Solstice 2020 on the Columbia River

Inspired by the memory of ideal conditions, I summoned the members of the Portland Sail & Oar League for a summer solstice messabout on the Columbia River. “I’m itching to get out on the river and enjoy the longest day…

A Mark Rounding Gone Bad

Twelve Thunderbirds showed up Wednesday July 8th, a sunny evening with a steady breeze, to join the joy and exhilaration of one design racing on Port Townsend Bay. Is there more fun to be had in this Victorian seaport arts…

A Glutton For Punishment: Rounding Indian and Marrowstone Islands

My second attempt (actually my third, but #2 was un-noteworthy due to early becalming and retreat) to circumnavigate Indian and Marrowstone Islands entirely under sail with Sampaguita, my Pacific Seacraft 1985 Flicka 20, was…

How to Grow an Herb Garden on a Boat

We’ve been meaning to try growing herbs on our sailboat for a while now, and with the coronavirus pandemic sending us into full-on social distancing mode in March, this year was the perfect opportunity. We knew we might not…

Marlinspike Baby Steps: Tying New Turks Heads

Our boat has lots of marlinspike–wonderful ropework done (we think) by the US Coast Survey crew over the years that the Gyrfalcon was a government boat. Sections have disappeared or are cracking off, and need replacing. My…

Introduction to Vessel Running Lights (Navigation Lights)

Navigation lights help identify vessel type and its direction of motion.  The required lights are specified in the Navigation Rules, Part C, Rules 20 to 31.  Power vessels in Rule 23 and sailing vessels in Rule 25 are the…

A Trip Around Whidbey: Circumnavigating the Largest Island in Washington

Circumnavigation is a term typically used for rounding the entire globe – but it can also be used for simply rounding an island. Boaters here often say they circumnavigated Vancouver Island, because that’s a significant…

Port Townsend Sailing Association to Resume Limited Racing

Limited Racing to Resume Good news! Since Jefferson County has gone to Phase Two of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan we believe there is an opportunity to restart limited racing. Phase 2 allows for groups of up to…

Internet Aboard: Testing New Routers and Antennas

48° North columnist Steve Mitchell gives the latest on staying better connected aboard There has been a lot going on lately, and I wanted to provide an update on what I am working on and testing. My primary focus has been on…

Secret Behind Portland’s Marine Graffiti

Graffiti found at Portland's loading docks is more than it appears The Lower Willamette River is known for its Superfund site and industrial loading docks. There is no natural shoreline, just huge vertical piers. It’s an…