Welcome! Here in the Pacific Northwest, Fall has arrived with all of the brillant colors as the leaves change, and we have been keeping busy building boats for your winter trips South! It’s been a little wetter than normal; we’ve taken to wearing a light weight rain shedding jacket now as a matter of course. It’s not too late to get out and enjoy the last of the beautiful fall days, so put your boat on the car and drive down to the lake, remember the next nice day might not come until spring! Also be sure to wear your life jacket, as the water is a bit cooler and it does you no good lying in the bilge. We are making plans for the holidays and bet you are too. See you on the water!

We often receive interesting requests for custom boats. But around here, there is interesting, and there is interesting! This year we built what we call a “two-fer”. It’s not a common request but we are a custom builder and we can handle pretty much anything. We think that you’ll find it a clever solution to a very intriguing problem

Now we would like to alert those of you who are thinking about getting a boat for a winter cruise in the warm South Sea’s, or for a Christmas present under the tree. And that is, we are pretty much booked for the larger boats until past Christmas but may be able to squeeze in a small one. Now is the time to put your money down and secure your place in line. If you need us to hold your boat until that magic day in December, just let us know and we’ll work out the delivery schedule with you.

Two Piece Navigator

This is a two piece Navigator sailboat being built for a couple who live aboard a sailboat on the Texas Gulf Coast. Their issue is, they don’t have the room on deck to stow a full sized dinghy, and an inflatable just doesn’t do their beautiful yacht justice. What we did, is build a 10′ Navigator dinghy as a nesting two piece design. The entails building a boat with a special set of twin bulkheads so the boat comes apart into two pieces to store as a nested unit. One piece inside the other.

The bulkhead is immensely strong and the water test shows zero leakage at the gasket flange. We have built quite a few similar boats with bulkheads in different locations to suit individual storage situations


Looks like a one piece hull!


But wait! This boat has a middle seam that comes apart!


With the boat split in two, each piece can be stored separately, or nested, as shown.


Here you can see how we carefully placed the bulkhead so that the seam is not underfoot when the boat is in use.


Stackable set of boat hulls! Half the space on deck!

A nesting dinghy, for that mater, any boat with a seam presents a number of interesting problems. The two pieces have to be easily separated. The hull once joined must be water tight. It must be easy to dissassemble and assemble There can’t be any unique parts which if dropped overboard on a long trip are irreplaceable. The seam can’t be in your way when you are in the boat. The two pieces need to be able to nest so that the storage requirement is halved. If they don’t stack, what is the point of all this? The seam cannot be right where the daggerboard housing is.

We think that if you look closely at these photos we have achieved a near perfect balance of convenience and practicality without sacrificing any of the features that make our boats great.

if you have a unique set of needs for your dinghy or tender, give us a call, and we can certainly work something out. Contact Us!


Well we have heard from Erden, who is now nearing the equator in the Pacific Ocean. He wondered about the lack of stainless steel in fish hooks. We wrote to tell him that this is on purpose, as if you lose a fish because the line breaks, the hook will rust out of the fish fairly quickly. It’s not a great deal for the fish, but it’s better than having the hook last forever.

As you read Erden’s logs you can see that has been able to use the lack of civilization as a time to focus his thoughts on what is important in life. Our modern life keeps us off balance with all the demands on our time. The rythm of rowing, eating, sleeping allows one to let the worries about reports, clothes, cars and lawns to fade into the background. It isn’t necessary to go on an ocean wide row to feel this sense of bliss, any pond with a good boat will do. The point is to make the time to change your pace and give your mind time to quiet and let your thoughts drift with the clouds.

You can follow his trip here http://www.around-n-over.org


The rusting original triple hook broke; it could not carry the weight of the fish.


A beautiful sunset over the ocean.


A booby visited my boat briefly. I was so close, and it wasn’t afraid.

We are vicariously enjoying Erden’s trip and welcome his regular updates. If you enjoy them as much as we do, be sure to sign up for the notifications on his website.

We will continue to provide updates in our newsletters as we receive updates from Erden.

Roz Savage Rows the Pacific!

