Saturday, June 30, 2012

6-Metre Yacht Racing, Norwegian American Style

King Olav V of Norway
The year was 1955. Norway's Crown Prince Olav commissioned a new 6-Metre racing yacht, designed by Bjarne Aas, and named her Hanko III. Olav raced her for a year, then made the boat available for another owner in a lottery.  Olav, an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 6-Metre class, would later become King Olav V of Norway.   Hanko III went on to have a successful racing career for a series of owners and eventually made her home port in Seattle.

Turn the pages of the calendar to 1958.  I was at my great-grandma's house in Ballard, a Scandinavian neighborhood in Seattle, and I was 5 years old.  Grandma Emma Jorgenson asked me if I knew how to fish, and I told her no, I had never fished.  She said "Himmel, you must know how to fish if you are going to grow up."  After all, she moved to Seattle from Norway, and Grandpa Ole sailed his 27-foot trawler to Alaska every year to fish for salmon.  Emma would sit in the upstairs bedroom which had a view of Shilshole Bay and Port Madison and watch for Ole to return home while she spun yarn on a spinning wheel. 

When Grandma Emma learned I could not fish, she took me in the backyard and we dug worms for bait, then she walked me down the hill a few blocks to Ray's Boathouse.  I put the worm on my hook and lowered my line and came up with a flounder.  Grandma Emma cleaned the flounder and cooked it for dinner.  It felt like a Norwegian rite of passage.

The Lipton Cup
Fast forward to 2012.  I sailed our cruising boat, Sublime, across Shilshole Bay to Port Madison Yacht Club, to race in the Lipton Cup aboard Hanko III, King Olav's former yacht, now owned by Norwegian American Ron Keys.  

The Lipton Cup is a perpetual trophy donated by Sir Thomas Lipton to the Seattle Yacht Club in 1913.  The Cup has been contested every year since then on the waters of Puget Sound.  For the first few years, the Cup was raced in R-class yachts, but when 6-Metres became more popular, they became the class to compete for the Lipton Cup.

Hanko III, powered up under spinnaker and digging a hole in the water     
Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012
 There were nine 6-Metre Yachts competing for the 2012 Lipton Cup.  We raced four races on Saturday after waiting for the wind to build.  Boy, did it build.  A rainstorm moved in with gusts of more than 25 knots.  

Hanko making good speed through the water downwind      
Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012
 The wind became so strong that one of the boats, Lulu, owned by Craig Downey, dismasted.  
Lulu ended her regatta early after dismasting in the storm      
Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012
The sun broke through the clouds and after the races we sailed back to Port Madison Yacht Club. The six-metre crews then went on dinghy's to a party on the 101-foot  schooner Ragland, once owned by Neil Young.  Check out Ragland here.

The schooner Ragland, once owned by Neil Young, 
our post-race party venue     
 Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012
Sunday brought moderate wind and blue sky with puffy white clouds.  We did two races and went back to the yacht club for the awards ceremony.  

Hanko III rounding the windward mark, ready to hoist her spinnaker   

Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012

Current 6-Metre class world champion Eric Jesperson from Sidney, B.C., won first place in the Lipton Cup.  We felt pretty good about getting 3rd place in the Classic Division on Hanko III, with a bunch of old sails and a pick-up crew.

Current 6-Metre class world champion Eric Jesperson, 
on his way to a Lipton Cup victory aboard Goose     
Photo by Dana Olson - Copyright 2012

 After the awards ceremony, I sailed back to Shilshole Bay Marina on Sublime, towards Ray's Boathouse, and I could see my Grandma Emma's old house as I entered the breakwater. This had been a very special weekend for this Norwegian American.  Yah sure, you betcha.
Sailors have used the sign at Ray's Boathouse for years 
to find their way back to Shilshole Bay Marina

See more beautiful photos by Dana Olsen of 2012 Lipton Cup here

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Dream Comes True

The Dolores M. Jackson, a 43-foot Murray Peterson designed coastal schooner, built over 32 years by Roy and Dee Jackson.

I met Roy Jackson in 1982 when we worked together at an advertising agency. At that time, he already had six years invested in building the Dolores M. Jackson, a 43-foot Murray Peterson designed coastal schooner. The schooner gradually took shape in a shed at his house on Bainbridge Island.

