Sailing to the FHR

Normally cyclists in Seattle celebrate this weekend by taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, riding around it in a loop known as Chilly Hilly, and then coming home.  For the last 7 years I’ve taken part in an alternative event called the FHR with my friends at .83, though I do my own variation by exploring the dirt trails in the middle of the island and then meeting up for the after party.

Close hauled in 20 knots of wind. Photo by Andrew.

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This is a short video (click to view it) with a few snapshots of being on the water. Video by Andrew.

This year I’ve been excited about sailing and decided to sail there instead, arriving in time for the FHR party.  Raz, Andrew, Tatiana, and Theo met me at the marina and we headed out around 9:30am.  Winds were forecast to be high, starting around 20 knots (that’s about 24mph or 38kph) and building up as high as 30 knots.  I haven’t done a lot of sailing in this much wind, especially on my new boat Elena, a Pearson 28-2.  Razi (who has a lot of sailing experience) took the helm as we tacked our way south along Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island.  We got to the party around noon, just in time to discover that there was no more chili, but got to say hi to all of our friends and meet up with another few who sailed there too.

After a beer on the dock and some sailor chat the sailors jumped on their boats and headed back to Shilshole.  This time the wind was at our backs and the trip back was fast and comfortable.  For about half of it we had Jackie, a friend’s Yankee 30 sailboat, just 50′ or so off to starboard.  Close enough that we could shout across to each other and get some fun photos and videos.  I was nervous about docking in this much wind, but slid the boat back into it’s berth nicely.

That's my new boat "Elena", a Pearson 28-2. Sailing out of Eagle Harbor under reduced sail. Photo by Bob.

Bob short tacking out of Eagle Harbor on his Yankee 30 "Jackie". Photo by Andrew

It’s probably obvious to most of my blog readers that I haven’t had much cycling content recently.  I’m still really interested in cycling and building bicycles, but the reality is that in the last year I’ve spent a lot more time sailing and working on boats.  Today’s sailing instead of cycling reinforced that.  I have big plans for this summer involving sailing (and some cycling), and do expect something of a shift back towards cycling and building bicycles on this blog in the fall.

In the meantime stay tuned for a little bit of sailing and a little bit of cycling and not much framebuilding.


  1. Vik says:

    You have to roll with whatever interests you most at any given time. I suffer from TMI [Too Many Interests] Syndrome myself… ;)

    I”ve done a bit of sailing when I was younger and had relatives with sailboats. It’’s a lot of fun and a great lifestyle! Enjoy.

    For now I have to content myself to sail a surfboard with my kite… ;)



  2. Daus says:

    The last thing you want is hobby induced stress.. :) Sailing a fun hobby – I did a bit of it in South Florida, although just on sunfish’’s.

    Biking was what I started with, but now its moved on mainly to machining and brewing. When buying used machines, you need one machine to repair that machine, then another to repair that machine and the cycle continues…


  3. Carol R. says:

    Cycling and sailing both offer so much but can”t be compared. I”m a sailing fan but sailing requires more time and money and cycling is much closer to an average person. Anyway, just looking at the photos above makes people wanna sail…

  4. Phil Brown says:

    I love cycling, I love sailing-I grew up sailing on San Francisco Bay-and just wish that I could do both again. I can”t for medical reasons but I love reading about it. I can see your trip as clear as if I was there. I used to live in Seattle.

  5. Bill R says:

    Too funny – I bought a sailboat last fall too and have been sailing more and riding less. Not only did I just get some new sails from Ballard Sails but I was out in Seattle and sailed on a race with Alex about 3 weeks ago. I told him I knew you through bikes on message boards and as we were walking down the dock he said here’’s Alex’’s boat right here. So I”ve seen your boat (looks great), I know your sailmaker, and I commute on a Kogswell P/R whenever I can, but we”ve never actually met.