Adventures - Small Boats Magazine
A bend in the river surrounded by farmland and forests provided me a place to camp. With little current and minor tides in the Mutlnomah Channel I could leave MAC overnight only slightly aground. A line from her bow to my wrist as I slept was all I needed to assure me that she'd not leave without me.

Rowing the Columbia

Seeking serenity on a busy river

At Portland, Oregon’s, Cathedral Park, the Willamette River was flowing gently, leaving barely discernible eddies around submerged pilings a few yards from the beach. Skamakowa was 75 miles downstream and I had five days to get there relying on the current and a pair of oars. As I swung into the Willamette's current under the long shadow of St. Johns Bridge, I pulled hard to get away from diesel and car exhaust, ski boats, and boom boxes, and headed to the other side of the river.

I arrived at the finish smiling at the sight of my three girls waiting for me. It was the first time I’d seen them since the race started. One of the great gifts of the EC is a fresh perspective on what truly matters.

The 2014 Everglades Challenge

A solo sail-and-oar adventure race

The Everglades Challenge begins at Florida’s Fort Desoto State Park in Tampa Bay and runs roughly 300 miles south to the Sunset Cove Hotel in Key Largo. How boats get there is up to their crews as long as they sign in at each of the three checkpoints along the way within the allotted deadlines. The boats are all small because each solo racer or team of two must drag their boats from the high-water mark to the water’s edge without assistance. The race is unsupported; you’re on your own.

Standing up to the Big Muddy

2,300 miles on a paddleboard

I secured my gear on deck. With my quick-dry pants rolled up and water shoes tied tight, I set a foot on the board, planted my paddle on deck for balance, and pulled my other foot out of the icy water and splashed it down on the deck pad. The water ahead was streaked with white. When a cowboy lingering outside the motel the night before said, “You know there are rapids on that river?” I’d brushed him off. Now I was fighting the urge to kneel on the board for balance.

Anchoring the Caledonia yawl

The Mining Ruins of Juneau, Alaska

A family adventure under sail and oar

There are so many things to see and explore in Southeast Alaska that can only be accessed by a small boat. In 2008, my wife, Leni, and I wanted to make sure that our girls—Gracie, then three, and Isabel, then one—didn't miss out on those things for lack of a way to get to them. That’s when we decided to build SPARROW, a Caledonia Yawl, which we launched in 2009. None of us really were sailors back then, but, lucky for us, the Caledonia yawl is a very forgiving boat.