Turn the clock ahead twenty-six years to September of 2008. Visualize calendar pages turning, and a line being drawn on a navigation chart marking our course from Seattle to Bainbridge Island as my wife Nola, daughter Sara and I sail our boat to spend the night at Winslow Wharf Marina in Eagle Harbor. I evaluate marinas on their P/D ratio. What is a P/D ratio, you might ask? Pub to Dock ratio, of course! There are three pubs within a couple of hundred yards from Winslow Wharf Marina, so we sail there a few times a year to spend the night and sometimes visit with friends that live on the island.

On this voyage, we got a chance to meet up with Roy and Dee (Dolores M.) Jackson. After 32 years, their dream had come true and the Dolores M. Jackson was nearly complete, sitting perfectly on her lines a few docks away from where we were moored for the night.

I walked our Cairn terrier, Ella, over to Roy and Dee’s boat and was surprised to see another Cairn Terrier already aboard! Iris is Roy and Dee’s Cairn terrier, and her nose was a bit out of joint when another terrier invaded her territory. Iris remained on deck while Ella checked out the beautifully laid out and appointed cabin below deck.

Dee Jackson and our dog Ella relax in the library aboard the Dolores M. Jackson

The galley is set up very efficiently, with a large sink and plenty of storage space. Books surround the library on shelves behind the settees, and a Dickenson stove keeps the cabin warm and cozy. Deck prisms let in the sunlight from above and cast rainbows here and there, adding a magical quality to the light inside the cabin.

Roy plays host in the galley

The salon amidship has comfortable seating, upholstered in supple Italian leather, and a bunk to climb into for a good night’s sleep. The light color of the leather is balanced by the dark, hand-finished woodwork and bright, white enamel.

Creamy Italian leather sets off the dark finish of the wood in the salon amidship

The spars were recently stepped while the Jackson was on a grid in Poulsbo, a Scandanavian fishing town a few miles away from Bainbridge Island. My great-great granparents lived in the 1880’s. All that remains to be done for the Jackson to be completed is a bit of rigging before bending on the sails, and then she will take her maiden voyage under sail.

Roy searched far and wide for just the right sail maker and found one in Maine in the hometown of the boat’s designer, Murray Peterson. Roy called sail maker Nat Wilson and explained what he needed. Nat said he had done sails for a number of similar packet schooners, and would be glad to take the job. Nat said that Roy would have to wait a while, because he had a big job ahead of him. When Roy asked what the job was, Nat responded: “The USS Constitution”. Nat built the suit of sails used when Old Ironsides sailed for the first time in 117 years to mark her bicentennial. Roy said he could probably wait for that.

He offered to send Nat a set of plans for the Jackson with the dimensions of the sails. Nat said not to bother sending plans; he would just walk across the street and get some. Puzzled, Roy asked for an explanation of how Nat was going to get the plans, and Nat said that he was looking out his window at Bill Peterson’s house, son of the designer Murray Peterson. It seems that Nat and Bill had been room mates in college and Bill kept copies of his father’s designs. Small world

On deck, the Dolores M. Jackson has traditional running rigging with blocks and tackles; not a single winch to be seen! By coincidence, Gordon Sims, Roy’s friend who has been helping to rig the boat, was the Captain aboard the schooner Adventuress when our daughter Sara was an intern on the crew. Small world!

Looking forward on deck. Not a winch to be seen!

Every detail of the boat is traditional and authentic. Finding rare parts and supplies was part of the challenge that Dee and Roy faced. Rather than settle with a plain steering wheel, Roy had a wheel cast with “Dolores M. Jackson” in raised letters. Nice touch!

The steering wheel has the name of the vessel, “Dolores M. Jackson” cast in raised letters

Many people have dreams, but very few of them are realized. Roy and Dee Jackson are part of that rare group that can make dreams come true.

For more photos and stories about the construction and launching of the Dolores M. Jackson, visit her website at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sublime’s Maiden Cruise from Shilshole Bay

Sublime sailing downwind making 7.4 knots

Our 27-foot Coronado sailboat, Sublime, had been moored on Seattle’s Lake Union for the past year or so, which definitely had its good points. Our dock had a perfect view of the fireworks on the Fourth of July, and we stayed aboard on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks on the Space Needle. We even did a few of the Duck Dodge races on warm Tuesday evenings in the summer and rafted up with the other boats after the race for a floating party with a few hundred other sailors.

