Monthly Archives: June 2011

Voyaging with Velella: Hitched!

Continuing the Voyaging with Velella series by ASA writer-at-large Meghan Harvey. Meghan and her husband Prescott have been cruising aboard their boat Velella for the past 8 months, and are now taking a honeymoon sail in the San Juan Islands.

Sitting here on Velella this morning in the fog, drinking my coffee “blonde and bitter” like usual, and checking the tides to determine our best time of departure, it’s hard to believe that just last weekend we were tying the knot. I mean, THE king of all knots.

For weeks leading up to our wedding day, the weather was PERFECT. The intense yellow and pale pink wildflowers faded in May but were replaced by carpets of purple lupines, starlike bachelor’s buttons, and feathery queen anne’s lace as our wedding day drew near. We kept congratulating ourselves for choosing the most idyllic time of year in the Columbia Gorge–the grass was still bright green, rippled by the warm June wind, and the tree buds burst open into shady canopies just in time–it was a fairytale setting. Still, forced by habit, I checked NOAA’s weather forecasts and our own SSB GRIB files daily, just to make sure we had a good weather window for wedding day.

Of course, on the morning of June 18th, I woke up to heavy-hanging clouds and rain pelting the huge windows of the house we had rented for the wedding party to share. My wonderful bridesmaids flitted about and distracted me with hot coffee in bed, and everyone seemed a bit nervous about whether I would become bridezilla on account of the weather. We piled into cars and headed out to get manicures, chatting over the sound of squeaky wiper blades.

As we came out of the manicure salon in a downpour, I thought, I met this boy in the rain, fell in love with him in the rain, sailed with him unprotected from the driving rain!–this is romantic too. Plus, life on a sailboat has really driven home that weather is truly and completely outside of my control, so there’s no use worrying about it. So, I didn’t. Instead, I took a jacuzzi bath with a mimosa.

Anyway, as you can see by the pictures, the sun won out, wiped away any trace of dampness, and crowned the afternoon with the most glorious light. Ceremony time crept closer and the guests started to arrive. The rest went by so fast, I felt like I was barely there. But as we get underway on Velella again today, certain words from our ceremony still ring in my mind:

“Up until now, your commitment to one another has been incredibly full of adventure. You were both free to step off at any moment, but you didn’t. Now, in preparing for your next adventure, you agree that this outstanding partnership will outlast all adventures. This journey is for life.”

It was a long time ago that we left this very slip in Seattle, headed out on an adventure that would last almost three years. That morning I was up at 4:30am, my hands shook when I untied the cleats, my heartbeat was loud in my chest as we backed out of the slip and the bow rose past the breakwater. Everything about departing on our first major voyage was terrifying and unknown. But this time, it couldn’t feel more different. We have thousands of miles beneath our steady keel. This boat is our comfortable home. My first mate is now my mate for life.

I couldn’t think of a better way for us to spend our first weeks of marriage than at sea together again, retracing our very first steps of our first adventure, while beginning another one. It’s the same, but very different.

July Photo of the Month: Sailing Dads

Father’s Day has come and gone, and this month in honor of those brave patriarchs who plough the seas, our photo contest on Facebook and Twitter had the theme “Sailing Dads.” We got at least three generations’ worth of entries: ranging from tattered old black and white shots from the 1940s to present day father/daughter sailing tandems.


As a matter of fact, it was one of those Father/Daughter combos that took home our top prize, publication in ASA’s Sailing With Style e-newsletter. Submitter Dennis McLeroy gave this description: “Megan and I, out of Ventura, CA.” Congratulations to you both!
july winner


Another favorite of our voting fans on Facebook was this classic, historic shot provided by Dana Ash. She says, “I’ve always liked this picture of my dad sailing a cat boat on the lagoon where I grew up (c. 1946).”
july runner up


I’m choosing to recognize the following photo by Meghan Conroy because of the heartfelt story that accompanied it. “My dad fulfilled his lifelong dream of buying a sailboat about eight years ago and our Cape Dory, Changing Channels, has been his pride and joy ever since. It is his goal to sail Changing Channels to Charleston when we move there in three years. Thanks for everything, dad! I know you can do it!”

Meghan, be sure to let us know when your Dad makes that sail down to Charleston!
editors choice

Thanks to all of our participants and voters! Stay tuned to ASA social media for fun contest, giveaways, sweepstakes, and more in the future.

Things To Do On Father’s Day Weekend

Dive into summer sailing!

This Sunday, June 19th, is Father’s Day, and with the official first day of summer impending on June 21, the time is right to get out and sail. So what should you do this Father’s Day weekend? Well, that’s ultimately up to you (or the Dad in your life), but here are some ideas!

