Ship’s Log Archives

Feb 26 2009

“Westward in the 21st Century” – Premiere

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Oct 17 2008

Westward Update

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We last reported on the occasion of Westward’s August 30th return to Lake Union, an event marking the end of our 19 month/21,500 mile circumnavigation of the Pacific. (see: .

September saw Westward dry-docked, scrubbed & painted—-all prerequisites to full & proper completion of her Pacific odyssey.  She is now returned to her element and moored Port Angeles, Washington for the winter.  September was also a time for Teresa & me to reflect on our ownership of Westward, her future, and where she best fits into our lives.


Lake Union 1920's

Lake Union 1920


In her 85th year, Westward is a most remarkable vessel—-a unique classic of pedigreed design & construction, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  She is beneficiary of recent, and virtually complete, renovation & renewal of both her structure and her systems.

Westward’s recent, extensive and highly successful Pacific voyage (for which state-of-the-art electronic and navigation equipment were added) is testimony to Westward’s soundness and capabilities.

The key to Westward’s continued vitality is frequent and active use.  After fifteen years of enjoyment, Teresa & I have realistically concluded that we are no longer willing to commit the time that Westward’s “frequent and active use” requires.  It is time for us to either find a new owner for Westward or, better yet, to gather a group to share with us in her ownership & use. 

It is our hope to attract about ten like-minded participants, ourselves included, to share in the opportunities & responsibilities of Westward’s ownership and to ensure her continued vitality & presence as a significant piece of Northwest maritime history. 

We have not developed this idea beyond the most basic elements here described; details of Westward’s shared ownership & use will be best defined, as the concept is collaboratively developed, by the participants.

Westward is equipped & immediately suited for annual operation both within Puget Sound & British Colombia and to more distant destinations in Alaska and Mexico.  Should her new owners elect, Westward is also capable of continued & extensive passage-making—–perhaps a reprise of some, or all, of her recent Pacific journey or even a 2nd circumnavigation of the world! 

Additionally, Westward remains an uninspected passenger vessel and therefore eligible to operate on commercial charter.



Japan 2008

Japan 2008

Ten (10) ownership interests (allowing time each year for maintenance & positioning) should nominally provide each owner with four week’s exclusive use of Westward.

Determination of each owner’s annual use will require agreement on Westward’s future schedules and on a plan for allocation, exchange, and even charter of such use*. 

*[Allocation,  exchange  & sub-let systems for shared-ownership are now fairly common, a consequence of  the recent popularity of “fractional ownership” programs for resorts, yachts, aircraft, and even luxury cars (though we envision a more owner-driven structure for Westward’s shared ownership).]

The Reilly’s participation as members in a new owning group would ensure:

1)    Continuity of management of Westward

2)    Continued availability of our knowledge & experience with Westward

3)    Our continued enjoyment of the rewards of Westward’s ownership.

Our long-standing commitment to Westward’s well-being & success endures.  We would be equally committed to the success of a shared-ownership enterprise for Westward.

Acquisition cost of a share in Westward’s ownership would need to be agreed, but would be a fraction of her purchase cost or the purchase cost of any yacht of comparable size, capability, or distinction.  Properly structured & executed, a shared-ownership interest in Westward should appreciate in value and perhaps provide tax benefits.

Westward annual ownership & operating costs (crewed, insured & maintained) would depend greatly upon the extent of her annual operation.  Wherever her annual schedule may take her (and her schedule could vary from year to year), each member’s share would be a fraction the cost of exclusive ownership of alternative yachts of lesser ability & distinction.  How many of us can actually enjoy a yacht more that 30 days a year?

We invite your thoughts & interest in response to this message.  We hope that you will share this message and this concept with others who might wish to participate the in honor & pleasures of Westward’s ownership and in the goal of ensuring her continued vitality & presence as a significant piece of Northwest maritime history. 

We look forward to your comments and interest.  Meanwhile, all continues well aboard


Update: Shared Ownership pdf

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Sep 01 2008

Safely Home!

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September 1st:  A “rough & boisterous” non-stop, four-day passage bucking southerlies the full length of the Inside Passage, brought Westward from Ketchikan to Seattle—–and alongside the Historic Vessel Pier at Lake Union at 1400 hrs sharp 30th August 2008.

19 months & 21,500 miles since our departure in February, 2007.

The highlight of our warm reception was the appearance of the Madsen family, with our two delightful granddaughters, awaiting us at Government Locks—–where Westward (flying flags of all the counties we visited & signal flags announcing “Arriving from Japan”) was lifted-up from sea-level to the higher elevation & fresh water of the lakes that divide Seattle. Our able shipmates did a pier-head jump just inside the Locks (headed home to harvest ripening grapes at Whaler Vineyard) and the Madsen’s came aboard for the final leg, under two drawbridges, into Lake Union.

We’re glad to be safely home, reunited with family, richer (& poorer!) for our fabulous Pacific journey.

All continues well aboard


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Aug 28 2008

Arrival Update

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Aug 24 2008

Update from Ketchikan

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This is an unexpected report from Ketchikan. 

Our hope was to now be steaming southward towards Seattle along the offshore waters of Southeast Alaska & British Colombia; alas, we have been forced inland, to the more sheltered waters of the Inside Passage, by a series of challenging & un-summer-like southerly storms offshore. The cruising is lovely down the Inside Passage, but progress is slower & navigation more circuitous & demanding than running the open, offshore waters of the coast.

