The 21′ Gokstad faering I built in 1987 wasn’t a boat I could bring myself to paint or slather with boat soup that would turn black with age. The straight-grained, knot-free Douglas fir I used for the planks and sculpted stems deserved to be seen, so I varnished the whole boat inside and out. That may not have been the wisest choice for a boat built to row up the Inside Passage from Washington to Alaska, but I managed to get it through the 1,000-mile trip with only two scratches.The boat was only hauled ashore once or twice, so it was almost always afloat, day and night for eight weeks, long enough for a few barnacles to start growing below the waterline. To keep the varnish intact I had to be very careful with my anchoring, especially in waters where the tides could fall up to 20′ between the highs and lows. I didn’t want to wake up, as John Hartmann did in his Deer Isle adventure, to something going bump in the night and gouging the brightwork bottom.Many of the coves along the northern British Columbia coast and the Alaskan panhandle were narrow, rocky, and steep-sided, so anchoring or dragging the boat ashore were out of the question. That’s when one of the variations on the Pythagorean mooring system that Hartmann describes, came in handy.
Stay On Course
More From This Issue
From The Editor
A Line in the Sand
The 21′ Gokstad faering I built in 1987 wasn’t a boat I could bring myself to paint or slather with boat soup that would turn black with age. The straight-grained,...
Ron Rantilla’s Odyssey 165 is an unusual rowboat for touring and exercise. It is specifically for use with his FrontRower, a drop-in forward-facing rowing system. With the oars fully supported…
Seaford skiffs first appeared in the shallow marshes around the New York town of Seaford, Long Island, in the early 1870s. They are an evolutionary product of skiffs commonly used…
A Maine Island Idyll
It was a very gentle bump. I’d been sleeping comfortably at anchor after a long day on the water, but I was wide-awake in an instant. A few seconds later…
A first read about the Pythagorean mooring technique in Roger Barnes’s delightful and informative book, The Dinghy Cruising Companion, when it was published in 2014. It is a simple and…
When I first saw the CrewStop rowing gloves, I thought they looked like well-made, orthopedic rehab devices. The backs of the gloves resemble athletic tape, and this is a good…
An Auto-Release Cleat
This summer I ran over a submerged object while I was out sailing my 18′ sail-and-oar boat. The centerboard, held down by a bungee, kicked up, dropped back down, and…