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!