Thursday, August 18. My last full moon in Gig Harbor.

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 18th, 2016

God willing, the next full moon picture will be on or of the Pacific Ocean.

an early morning departure

an early morning departure

The oldest Gig Harbor home. The Ross house in Arabella's Landing Marina

The oldest Gig Harbor home. The Ross house in Arabella’s Landing Marina

The excitement rises by the day. Seth, my youngest son, is helping me again with the electronics and navigation software. Yesterday he cranked me up to to the masthead, to replace the broken lens for the tri-color light.

Another reminder for my farewell party here in Gig Harbor on September 6th, from 6 to 8 p.m. A group of helpful lady friends is organizing the event with my daughters as a potluck.

Besides the info I posted on my previous blog, you will be able to find my boat position on, I have added my MSSI number in the upper right hand corner of this web site.



August 11, 2016 “Alone at Sea with God and Social Security and deLorme InReach-SE”

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 11th, 2016

That will be the subtitle to the Sequel to “SoloMan”.

Last night I posted my first track position to this incredible versatile rescue/tracker beacon. You can learn more about this at their web site   This solves the dilemma I had in trying to stay in touch with my family and friends, at sea, since I lost the SailMail capability I had on “Fleetwood”‘s predecessor. This saved me the expense of the $500 annual subcription and the purchase of a Pactor modem, which can run close to $3,000. The new boat came with a SSB radio and ecellent tuner and backstay anenna but the radio has a bad reputation. But I can use it for SOS calls and to listen to the weather reports. The SailMail allowed to update my blogs. But this is not as critical because from here onward I shall not cross any oceans and most of my passages will be under a week’s length. I will blog from shore when Wi-Fi is available. You will be able to check my position at the URL I have now permanently posted under the top right picture of me leaving the Golden Gate in 2005.

Shortly after I sufered my shipwreck on November 16, 2013, Richard Spindler of “Latitude 38” put out a call for my assistance and he promised to donate the EPIRB for the replacement equipment. He suggested then to check this alternative out. In my case as a solo sailor it performs all the functions as a rescue beacon that an EPIRB provides plus all the other functions, including two way texting, weather forcasting, etc. I chose the subscription for the different services the host provides that I can interrupt while I am ashore. I will keep the service going when I do my planned backpacking trip from Catagena to Southern Chile next summer.

This is the picture I took last night, under a waxing moon from the companion way, how the track shows up on my laptop by going to the above link. You have a choice to see it as well from Google Earth. The subscrition I chose costs ten cents a minute for the texting and pinging. So, please, do not text or ping me on this link. If you have an urgent message contact my daugther Lisa. Many of you will remember her from the time she forwarded my SailMails from 2005 until I was able to blog from the boat. Her e-mail address is stil the hotmail one.004 007


Saturday July 30. Lummi Island

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 2nd, 2016

It was a welcome break from the chores to prepare “Fleetwood” for her September 12 departure. The short ferry ride from Goose Berry Point to the island brings you in a totally different world. The majority of the ferry passengers are locals since there are no hotels on the island and they all know one another. You leave your preoccupations on the mainland side. My friends Sid and Leslie live on the beach on the Lummi reservation facing the island. We met on a ski charter flight to Austria in 1972. Sid designed all three homes I had built in my previous life. His younger brother David and wife Charlotte live on the island. It was Sid’s 78th birthday on the 27th and we celebrated this, before the presentation I gave at the Lummi Island Library, at the restaurant above the ferry landing. It was a beautiful summer evening with a gorgeous view across Hale Passage of Mount Baker.


Mt. Baker


B-day boy on left front. May I look as good as Dewey on right when I pass my ninetieth b-day.








We were thirteen at the table and made up nearly one third of the presentation audience. Giving presentations is a new skill that I am slowly acquiring. My dear friend Leslie sat down at the Sunday breakfast table and gave me some helpful suggestions. Leslie is the one who gave me the right pick for my first sailboat in 1976, she counseled me in 1972 when I became a single dad, I could have saved myself some heartaches and disappointments in my relationships after my divorce if I would have heeded her advice. Their home was a regular overnight stop on my frequent business trips to my Canadian sawmill suppliers. These friendships are very precious and it was a delight to see their friends and relatives. Leslie’s son Mike and Sid’s son Doug were with us with their spouses. They were around Lisa and Rose Marie’s age, then respectively four and eight years old when we met in 1972.


