TASWENS Heads South
Like last year, preparing The Artful Sailor’s entry for the Seventy/48, human-powered race from Tacoma to Port Townsend WA, is more like outfitting an expedition than suiting up for a race. Why would that be? Two major reasons: Solo rower, Emiliano “Speedo” Marino, pulling a 15.5' Gloucester Gull dory named TASWENS, is leaving Port Townsend, May 27th, 5 days before the race begins and rowing down to the Foss Waterway in Tacoma.
The voyage down and the stay in Tacoma waiting for the race to begin entails the gear and provisions for 5 days of self-sufficiency in whatever conditions and weather comes his way. Secondly, Speedo prefers seaworthiness over speed. Maybe his nick name should be Seaworthy Marino! Regardless, being prepared for most any eventuality along a no-nonsense stretch of water requires a well-found vessel and a skilled crew.
Could be a broiler of a day followed by a cold, wet night! How do you haul out, sleep, stay warm and dry and what happens in a capsize? Marino put TASWENS to the test and discovered that she barely floated, was impossible to bail when completely full and was inclined to turn turtle. Preparations have included flotation in the form of airbags that also serve as beach rollers for hauling out.
The good news learned in the capsize drill was that it was relatively easy to climb aboard out of the water over the quarter. However, there’s much pause for thought because the conditions in which a capsize or swamping are likely to occur (rough water, windy, darkness, deep water, fully-clothed, in frigid water) would make recovery very difficult. The drill was conducted in broad daylight, anchored in shoulder-deep water, on a calm, windless evening while wearing a wetsuit and PFD.
For the drill, TASWENS had been emptied of nearly all her gear. What remained was lashed down, nonetheless, when a boat capsizes everything goes everywhere, like in a car crash. So, you can well imagine what a jumble there’d be in the fully loaded boat and how difficult it would be to recover...especially in less than ideal circumstances.
Who checks this sort of thing out? We did and it was a very good thing.
There’s another component to the expeditionary slant and that is that the Seventy/48 is, in some respects, a shakedown cruise in anticipation of The Salish 100, a 6-day camp cruise from Port Townsend to Olympia that commences June 22nd, a little over 2 weeks after the Seventy/48 ends. However, for Marino and TASWENS it’ll be another round trip, only down Hood Canal to meet the fleet in Olympia, and then go with the group back to Port Townsend.
Wait a minute! Ya can’t row down Hood Canal directly to Olympia. There’s a 4-mile portage required to get from the bottom of Hood Canal across to South Puget Sound. Not only will Marino have to carry all the provisions and gear for nearly two weeks of boat camping; but also haul the dolly for the portage.
Sounds a little loco, but he’s actually done it before in a Nootka-style canoe, about 20 years ago; but traveling in the opposite direction. The Skokomish tribe said he was the first person in over 100 years to make that portage!
Lots of preparation, planning, study and testing goes into making voyages like these two comin’ up for TASWENS and it’s a grand puzzle to figure out how to best utilize the space and items aboard most efficiently without overloading the boat or impeding her seaworthiness.
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Speaking of puzzles, Speedo pulled the Seventy/48 last year in 39.75 hours. How long do you think it’ll take him this year? Several improvements have been made to the boat and the puller, but who knows what the gods have in store. Send in your guess to win an Artful Sailor Logo hat!
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Float like a jelly fish, sting like a ray . . .
Go Team Artful Sailor !