My wife, Nola, and I love to go for overnight cruises on our boat, usually accompanied by our Cairn terrier, Ella. When the boat was on Lake Union, to get to the cruising grounds on Puget Sound we had to go through the Lake Washington Ship Canal and wait for the Fremont Bridge to raise, then pass through a set of locks, transitioning from fresh water to salt water. On a good day, the trip to the salt chuck would take an hour and half. On a bad day, it could take four hours. Ella, who had been the perfect boat dog up until these frequent trips through the ship canal, was reduced to a quivering mass because we would blow the loud boat’s horn to signal the bridge tender to raise the bridge. If we got anywhere near a bridge, even without blowing the horn, she would become catatonic. Or should I say dogatonic?

Ella decked out in her sailing gear, still worried about loud boat horns.

When I got the call from the harbor master at Shilshole Bay Marina on Puget Sound saying that our name had come to the top of the waiting list for a slip, I jumped at the chance. No more waiting for the locks! In the time it had taken us to get from Lake Union to Puget Sound, we could be at a half dozen beautiful overnight destinations from our new slip at Shilshole.

Nola and Ella aboard Sublime at her new slip at Shilshole Bay Marina

The weather forecast for President’s Day weekend promised sunshine and moderate temperatures. After the unusually wet and chilly winter we have been having in Seattle, it seemed like the perfect chance for our maiden cruise on Sublime out of Shilshole.
We packed some warm clothes, made a run to the grocery store for provisions and drove the easy ten-minute drive to the boat. We decided to cruise to Kingston the first night. The water was glassy calm and we had a flood current against us, so we motored ninety minutes north to the Port of Kingston Marina. Within a half hour or so, Ella had figured there were no bridges in sight, so she began to relax.

Bundled up in the cockpit on the way to Kingston

Kingston is a small town with lots of character. If you go, do try the take-out Crepes at J’ Aime Les Crepes, or the microbrews and great food at the Main Street Ale House. Nola and I had cocktails at the Ale House and went back to the boat to cook dinner of pasta with Marsala sauce and chicken.

Main Street in Kingston has great restaurants a short walk from the marina

The marina is nestled into well-protected Kingston Cove, which is ringed with cottages and beaches that are exposed when the tide goes out.

Cottages on Kingston Cove

The outer bay at Kingston is called Apple Cove, and is the home to the Washington State Ferry terminal that connects Kingston to Edmonds.

The ferry Klickitat

There is a short trail from the ferry landing to a beautiful, sandy beach that looks out at Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains.

Beach combing on Apple Cove

The waters near Kingston are abundant with marine life. In season, salmon and Dungeness crab are plentiful. We saw a strange creature as we walked down the dock at the marina and it came over to study us. It was a Rat Fish, with large, bulging eyes and a slender, tapered tail reminiscent of its namesake.

A curious Rat Fish swims close to check us out.

After a wonderful night sleeping on the boat as if being rocked gently in a cradle, Ella insisted on going on her morning constitutional at 5:15 a.m. Grrrrr. I walked carefully on the frosty docks to take her ashore. I went back to sleep when I returned to the boat, then awoke to the aroma of fresh coffee brewing in the galley. I cooked pancakes with real maple syrup for breakfast and we prepared for the next leg of our cruise to Port Madison on Bainbridge Island.

Morning light illuminates the Port of Kingston Marina

The conditions were perfect for sailing – a tailwind from the north at about 12 knots and a flood current sweeping us toward Port Madison. We reached a peak speed over the bottom of 7.4 knots! The scenery was so beautiful we were on sensory overload. The chill wind stung our cheeks and whipped the waves into whitecaps that glistened in the sun, Overhead, the sky was a deep, indigo blue. We were flanked on every side by snow-capped peaks.
The Olympic Mountains with their rugged peaks and glaciers stood out like a 3D picture on our west side, and to the east the Cascade Range showed a coat of fresh snow down below the tree line. Huge volcanoes stood sentry to the north and south of us; Mount Baker was crystal clear a hundred miles to the north, but Mount Rainier was still waking up, barely visible, wrapped in a blanket of mist.

