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More Repairs on Willow

More Repairs on Willow

Owning a boat comes with a lot of responsibilities. The biggest one besides not hitting anything is maintenance and repairs. Some say it is a hole in the water which you dump money into. I agree and disagree with that statement. If it is your home than it is no different then home improvement projects or home repairs.

We had a good amount of time to do some maintenance with the mast out for almost a month. With all the rigging removed and out of the way, we took the opportunity to re bed the chain plates and jib car tracks. The chain plates were straightforward. Unbolt, pull them through the deck, apply some 4200, insert and re bolt. The jib car tracks were a different story. We had to pull back the vinyl interior to get to the nuts. Oh yeah, the liner has the original zippers which no longer work and had to be pried open. The hood for the oven also had to be taken off. And after all of that I had to squeeze into small opening and contort my arm to get the aft couple of bolts out. Once that was done, we cleaned the rails, installed butyl tape around the bolts and reversed the process. We now have safety pins instead of zippers, but hey, that is another project for another day.

During last winter we noticed a lot of water running into the head. We re caulked the teak accent piece above the head to no avail. It was time to pull the portlight out and re bed it. This was a lot simpler than I thought it would be. While taking it apart I notice that the frame was not tight and there was clear silicone. After looking carefully, I noticed that a temporary fix had been attempted but the inside ring was put on backwards, so it never got tight. Some more 4200 and the indoor waterfall was fixed.

The deck where the bow pulpit attaches was a concern during the survey. Somewhere along the line Willow had hit a piling with the pulpit and had some minor damage to the deck. This caused a bit of moisture to get into the core. Luckily there was no delamination. After contorting arms once again, we had it off and back on, leaving a day in between for the core to dry. Some of the bolts were bent so replacements were needed. There had to have been a lot of force to do that.

We had a couple of issues when it came to access in the interior of the boat. The mast step was inaccessible, hence the reason it was missed on the survey. We decided to leave access panels in these areas to make sure it could be monitored from here on out. Since the holly floor covered the port side access panel, we installed a hinge to make sure we could get to it and to create more storage under the floor. We also had an issue with a squeaky, bending floor in the companionway. I decided the best thing to do was to cut a hole and inspect because again, there was no access. After looking at the problem, the wood holding the floor was no longer attached to the stringer. A couple of screws fixed that right up. Now what to do with the panel I cut out. I went to the store and bought some two by two cedar and built a frame. Fixed!

Finally, the goofy table. Our main table has leaves on it which were falling off. But the only way to remove the table for fixing was to pull out the mast. Aha! While we had the mast out, we could fix it. I looked towards the previous owner of Willow for help with this. He is very knowledgeable of wood and has a nice woodworking area in his garage. After a week of gluing and cutting to make the table removeable with the mast installed, we got our table back. The whole time we were in the San Juan Islands we did not have a table. Glad to have our workspace back!

Sail On!

What is Life at Six Knots?

What is Life at Six Knots?

We thought long and hard before we picked the name for our blog. We wanted to convey something more than just sailing and living on a boat. Life at Six Knots is about a lifestyle, about choosing to follow our hearts and not what society or our families and friends think we should be doing. It’s about living our best life on our terms and focusing on the things we find important.

It’s about having adventures. Sailing. Hiking. Cooking. Exploring. Trying new things. Meeting new people. To sum it up: its about living life, not just admiring it from afar.

Check out the video below to see what Life at Six Knots really means to us.



Boat Chef: Baked Ricotta Dip with Roasted Tomatoes + Boat-Baked Bread

Boat Chef: Baked Ricotta Dip with Roasted Tomatoes + Boat-Baked Bread

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! And if you’re in need of an easy appetizer to bring to your celebration, check out this delicious dip and bread I made right here on the boat! It’s a no-knead bread, and it only takes about two and a half hours from start to finish, so you don’t need to be working on it all day.

As for the dip, it’s a throw together and bake kind of recipe. So simple and so delicious. It will be the hit of any party!

Scroll past video to see full recipes. I’ve split them in two so that you can make each independently if you so wish.


