Written by Jack van Ommen on July 21st, 2014
My friend Maggie invited me for another barbecue at their home on Wollochet Bay for Saturday evening. And I decided to anchor out by their beach. To reach Wollochet Bay I have to go through the Tacoma Narrows where the current is too strong to go against the tide, you get your chance every 6 hours. I had to be through by 13.00h; this gave me time to try out the reefing system since the wind was gusting to between 15 and 20 knots. With two reefs and a 120% jib the boat performed very well, great acceleration in the gusts. My long time friends Pete and DiAnne Sabin, live on the west end of W.Bay and it had been over 30 years since I had visited them by water. I anchored at their beach. Another long time friend, Paul Hirsh, who lives nearby, saw “Fleetwood” sailing in and came along side in his racing kayak. I met Paul in 1973 around the same time as Pete. Both Paul and Pete used to race with me on the old “Fleetwood” in the seventies and eighties. The below picture was taken in the Hat Island race in 1980. Paul is far aft on starboard. His dad, Blake Hirsh, a retired PanAm pilot, was a sailing legend in the North West, he delivered sailboats all over the globe into his eighties.
Sunday I had planned to visit the new “Shipwreck Cafe” in Lake Bay. Figured I might just deserve a free lunch with my reputation. But I had been having too much fun sailing there that by the time I was close I had to turn around to catch the right tide through the Narrows. These are very familiar waters, I built a beautiful home in 1983 on the beach in Shaw’s Cove at Green Point which is due east of Lake Bay and North of the southern tip of Fox Island. And “Fleetwood” was moored at anchor buoy in front of the house.
Today the “Monitor” windvane arrives and I’ll be busy installing it for the next couple days.
Bald Eagle over Sabin’s home
Wind Indicator shows how close to the wind the new boat sails.
Written by Jack van Ommen on July 16th, 2014
A tradition of a number of my Gig Harbor sailing friends. At “El Pueblito” for less than $10.00 a Taco and a Modelo Supremo and good company. The summer weather just keeps going, overcast cool mornings then the sun break through and it warms into the seventies. Yesterday I finally had enough wind to find out that I have an awesome replacement in my second “Fleetwood”. She is a better boat. Sails closer to the wind with great speed. Maybe that shipwreck was not God’s worst idea after all.
Sunday evening we had an unusual red sunset after the gorgeous Saturday evening Super Moon rise. Yesterday I had to go into Tacoma to get my senior transit pass, so that I can ride free on the local shuttle bus. Without a car taking the bus to get to the place in Tacoma but it happens to be close to the Glass museum which has a public moorage. Lisa picked me up and we had a beer together on the terrace. And I had a terrific sail.
I am planning to sail north on or around July 24 to be able to be in Bellingham for Sid’s birthday on the 27th. Then go make my rounds in Vancouver to look up old friends. Weather permitting I’ll sail the Canadian and U.S. San Juan/Gulf Islands.
Look what this Seattle Yacht Club cat dragged in into Gig Harbor!
A daily clean out of the soot of an industrial plant in Tacoma…
Sunday nights evening sky
Just before the smoke routine. My soup pan on the aft port, dinner.
Written by Jack van Ommen on July 13th, 2014
A gorgeous moon rise over Point Defiance.
Written by Jack van Ommen on July 13th, 2014
So, now all we still need to do is see the Sunday’s final game of Germany defeating Argentina and then we can go back to our normal routine. But it has been an exciting spectacle of changing fortunes. I wonder if Brazil will ever offer to host the games again… In the end the best team won. The Germans are at their very best. But I expect that in 2018 the USA will move up higher again.
Last night I watched a free movie put on in one of the parks here in Gig Harbor.”The Help”, I had forgotten that I had seen it years ago, on an airplane. I watch very few movies and this must be the first one I have ever seen twice. But the advantage is, that since you already know the plot, that you pay more attention to the acting. And several of the players, in particular the main character, the black maid, Viola Davis, who won an Oscar, were awesome. A very moving story. Hard to imagine these abuses took place in our life time. But it also showed the good sides of some of the southern white folks.