Wednesday July 27th. Up the mast.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 28th, 2016

This was a photo shoot opportunity. Yesterday I went up the mast with a mountain climbing type rappelling gear to drill holes in the spreaders for the pulley blocks for the flag/burgee halyards and to remove an obsolete try-sail track. Tomorrow I’ll use the same gear to go up the mast to check the mast steaming light, above the first spreaders. Yesterday I was cranked to the top of the mast by Steve Essig ( the camera man for a team effort documentary led by Dennis Minor ( I replaced the old incandescent bulbs with LED lights on the masthead tri-color/anchor light. The below clip is part of the video taken by Richard Gillette of RKG Media LLC of Gig Harbor with his drone.

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taken by Jan Tuell-Alskog

taken by Jan Tuell-Alskog






Saturday July 23rd. Progress report.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 23rd, 2016

September 12 departure from Port Townsend is quickly approaching. But I am making progress. The “to do” list is shrinking and so are my “Shopping List” and my savings.  Please, take a look at what is left to scrounge or purchase.

The choices on the navigation and communication hard- and software have been made. My youngest son Seth, who is an ace in electronics, came up from Portland to help me install the Vesper AIS transponder. This is an amazing simple system to watch for traffic. I am now cooking on a two burner propane stove instead of the one burner with the small camping stove canisters. The below photo shows the enclosure I made for the 5 gallon aluminum propane tank. This tank is half the size of the 10 gallon steel tanks I carried on the old “Fleetwood”. But I shall no longer make the long ocean crossings.  The new regulations required me to enclose the tank and the anticipated one day project extended into a much bigger undertaking. Measure twice and cut once could have saved me precious hours. But in the end I managed with the half sheet of 1/2″ 4 x 8′ BC DougFir plywood.

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This coming Saturday, July 30, at 6.30 pm., I will give a presentation and book signing of my SoloMan adventure at the Lummi Island Library. Walk on the 6.10 pm ferry from Goose Berry Point or anchor to the south of the ferry landing and walk up to the library above the ferry landing. I may try to sail up myself.

Tuesday September 6th. at 6 pm. is my official farewell party here at the net shed of the Arabella’s Landing Marina in Gig Harbor. We’ll have tacos and refreshments on the deck. I’ll sail up to Port Townsend on Wednesday.

Wooden Boat Festival: September 8th through 11th. I give a presentation on the traditional Dutch shallow draft sailing barges on Friday the 8th at 2.30 p.m. and Saturday at 3.45 pm on my SoloMan adventure. During the weekend I will have a spot in the Authors tent where I will be selling and signing “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” and SoloMan”. After the Saturday presentation there will be another farewell party with my daughters and family and friends on the beach before my Monday, or possibly Sunday departure down the Pacific Coast. In an upcoming blog I will have a link on this web site to show my track updated on a 10 minute interval  through the De Lorme Reach software.

The San Francisco St. Francis YC has me on the schedule for a dinner presentation on Thursday October 6th. I plan to make just a few stops in Oregon and Northern California and then spend time in the San Francisco Bay area in late September early October before heading into Mexico in November, with stops in Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach and San Diego.

A favor, please: I have asked this before, so far I have received one review on “SoloMan”. This will boost my sales, as it does on the reviews a number of you wrote for The Mastmakers’ Daughters. I need the money for my depleted cruising kitty. Can you write something on the Amazon review section?  Ook heel graag voor de Nederlandse uitgave.


Wednesday, June 22nd. Back from the California visit.

Written by Jack van Ommen on June 22nd, 2016

When you get to be my advanced age there is a milepost every other day. Today could have been my 57th first wedding anniversary. But the good thing is that I had to prove my age to the security screeners at the airport. I am allowed to keep my shoes on since I am over 75. This reminds me of the warning I received from my twin brother when I informed him from Durban in 2007, on his 70th birthday, that when he turned 75 I’d be 65 because I would be going back one year for every year I spend at sea. He told me that I’d be needing him to buy my drinks if I dropped back below 21.

