Hello! It’s been a busy summer here at the boat shop as usual. The waiting list for a new boat now extends to the middle of fall, so if you are in a hurry for a boat, check out the boats that are on the Available Now listings. If you want a custom boat for a late fall or early winter trip to the tropics, now is the time to call. We are open Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm. If you want a chance to go out on the water for a test row or sail, please call ahead at Contact us, as we are busy making boats for all our fall customers.
Our Mailbag has been full this summer so I’m sure you will enjoy reading about these adventures as much as we have.
Jersey Skiff review in Small Craft Advisor magazine
In August the boat reviewer from Small Craft Advisor went out for a sail in our Jersey Skiff with a customer of ours in Port Townsend. Here is an exerpt from the review:
“True to her original form, Gig Harbor Boatworks’ Jersey Skiff is a versatile small craft of surprising capability. Although based on the classic Jersey boats, Gig Harbor’s version features plenty of modern details. The Jersey Skiff moved easily and was comfortable to row from the middle of three rowing stations. The Skiff is one of the few boats we’ve reviewed that we’d consider owning without an outboard. We were impressed with her speed–she preformed more like a modern daysailer than a rowing-and-sailing antique. The Skiff pointed well and came through her tacks smoothly. The helm was light and remarkably neutral. Sail controls fell easily to hand. The stock setup favors the singlehander, which is as it should be. Not surprisingly, owners confirm the Jersey Skiff is easy to trailer, rig, launch and retrive. We found it vert satisfying to push the boat off its trailer, and up on the sand; give her a shove and jump aboard; to row her quietly through a cross-current out into the bay, then to hoist sail and glide downwind. It’s no surprise then that Gig Harbor Boatworks, builders of mostly traditional rowing and sailing craft, can barely keep up with orders– and that their 17 foot Jersey Skiff is more popular than ever.”
You’ll have to buy a back copy of the magazine to read the rest of the review but we think you’ll agree that this is one great boat. Here are a couple of photos from the day they went out.
A nice Starboard reach.
A pleasant beat on the Starboard tack.
A closeup of the crew while reaching.
The Jersey Skiff resting calmly on the beach.
Atlantic Challenge Update
Rowing hard against the swell of the Atlantic.
Bishop Rock lighthouse which marked the finish line for the Atlantic Challenge Race.
This month we are lucky to have the inside story of the Atlantic Challenge. Erinn Hale, the team photographer has graciously given us permission to show some of her wonderful photos and tell us the story of how she came to be involved with this effort. Read on, we think you will be amazed as were we.
Greg Spooner sat next to me a year ago May 2005 on an Alaska Airline flight to Newark from Seattle. He had boarded the plane with a 6 pack of Northwestern beer. One bottle was missing and as soon as the flight attendant spotted the potential of a raucous passenger, she insisted that he place the odd number of bottles up in the overhead bins. I use them for bartering rides. Someone gives me a ride to the airport, I give them a finely crafted Northwestern beer. It’s like gold. I respected his resourceful nature. I asked him, “What is the purpose for your trip?. He replied that he was on his way to Liberty Harbor, just across the Hudson from Manhattan, to inspect the 29 foot long boat with which he and 3 of his rowing companions would row across the Atlantic in June of 2006. He told me the story of how Jordan Hanssen found a poster advertising a race put on by Woodvale Events that drew out a path along the Gulf Stream from New York to Falmouth, England. No American had ever successfully crossed the North Atlantic and no one had ever rowed from mainland to mainland. Greg confessed that he was a bit hesitant to partake in the race at first, but as he spoke was noticeably quite the qualified spokesperson. He told me of Dylan LeValley and Brad Vickers who were also his rowing mates at the University of Puget Sound and were now about to continue their collegiate mission across the Atlantic. I was quite taken by this fate that I would happen to sit next to the most fascinating person on the plane and took the opportunity to hand the courageous man my card. I’m a photographer. If ever you need anything, give me a call.. Greg phoned me four months later and I’ve been photographing them ever since.
