Yesterday Richard and I moved my Pooduck Skiff Annabel Lee from Dash Point into her new home at the historic Point Defiance Marina Boathouse. Tacoma has been called the "salmon capital of the Puget Sound", and the Boathouse serves primarily fishermen who store their small power boats in the boat lockers. It dates back to 1944, when it replaced the original boathouse pavilion of the early 1900s. Keeping Annabel Lee at Point Defiance will make it easier for me to put her in the water by myself. It also will give me easier access to Gig Harbor, Vashon Island and the Tacoma waterfront. I'm probably the only person who keeps a wooden sailboat there and who doesn't fish.
It turned out to be a perfect day for sailing: 90 degrees with a refreshing breeze blowing from the north. We sailed in a broad reach all the way, probably making about 4 knots even against a strengthening ebb current. We even sailed passed the Boathouse and played around the channel just off Owen Beach before heading back to take Annabel Lee out of the water. The wind was still blowing and it seemed a shame to leave such perfect sailing conditions.
There are a couple of elevators that take boats in and out of the water at the Boathouse. When you approach the elevator with your boat, the crew in a control tower will lower an elevator for you to let you motor (in our case, row) your boat into the elevator. When you are ready they will take you up to the first or second floor, depending on where your locker is. I asked for a locker on the first floor so I could also keep a kayak or two in it and not have to carry it up and down stairs. Once you have arrived at your floor you slide your boat onto a dolly that you provide yourself and wheel it into your locker.
The fishermen store all of their gear in these lockers, hanging their crabpots from the ceiling and putting their rods and other gear on racks on the wall. Some of these guys have even furnished their lockers with small refrigerators full of beer, easy chairs and camp stoves. I've even seen one with an elk head mounted on the wall. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it's against the fire code to operate a propane stove around an area where people keep boats and containers of gasoline around. It sure makes for a very cool man cave!