It’s hard to describe the joy of the first time you turn the outboard off and a boat sails off, silently. Or the terror when your 15ish year old outboard overheats and cuts out as you’re entering the marina. These were both experiences of the past 2 weeks.

An uneventful drive to the coast was a wonderful thing with a 6,000ish lb trailer chasing me along the highway. The only scary stretch was where the road heaved before Seaside. I remedied that with a pecan sticky roll and second cup of coffee at the Pacific Way Cafe in Gearhart (see photo evidence below).

Loaded and ready to go- quite a bit of tongue weight but it wasn’t as bad as it looks in this picture. 

early morning coffee stop. 

The drive continued uneventfully up the coast. I got to the yard 2 hours early to get everything ready but the guys were raring to go, so up went the mast and in went the boat! Photos below:

Lifting off the trailer. 

Up up and away! 

Down we go- should I check for leaks yet???

Phew! Not a single drop!!! And doesn’t she look pretty? 

Let the outboard motor trials and tribulation begin… 

So, from the boat yard it’s about a half mile motor around to the marina. No big deal. First I couldn’t get the outboard out of gear in order to start it (turns out it has to be cranked above the starting line on the throttle to shift from forward to neutral). Then it would idle but die. Then I realized that the cooling system wasn’t peeing like it should. Then I realized that a big troller was coming in to haul out (moved real quick). Then I saw that the tide was about to turn. Then the wind started to come up.

The motor seemed to run if pretty much at full throttle, so “what the hell” thought I and off came the dock lines. I jumped aboard, started her up, jammed it in forward, and off we went at about 5 knots. I almost made it.

The outboard cut out just as I was coming in through the breakwaters at the marina. I had a little bit of a following wind and knew roughly where my slip was. Some creative sculling with the rudder and we made a graceful landing at the dock. Tied her up stern-in and a nice neighbor helped me yank that almost useless chunk of metal off the stern. Kinda wish we’d dropped it in the drink. I kept thinking of Steinbeck’s experience with an unnamed brand of outboard in the Log of the Sea of Cortez.

Old outboard went up to a nice shop locally to get running again and a smaller, more appropriate ultra long shaft outboard was procured from a nice shop in Seattle. In the meantime, I got to watch opening day races and the boat parade. The UW band plays on three boats abreast in the Montlake cut with the conductor on another boat about 200′ ahead.

I didn’t get to sail until I had the new outboard, but come the weekend I lured my parents down for a first sail (they had actually sailed her quite a bit early on, and blog readers may recall that they sailed a near sister ship across the Pacific).

In the meantime I went for a very nice row. My great grandfather hired the boatbuilder August Nelson to build this cedar on oak lapstrake rowboat for my grandfather and his siblings. She’s always been named “the blue rowboat” and never gets enough exercise. She isn’t very fast, but perfect for river rowing. After almost 90 year she barely leaks- not even enough to sponge out after a 3 hour row.

And then we went sailing.

Check out those barges of lumber! Kinda scary to imagine dragging them offshore.

And I got all of the electrical working, the autopilot works, and I spent my first night on the boat. The biggest electrical hickup was that the running light and anchor light were mislabeled, and the colors aren’t straight ahead on the running light. Fixable. 

I went sailing another time last week with the nice neighbor from the dock. It turns out that sailing on the Columbia with 3 knots of current and an outboard that barely reaches the water can be a bit dicey, especially for getting back through the breakwater. Hence, no pictures. More pictures and projects to come.

She’s pretty much perfect.