Fast forward past meeting their amazing families and friendly supporters, fundraising events, rowing for 7 days straight at the Seattle Boat Show, the flip tests on Lake Union, a Port Townsend landing after a week around the Puget Sound, a Westport landing after what was supposed to be 10 days on the Pacific but due to weather and malfunctions was cut short, the commencement of the race from New York after days of final preparations and completely covering the docks with food packs, supplies, and necessary items that satisfied the race list requirements. Fast forward past every single day checking their progress on their website, eagerly reading daily, sometime weekly blogs, viewing pictures they took on board through hurricane-like weather and beautiful sunrises, maintaining almost weekly correspondence with Greg and the guys through email that I couldn’t believe was being sent from the middle of the ocean. Fast forward past landing in London, my bag, passport, and credit cards being stolen, being grateful that I still had my camera- my livelihood. Fast forward past the panic of getting to Falmouth in time to coordinate a mode of transportation out to the guys before they crossed the invisible finish line, waiting for a week and a half for them to even get close, finding a job washing dishes, miraculously running into Woodvale.s own support boat skipper, Stewart, at the local and not-too-tasty Chinese Restaurant, finding out that the other support 1st mate, Mark Terry, was heading out on a boat the next day and that there just might be space enough for me.
I managed to find a dry suit and what the British call, “Willies”, or waterproof boots. We headed out from Newlyn, near Penzance on a 7 meter rib with no protection from wind or waves, out to St. Marys of the Isles of Scilly with the confidence that we’d have at least a day and a half before the men were close enough to the line to avoid running out of gas along our way. We not only found plenty of pubs that featured their own collection of finely brewed cask beer, but a lovely deli from which Mark and I would often use the wireless Internet to check the status of the guys at one in the morning. I felt the pressure to keep up with the plentiful British lad consumption of pints. I was outnumbered as the only female, but kept up with 7 pints each and a gin and tonic to finish us off. I didn.t worry about the next day as we weren.t due to set off until around 11am the next day. If only I.d known that the emergency beacon would go off at around 5 in the morning, sending our boat into a rush to find out what dangers existed on the American boat. We set out at 6am for a 2 hour ride to where their last read coordinates said they were located. We approached encroaching storm clouds and tornados. The water remained fairly mild, but every time we paused to put on our dry suits or enjoy a cup of tea, the feeling in my stomach began to make a turn for the worse. We continued on our way until we reached their presumed location and finally spotted them as a red dot on the horizon. The excitement that began to build the closer we got to the boat resembled the child-like impatience and enthusiasm that wakes up a child at 5am on Christmas morning. I was beside myself and as I tried to get out my camera equipment from the dry bag, I noticed my hands were shaking and my voice, squealing. To see these 4 incredible men, in the flesh, after so much time. They had endured so much, far beyond anything I could ever begin to fathom. Here they were with giant grins hidden by mass amounts of burly facial hair. They looked weathered, a bit gaunt, but toned by the constant use of their upper body strength. By the time we approached them, there must have been a changing of the guards, because it appeared as though they were just hanging around on the small space that was their deck. It felt so good to see them and bring them comfort. I was the closest person to their families and friends that they.d seen in 68 days. I just kept staring at them, a bit speechless, examining the physical and emotional changes. These men were heroes. That fact began to strike me that the photos I took were capturing history in the making. This moment in time would only exist as a two-dimensional visual expression of man’s endurance and will to push his psychology beyond the limitations the average individual creates. These men were not ordinary in their pursuits. I thought of the condition of their bachelor domain in Jordan’s house and how human they really were. I thought of our conversations and jokes over beers back in Seattle, before the reality of the magnitude of this race really set in. I felt as though this was just the beginning of many endurance-challenging adventures in which each of these men would participate.
They continued rowing toward the finish line as indicated by their GPS system and after assessing our petrol situation on the rib, we decided to stay with the guys until their achievement had been realized. This is the part of the recollection that I’d like to skip as I began throwing up and continued for about 5 hours while we floated along with the rowers. Not having consumed a bite of breakfast, my body was in pain and on the search for things to expel. Mark force-fed me part of a granola bar, some tangerine pieces, and a couple sips of tea. After a couple uncomfortable naps and time on the bucket I felt much better (It was very interesting to gain a deeper perspective into the answer for the most pressing question these rowers received before, during, and after the race, “How do you go to the bathroom on the boat?” “Over the side, of course!”). The focus was redirected from keeping me warm to reconnecting to the spirit that drove OAR Northwest to be the first ever Americans to cross the North Atlantic. We had heard and knew of their rations and poor food supply and questioned their determination to head all the way toward the mainland. None of us wished to ask until they first accomplished their primary goal.
