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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Classic Yachts at Bell Harbor Marina

The Pacific Northwest Fleet of the Classic Yacht Association, in conjunction with the Port of Seattle, is sponsoring the Bell Street Pier Classic Rendezvous this weekend at Bell Harbor Marina. More than 40 classic wooden yachts, many of them built prior to World War II, will be on display. The event is purportedly the largest gathering of classic yachts on the West Coast. For further information, see

We watched a number of the classic vessels enter the marina yesterday.

Cle-Illahee is a bridge-deck cruiser built in 1929. Her name in a Northwest Native American dialect literally means "home on the water. She was built as a pleasure yacht and has never been altered from the original intent of the designer. Her hull is Port Orford cedar over oak frames, her decks are yellow cedar, and her wheelhouse and aft cabin are mahogany. For further information, see and

Honey Bee, an absolutely beautiful 42' Reinell Custom cruiser, was built in 1961.

Cinnamon Girl is a 34' Chris Craft built in 1951. She looks very similar to Honey Bee, doesn't she?

And, finally, there is M/V Olympus, a 97' fan tail motor yacht launched May 14, 1929 at the New York Yacht, Launch and Engine Company yard in Morris Heights, New York. At the time of her launching, Olympus was christened "Junaluska" in honor of a lake in North Carolina where her first owner spent his childhood summers. For further information, see

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Every so often, the view out to Elliott Bay is so beautiful that words don't do it justice. That was the case on June 15, about 8:45 PM, when the sun was sinking gradually toward the Olympic Range to the northwest. The soft evening light illuminated an outbound Alaska Marine Lines barge, the Sea-based X-band radar on the far side of Elliott Bay, a COSCO container ship being refueled, a passing Bremerton ferry, and a sailboat cruising just off the bow of JDS Kashima. See whether you agree.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

JDS Kashima Relocates to Pier 66

JDS Kashima, which arrived in Elliott Bay yesterday, relocated to Pier 66 this morning with the assistance of two Crowley tugs, Hunter and Chief. Readers of Channel 14, Seattle Traffic, will recall that Hunter won the Class A Unlimited tugboat race at the Seattle Maritime Festival in early May.

A US Navy band welcomed the Japanese training vessel as it approached Pier 66 about 9 AM. The music brought many Waterfront Landings residents, including ourselves, to their windows.

Despite information suggesting that Kashima was in Hawaii on Friday, June 10 (see our June 14 blog post, which was based on, further research indicates that Kashima was actually in Anchorage June 6-9 before cruising south to the Emerald City. See The earlier report of a spotting in Hawaii was inaccurate.

Kashima edged ever-so-gently into Pier 66.

Because Pier 66 also hosts passenger ships each Friday through Sunday during the Alaska cruising season, Kashima tied up at the end of the pier nearest to us, with her bow protruding into what, in the best of circumstances, is the rather narrow entrance to Bell Harbor Marina.

Despite the obstacle, the smaller cruisers and sailboats that frequent Bell Harbor Marina during the boating season will have no difficulty with ingress and egress.

The purpose of Kashima's visit to the United States and other ports of call in the Eastern Pacific is to provide training for junior officers in both seamanship skills and international relations and to express the gratitude of the Japanese people for the assistance rendered by the US and its military in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan this past March. For further information concerning Kashima and events scheduled during its visit to Seattle, see

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

JDS Kashima Anchors in Elliott Bay

JDS Kashima (3508) is a training ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Built to a unique design during the mid 1990s, Kashima is flagship of the JMSDF Training Fleet. She is 469 feet in length. Her ship's company is 370, including officer cadets.

Kashima was photographed with two other JMSDF training vessels in Pearl Harbor, HI on Friday, June 10, suggesting that her commanding officer put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, to arrive in Seattle on Tuesday, June 14. The nautical distance between the two cities is about 2600 nm, requiring an average speed of about 27 kph to make the crossing in four full days (96 hours). Possible? Yes. Likely? I'm not so sure. Perhaps the Pearl Harbor photo was taken Thursday rather than Friday.

One wonders whether the other Japanese training vessels are also on their way to Seattle.

Five More Well-Deserved Blasts

Yesterday, we heard five short blasts and hustled to our window overlooking Elliott Bay to see what was going on. The answer was readily apparent. A smallish motor vessel on its way into Bell Harbor Marina had decided, for some inexplicable reason, to cross in front of an incoming Washington State Ferry from Bainbridge Island. One wonders what the person at the helm of the smaller vessel was thinking . . . if he or she was thinking at all. We estimate that the smaller vessel passed no more than 100 yards in front of the ferry. Not nearly enough clearance by our standards. Apparently, the ferry captain agreed.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gig Harbor HS Seniors Ride to Prom in Style

A group of seniors from Gig Harbor HS rode to their prom in style Saturday aboard Epiphany, a SonShip 68. The prom was held at Bell Harbor Conference Center at Pier 66. Epiphany spent the night at Bell Harbor Marina and then departed Sunday morning for the cruise back to Gig Harbor.

Epiphany was featured in the April 2001 issue of Sea Magazine. See She's a magnificent vessel, and we hope the prom was as much fun as the ride on her must have been for those lucky Gig Harbor HS seniors.

Mt. Constance and The Brothers

The Brothers
The Olympic Range provides a spectacular backdrop as we look out to the west over Elliott Bay and Bainbridge Island. From Seattle, two peaks stand out above all others -- The Brothers and Mt. Constance. The Brothers are a pair of tall peaks in the southern portion of the range. The south peak, at 6,842' , is slightly higher than the north. Mt. Constance, in the northern part of the range, is even more visually prominent, standing 7,756' in height.

Mr. Constance was named in 1857 by George Davidson, a surveyor, in honor of his bride-to-be's sister, Constance Fauntleroy. The Brothers were named for her brothers, Arthur and Edward Fauntleroy. See Fauntleroy itself is the name of the small West Seattle community that serves as the eastern terminus of the Washington State Department of Transportation's Vashon ferry.

The Federal Communications Commission web site includes a formula for calculating the distance between two sets of known GPS coordinates:
Using the GPS coordinates for Bell Harbor Marina (47° 36.36' N, 122° 20.53' W) and The Brothers (47° 39.23' N, 123° 08.46' W), the FCC formula indicates that The Brothers lie 37.3 miles west of our Elliott Bay overlook. Mt. Constance lies a similar distance away.