Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

The Tricinol

Easter Weekend 1990 we took the boys to the island to see Papa and Guy. The herring roe hatched while we were there and we were pretty entertained by the sea lions in the bay feasting on the roe. We spent a lot of time down on the beach watching the show. Although always fun to scavenge on the beach in early spring,  the added sea life made for a pretty great weekend for all of us.

You never know what the winter storms will bring. This year we found a carved log in front of the neighbours house. It was a pretty big log with what appears to be a simple map of the world on the left, the year 1982 on the right and Tricinol in the middle. We gathered from the map that the Tricinol sailed from the Mediterranean through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of North America….

We wondered where on the West Coast the log had been carved that eight years later it would turn up in our bay. I took a picture and kept it beside my computer for years. Occasionally I would search boating forums and Mediterranean yacht club directories to find the Tricinol. Time would pass and the picture would sink to the bottom of my papers, forgotten. Randomly it would surface and I would half heartedly search a few more forums.. but nothing… With the advent of google and the increasing volume of information on the internet I had success in 2010. Twenty  years after finding the log and almost thirty years after it had been carved.

I was researching  the idea of buying a floating home and I found an entry on a boating forum. Someone had sold their boat the TRICINOL and were wondering if anyone had seen it. They had written this posting in 2005. Five years later …I responded.

Hello..I have been looking for the owner of the Tricinol for many years to show them a picture of a log they may have carved…. depicting their journey through the Panama.. Is this you..? If so I can send you a picture of the log?  Where did you carve it..? I will tell you where I found it….. I found this log a long time ago and took a picture of it.. of course back then there was nothing like the internet to search to find the owner.. and I just yesterday started to look again …I thought the owner would be iinterested to hear that the log was found… Let me know if it is you .

He responded!

hey!!
tHIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!

My former girlfriend and I spent 10 months between Alaska and British Columbia from june 1982 and april 1982. We were cruising a 33 ft steel sailboat… named Tricinol. This was a swiss registered sloop. We started the trip in the Mediterranean sea in July 1980 and sailed back to our starting point in August 1983….How did you found my track ??I answer you now from my work and am presently short of time but be sure I am eager to learn more about you, what you saw and when. I can tell more also about the boat , us and the trip we made, if you wish…I really look forward to hear more about all that : -)

I thank you very much for your email and I wish you a happy new year!

and then again

Dear M,

Here comes  more about what brought me to the west coast in 1982-1983…

In our first years as high school teachers, Christiane and I bought a steel bare hull and during 3 years, we work at bringing it at a blue water cutter level! In summer 1980, we brought the boat, Tricinol, from Geneva to Marseille where we started an extended cruise. By Xmas 1980 we were in Barbados. I remember that in Bridgetown’s yacht club, I saw an old US sailing magazine with pictures of Glacier Bay, Alaska: what a thrill! I immediately thought that what the place we had to sail to!

Although he Caribbean were a nice first tropical experience to folks coming from Switzerland , we did not like the place so much: too many yachts (even in the 1980s!) and not so good relationship with the locals; this  led us to think we did not have brought this boat during more than 3000 hrs  for that. After 5 months we headed toward Panama. Then:

june 1981, Galapagos,

summer 1981, Marquesas Islands (one of the two highlights from our whole trip)

winter 81-82: Hawaii (we had to find jobs to pay for our cat’s quarantine for we were trapped till spring before we could head north)

may 82 : passage to Alaska’s Panhandle. In june I was hired as a deckhand on a salmon fishing troller.

In July, we started the slow way south until we reached Vancouver. We spent fall and winter  cruising the islands between Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. This west coast experience was the second highlight of the trip. This is, so far, the places I am most longing to cruise again. The life was not so easy then: we had just to tiny wood stoves to heat the boat and were on  tight budget but the wildlife, the fishing and the berries (in summer and fall) were so rich that it was for us like paradise. We made a lot of friends too………. They came  once , long after our trip, to Switzerland but we now lost contact . I know they later moved downtown at, if my memories are good. I would highly appreciate if you could check that and help me to get in touch again……. In may 1983, we loaded Tricinol on a truck in Bellingham and “followed” her by Greyhound bus to Atlantic City, new Jersey. From there, we sailed back to Europe across north Atlantic: we had to resume our jobs by september 1983..

That was Tricinol’s tour : )Eventually I settled four years in the Azores islands and now I am back to teaching,taking much more pleasure and interest in that than before…In a few years I’ll retire and hope to resume with blue-water sailing. (I have now a 36 ft GRP cutter).I have great memories of that place: all the advantages of a big city and close from sea, wildlife and from the mountains. Everything to charm a swiss a bit tired from tropical life …

No doubt I would no more recognize it now, especially with the approaching Olympic’s.

I look forward to hear about you and I wish you a nice week-end.

Philippe

PS: no way, so far, to remember which was the

island where I carved the log: beside of the official logbook , we kept a diary of what we did but I can’t find the one following our stay in Prince Rupert.  

After twenty years the story of the TRICINOL was told.. and what a great story it is.


5 thoughts on “The Tricinol

  1. …that is such a great story! I remember hearing a very small piece of it some
    years back, but never in total. Did you have any luck tracing their long-lost friends?

  2. I do not know if this blog is still in activity. However… i am Philippe the former co-owner of Tricinol. What an emotion , getting on this page, reading this story about “my” carved log! I never got in touch again with my friends from Vancouver and I do not remember to have got their adress… In case you still have it… they are Klaus and Inge Mai ….
    Are you still living on your beautiful island?
    I retired last sepember and I am now getting my sailboat Köchel 467 ready to cruise toward northern Europe (Scotland and Norway…)

    • Hello, I cannot believe you found my blog.. Please feel welcome to follow along. I hope you don’t mind that I wrote the story of the carved log. It was interesting to the rest of our islanders. Congratulations on your retirement… Your trip sounds exciting.. Please keep us posted on your travels…

  3. Hi M,
    I just found this blog and what a fascinating story! Good detective work on your part!

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