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Artist Aboard!

Laurence Roberts and Mary Anne Unrau

Traversay III
Waterline 43', Cutter-rigged steel hull
June 20th, 2019

Stopping in Hawaii on our way back to British Columbia, we discovered another Canadian-flagged yacht tied up near us… the brilliant yellow vessel Island Prism. With little time in our schedule for a visit, we agreed to meet up later when we reached Victoria.

Some weeks later, the little yellow boat appeared on Thetis Island at a BCA Rendezvous. We heard the story of the sailing owners of Island Prism – Jim Shortreed and Andrea England. During Jim’s multi-year voyage they had met in Tonga. They married in New Zealand where the appropriately-named Andrea England (she’s British) was a primary-school teacher. The talk, beautifully illustrated both with Andrea’s art work and photos from their sojourn through the Pacific to BC, culminated with a kiss.

About a month later, we realized that the little yellow boat was nestled right up against the main walk-way at the Causeway Marina in Victoria (our harbour over the winter).

By November, we’d shared quite a few dinners together and I had looked through Andrea’s sketchbook and seen some of her larger water colours, which I thought were tremendous. My mother was an art teacher and most of her art was done in the media of water-colour, and I know how difficult it is to achieve first-class work. I decided that as a Christmas present Traversay III needed some additional art works and that they should be a ‘lasting memorial’ to some of our greatest times on Traversay III. When we can no longer sail, we will have these beautiful framed works on our walls. One picture shows Traversay III sailing the Northwest Passage and the other shows the boat anchored in the middle of mountainous Patagonian Chile.

The Northwest Passage through the eyes of an artist.

Andrea was commissioned to do the work and they would be our Christmas gift. Every Christmas we serve dinner for eight people … we planned for Jim and Andrea to bring the paintings over as a surprise early Christmas present for Larry. Once all the guests were ‘in’ and seated, the Island Prism crew joined us for the dinner and Christmas carols.

The pictures were a huge success. We took photos during the dinner because I hoped to call on one of the other talents Andrea had displayed in her sketchbook: a most attractive ‘homely’ scene of Island Prisms’ interior with pots and pans and clutter – all within an artistic perspective. We later asked Andrea if she would be able to make an archival painting of our boat’s interior complete with the Christmas tree, the ornaments, my piano, and the guests singing Christmas carols.

She recently presented me with a fantastic little artwork which ONLY an artist could manage. It was impossible to get this combination in a photo but Andrea succeeded in illustrating not only a view from the galley with BOTH the interior and guests, but also looking forward across the bow towards the Empress Hotel and the Christmas star gracing the forward rigging.

Christmas gathering on Traversay III.

We feel lucky that we now have some beautiful archival paintings which will always remind us of some of our greatest times aboard Traversay III.

You can see some of Andrea’s artwork on her website.

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  1. Avatar Nikki Tate says:

    What a great article! Thank you for sharing – love the artwork – what a terrific memento of your time on Traversay III.