The Olympic Mountains standing tall as we sailed to Port Madison

Nola had been below in the cozy, heated cabin and chose just the right moment to take a break from reading her novel and come on deck. She looked across the water and saw some seabirds that looked unfamiliar. She grabbed the binoculars and saw that the birds had orange beaks, tufted heads and dark plumage. Nola looked in the bird book we keep on the boat and discovered that these were Tufted Puffins. Think arctic Toucans. We had never seen them before. Hope we see them again.
It took only an hour and half to sail to Port Madison, and we only had to do one gybe!

Nola finds a good place to read a book in the sunshine at Port Madison, with Ella by her side.

We were lucky to get one of the last remaining slips at Port Madison, and after we got the boat put away, I made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Port Madison was a town with a large lumber mill before the settlers landed in Seattle. The founders of Port Madison hailed from Cape Cod, so the older houses and many that followed have Cape Cod architecture. The mill is long gone, replaced by charming waterfront homes. You would swear you were in New England when you look around the bay.

Sublime is dwarfed by the yachts surrounding her at Port Madison

Nola made a delicious omelet for breakfast the next morning, and then we sailed back home with a brisk north wind on our beam. An hour and ten minutes later we were back to our slip at Shilshole, glad that we didn’t have to make the trip through the locks and ship canal. Our faces had some color from the sun and the wind, and we were happy that we could cure our cabin fever with a wonderful overnight cruise – the first of many to come from our new homeport.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yacht to Victoria, Floatplane Home

Little Harbor 68 at Shilshole Bay Marina

This was a week of coincidences, connections and crossed paths that reminded me that we really do live in a small world.

My wife Nola and I had already planned to spend a weekend in Victoria, B.C. by flying on a Kenmore Air floatplane and spending a night at the Empress Hotel. When I learned that my friends at Brower Boat were going to deliver a yacht there on the Thursday before the weekend we had scheduled, I jumped on the opportunity. Nola opted out because she had work to do, but I decided to go early and get a chance to spend some time on a fine yacht with my buddies, brothers Carroll and Mark Brower and another Brower Boat employee, Vern, who hails from the island of Bequia in the St. Vincents and Grenadines in the Caribbean.

If you could see the boat we made the trip on, you would understand why I was so eager to go on the delivery. This was a Yacht with a capital Y; a Little Harbor 68 sloop in bristol condition. It had four staterooms, three heads featuring towels with the yacht name embroidered on them, a huge main salon with a flat panel TV, and a galley the size of the kitchen in our house except with more refrigerator and freezer space. The owner needed to boat to go to Victoria to be put on a yacht delivery ship and go through the Panama Canal to Florida. The trip on the ship would cost as much as 35 foot used sailboat in good condition.

On Wednesday evening, I helped Carroll bring the yacht from Lake Union through the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the locks to Shilshole Bay Marina so we could get an early start the next morning for Victoria. Also along for that leg of the trip was Tom Andrews, who works with Carroll at Brower Boat. Tom is a New Zealander who used to run the Lidgard sail loft in Honolulu. The locks opened as soon as we approached, but we did have to wait a while for the railroad bridge on the outside of the locks to open due to the approach of an Amtrak train.

Making 10 knots enroute to Victoria

We left Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle at about 8:30 on a gray, chilly January morning . As we cleared the marina breakwater, Carroll turned the wheel over to me and I immediately delegated the driving duties to our friend Otto (A.K.A. autopilot).

Down below, the main salon glowed with the color of teak and the heating system made it warm and cozy inside. Mark and Vern provisioned the boat with hot coffee, pastries, cookies and sandwiches. Mark found the local NPR jazz station on the stereo so we had a sound track for our adventure that matched the elegant style of the yacht.

Main salon of the Little Harbor 68

The waters of Puget Sound were calm, and the snow on the Olympic Mountains showed through breaks in the cloud cover. We cranked up the big diesel to cruising RPMs and cut smoothly through the water at about 9.5 knots. As the current began to ebb in our direction, our speed over the ground increased to as high as 14 knots, so the scenery was moving by at a good clip.

Carroll at the wheel

As we approached Port Townsend, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and two escort vessels passed us. Huge! It made a blip on the radar screen that looked like small island.

North of Port Townsend, the Straits of Juan de Fuca awaited us. This body of water connects Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean and lies in a funnel between the Olympic Mountains to the south and the landmass of Vancouver Island to the North, so the wind can be accelerated through this narrow slot. If the current is opposing the wind, the Straits can produce killer waves. Not this day. The water was glassy calm, with only a few freighter and tugboat wakes that were handled easily by the 105,000-pound displacement of the Little Harbor 68.

