Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Season's Greetings from Exploits

It's one week until Christmas Day, but it feels more like sailing weather than winter.  We are in the final run up to Christmas and can't wait to have all the crew home.  While we're dream of sailing, we are of course hoping for snow for skiing.

The things that make Exploits so special for us, are the people we meet and the experiences we have.  So, on behalf of the Admiral, Captain and crew of Exploits, we are wishing all of our fellow sailors and their crews a very safe and happy holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


2 Provinces
35 Sailing Days
492.1 nautical miles travelled
2011 sailing season.....PRICELESS!

Well, not quite.  We did have the expense of a roller furler, new 135 head sail, cruising spinnaker and an inflatable.  It was worth ever penny!

We've logged over 1,000 nautical miles in 2 sailing seasons since we bought Exploits.  Lots of great times and memories.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sail #35: Thanksgiving Monday - One Final Sail

10.1 nm, 4 knots per hour, 2:33:17 elapsed time

Our final sail of season and it was a great one.  The crew of Fly-Bye-Wire reported winds of "Mach 1" off of Jollimore's and a nervous Newfoundlander amongst the crew meant we sailed with a headsail only.  Allison and Robert and Mark and Alison joined us for the final sail of 2011.  The winds were steady out of the north west and the sun was shinning.  How good is that!

Nice way to end the season.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sail #34: HarHen Finally Get Aboard

10.9 nm, 4 knots per hour, 2:58:25 elapsed time

Another perfect day for taking first time sailors, Mr. Henderson (a.k.a Dickhead) and Leslie out on Exploits.  Leslie has wanted to get out for 2 years now, but it never seemed to work out.  Turk wasn't too keen initially altho he seemed to really enjoy it (not surprising since there was a tad bit of beer drinking involved).  I'm not sure Turk is ready to hang up the windsurfer just yet, but I expect we might see him on board again next season.  Nice way to say good bye to Turk and Leslie before they headed back to Alberta for the winter.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sail #33: Sail Past

7.1 nm, 4 knots per hour average speed, 1:45:57 elapsed time

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sail #32: Earle W. Forshner Memorial Race 1

9.6 nm, 4 knots per hour average speed, 2:19:03 elapsed time

The big guys came out for the Forshner Weekend including the fastest BHYC boats and several visiting boats from Pictou.  We opted not to fly the spinnaker since we were short handed, altho Captain Reid reminds me that I have a cruising spinnaker not a race spinnaker so it really doesn't help us.  The Admiral likely would agree with that, which is why the spinnaker has been nicknamed, "the divorce papers".

Despite finishing 10th, we did finish ahead of a couple of the other boats in our race class and 4 other boats in the cruising class (  Given that the cruising class boats started 10 minutes ahead of us, we did OK, particularly since we didn't break out the spinnaker.  We didn't compete in Race #2 on the second day since we had planned to reunite with the Manuels in Chezzecook.

We did have a bit more excitement than we wanted at the last tack.  We fouled the starboard sheet bad, which meant we had to cut it off about 0.5 nm from the finish line.  To add to the frustration, I couldn't find a knife!

I've asked for one for Christmas!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sail #31: Capital Idea, My Dear Dartmouth

20.2 nm, 5 knots per hour average speed, 4:08:33 elapsed time

What a special day!  Ruth and Brian from the Nation's Capital ( American and Quebec friends) and Cheryl from Dartmouth (Nova Scotia) joined us for an absolutely fantastic day on the water.  The winds were perfect to make the 20 nm cruise across to the Marshville Shore very comfortable and the company was even better.

We worked our way out past UD4 and then a nice reach to Malagash Point, tacking to a nice 5 nm reach past the eastern shore of Brule Point and into Marshville.  We turned just in front of the Conley cottage but didn't notice anyone around, before heading back to BHYC.

It was a very large day indeed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sail #30: Poker Face

BHYC's annual poker rally.  Always a good time.  Nice winds and a lot more relaxing than normal race conditions.   It was Allan MacL's birthday and his first mate surprised him by agreeing to go for a boat ride...only the second time in 15 years I can recall seeing her in the boat.  He had the winning hand that day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sail #29: Saturday Race #4

10.1 nm, 5 knots per hour average speed, 1:57:22 elapsed time.

Sometimes...all you need is a little luck!