Dylan began counting down the degrees of longitude until the GPS read the official coordinates of the Atlantic cross as lined up with Bishops Rock. The men cheered, stood up and hugged each other, performed the much celebrated Logger chop from the University of Puget Sound, lit a flare and put it out before it began to burn Dylan’s hand. In their rationing, they saved 4 Twix candy bars to savor at the finish line. To watch the expressions on their faces as they enjoyed each bite made me realize how much I take plentiful food for granted. They filmed each other with the video cameras on board for the Flying Spot documentary. There were a few moments when everything set in, they got a bit emotional and Jordan looked at the photo of his father on board and dedicated this amazing accomplishment to him. To be one of 4 people in the whole world to witness this feat filled me with an unspeakable emotion. The sickness had long since passed with the distraction of the events. We looked to the men and asked if they intended on continuing their journey. Jordan replied, “We’re going all the way. Tell everyone we’ll see them in Falmouth!”
We drove away in our 250 horse-powered rib after the requested fly by that left them with the wake of our path. It seemed unfair to leave them. Knowing that our visit and witness of such an incredible sub crescendo of the journey left me satisfied and eager to further witness the determination the men must have around the insane tides and weather of The Lizard. Their final portion of the journey was not easy as proven by the many that attempted to make the record in the past. They proved themselves strong in mind and body as nothing kept them from finding the path to Falmouth.
The boys did it! They won the Atlantic Challenge!
The crowd lining the dock waiting for the champions to finally come ashore.
The official web site for this effort is Oar NorthWest. There are hundreds more photos from Erinn, be sure to check them out.
If you are thinking about entering a cross-oceanic race, contact us and let us build you a set of race winning sliding seats.
If you need a photojournalist to cover your adventure, we highly recommend, Erinn Hale photographer extraordinaire! It’s clear to us that she has the stuff to capture your adventures.
From the Boatshop Mailbag
In July a customer of ours sent these gorgeous photos of his Swampscott Dory at Lake Moomaw.
Attached are a couple of photos of our trip last week to Lake Moomaw…gorgeous day…lake was empty too. I haven’t “added” much of anything to my boat yet. Waiting to see what I need most. I put a little electric motor (32 lb thrust) on for this trip, just to help get us out to the islands in the middle of the lake. We (me and the “crew”) had them all to ourselves. My dogs went haywire on the islands….lots of fun. We only saw 10-12 boats all day on this expansive body of water. I alternately rowed and motored depending on my mood and whether or not I wanted to try and fish along the way.
We love the boat, and we get LOTS of comments wherever we go. J. Lord
Casting for trout.
My wife and our dogs out for a trip to one of the islands in this lake.
The dory resting easily on the beach.
At anchor, of course now I have to wade out to get her!
Boating at its best, a quiet lake, fish, and wonderful weather and companionship. You can’t beat that!
Another report from a Jersey Skiff owner, this one in the Great Lakes region.
As you can see, I’m enjoying my boat. This was running 4.5 mph before a 5-6 mph wind. Gary
If you look closely you can see the custom motor mount we built for this boat.
From a customer on Vancouver Island B.C. These fantastic photos of him out boating with his Lobster Boat on the West Coast of the island show the ruggedness of the coastline.
Enjoying the boat, rowing and sailing almost always and the kicker motor helps in the tides and now wind.
We can sail the boat with one oar in the water. This is the perfect boat for these waters. Thanks so much. F. A. and B.
Just landing. That flat bottom lets the boat rest easily on the sand.
Rigging her up. Attaching the Forward Row oars and oarlocks.
A beautiful North West Lodge.
So that’s all the news for now. Thanks to all the folks wrote to tell us about their summer adventures. If you write in and send photos, we’ll be glad to put them up. So check back and look for our up and coming newsletters!