All of this is new for us – having a website, renovating a boat, living & traveling on a boat… and we hope you’ll join us on our adventure. Whether you’re a boating pro or have always dreamed of living and traveling on a boat we will endeavor to make our experiences interesting and maybe even helpful.
I (Cynthia) am a landlubber. I can count on one hand the number of times I had been on a boat before I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2017. I’ve always enjoyed my experiences but, in my reality it was something other people did. So, when I moved out to Bainbridge and one of the first things Luke did was take me to a boat show to look at boats that were of interest to him in an effort to fulfill his dream, I thought it was just that, a pipe dream but, it was a good excuse to get out and explore Seattle. At that show we looked at 4 types of boats: Kadey Krogen, Selene, Nordhaven & Fleming. Of the 4, it was a clear choice for me – the Kadey Krogen! As an architect, the layout, and spatial relationships made sense to me. So, Luke kept his focus on Kadey’s – older Kadey’s. What Luke hadn’t told me at the boat show was we would not be purchasing a new boat, in order to afford this dream, even with selling our house, we would need to find an older boat that would fit our budget, needs & desires.
At that time, Luke had a 27′ Ranger Tug named Seeadler, and to introduce me to boating we would go for trips around the San Juan Islands. It was a wonderful way for me to learn about the Pacific Northwest as well. As I became more comfortable with boating and Luke grew more frustrated with the size of the Tug, we would frequent more boat shows. In the early spring of 2019 we went to a boat show in Anacortes, WA. Luke knew there were going to be a couple of older Kadey’s there for sale. By this time, I was with the program as we had looked at a few other Kadey’s. I have to say when people are ready to sell their boat, for the most part, they don’t get the concept of cleaning & staging! Boy, did we see some nasty boats!
However, at this show we found one we thought may work which got us talking seriously. By this time Luke had already retired from the Fire Department. I was working for an architectural firm on the Island. The “plan” had been, I would “retire” in 2020 and we’d launch this adventure then. While we did not end up purchasing that particular boat we realized there was no better time than the present. Luke’s kids were grown-up and weren’t going to be coming back to our house to live. The renovations to the house we just spent 2 years on were nearly complete, the only thing standing in our way was finding a boat (and my job).
Luke connected with Kadey Krogen sales and at the beginning of August we flew to Stuart, FL to meet with the VP and see 2 boats. One was in Fort Pierce and the other was in Brunswick, GA – just over the Florida State line. The 1st boat was a mess and it didn’t take us long to declare it a “no go.” The next day we headed to Brunswickto see the second boat. It was a 2001 48′ Kadey Krogen North Sea that had had 2 owners. The second owners lived and traveled on it for 14 years and they would be there to meet with us – a first. There are basically 3 models of Kadey’s: the North Sea, the Widebody and the Whaleback. The North Sea has outside walkways on both sides of the living quarters and a flying bridge. The Widebody has a starboard outside walkway and a flying bridge and the Whaleback has neither outside walkways nor a flying bridge.
This Kadey, named Tusen Takk II (meaning many thanks) was a go! When we got home it became a mad dash to finish up the last of the renovations which were underway and get the house on the market. Isn’t that what you always do – get your house all fixed up for someone else to enjoy? Before we even had the opportunity to list the house it sold thanks to a very dear friend who had a friend who was looking for a house just like ours. My “in-process” architectural projects would be wrapping up in a couple of months. So, everything was falling into place! We sold a bunch of our stuff and gave stuff away. We crammed the rest into a 12 x 20 storage unit expertly packed to the gills or ceiling. And then the “for the boat” pile, we had been accumulating in the garage, got packed into a 12′ U-Haul trailer around slabs of quartizite. The slabs were left over from the last renovation project – the master bath. The craftsman we used for the stone installation had cut the remaining slab into approximate shapes to fit the kitchen counters on the boat. On October 29th we packed the dogs into the car and headed down the driveway.
