Naked In Public

I’ve never done this before.

Is kind of a strange sensation.

You are concerned about your body image and how you look

You are constantly wondering if people are looking at you and what they are thinking.

They all seem to look better than you

But in the end, you just have to go for it.

So, we left all the sails with the sailmaker and we are now cruising around without sails.

A naked sailboat. (what were you thinking?)

The saga continues. We met with the sailmaker and rigging company today and they shortened the forestay which brings the top of the mast forward which tilts the aft (back end) of the boom up and away from the hard top. Success on that part but we are still struggling to get the new mainsail to roll up (furl) on the boom correctly and easily. The sailmaker has a few last tricks up his sleeve and we are hopeful one of these will be the solution. The frustration level is mounting in all of us.
The new boom vang has been ordered but it will be 7 to 10 days before it is here, so I guess we are cruising on a naked sailboat. Which is a whole lot different than naked and cruising on a sailboat 😊

Ruxton Island Sunset


Shaken not stirred

Shaken, not stirred or Lemonade, I’m not sure which is the better title for this post.

The first cruise you take after refitting a boat is called the shake down cruise. Its purpose is to find out what works and what does not and what needs to be tweaked a bit more. As you all know by now we have spent a lot of time and effort refitting the boat in preparation for our trip. Our plan was to immediately start making our way to Alaska.

Now, I have a friend and ex work colleague, Ron who will hurt himself laughing so hard when he reads that I had a plan because when I made one at work it rarely went as it was supposed to but hey, you must start somewhere.

Over the last few days we were making our way north, up the coast, in the general direction of Alaska, only to run into some issues with our new main sail that require us to divert back to Sidney on Vancouver Island to work with the sailmaker and rigging company to come up with a solution. For those not familiar with the British Columbia coast. Sidney is almost exactly the opposite direction we want to be headed.

We are doing the shake down thing very well. The boom vang blew a seal and dumped hydraulic oil on the deck. It was, of course, the only piece of rigging we did not change when we did all the rigging work as it looked fine. No one has one in stock, so we will need to order that, and it could take 2 weeks to arrive.

We also discovered that the washer/dryer only works when we are plugged into shore power at a marina and not on the inverter as we had wanted. This should be a simple case of swapping the wires from the shore power busbar to the inverter busbar.  An easy fix in boat terms. Oh, and the new water maker pump drive gear came off the shaft. Turns out it was missing a set screw from the factory. An easy fix once I find a metric sized set screw, not be found in Ganges. Hopefully Sidney.

Repairing all of this is going to take some time. Now this has thrown all our scheduling out the window, so we will need to rethink our stops, but I think we can still make Alaska this season.

Remember the old saying ” when life gives you lemons make lemonade.” Well here’s the lemonade. We are supposed to have two weeks of beautiful weather, and we are on a boat in one of our favourite cruising areas, the Gulf Islands. We are currently anchored in Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island and just came back from walking the town and like always checked out the coolest of hardware stores, Mouat’s Home Hardware. Mouats has been in business on Salt Spring since 1907. It has the most interesting and eclectic stock. Electrical panels to espresso machines, dog toys to decor items, barbecues to boat parts.

Mouat’s in business since 1907

We had pizza at the Oyster Catcher and are now just relaxing and taking in the sunset.

Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island sunset

Just doing what we can with some lemons.

Sunshine Coast

After all the preparations and the emotions of the first day it was nice to find our way to a trusted and favorite area of ours, Pender Harbour. A very pretty spot with a variety of anchorages. John Henrys Marina for fuel and ice cream,  The Garden Bay Marina for the pub and Madeira Park with the IGA for groceries to name a few.

Pender Harbour from Madeira Park wharf

This time we anchored in Garden Bay. We dinghied to the public wharf and made the short walk to the IGA for a couple of items and back to the boat to chill and take in all that has happened. We barbequed a couple of steaks for dinner and over a glass of red had a chance to savor our situation.

The next morning, we headed up the Agamemnon Channel and Princess Royal Reach to Princess Louisa.
Princess Louisa Marine Park is one of the BC coast’s jewels. It is a Provincial Marine park located at the end of Princess Louisa Inlet and includes Chatterbox Falls.

Chatterbox Falls

It is accessed through Malibu Rapids which is a tricky dogleg entrance that must be timed for slack tide or risk having you and your boat tossed against the rocky shore by currents that can reach speeds of ten knots.
There is a Young Life Christian camp at Malibu Rapids and young people have been spending time there every summer for many years.

Young Life Malibu Club

For most of the trip you are sailing in fjords. It is steep and deep with the mountain rising over 3000 feet right from the shores and the waters 600 to 1000 feet deep.

View down Princess Royal Reach

You can quite literally be less than 50 feet from the shore and be in over 200 feet of water. Numerous waterfalls  cascade down rock faces and into the sea.

one of many along the way

Its all quite spectacular, even in the rain.

can you spot the rainbow?




Well after years of dreaming, 2 years of planning, 6 months of intensive work on the boat, it’s hard to believe it happened. At 8:30 AM on Thursday April 19 we cut the mooring lines. Figuratively speaking, I’m to cheap to ruin a good mooring line for real.