Baked Ricotta Dip with Roasted Tomatoes

This dip is creamy and cheesy and perfect for any holiday party!

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author lifeatsixknots


For the roasted tomatoes

  • 1 package cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dip

  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary chopped well
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Toss your cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl. 

  3. Spread tomatoes out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes have expelled their juice and started to brown around the edges. 

  5. Pull them out of the oven and set aside. 

  6. In a separate bowl, combine all dip ingredients. 

  7. Spread dip mix into a small baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges start to brown.

  8. With about 5 minutes left in your baking time, remove dip, spread tomatoes over the top and finish baking.

If you don’t have a couple of hours, or you simply don’t want to make your own bread, feel free to pick up a baguette or something at the grocery store. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended. But you should try the bread at some point. You won’t be disappointed!


Boat Baked Bread

You know, like home baked bread...only in a boat? It's amazing. And its simple. 

And it's adapted from Life as a Strawberry's awesome recipe.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author lifeatsixknots


  • 1 pckg Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.25 cups warm water about 100 degrees
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour

For the topping

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped small
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Add water to a bowl, and sprinkle yeast and sugar on top. Mix gently and let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble.

  2. Add salt to the bowl. Mix gently.

  3. Add your flour a little at a time, mixing until combined with each addition.

  4. Once all the flour is in, sprinkle a little extra flour on top of your dough ball, then flip the ball over and sprinkle a little more flour. We do this so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl while it is rising.

  5. Cover the bowl with a dish towel, and let it sit for about an hour or until the dough has about doubled in size.

  6. When the dough is ready, sprinkle a little bit of flour on a cutting board and gently tip the bowl to release the dough onto your board. 

  7. Gently fold each side into the center to make the shape of your loaf. 

  8. Sprinkle a little more flour on top and gently place your dough into a fresh bowl, seam side down. 

  9. Cover with your towel and let rise for another 30-45 minutes. 

  10. While your dough is rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place your empty stock pot (and lid) in the oven while it heats so it is nice and hot when you put your dough inside. 

  11. When your dough is done rising, turn it out onto a sheet of parchment paper so the seam side is now up. 

  12. Dust with chopped rosemary, sea salt and garlic. 

  13. Very carefully remove your hot pot from the oven and place your dough with the parchment paper into it. 

  14. Replace the lid and carefully put the pot back into the oven.

  15. Bake for about 30 minutes. 

  16. At the 30 min mark, remove the lid of the pot and allow to cook for another 10-20 minutes or until your crust is crunchy and starting to brown. 

  17. Remove from the oven and place on cutting board or cooling rack. Let cool slightly (but not all the way!) before serving. 

  18. Enjoy with your baked ricotta dip or with a simple smearing of butter. 

Recipe Notes

The original recipe used a dutch oven for this bread. I don't have one, which is why I used the stock pot. I believe any covered pot will work just fine as it is the steam inside that gives the bread its nice crunchy crust. 

If you have an oven with a lower heating element like ours (as opposed to one at the top of the oven), you may need to take the bread out of the pot, move your rack up and bake the last 10-20 minutes on an upside down cookie sheet to avoid burning the bottom. Your crust will also be a little less brown (like ours in the photo).


Have you ever baked bread on your boat before? Or in your house? I’d never made it until I moved onto the boat, and I think I’m hooked!


Boat Apetit!

Cruising the San Juans: Part 7

Cruising the San Juans: Part 7

Sucia Islands to Poulsbo

In our final episode of our journey we head back home. But before we head back home we take a quick break during to acknowledge my uncle Ken. He was my godfather and loved everything water related. He was the one who got me into fishing and boating as a child. We had some very memorable trips out including one where we got caught some bigger than wanted swell. We had to turn around and go back. As we turned we were hit on the side by a wave which could have overturned the boat. Luckily it didn’t. But at that point we decided we had to go into the swell away from shore before going towards the shore. It was one of the nastiest days I have been out on.

