Two months ago when I acquired the Windwitch I wasn't looking for a boat or could afford one for that matter. I was living on a 1968 23 ft Ericson with no standing head room and was trying to figure out saving money to buy a boat in Florida this winter. Florida is the best place to find cheap boats that are ocean worthy sailboats. I planned on buying a cheap sailboat, fixing it up, cruising the Caribbean, and getting certified for my Ocean Yacht Master license. My friend Shelly Ciszek had a different plan for me to find that same boat, here in Portland Oregon.
I woke up early one morning to Shelly blowing up my phone with texts about the boat we HAD to go look at that morning. Clueless to what boat she was taking about, I looked at my texts from the night before. She had sent a craigslist posting. I usually ignore Shelly's craigslist finds because I couldn't afford to buy a boat, and I was dead set on my Florida plan. To appease Shelly I looked at the ad, and agreed it was an adorable boat, but didn't have the money to buy it. She said her father, Curtis, had found the craigslist ad and he said, "it was my boat, and we need to run to go look at it!". Shelly was born on a 42ft wooden ketch her parents sailed around the world and raised their 4 kids on the water. Practically everyone in shelly's family has circumnavigated or were wooden boat builders. If Curtis saying that we had to go run to the boat wasn't enough to make me go look at it, Shelly's mother made the generous offer to give me a loan to buy the boat. And 30 mins later Shelly picked me up to drive to Cathlamet to look at the Windwitch.
On the almost 2 hour drive out we had our usual banter about what a cruising boat should have and how this boat had just about everything. We wondered what the owner would be like because it was a woman who answered the ad. A woman owning a boat like this is not that common. We wondered if it was her deceased father's or ex husband's, or if she owned it. We got the answer as soon as we shook her hand, Jan owned the Windwitch. Jan is a boss, she is in her mid to late 50's and an Arborist. She babied the shit out of this beautiful wooden boat, and she loved it dearly. Jan wanted to pass her onto the right person, money wasn't what she was after. We shot the shit with Jan for an hour or so, told her about my sailing and boat owning history. And explained my involvement with an amazing boat shop, Rivers West Small Craft Center, a non profit that teaches traditional wooden boat building, woodworking, and maritime crafts. Maybe we wowed her or maybe she wanted to pass it on to another woman, but she basically told me it was mine before she showed it to the other people coming to look at it that day. Later that evening Jan called to tell me the Windwitch was mine.