Baby Steps

My first boat, Little Wing, was a magnificent failure that I wish I could redeem, but I don’t really have the funds available for a fine old girl like this when what I need from a boat is also to sail and not just sit in moorage at the inimitable South Park Marina, in the real artists’ district called Georgetown, and be a fine office, with coffee by day and wine by night, which is what she is good for for me, since all she needs is a $2K paint job, work on the mast, lifelines, and, realistically, if I were a 200 lb lumberjack, I could have easily dispatched this work in a month. The bottom paint is already done and with the most expensive ablative paint a caregiver’s salary could afford. And that lovely salvaged bolt of kelly green Sunbrella practically gifted me by the boat yard would turn into a fine boom tent that we could all relax under, even on drizzly days.

It would have been a joy to see that boat slide into the water and off down the Duwamish to the many adventures that she still has left in her.

Even with a kicker.

My main concern at this point is that I would not be able to steer her backward into moorage, and that concern is underfunded in some ways, since I have not tried.

I have been evaluating the situation of the kicker — outboard motor — in the Puget Sound. Who has time to run an inboard diesel to capacity several times a week if not in retirement and always on the boat? It is a calling to keep a blue ocean boat running when what you need is a friendly clunker near the bar.

When did we ever have these large diesel engines in the years before the recent era? And there was much sailing and other kinds of riverboats. Look at this guy docking with his 14’ oar, sailing around the world without any engine on his boat.

I have been looking at where I can get ahold of one of these oars. That, along with a boat hook and a spring line, would probably get the job done, especially if you had a friend along for the sailing.

She is now owned by Brooks Wilcox, who has bought another boat and is looking for Little Wing's next owner, which, realistically, could be me if I get another bump from the government in the form of Hero’s Pay, though I am not counting on this. I am counting on hunkering down and weathering the storm called THE VIRUS. Realistically, this entire Covid scene is just so much crazy, and I am already planning a week of convalescence that it looks like might not be, though I do have some canned goods on hand just in case.

She is as much a collector’s item as I am, a low boat in a high boat world, trotting around beyond her means and just being ready for a good time.

The great thing about Little Wing is that she has a moderate full keel and would hold her own in the Puget Sound, as she was designed to by local naval architect John Brandlymyer who built her as Hull #1 for Spencer Yachts in 1958. She still has some of those old brass fittings from that elegant bygone era and a certain dreamy feel to her. She retains the quarks of many quiet inlets, many soft moonlit nights, many foggy embarkments. Accounts of Brandlymyer's yachts hold that they are smooth and fine in actual navigation. They eat up the ocean while not making a peep. The full keel is prone to a seize-up called the hobbyhorse if sailed too much in beam reach, the main sail positioned exactly sideways to the wind. Basically it gets stuck in equal kinetic force at 90-degree angles and just sits there. You would have to reorient her and start over which is annoying if male and don’t like to slow down

It is not a way for actually getting anywhere fast which is how full keels like to be. Look at me — I am grousing about what I cannot have on Little Wing and it shows. She is worthy of being defended.

No doubt I would want to sit there in the delicate summer sky of Seattle, just being in the wind. 

And get stuck in no waves at all.

© Joann L. Farias 2023