To follow up on the previous departure announcement: I will be giving a presentation, on the Dutch shallow draft sailing barges, on Friday Sept. 9 from 2.30 until 3.30 and on Saturday the 10th, on my SoloMan adventure, from 3.450 until 4.45 pm. Besides my two daughters and family there are a number of friends who plan to come and see me off on Saturday. I plan to give a “Bon Voyage” party after the presentation. “Fleetwood” is still on the waiting list for moorage in the Cap Sante Marina. Tentatively, I plan to also have a get together here at the Arabella’s landing Marina on Tuesday evening the 6th of September. I have updated the “Fleetwood” Wish list, for the equipment I need to outfit for the long voyage. Several of the major items have been purchased/donated.  But as you will see there are quite a few still to be procured. Take a good look, please. Also I really appreciate any counsel on the choices of navigation and communication questions I have on this list from my fellow off-shore cruising readers.

California was a (hot) blast. I made new friends and enjoyed very much being among sailing friends in familiar places. Alameda where I spent about three weeks preparing “Fleetwood” in March 2005. And in Santa Barbara from where I left for the Marquesas at the end of April 2005.  The “SailStice” fun for all at the Encinal YC was an exciting place to be.

Several Master Mariner classics attending and El Torros demonstration.

Several Master Mariner classics attending and El Torros demonstration.


The America’s Cup Trophy on exhibit at the Encinal YC








I flew to San Francisco on a buddy pass from ex-second wife Laura and rented a car for the drive to and from Santa Barbara. I had planned to spend a few more days visiting old and new friends in the Los Angeles area but the timing and the heat cut that to just Monday afternoon. “Sixt” rentals, where I have had very good prices and service from in Holland earlier this year and last year, turned out to cater to the muscle car affecionados. But when I was ready to go back to the airport the manager made me a deal on a Chevy Equinox with 500 miles on it. What a sweet car to drive and the a/c performed well on Monday afternoon when the thermometer for the outside temperature climbed to 115 Fahrenheit. Santa Barbara is where I became a father when Lisa was born there on April 18, 1964. She was baptized in the Franciscan old mission church, where all the fathers were applauded at the 9 a.m. mass on Sunday. Perfect place and time. I had the best lunch ever for $1.80 per Taquito at Lily’s Taqueria on Chapalla street. The below pictures were taken at sunset on Sunday with the unusual colors because of the forest fire. I turned 180° to take the moon rise.

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Sunday June 12. I have a departure date.

Written by Jack van Ommen on June 13th, 2016

Exactly three months from now. Monday, September 12. This will be right after the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. I will give a few presentations that weekend at the festival.  From there I will move down the Pacific Coast to the San Francisco Bay area and make stops along the way for a November departure, after the hurricane season ends, into Mexico and further to the Panama Canal.

There is still much to be done and acquired. But I thrive on deadlines. I have composed a list of items I wish/need, in case you might have some sitting around or have them for sale. Please, check the list at Fleetwood Shopping List I also solicit your advise on several questions on navigation and communication installations in this list.

Last week I hauled the boat out for antifouling and maintenance. I did not get done in time to have “Fleetwood” blessed in the annual Gig Harbor “Blessing of the Fleet”on Sunday June 5th. I was the guest on the m/y “Last Dance” of my friends Terry and Janet James in the Gig Harbor YC raft up. I did get sprinkled and “Fleetwood” will have to make do with what she received in 2014.

Fr.Mark Guzman and Deacon Dale Fickes of St. Nicholas church with the B&B Lopez twins as servers.

Fr.Mark Guzman and Deacon Dale Fickes of St. Nicholas church with the B&B Lopez twins as servers.





I am flying down to the Bay Area for my presentation at the “Summer Sailstice” festival at the Encinal YC in Alameda on this Saturday the 18th. And will do another presentation at the Santa Barbara YC on Monday the 20th at their luncheon meeting. I plan to look up a few old and new California friends in Southern California and the Bay Area.



