Gateway: Living

The Navy is relocating him to Hawaii. It’s a perfect opportunity to break in his 36-foot sailboat

Gig Harbor sailor Brian Bugge and his crew are seen here navigating Colvos Passage. Bugge and navigator Christopher Ryder and other crewmembers Willy Kunkle and Beau Romero depart Thursday for Hawaii.
Gig Harbor sailor Brian Bugge and his crew are seen here navigating Colvos Passage. Bugge and navigator Christopher Ryder and other crewmembers Willy Kunkle and Beau Romero depart Thursday for Hawaii. Courtesy

The sailing adventure of a lifetime awaits a Gig Harbor four-man crew setting sail from Washington to Hawaii on Thursday (July 6).

U.S. Navy sailor Brian Bugge was recently promoted to officer and his family is relocating from Gig Harbor to Honolulu. Just prior to his promotion, Bugge purchase a 36-foot sailboat and now gets to fulfill a lifetime goal of sailing across the Pacific Ocean.

“Sailing has progressed from a hobby and racing around the Puget Sound to wanting to cross an ocean,” Bugge said. “The challenge of going farther and longer has always been alluring to me.”

Joining Bugge on the 2,300 nautical mile journey are navigator Christopher Ryder and other crewmembers Willy Kunkle and Beau Romero.

The ocean crossing should take 15 to 18 days, but Bugge says it all depends on the North Pacific High, a semi-permanent subtropical area of high pressure in the North Pacific Ocean.

“The further north the North Pacific High goes, the more direct route we will have downwind from Seattle to Hawaii,” said Bugge. “If it’s weak, we’ll have to sail farther south and then west, which could take 20 to 22 days.”

The crew is supplying the boat with 150 gallons of water, 50 gallons of diesel fuel, enough food for 24 days and tons of safety equipment including a satellite communicator which they can use to update friends and family of their whereabouts while on the open ocean.

The crew members will be able to connect their smartphones to the satellite communicator and post updates to their website, svstaygold.com and facebook page, facebook.com/svstaygold. Bugge encourages anyone who is interested in their journey to follow along through these outlets.

After what Bugge described as days and days worth of work and sacrifice as well as thousands of dollars invested in the boat, the crew is excited to finally set sail.

At sea, everything takes on it’s own rhythm and there are no land-based responsibilities. All you care about is sailing, eating and sleeping.

Brian Bugge

“I’m most looking forward to actually getting the boat off the pier and underway, and then the journey itself,” Bugge said. “At sea, everything takes on it’s own rhythm and there are no land-based responsibilities. All you care about is sailing, eating and sleeping.”

Besides the serenity of the sea, Bugge is equally excited for the personal accomplishment the journey will provide.

“It’s very satisfying to keep the boat moving where we want it to,” said Bugge.

Bugge’s wife, Ashley, who also shares a passion for sailing, and their two children, Isabelle, 3, and Hudson, 1, will join him in Hawaii in late July and move in to their new home in August.

The Bugge family’s community of friends and family in Gig Harbor have had many questions about the sailing trip throughout its planning, but the main thing Bugge wants to stress is that they’re just regular people.

“We’re not extremely rich or extreme athletes. We’re just regular dudes,” he said. “The point is that stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks associated with these big adventures are totally worth it and achievable for people who want to try something they dream of doing.”

This crew is a testament to everyday dreams coming true, and Bugge hopes to be an encouragement to people who want to do something but feel like they can’t.

A Bon Voyage party will be held at Jerisich Dock in Skansie Brothers Park from 7 to 10 a.m. Thursday (July 6). Bugge welcomes anyone who is interested to come to the event and meet the crew, see the boat and offer well wishes for the crew’s journey.

Bugge plans to set sail at the end of the party, and with family, friends, and community members seeing them off the journey will officially be underway.

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