Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa's Storm Surge

The Skipper of Ever After summed up the events of December 21, 2010 quite well....

"The Bros mustered Nick Butcher and his payloader. SnowBored was tilted so far backwards the rudder was in the water. Dragged SnowBored, Tantivy, Elsie N. and Emidan to safer ground. Had to move Gaila to get to Emidan. Mallory is Ok with three and a half jackstands. Water was 18" deep at Ever After. For those in the pool, Exploits was officially the last BHYC boat in the water for 2010. Water is receding, all secure."

His first post started with....

"CHRIST! All HELL has broken loose in the boatyard. Tantivy and SnowBored are ready to tip over backwards into the water, Mallory is down to one jackstand on the starboard side. Water is touching Exploits. On go the boots and wetgear. I'm OFF to the marina. The Bros are HERE!"

Must say there were a few tense moments.  Not sure I expected our hull to be wet in December.

Thanks to the Skipper of Ever After, Steve and marina owners, Don, Herb and Mike.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cottage Closing

Finally!  Got the cottage closed for the winter.  We had a massive storm surge sometime in the last couple of weeks because the bottom 5 feet of our stairs is missing along with a lot of armor rock on the bank.  Nice to have it done tho.

Stopped by and checked on the boat.  Everything looks OK.  I need to get a tarp or two on the boat tomorrow and do the last little bit of winterizing.

Started the day honoring our War Vets at the service in Truro. 

Lest We Forget.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Jude and I visited the boat today.  I got the water system drained, the engine winterized and the cushions are all neatly stored at the cottage for the winter.  It was a nasty day.  Cold and windy.  The good news is....there was snow in the air.  We dropped by the ski hill for a look on the way home.

Let the sliding begin!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Exploits Standing By on...errr...the Hard

October 3, 2010.  Oh whatta day for a sail!

Jude and I headed out ahead of the tide.  The day looked like a bust as we bobbed around in Tatamagouche Bay. We could see some wite caps beyond Malgash Point so we decided to sail out of the Sound.  It turned out to be the perfect day to sail down the back side of Malagash Point towards Jost Vineyards,something we hadn't done all summer.

We enjoyed a nice steady breeze and cruised down the coast munching on our lunch and enjoying the last few moments of our first sailing season.  We shared the water with a couple of very large seals.  We had an equally enjoyable trip back to BHYC.  The total trip was 27 nm over 6 hours and 20 minutes at an everage speed of 4 knots.  Out top speed was 6.5 knots per hour which was respectable.  An absolute perfect end to the sailing season.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Whew...Let's Give Thanks!

Wait...the season isn't quite over yet, but the latest "Boat Haulout" email from the marina means that the end is definitely...near.  We are hopefully hanging in there for one, maybe two more weekends, but the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend will be our last time in the water for 2010.

What a season it has been.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving and in honor of our first year sailing lets reflect:

-  we've been out 38 times since Easter weekend and logged over 525 nautical miles to date;
-  we gained some valuable race experience and improved each race (well the arguing was less, but we still lack sailing expertise);
-  our names are engraved on a plaque at the Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club for WINNING the Saturday race series (gotta love the mystery of handicapping).  And oh what company...Shand, Hoyt...big names in BHYC sailing;
-  we won the cruising class for the Amet Island Race; but most importantly of all,
- we have spent hours aboard Exploits with our kids, family and extended family; and,
- we've met many interesting new people who I am sure will be friends for life.

Thanks Exploits...yah done good!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Isn’t It Ironic!

And isn't it ironic... don't you think
A little too ironic... and yeah I really do think...

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out

I’m sure Alanis Morissette won’t mind me borrowing a few lines from her song Ironic to describe our first official sailing season.

Several years ago (20 or more…I’ve lost track), after attempting a self rescue during windsurfing race that went horribly bad, I drifted 5 nautical miles off shore on my 12 foot BIC Rock board for over 7 hours. At the risk of being dramatic, it was in May and the water temperatures were…cool, at best.

I eventually washed up on the shores of Amet Island, off the northern coast of Nova Scotia. Fortunately the tide was at an extreme low and I hit a long gravel bar on the lower side, otherwise my next stop was Prince Edward Island, another 30 nm to the north east. Obviously the story has a happy ending and I was rescued by a local fisherman after Jude discovered I was missing (another long story...).