Making plans, I’m an architect and that’s what most of us do right? It’s partly what we’re known for – space planning, arranging rooms or use adjacency to provide the best flow and function for a facility and along with such, creating building plans. For many architects that is a large part of the profession but, we’re also organizers, organizers of the project and the team. We make schedules for meetings, milestones, deadlines, materials, window, door, paint, etc… We need to keep track of and plan ahead for everything!
When we started talking about purchasing, living & traveling on a boat we started making plans of course that’s natural, expected even. Where were we going to go? What will define our travels? At the time we started discussing this we hadn’t spent any time on the boat other then when we decided to purchase it. But, that didn’t deter us! We had friends who were planning a bike ride at the end of June 2020 from London to Paris and back. So our first plans were to meet them in London in the boat – yes, cross the Atlantic! After spending time with them we’d cruise around the UK. Then as the weather started getting cooler we’d boat down the European coast, up into the Mediterranean and visit some other friends. We were going to embark on the trans-Atlantic voyage from Stuart, FL, cruise up the East Coast to Newfoundland and then across to Ireland. Luke calculated it would take us a little over 2 weeks at sea at our rate of speed (7 mph), traveling around the clock. We surmised, if we could get someone to crew with us we could make it work. That was until we realized there would still be ice floes around Newfoundland about the time we would need to set out to cross. So we scraped that plan – Plan A!
Undaunted and still really wanting to travel around the UK and Europe we picked another route. This time we’d go from Florida, to Bermuda then from there cross the Atlantic to the Azores and up to Great Britain. The thought was the weather would be much more amiable in the lower part of the hemisphere and we’d be traveling before the tropical storm season. However, we would still have really long stretches out at sea between ports and would still need another crew. At this point in the “planning” we had started living on board albeit through renovations. But during the 2019 winter holidays we took a trip across Florida through the Okeechobee to Tampa and then down the West coast of Florida back up to Stuart. That gave us a taste of what it was like for the two of us with our two dogs to live aboard and we were essentially going port to port. Hmmm… could we really manage with another person on board for a couple of weeks at a time without a port break and stocking up? Then the Coronavirus pandemic hit. As it started spreading across Europe and the UK that shut down those plans completely. Plan B was out the window and along with it the concept of naming plans! Quite frankly, although we both really loved the idea of traveling around the UK, Europe and the Mediterranean the more time we spent traveling on the boat the less appealing was a long transatlantic trip.
In March, tired from all the boat work and being tied up at dock we yearned to get out and do what we had actually purchased the boat to do – travel. We thought maybe we could squeeze in a quick trip to the Bahamas. At the beginning of September 2019 the Islands had been devastated by hurricane Dorian and several of the boats in the marina where we were staying had been bringing over supplies. We thought we could help a bit and stretch “our legs” while we were at it. So we got the dogs’ health certificates and did some provisioning. However, the closer it go to our departure date, the higher the COVID cases climbed and the more everything was shutting down. Luke and I began to have misgivings and a few days before we had planned to leave we decided to pull the plug. Thankfully so, because three days later the Bahamas closed down too. If we had gone we would have been stuck not able to get into their ports or back into the States. Along with everyone else we hunkered down and stayed put in our berth. Luke and I continued to work on the boat whatever we could accomplish by ourselves as there were no work crews for the rest of March and April. In May we were able to finish up a few projects that had been started which was good because we had to get out of Florida for hurricane season – June through November. But where were we going to go? Where could we go with COVID limiting travel? Where would we want to go where we could feel safe?