Mark and Vern bundled up against the cold

We set a course of 280 degrees magnetic across the straits and made for Victoria. We pulled into the harbor only 7 hours after departing Seattle! We found the customs dock and only took a few minutes for Carrolll to clear us and get on the radio with the harbormaster to get a slip for the night. We tied up in the same slip that the yacht Atalanta did after I raced on her for the 2007 Swiftsure International Yacht Regatta. See my blog story about that race.

After the solitude of being the only boat in our proximity for hours, the Victoria inner harbor seemed busy by comparison. The ferry Coho that runs between Port Angeles and Victoria blew three short blasts on her horn and backed out of her slip causing us to change course. We slalomed our way through several floatplanes, and a police boat decided it would be a good idea to cross our bow as we were making our way to our slip. We got the boat tied up near the Empress Hotel and got everything put away.

Little Harbor 68 at her slip near the Empress Hotel in Victoria’s Inner Harbor

Carroll, Mark, Vern and I got settled into our respective hotel rooms and met later at the Bengal Lounge in the Empress Hotel, which gets its style from the days when India was a British colony. There is an impressive Bengal tiger pelt hanging on the wall above a roaring fireplace and the signature entree is the curry bar.

The Bengal Tiger that is the namesake of the lounge at the Empress Hotel

The next day, I bowed out while the other guys brought the boat to Esquimalt Harbor to put on the yacht transport ship. They had to wait longer than expected because a 93 foot sailing yacht from Seattle, Altair, was being loaded onto the ship. It turns out our friend Joe Grieser was aboard Altair. Small world.

Our luxurious room at the Empress Hotel

The view from our room of the Inner Harbor

I got a chance to spend the next couple of days visiting my favorite haunts in Victoria, and I met Nola on Saturday morning when her floatplane arrived. We checked into our harbor side room at the Empress Hotel to start our weekend together. We enjoyed the hot tub and pool at the hotel, strolled the town and did some shopping. Nola had cobb salad for lunch and I had bangers & mash at the Irish Times. For dinner, we feasted on the curry bar at the Bengal Lounge.

Our ride home taxis to the dock

Sunday afternoon, the wind in the Victoria Inner Harbor was blowing about 25 knots and there was some doubt that the floatplane we were booked on would be able to fly in those conditions. The pilot had to attempt landing at the dock twice because he was blown away the first time. We boarded the floatplane for the beautiful, one-hour flight at about 1000 feet above the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. We landed on Lake Union, completing a full circle. The floatplane harbor was just a few docks away from where I had started the trip on the yacht. We drove about 10 minutes back to our house in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, feeling as if we had been to a far away land.

Full circle: approaching Lake Union as we pass the Space Needle.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Nautical New Year's Eve in Seattle

Fireworks on the Space Needle mark the beginning of 2008.

Every New Year’s Eve, about 400,000 people gather at view points around Seattle to watch the fireworks on the Space Needle at midnight. Some of the best vantage points are from boats moored on Lake Union and Elliott Bay.

Our evening started with a wonderful house party with our dear friends, Keith and Janet. We got to see some old friends, meet some new ones and enjoy some delicious crab cakes and other delicacies. My wife, Nola, and I left early to run by our house and pick up Ella, our cairn terrier, and drive ten minutes to our boat on Lake Union.

At the marina, our neighbors in the slips on either side of us were on their boats to celebrate. As far as you could see along the shore, there were lights glowing from portholes and parties happening on yachts. Firecrackers were going off, and the sound of party noisemakers could be heard drifting across the water.

At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks blasted off on the Space Needle. After just a bit, they stopped and we wondered if that was all, but they got the show going again with only one more brief interruption. Fireworks lit up the needle from the base to the top, and the clear, cold sky made for perfect viewing. Yachts were blasting their horns to mark the passing of another year and the beginning of 2008.

Ella and Nola snuggle into bed aboard Sublime.

We settled into the cozy, warm cabin of Sublime for a good night’s sleep, being rocked by the gentle waves like a baby in a cradle. In the morning, we had delicious, hot coffee and a breakfast of pancakes and sausage. What is about eating on a boat that makes the food taste so good?

Nola aboard Sublime with the Space Needle in the background.

