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NELLE BLY...BJ and Trish                       BJ & Trish's Photo Galleries
                                                                                                              Nelle's Logbook
1988 Tayana 37 Cutter

BJ: My passion for boating was inspired by my grandparents, Glenn & Lorraine, when I was a young child, spending time at their home on Steel Lake during the summers. Days were spent swimming and forever rowing their aluminum boat. When I was old enough to stay out of their way, my grandparents would allow me to join them on their boating trips to the San Juan Islands and beyond. I was immediately hooked, and have been boating ever since.

I bought my first boat at the age of ten, after I had earned $100.00 from splitting firewood and cleaning horse stalls. My dad saw an old fiberglass boat in a yard- trying to rot away from neglect. I begged my dad to stop and see if I could buy it. He humored me, and I became the proud owner of my first boat and a dilapidated trailer for $50. Dad towed the boat home, and then helped to find an outboard engine- a 35 hp 1958 Evinrude. My dad was incredibly patient with my passion, and dedicated hours to helping me keep my boat running. My grandfather also fueled my passion, he generously gave his time to building seats and a windshield to complete my boat. Explorer served its purpose, I spent days and nights adventuring in the southern Puget Sound. My mother afforded me the freedom to venture to Blake Island for the weekend, so long as Sarah, my Sheltie, accompanied me. My independence taught me to be aware and respectful of the water and amazing wildlife that surrounded me. I learned to be solely responsible for myself and the safe navigation of my boat.

At the age of 15, my mother and stepfather found a 17' Bayliner Mutiny with a 140 Volvo, Little Big. I sold the Explorer for $500, and they loaned me the rest of the money for Little Big. I began working at Port Orchard Yacht Sales, and learned the proper way to scrub a boat! Soon thereafter, I began working at Kitsap Marina. The owners, Orrin and Kristine, joined the many to humor my passion. I performed many tasks, all the while building my knowledge of boats, how they work, and most importantly, how to keep them working. After the shop would close, they allowed me use of the facilities to fix my own boat. They remained available to help when needed, and have always provided support and encouragement. With my newfound wealth, I was able to keep fuel in my boat for daily waterski trips on Long Lake with my friends. Some days we had two trips, we would ski before school, then again at night after we were all off work. It was a rough way to spend my high school years! As high school was ending, I met Trish, I told her of my plans to take an extended sailing trip, cruising the many islands of the South Pacific, and she didn’t run away, so we’ve been together ever since. We took many trips in the Bayliner to the San Juans for long weekends.

As the summer after high-school graduation was coming to an end, I bought a 1955 Monk design Steelcraft with a 671 Detroit diesel for $5000.00. The hull was not sound and needed to be cut out and rebuilt. I had taken a welding class in high school, but truly had no idea how to begin, let alone finish the enormous task I was about to begin. My best friend, Shane was just as young, energetic and naive as I, so together we began the task. Trish joined us in literally shoveling rust and insulation out, to get to the metal hull. We spent countless hours with a needle gun on the hull, and I used an oxycetalene torch to cut out the majority of the underside metal. Shane’s step-dad, Kurt helped keep us motivated, by joining the process. Three months later, after working days at Kitsap Marina and nights on the boat, The Beast was launched. Trish and I moved aboard, although the boat really didn’t look inhabitable. There was no interior, not even a floor. We worked hard to assemble a functional interior and set up living accommodations. We cruised the boat for almost a year, with our parrot, Jack. Sometimes, we would even tow Little Big along for fun! In January of the following year, we sold the Beast for $20,000.00, and were able to purchase our first sailboat, Kava. She was a Bruce Roberts 34' sloop.

I had very little sailing experience, save for one great trip up the inside passage with Rob on The Daily Planet. Kava was trucked from Portland and arrived in mid-January. Mark  who lived aboard his Morgan Outisland 41, Mariah, with his family at Suldan’s, became my new sailing partner. He was quite possibly, more enthusiastic than I about my new boat. As I was out of money, we used Mariah’s halyards to step Kava’s mast, while it was snowing! The next day was blustery, I tightened the rig and set out to learn how to sail- solo. I quickly learned what a knock-down was, and decided I needed to rethink this whole sailing thing. Several trips later I got the hang of it. Trish will attest it was more than a year later before she learned that you can reduce sail area by reefing! We took Kava across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the islands. I knew sailing was for me. Trish and I decided to save money to go cruising, but on a bigger boat.

We came across a Chung Hwa 36, seriously neglected, she came complete with three inches of moss topsides. She had beautiful lines- a traditional Bill Garden design ketch. The sails were in good shape, and the interior gorgeous, but the two wood masts had little to no varnish. The boat was a bank repo, and didn’t even have a galley cook stove. We removed the masts, re-varnished and re-bedded all hardware. We scrubbed and refinished the exterior, we repaired and upgraded all systems we could afford. She was a true yacht, we were very proud of. We sailed Free N Clear for two years, going as far north as Hotham Sound in Canada.

After three years of living aboard, we were learning what features were important to living aboard and our future of cruising and found Free N Clear to have a poor galley arrangement for our needs. I was working as a yacht broker at the time and came across an Islander Freeport 41, and we were immediately in love. Key Result seemed too good to be true. She was a ketch rig with center cockpit, two staterooms, two heads, and a walk in engine room with a Chrysler-Nissan 100 hp diesel engine. She was like a floating apartment and in excellent repair, which allowed us to spend more time cruising, instead of working on boats.

My mom decided to upgrade from her Catalina 25, so she bought Free N Clear, at which time her she took her original name, White Swan. We were very happy with Key Result until we headed across the Straits in a blow. We had been across many times previous, but this particular time Key Result showed her flaws. She was incredibly uncomfortable in confused seas, and a little too large to handle when the weather deteriorated. With a lot of research, we were confident in the next boat we would buy. She would be spacious, and accommodating, but foremost, a solid cruising boat. We had decided on a Tayana 37, with beautiful lines and a well thought interior. We found Nelle Bly in Marina Del Rey. She was trucked to Port Orchard and after some adjustment time on her part (she had been neglected, and tested us by breaking every system imaginable, in the worst of times), we couldn’t be happier. She has comfortably and safely taken us as far north as Desolation Sound and out the Straits to Port Renfrew.

We have gained a tremendous wealth of knowledge over the last nine years, and are looking forward to leaving to cruise in two and half years. We have recently earned our USCG Captains Licenses. We have been fortunate that our friends and families have always been supportive of our lifestyle and our dreams of cruising. Our lifestyle has afforded us the opportunity to meet wonderful friends and have experiences that would not have presented themselves otherwise. We enjoy spending time with our family and friends on the water. Only in the winter do we wish we had a house, but with only two left before heading south- we will be just fine.

BJ & Trish's Photo Galleries
Nelle's Logbook

Email BJ & Trish at

Go to: Glenn & Lorraine; Cliff & Pamela; Aaron & Julie; Jeremy & Monica; Clark & Sue; Steve