I am showing a few pictures of wood boat building craftmanship right here in the marina I live. Last night Jeff and Julie Stang stopped by in this gorgeous Cosine Wherry. Made in strip plank 1/4″ thick W.R. and Alaska Yellow Cedar with some Ash and Purple Heart for accent. The oars are made from Sitka Spruce with Purple Heart tips. Jeff is a local boat builde and fine woodworker here i the harbor. The other picture is of a 1952 ChrisCraft runabout owned by Dan McDonough, parked next to his 55? foot Sparkman & Stephens designed yawl “Weatherly”; also from the fifties. The gorgeous varnish touch up on “Weatherly” is the work of my dock neighbor Ira Specter. When I grow up I want to be as good a re-finisher as Ira. The last picture is of the end result of painting the cockpit bulkhead on “Fleetwood” and re-varnishing the companion way trim and roof. And the replacement of the of the transom deck where the plywood had rotted out around the rudder. Slowly catching up with the years of neglect but fortunately most of the maintenance is cosmetic. I also enlarged the scupper holes, to be able to drain the cockpit faster when a good wave rolls into the cockpit.
“Fleetwood”‘s new look
Jef and Julie Stang in their Cosine Wherry
The ChrisCraft and “Weatherly”
Three Bridgedeck Cruisers
The “Marian II” was built in 1928 and the “El Mistico” 45 ft in 1927, the latter at Ballard Marine, the one on far right is the third of the visiting bridge deck cruisers, a Canadian owner.
Written by Jack van Ommen on July 10th, 2014
Memories of the last time that Holland lost from Argentina, in the final game, flash by. It was the World Cup held in Argentina in 1978. I was sailing on my Ranger 29 “Gemini” from Vancvouver, B.C. back to La Conner, Wa. On my way home from seeing my friend Susi Stern a Swiss Canadian, the #1 flight attendant of Ward Air. It was another hot July day. I was listening to the game on FM radio. The Coast Guard three (or four?) masted sail training vessel the “Eagle” was passing me and a little later the Holland American line cruise ship the “New Amsterdam”. And today history was repeated in the semi-final game of the World Cup. Argentina won by the skin of their teeth, in the shoot out. All that is left now is for Holland and Brazil to play for the 3rd place. My money is on Holland. And for the Germans to crush Argentina. The Germans have never played as well as they are doing in this World Cup.
And then it’s all over for another 4 years and we can go back to enjoy the summer.I may never see another soccder game till then. But what a spectacle from my little country the size of Rhode Island. They made it to the finals in 2010 and have won a number in the past. These men are true athletes, tacticians, sportsmen. Proud of you!!
Written by Jack van Ommen on July 6th, 2014
The Costa Ricans are tough hombres. Eventhough the Dutch dominated the World Cup 1/4 final game against Costa Rica they just could not manage to score. Then the 30 minute extension, stil 0-0. But the men in Orange managed to win the shootout on goal by 4-3. By the skin of their teeth. So they are in the semi finals.
I put the boat back together, all the instrument panels had been pulled from the companion way bulkhead to be able to refinish the weathered surface, and temporarily put the rudder back in place before painting the replaced rotted out transom deck. Sothat I could join the fun of the fireworks for the Independence Celebration. There had to be over 250 boats anchored and rafted in Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island. The last time I ever went on my boat to watch the 4th of July fire works had to be before 1993; that was the year that I put the former “Fleetwood” on the hard for a thorough overhaul. The work on her was interrupted by my financial problems and she did not get back in the water till 2004. At that time it was just Tacoma that put on the great Fireworks display on at the old town waterfront. But now Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon island is in the competition. It was a fabulous show. I tied up to the power boat that Rose Marie (Daughter #2) and her husband Donovan were with at Dockton on Vashon Island for a short visit and a libation before joining the 12 plus Gig Harbor yachts rafted up in 1/4Master Harbor. A very memorable Independence Day celebration
The oldest existing GH home now part of the Arabella Landing Mafrina in Independence Day dress-up
Mt.Rainier, Pt.Defiance on right
Written by Jack van Ommen on June 28th, 2014
I promised to give a link to the article that appeared in the current issue of “De Krant”, it is www.cometosea.us/albums/FleetwoodinHolland.pdf
I just sent a mail to my Dutch speaking friends/family and in case you are not on my list here is the full text.
