Author Archives: Ilona Bell

2022 May Commodore Column: From Ski to Sea

As many of you know, Susie and I spent 40 years in Alaska before retiring to Port Townsend.  Our short Easter visit north this year has been met with wonderful spring-like weather, warmer and sunnier than our local weather; and for me, it was that last chance to get one “half day” on the ski slopes. 

But with the sun and relative warmth, and mountain breeze, I could not help but think of how fun it would also be to be on the boat, albeit enjoying the mountains from afar.  Regardless of where we experience springtime, it seems universally regenerative.  More light, more warmth, and new plants and flowers abound.

For our club, like many in the northern part of the country, it is also time to get  back on the water, to “celebrate” the opening of boating season.  Some quick research suggests that Opening Day celebrations further south are not tied so much to the season, and in the northeast, they want to be sure the ice is gone before scheduling the event.  We are fortunate to have relatively mild conditions year round, but there is no question that sun and warmth are intoxicating reminders for us to get out and enjoy our boats

So, if you are reading this and wondering about Opening Day, “Just Do It” and join our merry bunch of boaters to celebrate the return of spring and summer and more active time on our boats. Fleet Captain Alice Tibbals ( is awaiting your boat bio and welcomes everyone.

I also want to encourage everyone to take a moment and fill out the Boating Experiences Survey on our club website.  Thanks to Dale Moses, for reminding us that within our club, we have a “wealth of boating knowledge,” which members are willing to share with others; and, that there are many of us who would like to “pick the brains” of those with experience to help us become better mariners. This initiative is going to provide us with an ongoing invaluable resource and benefit for all members,  It embodies what is so important about clubs like ours: that we continue to strive to improve our boating skills, awareness, and fun.

So, skis are being replaced with sheets and other boating lines and my old retro ski gear is heading into summer hibernation.  Hope to see you all on the water soon.

Commodore Jim


2022 April Commodore Column: “Learning Never Ends!”

After our March membership  meeting, I came to the realization of how important education is to our club, not only to our members so that we can improve our boating skills, but also by supporting a new generation of men and women interested in pursuing a career in the marine trades and sciences.

The Club has a long history of providing an Annual Safety Seminar which seeks to convey information, and on occasion, hands on experience, on issues concerning safe boating.  The seminar benefits us all by not only offering new information to some members, but also serving as a useful “reminder” function for the more experienced mariners.

In addition, as we did last month, we occasionally have speakers at our meetings who provide us with useful  information such as  updates on boating rules and regulations, safety tips and inspections. In the future, we hope to have speakers offer some practical tips in dealing with marine electrical systems, batteries, and navigating. Continue reading

2022 PTYC Commodore Column: “Is it Spring, Yet?”

The Commodore’s e-mail box is the recipient of Lots of Stuff, which has to be managed on a regular basis to avoid getting overwhelmed.  I am happy to report that notwithstanding repeated requests to go into business with a multitude of foreign dignitaries and other wannabes, I have not taken the bait to realize untold riches.  LOL  However, there are other “riches” and valuable bits of information which do show up and warrant some attention.

After this recent spell of sunny, relatively dry weather,  many of us are naturally thinking about getting back onto the water.  A common rite of spring, or late winter as the case may be, is to plan out  spring work on our boats.  From cleaning to systems checks, the list is personal to each of us, but there are some core tasks that all of us should be performing, or at least thinking about. As we venture out, we want to be sure that we do so safely, and fully prepared for any number of issues or circumstances which may arise on the water.

In that regard, the Commodore’s e-mail account had a recent announcement regarding a new regulation regarding maintenance and replacement of certain types of fire extinguishers. Continue reading