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Tom Cunliffe on the miracle of sailing

See :

Worldwide Classic Boat Show Presentation – Tom Cunliffe & Traditional Boats of Northern Europe –

at 1:58:30, near the end.

To quote:

“And finally, and this is the pure beauty of it, (Pardon the tear…);

To see a wonderful boat, sailing fine, and to see that wave, curling along the side exactly as the designers or the vernacular builders intended it to do, and to be a part of that is a glorious thing.

To hold a tiller, and to know that the strength of your arm is converting the flowing air, through the medium of the rig, the mast, the keel, and all importantly, the rudder, into forward motion.

What a miracle! An absolute miracle, and that catharsis is taking place through you. You, who was created in the image of God.

And there we are. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

“Aura” is a beautiful 1948 wooden sloop, with a cockpit that will seat six comfortably. A typical San Juan Islands day sailing trip, on AURA with a nice windy day, starts in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island and continues through the Wasp Islands, across San Juan Channel to San Juan Island, back across the Channel and around Jones Island, then through Wasp Passage between Crane and Shaw Islands, into West Sound, then through narrow Pole Pass and back to Deer Harbor. The waters we sail in here are very calm and protected from large waves. Seals are often seen, sometimes porpoises, ospreys and eagles, whales rarely. You can bring whatever you want to eat and drink. Non-certified sailing instruction is included if you desire. Steering the boat and handling the ropes is a big part of the experience, but if you just want to relax and enjoy the view, you can. We highly recommend you stay overnight at one of the many fine lodgings available on Orcas Island, to give you more time to explore its wonders. The top of Mt. Constitution, an hour’s drive away, is a must-see for the tremendous view.

Bring your own food and beverages, whatever you like. Finger food is best. No glass wine glasses, please.
The boat has a manual head behind a door.
Life jackets are provided. Those under 13 years are required by law to wear them. Skipper may require adults to wear them. You can bring your own.
Dress for the weather. Bring extra layers. Some rain gear is provided. We can put an awning over the boom to keep the rain off us, but we can only use the headsail then.
“Aura” is not wheelchair accessible. No dogs, please.

Sorry, no overnights on the boat. Day-sails only.


Captain Ward Fay has been skippering professionally since 2001. He is looking forward to sharing his love of sailing with you.
To contact Ward for more information, call 360-376-5581, or email

Prices include 8.1% Washington State sales tax
No charge for non-certified sailing instruction.

Your party will be the only passengers.

There is a limit of six passengers of any age.

$300 per three-hour tour




Buy a gift card!

Any amount toward a $300, 3-hour private trip.

“Gentle breath of yours my sails must fill,

or else my project fails, which was to please.”

                         -Shakespeare, The Tempest

2021 Covid update as of 9-14-2021:

I am fully vaccinated since March 28, to my intense relief, since I fit the profile of people that Covid tends to kill.  My business stayed open last year, with mask wearing and distancing, and nobody got infected on the boat, as far as I know. I am still doing only private trips, so just your group will be onboard. Being outdoors makes a huge difference in infection rates, and ventilation is particularly good on the deck of a moving sailboat. Now that 63% of people 12 and up in the US are vaccinated, and the number is climbing, I will not require you to wear a mask on the boat. You may choose to wear a mask, no problem. I will not wear one outdoors, now that I have the vaccine. I will assume you are vaccinated. If you tell me you are unvaccinated, I may wear a mask when near you. If you are unvaccinated for political propaganda reasons, I encourage you to face reality and stop endangering the lives of others as well as yourself. Sailing was a relatively Covid-safe activity before the vaccines became available, and is even more so now. So, let’s have a healthy, relaxing time on the water!