Top: In the Broughton Islands, Linda figured out the necessary
moves when a line was caught in the prop. Above: Need a
new impeller for your raw-water pump? Here’s a woman who
can install it.
Glad to have solved the problem and thankful to have
twin engines, they were able to putter on to where they
could get a diver to free the prop.
Linda invited Auxiliary colleague Gina Gollischewski
to join her for the trip’s last leg, from Port McNeill on
the northeast side of Vancouver Island to Anacortes,
Washington. This time, Linda looked for a third woman
to join them. When Gina’s 12-year-old daughter, Jessica,
got wind of the plans, she responded with, “I’m a
woman! Why can’t I go?” Linda liked her attitude, and
go she did.
parents’ Bayliner and taken a 13-week boating safety
course, but she took to Linda’s training like a barnacle to
a hull. The week was a good test, with bad weather,
rough seas, narrows to navigate, an active military testing
area to avoid, and a bona fide towing demonstration (see
the Web Extras at passagemaker.com for details).
Linda trained Jessica on anchoring, lines, knots, and
paper and electronic charts. Jessica loved it all, and her
fascination with charts earned her the nickname “Ms.
NIT” (navigator in training). Each evening, Jessica would
labor over plotting the next day’s course.
Jessica took the helm when appropriate, and the line-handling lessons paid off when she crewed for a tricky
docking. Linda was so impressed that she put her young
charge to the next test. Jessica would do all the planning
for their transit of the challenging Seymour Narrows and,
as the ultimate assessment of her newly acquired skills,
she would be the helmswoman to take them through.
Talk about pressure!
By calculating distance, Jessica determined they should
leave at 0915 to catch slack at 1246. They arrived about
45 minutes ahead of schedule and decided to take on
the Narrows early. The 2- to 3-knot turbulence, plus a
pickup in winds, kept the young helmswoman at work.
Watching a tug and tow that had entered from the other
direction a little too early could have been unsettling, as
the tug transited the entire Narrows sideways. But Jessica
handled the situation perfectly.
Jessica and Gina appreciated that everything was a
three-way decision. “And we were never made to feel
stupid if we forgot something,” says Jessica, her confident
smile showing off her gorgeous white teeth.
In spite of tough conditions, the all-girl crew still found
time for fun and laughter. Jessica even invented a board
game called “The Big Trip.” What would be the player’s
next draw? Maybe, “You missed slack tide. Go back to
Linda loved Jessica’s willing attitude and the reward of
watching her skills grow by leaps and bounds. “Little did
I know what a woman I would get in Jessica,” Linda
says. Never underestimate a young person’s ability to
learn. But the success says as much about the trainer as
about the student.
On this same trip, Linda spent a week alone in the
Broughton Islands. As she waved goodbye to her
previous crew, she says, “I had a grin as wide as the
channel.” She wanted to stick to areas with which she
was familiar, but she also wanted to challenge herself. “I
remember almost being startled with how absolutely
natural everything felt.”