Going into the final races of the season, amongst Gaila, Wings and Exploits, our placings in the final races on Saturday and Wednesday determined who the weekend series and Wednesday night series winners would be.  We won the Saturday series last year because we showed up, and while we are proud to have our name on the plaque, we wanted to win it for our sailing.  Admittedly, given that the three fastest and best crews weren't around most of the summer, made a repeat championship possible.

Before the race I got to try out the new hammock that Daniel sent from the West Coast for my birthday.  It worked great and is going to be a fantastic addition to those hot days at anchor or long windless crossings in the Strait.

We sailed a great race and as luck would have were aided by Wings missing a mark and going off course.  We finished 2nd and more importantly, beat Wings and Gaila, which sealed our defense of the Saturday Series Championship.

After the race we noticed that one of our spreader bar lights were hanging by the wires.  Judy had actually noticed it right at the start of the race, but rather than have it as a distraction, she didn't say anything until we were back at dock.  Good idea Jude!

Alison M, being the lightest of the crew, agreed to go up the mast and repair the light.  She's the only one of our crew to be hoisted and she did a great job.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sail #28: Our End of Summer(side) Trip Home

52.6 nm, 5 knots per hour average speed, 11:06:46 elapsed time

Thursday was a non sail day highlighted by a 10 km walk along the Summerside boardwalk and a dinner theatre.  It was a beautiful day and it felt good to get out and get some physical exercise.  That evening we celebrated my birthday at the local dinner theatre which was fun.

We departed Summerside at 0800 on Friday for the 10 hour trip back to Barrachois Harbour.  Our timing was to leave 2 hours before low tide and have the rising tide push us down the Strait.  We estimated that we gained 0.5 – 1 knot most of the way.

The trip out of Summerside was difficult however, with huge swells right on our bows.  We were running the engine hard and after a couple of hours, Judy noticed a lot of black smoke.  We shut it down completely and continued under sail, which actually made the trip more comfortable.  About 5 hours into the trip the wind died so we motored sailed at 2200 rpms and made great progress and didn`t have any engine issues.

In the middle of the Strait, we were assaulted by the strangest hordes of flies and bugs.  Given that we were 8 miles for either shore we were at a loss to explain their presence.  The combination of a long day, dropping winds, extremely hot temperatures and insects created a few tense moments for us.  However, one of our local Skippers who I called earlier to ask about my engine called back to see how we were doing.  He was surprised that we had no wind since he was enjoying strong winds in Tatamagouche Bay.

Luckily, as we got closer to Malagash Point to winds picked up.  Our fellow Redwing was there to escort us in BHYC.  As we sailed along taking pictures of one another, Judy got on the radio and commented on what a pretty boat they had, to which they replied  so do you!

We made port at just over 10 hours.  Just before we docked I got a message from Mark that he was coming to the cottage to make supper so not to worry about getting anything! 

What a perfect end to a perfect trip.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sail #27: What a Sailing Day - “1 out of a 100”

37.5 nm, 5 knots per hour average speed, 8:16:18 elasped time

As we weaved our way out of Victoria Harbour, the winds were strong south-westerlies and the swell was running 4-5 feet so we opted to only run with a headsail.  Our theory was that if the conditions worsened, we could easily furl the headsail and avoid having to go on the deck to deal with the main.   Jude was also uncomfortable with the prospects of me bouncing around on deck trying to get the main up.

We were making 6 – 6.5 knots with the headsail only anyway so we weren't concerned about falling behind Silver Seas.  It turned out though that running with only a jib meant that our bow was constantly getting pushed into the water as we navigated through the swell.  Ever time the boat pitched into the swell, the anchor would swing up with the momentum of the bow coming out of the water. 

If figured if I left it, one of two things could happen.  One, the anchor dislodges from the hangers and punches a hole in the bow.  Not good.  Second, the anchor dislodges, misses the bow, but drops to the bottom and firmly fixes itself, while we're under sail.  Again, not good.  We turned back briefly off the swell so I could go forward and secure the anchor to the bow pulpit.  Better safe than sorry.

We had a perfect reach across the Strait to Cape Tormentine, NB.  As we turned back towards Summerside, we raised the main and headed towards the Confederation Bridge (affectionately refered to as the Flink...fixed link).  As we neared the bridge Judy was worried that our line wasn't going to allow us to cross under the bridge at the highest point.  It wasn't until we were right up to it that she realized that it was over 150 feet in the air and we could have pretty much crossed anywhere along the 10 mile span.
What an impressive feeling to cross under the fixed link.  Driving over it is pretty neat, but you really don't appreciate the structure until you are directly underneath it, looking up.

