Close to the Water: The Best Gift

Able to be carried, Tim’s peapod is a good size for his adventures. On a rowing trip from Seattle to Port Townsend, I was taking a break atop a bluff, looking out toward Whidbey Island, when I noticed a 18-foot, gaff-rigged…

Close to the Water: A Dream Boat Saved

Boats are dreams. The ones we want, the ones we build — even the ones that just sit collecting rainwater. All of them embody those aspirations. The dream boat represents different aspects of our identity and personifies the…

Close to the Water: My Boat Crush

For some people, a friendly sailing community is a big part of the appeal of the Scamp. When I first saw a Scamp sailboat, I thought it looked like an oversized children’s bath toy. It seemed to bob around sitting too high…

Wooden Boat Festival 2022: A River of Stories

I’ve always thought of the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend as a broad, winding river full of stories and adventures. Each time I attend, I jump in with a destination in mind, but once in the current, I’m pulled along…

Close to the Water: Feeling the Love

The author rows across a calm stretch of water. When I pulled up to the customs dock on San Juan Island on a sunny September afternoon, I was feeling good. Over the past six weeks, I had traveled some 200 miles down…

Close to the Water: Gone Sewing

The author works on a sewing project for his fleet of boats. When I got over the jaw-dropping price of a bolt of Sunbrella fabric, I set aside my habitual thriftiness and pulled out my credit card. After all, I reasoned,…

Close to the Water: Becoming a Sailor

From the June 2022 issue of 48° North. At the helm on a beautiful day in the PNW. Recently, a reader reached out for advice on getting the necessary skills and knowledge for a small boat journey. His questions made me…

Close to the Water: A Sailor Makes Peace with Engines

A small boat, engineless sailor reminisces on his experiences with motors and makes peace with their useful purpose aboard. My first experiences on the water were all about velocity. Riding in the fiberglass ski boat my…

Close to the Water: One More Foot

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of 48° North. It’s a rare sailor who is unfamiliar with the illness dubbed “one-foot-itis,” a malady which infects its hosts with the inexorable yearning for…

“Girls at the Helm” Inspires Aboard Schooner Adventuress

This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of 48° North. After the Salish 100 fleet of small boats pulled ashore at Blake Island last summer, I overheard an animated conversation about a sailing program…