We took Ella for a walk along the shore of South Lake Union and visited the Center for Wooden Boats, where the members of the Pacific Northwest Fleet of the Classic Yacht Association had moored their gorgeous wooden boats to bring in the new year.

Classic wooden yachts gather at the Center for Wooden Boats to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

The view of the Space Needle from the Center for Wooden Boats.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Seattle to Port Townsend by Passenger Ferry

Water jets push the passenger ferry Snohomish at a speed of 30 knots.

Washington State Ferries recently took the 80-year old Steel Electric car ferries that ran between Port Townsend and Keystone on Whidbey Island out of service because it was determined that maintenance to make them safe to operate would be cost prohibitive. It will be at least 14 months before new car ferries are back in service, leaving Port Townsend high and dry during this important holiday shopping season. To help Port Townsend merchants, a passenger ferry from Seattle to Port Townsend was added.
My wife, Nola and I needed to finish off our holiday shopping, but we couldn’t stand the thought of fighting traffic in our car and elbowing our way through throngs of mall shoppers. When we heard about the new passenger ferry to Port Townsend, we jumped at the opportunity. The Snohomish, a high-speed catamaran operated by Washington State Ferries, departs from Pier 50 at Colman Dock on the Seattle waterfront four times a day, reaching Port Townsend in ninety minutes. Round trip fare is only $6.70! On our voyage, we passed close by the lighthouses at West Point and Point No Point, and saw huge container ships steaming their way down the sound.

Passenger ferry Snohomish docking in Port Townsend

We docked at the Washington State Ferry terminal in the heart of the Port Townsend waterfront, walking distance from the shops, galleries and restaurants. If you take the 8:30 a.m. boat from Seattle, it allows enough time to stroll around Port Townsend for about five hours, have lunch, do some shopping and take the boat home and be back in Seattle by 4:15 p.m. without ever touching the steering wheel of a car!

The Snohomish docks walking distance from the shops, galleries and restaurants in Port Townsend.

If you have more time, you may want to spend the night at one of the many, eclectic B&Bs or hotels in Port Townsend. We stayed at The Commander’s Beach House, a bed & breakfast right on the water near Point Hudson Marina. The innkeeper, Jim Oldroyd, picked us up at the ferry dock and drove us to the Beach House. Built in 1934 in the Colonial Revival Style, the Beach House was originally the residence for the Commanding Medical Officer of the U.S. Quarantine Station at Point Hudson.

The Commander’s Beach House, a B&B built in 1934 in Colonial Revival Style.

After getting settled into our room, we walked three blocks into town and completed our holiday shopping. Rather than shop at the same chain stores that are at most major malls, we were able to browse shops and galleries with one-of-a kind arts, crafts and merchandise. After shopping, we dropped into the Water Street Brewing and Ale House for appetizers and drinks. We were expecting typical bar food, but were pleasantly surprised when we were served gourmet smoked salmon on croquets and crab cakes that were to die for.

The living room at The Commander’s Beach House – a great place to curl up with a good book.

When we woke up in the morning, there was a break in the gray, rainy weather and the sun broke out against a deep blue sky. We took a walk on the beach and visited the Wooden Boat Foundation, which has a store and boat chandlery with hard-to-find supplies for wooden boats.

The Wooden Boat Foundation headquarters and store at Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend.

Our host, Jim, drove us back to the ferry dock, and I was concerned to see that the wind had increased to about 30 knots, whipping up four-foot whitecaps on the water. I was afraid our trip home on the Snohomish would be rather bumpy, but it turned out to be remarkably smooth. The bright sun highlighted the spray from the waves as the boat cut through the water like a knife through butter. The view was spectacular as we made our way back home to Seattle.

The view of Puget Sound from the cabin of the passenger ferry Snohomish.

We returned home with our holiday shopping done, feeling very relaxed and refreshed. Compare that to fighting gridlocked traffic and mall madness! The passenger ferry between Seattle and Port Townsend is only going to be in service through early January, 2008, so if you are interested in taking this trip, do it soon!

Port Townsend Passenger Ferry Trip Information

Washington State Ferry Schedule & Fares

Port Townsend Passenger Ferry Schedule

From Seattle: 8:30 a.m, 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

From Port Townsend: 6:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m.

Round trip passenger fare: $6.70

Port Townsend Lodging Info