2018 September Commodore Column

“ ‘Woudst thou,’ so the helmsman answered, ‘learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers comprehend its mystery!’ “

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

What a glorious cruising season it has been in our beautiful Salish Sea. Vita e’ Bella successfully carried its crew for an enjoyable six-week cruise beginning with the annual Reid Harbor July 4th soiree, through the Canadian Gulf Islands, south to Victoria and homeward with a fun meetup at Anacortes with our club’s third scheduled cruise of the summer. Mary and I were accompanied on our travels with the fast sailing vessel “Tosca”. Buddy boating with good friends like Craig and Stacy made for an enjoyable summer that flew by without any major problems.

Reflections on the cruise left us with some surprising thoughts:

  1. There are more boats out there now than in the past few years. A few miles outside of Friday Harbor I counted no less than 45 boats in our vicinity. Interestingly, at least 30 were sailboats and most of those were in fact sailing…that is a real change.
  2. Boating skills need to improve. We saw far too many encounters that required one craft or the other to dramatically alter course to avoid collision. These encounters involved both sail and power boats.
  1. Taking advantage of favorable winds, tides and currents can save time, fuel and frustration to a tremendous degree. Leaving Anacortes we enjoyed a 2-3 knot ebb going out Guemes Channel that was helped by a 15-20 knot southerly. With full main and jib we fairly flew across Rosario Strait to make Thatcher Pass on one tack. Contrary wind and current made for a boisterous crossing but Vita e’ Bella took it all in stride and our smiles were wide and warm as we continued north to Rosario Resort.

This summer’s four yacht club scheduled cruises have been great successes. Well attended, expertly planned and led, we look forward to comparing notes and stories from the travels of our yacht club cruisers. The Saanich Peninsula Cruise, the Reid Harbor 4th of July Cruise, the Anacortes Arts Festival Cruise and the Pleasant Harbor/Alderbrook Cruise certainly provided our members with a wide and diverse area to enjoy the wonderful region we inhabit. I would like to personally thank the organizers of these events who stepped forward and made these cruises such a memorable time. Of course, we should not forget we have two more cruises lined up for September: the South Sound Cruise September 14-21 which dovetails into the Poulsbo Cruise September 21-23. The ports of call are all interesting, “neat” spots that promise fun times. Sign up and join your fellow cruisers. You will not be disappointed.

A gentle reminder that September’s General Meeting is a Soup and Salad Potluck along with our meeting. It begins an hour earlier at 5:30 pm. Also, we will be choosing the Nomination Committee for the 2019 Board. Anyone interested can contact me or Jim Pivarnik and we will gladly accept your help.

“Now bring me that horizon”         Capt. Jack Sparrow

Commodore Jess Schefstrom



2018 June Commodore’s Column

“Anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there…”    (Captain Ron)

You have prepared and planned and charted and dreamed now it is time to cast the dock lines and seek your boating quests. Boats only work and make sense when they are free from the bonds of dock and marinas. Between June and September PTYC has four planned cruises; The Saanich Peninsula Cruise, the Reid Harbor July 4th Cruise, the Anacortes Arts Festival Cruise and the Pleasant Harbor Cruise. Each of these are detailed nicely in this month’s Baggywrinkle. PTYC cruises are really the best way to get to know fellow members. Sharing boating experiences on the docks or aboard members’ boats is a relaxing and fun way to connect with the PTYC family. Interestingly, three of the four cruises we have scheduled this summer can be accessed also by driving. So, if you don’t have a boat and you are wondering what a “cruise” looks like, jump in your car and hook up with us.

On a somewhat connected subject, what does your summer reading list look like? If you are open to suggestions let me offer a few. Everyone knows about the Patrick O’Brian 20 book series following the travails of Captain Jack Aubrey and his ship’s surgeon friend Stephen Maturin. Spanning the turbulent years of the Napoleonic Wars, O’Brian’s books are the “gold standard” of the genre. Movie buffs will perhaps remember that the classic “Master and Commander” movie with Russell Crowe is a peek into the O’Brian world of naval action. Another high quality series are the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forrester. Spanning 12 books the series, like O’Brian’s, covers the pivotal years England stood against the hated “Bonny” and the French. The O’Brian and Forrester series of books are naval historical fiction of high quality that are universally praised for their accuracy and excitement. I would also offer a third series of this genre that I have found to be the equal to O’Brian and Forrester. The author is Douglas Reeman who wrote the Richard Bolitho series of books under the pen name of Alexander Kent. Some 30 books in all, Reeman’s Bolitho is a British naval hero of the first rank. It is hard to elevate one series of books over another. However, if I was looking for a quick, fun, exciting read for a summer cruise I would bring a few of the Reeman series to keep the midnight anchor watch almost enjoyable.

Mr. Pullings . . .we will beat to quarters”

Captain Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander

Commodore Jess Schefstrom



2018 May Commodore’s Column

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

William Whiting, 1861    

Opening Day is upon us and along with it the accoutrements of our club traditions. The weekend is chock full of important, fun and, hopefully, safe and sane events. We moved the traditional Saturday morning breakfast to Friday night dinner last year and we found that the event was much more relaxed and timely for skippers who plan to participate in Saturday’s parade. The Friday dinner will highlight Past Commodores and will also have a flag raising ceremony with our Sea Scout unit.

The solemn poem to start this column is part of a much larger piece by William Whiting that has been used in various forms for well over a century. Its somber nature communicates the awesomeness of the waters we venture upon. As such, participation in Saturday’s Boat Parade and Blessing of the Fleet, is to be encouraged. It is a festive, colorful and important event. If you are “on the fence” about being a part of the parade, take the leap and join us, you will not be sorry. The Blessing of the Fleet imparts the concept of being part of something that is much bigger than oneself and that is something that, if you have ever boated beyond the sight of land, know is a transforming truth.

Saturday evening will be a fun pizza party at the club to round out the weekend’s festivities. Remember, both Friday’s and Saturday’s dinners are prepaid, if you are interested and we have available seats, please contact Mary Schefstrom (jhse27@hotmail.com).

With the Opening Day Weekend the heart of our boating season really begins and I would encourage all boaters to make a few “promises” to themselves, their First Mates and their craft. One, always wear PFD’s when afloat and require guests and crew to do likewise. Two, prepare your craft to successfully take and return you to your homeport. Checkoff the obvious maintenance items before departure and you will be rewarded commensurately. Three, avoid “hard and fast” schedules. We find our most enjoyable boating experiences are those that follow a very loose and flexible schedule that allows for inclement weather and kitchy communities with friendly brewpubs.

So far away now, but any day now, I’ll sail on the morning tide
Home, oh! Take me home, home to the people I left behind
Home to the love I know I’ll find: oh! Take me home.   

Phil Coulter-Lake of Shadows