Both of us are from Cape Cod, so in our discussions it seemed logical to travel up the east coast to New England, stopping briefly along the way as needed for provisioning, pump-outs and some cautious, mask-wearing, social distancing sightseeing. In any case, we decided we would spend the bulk of the summer around Cape Cod, Boston and Maine. Once we had the big picture now – in my mind, we had to figure out the details i.e.: how were we going to get there? Which ports along the way did we want to stop at? I couldn’t just leave willy-nilly without a plan or an agenda! So, I sat down one afternoon with Google maps and blank calendars for the months of June & July open on my monitor. I figured I’d start with planning for the first two months. That would get us going and we’d proceed from there. I worked my way up the east coast states taking guestimates of mileage between ports and creating a schedule on these blank calendar pages. Then on June 3rd in the middle of a thunderstorm, mid-morning we slipped out of our comfortable berth and headed upstream. Not ever having done any of this before I quickly learned what factors I didn’t account for in my typed plans. Delays or “schedule changes” due to: weather / wind, liking a place, not liking a place, taking longer to get to a port due to timed bridge openings, booked marinas, running aground, tides making passages impassable, timing to catch the right current, waiting for packages to arrive, etc. rendered the schedule obsolete rather quickly. However, not daunted and armed with my newfound knowledge I wrote out the next three calendar months in pencil. As we went along, at first, we started erasing and revising the calendars sometimes crossing out and writing over and then eventually giving up all together using them only as suggestions for ports we may want to visit. By the time we were heading from New England back to Florida in October, I had given up all semblance of making plans because I learned at the end of the day it really didn’t matter where you were as long as you were safe and secure. With Luke doing the navigating he took over planning. Instinctively, he knew how far he wanted to travel, where he might want to stop for the evening, etc. So, in the morning on a day of departure, we’d discuss where we were heading, what route we thought we were taking, and how long we thought it would take. Then later in the day we’d update with where and how – dock, anchor or moor, we’d secure for the night.
Once we got back to Florida in mid-November we had some big picture planning we’d have to attend to. We had work that was lined up for the boat and then there were the holidays but what were we going to do for the winter months? By this time, we had talked about doing the DownEast Loop next Spring/Summer/Fall in conjunction with some friends who also own a Kadey Krogen. The DownEast Loop would take us up the east coast again but this time we’d go up the Hudson River, into the Erie Canal and through the locks into the St. Lawrence Seaway. Then we’d forge around Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, along the Maine coast and ultimately back south again. In order to do the trip, we’d have to start heading up the coast around April. So perhaps for the winter months we could try heading to the Bahamas again as it wasn’t too far afield. But COVID numbers were surging everywhere and while the vaccine had just been deployed it is going to take a long time to be distributed and become effective. Neither of us were feeling comfortable with being in a country where the healthcare was subpar. We also didn’t want to spend five months sitting on our boat in Stuart. Thinking realistically about the DownEast Loop, Canada would have to be open to the States in the Spring for us to do the loop and that is probably unlikely.
In October we had purchased property on Bainbridge Island, WA where we had lived previously. Curiously, this property that was destined to be ours, is a walk through the woods from our old home. In December I flew back to the Island for some appointments and to see the property and spend time on it so I could start working on the design for our new house. When reality squelched the DownEast trip Luke and I looked at each other and said, let’s go home! We missed home. Maine, being so similar in many ways, helped us realize how much we really loved the Pacific Northwest. We missed our friends and our community. And this is the perfect time to get started on the house planning while traveling safely (in our opinion) is limited. So, we’ve contracted with a yacht transport shipping company to ship Belle to the west coast and we will drive. Belle will be craned onto the ship in a West Palm Beach port. Due to the Jones Act which prohibits foreign vessels from carrying cargo between American ports, she will be offloaded in Victoria, BC. Then because that is a Canadian port and Canada is closed to Americans, we’ll need to hire a Canadian captain to bring Belle into the States. The closest port is Friday Harbor in San Juan Island about 6 miles from Victoria. Luke will fly there on a sea plane and pick her up then bring her back to Bainbridge. In the meantime, while Belle is making her trip through the Panama Canal and up the west coast, we’ll be driving back across the States pretty much the same route as when we were eastward bound but in reverse – Route 10 west then a right at Los Angeles.
Once settled back in Bainbridge we will continue cruising but, mostly around the PNW. That had been our original plan when we first started thinking about this adventure. We had looked for boats on the west coast because we wanted to cruise up the BC coast and spend time cruising around Alaska. Luke had gotten a taste of Alaska’s vast beauty when he travelled there during his tanker days. Recently reading Tip of the Iceberg by Mark Adams further fueled his wanderlust for that State. Although we tried, we were not able to find a boat on the west coast that suited us, so we expanded our search to the east coast and found Belle – then Tusen Takk II. So, our west coast cruising plans were tabled for a later date.