After a night of swell in Echo Bay we left Sucia Islands and headed for an overnight stay in Watmough Harbor. When we got there we did not feel very good about the anchorage, probably just newbie thoughts. We then backtracked to Hunter Bay to spend the night. It was a windy one with the chain going back and forth over the bridle. Not much sleep was had.

The next morning we proceeded back across the Juan de Fuca. Without knowing, there was a small craft advisory in the strait. We noticed a lot more swell than our previous crossing but it was not uncomfortable. It maybe just felt like it was bigger due to the fact there was not any fog. Here was definitely more wind though. We were cruising at 5-6 knots.


We were slated to meet with Peter and Mary in Mystery Bay. Once across the strait, we headed toward Marrowstone Island. If you have never been here before, the entrance can be quite tricky. This was our first time going in so concentration was of the essence. Once in Kilisut Harbor we started motoring toward Mystery Bay. We arrived to a “Please do not anchor” sign. We looked around and saw lots of mooring buoys and a state park dock. We headed out of the bay to look for anchorage but it was too windy for us to get any sleep. Port Ludlow, here we come.

We exited the harbor and made our way down the sound. We anchored in Port Ludlow while the sun was going down and a twelve hour day under our belts. That being said, it is a great harbor to get some well needed sleep. We were still deciding whether to go back to Mystery Bay or just go home.

sailboat at sunset in port ludlow

Waking up the next day with the decision to just go home, we headed off. It was a pretty uneventful rest of the trip. Although as we were motoring into the wind, I saw other boats on a slightly different course sailing. I couldn’t have this. We point Willow out into the sound and threw the sails up.  Tacking back and forth we finally made it into Madison Bay and sailed all of the way up to Agate Pass. Sails went down and motor came on for the remaining time.

After a few informalities, pumping out, we got Willow back into her slip and put away. It was kind of a happy moment knowing that we were going to get a couple of days of much needed sleep but also a sad one. We knew that our summer cruise was over and we would soon be hunkered down for the winter. We do go out in the winter, but with the lack of a diesel/kerosene/propane heater we are limited to mostly day sails.

We hope you enjoyed this first trip of ours with much more to come. We had a great tome sharing it and can’t wait for next season.


Sail On!

Cruising the San Juans: Part 6

Cruising the San Juans: Part 6

Stuart Island to Sucia Island

Stuart Island and Reid Harbor definitely left their mark on our hearts. So much so, in fact, that I am setting part of my NaNoWriMo novel there. We were fascinated that so many people live there, yet the only way to access the island is by boat or small plane. In some ways, it reminded me of my own childhood home. We had roads in and out of the tiny community where I lived, but we had no power (we used a generator) and it took us 30 minutes to drive to the store or to school. I think the seclusion really spoke to me for that reason.

dinghy in reid harbor
Jim checking out our fishing spot at Stuart Island

We decided to leave Reid Harbor and anchor for a night in Roche Harbor. We needed water and to dispose of some trash and the people at Roche said we could do both things if we purchased some fuel, so we made our way to the marina, zig-zagging through multi-million dollar yachts and sailboats that could fit ours inside of them.

sucia island dinghy
Dinghy on Sucia Island

We got ran our errands at the marina and then made our way back out to anchor in the harbor. There were so many boats out there, we had a hard time choosing a spot (though not as hard as we did in Friday Harbor), and with the wind picking up, we were feeling kind of unsure when we left in Brutus.

We walked around Roche Harbor and watched the boats and planes coming in and out for a while. To be honest, we only spent enough time there to see the highlights so we could say we’d been there and then we left. When we got back to Willow, the wind had changed yet again, and we decided we’d rather spend another night in Reid than risk a sleepless night in the wind, so we pulled up the anchor and made our way back to Stuart Island.

sucia island, san juans
View from Fossil Bay, Sucia Island

Our spot was still open when we got back, so we dropped anchor, prepared a nightcap and enjoyed the sunset in the protected harbor.

