This is the story of a brave Catalina 27' who drifted into our lives. We immediately fell in love. Announcing the Williwaw. She has officially joined our family and we couldn't be happier.
I had heard of this boat through dear new friends, and that she needed a new home. The owners were choosing another adventure, and this time, it was taking them inland, not out to sea. I spoke to my husband and the kids about it the possibility of a new boat. I'm sure the last thing my family was thinking was that I needed another "stray" to attend to.
Our Fane has been a much loved boat in our lives for so many years. I dearly love her and always will, but she presents some challenges too. Never being able to stay out on the water on those beautiful hot summer nights past dusk breaks my heart every time. She has no running lights, and is very clearly meant for day sailing. Chugging about, pulling crab traps and cruising in my beloved fjord, looking for a great place to picnic with my children. That's Fane's claim to fame.
So many evenings I have sadly driven home, towing our salty Fane behind me, wishing her and I were still out there still, sailing here and there, going nowhere important at all and in no hurry to get there. Soaring atop the calm water, looking into the clear green depths. Counting moon jellies with my son as we chug over kelp forests. I'd do anything to stay out there just a few minutes longer. I felt like a kid being called home for dinner, every single time.
Williwaw was enjoying her happy family life in Gibsons Harbour. A Victoria boat before she came to Gibsons, she is a 1978 Catalina 27'. Kept in good order, by a family who clearly loved her dearly, she was an excellent family boat. However, I soon found out she was in dire straights. Georgia Straight more like it!
We had some poor weather this past month, and she had broken loose from the mooring buoy that she was tied to. The owner had no idea how, but she had managed to find her way, bobbing and drifting along, from her Gibsons home, to Nanaimo's inner harbour!
She had sailed herself, 23 nautical miles and missed every single hazard possible. Under power, or wind, at an average cruising speed of 7 knots, it would take 3 hours and 17 minutes to sail from Gibsons to Nanaimo. The brave Williwaw decided to make the trip by herself, in her own speed, following her own chart.
The Coast Guard found her and the owners arranged for CTOW to tow her to the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. Looking to help, a deal was struck, and sight unseen, we welcomed our newest baby to the family.
Perhaps not the best way to purchase a boat, but I'm a firm believer in good things happening with, and to good people. Considering the character of our new friends, we were not worried about what we would find when we met our new boat, ourselves.
As of today, we have secured her, visited her and surveyed what she needs. A good antifouling bottom coat, a polish on the gelcoat, a good scrub and tidy up all over. New cushions, fabrics and a once over on the interior cabin, galley, head, berths and all and she'll be good as new. Ready for a fun season of cruising with family and friends in no time.
I was told by her former owners, that her name is the very definition of "a violent squall". They didn't choose it. I was thinking about that. Did her name hint at her adventurous past or a warning of the future?
In a throwback to my childhood dreams, I remember watching Anne of Green Gables religiously. I'll always remember that episode with the handsome Captain, Morgan Harris. He asks Anne what she would name his beautiful wooden sailboat, after discovering the name of his boat, Mistral, means a fierce, cold wind.
She replies "It should be christened after a delicious, perfumed wind, like a zephyr."
The handsome Captain replies "Then I shall name the next one, The Zephyr, in your honour."
Zephyr it is, Anne.
HI, I'M KATE
A Captain's daughter, who became a Captain's wife. I remain always, a mermaid out of water looking to get straight back to the sea, whenever possible.