The winds dropped off as we made our way into Sevenmile Bay and up to the lighthouse at Fernwood Point.  As we motored sailed into Summerside several boats from the Summerside Yacht Club were heading out for their Wednesday night race.

After a long day on the water we had a quiet evening.  As the Skipper for Silver Seas noted however, “we got to enjoy a perfect sailing day – THAT was 1 out of 100 days”. 

I think he was right!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sail #26: Dear Ed: Cruising to Victoria-by-the-Sea

23.6 nm, 5 knots per hour average speed, 4:36:52 elapsed time

Judy had given me a Kobo e-reader for my birthday the week before, despite the fact that my birthday wasn't until the 18th. She was pretty excited about it and couldn't wait to give it to me, since it was the perfect sailing companion. I loaded it up with 120 or so books before we left, which would more than accommodate any reading urge I'd have over our 5 days on the water.

As it turned out, I was so impressed with the Kobo that I suggested that Jude and I walk off our “Canadian breakfast” from Linda's Cafe on a trip to Chapters in Charlottetown and get her one too. Just as we walked into the bookstore my phone rang. The crew of Silver Seas were planning to head out to Victoria-by-the-Sea at 1100 (in 15 minutes). We made the 3 km walk back in record time and quickly prepared the boat for our sail to Victoria.

We motored-sailed out of Hillsborough Bay and rounded St. Peter's Island. The sky looked like we could get some weather so we put on our rain gear and settled in. Just past Canoe Cove the winds picked up so we unfurled the jib and set the sails. We cruised straight up the Argyle Shore and into the approach for Victoria-by-the-Sea in beautifully steady winds, and averaged 6 – 6.5 knots.

The entrance to Victoria Harbour is a narrow, twisting channel that requires close attention. As we rounded the wharf, Silver Seas was tied to a fishing boat and Vince the Harbour Master was waiting to catch our lines (which we forget to put out). I later found out that the advantage of being tied to a fishing boat was that we didn't need to worry about adjusting dock lines for the rise and falling tides. We simply went up and down with the fishing boat. Besides, there was a bit of adventure in climbing up a wharf ladder off a fishing boat. The $20, taxes in dockage was nice too.

Jude had prepared a “tin foil dinner” of buffalo meat from Meadowbrook Farms for supper that evening. As we waited for it to cook, we ferried ourselves across to Silver Seas in the tender for happy hour. After supper we walked up to the Victoria Playhouse for a one man play, Letters from Wingfield Farms. It was a very entertaining show and a great way to cap off a very full day.

I woke early Wednesday morning to the sound of fishermen heading out. I was told the night before that the boat we were tied to wasn't fishing that day, but I poked my head out of the hatch anyway. Silver Seas was being quietly pulled off the fishing boat to the dock before their crew were even on deck. I thought it was pretty cool that the fishermen would be that accommodating and thoughtful to a bunch of sailboaters. Good on yah!

Later that morning the ladies and I went to the local chocolate shop for breakfast. While we were there Rod Beattie, the star of the Wingfield show drove up for his morning coffee. Of course we all clapped, to which he responded, “that was the longest curtain call I've ever received”.

At 1100 we boarded the boats and headed to Summerside.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sail #25: Cruising...Finally!

35 nm, approximately 6 hours

We've had a busy August aboard Exploits with a busy racing schedule and our repeated attempts to go cruising while we were on vacation.  An unfortunate turn of events for Silver Sea which delayed their trip to PEI allowed us to join them for a Sunday departure after the Amet Island Race. 

Winds were light and on our back as we made our way out of Tatamagouche Bay at noon.  What little wind there was completely disappeared by the time we were at the mid point of our first leg.  I did fill the canvas shower bag while under sail and hoisted it up the spinnaker halyard so Jude and I could enjoy a "cool" shower.

We decided to motor sail for a couple of hours until we found a very nice breeze in Hillsborough Bay.  We cruised into Charlottetown at a comfortable 6 knots under sail, arriving at the QuarterMaster Marina at just after 1800.   Skipper Greg from Silver Sea poured me a shot of rum which was a mix of Black Strap and Amber, as we toasted our arrival.  Aftre we got settled, we opted to dine out at Gahan's Brew Pub, a favorite of Daniel's when he was here.