Now here we are full circle and I’m back to working on the kind of plans I am familiar with making. Along with our travels and experiences which I post about regularly on our Jouni blogs, I will start incorporating our new house process on this website as well. What I’ve come to learn about the boating life is, plans necessarily need to be as fluid as the water you’re floating on and if you wish to keep on an even keel it’s best to stay nimble.
It may sound strange to some, but taking videos isn’t in our lexicon. Both of us have been doing still photography for years but, have never even dabbled, didn’t even think of doing videos. Until… we were asked to produce a short, 3-5 minute video of our boat and the renovations. YIKES!! “Sure!” was my response, “we’d love to!” Now, I had to figure it out.
I started by writing a script which helped coalesce my thoughts and the sequence. This would get edited over and over in an effort to coordinate with the final video as well as the time limit, which I ended up exceeding but not by too much, there was a lot to share and I only scratched the surface. I shot numerous practice walk-thru’s and even when I didn’t think they were practice anymore, they were. Then I reached out to my friend Janine whom I rely on a lot for a recommendation for video editing software and as always she came through.
Once I got all the pieces together, literally – the different scenes, the voice over and the background music and created the file, I now needed a place to store it so we could share it. So I set up a YouTube channel. None of this is earth shattering, I get it but, it was all new to me and quite a bit of a learning curve. However, it was fun to have it all come to fruition! Now we have a new tool and means of sharing that helps convey what stills can’t.
In that vein, Luke made a time lapse video of our very early morning cruise down the East River on October 6th. I edited it a bit and added some music. It’s fun, a lot of lights, bridges and at times a bumpy ride! They are both posted on our new YouTube channel Check it out. Just in case it might not be readily apparent at the top of every page are a series of Social Media links: 2 Pinterest, an email, a Journi link, the YouTube and our Instagram links. They are a quick way to access our sites.
Every now and again you can teach old dogs new tricks!
On a seemingly calm morning with little wind and nearly no waves why would we still be having a rocky ride? Swells – three to four foot sea swells! What are swells and why would there be any on a calm day? Those were my questions.
Doing some research and asking Luke – who knows about these things, swells aren’t necessarily caused by immediate wind such as waves, they typically occur when there are storms at sea and are the result of wind transferring its energy to water. According to Sciencing: “A swell in the ocean is formed through a combination of wind strength, wind duration and fetch. Wind strength is how fast the wind blows across the surface of the ocean. Wind duration is how long it blows without interruption. And fetch is the distance wind blows across the surface without disruption from obstacles. As wind blows across the water’s surface friction occurs and energy is transferred from wind to water. The result is a rising crest that forms into a wave. Over time and distance, sustained wind strength and duration build up a large amount of energy beneath the ocean’s surface, forming deeper waves known as swells. This energy fuels a swell so it can travel thousands of miles without changes in height or shape.”
Swells have characteristics of height, period or frequency and direction. The height is measured from the bottom or lowest portion to the top or peak of the swell. Since these waves have been traveling quite a distance their tops are rounded and heights vary. When a forecast calls out swell heights or as I did at the beginning of this blog, it is usually done as an average. The period is the time between swells. The more frequent the time between swells, the more bumpy the ride. However, high swells farther apart can also create a very rough ride. The swell’s direction is where it is coming from. The ocean floor affects the direction of the swell’s travel and its speed. Swells in deeper waters will maintain their speed but, shallower waters will cause the swell to slow down and “bend” altering its direction.
