No longer boatless

A color illustration of a small sailboat showing sails, rudder, and daggerboard as well as text with some dimensions of the craft, a West Wight Potter 19, signed by Brian Gilbert the illustrator.
Beautiful illustration of the West Wight Potter 19 by Brian Gilbert, used without permission (yet.)

Yesterday we drove down to the southern end of the Kitsap Peninsula to retrieve a little trailerable sailboat. It was more an adventure than initially planned with weather, schedules, and traffic all conspiring against us. Plus, of course, it is nearly Solstice, so here in the northern hemisphere it was dark when we left, got up to a brightness of gloomy, before retreating back to dark with regions of light-to-thick fog.

I would love to post photos of pretty much anything, but we were very late arriving to purchase the boat, discovered there was more than initially planned for additional gear, and did I mention it was raining heartily? Not a thunderous downpour, more a determined drenching rain. And sun was down within the hour and a half it took to figure out the trailer, stow all the gear, and take apart and stow the tarp shed in which it had been stored, so it was dark before we had time to think about photographs.

And we had a solid 6 hour trip ahead of us, not including two separate ferry crossings and an international border.

So, heading northerly we nervously began, with a new-to-us boat and trailer with their own quirks and issues to learn, behind a vehicle which had never before under our ownership traveled so far, nor pulled a load so long, across a route unknown to us. And did I mention we did not have a working gps mapping system? Not a well-planned and practiced project, clearly.

The tow vehicle turned out to be somewhat under-powered for the total load – which I entirely blame on the unexpected nearly half-ton of cement piers for the tarp shed. Suffice to say we had some stressful moments pushing the poor old thing perhaps harder than we should have, and with some climbs of stupidly steep grades to be pulling a boat up. If a boat were meant to climb mountains, it would come with legs.

Still we made it to the border after far too many stress-filled hours, and were – expectedly – waved to the side for inspection and customs interview. Luckily I had prepared – thanks in great part to the foresight of the previous owner – and we had all the necessary papers, numbers, forms, and the amusingly important withdrawal receipt from the bank. Because it was a cash transaction, this little piece of paper became the only Canadian document in the pile which could prove how much we paid for the boat and trailer, a bit of trivia gleaned from Pat’s Boating in Canada website.

Having dotted i’s and crossed t’s, the half-hour or so it took for the border agent to be coached through a new experience (always good to be a learning opportunity for someone) was less-stressful than the drive had been so far, but the delays meant we were not likely to make the last ferry sailing, scheduled for 10:45 departure and our best estimate of arrival at the ferry terminal was about 10:40.

Some quick phone calls elicited the information that some BC ferries had been cancelled, and others delayed, so we took a gamble that this last crossing would, also, be late. We got to the pay gate at 10:39, and asked if we could get through. The agent was uncertain, but gave it a shot, and $200+ dollars later we were slowly getting across the parking lot (darned speed bumps while heavily laden and pulling a trailer!) and rolled onto the ferry – our fourth crossing of the day, and the third we had just barely caught and were able to drive right onto!

The last leg of the journey was accomplished slowly and gently, both of us tired and hardly daring to mention our progress for fear of jinxing it and having a mechanical failure. But we did arrive, slid down to the back yard, and parked the boat slightly kittiwumpus.

We were done. Mission accomplished. It was nearly 2 a.m.

And I own a boat again.