Our friends at Chesapeake Light Craft will soon be heading west for the Madison WI, and Port Townsend, WA boat festivals. This is a great opportunity to save on shipping!
Save a bunch of money on shipping! Give us a call and we'll bring your big, heavy stuff with us for pickup in Madison and Port Townsend. Boat kits, big heavy items like rowing units, oars, even small orders of plywood, stuff that can be difficult (and expensive) to ship. Boat kit orders are due by August 16 so we have time to cut, pack, and stow in the rig. This offer's only good until space runs out. Call us today!
The Seventy 48 race this year was a first for PT Watercraft in that there were two PT 11's in this 70 mile event. Our local hero Inger Rankins rowed her 4th race in the PT 11 and it is interesting how every year can be so different. We will start with Inger, whose tracker never communicated to the satellite and many of her fans thought she had dropped out. Think again. While her family and friends in Norway, France, California, Virginia, New Mexico, and Port Townsend were all frantically wondering where she was, she was happily keeping her rhythm over the waves, admiring the moon over Mount Ranier, and chatting with other racers. We contacted the race boss and were told that there were technical issues with many trackers. At that point almost 60 trackers out of some 125, were not showing up on the map. I can only imagine their stress was about as bad as ours. You can read about the NWMC's tracker woes in this R2AK leg one post: https://r2ak.com/2023-daily-updates/stage-1-day-2-a-day-without-trackers/
We have faith in Inger. She had both a radio and a phone onboard that she could use if needing help and since the race committee did not contact her, she was blissfully unaware that there was a problem. When her phone rang several times however, her fingers were so stiff that she could not get to it in time to answer. She later saw that her husband and I had called. "why are they calling me?" she wondered, " Don't they know I am busy rowing?" she reasoned and did not call back. We know her enough to have guessed her thinking. 😉
As morning came, we decided we were going out to find her. We could see where team Tally Row was and that was the key to our hunt. Team Tally Row was solo skippered by Leo Sampson, also in the PT 11 nesting dinghy. We have been super happy to see him engage in this event, inspired by Inger and drawn by the challenge of the race, and we figured the two PT 11's would likely be together en-route.
We departed in our latest pod cat, 'Sipper', a sleep deprived Russell, myself, and friend and naval architect Jim Franken. We all forgot binoculars, a key tool when searching the semi open waters for an 11ft dinghy. Not to be defeated we checked in with all the racers we saw in the south end of Port Townsend Bay and through 'The Cut' bound for Point No Point where we could see Leo's tracker progressing North.
We found him easily as you can when a tracker is working. Leo looked happy, relaxed even, after 15 hours rowing; the hard part between midnight and 2 am having been overcome. He told us that Inger was ahead of him by at least an hour. He knew this because a SUP boarder had told him he had talked to her before he went ashore for a rest and then had caught up with Leo. Well, that meant, we had totally missed her! "Tell me when you find her!" shouted Leo, as we pulled away.
It was around this time that our motor starting missing and floundering. Uh oh... Can we even make it back ourselves? I message Diana Tally an update. "Don't worry, Inger can tow you home!" says she. Well, we'd have to find her first. 😉
We buzzed and coughed and nursed the motor back towards Port Townsend, this time closer to the coast. Again under the bridge connecting the peninsula to Indian Island and still no Inger. 'Go towards the Mill,' says I. 'But what if she is on the other side?' says he. 'No way,' says I. And then we see the Race Boss boat zoom towards the Mill and way off in the distance, come to a wake-making halt. 'They found her!' says he and we make haste in that direction. Why had we not brought binoculars?! The phone rings. Sean, Inger's husband calls to say he can see her from the bluff at the end of Sheridan street. ' She's approaching the Mill,' He had his binoculars... !
The morning sun reflecting off the bright white transom of the PT 11, and the glossy flashes of the wet carbon oars were the first real recognition of our tiny target. We sure are happy to see you! says we. and happy to see you too, say she. We give her an update on the situation and make sure she is alright and begin our list of calls and messages to all awaiting news. Sean does the same and the international grapevine is buzzing. Our lost sheep has been found!
