The sailing adventures of the crew of the Montana Sapphire.

“Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this Northwest port,
Aboard this tiny ship.”

The short version of the story is: We picked up the Montana Sapphire, a 38 foot Hans Christian sailboat in Anacortes at Skyline Harbor. We cruised through the San Juan Islands and up into the Canadian Gulf Islands. We had a delightful time and returned to Anacortes on a much larger vessel, the Washington State Ferry.
Somewhere in there is… “the rest of the story.”
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Classic Mariners Regatta:

Today we went to the Classic Mariners Regatta with Glen, Barb and Bryce. We all agreed that the boat I highlighted in yesterday’s blog was the most beautiful boat there. In fact it looked so fast that it looked like it was going 5 knots still tied to the dock. Here is a photo of the Pacifica on the leeward leg of the race as she passed Point Hudson. She is running a spinnaker on the main mast and a staysail on the mizzen.

Pacifica Running Downwind

Pacifica Running Downwind


After the race we toured the marina again and spoke with the owners and crew. We discovered they were originally from San Diego but now live here in Port Townsend. We gave them the address of our blog and I invite them to comment here.
The following link is to a Sailingjoy.com website that gives details of this or a similar boat built in the early 1970’s. This makes her a contemporary of our own Regal Jug, now owned by our son, Glen and his family.
http://www.sailingjoy.com/sailboat_specs/sailboat_specs/view/3103/swan-55-s-s-1970-yawl
Here is a similar detail sheet for the Aquarius 23
http://www.sailingjoy.com/sailboat_specs/sailboat_specs/view/75/aquarius-23
Notice there is very little difference between the boats. One is slightly longer, slightly wider and slightly heavier than the other, (45600lbs to 2280lbs). A mere order of magnitude or so.

Angel of Mercy

Judy and I went for a little walk after supper this evening. Our destination was the Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend’s “Down Town.” The route was just over a mile and a half. What we didn’t think about was the 230 foot high hill between nearly sea level at the park and nearly sea level at the marina. On the way back we were smarter, we ducked around the end of the hill on “F” street, but that made the return trip almost 2.5 miles, but that hill was only 117 ft. We reached the corner of “O” street and Cherry and were contemplating one last hill to climb, probably about 100 feet when an angel of mercy drove by in a State of Washington Rangers pickup. If we got her name right it is Elishia. She recognized us from the park and stopped to offer a ride back to our camp. It knocked about 7/8ths of a mile off our return trip.

San Diego Yawl, Pacifica

San Diego Yawl, Pacifica


The photo is a San Diego yacht, the “Pacifica,” about 50 ft long and it appears to be a yawl. The wheel is definitely ahead of the mizzen mast and it appears the rudder must be ahead of the mizzen also, the defining characteristic of a yawl. I am speculating that we will see this boat in the Classic Mariners Regatta starting June 5th. First race is noon on the 6th.

Sailing on Monterey Bay:

