In the beginning I put out the word. The word was that I was looking for a wooden sailboat manageable to sail singlehanded but with enough room for a crew of six. Suitable for year round Pacific NorthWest conditions. Both for long distance cruising and to work as a dive support vessel for my interests in recording vocalizations of Orca Whales . Long time friend Andy Stewart, shipwright for Emerald Marine Carpentry , Anacortes, suggested S/V Peniel, a 42′ pilot house sloop hailing from Bellingham. I visited her in dry dock, read her maintenance records and met her owner Peter Tamsky. Her attributes of Pilot House, Flush Foredeck, Large Cockpit, Diesel stove, strong 85HP Diesel engine, huge fuel and fresh water tank capacity and a well followed maintenance history. All reassuring for a commitment which I placed at the same level as a marriage . She stayed on my mind for two years with little competition from other boats. In December of 2011 I made the deal with Peter and sailed away into the mystery.
On board is an album of Sepia photographs documenting her being built by the Prothero Brothers, who later founded the renowned Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. With the notes from Bill Garden in her design the photos show the first un-carved ironwood block and step by step laying the Oak Frames to the Yellow cedar planks and on to the launching in Lake Union Boatyard, Seattle, 1956. Ten Thousand Pounds of Iron bolted to the keel – Solid; ready to sail.
The December 2011 single handed sail from Bellingham to Friday Harbor was a happy day – a beaming smile reached from ear to ear. They say the two happiest days of a mans life are the day a man buys a boat and the day a man sells a boat – I can verify the former held true for S/V Peniel.