Huckleberry quivered as the gusts pounded against the canvas of her sails. She imagined for a moment that waves washed over her deck. Then she admitted the reality, where the wind beat not against canvas, but rather against a coarsely woven polypropylene. This material was not the fabric of her sails, but instead the flimsy covering on the tent that sheltered her from the worst of the gusts. Still, the wind was most certainly pounding, as it often does in the winter. That was not her imagination. The dramatic effect of the gusts was exaggerated as the tarp snapped and flapped, rippling waves moving along its surface. The steel framework rocked, the bungees stretched, and she felt like the whole thing might come crashing down on the mast that was propped on crutches over her cabintop. This reality concerned her for a moment. Then she remembered that the tent had withstood worse. The little ship would not founder in this storm.
How did she come to this place, tucked securely under a shelter next to a garage attached to a house sitting on a hill overlooking the valley in Olalla? She had arrived here through circumstances that would be familiar to many trailered sailboats. Born into the sun in southern California in 2001, she was sold north, to Fremont, on the blustery San Franscisco Bay. Eventually someone bought her and took her to Oregon. After a while, her new owner felt the lure of the sea and moved near Port Hadlock and the shores of Puget Sound. Circumstances change, of course, and soon she found herself sitting between the wheels of her galvanized trailer in a driveway in Port Townsend with a "For Sale" sign on her bow. At least she had the company of her own kind. She shared the driveway with an identical class of boat, a 19-foot West Wight Potter. Her caretaker did marine service work, and Huckleberry was his project, a favor for a customer. He was getting her polished up to sell.
One winter day, as her caretaker was gently sanding her gelcoat, a shiny red British motorcycle with a black-clad rider passed the driveway, slowed, performed a wobbly u-turn, and dropped its kickstand in the driveway. The rider dismounted and extracted his head from a snug-fitting helmet. He greeted Huckleberry's caretaker, staggered toward the boat in his bulky riding gear, and started poking around her hull, deck and cabin. After a surprisingly short examination, and bit of conversation, and something along the lines of "I'll let you know this weekend", the rider planted himself on the motorcycle seat and roared off.
It was only a few days later when Huckleberry was hitched up and cruising down the highway. Huckleberry guessed that she was not headed for a boat ramp, and she was correct. I guess that's how it's going to be, she thought. Trailer-sailors see most of their water from the road. Crossing the bridge, hitting the freeway. Then an exit and a mini-mall parking lot, then hitched up to a different vehicle - Looks a little small, she thought - then bouncing down the road again, Huckleberry and her trusty trailer pushing a little SUV down the highway. Then through some winding back-rounds, and up a steep, long driveway, and finally parked under a tent on a hill overlooking the valley. And there she was still, listening to the wind. It was starting to rain. The rain trickled down the hill, across the road, into the creek, and rushed the last few miles until it flowed into little lagoon, and then a little bay, and finally the water followed the tide out into Puget Sound. If only I could float down that creek thought Huckleberry. And she settled down for the night, and felt the waves rolling and the wind pushing her along.