Events like this change you. In my case, I never “enjoyed” windsurfing the same way again, but my love of sailing and being on the water never left me. Dingy sailing just didn’t have the same appeal, although there are days I miss the “Board Alternative” (appreciate the double meaning and the symbolism of the name?) our Laser II, which got unceremoniously beaten on the rocks in freak summer storm.

Where’s the irony in this?

Well, over 2 decades later, we bought “Exploits” and in August, won the cruising class race around…wait for it…AMET ISLAND!  Had I never drifted out to sea so many years ago, who knows, I still might be windsurfing and we won’t have our first race flag!

Isn’t it ironic?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Redwings Finish First and Second

July 31st, 2010.

OK, so I'll qualify this post right up front by saying 3 of the fastest boats in our Club were off racing in Pictou this past weekend.  That said...OMG....we finished second!  Finishing last all year sucked.  On July 31th we finally got it all together, sailed a beautiful race, did everything right, had a blast and.....finished SECOND!

The winning boat was our sister boat, "Wings", hull number 127.  The third place boat was "Abigale" a Redline 25, a cousin to the Redwings.  So, technology might change, but there is something to be said about "classic old boats"!

There were two keys points in the race.  The first came at the first mark, when all the boats ahead of us tacked around UD4 towards BHYC2.  When they realized they would have to go way down wind to reach the second mark, most made a quick adjustment.  Seeing this, we stayed on our line and avoided the extra tacks.

The second key factor was our ability to point up wind.  Most of the boats had to fall so far off the wind, while "Wings" and "Exploits" seemed to be able to drive straight into it.  By the time we hit BHYC2, I was getting badgered not to hit "Bella Rosa" and "Fly-Bye-Wire", 2 C&C 30's that we battled with the whole way around.  It was such a rush to FINALLY feel like we were actually in a race.

We finished just behind he C&C's.  "Wings" figured we came in second, altho they didn't seem to be as excited as I would have thought.  Turns out they were worried we might have beaten them on corrected time.  As it turns out we were only 1:30 minutes behind, which I suppose explains the concern.

The team was great.  Judy kept the rookies on the sheets all race long.  Mark has been on the boat a lot, but he pointed out, it was his first race.  Mark's buddy Joey did a great job adjusting the sails and keeping us entertained the entire time.  I think we were more excited to finish second than "Wings" were to win.  Then again, it must start to feel old to them, considering their record!

It was a great team effort!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Last in Racing, First in Swimming

We had a another last place at the BHYC Saturday Fun Race last weekend, however it did motivate me to do a little research on sail trim.  We'll do better next time!

On Sunday McCarthy's came over for our first swim of the year off the boat.  The weather was warm as was the water, but the winds were extremely unpredictable.  At one point we had the motor on and the next minute we were dropping sails!  We did manage to anchor close to Malagash wharf, had a great swim and a lunch while Meltemi entertained us with their sail bys!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheers Across The Strait

A GOOD LUCK shout out goes to fellow BHYC boats Prospector and Nut Case who also happen to be our dock neighbours.  Both boats have made the trip over to Charlottetown, PEI for Race Week (

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy (belated) Birthday Canada

Seems at least one person reads this blog since they noticed the lack of a weekly update on our latest exploits aboard "Exploits".  What a past week it was!

On June 30th, we along with 5 other boats from BHYC, crossed the Northumberland Strait to spend Canada Day on the waterfront in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  It was for us, our biggest adventure yet.  Admittedly, I was somewhat nervous crossing the Strait.  The last time I ventured out that far was some 20 years ago when I drifted for 7 hours to Amet Island on my windsurfer (without my rig) on the May long weekend.  Coming that close to a potentially dangerous situation tends to change your perspective on things.

The weather was perfect on the 30th and the winds allowed us to sail on a nice reach straight into Hillsborough Bay.  We were averaging 5-6 knots until the wind dropped off completely.  Rather than drift against the out going tide, we fired up the iron jib and motored the last hour or so.  We completed the 32 nautical miles in 7.5 hours, dock to dock.

We had a fantastic spot at the Quartermaster Marina, right on the Charlottetown waterfront, close to all the Canada Day celebrations and Daniel's apartment.  We had a front row seat, on Abigale for an absolutely spectacular fireworks show.

