Skipper Ward answered all my questions about the boat: There were nine 33's built at Lake Union, his is the 5th hull built and only three are still sailing, he bought "Aura" from the builder Norman C. Blanchard himself 20 years ago: http://www.classicdaysails.com/The_Aura.html . I had to think he had a real Gem here. The 20' Blanchards on Lake Union are sought after boats and sell for $17-$20K. So I said he was taking his responsibility of keeping a piece of history in Bristol condition Seriously and implied it must be worth a lot. He said he only wished it was worth a lot and IF the right person comes by.
Everyone of us took a turn at the helm and trimming the sails. I for one can tell you this is a fine sailing vessel just like it's little sister. We sailed out of Deer Harbor and into West Sound which was really cool to be in the other big body of water formed by Orcas Island. We then headed back out into the passes and sailed among the Wasp Islands and San Juan Channel. You will certainly see Harbor Seals, Eagles, Osprey,  maybe a otter, and for sure Seals. If you can't bring your own sailboat to Orcas, this is the next best thing.

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