n a clearing rain and soft mist LITTLE JOY slid through calm water to the middle of the Mississippi River, about 2 miles below Lock and Dam #1 in Minneapolis, the highest navigable on the Mississippi River. The river, here at Hidden Falls, is only 100 yards wide, clear and cold, with a gentle but . . .
When I set out from Mukilteo, Washington, late in July of 1980, the wind was light, barely ruffling the silvery expanse of Possession Sound. I set all sail—the sprit-rigged main, the jib and flying jib, topsail and jib-topsail—but wouldn’t think of GAMINE as a topsail cutter. She was just a 14’ dory skiff, the first wooden boat I had ever built. Aside from her broad plywood garboards, she was traditionally built with western red cedar planks on both sawn and steam-bent white oak frames. While I’d been day-sailing her for about a year and adding sails one by one until there was no room for more, I’d never done an overnight cruise with her or any small boat. Now I was headed north to sail the Inside Passage with no particular destination in mind. There was no telling how far I’d get.