Mijn laatste rondschrijven was vanuit Haarlem. Net na mijn schipbreuk. Als je het verhaal, foto’s en uitleg nog niet in het “Zeilen” april nummer las kan je het vinden op:
Deze week verscheen in het meest gelezen immigranten maandblad hier in Noord Amerika, “De Krant”, een artikel dat ik schreef over mijn ervaringen op de boot in Nederland van 2009 tot september 2013. Geschreven van een uniek perspektief als een bezoeker in mijn oude buurt maar in mijn eigen huis. Dit kunt U lezen op http://cometosea.us/albums/FleetwoodinHolland.pdf
Mieke van den Berg, alto in mijn “Cantemus Dominum” koor, hielp mij met de correcties.
Ook nog iets voor tijdens de zomer vakantie te lezen “Op Zee”, van Toine Heijmans, dat ik deze week uitlas. Een geweldig goed en boeiend geschreven 135 bladzijden over een zeilavontuur van een echte zeiler.http://www.bol.com/nl/p/op-zee/1001004011258948. Dit is het tweede boek van deze veelbelovende schrijver.
“Zeilen” gaf mijn artikel de titel “Alles Kwijt” dus letterlijk vertaald van “All is Lost” de Robert Redford film over een schipbreuk, maar de script was geschreven door iemand die geen enkele moeite heeft gedaan om iets van zeezeilen te leren. Het boek is vertaald in het Frans “En Mer” en won een indrukwekkende literaire prijs, Prix Médicis Etranger. Ik was een beetje teleurgesteld in hoe het verhaal eindigde. Maar het neemt niets weg van het heel hartelijk aantebevelen.
“Soloman”, mijn boek over de 9 jaren wereldzeiltocht, ligt sinds mijn vertrek van Nederland te wachten tot dat ik mijn nieuwe boot zeeklaar heb. Voor degenen die mijn blog niet geregeld lezen: Ik vond hier een identieke boot voor zeven duizend dollar. Ik woon hier nu op de boot in Gig Harbor; geniet weer van dit mooie plekje op het water. Mijn plan is om eind van de zomer te vertrekken via Mexico en het Panama kanaal naar Cartagena, Colombia. Dus het plan dat door de schipbreuk onderbroken werd. De nieuwe boot is een kopie van de vorige, heeft weer de zelfde naam en kleuren.
Foto’s staan op de blog.
Dus dit bericht is ook een waarschuwing voor de zwakhartigen. Stel je voor dat ik dit niet schreef en U komt “Fleetwood” weer tegen……
En last but not least ook een “De Mastmakersdochters” lezen. Ik heb de centjes hard nodig na de uitgaven voor de nieuwe boot. www.DeMastmakersdochters.nl
Written by Jack van Ommen on June 28th, 2014
It’s been raining off and on. I cannot finish the transom deck project and refinishing the top edges of the toe rails. But there are plenty projects to do below decks. The official Thursday night races are in May and September but a group of boats still continue to race the rest of the summer and fall months. Four Thunderbirds came out. The below picture is of “Fandango,” Hull number 9, built over 50 years ago. Owned by Jamie Storkman for more than half his lifetime. Jamie has won more sail boat races in the Puget Sound than most people would ever imagine possible. The successful design of the chined plywood Thunderbird was one of the main reasons that I wanted a NAJA and I have not been disappointed by her ever.
If you read Dutch be sure to pick up the latest issue of “De Krant” http://www.mokeham.com/dekrant/ It has an article I wrote about my four years in and out of Holland on “Fleetwood”. The paper is well read in Canada and USA by Dutch immigrant families. And it was written to give my impressions of living back in my old neighborhood after leaving in 1957. This is from a prospective of not just coming to visit and living with relatives but from my own home, shopping, playing and living again among the locals. And the changes I saw. I shall have a link to the article available in an upcoming blog. I also write about the discoveries I made in my digging through the National Archives for the part of the war experiences of my mother for “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.
