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

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

Central Saanich hosts NEAT program to help seniors connect with each other

Health promotion program aims to reduce social isolation among seniors

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read