I was invited to a Shilshole Yacht Club rafting event in Liberty Bay on July 3rd by Joe Bozick, an ex-commodore. Hundreds of boats gather on the 3rd and celebrate our nation’s independence.
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I had never been to a rafting event before so I read up on how to raft, loaded extra bumpers and line from Penny onto my car, and heading down to Zippey’s marina.

My buddy Jason came along for the trip. As we loaded the goods onto Zippey some people came to the powerboat moored on the other side of the finger pier from her. They could not figure out how to get the boat to start. I helped them start it and it turns out that they had rented the boat from a website for the day. Protip: Do not EVER let someone take out your boat that you do not know and trust, let alone put it up on a boat rental site without ever meeting the people. As they pulled away from the dock they almost hit the boat next to them, then almost rammed the dock behind them, then almost hit the boat next to them, etc. I was finally able to grab ahold of the boat and push them out to point down the fairway and they made it safely out of the marina.

After that Jason and I puttered over to the fuel dock to fill up Zippey’s 4 gallon fuel tank and the two 2 gallon reserves we carried. While we were at the fuel dock I watch paramedic do chest compressions on a man for 20 minutes before he died. His dinghy fell and hit him in the head. As we pulled away from the fuel dock moments later to travel for many hours to an event were hundreds, possibly more than a thousand, boats were together in Liberty Bay it was a sober reminder that life is fleeting and precious and as fun as boating is it is an activity that needs to be done with extreme caution. Equipment needs to be checked and double checked and even then you should keep a wary eye and anticipate issue, which always arise.

The trip up Puget Sound and through Agate Pass into Libery Bay was a beautiful one. The tide was flooding and against us most of the way. Poor Zippey has an 8 HP motor that is not aligned properly. We crawled our way there at about 2 knots. The trip I planned 4 hours for took about 6 hours due to the flood current pushing hard against us.

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We got in and found the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club boat and rafted up to Joe’s Sweden 36, Breeze. Breeze is a great boat and I have had the privilege of crewing for Joe during races. Joe has taught me a lot about the art of sailing and racing. The people from the club are great and I look forward to future events with them.

Jason and I were invited (invited ourselves really) to watch fireworks from the flybridge of Collin’s beautiful trawler. The fireworks were spectacular and the company even better.

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The next morning after checking our fuel reserves (We burned most of it on the way up) Collin and his wife graciously allowed me to borrow their dinghy to fill up my gas can. Their dinghy was great and I would not mind having a similar setup. The sad part is that at a very low throttle it ran faster than Zippey had the previous day!

The current running through Agate Pass can get pretty intense. We weighed anchor at 10 am to try to run with the current through the pass and out to the Puget Sound. The current pushed us up to about 7 knots! (That is 7.7mph for you landlubbers. Pretty fast on a sailboat) The rest of the trip was a modest 3.5 knots. I know Zippey can do better. I need to realign the motor and maybe change the prop. Other boats with the same motor were flying past us.

Jason and I made it safely back to Zippey’s marina in 4 hours 24 minutes. Only 24 minutes longer than I had anticipated. Not too bad for my first “long voyage”!

I very much enjoyed my first rafting event and the people that are part of Shilsole Bay Yacht Club are great. I look forward to joining the club and am already excited about attending next year’s July 3rd rafting event!