Fly-Bye-Wire and Baby Bird headed back to BHYC on Friday while the brave crew of Meltemi headed out on their own to Pugwash.  It was a fantastic sailing day so we ventured up the cove towards New Dominion with a 102 year old wooden boat from Holland.  The boat had been sunk during WWII by the Germans and was dug up after the war.  It is a beautiful wooden boat that we referred to as "The Shoe Boat" since it looked a little bit like a wooden shoe.  It sailed beautifully and made Exploits seem like a new boat, despite her 40+ years.

On Saturday, we headed back to the mainland at 6 am to take advantage of the tides and to avoid building winds forcasted for later that afternoon.  The wind was hard on our nose, so the crew of Ever After decided we should motor.  Half way into the trip we broke from our travelling partners and hoisted the sails and made our way down to UA2 off of Cape John to cheer on Nut Case and Prospector who were racing from BHYC to PictouAbigale planned to join us, however their youngest crew member (5 years old) fell ill so they motored the rest of the way as well.

It was a fantastic way to celebrate Canada Day and an exciting new chapter in our sailing exploits story.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Weekend and Anchors Away!

Our first official race was this weekend (Saturday) and we almost missed it.  My brother Bruce joined Judy and I thankfully on very little notice!

First, I mis-read the email announcing the start of the season.  I have to thank Kim for correcting me!  Then, on race day, we got to the start line 5 minutes late.

To refer to the conditions as changeable would be an understatement. We actually drifted across the start line and really struggled on the first leg which was a down wind run (we have no spinnaker).  When we reached the first mark, we knew the conditions were about to change! The wind started to pick up and reached 28 knots in the gusts.

Prospector bent a whisker pole and Wings broke a shroud.  We didn't break anything or lose anyone thankfully. We resorted to using a 4 foot long boat hook for a whisker pole, so we really were a low budget, low tech racer! We finished tho and didn't do too bad considering we rigged a full main and 150 genoa. When we finished you couldn't walk through the cabin of the boat. Stuff was flung around pretty good.

Prospector finished first, Abigale second (on corrected time), Nut Case third.  Fly-Bye-Wire repeated our mistake from last week and almost had the boat in irons.  It was enough of a mistake to give us a forth place finish ahead of her.  Our sister boat Wings dropped out due to a problem with their shrouds rather than risk busting a mast.  Ever-After pulled committee boat duties.  Congrats to all boats.

On Sunday I cleaned things up in preparation for the Island trip and Jude and I went out for a easy sail. We dropped the anchor (for the first time) just off the tip of Malagash Point (at Kate and Tarjei's). We only stayed for a bit, which turned out to be a good thing since the tide was very low this weekend and we just made it back into the marina. The depth guage was reading 0.0 feet most of the way in the channel.  Lucky for us the new owners dredged the entrance to the marina or we'd likely still be sitting there.

We filled the water tanks and hosed everything down. Exploits is ready for our first really big adventure in a couple of days when we head out to Charlottetown, PEI for the long weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Learning Curve Just Got Tougher

Depending on your measure, this past weekend was another successful weekend on Exploits.  On the other hand, if the measure of success is winning, then our first race would have to be described as a bit of a disappointment.  Fortunely for us, racing is a distant second to enjoying time on our boat.

Our weekend started early for Jude and I who managed to squeeze in a Friday evening sail that went from glassy calm, to a rather exciting sail in strong gusts.  The Matilda 20 with Keith aboard (single handing) was the only other sailboat out.  The Stewards were out losing pieces off their power boat until they plugged the engine with weeds and caused an overheating issue.  We planned to sail out and anchor for our first swim of the season, but the wind had other plans.

Saturday was the day of the first race at Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club.  It was a pursuit format which met we started according to our handicaps, the theory being that we all finish at roughly the same time.  So much for theory.  We had a fantastic start and were doing OK to the 3rd mark.  When we turned at BHYC2, everything started to go wrong.  I took the wrong line, we fouled a winch, couldn't find the mark.  It wasn't pretty.  The field all blew past us and that would be the last we would see of the 5 other boats in the race.

The good news is, Mike and Maria joined us for the race.  It was their first time on a sailboat and we are pretty sure they enjoyed themselves.  They picked up on their crew duties very quickly and didn't seem to mind that we finished 6th...errr...last.  Judy and Daniel did an excellent job as usual.

We finished off the day at the BHYC gazebo and enjoyed an excellent meal prepared by the social directors for the club.  Excellent food and great company, lots of drink.  I eventually got over my last place finish!

On Fathers' Day Sunday we headed back out for a few more hours.  Again the weather went from extremely gusty (my windsurfing buddies were rigging up) to flat calm back to a strong breeze in the span of 3 hours.  I am however getting very good at switching sails on the run!

As for my racing career, I am not sure what the future holds.  I obviously have a lot to learn!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From the Sound to the Tree Tops

Ally's First Sale!

What a fantastic weekend on the North Shore.  We started early (on Friday) to celebrate Allison's first sail aboard Exploits.  The conditions promised to be great.  The tides were extremely low, which meant we had to stay out for 6 - 7 hours.  What a shame!  Robert Bazeley, a Townie from Newfoundland joined us.  He seemed to enjoy it, or maybe it was just being with Allison that had him smiling all afternoon.

Jude packed us lots of food even though she couldn't join us, so we weren't going to starve.  We dined while we cruised out past Malagash Point, across in front of Saddle Island and off towards Wallace.  The winds kept us out in the Strait for most of the afternoon.

Allison and Robert headed down below for a couple of games of crib and some demon rum.  At 6 pm we turned and headed into Amet Sound.  I turned on the autohelm, called Jude, who arrived at the cottage and did a cruise by while enjoying the last of many cocktails!

We officially became members of the Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club ( on Saturday.  Very nice people and a very relaxed atmosphere.  Sort of like a kitchen party on the water!  Our first official event is next Saturday, which kicks off with a Summer Solstice Pursuit Race, followed by the Blackfly Barbeque.  I've never been in any race on land or the water, so it will be another "first".

Right after the meeting, Jude and I, Ally and Robert, and Mark and Alison got out on Exploits.  Tam Flemming had just launched his new boat "Ask For", so there were crouds of people to watch us leave.  The winds were excellent and we cruised out behind Meltemi, a pesky C&C 25 which I think is going to give us trouble this race season.  The GPS had us at 7 knots per hour for a good part of the trip.  The boat performed wonderfully and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  We got back in before the tide dropped and headed off to Malagash for a 60th birthday celebration.

We went from the water to the trees on Sunday.   Mark had given Judy a trip to TreeGO in Moncton so we headed up there early Sunday morning for a 10:30 start time.  It was a lot more challenging than I expected, but everyone had a blast.  Jude finished the entire course with the young guys.  Amazing!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Early Sailor Gets The Weather

But the porpoise is laughing good-bye, good-bye
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye

                         The Porpoise Song by The Monkeys
This weekend rewarded those sailors who rose early and caught the brief moments of nice weather in the mornings.  On Saturday I woke to see Meltemi a C&C 25 sail past the end of Brule Point on a nice easy sail to Cape John, Malagash Point and back to Barrachois Harbour.  I had to finish up wiring my VHF, retro-fitting my new swim ladder and Jude worked on putting teak oil on the toe rails in the morning.  We planned to head out early afternoon for a few hours.
The good news is, the radio now works, the swim ladder is great and the toe rail looks beautiful.
The bad news is, we rigged the wrong headsail, hoisted the main and #2 jib and the gusts just about knocked us onto the beach.  I dropped the main and we were still doing 7+ knots with just the #2.  Then it started to rain.  That pretty much end the day on the water.  Gaila got out ahead of us.  She has a much smaller main and Larry rigged a working jib.  They headed down the shore towards Bayhead and avoided most of the gusts.  They were cold and very wet when they got back to BHYC.
I saw the sun for brief moments on Sunday morning.  Checked the forecast (no rain until mid afternoon) and so we headed for the marina.  There was very little wind, but we were going anyway.  Once we got out of the Barrachois Harbour and channel, the sailing was actually pretty good.  We moved along at a consistent 5-6 knots.  It was a little chilly, but nothing that 3 fleece coats on Jude couldn't fix.
We crossed over from BHYC to the end of Malagash Point (right past Katy and Tarjei's) and then turned east and sailed towards Cape John.  I called Abigale a Redline 25 (who was off Sand Point) on the cell phone and did a VHF radio test and everything worked fine.  We sailed in to the Cape John wharf, dodging the lobster pots and turned for home.  We unfortunately lost the wind on the way back and had to motor sail for 30 - 40 minutes.  The wind seemed to turn so we hoisted the 150 Genona and amazing enough did 2-3 knots, against the tide in no wind.  As Jude's dad would have said, "the water was as flat as piss on a plate".  We put on the autohelm and Jude fixed us a nice lunch.  It was very relaxing and very peaceful.
Jude spotted a small porpoise which seemed to be circling us as we crossed Penninsula Point.  We watched it for several minutes before dropping the sails for the last time and firing the iron jib. 

It poured rain just as we got back to the cottage, while Jude planted, or should I say, replanted her garden for the second time.
It was a good day.  Glad we got up early!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Official Start to the Canadian Summer - Splash Down!

May 24th weekend is generally regarded as the unofficial start to the Canadian summer.  It's a popular camping weekend (read alcohol ban in national parks), the start of the outdoor gardening season and yes, the start of the sailboat season.  What better way to celebrate than to launch a boat.

We finally got "most" of the work done on Exploits and got her back in the water in her new home, the Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club.  She went in on Saturday evening.  Daniel and I spent most of Sunday getting her ready.

Our first sail in the Tatmagouche Bay was on Victoria Day (Monday).  Judy, Daniel and I had intended to go out for a quick sail before the company arrived.  We didn't check the tide schedule though and ended up hitting a sand bar.  We eventually got off, but it meant we had to spend another 2.5 hours in the bay waiting for the tide to come up.  On our way in the second time we ran into another bar at the mouth of the marina.  Four other boats got stuck on it before us.  The water on the North Shore is very shallow to say the least, which is going to take some getting used to after sailing in Halifax.

We eventually hooked up with the McCarthy's and had a nice relaxing (very little wind) sail / motor.  With no incidents!

Let the "exploits" begin on Nova Scotia's north shore!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday at Sunrise

Very windy and cool on the North Shore today.

We spent Saturday night cleaning bird crap inside the cottage from a feathered friend who spent the winter inside.  We haven't actually found it yet which is not good.  The good news is, the cottage is fully functional and cleaner than it's been in years.  We also said good-bye to the dingy today, but it has gone to a nice home!

As far as Exploits is concerned, I rewired the mast and installed a new antenna for the VHF.  This was my first experience working with coax cable.  Hopeful I did it right!

I also sanded the bootstripe and below the water line.  Very hard on the shoulders since you are basically working over your head most of the time. I taped off the bootstripe by decided to wait until we get better weather to paint it, hopefully Tuesday of this week.  I should have the mast up sometime this week. 

Met a number of fellow sailors in the boat yard today and had a great chat with the new owners of Sunrise Marina.  Hopefully we'll be in the water on the long weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Moving Day - ACE's Are Wild

May13, 2010 - Moving Day for Exploits.

The boys at Armdale were fantastic.  Hauled the boat by 9:00 am and pressure washed it clean for the move.  Sadly, while I was on the phone with my boss (having a stimulating chat about "soil amendments" - don't ask), the guys from ACE Towing put a couple of nasty scratches on our boat.  Unfortunately I didn't notice it until they were long gone with a lot of my money.

Bobby from Sealand was fantastic.  He arrived early, secured the boat like a real pro and arrived within 5 minutes of when he said he was going to be there.  He put in a full day and I don't begrudge a cent I paid him.  Good guy.

We arrived to a crowd at Barrachois Harhour Yacht Club.  I guess word got out that there was a boat arriving so the local boys turned out to say hello.  Great bunch of guys around the boat yard and more than willing to lend a hand.  Turns out I need many hands because I know very little about sailboats or sailing.  Unfortunately, we didn't get the mast back up.  I ran into a little problem with the radio antenna so I figure it's easier (and cheaper) to fix it now than it is to take the mast back down in a months time.

I love Bobby's motto!

Judy and I sold the dingy tonight which covers a portion of the costs to move Exploits.  However, we're happy to be on the north shore and really looking forward to getting Exploits back in the water by the end of the month.

Rolling into our home port, the Barrachois Harbour Yacht Club on the Northumberland Strait, Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Thanks to Mikey and his friends, I got the mast taken down and everything is packed and ready to be moved tomorrow.  Armdale moved the cradle downto the boatyard  this afternoon.  They plan on hauling the boat at 9 tomorrow morning and will pressure wash it for me before we load it.  If all goes well, we should be on the North Shore by early afternoon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Packing Up - For a Price!

Exploits is pretty well ready to be moved.  We took off the main sail and boom today, removed the dodger, backstay and packed the halyards.  The only thing left to do is step the mast.  I painted bright red nail polish on the turnbuckles to help me retighten the shrouds.

Mike and I will drop the mast Tuesday night.  It gets pulled out of the water on Wednesday and moved to the North Shore on Thursday.  Very exciting!

I did make one major booboo.  I forgot to arrange a crane to lift the boat onto the truck.  Armdale doen't have that capability.  Luckily I called a guy today and he said they could do it.  For a price!  Everything associated with sailing is "for a price".

Sunday, May 2, 2010


May the First, 2010....well and May 2nd as well.

Our first dinner cruise aboard the boat. The first night we slept on the boat. The first meal cooked on board. First time tossing eggs with Japanese chefs.

Mike and Heather, Andy and Kim and Jude and I sailed from Armdale to the Hamachi House on the Halifax waterfront Saturday evening. The winds were good and we arrived 15 minutes before our reservations...which almost weren't reservations. Enter Heather and Kim to sort it all out. It's pretty sweet to leave the dock at Armdale, sail around the peninsula and dock on the waterfront of one of Canada's greatest cities, at the door step of your restaurant.

Judy and Heather both took a turn at tossing the egg into the Happy Happy Chef hat.  While Judy created a couple of tense moments for our Japanese chef, it was Heather who's egg sprayed egg white across the restaurant and down her back...not once but twice to the delight of our crew and fellow diners at our table.

The winds died off during supper so we fired up the diesel and headed back to Armdale.  It was a beautiful night.  I was surprised that there were several other boats in the harbour that time of night.

Jude and I spent our first night on the boat and enjoyed our first Sunday bunch on the water.  Parker Noohan (our boat's former owner) dropped down to his Westerly 32 and so we had an opportunity to quizz him on Exploits.  It was sort of cool to hear about all the work he did, which makes us appreciate the boat even more.

Jude and I sailed down the Arm after brunch.  There was a military ceremony in Point Pleasent Park to mark the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.  Just off "Hens and Chickens" they towed the HMCS Sackville, the last Corvette from WW II and released wreaths in memory of the more than 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen who lost their lives delivering supplies across the Atlantic Ocean to Britain during the Second World War.

We have one more weekend before we have to pack up the boat and ship it off to the Northumberland Strait.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rewired Redwing

OK.  It's a bad sign when I am already redoing some of my original projects and it isn't even the end of April yet!

Years ago when Jude and I bought our first house, my father's advice was, "live in it for a year and you'll have a better appreciation of what really needs to done".  Wise man my Dad.  Wish he were still here 'cause I'm sure he would said the same thing about the boat...."sail the thing for a year and you"ll figure out what really needs to be done".

Last Sunday I bit the bullet and drove my jig saw into the fiberglass and cut two 5 inch holes in my cockpit for my speakers.  Those StarBoard, bullet proof, butt ugly speakers (that I built 2 months ago) are gone and replaced with 2/5's of a surround sound system!  Ok, so that's a little over the top, however I must admit, they look much better and sound alot better.

While I was stressing over the thought of cutting holes in the hull, there was a boat builder working on my dock neighbour's boat.  When I said I was thinking about cutting the holes his response was, "...hell boy I do that every day".  Cue the sound of jig saw cutting a neat circle in the cockpit of Exploits.

On Monday, my man from Lifeline Marine showed up to replace a damaged stanchion on the port side.  And, like all sailboat projects, what started as a simple job, was turned into an opportunity to install new turnbuckles on the lifelines and clips for a boarding gate.  Not a bad job!

Exploits is wired and ready to go again....well as soon as I get new drink holders!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Into the Drink!

After a quiet Friday evening sail with Mikey and Heather Hoyt, the boys and I and Alison M decided to head into Halifax Harbour.  It was Daniel's and Alison's first sail on Exploits.  The wind was really gusty, altho according to the marine forecast, the gusts were never above 11 knots.  It seemed to be either on our back or right in our face the whole day.

Turned out to be a great sail. Total distance of 15.5 nm and a top speed of 6 knots. Mark called some friemds of his who were down on the waterfront when we sailed by, which was kind of cool.

There were a couple of other boats out, along with a whole bunch of lasers, laser II's and bytes. They looked like a bunch of water bugs darting around out in the harbour.

The only down side of the trip, was the over-priced drink holders that I bought the night before (on the recommendation of the sales lady at the Binnacle) both ended up in the harbour. To add insult to injury, at least one of them went "into the drink" with a full beer.  Makes for an expensive afternoon.  Sort of brought back memories of my windsurfing days when a good day was defined by how much gear you broke!

However, we managed to finish the trip holding on to our "pops" the old fashioned our hands!  It was great to see the city from the water side.  This was my 5th sail of the season and it's only April 24th.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sailing Double - April 12 - 13, 2010

Mikey (instructor extrodinaire) makes an important call while sailing down "The Arm" on April 12, 2010.  It was a great night.  Total distance of 7 nm with a top speed of 6 knts.

Jude takes the tiller for sail Number 3 this season on April 13, 2010. Winds NNE 11 knts gust 13 knts. Total distance 9.8 nm, with a top speed of 6 knts.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sailing Like Slocum - Tale of a Travel Bug

Two years ago from this coming Monday, I placed a travel bug called, "Sailing like Slocum" into a geocache in the coastal town of Baiona, on the western shore of Galicia, Spain.  The Goal of the travel bug was " sail around the world just like Captain Joshua Slocum".   Little did I know at the time that 2 years later, I too would begin a sailing adventure albeit much later in life than Slocum's.  Thankfully my sailing will not be single-handed.

Joshua Slocum (1844-1909) was a Canadian seaman, and adventurer, a noted writer, and the first man to sail single-handedly around the world.  He was born in Nova Scotia, where this bug got it's start.  I was interested to find out that he was born in the same area of Nova Scotia as my Grant ancestors settled in.

For those of you who don't know, geocaching is a global scavenger hunt using handheld GPS.  Travel bugs, are trackable items that are placed in the cache to be discovered, picked up and moved to other geocaches.  Bugs are decorated in many different ways, depending on the theme.

Baiona, seemed to be the perfect place to release "Sailing Like Slocum" given the town's historical significance to the "new world".  In 1493, the Pinta, one of the ships from Columbus' voyage to discover the New World returned to Europe and arrived in Baiona, making the town's port the first to receive news of the discovery of America.

Sailing Like Slocum, has travelled an estimated 3,600 n.m.  Given that most of this time has been spend travelling on land, it might be more appropriate to mark it's progress as 6,600 kilometers.

For the past couple of years, the bug has made it's way from Spain, to Germany and Holland.  Two years later, Sailing Like Slocum  is located in the tiny village of Jannum, in the Netherlands, population 60. 

Like us, this bug is hoping it will be on the water very soon again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Monday - First Sail of the Year!

Who could have imagined sailing in t-shirts and shorts in Nova Scotia on April 5, 2010! What an absolutely fantastic weekend. I worked on the boat for three days and figured I deserved a day off. The varnish could wait.

Judy and I and Mark headed off to the city early this morning to pick up the sails and charts for Halifax. We had a car load with all our brand new custom cushions, thanks to Mrs. Grant, 5 gallons of diesel fuel. 10 gallons of water, the dodger, sail cover and all our Transport Canada safety gear. All of a sudden, our 30 foot boat seemed very small once we started stowing gear and sails. We got the main sail on and opted to go with the working jib for our first sail.

Judy packed us an amazing lunch of Easter Egg salad sanwiches and fruit salad. We ate at the dock, put away the food, got out a celebratory drink and headed off. The wind had died down quite a bit by mid afternoon, so getting out past Purcell's Cove was slow going. We caught some really nice wind off Ferguson's Cove and headed off towards McNab's Island. Two huge container ships past us and we saw one other sailboat coming in from Herring Cove.

We did run into (not literally) our dock neighbour who was out on his Douglas 32 on our way in (which is for sale on Kijiji Halifax by the way). He was sailing single handed without a main, so we slipped past pretty easily. A short time later he started his diesel and headed for Armdale. When we arrived he was kicking back sipping on red wine.