Thursday May 19th. A Dutch road trip.

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 20th, 2016

I received a photo taken at the May 6th OCC rally to prove my membership in the Ocean Cruising Club:

picture taken by Eva.

picture taken by Eva.

Tomorrow I turn my one week rental car back in. After visiting friends and family in the provinces of Utrecht and Gelderland, I am heading for at least three visits into the countryside north of Amsterdam. Holland at its best. New green foliage, tulip fields, new born lambs and calves, etc.

After my presentation at Tiel Maritiem I headed to Barneveld to visit my friends at De Bondgenoot with the Boonzaaijers, who I met in French Polynesia in 2005. On the way back to Amsterdam I stopped at the Nieuwboer botter yard to check on the botter yacht “Groote Beer” the so-called “Herman Goering” yacht, with which I have had an association over the  last thirty years. Last year she was still on the ways at the yard for repairs to the 2011 mishap. There is still some work to be done while she is afloat again.

Groote Beer in Spakenburg

Groote Beer in Spakenburg


The Nieuwboer yard in Spakenburg







and a few more road side attractions:


Gristmill in Ingen, Gelderland

Pumping stations to keep the reclaimed polders dry

Pumping stations to keep the reclaimed polders dry near Hoorn in West Friesland









Tuesday May 17th. Recordings and Photos of the May 4th Concert

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 17th, 2016

Just six more days before I fly back to the Northwest on May 24th. The five weeks flew by. The attempts to promote “SoloMan” in presentations did not work out. Too little advance notice and too late in the season. Many friends and relatives here are reading “SoloMan” now.

But I would not have wanted to miss the rest of the visit with friends and family in Holland, Belgium and England. The high light remains the memorial concert on May 4th. The pictures speak for themselves. These were taken by Vimala Tummers, the sister of Jessica Tummers, choir soprano and the current choir president. For the details on the roll my mother’s story played in the theme of the concert “Abide with me”, see my earlier blog s of May 5th and May 1st. The concert started with the reading of the chapter “From Vught into the unknown” , the text can be found in my March 17th posting. The soprano soloist sung the first verse of “Abide with me” acapella from the organ loft. Followed by the continuation of the “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” story where the women sang for the male prisoners when they reached their destination in Oranienburg. Then the women sang the next verse. The last verse was sung by the entire choir, listen at:

You can listen to the entire concert, inclusief de Nederlandse teksten, at: May 4th Concert  The sound was recorded by: Theo Teunenbroek.


Marguerite Schiekelmann reading from "The Mastmakers' Daughters

Marguerite Schiekelmann reading from “The Mastmakers’ Daughters

Madeleine van Tooren reading the second chapter

Madeleine van Tooren reading the second chapter


full house

Yours tenor truly in the rear swinging his flowers for the effort.

Yours tenor truly in the rear swinging his flowers for the effort.


Pentecost. May 15

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 15th, 2016

Just to show you how small Amsterdam is: On Friday I am crossing the street at 7.30 A.M. across from the Central Station. I hear a woman’s voice behind me: “Sir, the light is not on green yet!” I turn around, it is my niece Marieken on her way to work, her work and her home are not even close to this location.

The presentation at “De Schinkel” was a disappointment. The projector and the person I had made the arrangement with, two weeks earlier, were not there and contrary to the promise none of the members had been made aware of it. There was a small crowd for the weekly “Freedom” races and I managed to put on a show using the wide screen TV with the help of one of the members.  Friday and Saturday I visited friends in Bosch en Duin, Baarn and Soest. I attended the Pentecost service in Soest, with an impressive choir, which accounted for a quarter of the mass attendance. Why is it that in Holland we have many empty pews but good size choirs whereas my church in Gig Harbor has very few empty seats but cannot generate more than a handful of women to act as a choir?

Petrus and Paulus church Soest

Petrus and Paulus church Soest






I am back visiting my cousin Karel and his wife Ankie in their old farmhouse in Eck en Wiel on the Lek River. The Storks are back and they now have a one year old Peacock.

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