We woke the next morning to the sound of a pile driver constructing a new water front convention facility next to the marina.  After 2 hours the pile driving stopped minutes before a group of cadets fired off 15 canon shots to celebrate the changing of the Lieutenant Govenor of PEI.  Judy and the ladies from Silver Sea spent the morning exploring Charlottetown while Skipper Greg and I caught up on some reading and relaxing dockside.  It was Acadian Day in Charlottetown so we were entertained by some french Canadian folk music and dancing.

That after the ladies joined Jude and I aboard Exploits and we made our way out into Hillsborough Bay to enjoy an aftr on the hook swimming, followed by cocktails on deck.  As our drink and mix supply diminished, we debated the likeihood of having Greg bring us addition supplies, opting instead to make our way back to the marina.

Judy and I enjoyed a wonderful meal of BBQ'ed beef tenderloin from Meadowbrook Farms, complete with a fresh salad.  We finished off with a great hot chilli chocolate bar for dessert.  It was the first time I used our new Sea-be-que on the boat.  It worked great!

It rained hard through the night and woke to steady showers on Tuesday.  Given the forecast of high winds in the Strait we opted to delay our 0900 scheduled departure west and monitor the weather.  Plan is to get to Victoria tonight or wait until the morning and head for Summerside.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sail #24: Amet Island Race

25 nm, 4 knots per hour, 6:52:41 elapsed time

This is a special race for me (see last year's post) so we never want to miss it.  It is longest and most difficult of our club races and it always presents a challenge of variable winds and conditions.  This year was no exception.

Another light wind day, which wasn't in our favour.  However, after a bit of trouble at the start (we got tangled up with Bella Rosa), we made our way efficently out past Jollimore's where the wind improved.  We stayed on our lines and seemed to be able to work our way up wind as well as any of the other boats.  We lost a little ground on the down wind leg, but finished 3rd out of 8.  Because of the light winds 4 of the baots had to leave the race early in order to get in before the falling tide.  That has to be a disappointment after over 6 hours on the water.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sail #23: Sand Dollars for Mackerel

16.4 nm, 2 knots per hour (including time at anchor), 7:53:11 elapsed time

Another absolutely spectacular day.  Jude and I made our way out to Saddle Island with the dingy.  Of course we didn't start out with the dingy, or Jude's bathing suit, book, or glasses...which meant I had to swim off the boat to the cottage.  Gotta love a change of plans!

It was a great decision tho.  We rowed into the sand beach at Saddle which is absolutely fantastic...and as it turns out full of sand dollars.  While we were there, we ran into a former high school classmate of mine and her husband who had been fishing mackerel.  Sheila asked if we'd like some since they had "lots".   They had a live well on their power boat which had over 20 fish swimming around in it.  We took a couple of supper which turned out to be wonderful.

A really special day which started out being something totally different.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sail #22: ZUMBA on the Water

8.8 nm, 4 knots pre hour, 2:09:49 elapsed time

Kelly a ZUMBA instructor from New Glasgow and Nathan her CA husband paddled in the Race Down the River war canoe races to raise money for the local hospitals.  Now, you'd think that a boat load of fitness freaks would blow the CA's right out of their pocket protectors.  Wrong....which meant we couldn't pass on the opportunity to take Nathan and Kelly out on the water and have them each tells us about their day.

Admittedly, there was a little bit of teasing, but for the most part, we just enjoyed a really nice few hours on the water.  Given that Nathan and Kelly have 3 very active little girls, we're hoping they enjoyed the break too!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sail #21: Saturday Race #3

8.4 nm, 2 knots per hour average speed (yes 2 knots), 3:41:38 elapsed time

We knew this was going to be painful, we just didn't know how much.  Extremely light winds don't work in our favour at all.  Add to that, getting blocked out on the start line and put in irons and having to endure several hours of crtew fighting on another boat...well...this wasn't our best race.