The next morning we got up and started making our way toward Sucia Islands. Our friend, Pamela, had instructed us to keep our eyes out when we passed by Spieden Island because you can often see exotic non-native animals, such as big horn sheep and Fallow deer left over from the island’s days as a playground for big game hunters. It is now privately owned and a wildlife sanctuary, but it was sure neat to scan the shores and hillsides searching for animals.

tent on shallow bay
Someone’s camp spot on Shallow Bay, Sucia Island

We pulled into Echo Bay just before sunset, set our anchor and grabbed what was left of the 5 pound bag of peanuts we bought at Costco and sat outside to relax. The next morning we loaded Katie and our camera gear into Brutus and motored over to Sucia Island. It was such a beautiful island, and we only saw a small portion of it. Our time is always limited when we bring Katie because she can’t figure out how to behave herself on a leash. We will go back again without her and hike some of the spots we missed.

trail on Sucia Island
Walking through the forest on Sucia Island


Check back next week for the final episode of our trip to the San Juan Islands.







sailing the san juans

Boat Chef: Veggie sausage, kale and potato soup

Boat Chef: Veggie sausage, kale and potato soup

It’s soup weather, y’all! And on today’s Boat Chef, we’re making a delicious veggie sausage, kale and potato soup that’ll warm you right up!

Scroll past the video for the full recipe.


Veggie Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

This soup will warm you from the inside out on even the coldest day

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author lifeatsixknots


  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 leaves kale chopped
  • 3 small carrots chopped
  • 2 leeks chopped and rinsed well
  • 3 sm purple potatoes chopped
  • 2 cans white beans drained
  • 1 pkg Veggie Sausage cut into small pieces
  • 1 carton vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop veggies.

  2. Melt butter in a large stock pot.

  3. Add garlic. 

  4. Add onions, leeks, carrots, potatoes, kale, beans, veggie sausage and spices

  5. Add stock. 

  6. Bring to a boil and let simmer until potatoes are fully cooked.

  7. Serve with a nice slice of fresh bread and butter on the side.

Recipe Notes

If you eat meat, by all means, use meat sausage!

Boat Apetit!

Cruising the San Juans: Part 5

Cruising the San Juans: Part 5

West Sound to Stuart Island

In this episode, we leave West Sound where we anchored between Double Islands which had us caught in a wind funnel. We are headed off to Reid Harbor. There are a few things we wish we had caught on camera. This first was when we were coming into San Juan Channel. We did not realize that the ferry lane went between Crane Island and Shaw Island. All of the sudden we heard a big horn blow and looked behind us. Oh Crap! There was a ferry telling us to get out of the way. We made a quick turn port to make sure we didn’t get run over.

stuart island swing

The second moment was funnier more than anything. We got into Reid Harbor and needed to pump out. I had done some research and noted that there was a pump out barge. We had no problems getting tied up with it. As we checked out the situation, the deck fitting on one pump was in very bad shape. It was lined with duct tape a someone tried to make a homemade fitting. The other pump had a better-looking fitting, but the handle was broken that you use to pump out. Let me explain a little clearer. This pump out barge does not have electricity, so it needs to be pumped manually to create suction. We ended up taking the better fitting and putting it on the pump which had a handle. We soon realized that it wasn’t a great seal, and nothing was happening. We then took some duct tape and put it onto the end of the fitting to create a better seal. Then Stephanie started pumping with the very long handle. It was hilarious to watch. You really needed some elbow grease and stamina to make this work.

turn point light sign

We then found a nice little cove area to drop anchor. Once we felt comfortable that the anchor had grabbed, we went to the state park dock to check things out. After looking around, we knew what we were going to do the next day. We were taking the hike to Turn Point Lighthouse.

steph and jim at turn point light

This was such a pretty walk. We saw gorgeous scenery on the way and a beautiful view when we got there. On our way back we ran across a little family of deer. We couldn’t help ourselves but to take a couple pictures as they walked within about 50 feet from us.

stuart island deer



Check back next week as we visit Roche Harbor and do some hiking on Sucia Island!