We leave Inger to do what she does best just as the wind is beginning to increase against her. We know she will make it before it really pipes up but our hearts go out to Leo and all of the other racers who will hit that wind head on. It turned out to be really tough for those boats and very few, including Leo, persevered to the finish line but it set them all back by hours.
Inger arrived after 18 hours and 40 minutes of rowing, besting her previous record by almost an hour. Leo pulled in just before dark, stiff but smiling bravely 7 hours later. Two amazing achievements for these two non-athletes who trusted the PT 11 enough to carry them home over 70 miles of tricky water. We are deeply humbled and grateful to both Inger Rankins and Leo Sampson for that trust and the spirit to validate it.
Below are some photos of racers from the morning of June 3rd. Teams can best be identified by comparing with the team descriptions on the Seventy48 website.
Post Script for a giggle...
Due to the fact that Inger's tracker did not communicate until the very end of the race, the map tracking showed Team Valhalla as "first overall"!! .... seriously, wouldn't that be amazing? Especially the data saying she traveled the ~70 miles from Tacoma in 1 minute and 27 seconds!
I suspect she wiggled her nose or twirled her ponytale and teleported...
"And Don't forget the beer!" ( the below video clip sound won't play.. The audio has Russell and Sean discussing if they have enough beer for when Inger reaches the finish.)
I tried to load these to Instagram but they all look blurry. I will just load them here and if anyone wants better copies, let me know. It was a perfect and beautiful morning for the start of the race. Fewer boats than usual but it was fun to be on the water with everyone.
Friday and Saturday the Seventy/48 human powered race happened and once again Inger Rankins (Team Valhalla) blew us all away in the PT 11. But there were two PT 11's in that race and I will put together a dedicated post about that.
Jzerro is the last Pacific Proa that Russell Brown designed and built for himself. After owning the boat for more than 20 years, a New Orleans native and seasoned sailor, Ryan Finn took over ownership of the boat.
On March 21st, Ryan completed his New York to San Francisco solo voyage around Cape Horn in JZERRO, a 33 year old, lightly built wood epoxy boat, in an amazing feat of seamanship, a testament to wood epoxy boat building, and a real moment for Russell.
This first quarter of 2022 has been interesting for Russell and I here at Port Townsend Watercraft.
Chesapeake Light Craft continues successful production of the PT 11 Nesting Dinghy Kit. You can see the details on their page here.
What has changed?
There is a price difference from our previous rates. This was to be expected. For one thing, CLC includes the WEST SYSTEM Epoxy Kit that had been an option on our package. We are happy about this because we have always recommended WEST SYSTEM for this project. Anther big one is that our cost of the connective hardware doubled. They are, however, exquisite thanks to a local machine shop here in PT. The total kit price hike reflects both the inclusion of the epoxy kit and material price increases across the board from plywood to stainless steel. That considered, customer investment has not increased by much because we made efforts to streamline production of certain parts to offset those inevitable material price increases. Russell and I would have been hard pressed to continue production on our own with all this factored in..
CLC also has a well established packing system for their kits. This makes the kit package more manageable than our long and heavy plywood crate.
In our shop in Port Townsend we have finally been touched by the "supply chain delays" talked about in the daily news streams. A lack of sail cloth, delayed our sail production. We finally learned this after several ETA predictions that came and went without sails. We are assured this time that sails are on their way so we can ship out the rigs on order. (Talk about stress!)Russell has been doing a deep dive into the boat building technique referred to as 'Tortured plywood'. One of the 3 foot models (of which there are at least 8 versions), have been translated into 27ft long hulls. This project has been both exciting and frustrating beyond expectation. More to come on that later.
Those who know about Russell's earlier boats, including his windward proas, may have seen our videos of "Jzerro". We sold Jzerro a few years ago and of late, have anxiously followed the new owner Ryan Finn, on his massive journey from New York to San Francisco via Cape Horn. This last week, Ryan rounded Cape Horn successfully and has been flying northward at speeds from 9 to 19MPH on the edges of and through gales and rough seas. You can follow his tracker progress here.
