Custom Search
   boat plans
   gift certificates
Join Duckworks
Get free newsletter
on this site
by Dan RogersĀ - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

You know how some dreams should not quite ever be "realized?" And, I completely agree that we all need some stuff to still be looking forward to. But, doggone it, anyway it was back about 1962 that I got this notion that I would sail the length of Priest Lake. At the time I had a home built canvas-covered kayak with a thin-wall aluminum tube mast and vinyl sheet sail. Granted, there were some "technical difficulties" in completing a 40 or 50 mile voyage with that particular vessel.

The next candidate was a sort-of Sunfish hull made out of molded Styrofoam. I was absolutely certain that this would be the boat for the job. Of course, there was the matter of adding a deeper dagger board and rudder, adding a taller mast and bigger sail, and deck gear for a freighter or tugboat. Anyhow, that boat came to grief with a rather spectacular dismasting at Priest Lake, as it turns out. The Epic Voyage became stillborn with a shattered stub of a mast and no tools aboard to fix it at the time.

Life intruded, and I moved away. Somehow, I managed to take this or that boat a total of something like 50,000 miles in this or that adventure over the intervening years. But, that circumnavigation of Priest Lake that I intended to make under sail-way-back-when-was always still on the projects list.

Much more recently, I've been back at it. Seems that every time I've taken Lady Bug on the 80-mile round trip by road to Priest Lake I've had problems with no wind, low water, poor planning, etc. But, yesterday had all the hallmarks of successful attempt. Heck, I had the rig hooked up and headed out of the driveway before 0500. The forecast was for a decent breeze out of the south, with "A SLIGHT CHANCE OF BRIEF THUNDER STORMS." But, this is June. You, know "Summer." And, just to show faith in the weather guessers; I wore my short pants. Big mistake.

Fluffy clouds. Sunshine. Kinda' warm. No traffic at the launch ramp. Morning breeze making up off to the west. All day with nothing else to do. The view of the world from 0700 was darn promising.

The Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho Movable Messabout that I'm organizing for this September will start right here and proceed north up Priest Lake. I have figured it would be a good idea to do some further photo recon of some of the prospective camp sites and such. That was my "excuse" for being there. My actual motive was much deeper seated. I was gonna' make the run all the way to the top of the lake. Under sail. Today-is-the-day.

The promised breeze showed up right on schedule. Daylight until after 2100 tonight. We're on our way.

Yep. That's still SNOW up in them hills. But, like I said, this is SUMMER. The forecast was for only a teensey weensey chance of brief thunder showers. 8-10 knots out of the prevailing quarter. Life is good. Lady Bug is holding a well-mannered broad reach at around 5 knots. The helm is mostly either tied off or held loosely with one hand.

The first planned stop was to circle Bartoo Island and get some more pictures of the planned first night EWMM camping spots. Hmnnn, it's June. There's nobody on the island. I've only seen two boats in the first hour underway, and no more even on the horizon.

"Fluffy and white" have long ago shifted to steel gray and slashes of rain over the mountains. Lightening strikes at higher elevations are moving our way. Time to find somebody taller than us to hide next to.

I needed to check with the resort owner at Blue Diamond about launching boats and storing cars & trailers come September. And, they have a small maze of aluminum framed covered moorage I availed myself a spot next to, to sit out the "brief thunder shower" that was descending from just about every quarter. When it broke, the show went on for over three hours. And, other than a few drips from errant screw holes and leaking hatch hinges, Lady Bug proved to be a snug place for some serious power napping on my part. But, I gotta' admit it. By then it was about 1600 hours, and those short pants didn't actually do the job, sitting in an exposed cockpit. Somehow, the Epic Voyage that is still on my projects list was always supplied with a spanking breeze and fluffy white clouds. Not drizzle, and after the front calms.

That's why God made September.


To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit one of the following:

our Yahoo forum our Facebook page