Epilogue sailing close hauled in the Strait of Georgia - September 2012

As fall weather sets in here in Seattle, we’re all a little sad to say goodbye to the 2012 sailing season. In true Northwest fashion, this summer had a late start but finished strong with over 40 days of sunshine, really only broken by about 14 minutes of rain. Epilogue spent most of September based in Anacortes, WA, the gateway to the San Juan Islands. We enjoyed sunny days, fresh breezes, and beautiful evenings all month. This year was truly one of the best for Epilogue passengers and crew alike.

We had 15-20 knots in the Strait of Georgia and reached Sucia Island in record time, a playful run-in with the Lady Washington, Orca sightings in Boundary Pass, and a mere 3 weeks ago we had an exhilarating rush through Obstruction Pass under a full press of sail on our last San Juans cruise of the season. If you can manage to sail 50% of the time in the San Juans you’re ahead of the game and we were fortunate enough this year to beat those odds with flying colors.

Elliot Bay Downtown Sailng Series and Epilogue’s racing debut ...

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This year we entered Epilogue in the Elliot Bay Downtown Sailing Series, which is a casual Thursday evening race sponsored by Elliot Bay Marina in Seattle. Clearly not designed for the serious racer, these evenings were a great way to get lots of people out on Epilogue that may not otherwise have a chance to sail during the busy charter season. Seems the free hotdogs and beer line was more important than the finish line in these races, with many participants (Epilogue included) opting to fire up the engines when the wind died. All this to say, Epilogue enjoyed her first racing campaign and plenty of new folks got a chance to sail. We’re already making plans for our 2013 campaign.

Dan Blanchard at the helm in the Elliot Bay Downtown Sailing Series


Epilogue also featured her new Spinnaker this season. A beautiful custom-made asymmetrical cruising spinnaker sponsored by EVO, a local ski/snowboard/water sports retailer here in Seattle. This new sail was quite a hit on the race course and gives us so much more boat speed when sailing off the wind on deep reaches.

New EVO Spinnaker

Epilogue Haul-Out 2010 ...

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She’s primarily been in freshwater over the last three and a half years, which is much kinder to her bottom than the harsh, corrosive and electrically charged salt water outside the locks in the Puget Sound.  Nonetheless, after three and half years it was time to pull her up, inspect the condition of her bottom and install a special thru-hull fitting for a new refrigeration system.  A week of hard work, at all hours, and she’s looking even better than her first launch back in November of 2006.  This is a photo of her moments before the launch from Canal Boat Yard on Friday, June 18.  It’s pretty impressive to watch these guys drive a 24 ton boat around like a toy and drop her in the water without even the slightest scratch.

Epilogue moves from Fishermen’s Terminal to Shilshole for the 2010 Summer ...

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stbd tack in 12 knots - 18 June 2010

stbd tack in 12 knots - 18 June 2010

The 2010 sailing season has officially begun aboard Epilogue.  0900 Friday morning she was launched from Canal Boat yard where we had given her a fresh coat of bottom paint and installed a new thru-hull fitting for her super-high efficiency refrigeration system.  We hadn’t seen her keel in over three years and she was remarkably clean for that much time under water.  My good friend and trusted mate Dave and I made our way through the Ballard Locks (the gateway to the Puget Sound) and opened the season with a thrilling sail in 15-20 knots of breeze.  She frolicked in the ever-freshening Northerly like a horse pent-up in a stable for too long, chomping at the bit as if to challenge us to keep sailing all the way to the Pacific, and we probably would’ve had I remembered to bring food and beverages.  We reluctantly turned around and sailed back to her new home at Shilshole Bay Marina, where she’ll be able to sail at a moment’s notice all summer long.  She’s looking better than ever and poised for an already busy 2010 sailing season.

Possession Point, Whidbey Island ...

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Northbound with no wind, we took to sending people up the 80′ mast.  First one up was Kevin, the surprised birthday boy for the weekend.  Eventually found our way to some great breeze on the way to Possession Point, our anchorage for the evening.  Possession Point is at the very Southern end of Whidbey Island and the story is that Captain Vancouver was anchored just off the point when he sent a landing party to take possession of the land. One of many such possessions as he made his way up and down the sound.  Our evening was spectacular.  We feasted on a huge piece of fresh Halibut with some special mashed potatoes that Jered had prepared the day before and some sauteed green beans with some tasty sesame seasoning.  The sunset was breathtaking and the evening calm at anchor with only the passing cruise ship or tanker to give us a little rocking now and then.  We awoke to a 15-20 knot northerly breeze and made it back to Seattle on a broad reach pushing 10 knots the whole time.  This boat gets antsy all cooped up in the Sound. She wants to keep going!

sunset

72' feet off the deck - breathtaking experience

72' feet off the deck - breathtaking experience

July 4th – Brittles and Bests ...

