Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Boatless in Seattle

Boatless in Seattle

The day before I left Kemah for the last time, Phillip, a dock neighbor at Waterford Harbor Marina told me about this boat in Canada that he saw for sale. He said he was lusting for it before he latest sailboat in Kemah.

It is a 1969 Essex Yacht Builders Salar 40 that had just competed a complete re-fit.
You can see the details here:
After checking this vessel out on Yachtworld I could not wait to begin the hunt for our next boat. There is a huge favorable exchange rate from Canadian to US dollars right now so buying a Canadian boat could pay off. In order to get the full advantage though you have to avoid all the Canadian fees and taxes which can quickly diminish any advantage of buying Canadian. I emailed a Canadian Broker and he said"

The Admiral is not so sure about the idea. How would you deal with driving back and forth to Canada to deal with surveyors, boat yards  and and others involved in the sale. It's hard enough to find trustworthy people to deal with. What recourse would an US Citizen have with a Canadian system if something went wrong after the sale. I read of several post on the internet by those who have purchased a vessel in Canada so I know is not unusual since Canada is just a couple of days sailing from Seattle.

1979 37'  Oyster a Luxury and comfortable ocean racer inside and out for sale, just right up there in Canada.

There were two 37' Pacific Seacraft's in Olympia for sale. One had a new engine but it was a Saildrive, no thanks!, the other needed to have the fuel tank replaced. Already been there done that, not interested in a repeat.

We went to Seattle Yacht Club to see this 1985 36' Pearson packed down with all the cruising gear. Really liked the boat but we do not need all that gear.

The preliminary boat search and research helped up to define our goals for the next vessel.
#1 Keep it Simple, easy to manage: we no longer need a big boat, a 36-37' looks like it will be just right for our needs and a forced air diesel heater (NO AC's needed here), basic navigation electronics: compass, chartplotter, depth, radar. Little to no wood to maintain on the exterior.
#2 No boat debt. Stay in the boat budget we have from the sale of Wand'rin Star.
#3 No big project boats. Small projects ok, just no refits of major systems.

On our first trip to Anacortes Russ, the broker at West Yachts, showed us this 89 Catalina 36 "Bilbo Baggins" was our first look at a Mark I. We sere not ready to commit to this vessel without a lot of research on the Mark I's We have done our research but this boat sold in the interim.

Bilbo Baggins the Protagonist

Russ also showed us this 1990 Beneteau Oceanis 390. As I was marveling at the incredible deck storage the Admiral went down below to start inspecting, She quickly shot out of there and said "there is Black Mold or something in there".

So I went down to see what she found and much of the cabin roof and walls interior hull was covered in a white vinyl liner that had a black foam backing. Most of that foam backing had turned to a fine dust like particles. We cut this visit short.

We went back to Russ's office to chat about boats. The world of yacht brokers is much different here in the Puget Sound region. the brokers are much more territorial and unlike the Gulf Coast there are few co-broker deals.  I asked Russ about buying Canadian boats. He told me that it used to be simple but they recently changed the laws in Canada to make it harder to avoid Canadian taxes and fees. He told me a story of a guy who recently bought a Canadian vessel, took ownership in US waters. When he crossed the Canadian border in the vessel he was boarded by the Canadian Coast Guard and after looking at his papers they confiscated the vessel and held it until he paid the Canadian taxes and fees. Russ said there is still a way to do it but He is one of the few who know how to get it done. Humm?
On our next trip to Anacortes we checked out this 2004 Catalina Mark II. It was on the hard. Four of the Keel bolts were heavily rusted, all the rest were sparking stainless steel. When we talked to the broker about it he knew what we were talking about and basically said it would need a whole new keel.

And we looked at this 83' Catalina 36 "Windwalker" Mark at Ship Harbor Yachts talked to us and was helpful in leaning how to navigate the Anacortes boat culture. We liked this one but we still needed to research a few things before making any offers.

If you moor your vessel here at Skyline Marina on the South side of Fidalgo Island you have a quick exit through Burrows Bay to all point South.

Or turn to Starboard and head through Burrows Pass straight to the San Juan\ Islands

That is Burrows Island on the left and Fildago on the right, this is Burrows Pass that gets you to Rosario Strait, cross the Strait and your in the San Juans!

