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The Voyage of Krogen 42 Sea Waltz: Waltzing Through The San Juan Islands
— Clara and Bill Blanding, Alexandria, VA • Photos by Robin Roberts

Clara and Bill Blanding were relatively new boaters when they became members of the extended Kadey-Krogen family last year, purchasing a formerly owned Krogen that was berthed in Seattle, WA. Their home waters are those of the Chesapeake. Still in the work world, they are enjoying weekends out of Herrington Harbour South in Friendship, MD, less than an hour's drive from their Virginia home. Here is Bill's account of their adventure as they took delivery last summer on the West Coast and enjoyed the Pacific Northwest prior to shipping Sea Waltz from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and bringing her up the Intracoastal along with an overnight offshore run this past May.

“Our boating philosophy is pretty simple: learn, learn, and keep learning,” writes Bill.  “We take every boating class we can, take advantage of training and practice to gain skills, experience, and confidence; then we practice some more.  We also ask a lot of questions, talk to other boaters and, most importantly, just get out on the water and stretch our comfort zone. Our common sense approach to boating: if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.”

Rumor has it that cruising in Pacific Northwest isn’t fun: the fog, rain, lack of sun and nippy damp weather can all make boating uncomfortable. We found this to be anything but true. The “locals” would like everyone to believe this so they can keep their cruising grounds free of tourists. Thankfully, we didn’t fall for this myth and found out first hand that cruising Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and British Columbia is absolutely wonderful.  

How we got there
Clara and I had been boating for a little over two years, all in the Chesapeake Bay aboard a twin-screw Silverton motoryacht. The Silverton is a nice boat, but after experiencing bumpy rides while exposed to the elements and arriving at our destinations exhausted we decided on the slower cruising style of a trawler. What we really wanted was a pilothouse, flybridge, covered cockpit, walkaround decks and liveaboard features. We wanted a boat that was sea friendly and set for extensive anchoring. We looked at a lot of boats, talked to boaters, went for rides, and attended shows, seminars and trawler fests up and down the East Coast. Our search was narrowed down to DeFever and Kadey-Krogen. The Krogen offered more of our desired features.

We purchased a 1996 Kadey-Krogen 42' Widebody (hull #194) in June 2006. The boat was located on Lake Union in Seattle, and we live on the East Coast and cruise the Chesapeake Bay. We were prepared to spend the summer season without a boat until it could be shipped, but our Krogen broker, Captain Bill Harris, suggested we take advantage of the situation to cruise the Pacific Northwest and explore areas that we would not otherwise have the chance to visit.  Since we work full time and retirement is still several years away, the time available is limited to short periods but this was a good opportunity to get a taste of another boating environment. The seed of a plan was planted!

The preparation
Once the decision was made to explore the Northwest, we sprang into action and purchased all the Pacific Northwest cruising guides, charts and a Nobeltec electronic charting program. We also started lists of things to do to get the boat ready to cruise. In addition, Clara “strongly” recommended that we obtain some hands-on training in the finer points of single-engine operation and close quarters maneuvering of a boat bigger than we were used to handling. We traveled to Seattle for two weeklong trips to get the boat and ourselves ready. We also arranged for several days of training.  Intermingled with all the preparations, we had to find time to unpack the 40 boxes Clara shipped that she swore contained only “cruising essentials.”

 All of our free hours at home were consumed by cruise planning and pouring over charts.  We chose to concentrate our cruising time in the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Much of the land in the San Juans is publicly owned state and marine parks and wildlife refuges. With almost 2500 miles of shoreline and more than 300 islands between Olympia, WA, and the Canadian border, we quickly realized that there were too many “must see’ destinations and too little time. We formulated with the stipulation to just “be flexible”–a simple yet powerful concept. With that in mind we developed a basic plan supplemented with optional destinations allowing for our desires, weather, maintenance problems, fatigue, etc.  Several possible routes were charted ahead of time, with the final decisions to be made on a day-by-day basis. This actually worked out well and allowed us to become more familiar with all parts of the region during the planning phase.  We also realized we could enhance the cruising experience by inviting some friends along to share in our adventure.  Experienced cruisers Robin and Jim Roberts, trawler friends, Marine Trawler Owners Association members and cruising mentors, instantly leapt into our minds. The invitation was extended and accepted, dates picked and reservations made.

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