Glen, Judy and I had another sailing adventure yesterday. This time it was on Monterey Bay off the small boat basin at Moss Landing. We had two main objectives. The first was to test Glen’s new Android phone app It draws charts of the area and places a marker on the chart to tell where you are. It worked well until the battery went dead. Second objective was to test out the new bottom paint that we put on two weeks ago. Boy, talk about fast. Well I guess it was more a response to the 10 mph winds than to the bottom paint. Then again, no sea-life attached to the hull to slow us down. There was nary a barnacle on the bottom.
We started for the town of Monterey and as we approached we ran into fog. Bad sign! We turned around and went to Moss Landing instead. There was a thin layer of fog there also. It was lunch time, so we pulled out the picnic lunch and climbed aboard Regal Jug, (still on the trailer,) and had our lunch. Half an hour later it looked as though the fog might break up, so we determined that we should set up the boat and get ready. About an hour later we were ready to launch, the fog had cleared and a 10 mph sea breeze had set in. About 2:20 we got underway and dodged a few dozen zodiacs and kayakers As soon as we cleared the entrance buoy we raised the sails. At 2:38 pm we set off on the port tack for Santa Cruz. After about an hour we changed course and headed back to the marina. We were perhaps 15% of the way to Santa Cruz.
Shortly after turning about the Skipper Emeritus began to feel the need to be on dry land again. It isn’t often that you can be hard on the wind and still have a following sea, but that is what we had. I tried every trick I knew, but to no avail. The fish got my lunch and then I felt fine again.
Landing again back at the launch ramp was a bit tricky. Again we were inundated with zodiacs and kayaks. To make things interesting, however, the motor would not idle back. It would run half throttle or more, but as soon as you idled back it would stop. I was at the helm with Glen on the fore-deck ready to get a line ashore. I finally got a bead on the float and no kayak’s between us and the float. I got the motor running and made a high speed run at the dock. I only idled back when I was sure our momentum would carry us to the dock. Glen was able to step off onto the float with the bow line and then snag the stern line from Judy. It wasn’t pretty, but as they say in airplanes, “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing, If the airplane is still usable it is a fantastic landing.” Well, Regal Jug suffered nary a scratch and the bottom paint is still all in place. It was a fantastic landing.
When we returned to Gilroy, we put the motor on the test stand and did a little tuning. Yes, it had been professionally serviced just a couple weeks ago, but a little twitch of the idle jet was all it took and the faithful old Honda would once again tick over at a dead idle without a hiccup.
Be sure to check out the website at
For a photo gallery of the adventure.
Gary and Judy

True Blue:

Well at least a true blue bottom. Glen has the vision of mooring Regal Jug at Moss Landing over on Monterey Bay. The bottom paint that I put on Regal about 23 years ago was mostly gone.
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The Great Sailing Adventure – Epilog:

As I think back over the past 12 days I have to wonder: What should you expect when you take a family of seven people and cram them into a smallish 40 foot boat for nearly two weeks? A “National Lampoon” style family vacation with big ugly old land yacht? A “Captain Ron” style sea cruise with pirates chasing us? Perhaps a Robin Williams style RV movie with a disaster at every corner where the RV, (boat,) winds up perched precariously on a rock. Of course not! Read More »

The Great Sailing Adventure – Anchor Drill:

For our next destination we chose Mill Bay on Saanich Inlet. We got there and the marina was bran new and the floats were beautiful. We went up to sign in and asked about the showers. Well would you believe that the marina was so new there were no showers, no restrooms (oops I mean washrooms, we are in Canada). Well we still had enough daylight left to pick an alternate. Cowichan Bay was only about eight miles further on and we had never stayed there before. Read More »

The Great Sailing Adventure – The New Skipper:

Today dawned bright and clear in Tsehum Harbor. (Go ahead, pronounce it!) There wasn’t a hint of breeze, however. Not a problem, we will motor until the breeze sets in. Meanwhile we will look for opportunities to practice landings. We were looking for a nice piece of driftwood to act as a surrogate for a dock. Well we finally settled on a rather wimpy stalk of floating kelp. Read More »

The Great Sailing Adventure – Sailing:

What a beautiful day. Under way from Clam Bay, Thetis Island by 9:30 and under sail by 10:00. We were able to sail almost continuously for the whole 23 nautical miles and nine wonderful hours. The breezes were perfect at about 10 knots and only failed us briefly near the end of Athol Peninsula on Saltspring Island. Read More »

The Great Sailing Adventure – Anticipation:

From the annuls of this blog you have learned that Judy and I gave “Regal Jug,” our much loved and pampered Aquarius 23, sailboat, to our son and his family in Gilroy California. Right from the start I was afraid this would happen… Glen has come down with a severe case of sailing fever. In fact I look at the posts on Barb’s Facebook page and I see all the symptoms in his face. Nervous glances into the rigging to see if he can wring a couple tenths of a knot more speed out of the boat by twitching a sheet just a bit. Checking the telltales to be sure he is not luffing or stalling the sails. Checking the want ads for a boat that is just about two feet longer, (classic case of two-foot-itus.) I should know, I had the same disease for years. It has been more or less dormant since we got the motor home, but I have suspected all along… I am a carrier Read More »