Also see 2 Oceans 1 Rock on FB for descriptions of his journey.
More updates to come soon, including the 2022 Shipwright's Regatta this Saturday (Postponed a month due to a gale in the bay in FEB 26th. (there may be more than one PT 11 this year!) and an update on our new goose-neck design. AEB 😉
There is hardly a better way to start the sailing year that the Shipwright's Regatta every February. The regatta was originally started decades ago at a time when most of the shipwrights in Port Townsend owned a boat. But owning a boat was not the only criteria for being a shipwright. You had to get out on the water in it! The work ethics of our Marine Trades keeps most of them totally focused on their work, often year round, so the Shipwrights' Regatta was created to get everyone out on the water toPLAYat least one day a year.
Besides the 505 racing dinghies, most of the entrants are either cruising boats or schooners. Some daysailors often show up and, for me, if we failed to go dinghy sailing on January first, the Shipwrights' Regatta is often our new year sail.
This year at least one other PT 11 is planning to join the day. The apples to apples competition will be extra fun. May the weather gods be kind.
Port Townsend Watercraft will be updating our website to function better on multiple devices and to reflect the changes in our business. We will maintain information about our designs as supplemental to the CLC website, and we will be creating new content related to our designs and our books.
We remain open to feedback, photos, and those particular questions that only we might be able to answer for now. Please send your favorite PT 11 photos to Ashlyn's GMAIL : PTWATERCRAFT@
THANK YOU to everyone who asked us to keep production of the PT 11 active and to all who have built our boats.
We are particularly fond of PT 11-in-action pictures and beautifully scenic pictures where even a small portion of the PT 11 is visible. Did you personalize your boat with some special detail? What color did you paint it? Of course, we love animals and pets-in-the-PT 11 pictures are welcome too.
Saturday the 27th was this year's Shipwright's Regatta here in Port Townsend and as always, it was such a fun event. I find that I cannot stop smiling when we are out there in the dinghy.
Upon registration, our class choices were, Racing, Thunderbird, or Cruising. Hmmm. let me see. An 11 foot dinghy...can't compete with the 505's and the bigger racing boats, we have a bird on our sail but it is a Pacific Swift... not a T-bird..., well, I guess we are in Cruising class!
Upon checking in with the committee boat, I was asked what class I was in. My reply got a good guffaw and we were on our way along with almost 60 boats. The race committee had decided to break up the Cruising class into 2 groups due to the many participants. The forecast was for very little wind. In fact, we'd had to row from Point Hudson to the course area at the south side of the bay which I believe is close to a mile. We had left our dry suits thinking we would be lucky to make it around the course once, much less twice, and do so while remaining perfectly dry. Think again. The sailing brain can rust over a long, dark, and cold winter.
The race started with a "wind shift" a little past noon, first the Racers, then the Thunderbird fleet, then Cruising boats over 30ft, and then our lot, Cruising boats under 30ft. There was a nice range of under 30ft boats this year. It was great.
We did get around the course twice as prescribed and in fact, did so ahead of 7 boats out of 12 in our class, most of which were well over double our length! It took me a moment to realize just how well we had done. Russell's challenge was to find clean air among so many boats especially when your mast is only 15ft tall.
I put together a little video of our day. Sadly, due to Covid, the Pizza and awards party was cancelled this year but it would appear that Russell and I can lay claim to the Golden Trident for being the Saltiest Crew (literally) of 2021. It is a really fun way to kick off our local sailing season. Thank you to the PT Sailing Association and the NW Maritime Center.
Customers launched new boats in 2020 and I am happy to share photos and comments we have received.
"Russell & Ashlyn I wanted to let you know that we finally finished our PT11 dinghy. And although we haven’t sailed it yet in warm water, we have tested it out in CO. My wife has proclaimed rowing it is “oargasmic”. So I am very happy to have built it, and thankful to you for such an awesome design, kit and instructions. " JB