Sunday, April 22, 2018

Clipper Race Around the World Reaches Seattle

Welcome to John's Island

Ship Watch

Clipper Race Around the World

This story developed over the last few days and was somewhat of a surprise to me. I did hear about a sailboat race coming to Seattle. Then, I just happened to spot, early Friday morning, the boat in the second picture below. It turns out to be quite an event ... A sailboat race around the world. Known as Clipper Race Around the World, it consists of twelve teams, twelve boats, racing from Liverpool, England around the world. The race consists of 8 legs, and some legs have more than one race, resulting in a total of 13 races. The boats are in competition with each other, of course, and receive points for each race of the journey, depending on their finish time. They have just completed the 6th leg from Qingdao, China to Seattle. They will depart here on April 29th for the leg down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal, and up the East Coast to New York City, arriving there about June 15th. [Click on images for larger views]

Screen capture from official website.
Clipper Round the World

The Qingdao sailboat arriving Seattle
April 20th  8:24 AM
She was 1st to arrive and won the
Mighty North Pacific leg of the race.

Closer look at the Qingdao
Sailboat names relate to their sponsor.

Photo below:  Of course I had to go down to Bell Harbor Marina to see all these sailboats. They will be here for a few days before heading out on the next leg of the race down the coast, through the Canal, and up to New York City. Check out the official Clipper Round the World website for the full story. How and why people are doing this race around the world is pretty fascinating.

The boats are staying at Bell Harbor Marina,
downtown Seattle.
(Next to Pier 66, which is one of our Cruise Terminals.)

Qingdao is winner of Pacific Crossing.

The Visit Seattle is sponsored partly by Port of Seattle.

Signs like this are posted for each of the teams.

The boats are available to be toured April 21 and 22.
This shot taken April 21st  10:18 AM

Another screen capture.
Love the photo!

The Arabella

This time of year I start to notice bulk carrier ships anchored out awaiting their position at the Louis Dreyfus Company grain elevators. The Arabella has been out there for a couple of days now. You can see all the details on her at  Here are four photos to show how this vessel looks at different times of day. I first spotted her in the pre-dawn darkness on April 20th.

The Arabella Bulk Carrier at anchor.
April 20th  4:38 AM

Arabella just before dawn.
Commuter ferry behind.
April 20th  5:45 AM

Arabella in the morning sun.
April 20th  7:16 AM

Another early morning shot.
April 21st  5:28 AM
Note how the ship swings around on anchor
depending on tidal flow.

More Ships

Aquila Ocean Bulk Carrier
Arriving on a very windy afternoon.
Two FOSS tugs on the way to help.

Tug bracing the ship against the wind.
As they approach the terminal they are going so slow
that they are susceptible to wind movement.

(Roll On, Roll Off vehicle carrier)
Enroute to Tacoma WA

First cruise ship of 2018 Season
Norwegian Sun
Photo above: The Norwegian Sun was the first cruise ship of the 2018 Cruise Season to visit the Port of Seattle. Not only was she the first of the season but also the first I've seen to take a "dinner cruise" on departure. She departed the cruise terminal (Pier 66) at about 6 PM and I spotted her heading northbound, as usual, for departing ships. Then, she got very, very slow and began a turn around as if though to head back to the terminal. But no, just a very slow circle, taking over an hour, as if though to let folks on all sides of the ship get a nice view of Seattle's evening skyline.

Pacific Basin Bulk Carrier
Departing Seattle
April 19th  7:01 AM
The morning sun really brings out the colors of the ship.
Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Postcard Department

This week's theme on Postcards for the Weekend is "Retro/vintage." That pretty much describes my entire collection so here are a few I hope you'll enjoy. Thanks to Maria for hosting the link up.

The blue sky is your ceiling in the
Vista Dome - North Coast Limited
Northern Pacific Railroad
(Probably 1940s or 50s)

Before "smartphones"!
Telephone Service on the Oriental Limited
Great Northern Railway
Photo above: This card was probably published in the early 1900s when there was no wireless telephone service. The story is the phones only worked when the train was stopped in a station. That is despite the fact that the postcard image appears to show the train moving through the country side.

Photo below: A vacuum cleaner was such an amazing development that it was touted as one of the perks of traveling on this train. From the description on the right side:  "Kept free from dirt and dust with Vacuum cleaning machines. Other distinctive features are: Daily News Bulletins, Telephone Connections and Afternoon Tea Service in the Observation Car. Electric lighted throughout."

