S/V Discovery

06 December 2014 | Seattle
03 September 2014 | Shilshole Marina, Seattle
02 September 2014 | Shilshole Marina, Seattle
27 August 2014 | Neah Bay
23 August 2014 | Mid Pacific
23 August 2014 | Mid Pacific
23 August 2014 | Mid Pacific
21 August 2014 | Neah Bay
18 August 2014 | Neah Bay
18 August 2014 | 50 NM SW of Neah Bay
16 August 2014 | 180 NM SW of Neah Bay
16 August 2014 | 180 NM SW of Neah Bay
14 August 2014 | Approx 390 NM SW of Neah Bay
13 August 2014 | Approx 468 NM SW of Neah Bay
09 August 2014 | Approx 920 NM SW of Neah Bay
05 August 2014 | Approx 1207 NM SW of Neah Bay
01 August 2014 | Approx 1555 NM SW of Neah Bay
30 July 2014 | Approx 1691 NM SW of Neah Bay
29 July 2014 | Approx 1734 NM SW of Neah Bay
27 July 2014 | Approx 1800 NM SW of Neah Bay

Three Months Later

06 December 2014 | Seattle
Betty, cool and cloudy
Snug in our cottage

We have been back on land now for three months. Tis the season to count blessings, and we have many. We'd like to tell you about some of them as well as the latest on Discovery since our docking at Shilshole on August 30th.

We moved Discovery to the Elliot Bay Marina to be near Mark, our broker at Nordhavn Yachts. Yes, she is on the market and ready to be passed on to her next lucky owners. We made this decision for several reasons. We've done enough sailing for now, and we don't see ourselves doing any more ocean crossings. Maybe a road trip is in order. Discovery should not just sit; she wants to feel that ocean under her bottom. She is ready for her next adventure.

We have been getting our land legs back. Believe me, that's been real easy. With Karis and her family still in the house, we moved into the 350 square foot garden cottage in the back corner of our property. It feels like a mansion after two years on Discovery. It's really just what we needed, another small space to feel protected and cradled. It's like being in a warm cocoon. We've been giving ourselves plenty of time to re-adjust to being back in Seattle, spending simple days doing small projects, taking walks, seeing friends and family. Betty recently got a halftime position at Swedish/Providence in their radiation oncology clinic, to start December 15. It now feels right to go back to work.

In our blog titled Back to the Northwest on August 18, we wrote that the previous 24 hours had been some of the most trying of our entire trip. Here are some details. Low on fuel, we'd drifted slowly south for several hours, flopping and bobbing in the windless sea. Unsure about whether we had transferred ALL the diesel from our auxiliary tank to the main tank, Andy decided to check. He discovered about 2 gallons of fuel. Sadly, the only way to get it out was to use a small measuring cup and dip it cup by cup into the main tank. Andy had to stretch his arm down into the tank up to his armpit. It was a filthy, smelly, tedious job.

Meanwhile, Betty stayed on the wheel, trying to keep us moving in the general direction of our goal. In little or no wind, it's an exhausting, difficult task. We were both nearing our upper limits of strength.

In the darkness and silence, struggling to hold ourselves together, a pod of whales could be heard spouting all around us. We never saw them. We simply stopped and listened to their soothing breathing, as if to say "it's okay, you'll get there, we're here and won't let anything happen to you". After that our tasks seemed lighter, Andy finished hand dipping diesel into the main tank and we proceeded to start the engine.

Except the engine wouldn't start. It sputtered and died just as it had so many times traveling down the California coast. But Andy stayed cool, looked at me and said, "let's change the racor (fuel filter)". And just as happened so many times before, the engine then started, and we headed on our compass course for Neah Bay, each silently thinking, "I wonder when the engine will die again?"

As we approached the coast, the fog was thick and heartless. Several of you wanted to know if we smelled or saw the coast first. Neither. The fog prevented both until we got inside it and then saw Vancouver Island looming in the near distance. In the fog we kept an eye at all times on the AIS (Automatic Identification System), which marks vessel positions. So we always knew where we were in relationship to the many freighters and fishing boats entering and leaving the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The tide was with us as we entered the Strait. A light west wind started to blow, allowing us to motor sail toward Neah Bay and helping with our fuel shortage. More whales swam off our port beam. As we were approaching Neah Bay, Discovery began to progressively slow down, and at about one quarter mile from the entrance she was doing 0-1 knot. When we tried to increase engine rpms, there was no response and we realized we had no forward transmission. U.S. Coast Guard to the rescue.

We continue to internally process what this trip meant to each of us. We will blog about that in our next installment.

In the meantime, as we approach the end of 2014, we wish you all a most wonderful holiday season with loving friends and family. Peace in 2015.

We are Home!!

03 September 2014 | Shilshole Marina, Seattle
Betty and Andy/partly sunny and 70
On the dock just after our arrival. Photo by David Leonard.

We arrived at Shilshole Marina on Saturday, August 30 at 2:30 pm. A number of friends came down to the dock to welcome us and catch lines. It was with great relief and exhilaration that we returned to the marina we left exactly 1 year and 15 days ago. Bob and Jeanne thankfully “lent” us their slip, L57, for the month of September while their boat is in the San Juans.

Our new transmission performed well but ran a little hot (like the Captain), so still needs some attention. The engine purred along smoothly, although neither of us mentioned that fact during the trip. Superstition abounds.