The great thing about boat shopping in Anacortes is just around the corner is the Ferry to the San Juan Islands, you can just park your car and walk on the next ferry heading West. That is Thatcher Anchorage on the right. There are hundreds of hideaway anchorages throughout Puget Sound. Here is a rateing from Active Captain for Thatcher:

"When we bought our boat we stopped here for our first night when we moved it from Seattle to Sidney. Weathered a storm that night without any problems. No beach access, so if you have dogs avoid it. It seems to be private. Good for an overnight stop but nothing to do there. Expect ferry wash during the day and evening
Individual ratings given:  
3: Current protection (average)  
4: Holding (good)  
3: Wind protection (average)  
3: Wake protection (average)  
3: Scenery quality (average)  

1: Shopping facilities (poor)


Rosario Strait, there is some big water crossings so besides understanding weather you have to know the tides/currents.

Always great Sailing in San Juan Channel. One of our top Ten sailings was  in this channel aboard a 42' Tayana we charted years ago

Arriving Friday Harbor

Just follow the music to the park by Friday Harbor Marina.

These old dudes Jazzed it up!

Heading back after a nice afternoon at Friday Harbor, Can't see Mt. Baker today.

Every time of day presents a new vista.

Found this 37' C and C on Yachtworld over at Eagle Harbor. The Admiral is adamant about researching every vessel thoroughly now before making an appointment to see it with a broker. These boats have a huge following up here and especially in Canada where they are made. The problem is they have a cored hull and that may be ok if your on the boat year round frequently but any compromise to the hull like a leaky through hull fitting can cause major problems. We crossed that off.

We went to Dock Street Marina to meet yet another broker and see a Catalina 36. Poor boat needs a major refit. I texted our friend Corpus boat buddies Randy and Wendy who lived aboard their boat here for about 8 years at Foss Harbor Marina. We took the time to go see their old stomping grounds and say hey to one of his friends who works there.

The next day we go to Gig Harbor, we got there early so it gave us time to walk through the Art Fair. There was a line of people buying these creative succulent arrangements in hand crafted wire baskets.

1984 Catalina 36 "Wishbone" A woman owns this boat and she is selling it since her teenage son is no longer interested. She had the boat in Olympia and hit a rock. She must have hit it hard cause there is an invoice for $21k of work to remove the keel, replace the keel bolts, rebuild the mast step and more. Who ever owned it before her raced it at the Tacoma Yacht club, it is fitted out for racing.

Lucky us, Point Defiance Park is on the way home just across the Narrows bridge from Gig Harbor. We took a picnic lunch tried to avoid the roaming Pokeymon Go persons.

On the North side of the Point there is the ferry landing that goes to Vashion Island. Looking North across Commencement Bay inlet up South Puget Sound towards Seattle. The building across from the ferry is the Tacoma Yacht Club.

A few days later back to Bremerton to check out a Pilot house sailboat.

Bremerton Marina, we are on the live aboard waiting list here, We stopped in the office and found we have moved up a few notches on the list! 

We thought they were real at first to.

1978 36' Nautilas Pilot House. Bill, the Broker at the Bremerton Denison Yacht sales showed us this vessel that has a C&C 36 hull. I told him we were not interested if it had a cored hull. He said he did not know but would check on it and let us know. So when we got there we find out that it is solid fiberglass below the waterline but cored above. Well, we were already there so we jumped in his car to take a look. A short drive to the Bremerton Yacht Club.

Well it's nice that it has a PSS Shaft Seal but it looks like it has not been properly adjusted for a long time. Spitting out salt water rusting things up. 

To much work to do throughout this vessel. A great project for some 30 year olds.

We had some time to kill so we went down to check out the passenger ferry to Port Orchard, It runs every 45 minutes. Good to know in case we find a boat over there to go see!

Sometimes you just have to Fantasize..this immaculate 1981 35' Young Sun West Wind just came on the market in Nanaimo, BC. Keep telling myself NO Wood!

Just this Last Saturday we return to see Windwalker in Anacortes. even though we had called days in advance Mark the Broker would be busy till around 1pm.

We did a walk around and then looked for something else to do for a couple of hours.

Just about a half mile away was a Park with great views.

There is always a high point somewhere with a lookout spot.

Finally Mark is available, we pick his brain for about 45 minutes then he leaves us alone to go through the boat again. There is the making of a fine vessel here but the owner has to fix something first. If he does we will make an offer.

I have been wanting to make this side trip for a long time. I always thought is was a longer drive from Anacortes, but it is really close. We have passed through Deception pass several times aboard the Victoria Clipper. A go fast vessel that does excursions out of Seattle for whale watching and trips to Friday Harbor and Victoria BC.

