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
For the second year in a row, Russell and I have had our minds blown as summer boating gets going. The Seventy/48 human-powered race from Tacoma to Port Townsend was a mere curiosity to us when first announced in 2017. We thought, ‘cool!”; another great brainchild of Jake Beatty and Daniel Evans of the NW Maritime Center. Then Inger walked into our shop.
Inger Rankins of NW Sails & Canvas, is a highly skilled canvas master, creating boat covers and dodgers that are jaw-droppingly beautiful and perfect. She is a fit Norwegian-born 50 something that can be seen walking or biking all over Port Townsend with her trusty and adorable, canine side-kick, Rupert. Inger is also a close friend. I admire and appreciate her on so many levels. So when she asked Russell if she could borrow our PT 11 nesting dinghy to row seventy miles up Puget Sound in a race?... First, Russell tried to talk her out of it. Then, he took her seriously, albeit in bewilderment.
During the 2018 inaugural Seventy/48, Russell nearly pulled his hair out in elated disbelief when he realized that Inger was going to finish in the top 30% of over 115 long and sleek human powered craft, in an 11 ft, fixed seat, rowboat; our rowboat. She became and instant local heroine and for us, the star of the year.
As the 2019 race approached, she was struggling to find training time. She rowed to and from the sail loft where she was working with husband and sailmaker, Sean Rankins. The distance from Point Hudson to the NW School of Wooden Boat Building is roughly 6 nautical miles each way and weather and current present many challenges. But injury can also stump training efforts and she hurt her back at work. Inger doggedly kept training when she could, and was smart to get well rested before the start date.
A lot had been learned from 2018’s race and Russell sent her off with a lighter boat, lighter oars and encouragement to quit the race at any time. Everyone knew she had already done the impossible, a feat difficult to beat and potentially dangerous to try. Stubborn as she is, she tried, and she succeeded! In conditions rougher than in 2018, Team Valhalla beat her own 2018 time by a solid 45 minutes. She finished 30th out of 108 boats. A collection of friends, fans, and Norwegian flags greeted her at 2:13 in the afternoon as she rang her finishing bell. The first aid crew went down a list of questions about how she was feeling and checked her off as fit to row to the beach. I listened with wonder and searched her face for signs of trouble. She was instead, grinning after over 19 hours of rowing non-stop.
Yep, heroic in every way.
Will she do it again in 2020? There is a good chance she will. She told me how she had felt mentally fresher this year and that her body liked rowing. She said she cannot describe how happy she feels when she is out there on the water. I think to myself, ‘amazing’. She’d been told that the Platte Canyon High School Team PCHS had watched her 2018 post race videos for tips and inspiration, and being able to inspire others, has been a real bonus for her.
Russell and I want to publicly thank Inger for her tenacity and the pure joy she has given us by doing this race in our boat. It is a priceless gift we will always treasure. Some photos follow.
Videos from 2018: An interview with Inger RankinsOverboard practice before the 2018 race. And look for a really well done video about Inger on the Off Center Harbor website.
Team PTWATERCRAFT aboard INCOGNITO is racing Monday morning June 3rd in the R2AK. We will be racing as far as Victoria and then taking off on a short cruise, hoping to see come of the lead boats along the way North. We will check emails a couple of times to be sure but if you don't get a prompt response, this is why! We thank our customers and, with great appreciation, are collecting deposits over the Summer for the next run of kits!
Please do email your questions. We will get back to you.
"I'm a tracker junkie and I'm okaaaay...." singing as I stay tuned to the Seventy 48 tracker. At 6:30am, Team Valhalla in the PT11 nesting dingy is still going 3.2- 3.5 knots after nearly 12 hours non-stop! She has kept up with the some of the paddle boarders, including Skelty, our friend Tim Nolan who appears to be pushing through non-stop as well! If you know Tim you are duly impressed.
We will be cheering Inger on as she comes in down at the city dock in Port Townsend!