Sunday, January 31, 2016

Notes from my tour of Windward Passage:



A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of going aboard Windward Passage and was given a  tour from her skipper David Johnson. I am going to write this story as if I was making notes on how to take care of my own boat and what to copy someday.

Quite frankly Windward Passage should be placed in the Smithsonian Institution as a work of art. When entering the engine room one feels as if they passed through the pearly gates.

This is what I learned:

Dave “Halfdeck” Johnson is one of the best skippers I have ever met.

The boat is 73’ long, 12’ Draft, 19.6 beam, Perkins Diesel 195 HP 3,200 hours, 8Knots cruising speed, 9 knot max, 3 bladed max prop. 12 KW Northern Lights gen set.

Two years ago the boat went though a major refit. A new Alan Andrews keel and rudder was placed on the boat reducing the wetted surface by 70%. The keel was moved forward and the boat returned to her original lines after she had 18,000 thousand pounds removed. One of the major weight loses areas was in batteries when AGM’s replaced the old batteries. 1,800 pounds was saved. The cabin sole is all foam cored.

The rig was replaced by Hall Spars, the rig and standing rigging is carbon, the carbon rigging is guaranteed for the life of the mast. The mast is polished every three months with Der Shiney Stuff.

All stanchions are custom tapered with their own base. Every pad eye, snatch block, and 6’ at the bow is covered when sailing. All the halyard shackles are soft. There is not one carter pin on the boat, all the clevis pins are custom stainless nuts and set screws. The coffee grinders have rose wood handles.

The boat has crews quarters forward, just aft are two guest stateroom. The salon in in the middle of the boat, and continuing aft down the port side is the galley, that leads into the navigation station and owners stateroom.

Quotes from the skipper, “The boat was originally built as a race boat not a cruising boat”.   “Its a big surf board, theres not allot in the water.

Kim Harting has done all the custom fabrication, Alan Sanders hand painted the interior in white Algrip, Jeff McKenzie has done most of the wood work on the boat, Garry Miltimore has done most of the custom painting.


The boat exterior gets wiped, after a soft water rinse, almost every day. The interior, bilge and up, receives a wipe down every two weeks.

Main Salon

Galley

Navigation Station 

Owners Salon

Owners Stateroom

Electric Panel 

Crew Quarters 

Half Models old and new keel




Bilge





Exterior:


Foredeck



Custom stanchion

Roller Furling

Custom Pins









Rose wood handles


This is the stuff for LP







In Catalina



SEA YA!

14 comments:

Unknown said...

Len, thank you for this article about one of the most beautiful and timeless yachts of the last 50 years. I was astounded when I (as a 13-year-old boy) first saw the profile drawings of this incredible Alan Gurney design in a boating magazine. I try to walk down the Ardell Marina Dock to view it every time I visit Newport. The boat is maintained in utterly bristol condition. The owners have really done right by her. During her first few years, I enjoyed reading about her many new course records set. Then, one day while laying on the beach at the Balboa Bay Club, the sky went dark. I looked up and saw 7077 on a gigantic sail that was momentarily blocking the Sun. WP was sailing up the bay. I was dumbfounded! I stole a friend's boat and collected another close friend who was also a WP fan. We were so impressed with the boat, and with the 19.5' beam when seen from behind. Great to see interior photos. What a fabulous yacht!

Anonymous said...

Len--this is an outstanding tour of a dream yacht. I first encountered her in the SORC in 1970. Specifically, the St. Petersburg to Venice Race the last week of January. I was a young chap living in Venice at the time and watched with envy as the "big ones" roared down the coast in front of a blustery norther with Passage leading the pack. And, I waited on the Venice Jetty until the wee hours to see them come beating back up the coast into the 35 knot "breeze". Unfortunately Passage over stood the turning bouy in Boca Grande and let American Eagle slip inside her for the 30-odd mile beat north. Once Eagle started up wind there was no keeping up with her and she was first to finish and first overall. After passage finished in the pre-dawn hours it appeared to me that they mulled coming in the Venice Jetty inlet but misjudged the channel and would up stuck on a sandbar southwest of the inlet. It took a tug to get them off and I seem to recall it bent the keel a bit. Still--she has remained iconic in my mind as I formulated my thoughts of what a great ocean racer should be. She was it and while she may be a bit off the pace now I am glad she is still stout and showing so well. Thank you for this article!

Anonymous said...

Len--this is an outstanding tour of a dream yacht. I first encountered her in the SORC in 1970. Specifically, the St. Petersburg to Venice Race the last week of January. I was a young chap living in Venice at the time and watched with envy as the "big ones" roared down the coast in front of a blustery norther with Passage leading the pack. And, I waited on the Venice Jetty until the wee hours to see them come beating back up the coast into the 35 knot "breeze". Unfortunately Passage over stood the turning bouy in Boca Grande and let American Eagle slip inside her for the 30-odd mile beat north. Once Eagle started up wind there was no keeping up with her and she was first to finish and first overall. After passage finished in the pre-dawn hours it appeared to me that they mulled coming in the Venice Jetty inlet but misjudged the channel and would up stuck on a sandbar southwest of the inlet. It took a tug to get them off and I seem to recall it bent the keel a bit. Still--she has remained iconic in my mind as I formulated my thoughts of what a great ocean racer should be. She was it and while she may be a bit off the pace now I am glad she is still stout and showing so well. Thank you for this article!