OMG  ... Vacuum cleaners in the lounge car?
The Oriental Limited
Great Northern Railway
"The Perfect Train to Puget Sound"

Eastern Tour of Mormon Tabernacle Choir
October 26th 1911
Salt Lake City to New York City
Chicago Milwaukee and St Paul Railway

Back of the Eastern Tour card.
Postmarked October 27 1911

Dear Joe message on back of card from Anna.
Anyone make out the last sentence?
Sky Watch

Here at the Island a post doesn't seem complete without a sky watch but new ones are in short supply so here are a few from the archives. The three photos below are from before the days of blogging.

Road trip in the Rocky Mountains
alongside the wheat fields of Montana

Montana sunrise

Madison Valley Montana sunrise
As usual, linking up with Skywatch Friday where you'll find lots of neat sky photos. Thanks to Yogi for hosting!

More Circling Year Calendar 1917

We're keeping you up-to-date with the Circling Year Calendar we started publishing in our January 15th post. The story on why we're reprinting a 1917 calendar is there.

April 22nd through May 5th
Life's Blessings

May 6th through May 19th
The Cost of Happiness
Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Imagine sailing all the way from China to Seattle in a little tiny boat. It must be amazing to see the stars at night over the wide ocean. Maybe the only place on Earth where you don't see a whole lot of light pollution from cities.

    "...the Louis Dreyfus Company..."

    I wonder if that is the family of the actress Julia Louis Dreyfus. I read somewhere that she is from a very wealthy family.

  2. Hi John! I've always loved boats and ships, although I'm down on oil tankers these days.
    The racing boats are wonderful, and I can't help thinking of the racing yacht, Gretel, the first Australian challenger for the America's Cup Yacht Race...while in Australia with my young brother in the early 1980s, I saw that the newly-retired Gretel had just been put out as a day-sailer, so we enjoyed a day aboard, even visiting with a member of that original racing crew. My recent research shows she was in need of restoration by 2012, and I'm hoping she is enjoying her third incarnation by now. Meanwhile, thanks for all the wonderful photos you shared here. I do love those old B&Ws of train travel, etc.
    I hope you are well, with summer soon to arrive in Seattle.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. When I saw this weeks's the theme I thought immediately of your collection :)

    I love especially the postcard of the vacuum cleaner. I can't imagine one like that nowadays.

  4. Hello, beautiful views of the sailboats and the sky shots. I love the Rockies and the Montana sky. Wonderful postcards, you have an awesome collection. Enjoy your day and new week!

  5. With all the stuff you do and watch, I'm surprised you get time to blog. The postcard art is interesting and then it shows a style in another time. Great skies again! What are you doing up at 4:00 AM?

  6. Wow, John! Those sailboats going around the world are simply amazing. I'll have to go read all about it. Did you tour any of the boats? And I think that last sentence on the postcard might be "It is the lack of news ---" Can't make out that last word. What fun those old postcards are, John. :-)

  7. Watching all the various ailing vessels must be almost as interesting as watching the birds.I happen to be a bird watcher.I could become quite taken with the ship watching.I find them fascinating.Since I live inland,I can watch them via this blog.Thanks so much for posting these pictures.

  8. Always enjoy. Loved that Montana sunrise.

  9. Great pictures of the ships, always enjoy the post cards, and such beautiful skies.

  10. I was having a break last week so catching up today. The clipper race must be something to watch though I thought clippers were multi masted and bigger but I can share you enthusiasm for seeing them. Do like how you can spot ships like you do as well as the postcard collection. Like the Skywatch selection from 2007.

  11. Sailing around the world . . . only in my dreams. Truly more in my hubby dreams, LOL. I've looked at the globe and seen the small dot that shows where a major city is and then thought about how small the dot for a sailboat would be. How powerful of a magnifying glass would I need to see it? LOL.

  12. these sailing boats are so pretty dear John!

    your post has everything so special and interesting!

    hope you are enjoying the thrill of race now days :)

    LOVED absolutely the arabella ,what a beauty floating over the water with grace and magnificence !!!

    montana sunrise just grabbed my heart ,GORGEOUS!!!

    your skywatch are truly joy to look at

    loved the postcard ,so lovely

  13. Now I suppose with all the festive layovers in ports along the way they didn't beat the "Around the World in Eighty Days" record.... or did they?

  14. Lot's of great photos John! I'm sure there isn't much room at all earmarked for the crew to sleep while the race is going on. Really liked seeing the "latest things" postcards.


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