Not Another Boring Boat Post

“When will you be done with those boring boat reviews?” asked my wife over Thanksgiving dinner.

Not yet…is the short answer. But clearly a diversion is in order.

Thus this intermission: a few shots of the trip from Friday Harbor back to Seattle on a De Havilland Otter Seaplane. The passenger windows bubbled out, allowing my iPhone a super view of the float and the water below.

A refreshing change from boat bilges is flying, like jumping from the sauna into the cold pool, a fittingly romantic end to a week dedicated to exploring water transport.

Kenmore Air says if its De Havilland Otter:

Following the success of the de Havilland Beaver, the Turbine Single ten-passenger de Havilland Otter is one of the most versatile and dependable seaplanes operating today. Originally designated the “King Beaver”, this aircraft eventually became known as the DHC-3 Otter as it’s bigger in every dimension than its older sibling. The single engine de Havilland Turbine Otter is the largest, most powerful aircraft in our fleet with a range of 500 miles at a normal cruise speed of 134 mph.

The description fails to capture any of the cool smoothness of going airborne or the effortless descent. I’ll let the images handle that.


Taking off from the Friday Harbor Marina








Landing in Seattle’s Lake Union (Note Space Needle stays in frame–excellent planning on the part of the cinematographer.)


The hero of our adventure…

IMG_6073 (1500x1125)

Back to serious business next post.

15 Comments on “Not Another Boring Boat Post

  1. Randall, nice post on flying, but I don’t think you can take a floatplane on a non-stop figure 8 voyage. I dunno.
    I saw one of your tweets was about how to not fall overboard. I did not read the article but I will guess that it did not suggest solid full perimetrer liferails at 36″ height or higher. All Amel boats come with these and all Brent Swain boats are built with them. I would say, having sailed with liferails and lifelines, that the rails should be a basic addition to offshore boats. Easily retrofitted. It is quite odd to me how seldom this comes up in offshore equipment conversations.

    • Hey Steve,

      The float plane was just a fun interlude; I promise, no Spirit of St. Louis ventures for me. The article did focus on the danger of rusty wire rope lifelines. Pretty basic stuff. I agree re solid liferails, but only one boat I’ve seen so far has them. Probably they are seen as ugly or difficult to repair if damaged in a minor collision.


  2. Now you are tweeting about Global Warming? Stick with voyaging or messaging about with a boat.

    Climate change has been a perplexing problem for years. In Dark Winter, scientist John L. Casey, a former White House national space policy advisor, NASA headquarters consultant, and space shuttle engineer tells the truth about ominous changes taking place in the climate and the Sun.

    In Dark Winter, Casey argues that a decrease in the Sun’s activity led to an abrupt end to global warming in 2007, as the earth entered a new solar minimum — a 30-year period that will lead to record cold weather across the globe.

    This new cold climate will dramatically impact the world s citizens. In Dark Winter, he provides evidence of the following:

    The end of global warming
    The beginning of a “solar hibernation,” a historic reduction in the energy output of the Sun
    A long-term drop in the Earth’s temperatures
    The start of the next climate change to decades of dangerously cold weather
    The high probability of record earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

    Casey has studied past solar minimum periods. He argues the last great one sparked the French Revolution of 1789. In Dark Winter, he predicts the new era of cold weather will spark major political and economic upheavals with massive crop destruction, food shortages and riots in the United States and abroad — not to mention significant global loss of life.

    Read Casey’s books… study the facts… just like voyaging…. the devil is in the details.

    Here are links to his books:


    • Really, you object to a tweet about the differences in ice melt between the Arctic and Antarctic on a blog whose author is headed to both places? 🙂

      Dark Winter sounds interesting. Will look into it. Thanks for the reference.


  3. Did you locate other steel boat candidates? Looking forward to your continued search…

    • There’s only one other boat not yet written about, a Brewer (Kanter hull) 50 foot ketch here in the Bay Area. Am doing a thorough pre-offer inspection with a surveyor-acquaintance of mine tomorrow. This and the Amazon 44 are the two on the short list. The Brewer has the advantage of being here (can start work immediately) and being well maintained, for the most part; it’s custom, but was built by a man who was the lead building engineer for San Francisco’s Trans America Pyramid and has built her like a ship. Big disadvantages, or at least causes for worry, include teak decks fastened *through* the steel deck and steel fuel tanks integral to the hull that are not easy to inspect (will get clarity on both of these tomorrow). She also feels a very big 50 footer, even with her split rig.



      How much engine horsepower is enough? Experience says I want plenty in reserve for the north, but how much is that? The Amazon 39 in Port Townsend of 33,000lbs displacement and 33hp was, to my mind, woefully underpowered for my destination. The Amazon 44 displaces 36,000lbs and has 77 hp; the Brewer displaces 40,000lbs (estimated by owner) and has 100 hp. By comparison, my little 31 foot Mariner, which displaces but 16,000lbs loaded has a 50 hp Perkins, which in my experience is NOT too much power. So far I’m judging adequate HP simply by comparing to other yachts I’ve sailed. Haven’t found any useful commentary on this as yet. Feedback?

  4. 2.5hp/short-ton displacement would be my minimum and would like 3hp/short-ton displacement for high latitudes depending on size fir a fixed or CP prop (larger diameter preferred) Likewise, would like to see the tankage to give over 2,000nm endurance.

    • Switch to a trawler? Certainly there is logic to it, but maybe later in life. My dreams of the big blue always include wind in sails.

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