From John Purdy: Northwest Potters Bellingham Sail, April 26-28, 2002

Old NWP Website's picture

Bellingham was a great place to sail. Those who made it were Jim and Tami Ferguson in Esmerelda, myself, John Purdy in Wild Goose, and Tony and Ann Amort with their family in a shakedown cruise of their soon to be renamed 19. Michele Sladko in Seahorse and Dave Panco in Comet joined us Saturday afternoon in time to catch the best wind of the day.

The weather turned out to be lovely. The rain quit Friday night, and the fog burned off about 10 AM Saturday morning. Light winds (5+mph) with calms carried some of us as far as Lummi Island (7 miles). A very nice little cove there has a protected anchorage, beach, and picnic tables. This would be a great overnight destination.

Dinner was at the brew pub in downtown B'am. I don't recall who suggested this place, but it was a good choice. Thanks.

Saturday was another sunny day with good wind (10-15mph). The four Potter 15's spent a large part of the day tacking back and forth in the bay under reefed mains. At one point we were in close formation 5 feet apart for a long reach across the bay. That was really fun. The Amort's outboard was still giving trouble, but they joined us in their 19 for a turn around the bay, too.

Squalicum Harbor was a very nice facility. Large amounts of trailer parking (mostly empty). The Friday night security patrol came by and told us that overnighting in the lot was against policy, but he was nice about it, and he let the Fergusons stay in their motorhome and me in my boat when it became clear we were not intending to homestead and endanger property values.

We did use the launch ramps for free with our official West Wight Potter pass (a post-it with WWP on it). Nice ramps-four lanes, useable at all tide levels, and free wash down area. The visitors moorage was fine, too. It's a short walk to a good cafe and restrooms with shower and laundry facilities. Overall, it's a nice large facility in good shape staffed by friendly and helpful people. I'd go back in a minute. I think this would also be a good place to start a trip to the San Juans

B'ham was a successful trip all around. I'm only sorry that so many Potter sailors who wanted to come were unable to join us. Hope to see you at the next meet.

Fair winds, 
Bill McClure 
WWP 15 Dulcinea #1537 
Seattle, WA


Adding my 2 cents---

This was our first Potter rendezvous and first trip other than the Seattle lakes and we weren't sure what to expect. What we found was wonderful people and great times! We arrived Friday in the downpour and were met in the lot by Jim Ferguson, who told us where to go. We launched and settled in, waking Saturday to a bit of fog, but dry and the promise of a great day. Ran into Bill fairly early and we started planning for the day. Ours didn't turn out quite as we had hoped since our outboard kept quitting when we were halfway out of the marina. Made several attempts, even using dinghy oars as paddles once, but the headwinds were a little strong, and sailing in the traffic in the marina made us nervous. We saw Michele and Dave buzz out to join the others in the middle of the afternoon, and took a walk around to the point so we could see the bay and Lummi Island.

On the dock we acted as Potter ambassadors to passersby. These boats seem to draw a LOT of interest. Once everyone was back and we got together for dinner it seems the group decided to take it as a challenge to get us out sailing, and our eternal thanks go to Dave Panco for using Comet as a towboat to get us in and out of the marina! Sunday morning there was a bit more wind than Saturday, and enough chop to make it interesting. We ran a reefed main and just enough jib to balance the helm, and took off across the bay. It definitely was rougher out further. We have been used to a (much) larger boat, and the boys were a bit nervous from the motion and the spray and fairly quickly decided that they had had enough, although they weren't terrified. Since I would like to keep them wanting to go we decided to head back, where Dave again towed us in through the maze and to the launch ramp.

We were disappointed not to get to sail Saturday--but we did get to sail after all! The boys announced last night that they had a good time and wanted to do it again. Ann pointed out that it looked like all our neighbors had mowed their lawns, but they didn't have sunburns and grins on their faces! We'll mow the lawn later.

Thanks again to everyone who came--it was great and we are looking forward to doing it again (after the outboard is fixed).

Tony, Ann, Austin & Aaron Amort



Bill, Thank you for hosting the Bellingham event. It is a nice facility to sail out of and good protected waters. Wild Goose arrived Thursday evening and met Jim Ferguson. Jim was helpful in pointing the way to the vistor dock. First mate Sherrie and I launched Wild Goose and motored over to the visitor dock and tied next to Jim and his 120 foot neighbor a 120 foot yacht complete with real working cheifs. Jim described a launch they lowered to float a car over to the launching ramp for land transportation during their visit, a very impressive setup.

Friday was rainny all day and Sherrie and I took advantage of the rain by catching up on our rest, wandering around on shore during the dry spells, and checking out the local cafe. I checked in with the harbor master who was able to zoom in and see on a big screen TV via a remote control video camera Wild Goose tied to the visitor dock. He mentioned that yesterday when the Jim arrived that the little yellow P-15 just looked like a mustard smear next to the 120 foot yacht. We visited with Jim and his wife in the classic Winibago. Was nice to chat about boats in a toasty warm RV.

Saturday we sailed out with the group headed towards Lummi Island with the group. We sailed along side with Esmerelda till Jims wife decided to take a nap and moved from cockpit to birth. With the bow down, Esmerelda had a determined stance in the water and then sailed quickly away from Wild Goose. We turned around early to get back to the dock to head down to Anacortes for some visiting and to see a play. Sherrie has good friends that live in Anacortes, who are active in the local theater. Though we enjoyed the visiting and the play we missed out on being with the group Saturday evening.

Sunday we arrived late at the dock and ran in to Jim. He'd come back in to drop off a passenger reef, an head out again. I set up the reef in Wild Goose and pushed off. We'd decided since we had monday to drive home we'd anchor out at Inata Bay on Lummi Island. We saw the 15's zooming back and forth as we headed out to Lummi. Shortly after we got into deeper water the conditions seemed quite a bit calmer, we shook out the reef and continued. There were four other vessels in Inata bay when we arrived. We inflated our dingy and went ashore to investigate the island a bit. When we got back there was only one other vessel. We paddled around the bay in the dingy checking out the waterfall and sea life, then went back to Wild Goose to prepare dinner. During dinner the last remaining vessel pulled anchor and headed out. We then had the bay to ourselves. After some star gazing retired to bed.

Monday I woke up to the sound of the center board slapping and feeling nausous. Thought it was motion sickness but I don't usually suffer from motion sickness and that usually doesn't include diarea. Bad food? flu bug? who knows, but had to deal with that and getting back to Bellingham for the 6 hour drive back to Portland. First mate Sherrie was very helpful in getting the boat in order to sail deflating the dingy, getting the motor going and then stearing much of the way back to Bellingham Bay while I tried to rest to gather some energy. Sherrie discovered the utility of channel markers as we were entering Squalicum Harbor at low tide. She strayed a little to far to the right of the red bouy and we ran softly aground. Raising the center board saved the day as we were able then to motor into harbor as if nothing happened. Pulled Wild Goose from the water and headed south arriving home at 9:30 PM.

Today, tuesday I'm feeling a little spunker so will finish up unpacking and rinse the salt water from the boat and flush the motor.

Overall a great trip, just tried to do too much. We would have liked to spend more time visiting with the other Potter folks as well as visiting with Anacortes friends.

BTW I noticed on the way home some of the trailer side clearance lights that had been working on the way north weren't working on the way south. At least the important tail lights stop lights and blinkers were working. More things to add to the "things to fix" list.

John Purdy
P-19 #215 Wild Goose
P-15 #1206 Perky
Tigard OR


All photos by Jim Ferguson.

(This content was imported from the old NW Potters website.)