And now the Captain has something to say.

CAPTAIN ANDY: Being home is like crawling into your comfortable bed at home after a long backpack on hard ground. No worries about weather, waves, wind or watches. It’s such a great sense of relaxation for me. I like to use the term, “I’m off the clock”.

I learned some things about myself, some positive and some negative. I learned that I could run the ship, that I was good at it and good at handling sticky situations that came up. I was able to respond quickly. I also learned that I agonize too much.

But it was a great experience, all of it.

Many of you know that I address Betty as Admiral. That is not a tongue in cheek remark. Besides doing all the cooking and food provisioning which anyone who’s been around boats knows, is the most important position on board, Betty did all the sailblogs and downloaded weather reports from the SSB. She steered a straight compass course, helped with navigation, and was a steadying force for me on this boat. She was the glue that held this ship together. This is what I need to say. So as you can see, when I use the term Admiral, it is not tongue in cheek. Betty is my admiral. And I am one lucky captain.

And now it's Betty's turn.

BETTY: And I am one lucky admiral. Andy was totally in the moment, ON and focused when the situation required it. When we were in 30 knot winds, gusting to 35, and I was at the wheel trying to stay on course, shoulders and groin aching, saying I couldn’t do this much longer, Andy said kindly but forcefully, “you have to”. When we were becalmed 30 miles from Neah Bay and the engine wouldn’t start, he maintained his cool, calmly changed the racor fuel filter, and said, “ok, let’s start ‘er up”. And it started and ran all the way to Neah Bay. He’s an emotional guy, and I’m sure was nearly dying inside, but when logic and reason were needed, he was all over it!

Andy isn’t comfortable complimenting himself. So this is what I need to say. His skills as a leader, navigator, his knowledge of weather and boat systems and ability to fix things or stabilize things (Mr. McGyver?), his sense of safety (Mr. Safety Plus?), are all skills that I admire and appreciate about Andy. We laughed a lot, cried at times, and worked together always as a team.

This trip for me was a dream come true. It went by very quickly, and now that I’m home it feels almost as if I’d never left. As time passes, the experiences we had on Discovery will deepen in meaning. It is one of those things that one appreciates more with time.

ANDY: We both feel a sense of accomplishment for a journey that presented lots of ecstacies and lots of challenges. We're ready to move on to our next endeavor.

Our hero

02 September 2014 | Shilshole Marina, Seattle
Betty/partly sunny
Andy and Dave White on Discovery just after installation of new a transmission

A New Transmission

27 August 2014 | Neah Bay
We're sure you are all wondering what's happening with Discovery. We wanted to give you a positive update, so that's why you've had to wait a few days.

Betty had a wonderful reunion with her brother, Jim, and sister, Susan in Renton....to see the faces and feel the hugs after a year away, wow, how sweet it was. It is truly amazing to be home.

Our friend, Dave White, came to our rescue. Dave met us in Port Townsend yesterday with his tools and a brand new transmission for Discovery. We drove to Port Angeles, returned Danny Boldt's truck to him (thanks again, Danny); then the three of us drove here to Neah Bay, arriving last evening. Dave set to work right away, finishing the job before midday today. Dave is an ace mechanic and a person who just knows boats. We would recommend him to anyone in the boating community, and by the way, Dave is starting his own business dealing with all aspects of boats, from boat surveying to diesel mechanics. You won't meet anyone friendlier than Dave White.

Dave returned to Seattle this afternoon, and tomorrow Andy and I set sail for Port Angeles, then Port Townsend, then Shilshole Marina, Seattle, to arrive there probably on Saturday. We have a slip available to us until the end of September.

We are relieved to be nearly on our way again, as we truly finish what we started almost exactly one year ago. Just a quick side note: how ironic it is, that a year ago we had to be towed into Neah Bay when our engine died due to the debris in our fuel. We thank our sister boat, Elizabeth Jean, (Eulalie and Eric, owners, with Elena and Brad on board) for that tow. And we again thank the U.S. Coast Guard for their skill and prompt response in our hour of need a week ago.

Neah Bay is isolated, foggy and chilly at this time of year, but a warm and close community of people welcomed us and helped us in many ways.

Our next blog, prepared when we arrive in Seattle, will include another interview with the Captain. Captain Andy has something to say. Stay tuned.....

A Happy Captain

23 August 2014 | Mid Pacific
Betty/warm and sunny
Happy Captain Andy with the genoa again flying. We flew the storm jib during the night and daytime hours that it took to repair the sail.

Genoa repair

23 August 2014 | Mid Pacific
Betty/warm and sunny
Betty sewing the webbing back on the genoa. The webbing attaches to the halyard that holds the sail up. It took about 5 hours and 6 or 7 needles to do the job. The needle eye would break under the strain of pushing it through the tough fabric.
Vessel Name: Discovery
Vessel Make/Model: 37-foot Passport
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Owners Andy and Betty Brooking
Andy first sailed with his Dad on the Columbia River. His first blue water experience was in 1972 when the family cruised from Portland to Tahiti on board their 42-foot Cascade, Seabrook. He obtained his captain's license in 2005 and has taught sailing for the past 7 years. [...]
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Discovery's Photos -

Who: Owners Andy and Betty Brooking
Port: Seattle