This evening I was invited by my longtime Peruvian friends Lency and Betty Vasquez, for dinner at their new restaurant “Taste of Peru” http://www.tasteofperuonline.com/. In the Point Fosdick shopping mall, just around the corner from Fred Meyer and Radio Shack. Check their menu. Great Ceviche and their home made Lucuma fruit ice cream. Try it out. You will be back for more.
L.R.: Rick, Don and Jen my neighbors
Lency and Betty at “Taste of Peru”
Written by Jack van Ommen on June 24th, 2014
A Dutch saying “Oost West thuis best!” East West home best. I had to spend 9 years travelling around the globe to realize that Gig Harbor in June has got to be the best place to be. But you need wings or a sail boat to be gone when the rain and dark days of winter are here.
I am overwhelmed with the love and generosity of so many of my friends and family here. I reported in the previous blog of the help to outfit my galley. Dennis Clark, one of our N.W. Sailing Legends, gave me the gorgeous piece of V.G. Douglas Fir to repair the rotted out plywood transom deck and helped me cut it to size in his woodworking shop. The piece is 12 inches (30 cms) wide. I counted 170 annual rings in this piece. The tree had to be over a 1/4 century. Ron Ray, a long time dear friend, brought me the 3 inch hole saw to cut the hole for the ruder post and a powerful drill motor. Ron also helped me get set up to take advantage of the Food Bank, where he volunteers, and took me there for a monthly visit. I came home with at least the $100 equivalent of a grocery shopping. Much of it in canned food which will serve me well on the boat, without refrigeration. My dock neighbor Ira Specter is a boat carpenter and he lent me tools and gave me advice on the replacement of the transom deck. Tom Gordon stopped by today with a couple new fenders I need.
World Cup: There is a large screen t/v in the marina lounge. I watched the Americans win from Ghana and the Dutch defeat the Australians. Last night the 2-2 of the U.S. with Portugal. All very exciting games. America is now definitely a player to be reckoned with. The American public is catching on to the soccer sport. My long time friend and St.Nicholas church pew neighbor, Maggie, invited me for a scampi dinner. She came to pick me up in the middle of the game against Portugal, my new marina friend John had just offered me a Heineken but when I got to their home Maggie’s husband was watching the game and offered me a Heineken. Life is good…..The dinner outstanding. They built a new home on the property Maggie grew up on at the head of Wollochet Bay. Her mom was there as well. She will turn 102 this October…. I have known her and her late husband as well for the last 25 years.
Our resident Bald Eagle
Alpen Glueh on Mt. Rainier
Margaret (“Cookie”) the centenarian napping.
Andy contemplating his water ski chairs, the senior coal retriever and mother in law.
transom deck and enlarged scupper holes
Written by Jack van Ommen on June 17th, 2014
The 4 weeks of summer weather turned into dark, cool, showery fall like weather. When the sun manages to break through momentarily it warms up quickly. But a good excuse to sit glued to the t.v. watching the World Cup. There is a large screen t.v. in the marina lounge and the only American channel we can get for it is the Spanish language station. I missed last Friday’s game Holland-Spain but the news papers and t.v news are full of it. I’ll be watching Holland-Australia at 9 a.m. Pacific time tomorrow.
There is an album of photos of the June 4 presentation at the GHYC and the Blessing of the Fleet taken by Sheila Mordue on the GHYC website at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ghyc/sets/72157645114958741/#
The Tuesday after Pentecost the nice folding bike, which Roger Rue had given me, was stolen. I had it chained to a fence here in the marina. Stolen sometime during the day after 7 a.m. Another dock neighbor, John, lets me use his 10 speed rode bike to get around town.
I am making progress on organizing the boat. The galley had to be totally outfitted since besides the one burner propane stove there was nothing. Local friends brought me a number of items and on Friday morning Jackie Clement, Ruth Gordon and Janet James gave me house warming party with lots of good stuff for the galley and bathroom. Lisa and her birth mother Donna came over on Saturday morning with more gifts and a fancy new watch as a father’s day present. I had lost the watch, my children gave me for Christmas 2011, in Syracuse, Sicily in the summer of 2012.
Interior with Lisa
Marina Lounge deck