  • Participate in our “Sailing Dads” photo contest. Dad deserves his fifteen minutes of fame, so share your best picture of him braving the high seas on our Facebook wall. If you take Dad out sailing this weekend, be sure to snap some pictures and share them with us. The entries will be voted on by fans of ASA and the winner gets featured in our ‘Sailing with Style’ e-magazine.
  • Take part in Summer Sailstice. This is a global celebration of sailing and the sailing lifestyle. Check out their website where you can see what other sailors in your area are up to, or investigate the sailing plans of folks around the world. It’s not too late to sign up!
  • Visit the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival at Koehler Kraft Boatyard, this Saturday and Sunday. If you’re in Southern California, this is a great event. Unlike typical boat shows, the point of this festival is not really to sell boats, but to provide a forum for admiring some beautiful wooden boats and learn more about them. Plus there will be a charity auction of wooden boats!
  • Or maybe Dad deserves his next ASA sailing certification? Go here to find your local sailing school and see what they’re offering. On second thought, maybe someone ELSE needs to get a new certification so that Dad can kick back and relax while everyone else handles the boat!

Know of any other great events or ways to spend Father’s Day weekend? Advise us with a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter! And to all the Dads–have a great time and enjoy yourselves!

Photos from ASA’s 2011 Exuma Islands Flotilla, Bahamas

Enjoy this selection of excellent photos from ASA’s 2011 Exuma Islands flotilla, thanks to member Carole Walsh. This remote series of cays, known locally as the “Out Islands,” are one of our many popular flotilla destinations. It’s a very unique trip–you learn to sail small boats, camp on the beaches at night, and hang out with the local wildlife (see below). The folks on this trip earned their ASA 110 “Basic Small Boat Sailing” certifications, by the way, handling the gorgeous Sea Pearl 21 boats.

Click here to find out more about ASA’s flotillas, including Greece, Croatia, Tahiti, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California, and more.

Scouting out the Out Islands!

charter checkout
Flotilla leader Dallas Knowles explains the unique Sea Pearl 21 sailboat. This will be the sailors' floating home for the week.

sea pearl sailing
The Sea Pearls in action.

farmers cay po
The festive looking P.O. on Farmers Cay!

A local.

Some more island residents. Everyone's so friendly!

sailboat sunset
Carib looking good in the evening.

foot in water
Wouldn't you like to dip your toe in that tropical water?

The whole gang looking tanned and happy at trip's end!

To see how this could be you on a sailing adventure somewhere in the world, visit us at!

Today is World Oceans Day

sea of cortezThere’s nothing the sailor likes more than a good ocean. We’re also fond of seas, straits, lakes, rivers, ponds, and puddles, but the lure of the wide ocean is particularly strong. Luckily for us, there are 5 of them here on Earth. And when you learn to sail, somewhere in the back of your mind is usually a dream of making an ocean crossing, or even sailing around the world.

President Obama has declared this month World Oceans Month, and today, June 8th, is World Oceans Day. What does this mean for you? It’s a good chance to reflect on the importance of keeping our marine environments healthy, and perhaps to enjoy a nice time on the water using the “greenest” method of travel there is: sailing!

Here’s a list of 5 things you can do to celebrate World Oceans Day.

You might also consider checking out these great organizations that work to preserve our oceans:

Lastly, don’t forget the small things you can do! NEVER throw trash overboard, especially plastic! Use the engine as little as possible–check out ASA instructor Greg Martin’s Electric Seas project for more on this. And most of all, keep on sailing and introducing new people to the sport, so that they’ll develop the same connection to the sea!

Voyaging with Velella: The View from the Porthole (Photos)

Enjoy this special gallery of photos from ASA writer-at-large Meghan Cleary! These are some of the views from S/V Velella’s galley porthole as she’s sailed up and down the west coast of North America.

It’s like a tiny square of exquisite chocolate rather than a Toblerone. When there’s so much rich world passing you by, what could be more refined that tasting it in porthole-sized bites?

galley sunset
La Paz, Baja
la cruz
The popular La Cruz de Huanacaxtle anchorage.
Timbabiche, Baja
Timbabiche, Baja
Nessie, Velella's Sea Monster
Lovely Loreto, Baja
bahia santa maria
Bahia Santa Maria, Baja
pacific northwest
Effingham Island, Barkley Sound, British Columbia

Show us the view from your porthole! Find us on Facebook or Twitter to connect with other sailors and share the sailing lifestyle.

And stay tuned for more great photos and stories from the adventures of S/V Velella and crew!