Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sailing in Seattle (Part II)

Today, Wednesday, I did not have any plans. However I had met quite a few people on Steve's boat yesterday, one of which was Tyler who works on the tourist yachts in Seattle Harbour. This venture, called Emerald City Charters (, owns two 70' ex racing yachts called Obsession and Neptune's Car and takes passengers out on them a number of times a day. They are also available for private charter and are often used for private charter.

So Tyler invited me to join him onboard at 11am, where he was due to take out Obsession with the owner at the wheel and a few other tourists on board. I had a look around the boat, which had a very large flat deck surface and some huge winch drums, but had also been modified to make it as uncluttered as possible for the guests and had all but one of the pedestals removed. 

Sparse interior and metal construction!

With all on board we set off into the bay and as soon as we found a 5kt breeze, we set off towards Puget Sound. We soon passed Alki beach where I had been kayaking, and went and found a bit more wind out in the bay. Nevertheless, we were still making about 3-4kts in this very light air, testament to the huge sail area and racing hull design of this ship!

I had a good chat with Tyler, who will be studying to be a helicopter pilot in Hawaii throughout 2013, who also seemed very interested in how we fly gliders and was asking some impressively deductive questions! It seems that the US Government is willing to provide a loan to those hoping to study to be commercial pilots - quite a difference to the situation in the UK. 

We got back to Seattle to find that the other yacht had also returned (having been on a private charter) and Tyler was then able to show me around that one as well. The difference in appearance between the two yachts, despite being the same length but had been built to different specifications and out of different materials, was quite striking.

This one had much more of an interior to it - and also had a lot of food left over from the previous charter. Free lunch then!

These yachts were magnificent fun and I would love to be part of a proper racing crew on a boat like Neptune's Car or similar. Not sure how I could have such an opportunity - but I will be on the lookout... Thanks again to Tyler for making this possible, and please have a look at to learn more about the boats.

Having had a free lunch, I ate this on the pier while carrying out an experiment. I had seen a seagull drop a paper bag on the decking and I must have seen 30 people walk past it or kick it without putting it in the bin which was right next to it! Eventually, an older lady picked it up and put it in - she said she was a girl scout leader! So kudos to the girl scouts but what a shame that so many tourists or residents on the Seattle seafront didn't care enough to bin this bit of litter.... (of course I would have done it if it were still there when I finished my lunch. But it was an interesting experiment). This is what I meant about the American public in my previous post. Not something I had been able to put my finger on before.

For the rest of the afternoon, I have been writing blog posts and sorting photographs and chatting to my fellow hostellers and trying to get Picasa to work (still no luck) and sending emails and working out how to get round the Great Firewall of China and Skyping David and eating free pancakes (I haven't paid a cent for any food today) and trying to guess the gender of the 'lady' who I met in Santa Monica HI who has now turned up in Seattle (who, for some reason, was showing us her passport and confirmed my suspicions) and comparing currency and signatures and generally chilling out. Also trying to make plans for tomorrow!


  1. Great stuff Colin - you've clearly had a very nautical-themed stay in Seattle.

    Look forward to hearing all about your new surroundings when you land in China.

  2. Dear Colin - We are so pleased that you are making the most of all modes of transport and guess there will be plenty more to try in China. Thank you for your very readable and enjoyable blog entries and hope you can keep in touch from Asia (though feel free not to try out your Mandarin on us.... AOL Mum xxxx