This is the first bridge over Canoe Pass to Pass Island. Canoe Pass is only recommended for small craft with local knowledge. I did see a couple of small power boats 

The Longest span runs from Pass Island to the North end of Whidby Island, the only land route onto on of the largest islands in the sound.:
Deception Pass, the impressive 2-mile passage between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island, provides a challenging route that connects the N end of Skagit Bay with the S end of Rosario Strait. Near its middle the width is reduced to 150 yards by Pass Island. A fixed highway bridge over the pass between Pass Island and Whidbey Island has a clearance of 144 feet at the center and 104 feet elsewhere. Overhead telephone and power cables 50 yards and 0.2 mile E of the bridge have a minimum clearance of 220 feet.
I had to wonder what walking out on this bridge when the 70+ mile winds blow through here!
Deception Pass is used frequently by local boats bound from Seattle to Anacortes, Bellingham, and the San Juan Islands. The pass should be negotiated at the time of slack, since the velocity of the stream at other times makes it prohibitive to some craft. However, many fast boats run it at all stages of the tide. The pass is also used by log tows from the N bound to Everett or Seattle, which prefer this route to avoid the rough weather W of Whidbey Island.

Looking West, that's Deception Island in the middle, with Rosario Strait beyond.
Deception Island, 1 mile W of Pass Island, is 0.4 mile NW of West Point, the NW end of Whidbey Island. A shoal which bares at low water extends 175 yards (160 meters) S of Deception Island. Foul ground extends 262 yards (240 meters) NW of West Point. The passage between these two hazards is 200 yards (183 meters) wide with a least depth of 2.5 fathoms and great care should be taken when navigating in this area. Northwest Pass, N of Deception Island, is the preferred route. The Northwest Pass channel is deeper, but narrows and follows close to Lighthouse Point; a light is on the point.
Looking East, that's Strawberry Island in the middle:
Strawberry Island lies almost in the middle of Deception Pass, 0.4 mile E of Pass Island. Ben Ure Island is 0.2 mile S of Strawberry Island at the entrance to Cornet Bay; a light is at the NE end of the island.
Lots of whirpools/eddys. I counted 26 in a line extending throughout the pass and the water was rushing through:
Currents in the narrows of Deception Pass attain velocities in excess of 8 knots at times and cause strong eddies along the shores. With W weather, heavy swells and tide rips form and make passage dangerous to all small craft.
I watched this 30' power boat run through with the current and you can tell by the wake how it was washed from side to side on the way through.
Routes:  From W the best water through Deception Pass will be found 0.3 mile W of Rosario Head, a point 0.5 mile N of Deception Island. Steer a SE course to pass about 100 yards SW of the light on Lighthouse Point; then follow an E course through the middle of the pass, being careful to guard against sets from the current when running partly across it. After passing under the bridge, favor slightly the N shore so as to avoid the pinnacle rocks and ledges making out from the S shore. After leaving Pass Island, steer to pass about midway between Ben Ure and Strawberry Islands. Strawberry Island should not be approached within 125 yards because a reef, marked by kelp, extends S of the island. From a position off Ben Ure Island Light 2, steer a NE course to pass about midway between Hoypus Point and Yokeko Point. The flood current N and W of Strawberry Island sets NE and should be guarded against.

This larger 45-50 power vessel entered from behind the point you see. The game was on, he slowed from around 12 knotes to 4 knots at most and his wake was also a big zig zag, you could see the vessel getting rolled about.

There is an anchorage off to the right where boats anchor and wait for better conditions.

Several trails line the pass and go up to the higher elevations where I am sure are some spectacular views.

Looking down I was strongly encouraged to hold on to the railings.

The Admiral was birding while I watched several vessels navigate through.

You can hike down to that beach on the West side of the pass and take a go fast tour boat through the pass.

There is an art and science to buying boats, old or new. Every region has their good old boys network and you have to do your research to stay even with the game. One vessel we looked at had a lot of new upgrades and seemed to be a good value. After getting in the car and driving away the Admiral asked "why 'we feel better about this boat? " I said "I don't know, it just does not feel right".  Like any major purchase in your life, if it does not feel right you just walk away. We have found ways to make our hunt less stressful by ending each day in a beautiful spot, they are everywhere up here. We will know it when we see her and it will feel right.