Close to the Water: The Portland Sail & Oar League

Back in my dinghy racing days, I was out on the river one day when it occurred to me that there was more to the Willamette than the familiar patch of water where our meets were held. “Wouldn’t it be fun if the fleet raced…

Sailing the Salish 100

This article was originally published in the September 2021 issue of 48° North. Every year of my childhood, without fail, my parents tried to sign me up for a new sport or group activity — when I was far happier exploring…

Close to the Water: Dreaming of the Inside Passage

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue of 48° North.  In some ways I never really returned from the Inside Passage. After my meandering, six-week solo journey from Port McNeil to Anacortes in 2019, I…

Close to the Water: Secret Society of the Lower Columbia

With miles of backwater sloughs, scads of wildlife, and no competition for anchorages, I’ve often wondered why the Lower Columbia River is so empty of small cruising boats like mine. Row Bird is frequently the only one…

Close to the Water: Missing Kelp in South Puget Sound

Kelp loss South Puget Sound is real and, despite the odds stacked up against it, boaters and scientists aren't giving up hope. If you hiked to see those towering giants, the coast redwoods-and all you found were a few ferns…

Close to the Water: Small Boat Businesses Weather the COVID Storm

This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of 48° North. I confess to being a typical American in my shopping habits: I go to the store or browse the web, find what I want and buy it. The pandemic changed that…

Close to the Water: Ruminating on Boat Paint with Peter Marshall

I’ve long been proud of the paint job on my boat. At the same time, I’ve also been a little insecure about it. Everything I know about painting I learned from books, chat boards full of opinionated armchair sailors, or my…

Live Long & Sail On

Is it Time For a Drysuit? From the March 2021 issue of 48° North. On my first real camp-cruising expedition, I had grand ambitions. With three weeks off from work, and having escaped parental responsibilities, my destination…

Standing Firm

The natural ambiance of Hope Island provides a mariner’s sanctuary From the January 2021 issue of 48° North. Standing with my little rowboat on the mainland shore, I stare out across the still black water toward Hope…

Close to the Water: Fun Stinks

As a kid, I loved our family’s banana-yellow speedboat. It was the most typical fiberglass outboard boat you could buy in those days, but it was my ticket to fishing, knee-boarding, camping, and just zooming around. I…