We are calling Ketchikan today for an extra shot of fuel for a slower passage home, hopeful that a couple of more days running southbound down the Inside Passage will provide a weather opening allowing us to head back offshore for a last-leg-home down the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The weather in Alaska this summer (?) has been ever-changing, hopefully it will do so for the better over the next week. It does appear that we have a grind ahead of us covering the 665 mile distance from Ketchikan to our schedule August  30th arrival at Lake Union.  Whatever the weather does, our schedule is “do-able”, One way or another, we’re going to do it!

On departing Sitka, we enjoyed a lovely, sunny journey, via Sergius Narrows and Peril Straits, to Warm Springs Bay—–where we anchored well past dark.  We arose early on Tuesday (August 21st) to the sight of the dramatic roaring waterfall adjacent to wonderful (and now well-maintained) Baranoff Hot Springs—–Onsens revisited:

We departed Baranof for a lumpy run across Frederick Sound (signs of things to come?) to our 21st rendezvous with Catalyst in the beautiful Brothers Islands.  It was a night to remember aboard two able & lovely vessels, full with with fine fellowship & company sharing a delicious potluck & moveable feast (including Westward’s fresh ling cod & halibut from Prince William Sound!). 

Daybreak on the 22nd (seen only by a few stalwarts!) saw Westward & Catalyst underway together to the Five Fingers Lighthouse—— base-camp of Fred Sharps’s remarkable Alaska Whale Foundation (  Low tide & deteriorating weather precluded visits ashore to the lighthouse so we parted company with Catalyst and travel southwest (another ominous passage) to magnificent Red Bluff Bay off Chatham Straits on Baranof Island. 

We had hope for couple of nights at Red Bluff, but the demands of weather & duty compelled us to get underway, southbound towards home, early on the 23rd.  Thus we’ve crawled our way to Ketchikan today.

We’re wet & tired, but on our way; and all continues well onboard.


[P.S.: Click Here for a press release from John Sabella & Assoc. regarding Westward’s return to Seattle.]

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Aug 19 2008


Published by under Ship's Log

Soon after our Catalyst reunion, we will take our departure from Alaska at Dixon Entrance, sailing direct to Seattle on a 700 mile outside passage down the West Coast of Vancouver Island & Straits of Juan de Fuca.


We’ve set our arrival in Seattle for  2 p.m. on Saturday, August 30th——in Lake Union, at the Historic Vessel Pier in Seattle’s South Lake Union Park.   Any and all who have shared this journey through these missives will be welcome faces there upon, or soon after, our return.

As ever, all continues well aboard

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Jul 30 2008

Westward at Kodiak, Alaska

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Jul 15 2008

Sweeper Cove, Adak

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Once the Adak Naval Air Station, steeped in cold-war mystery, Sweeper Cove has infrastructure for the population of 10,000 that once manned this base. But it is now home to little more that 100 permanent residents (plus assorted transients—-fishing, hunting & contract). Needless to say, in this harsh environment, the community is getting a little behind on maintenance (and suffering profoundly from the vandalism of disaffected youth) but there is no shortage of hospitality; we enjoyed our 24-hour respite at Sweeper Cove.

Sheltered anchorage among the islands east of Adak is sparce, with nothing suitable for us in the weather that followed our Adka departure and passage through the Adreanof Islands group:

We traveled eastward for 350 miles to Umnak & Unalaska islands of the Fox Island group, only to again have the elements again cast aside our plans. Eruption of volcanic Mt. Okmok on Umnak Island put our intended harbors, in its lee, under a blanket of ash that would have played havoc with the inner workings of the treasured Atlas engine upon which we depend. At Unalaska, after passing a grim reminder of what a moments carelessness can cause in these unforgiving waters, we took a run the length of fjord-like Pumicestone Bay, steep-sided for its narrow 7 mile length, only to find clouds of Okmok’s settled ash at the head of the bay, stirred up by whistling winds and covering once-white snowfields at higher elevations:

At day’s-end (13th) we found clean, calm & lovely anchorage in Cannery Cove, off Makushin Bay on Unalaska Island, where we watched eagles, seals, and foxes work the tide & shore-line while a pod of Humpback whales cavorted in this remote and sheltered harbor. Today (14th) we enjoyed a fine day (temp 65) and gave Westward a thorough cleaning—-fitting attendance to the vessel that has served us so well & comfortably over the 2,400 miles since this crew signed aboard in Muroran, Japan.

We’ll sail tonight from Cannery Cove, 60 miles to Westward Seafoods, at Captain’s Bay in Dutch Harbor; not a homecoming M.V. Westward, but somewhat a homecoming for this old “cod-father” who’s involvement with the plant goes back to it’s inception in the late-‘80’s.We’ll be sorry to see this crew depart from Dutch Harbor, they have been good company and able hands; they, together with favorable weather, have made this a most pleasant passage over waters that can be most contrary at any time of year. But we’ve an able gang arriving to replace them for our journey up the Alaska Peninsula to Prince William Sound. Best off all, the replacement crew includes Teresa!

All’s well aboard


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Jul 15 2008

The Bay of Islands – Adak

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The remarkable Bay of Islands is sheltered from the ravages of the North Pacific & Bering Sea by a group of protective islands—-passage thought which required transit of channels named “Hell’s Gate” & “The Race”.  Slack water made these transits speedy & uneventful and brought us four-square with nature thriving in this lonely shelter at the western edge of America—-eagles, caribou, otter, mussels, Puffin, muskeg & waist-deep grasses . . . . . . even a 70 lb halibut which found it’s way to table for a dinner on the back deck, blessed by sunshine.   Mixed with all these marks of natures work was man-kind’s unkind foot-print—-wartime & recent scientific remnants.


A Red-billed Oyster Catcher with her well camoflauged chick below:

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Jul 15 2008

Traveling the Ring of Fire

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Post continues. . .

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