Ways to find inspiration in the blue light of Winter

Ways to find inspiration in the blue light of Winter

Winter solstice day was dim and short here in Port Townsend, it is 4 hours longer than today would be in Anchorage, Alaska, where I lived nine years. I miss the sun, but I've lived through shorter days and longer winters. What got me through, was the beauty of blue.

In snow-covered parts of the world right now, the blues are brighter, tempered by the whiteness. There, like in Anchorage, the snow reflected every particle of light from the sun, moon, and stars. The hues of blue and ever-present shadows blurred the days and nights--and made both longer. Fall and spring were two flash floods of color. 

So, these long gray rainy days are 

Kaci's Radio Interview: Poet, WritingitReal Sheila Bender

Port Townsend poet and writing teacher, Sheila Bender interviewed me last summer for her cool radio show WritingitReal on local public radio station, KPTZ. Her show is generally for writers by writers, but clearly also for anyone who wants to know more about my book and the adventurous research and multi-year process of writing it. Here's the link. Hope you enjoy and share it. 

Reviews keep rolling in while Finding PAX 2nd edition heads to London

Finding PAX first edition sold out, but reviews keep rolling in. [Meanwhile, the new expanded second edition is off to London design team. Watch for news of the Fall 2018 release!]

Port Townsend based photographer Deja Webster, wrote... "Perfect gift for any boat owner or anyone who has loved a sailor who loved his/her boat."

MacKenzie Driftboat builder, adventurer, and author... a champion of wild rivers ... Greg Hatten had this to say...

"Kaci Cronkhite writes with pride and passion about the wooden boat she acquired and the quest to learn her history. That quest seemed quixotic at times but her persistence and obsession ultimately rewarded her with the clues to know the life story of the well-travelled and "buxom" boat named PAX. Finding PAX is a wonderful combination of mystery, intrigue, heartbreak, craftsmanship, and emotion all mixed together in a wooden boat story that had me rooting for the author, for the boat, and all the previous owners. Over the years, everyone who came in contact with PAX came under her spell and you will too if you read this wonderful, artfully crafted book." - Greg Hatten, 2017

I've known Greg for a decade. Met him when he brought his first MacKenzie Drift Boat to the Wooden Boat Festival. Now, he's doing talks all over the country. He has written articles, books, and is the inspiring man behind the National Park Service's 100th anniversary "outrageous wooden boating adventure" series.

What joy it gives me to share our love of wooden boats with each other - and the world! Thank you, Deja and Greg!

 

FINDING PAX has arrived! Official Launch at Wooden Boat Festival.

FINDING PAX has arrived! Official Launch at Wooden Boat Festival.

No sooner had the pallet of books arrived at Edensaw Woods and been loaded into my very full truck, than the first person offered to buy one. After handing a book to long-time friend, local supporter of all things wood and community - Kiwi Ferris, owner of Edensaw Woods -  I turned around to see Alex Spear (owner of the beautiful Vito Dumas) ride up beside us and voila! I was inscribing the first book! 

From that moment, it's been a flurry of orders (and signing each one!) in person, via social media, on my website, in local bookstores (yesterday, the first books went to Writers' Workshoppe/Imprint Books), and next week at the first of several public events leading up to the OFFICIAL Big Splash Book Launch at the 40th Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

How to find boat history (and prepare for the surprises)

How to find boat history (and prepare for the surprises)

Tracking down the former owners of a boat you own, especially if the boat is more than 50 years old (mine is now 80!) accomplishes two key stewardship goals - the preservation of historic documentation and the prudent recording of repairs for maintenance. 

A third, more FUN goal, (in my case, what turned into an international quest, and book) is the profound discovery of human connections and the illumination of history that occurs while doing the research. Think "Roots" and Ancestry.com for boats. While the people you meet may not be family by blood, they (or their children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren) become family, in that bigger world community way, through a shared love for the boat or through the challenges faced while owning it.

Research starts with the documentation received at purchase - the legal documents of registration - and anything the prior owner passed along like Logbooks, maintenance records, etc. If the boat has a pedigree from one of the national or internationally recognized designers or building yards, it's likely there will be plaques, photographs, and even books about the boat or her sisterships. 

In my case, there was nothing but the minimum information required for registration and the name of the owner I bought her from. The rest was a mystery. What I did next, then next, then next was the 7-year quest to British Columbia, California, and Denmark (four times!) that became the book, FINDING PAX. 

While most people buy boats for voyaging and some for the challenge of the build, my boat took me places I never imagined, into history I never knew.

Book Update: Finding PAX is hot off the press! Almost:/

According to my editor, a repairman flew in from Germany to fix the KM 600 that does part of the work in the bindery to saddle-stitch FINDING PAX. So, that means a delay of at least one week for the arrival. 

New ETA of the pallet is August 16th, 2016.

NOTE as of October 2017: That original version of Finding PAX is no longer available. All but a few boxes of my gorgeous little first edition sold out. The rest are safely tucked away as keepsakes while we await the new, expanded 2nd edition to be published by Adlard Coles/Bloomsbury and distributed worldwide starting Fall 2018! 

Rotten news: unexpected joys of a wooden boat haulout

Rotten news: unexpected joys of a wooden boat haulout

Shipwrights Diana Talley and John Zimmer agreed to do the work. Pax was hauled, tapped, chalked up, and four planks (or partial planks) were chosen for removal. If you know wooden boats (or house projects) there might be a slight increase in your heart rate at the mention of removal. Behind every plank in boat (and board in a house) you're likely to find something else that might need to be fixed. 

So it went on Pax. With the planks off, we could see

Goodbye Good Boy

Goodbye Good Boy

As a life-long traveler and around the world sailor, I love to say 'see you later' instead of goodbye - knowing, of course, that the former could very well be the latter. Down deep, that truth always settles in a peace beyond words. 

Last week, my hiking buddy, my 'best man', our Border Collie 'Chase

Dog's Day, December

Dog's Day, December

Cold front has arrived.
North wind biting and barking.
Winter's brrr and grrr.

©Kaci Cronkhite

Here's to the craftspeople

Here's to the craftspeople

Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful to someone for something when I'm with my wooden boat. Thanks to their hands, their tools, their ingenuity... I can go sailing. I can rest assured.

In this photo alone, that includes:

Unknown people somewhere who made the cloth, the grommets, the shackle, the cotter pin, the thread, the bolt rope, the leather strip, the parachute cord and marlin twine. You get the picture.  We depend on each other more than we realize some days... too many days.