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This July 4th I agreed to take some good friends, Jason and Paula Best and Zach and Rebecca Brittle sailing for the 4th of July.  We left Shilshole around 3:00pm and headed north to towards Edmonds. Our plan had been to head to Elliot Bay for the big waterfront fireworks display, but having been cancelled this year, we headed north.  The wind on this day was an absolutely perfect 12-15 knots from the North and gave us all a thrill as we sailed close hauled back and forth across the Sound to Kingston/Apple Tree Cove where we heard from local knowledge there was a good ice cream shop.  We neared the often sleeply little harbor to find a full scale 4th of July party, complete with good old American rock and roll and no public dock space or anchorage availalbe.  Our hopes of ice cream on 4th of July dashed, a plan was made to make for Edomonds before their show began.  We drifted around just outside of the Edmonds Marina and saw a concert of firework displays all over the Puget Sound, as far south as Tacoma.  After the show, we made our way back to Shilshole under power and arrived back at the dock around 12:30am.   My first 4th of July on the water and how appropriate that it was aboard Epilogue.zachrebeccajasonpaula

Slip F-38 – Shilshole Bay Marina… ...

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After more than two years inside the locks at Fisherman’s Terminal, Epilogue was finally ready move to Shilshole for her first summer sailing season.  We had a total of 1o people on board for this momentous occasion (it seems there are many for this boat).  My good friend Dan Blanchard was out sailing on his yacht Augusta that evening and his cew was able to get hundreds of great photos of Epilogue and crew under sail in the setting sun of early summer.  Of course Dan and I seemed unable to avoid the age-old maritime law that stipulates any two boats on the same body of water at the same time are officially engaged in a sailboat race.  All other rules were broken and at one point we were so close that somebody from his crew passed a plate of salmon fresh off the BBQ over to Epilogue for a little sunset snack.   As light gave way to dusk we pulled into F-38 at Shilshole, Epilogue’s home for the forseeable future. July 2nd sail

November Sunshine… ...

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With a rare sunny day in November, we rallied the troops for a quick day sail just to the West of Elliot Bay near the Discovery Park bluffs.  There were 12 people total with a mix of old friends and new.  Again, I was amazed at how easily she handled and how comfortable she was with a large group.  We virtually had the whole Sound to ourselves in 5-10 knots of breeze from the South. In fact, we were so comfortable that we took turns sending each other up the mast on spare halyards.  The view from 80′ above the water, under full sail is nothing short of spectacular and will certainly be an element of future trips aboard Epilogue.  Our day ended with the usual journey through the Ballard Locks followed by a trip to the Jolly Roger Tap Room, which is the brew pub of the Maritime Pacific Brewery.Epilogue Mast

Wintering at Fisherman’s Terminal… ...

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Sails hoisted, rig tuned and tested in heavy wind, champagne smashed over the bow, glasses raised to Epilogue and all who sacrificed to make this dream a reality, it was time to return her to Fisherman’s Terminal for the winter months and continued work preparing for the 2009 sailing season.  This day’s crew was my father John Lewis, friends Dave and Danny Niffin and me. We had a nice sail before heading into the Ballard Locks on the way to the Terminal.  Compared to the day before, it was quite comfortable to sail in 10-12 knots of breeze and try all points of sail. She handles quite well for a big boat, I’d even say nimble…all 24 tons of her. She seems just as comfortable with 15 as she does with 4.

Dark and Stormy Maiden Voyage… ...

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I had planned to get underway at 10:00am on Oct.4 for Epilogue’s Maiden Voyage. I invited a few people who have been instrumental in moving this dream forward with me. Of course there have been so many without whom I could have never pulled this off, the number grew to 15 and could have easily kept going. The forecast for the day called for 15-20 knots from the SW, building to 25-30 knots by afternoon, low clouds and 60% chance of rain. Eager to get out before the winds built above 25knots, I paced the docks waiting for a couple stragglers I’d already reminded would be left at the dock if not there by 10:00am. Well, one of them I had to wait for was Bob Doyle, the master rigger who was coming to sail-tune the rig under load. He wanted 20 degrees of heel to take the slack out of the leeward shrouds on each tack. He definitely got it, and then some. The day was really quite surreal for me. So caught up in the thrill, and stress, of sailing this boat for the first time, I think I forgot about the profound meaning of this day. Flanked by my father and some of my best friends, who’ve fought with me for this dream for nearly four years, we hoisted her sails and felt the rush of wind, water and silence. As her sails filled and tested the seams she nearly lept out of the water, quickly informing us of her power and beauty. With two fingers I steered her, perfectly balanced as we bore off onto a reach with the freshening breeze.  With the wind easily into the upper 20′s, we decided she’d had enough for her maiden voyage and headed for home and the Christening party awaiting.  Dark and Stormies were the appropriately chosen drink of the day, followed by a champagne toast  as we Christened Epilogue to her new life.maidenvoayge

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