Greeting the (phantom) tall ships

by Chuck August 23, 2002

The morning papers show up (we subscribe to two; Dana and I were both journalism majors in college, we're still news junkies) and both are full of pictures of the tall ships that will be sailing into Everett on Wednesday afternoon. The small ones start arriving around 4:00, the fleet should be docked at the Everett Marina by 8:30. We check the tides (high at 10:30, low at 4:00, high again at 10:00) and the wind forcast (15 to 20 knots). We decide. Leave the house at 2:00, be in the water by 3:30, meet the big ships out on Possession Sound.

The first part of the plan worked great. We were loaded and ready to go on time, and with only one short delay to fill the horse's water trough, on the road. The trip to the boat launch was uneventful, even traffic through the construction zone on Hwy 2 was smooth.

We made a detour to the Everett marina to pick up a roll of film (200ASA, 36 exposure. The only roll of film on the Everett waterfront) and to stop by West Marine. Two cupholders, a flag, and a flag staff later we were back to the Odyssey and getting her ready to launch. The launch went smoothly, we bent on the sails and hung the rudder, and we were off down the river at 3:45.

Other than being on the water, that's the last thing that went as planned. The wind, rather than blowing 15 - 20 knots, was about 0 - 5 knots. We motored for a while hunting up a breeze, then found a northwest breeze blowing between Hat Island and Camano Head. We beat into it for a while, then reached across to the south tip of Hat Island. By now it was about 5:30, so we hove to in the lee of Hat Island and ate dinner. Still no tall ships, but a lovely little sail.

By the time we finished eating the wind had died to nothing and we motored east toward Jetty Island where we could see wind ruffs and some sailboats with full sails. We motored across until the new flag started fluttering, then turned off the motor and reached back and forth across the wind for a while.

About 6:30ish I saw one of the smaller ships coming down Saratoga Passage. Finally, about 7:30 North Star, one of the smaller ships in the fleet motored by. Way off down Saratoga Passage I could see another coming our way under sail, but there was no way we were waiting for another 2 hours for her to show up.

At 7:45 we doused the sails (important note: Take the genoa down first. Otherwise the genoa halyard ends up inside the main cover) and motored back to the boat launch.

Docking wasn't quite as pretty as it usually is, the current swept us away from the dock we chose instead of into it, but a little extra motor got the bow near the dock and Dana pulled the stern close enough for me to step off.

We left the boat launch about 9:10, and got home at 9:45. I flushed the motor and parked the boat and got into the house about 10:15.

The next day the papers had pictures of the people waiting for the ships to come in. According to the Herald, the main fleet was in Everett by 9:30. Where they came from, I'll never know.



Comments are closed
Log in