West Wight Potter 15 and the Salish 100 – Days 0-7

Sometime ago I saw written words that struck a cord in me: To undertake the restoration or the rebuilding of a boat is “mostly about having the perseverance to learn and to see a project to the end.” And then I gave it some thought and realized that not everyone is capable of seeing a project or a vision all the way through, from start to finish. I traveled from Southern California to Olympia Washington to join in the Salish 100 pocket boat cruisers for the third annual get together. By pocket cruiser small sailboats we travel from Olympia to Port Townsend.

And like life itself, you often need a little persistence and determination to get through “a life well lived.”

Before leaving I packed up two large bins of what I predicted my son Mike and I would need for our upcoming small sailboat adventure into the Salish sea. Thankfully it all fit in the car. How we’ll sleep in the little 15 foot potter for a full week is yet to be tested.

Spider Boy

Messing about on anything involving a small boat is just simply fun, if you have or can find the passion for it. This little boat named the spider boy earlier on by my grandson Elliott was far from perfect in almost every way. And finally after months of working on it with countless trips to the hardware store, fiberglass store and Amazon packages delivery; she miraculously put herself together; and now that she’s complete, she is road trip ready for her first maiden voyage , and adventure, in possibly ten years of sitting out in a field.

And it’s also good to keep in mind that once a project (any project) becomes a chore then it’s best to just move on to the next adventure. Some people are good at sailing and they have a passion for it. Let me see if my son Mike keeps a hold of that passion and can pass it on the rest of the family especially the littlest of them all, two year old Aubrey.

I towed this little West Wight potter sailboat, essentially a dinghy boat with a cabin to Olympia Washington from Southern California. A distance of 1200 miles to participate in the the Salish 100. We are cruising the full length of Puget Sound, from Olympia to Port Townsend, roughly 100 miles. Every day in the water will be an interesting adventure for my thirty something year old son Mike. We’re on a floating dinghy without a toilet or kitchen.

This little boat is somewhat lovingly restored. I’ve had so many compliments already it now feels as adorable to be around as the family chocolate Labrador retriever. By the end of the week my first impressions may drastically change but, so far they are positive. Our little five year old grandson Elliott is credited with naming her Spider Boy.

She is a 1980 West Wight potter, 15 foot in length, hull number 1,000. She is potti trained but not yet sailed by either one of us. Let that sink in for a second. Should you start your own sailboat or boat restoration project? Do you have a proper workspace? How about the necessary tools? Are you a perfectionist? This is the type of project that without a vision in sight; one can easily abandon it and move on with your life.

Spider Boy in Olympia Washington

“We lost control. In a heart-stopping moment, we were now caught in a current soon after crossing the Narrows bridge that spans from Tacoma to Gig Harbor. The tiny boat’s Tohatsu 6 hp motor pushed us for all its worth but still we careened toward our earlier path. We were either standing still with a screaming mother or moving backwards. For nearly a half hour I watched the same homes on either shore. I gently swore, Mike prayed, I steered and shifted my weight round to keep us all upright as the Salish sea swirled all around us. I squeezed every ounce of throttle on the 6 hp Tohatsu to get every ounce of power the little engine could deliver. And then I thought of Captain Ron. What would he now do or say? Well mate he’d say; the tides are a strange thing you know, sometimes they work with you and sometimes they can work against you- like now.

We charged—bouncing, careening, splashing……….that’s all my imagination could come up with NOW as I sat in the little boats cabin while my stomach grew hungry and my eyelids grew tired. Good night.. Looking forward to making more memories.