Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cue Credits

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

This is the last entry of the Mistral blog, officially closing out the experiment known as the Mistral Experience Project.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • A big wooden boat is a lot of work. Wait, I knew that even before I spent that first weekend two years ago sanding down old varnish and fingertips.
  • A big boat channels wind and parts water. The right big boat will channel people to work and hang out together and occasionally get out in the fresh air.
  • A big, well maintained boat, smartly designed and sturdily built, will leap to life like a genie from a lamp well into its later years.
  • The right boat is a maker and keeper of stories – from epic races in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to sterling summer weekends running down Puget Sound under a blue-and-white spinnaker. Few things will unite the past, the present and one's place so beautifully.

Mistral was all that.

The following people had hands big and small in the making of the Mistral Experience Project.

Ben Seaborn, the Blanchard Boat Co., Bill Baillargeon, Dick Wagner, Betsy Davis, Jake Beattie, Heron Scott, Edel O’Connor, Greg Reed, Vern Velez, Patrick Gould, Beth DeWeese, Kemp Jones, Brooke Marjamaa, Michael Warner, Erik Nielsen, Eric Nissen, Dave Derse, Martin Feldman, Aaron Barnett, the Pirate crew, Brian Bennett, Alexandra Kruse, Forest Payne, Passion Julinsey, Andy Brown, Dave Erskine, Suzy Brunzell, Paula Weir, Sam Johnson, Bill Van Vlack, Steve Kinnaman, Matt Murphy, Tom Jackson, Sandi Fleming, Scott Moore, Susanna Williams, Harley Soltes, the Duck Dodge Committee, Seaview East, Archie McPhee’s, KEXP, Pat’s Marine Engine, CSR Marine, Sterling, the other Beth, Bridget, Jeremy and Lily, the dog.

Thanks to you all!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

First Things First

Welcome to the Mistral blog! We're getting a new wave of traffic after yours truly penned a review of boating blogs for WoodenBoat and word of the Mistral presence started rattling around the resonant hull of the blogosphere.
Newcomers to said site will notice there has not been much blogging here of late. However, we might point out that the latest chapter of the Mistral saga took first place in the annual contest of Boating Writers International, the main organization for boating writers. The story, written by the Mistral steward in his capacity as boating columnist for the Seattle Times, won in the ever-sexy category of boat/engine care and maintenance. “What a surprising treat!" wrote one judge. "Sorensen [the Mistral steward, who generally hides behind euphemisms like "Captain," "Skipper" and "Anker"] reveals passion and a sense of grand duty in a topic normally reserved for bone-dry writing.”

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Some boats surf

Tillerman over at Proper Course has this cool picture of a surfing laser, courtesy of

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A New To-do List

The recent Seattle Times story about Mistral took me only a few hours to write, the words just flying off my fingers. But in retrospect, it really took about 17 months, the time I had spent as a main character in the Mistral narrative. I paused recently to catalog what I got done. Here's the list:

  • Mast scraped and varnished
  • Mast step drain hole drilled
  • Head overhauled (but not used and currently not connected)
  • Toilet seat reglued and varnished
  • Portapotty installed
  • Sink faucet replaced
  • Full cover stitched, patched and cleaned
  • hatch doors stripped and varnished
  • Hand rails, hatch, cap rail and house varnished
  • Carburetor overhauled; parts replaced from carb kit
  • Engine coil replaced
  • Zinc changed
  • Bottom paint, summer ‘06
  • Leak in bow corked and caulked
  • Bottom paint
  • Topsides paint
  • Deck repainted and non-skidded
  • Pelican hooks installed on lifelines
  • Mast boot replaced with both tape and new Sunbrella
  • Mold washed from ceiling
  • Packing gland restuffed with Teflon
  • Spinnaker topping lift replaced
  • Recast and replaced bronze thumb screws on shifter plate and spinnaker sheet blocks

Remaining needs:

  • Shore up binocular box
  • Replace autolift box
  • Fix leak around exhaust manifold, probably in gasket
  • Chase leak near starboard portlight in forepeak
  • Replace cracked veneer in starboard bulkhead
  • Replace fuel tanks and lines or cut holes and hand clean
  • Refurbish cockpit
  • Countersink, screw and bung assorted screw holes in cockpit teak
  • Overhaul alcohol stove
  • Strip and varnish spinnaker pole
  • Fix whisker pole
  • Check prop shaft alignment
  • Change oil and transmission fluid
  • Overhaul manual bilge pump
  • Chase further leaking from bow, with trickle visible in bilge
  • Paint top of house
  • Check top of mast for chafing from halyards; affix small chafing blocks
  • Monitor jib winches
  • Patch tear on starboard side of cover

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Bill Van Vlack and Stephanie Kavanaugh have brought the doings of their Seaborn sloop Nautilus to the blogosphere. You can find them at Nautilus is close kin to Mistral, built two years later, in 1941, at the Blanchard yard and just four feet longer. Bill has Nautilus hauled out on Guemes Island and plans to document an ongoing refit for all to see.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On the 40th Day, Mistral Sailed

Sail No. 9030 got to run through a few paces this Sunday in a rare winter moment of open sky, no rain and just a touch of wind. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Attention to Detail

The Northwest R/C Ship Modelers were on the dock at The Center for Wooden Boats last weekend for one of their fun floats. Posted by Picasa