Sail On!





turn point light

Boat Chef: Tasty Tofu Enchiladas

Boat Chef: Tasty Tofu Enchiladas

When I moved into my first apartment as an adult, I lived next door to the cutest family ever. David and Danielle had just brought Daisy home a few months earlier, and they welcomed me to the neighborhood with open arms. Over the course of the next few years, I got to be a part of their family, and when they bought their first home and moved out of the apartment, I would spend Thursday evenings at their house watching American Idol and eating enchiladas.

This is the recipe I made on those Thursday nights (with the addition of the tofu…), and every time I eat it, I am brought back to those cozy nights on their couch, laughing and making bets on who would win it all.

Scroll past video to see full recipe.


veggie enchiladas

Tasty Tofu Enchiladas


  • 1 med sized zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 package extra firm tofu
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn I used roasted because it’s yummy!
  • 1 package shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 bottle Trader Joes enchilada sauce (or whatever brand floats your boat)
  • 1 package of corn or flour tortillas approx. 10


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Chop onion and zucchini. 

  3. Sautee onion. 

  4. Chop tofu into crumbles. Add about ¼ cup enchilada sauce. Let sit. 

  5. When onion is done, add onion, zucchini, black beans and corn to the tofu bowl. 

  6. Pour a little bit of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your pan and spread it around till the bottom is coated. 

  7. Lightly fry tortillas in olive oil. Coat each side with enchilada sauce. Set tortilla in the pan. 

  8. Add a scoop of veggie mixture and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll enchilada. Repeat until your pan is full. Pour remaining sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce bubbles at the edges.

  9. Repeat until your pan is full. Pour remaining sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. 

  10. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce bubbles at the edges.

Recipe Notes

You will probably end up with some extra filling. It mixes really well into scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos in the morning!

Boat Apetit!

Cruising the San Juans: Part 4

Cruising the San Juans: Part 4

In case you haven’t caught on yet, we’re suckers for good coffee, and when we learned that the Shaw General Store roasted their own coffee beans, we had to try it out.

And, frankly, we had to get some more of those salted caramels. They were so amazing, we still dream about those salty-sweet little morsels.

But we were also ready for an adventure, and our friend, Pamela, had suggested we take the mile or so walk to the county park at the other side of the island. So we did.

shaw island seeds

abandoned little boat

Shaw Island is one of the coolest islands we went to. The general store alone gives it major points, but we were pleasantly surprised to find so much character here. From yard art that could put any other to shame to the tiny seed shack (that was sadly, not open) to the old boats left to die in the bushes, we enjoyed every moment of our time on this island. It was a beautiful walk and the sounds of birds chirping and wind rustling in the trees as we walked down the road made for a serene and peaceful day.

shaw island

From Blind Bay, our plan was to stay a night in West Sound. We found a marina where we hoped to get a little water and pump our tanks, maybe stay an hour and check out the cafe close by. It didn’t look like there was a lot to do close to the marina, but we wanted to do a little exploring anyway. Sadly, things didn’t go as we’d hoped, and we had to come up with a different plan.

Willow anchored in Massacre Bay

That’s how we found ourselves on Skull Island with Katie. We wanted to do some exploring, so we found somewhere else to do some exploring. It was a neat little island, small enough to walk all the way around in a short amount of time, but it was hot, so we let Katie do some swimming and got ourselves back to to the boat.



Next week we make our way to Stuart Island and hike to a lighthouse. Check it out!


Boat Chef: Fallicious Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Boat Chef: Fallicious Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fall has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest! The trees are turning a million shades of orange, yellow and red and that nip has returned to the air. Sunshine feels fabulous on my cheeks, and I find myself constantly in the mood for something pumpkin.

If you’re feeling like me right now, this is the perfect recipe for you!

Scroll past video to see full recipe.

pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Fallicious Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg fresh ground if possible
  • 1 cup butter browned
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar loosely packed
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg till combined. Set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.

  4. Blend in egg, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. 

  5. Stir in dry ingredients in 3 parts.

  6. Mix in chocolate chips.

  7. Scoop dough out with a teaspoon, approx. 12 cookies per sheet. 

  8. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. 

  9. Allow to cool slightly, then enjoy while still warm with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. 

What is  your favorite fall recipe?

Boat Apetit!






pumpkin cookies