OPENING DAY
Small Craft Advisor|July - August 2021
Sitting hove-to in 30 knots of wind was not how I anticipated spending my opening day.
Bruce Bateau

When my friend Andy and I decided to attempt a 25-mile circumnavigation of the South Puget Sound’s Harstine Island in Row Bird, an 18-foot sail and oar boat, I worried we’d only have enough wind to sail half the route, if that.

Launching on an April morning from the hamlet of Arcadia, Washington, there was just enough wind to coast past the charming, tree-covered Hope Island State Park. But by the time we reached the undeveloped edge of Squaxin Island, a half-mile further on, Row Bird bobbed lamely. In an hour, the tide would turn in Dana Passage. After that, the current would start to push in at about two knots. With our rowing speed also at two knots, we’d be stuck—or worse, overtaken by the current.

“Who’s rowing first?” Andy asked.

“Whoever’s fastest,” I said.

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