This morning as we were underway we were apparently experiencing the effects of a storm perhaps hundreds of miles away. It is interesting to think about something you can’t see or have no known knowledge of affecting your wellbeing on such a physical scale. When we started our cruising travel adventures I thought we had things on the boat pretty well secured in that sea movement is a given but, never having done anything like this I didn’t know what to expect. A couple of weeks into our trip, one morning as we left the confines of a harbor we encountered rough weather AND our stabilizers broke. As we had just gotten underway and I hadn’t been expecting this double whammy I rushed around – as best one can when rocking and rolling and pitching and yawing, to shut cabinets, close portholes and make sure that anything that could fall or fly was stashed away. The dogs don’t like it when it gets rough and they become velcroed to me. It’s best if I can just sit on the couch and they can hunker in my lap or next to me but, when I’m moving they are underfoot. All of a sudden the bow hit a big swell and things started flying. I couldn’t get a footing because the dogs were under me, I tried to grab onto the counter to brace myself but, to no avail and went down! The fridge made its way out of its secures and the stove took a walk into the middle of the galley! Thankfully, no one got hurt and nothing got damaged. While it provided a healthy scare it proved to be a “good” experience. From it we learned what we needed to secured better and what needs to be tucked away while underway. I now have a mental checklist of the steps to take to “batten down the hatches.” That said, each time we encounter swells, while I think we may be prepared there are usually slightly different movements and new disruptions. Each trip has its own learning curve.
I’m beginning to realize how so much of boating is a metaphor for life itself. In this case, there are lots of ups and downs and sometime you’re prepared for them and other times not so much!
When we first bought our boat her name was Tusen Takk II which in Norwegian means “many thanks.” It is a beautiful sentiment for a boat in so many ways. Thank you to the universe for having the means to own such a boat, thanks you for providing our home and shelter, thank you for all the amazing adventures and people we meet and thank you for keeping us safe! While this is an apropos name it was somebody else’s name and it was a name associated with another couple and their experiences. So, it was important for us to craft our own identity but, what should it be?
Luke and I had grown up on Cape Cod, MA in East Dennis during the 70’s, a time when the Town’s history was all pervasive. East Dennis had been a ship building and seafaring village in the 1800’s centered around Shiverick Shipyards in its harbor. Asa Shiverick had started the shipyard along the banks of the Sesuit Creek after he had apprenticed and learned the craft of ship building from Jeremiah Crowell a Dennis native. Asa had 3 sons, Paul, David & Asa Junior. While Asa built his business, his boys went out into the world to learn about and build bigger boats, eventually bringing that knowledge and expertise home. Spurred by the booming China trade, the 1848 Gold Rush and the ensuing demand for travel to the “Far East” and west coast, eight clipper ships were built at the shipyard between the years of 1850 to 1862. These ships were: Revenue -1850, Hippogriffe – 1852, Belle of the West – 1853, Kit Carson – 1854, Wild Hunter – 1855, Webfoot – 1856, Christopher Hall- 1857, Ellen Sears – 1862. The ships were manned by East Dennis men as well making this an all encompassing industry for this little town.
While each of the ships had characteristics and stories of note, Belle really commanded attention. She was designed by Samuel Hartt Pook – a son of a naval constructor and designer of clipper ships while in the employ of Samuel Hall of Boston a well known American ship architect. Samuel Pook also designed the Surprise and eventually became a naval architect for the US Navy. On May 14, 1853 an article was written about her in the Boston Daily Atlas which I’ve quoted below. On the day of her launching – March 25th, 1853, in Sesuit Harbor she drew quite a crowd. However, the process proved quite difficult and she didn’t launch until the following day disappointing her spectators and breaking her Captain’s leg in the process. Belle sailed to Boston then San Francisco and on to Calcutta which became her primary route.
There is one well known tale of her voyages. In May of 1862, Belle was in Calcutta getting ready for a trip back to Boston with Capt. Allison Howes in command. The ship the Starlight was also in the harbor, captained by Levi Howes brother of Allison, her destination was also Boston. A race ensued! Starlight left first and Belle 12 hours later. The ships caught sight of each other 3 times during the trip. Starlight reached Boston with Belle clocking in 12 hours later – “a 17,000 mile dead heat” it has been declared!