Unknown said...

Sailed on many races on Windward Passage..... Notable was the Bermuda Race in 1972 when hurricane Agnes swept through followed by the slow Trans Atlantic Race from Bermuda to Vigo, Spain.... 25+days... ran out of everything but Beck's beer and canned food. She always had a great crew in those days with Don Vaughn, Rex Banks, John Rumsey, Peter Bowker, Kirk Elliott, Dick Haskell and of course chef, Reverand Sandy McKenzie and of course Mark and Fritz Johnson. So great to see her in such beautiful condition.

Anonymous said...

As a young kid sailing Clearwater Prams and then Opti's, I became aware of the powerhouse WP, no match for the Ondines in the day, well raced for sure.....what a beautiful overlook of how she is today...love this boat, the history....would be happy to test her racing speed today with all the mods....truly an amazing machine, and thankfully the owners get that...a legend, and one of a kind....

Unknown said...

Thank you! The Windward Passage just cruised by us over and over at the Huntington Beach Airshow 2017. My family was on deck of the Nordic Blue and we were stunned and mesmerized at the beauty of this amazing boat slowly Navigating between all the anchored boats. So mesmerized I shared about her on FB, and my friend who captains boats got me some info online to learn about her. I love the history and the workmanship keeping her so pristine... Thanks for the pictures!

Trucker said...

I had the thrill of watching windward passage come across the finish line at Diamondhead when Mark Johnson was the Skipper, I was on board gary mulls design 33 footer and was racing for the Waikiki yacht club at the time, it was a beautiful site, with the white spinnaker Full, she had a bone in her teeth. Nice to hear she's still alive.

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of being aboard the Windward Passage in 1973 (?) Sail checks and such before the Transpac. I’m no sailor, but was so impressed. Lived in Newport for many years and was always so impressed with Windward Passage. A timeless beauty.

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of being aboard the Windward Passage in 1973 (?) Sail checks and such before the Transpac. I’m no sailor, but was so impressed. Lived in Newport for many years and was always so impressed with Windward Passage. A timeless beauty.

Shade said...

Sailed from Ardell's to Honolulu in about 1980 to deliver Passage to the Can Am series of races off Oahu. My close pal was Fritz Johnson back then and he surprised me with the trip of a lifetime. 6 adults and a teenager (Robbie Johnson) Mark's son did the delivery. Dave Birchenough was the boat professional and crew member that moved the boat around for each race at that time. Two other guests were from Flyer, that had won the around the world race the previous year. Scant but dedicated boat pro's and myself and another with no experience outside of a bathtub. What happened in the mid-pacific has been etched in my memory for near 40 yrs. We encountered some wind behind us and had blooper up in front of the mainsail. In no time at all the sea grew to epic conditions with 47 knot winds behind and passage screaming down giant troughs and heeling over trying to mount mountainous waves. The life jackets and lifelines were somewhere under the tomatos in storage. Watched the knot meter bounce off of 20 knots on an upright sprint down a trough. Had a Barient wench in a headlock to survive the crises. Finally the pressure was so great the blooper sail exploded it's frame and the crises of too much sail in too much wind was eased a bit. We were able to reef the mainsail and survived my first time on a sailboat. More adventures were to confront us before we reached Waikiki Yacht club. Don Vaughn met us the next day and laughed about the novices adventure. He was larger than life to be sure.

A novices first adventure

Terry N. Huguet said...

I first saw Windward Passage in the water at San Pedro when racing my P-Cat (#465) out of Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club back in the early 1970's. She and several other big yachts were also setting up to race out of the Los Angeles Yacht Club at the time. I was taken by the beautiful lines of this magnificent yacht as I watched her glide by some 10 yards away from me. When she passed by, she left no track or wake... a testament to her smooth hull design. God, what a yacht! One of the few regrets I have is that I never got the chance to sail on her.

Terry N. Huguet said...

I first saw Windward Passage in the water at San Pedro when racing my P-Cat (#465) out of Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club back in the early 1970's. She and several other big yachts were also setting up to race out of the Los Angeles Yacht Club at the time. I was taken by the beautiful lines of this magnificent yacht as I watched her glide by some 10 yards away from me. When she passed by, she left no track or wake... a testament to her smooth hull design. God, what a yacht! One of the few regrets I have is that I never got the chance to sail on her.

Anonymous said...

I remember this yacht so fondly. It was laid up on a beach. It was originally a ketch.

I remember doing a night race once in the late 80’s off Sydney. WP and Apollo were always doing battle. Someone brought a projector on board either WP or Apollo and in light north easterly winds with a huge white spinnaker XXX porn was projected into the kite. Purely to distract the competition. Made the local newspaper as it raised some eyes going past Bondi.

It is so glad to hear it is still around and in such great shape. To all involved thanks! Brings back so many fond memories

Dave Harley said...

thank you for posting those pictures as a young guy growing up in sydney australia ,she was a dream boat ,loved seeing her again