Roz Savages is currently a land bound lass back in jolly old England. We will again resume our reporting on her Pacific Ocean rowing adventure in the spring of 2008 when she plans to make a second go of it.

You can of course go directly to her website and sign up for updates. And as we hear from Roz we will add stuff to our newsletters. Roz Savage Rows the Pacific

From our Mailbag

Our Mailbag again has been overflowing this fall so We’re sure you will enjoy reading about these adventures as much as we have.


Ensenada Grande (reprint) by Steve & Linda Dashew

There are lots of things to love about the cruising life. There are new people to meet afloat and ashore, different cultures to be tasted, history to be looked at close up and occasionally the adrenaline rush of adventure. And then there are those places that are so beautiful you just want to stay forever. We’ve felt this way about some of the lagoons in the South Pacific and the high Marquesan Island of Fatu Hiva. There are anchorages in Alaska and British Columbia that will take your breath away. And then there is Ensenada Grande in the Sea of Cortez.

Photos courtesy www.setsail.com


Ensenada Grande on the north end of Isla Partida is one of those magical places we could stay for a long time. It is so beautiful it is almost overwhelming.


Our favorite thing to do in Bahia Grande is get close to the scenery in the rowing dinghy.


This has to be the best way to exercise there is.


The shapes are awe-inspiring.


There’s an inviting, if rugged trail through the canyon which forms the anchorage.

If you would like to read more about the Dashell’s trip, they keep a regular log at www.setsail.com We know that we follow along as they go to some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Captains Gig

Hi folks,

The next photos are of 95 year old Ralph Mortensen. He lives in the same waterfront house that his dad built on the shore of Gig Harbor in 1914. His place is refreshing, a smallish cabin with wood interior tucked in the forest now surrounded by new McMansions. I had a nice talk with Ralph and he told me of a few of his adventures. In 1926, during the depression he told his dad that he just needed to get out and do something! So dad gave him the family boat, a 15′ rowing/ sailing vessel that Ralph took to Alaska that summer. At the north end of the Queen Charlotte Straits the boat took some big waves and all his gear got wet, including his pancake flour. Eventually he came upon a Troller in the middle of the straits and he asked for some more pancake flour. Sure enough, the Troller not only gave him some flour but towed him North where he found work on fishing boats. Over the years there were many more adventures including a motorcycle ride to all across Mexico.

His last great adventure, at age 89. was when he crashed his motorcycle in a remote area of the Borrego Desert in California. He had broken his hip and said “The buzzards were circling, and I was sure that was the end. when another motorcyclist found him late in the day. He was helicoptered out and with surgery recovered 100%, but the doctor told him NO MORE MOTORCYCLE RIDING!.

So he has been driving his kids nuts being bored looking out the window across the bay and they decided that he should have another boat. But this time a simple joy of a boat so he can row across and around the bay just like he and his pals did back when they were kids in the 1910’s / 20’s. He was as happy as a kid at Christmas when he first set his eyes on his new Captain’s Gig, and it was with delight that I watched him row skillfully and effortlessly down Gig Harbor Bay to his old homestead.


Ralph dropped by to check on how his boat was coming along.


First launching down at the Gig Harbor Boat ramp.


Look at that smile!


Ralph heading home for a hot dinner with a warm heart.

So it just goes to show that boating is an ageless sport!

Postscript: Since this newsletter went to press, we have received news that Ralph has passed away. There is a very nice tribute to him in the Gig Harbor news here: The old man and the sea

The details as we heard them are that Ralph passed away a couple of months ago. He was found floating in the bay near his house; evidence showed that he was working on the motor on his larger fishing boat and may have lost his balance, or became overcome by fumes from a running engine and then fallen overboard.

We delivered the Gig to Ralph in the spring. He did get to use it for nearly the entire summer, and we heard that it was part of his daily routine to row across the bay. A member of his family in his honor, raced the Gig Harbor Heritage rowing race in the boat.

Our hearts and condolences go out to his family.

So that’s all the news for now. We hope to hear from you soon. We’ll be busy working on our next newsletter as well as your boats. So if email is slow, please call.