Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Seaman's Visit to the Festival

I was reminded this week how enjoyable it was to have Tom Jackson and Corinne Jackson visit this year's McKenzie River Boat Festival. The July/August issue of WoodenBoat magazine includes his report on that visit. See the lead story in Tom's column, Currents, beginning on page 14. Tom is the Senior Editor at WB. The column speaks of things historical about the McKenzie Riverboat tradition, and features conversations with Randy Dersham, Dick Helfrich, Mike Baker, Steve Steele and others.

Tom and Corinne drove down from Port Townsend, Washington. Since Tom can do his work anywhere, given today's technology, coupled by the fact that they are North westerners at heart (e.g. Tom is a UO grad), the pair chose to winter in Port Townsend this year. It's hard to imagine anyone "wintering" in Port Townsend, but if your home is Brooklin, Maine, and sea water courses through your veins, a more moderate Left Coast winter climate makes sense.

(Tom at the helm)


(Tom's home build dory)

Roped atop Tom's car was his home built Gloucester Gull Dory. She's a great rowing dory. She tracks beautifully and pulls with ease. His intent was to do the Finn Rock to Eagle Rock drift as part of our annual boat parade to launch the Festival. I was concerned about a couple of gnarly rapids he would encounter, especially as relates to the boats needed agility for quick pivots and turns. The longitudinal skeg down the center line of the underside might also be problematic. Regrettably, I talked him out of the run. Instead, I helped arrange for he and Corrine to join the parade as guests of a couple, boaters.

(Dick left, and Tom prior to launch)

Tom rode with Dick Helfrich. Dick is the second son of Prince Helfrich, and is today the patiarch of a Helfrich clan well known as premier river outfitters in Oregon and Idaho. Dick talked of his childhood and his family's guiding tradition.

(Rob's guests)

(The host)

Corinne rode with Rob Grubb. Rob operates Outdoor River Training Ventures out of Bend, Oregon. I left my drift boat home this year, intending instead to focus on shuttling people and rigs between the launch and egress pints. Rob however, insisted that I give up that silly notion and instead join he and Corinne in his dory. I did, and it was a delightful float.


There were two high points for me in that boat. First, Rob talked Corinne into taking the oars for a short period. She was more than game, and unlike Tom, she can claim to have handled a boat on the McKenzie. Sweet. Sorry, Tom.

(Fishing creel respectively resting on deck)

The second high point was paradoxically a melancholy one. Rob spoke of the loss of his Dad last Fall. The two worked Outdoor Training Ventures together as hand-in-glove. They were tight. Very tight. As Rob told the story, I commented that I'd bet his Dad is with him today. Rob answered, "Yes, he is." I offered an acknowledging smile, and Rob said, "Yes Roger, he really is," and pointed to his dad's fishing creel off to the side. And there he was indeed. Sweet again.


It was a good day, complemented with occasional liquid sunshine. Tom hinted that they will be back. We'll count on it.















No comments:

Post a Comment