The boat is not perfect, but when is a boat ever perfect. The important stuff is done. The rest can be worked on while we are underway. After all they say “cruising is just fixing stuff in exotic locations” and besides we will need something to do while we wait out bad weather.
We had family over yesterday afternoon for a bon voyage lunch. We had one final course last night with our Blue Water Cruising Association and many members congratulated us, were very supportive and excited about our eminent departure. It was great to have everyone’s support, but it never really set in that we were leaving.
I have been so focused on the preparations and tasks at hand I have not had the time to fully appreciate that we were leaving. It was not until we were underway, and Barb looks back at Vancouver and says, “hey we should have one last picture of Vancouver for the blog”.

Suddenly I need to choke back a couple of tears. We are actually doing this!
It’s a real mix of emotions that you need to work through as you plan and set out on an adventure like this. All that you are used to, is changing in a very significant way.
In our case we had to deal with the financial implications of our choice to sell everything in order to do this. You stay awake at nights thinking about the thousands of what ifs? Thanks to Excel spreadsheets, you can spend most of the next day thinking about them to.
We are leaving behind aging parents. There is a certain amount of guilt that comes with that choice. We are fortunate that both Barb and I have sisters and they live reasonably close to the parents but even then, you wonder if its fair to lay all that potential responsibility in their laps.
We have an adult son and daughter. One married and the other in a relationship. The possibly of grand children is present and how are we going to deal with that from a distance?
We both retired from long term employments. How does one define themselves after they are no longer “Derick at First Truck Centre” I’ve been that for nearly 20 years.
All that being the case this is an adventure we dreamed about. To not have tried would have left us forever guessing what it would have been like. We have been given an opportunity and we must give it a shot. If it works as we hope, we could be at this for many years. If not, at least we can say we tried.
Our son has always said “Do it for the story” We hope you will follow ours.

It’s impossible said pride
It’s risky said experience
It’s pointless said reason
Give it a try whispered the heart

Bang, Roll, Splash (BRS)

If you have been following us for any time at all you know we have been doing a whole bunch of work on the boat to prepare it for our adventure. The list is lengthy and includes a lot of work done on the exterior of the boat.

Any time you work on the exterior of a boat you are subject to the dreaded BRS. Our friends on Salish Dragon call it plop, plop, sploosh but regardless the results are the same.

So what is BRS? Well  here’s my most recent example. I needed to drill a hole in the stainless steel arch to mount a light. Drilling stainless steel is not an easy task without a special drill bit. Of course I did not have the right size so off to the hardware store I go and drop 25 bucks on a cobalt drill bit. Back at the boat I insert the drill bit into the drill and begin drilling the hole. The location for the hole is  situated above my head so I take a moment to rest my arm and lower the drill. Now I have drilled thousands of holes to date and never lost a drill bit from the drill but BRS struck. Oh and BRS’s always happen in slow motion.

My arm relaxes, the drill tilts downward, the drill bit slides out of the drill, bounces on the first step (Bang), (Rolls) to the second step. I yell SH*T and STOP but it obviously does not listen to me and proceeds to slide off the last step and into the water (Splash). Completing the entire Bang Roll Splash event in less than a couple of seconds

BRS = 10 minutes of ownership, one third of the hole drilled and a $25 drill bit sitting on the bottom of the bay.

At least the hole was started, an old school drill bit completed the task. I did get the light installed. I’m still not happy about losing the new drill bit.

Another recent fix saw a 1/2 inch socket fall and  bounce off the cockpit floor, up onto the cockpit seat, over the side of the boat, onto the dock and over the side of the dock and into the bay. And Barb wonders why I have 3 of everything onboard.

Damn you BRS.



Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Suddenly it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel. The house is sold, we moved to our daughter’s place for three weeks and now we are living on the boat. We sold one of our cars. We have decided to keep the other. Its not worth that much and we plan on being back this Christmas and next summer and would need something then, so into storage it will go until we come back.

We have organized most of our stuff on the boat, now we can move around without having to hurdle storage boxes. We are quite certain we will be moving some of it again as we figure out what we need most often and what is easiest to get at.

It’s a weird process trying to decide what to put where. Take for example bolt cutters. An awkward shaped tool that is carried in the off chance you will need to cut away the rigging, should the worst-case event happen, and the mast falls down.  You will likely never need them but if you do, you need to get at them in a hurry. Do you bury them in a locker or put them near the top and have to move them every time you need something underneath? Now imagine yourself asking this with everything that goes in your cupboard.

We have retired, and we are busier than ever. There is the always present list of boat chores yet to be done, throw in a sprinkling of lawyer, accountant and financial planner meetings, our friends and supporters all want to have one last dinner with us before we go. I thought things would slow a bit upon retirement. Don’t get me wrong I love getting together with friends and family but I was not thinking I was going to need a calendar to keep it all straight.

We were warned of another aspect of the cruising life and that’s the saying goodbye part. At the beginning its saying goodbye to your friends, family and supporters from home. Later it will be saying goodbye to fellow cruisers as they leave for different destinations. It’s always bittersweet and a bit difficult.

We are getting there. It’s coming together and getting real. In a little more than a  week we should be untying the lines and on our way.


Stay tuned.