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…

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…

Doctor Agua: Resolving to Sail More in the New Year

Let’s face it, experiencing 2021 was like drinking bilge water. With the never ending coronavirus, social justice challenges, politics, a global climate crisis, and jam packed waterways, there were times I couldn’t muster…

Close to the Water: A Bunk on the Water

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue of 48° North It happens whenever I row up to an anchorage or dock around dusk; heads turn, as sailors of cabin boats scrutinize Row Bird and me. Of course, I…

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…