North Saanich duo ready for adventure at sea

Canoe Cove workers entered in non-motorized race up the B.C. coast.

Tim Penhallow and Patrick Buntain are going to sail and row their way from Port Townsend

They’ve been called crazy, more than once, but Patrick Buntain and Tim Penhallow are not fazed — nor are they changing their minds about sailing and rowing 750 nautical miles north through the Inside Passage.

They plan on doing it in a small dory with barely enough room for the pair of them, let alone all the supplies they’ll need.

Buntain and Penhallow, or the Boatyard Boys, have entered the Race to Alaska, a self-supported adventure race of boats without engines from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska. It starts June 4.

It’ll take wind and muscle power to make the journey and they’ll be isolated, with only a GPS and radio in case things get hairy.

“A friend told me about the race,” said Buntain, “and he said I should do it.”

A lifelong sailor who now works at Canoe Cove in North Saanich, Buntain said he’s done plenty of sailing voyages, including the Van Isle 360 (the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island). Both he and Penhallow, who also works at Canoe Cove, have plenty of experience on the water. All they needed was a seaworthy vessel.

They needed a boat that was light, easy to manage and, above all, ready to tackle the Inside Passage.

Buntain said he started looking for one after learning about the race in November 2014. He found the winner in James Bay, “in a heap of blackberry bushes.”

It was a unique design — a Swampscott Dory — dating back to around 1910, Buntain said. The pair set about restoring it, making sure it was watertight and adding 18 floatation compartments. They also covered a portion of the dory, making a sleeping space. They’ve added a sliding rowing seat and other features to add to its functionality.

“It’s a nice little ship,” said Buntain.

Penhallow added they have been working on it for three months, “on top of our day jobs,” and figures it’s taken more than 300 hours of work. Penhallow, a carpenter, also crafted six Sitka spruce oars — four they’ll take with them and two they’ll use to help fundraise for the journey.

On May 3, the pair will host a fundraiser at the Stonehouse Pub  to help them buy safety gear. They also are running a silent auction. Entry to the fundraiser is by donation and there will be live music by Sets in the West.

Penhallow estimates the trip could take 17 days — as long as the weather holds and all their planning pays off. Buntain guesses as many as 20 days.

Being by themselves for that long doesn’t bother them, they say. They’ll work in shifts, reading charts, taking compass readings — staying on course will keep them busy.

The Boatyard Boys get their first taste of the journey June 4, during a 40 NM qualifying stage from Washington State to Victoria. The race then picks up again for the long haul on June 7.

Follow the adventure online at boatyardboys.ca or at the race site, r2ak.com.

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Alert launches today

Existing subscribers already moved to new system

Local cadets gain acceptance to RMC

Military careers one step closer

New Star Cinema project approved

Cameo development gets unanimous council thumbs up

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

Witnesses sought for alleged drunk driver crash in Sidney

Crash happened June 16 on East Saanich Rd. and Canora Dr.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

Most Read