Recently, Roberta and I visited with Hugh Reilly, owner of the 90′ power boat Westward. He returned to Seattle last summer, after cruising the south pacific and returning via Japan and the Aleutians. We’re doing the same run this summer, in reverse, and have been trying to speak with everyone who has made this passage.

Hugh is extremely charming, and had amazing stories to tell of his time in Japan. For instance, he described his problems with the Japanese charts. Often, the charts were in Japanese and he was forced to use a combination of tourist brochures and the charts to try to find marinas. He couldn’t ask questions of surrounding boats, as VHF radios aren’t used in Japan. He would usually have to tie up two or three times, wherever he could find a wall to tie to, and then hunt down someone who spoke english (not an easy task) who would point him in the general direction of a marina.

As it turns out, I only knew a small fraction of the story. I wish I had asked more questions about his boat. If I had, I would have discovered that the boat itself is just as interesting as the places it has gone.

Hugh has just completed a documentary talking about Westward and his travels. He will be hosting a benefit to announce the release of the DVD.
If you will be in the Seattle area on March 19th, I highly recommend attending.

Whether you can attend or not, I think you’ll get a kick out of watching this short video about his boat. The full invitation can be found here, and the DVD can be ordered from this page.

And on a different topic…

I’ve spent the past two days working on a simplified electrical diagram for my boat. I want to upgrade my Simon monitoring system so that I can get good electrical information in the pilothouse. I’m looking for additional sensors I might add that will allow me to quickly know what power is flowing around the boat. This has meant studying the electrical panels, and plans, in excruciating detail. Whether or not I’ll come out with something useful I don’t know, but I do know that this has been a valuable exercise. I now understand my boat’s electrical system much better than I ever have.

Lastly, I’m just off the phone with Jeff. A technician from Delta (the shipyard where we hauled out), along with Jeff, are just heading into Puget Sound to do the first shakedown cruise on the boat. There is still plenty to do, but this represents a major milestone. Thus far all is good. The temperatures are all good, and the bilge is 100% dry (we installed dripless shaft seals). Jeff’s comment was that we are now at the point where everything is installed, and we are starting to put things back together. Yay!

Ken W


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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson