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 way...in 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 "...to 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 Patriots...how sweet is THAT!