What does all of this have to do with why we named our boat Bell of the West? Well, as I said, when we were growing up our Town’s history was still prevalent and the East Dennis Ladies Aid had produced sets of 8×8 tiles with drawings of each of the 8 Shiverick Clipper Ships as part of their fund raising and just about every house in E. Dennis had a set. When Luke & I were first married we were given a set by Libba Sears who was a descendant of one of the sea captains. I had kept them in a box wrapped in newspaper for 38 years and when I moved out to Bainbridge to be with Luke they came with me. During the renovation we finally found a home for them. And when we started thinking about a name for boat, we gravitated to these tiles and Belle of the West resounded with both of us as it aptly reflected our own east / west history and we hoped our boat would befitting of the name Belle!
Nan (Nancy)DeVita & her husband Donn were artists in East Dennis and had an art gallery – Worden Hall, on 6A right near our families’ homes. After Nan’s high profile career in the fashion industry she and Donn moved to the Cape in 1965. She made it her life’s work to tell the story of the the Shiverick Clipper ships through a series of meticulously researched paintings in the process, uncovering and tapping into the resources that still existed in the Village hundreds of years later. Donn DeVita was my middle school art teacher and a large part of why I eventually was an art major in college. As a child I’d ride my bike to the gallery and spend hours wandering through it admiring both his and Nan’s works – I’m sure driving them crazy with my curiosity as they were trying to get their works done.
The New Clipper Ship Belle of the West
“This is decidedly one of the most beautiful clipper ships in port – a perfect seawitch – which would win the heart of a sailor at glance. She is 936 tons register, 182 feet long over all, 167 between perpendiculars and 161 on the keel. Her extreme breadth of beam is 35 feet and depth is 21 1/2 feet including 7 feet 7 inches height of between decks. Her dead rise at half floor is 18 inches, rounding of sides 4 inches, and sheer 2 feet 3 inches. She has almost an upright stem, but the cutwater branches outwards in a curve, as it rises above the middle of the wales, and terminates in a graceful full female figure, robed in vestments of white, fringed with gold. The ships stern is very light, most beautifully formed, and tastefully ornamented with gilded carved work, in which is a neat female bust, in basrelief. The stern is nearly oval in outline, and swells both ways, and her run, like her bow, is long and clean. She is sheathed with yellow metal painted black above it, and inside she is buff color, relieved with white. The whole height of her bulwarks is about 4 1/2 feet, and she has a half poop deck, with a house in front of it. Her after cabin has a sunk floor, and is beautifully wainscotted with satin wood panels, relieved by mahogany and other choice woods. It contains six state-rooms, and is elegantly furnished. The forward cabin contains 4 state-rooms, and the ante-room 2 state-rooms and a pantry, all fitted in superior style. The accommodations for her crew, the galley & c (sic) are in a large house amidships, and she has a small topgallant forecastle with wing closets.
She is built of oak and copper fastened, and is remarkably well finished. The details of her fastening and construction vary but little from those of a ship of 1200 tons and in her outfits she has all the improvements of the day such as Emerson’s patent ventilators, a patent windlass, patent capstans, an improved steering apparatus, a circular iron water tank below, plenty of fine boats and Flander’s patent force pump. Above all she has Forbe’s rig, with the topmasts fidded before the lower maststheads and looks splendidly aloft. We are glad occasionally to see men who have independence enough to leave the traditions of the past, and adopt the improvements of the present. Every sailor, without exception, who has tried this rig, speaks of it as the best square rig now in use, because a ship with it is always managable, and because it greatly diminishes the labor of reefing, and to the shipowner in the long run, is more economical than the old rig.
This ship was built in East Dennis, by Messrs. David & Asa Shiverick, is owned by Messrs. Glidden & Williams, of this City, and commanded by Captain William F. Howes. She is loading in Winsor’s line of San Francisco clippers and will sail in a a few days. We cannot leave this beautiful clipper-yacht without expressing our admiration of her. We advise everybody to call and see her. She lies at the end of Commercial Wharf.” – Boston Daily Atlas May 14, 1853