Onboard the Yankee Clipper

Over the holiday weekend Stephanie and I traveled to Seattle to visit two friends from grad school, Patrick and Christy. The last time I visited Seattle, which was also my first time, I went to catch Gillian Welch in concert with Christy and her daughter Chloe. At the time Patrick was still in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, but now with them both in the same place, it only made sense to visit them together. As it happens, Christy and Chloe would be taking part in the Tall Ships festival in Tacoma, providing us all with a built-in 4th of July event.

We arrived Thursday night. Patrick grabbed us at the airport, brought us to our hotel downtown, and then we wandered towards the market for a place to sit down, have a drink, and catch up. The next morning we had a filling breakfast at one of Patrick’s favorite spots, Atlas Foods, before heading down to Tacoma to meet up with Christy and Chloe.

Of course by “meet up” I mean find their tall ship, the Yankee Clipper. Only recently the boat was owned by the Boy Scouts of America and used for their Sea Scouts program. When the Boy Scouts decided it was time to divest themselves of the boat, Christy along with Daniel Joram, the boat’s captain, expanded the role of the Yankee Clipper Foundation to take ownership of the boat and continue to maintain it for the Sea Scouts. Or at least that’s how I understand it.

Update: Christy wrote in to tell me:

Also, while we host a Sea Scout crew on the YC, we have launched a non-scouting youth-maritime training program to provide equal access to interested youth, without discrimination. Our new website is:

What this all means is that Christy, Chloe, Daniel, and a number of teens have been living and working on this 40 foot sailboat for the past several weeks, as well as a few to come. And by “living” I mean navigating, sailing, sleeping, cooking, eating, and of course going to the bathroom. It sounds kind of like Outward Bound on steroids. For teens. When we found them, Christy was below deck kneading dough to make bread. Once the dough was set to rise, we got off the boat and explored the festival a little bit more. Periodically the boats went out for little cruises with passengers. We’d hoped to do the same on the Clipper, but their launch times ended up a too late for our schedule.

We let Christy get back to her dough (and her boat) and then the three of us went over to Patrick’s parents’ house, where they’d prepared for us a veritable feast of smoked ribs, marinated grilled chicken, and sausage. I was in barbecue heaven! After a lovely dinner in their backyard garden, we returned to Seattle with plans for a hike Saturday on Mt Rainier.

Yankee Clipper
The Yankee Clipper bow
Yankee Clipper
The Yankee Clipper aft
Yankee Clipper
The Yankee Clipper below deck
Amazing Grace
The Amazing Grace Tall Ship
Tall Ships Tacoma
Tall Ships Tacoma (that’s the Kaisei) in the foreground)
Coast Guard Eagle
The Coast Guard Eagle

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