Our first trip was 13 nautical miles, with a top speed of a modest 6 knots (85% working jib and mainsail). We made it out past Sandwich Point before turning back. Winds were light. Sunny and warm. The perfect day to get our sea legs and try out Exploits. We can't wait for the next trip!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter - Unwrappin' Exploits

Unwrapping Exploits this weekend was like ripping into a HUGE Kinder Surprise...a giant Easter egg with a Redwing 30 sailboat inside. After four straight days of plus 20 temperatures, I couldn't take it any more. All the boat owners on the hard were complaining about not being able to get their boats in. To add insult to injury, my dock mate has been out three times already. His boat is actually for sale. It's a Douglas 32...nice boat. I will like it better as I look at it from the water and not the dock!

The only thing between us and our first sail, was a large pile of unenvironmentally friendly plastic shrink wrap. I unfortunately had ALL the wood work sanded down to bare wood. Our sails were also still at Doyle Sails which of course was closed. It was a sign to get a couple of coats of Epifanes on the wood to at least partially seal it up. I'll be at Doyle's first thing tomorrow morning.

I fired up the Yanmar diesel a couple of times and it seems to work OK, particularly after we cut the shrink wrap off the exhaust port. The dodger, sail cover and custom made cushions (well 2/3's of the cushions...but they are SWEET...thank you Judy) are loaded in the Rav. Should have Exploits rigged and ready to set sail sometime by mid afternoon.

Jude observed tonight, that with the blue hull and cushions, wine coloured dodger and sail cover, and white top deck, Exploits is sporting the official colours of...wait for it...the New England sweet is THAT!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Music to My Ears

I've been picking away at the long list of up-dates needed on Exploits, however it's tough to get much done during the winter. I also only seem to manage to find a few hours here and there, so I've had trouble actually finishing what I've started.

This past weekend was unseasonably spring like so we got to spend 2-3 hours on the boat. I picked up a pair of marine speakers at the bargain bin and built speaker enclosures out of some left over "StarBoard". I ran an extra set of wires out into the stern and installed a switch to toggle between the cabin and outside. They don’t look too bad and sound great.

I finally resolved my electrical issues with my mast lights. I had running lights and an anchor light, but I couldn’t get power to my mast lights. I had to remove the two deck connectors. In the process I found a wire that was cut and rolled up in the mast and under the cabin settee. Mystery solved.

I decided to replace the deck connectors with a single four wire connector. I’ll have an extra hole to fill and will need to splice some wires to get 6 wires down to 4.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's in a Name?

Exploits is quite a jump from our windsurfers and sailing dingies. To say we are excited would be a huge understatement.

Our first task was to name our boat. We understand that officially renaming the boat will involve several bottles of champagne: the first to honour the former name; a second to christen the new name; and finally, a third bottle to celebrate! Given that there currently isn't nay name on the boat, the ceremony will be respected purely to ensure good luck (and of course who would pass up an excuse to drink champagne).

A review the boat's records indicated that it used to sail under the name "The Ghost of Mr. Chicken". I'm not quite sure of the origin of the name, although a Google search suggested that it might be named after a 1966 Don Knotts movie, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. More recently it went by the name, "Karma". Neither name really appealed to us, so we had a "name that boat" contest.

We settled on Exploits which has special meaning for our family. My father-in-law was born on Exploits Island a small outport in Notre Dame Bay in Newfoundland. A couple of years ago we had the pleasure of making a 6 day sea kayak trip into Notre Dame Bay during ice berg season. We spent a few days on Exploits (the island) and had the opportunity to explore the old homestead site and family grave sites.

Naming our boat Exploits seemed to be a fitting honour.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wrapping Up The Deal - 15.01.2010

We fell in love with this boat the minute we first saw it. We hadn't considered Redwings, until we noticed "Wings" on the North Shore when we were looking at a C&C 25. The classic lines and the versatility of a quick boat that doubles as a coastal cruiser really appealed to us. We wanted a boat that our whole family could enjoy for many years.

It seemed a little "out-of-season" to buy a sailboat in January in Canada. Even more surprising was the fact that we signed the Bill of Sale for Exploits on the boat, which was still in the water. I later learned that wet storage is not that unusual. Although, one does get the sense of being in a fish tank as the bubbler, bubbles away below the boat.