When you find the perfect boat for you and the perfect waters to ply, you’ve got it made. Such is life for Stormy aboard his 1985 Falmouth Cutter 22 Sookie upon the Salish Sea.
How long have you owned the boat?
Twelve years after first finding my little Falmouth Cutter, I became the very proud custodian. I say this because you never own a boat as special as Sookie, you are little more than her care taker and of course willing passenger to all the places she will take you.
Tell us about your boat’s name.
I was originally going to name her Hooker after the boats that inspired her design and then Hookie but superstition and fate gave her a proper calling of s/v Sookie. Sea lore has it that two o’s in a boat’s name represent safety at sea, and sea has always been a comfortable and safe home for me.
Have you owned other boats before this one? If so, what kinds?
Many actually, a Seaquest 26, Syngent 20, Catalina 25, West Wight Potter, Montgomery 15, Erickson 27, Westerly City’s sport 22, Flicka 20, Allegra 24 and yes the Falmouth Cutter 22.
Tell us a little about your boating background.
I’m a boating hack, lazy and very average as far as sailing skills go. Having said that, I was taught by one of the greatest sailors on the planet earth. She was an Alaskan fishing captain by summer and winters were spent exploring the world from the deck of her sailboat. Ninety percent of what I know about seamanship was taught to me by her, the other 10 percent has and will continue to take a lifetime to learn. There is a huge difference between sailing skill and seamanship…
What’s the history of your boat?
I know very little about her other than she is one of the very few Falmouth Cutters built exactly to Lyle Hess’s specs. I found her in 2001 and a little over 10 years later she found me, we have been together ever since.
What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it? Would that have changed your mind?
Nothing really other than through trial and error I have learned that she won’t go satisfactory to weather in over 40 knots true. But no boat is perfect. It doesn’t change a thing as I am a very fair weather sailor but still in the few times I’ve found myself in these conditions, I have been annoyed to say the least. Most sailors think that 17 knots is 25 and that 25 is 35. I can assure you that once you have been in a true 40 hard on the nose you will look at wind and her forces in an entirely different manor.
What’s your favorite story involving your boat?
There are far too many to count but I’d guess it would be sailing into False Bay on Lesquiti Island after a very wet and cold passage and finding an absolute haven so calm I immediately forgot what the day had been like. A crusty old sailor rowed by calling out “thank you for sailing your beautiful ship into my harbor.” At some point in the conversation he had warned of where the name False Bay came from, but having plans to leave early in the morning his local knowledge went in one ear and out the other. It was the type of place you never want to leave, except when I learned first hand the effects of a spring westerly in False Bay.
Describe the most challenging situation you’ve experienced on your boat and how it performed.
For the first five years I sailed her she was engineless in one form or another. Even when I had a small kicker on her stern, it rarely worked. Sailing sans engine will teach you more about your boat than a lifetime of sailing with an iron genny backup. At five net tones, Sookie is a small ship but easy enough to manage in tight quarters and sailing engineless, as frightening and at times boring as it can be, is a challenge every sailor should rise to at some point. I’m in no way a great or even good sailor, but I know how my boat handles purely under the forces of nature in everything from high wind to a dead calm and I have quite a few fun stories I could tell that weren’t so fun while I was experiencing them.
Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?
I have no plans to ever sail out of the Salish Sea. My ship is my home and as far as I’m concerned I ply the most beautiful cruising grounds on the planet earth.
If someone gave you $10,000 that you could only spend on your boat, what would you do with it and why?
On Sookie 10k wouldn’t go very far but sails are always at the top of my list.
If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?
I have the ability to sail any boat I choose, the Falmouth is quite a special creature. Like all sailors, I constantly crave a few extra feet, but there is no boat I know of that could give me more than my little cutter does.
What didn’t we ask you about your boat that you wish we had?
I think the one most overly looked aspect of boating is ground tackle. I’m continually shocked at the price some pay for their boat and what they have chosen to have on the bow. I won’t get into it here, but if you can’t afford a high end anchoring system you have bought too much boat. I love my boat and while I have her fully insured, the policy isn’t against me it’s against other boaters. I’ve been hit twice this year, both times were idiotic.
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