We finished 5th out of 10.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sail #20: MUN Cross Country Sets Sail

10.2 nm, 3 knots per hour average speed, 3:53:20 elapsed time

Amazing how much attention we get when we have 2 former members of the MUN cross country team on board.  Rebecca and Allison joined Jude and and I for an absolutely perfect sailboat day.  We made our way out the Bay and anchored just in front of the cottage for a swim.  It wasn't long before Alan MacL tied up beside us in his motor boat.  I noted that the two young guys aboard Alan's boat took a sudden interest in Exploits...or was it in cross country running...maybe it was the crew!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sail #19: Saturday Race 2

4.7 nm, 5 knots average speed, 0:52:14 elapsed time

Another successful race under perfect conditions for us.  First place!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sail #18: United Way Silent Auction Cruise and Dinner

9.4 nm, 3 knot average speed (with a lot of drifting for swimming), 3:40:00 elapsed time

Beautiful day to host our first United Way Silent Auction winners on a cruise, swim and 4 course meal, featuring local foods.  The day started with little to no wind which was perfect for swimming.  Later in the day the wind picked up just enough to create a really nice sailing experience.

Our meal featured: local cheeses with fresh fruit; a cold summer soup (cucumber); beef tenderloin; and we finished off with local ice cream and fresh berries.

It was a great day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sail #17: Wednesday Night Race 2

6.2 nm, average speed of 4 knots, 1:30:21 elapsed time

Respectable third place showing under some tough low wind conditions.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sail #16: Drift Swimming in the Bay with Fly-Bye-Wire

9.3 nm, 3 knots average speed (mostly drifting), 2:48:01 elapsed time

Lazy Sunday afternoon.  Skipper Doug and I decided to drift and go for a swim....just like the B.V.I.'s!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sail #15: Robbie Robertson Pursuit Race

9.1 nm, 4 knots average speed, elapsed time 2:06:38

Robbie Robertson was one of the first Commodores of the BHYC.  The race was renamed this year in his honor.

A total of 14 boats raced in variable conditions.  We struggled to the start in light winds, crossing the line 4 minutes after our scheduled start.  I debated whether to fly the spinnaker on the long run.  With only 2 of us, it likely was a bad decision and given the delay putting it up, we likely didn't gain much, if anything.

We started 7th and finished 7th out of 14th.  In the words of the Skipper of Gaila, "we were just average".  It was a good race and a we had a wonderful social afterwards which was very good.

We continue to learn and are becoming better sailors. I guess that's what it's all about.  Well...that and having fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sail #14: Another WIN for Exploits!

Wednesday Night Race Series - Race #1

6.3 nm, 5 knots average speed, elapsed time of 1:13:26

What a blast!  Strong winds from the south and warm temperatures.

We recruited the Skipper of Abigale along with our star trimmer Mark Gee for the first race in the Wednesday Night Race Series.  The course was a long run and a tough upwind leg back to the start - finish.  We had a clean start and despite being the last of the four boats to cross the start line we had a perfect gull-wing sail set and excellent line.

At the turn bouy we were bow to bow with our sister boat Wings.  Mark commented that he could have reached out and grabbed her bow on the turn.  It was fun!  We picked a great line and lead the rest of the way, winning by 1 minute.

It was a lot of fun and the performance of the boat continues to surprise me.  The next race is Saturday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sail #13: WE WON !!!! (Saturday Race #1)

8.5 nm, average speed 5 knots, elapsed time 1:37:11

Our 13th sail of the season and our first race.  Turns out 13 is our lucky number since we started the defense of our Weekend Series Championship with a WIN!  Our first win of our short racing career.

Strong southerly winds provided a challenging start, with one boat dropping out before the race even got under way.  We battled right off the mark with Bella Rosa on our port side and Fly-Bye-Wire on our starboard.  The first leg was a long down wide run to the pin buoy off Malagash Point.  We took the second mark with a small lead and worked our way efficiently up wind. 

Every tack was perfect as was the sail trim.   Our line was spot on.  The boat worked as well as it ever did which allowed us to finish 4 minutes ahead of the next challenger.  We had a great crew:  Mark, Mike D., and Maria V., joined Jude and I.

Great start to the 2011 weekend race season!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sail #12: 16.07.2011

14.8 nm, average speed 5 knots, elapsed time 2:49:49

Our first race of the season was postponed until Sunday so our crew of Mike and Maria, Mark and Alison and Judy and I took Exploits out for a romp up towards Bay Head.  The disappointment of not racing soon disappeared, as we cruised along in steady breezes and sunshine.  Mark worked the tiller and Maria trimmed for most of the way around. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sail #11: Anniversary Cruise

14.7 nm, average speed 4 knots, elapsed time 3:40:48

Happy 29th Anniversary Alan and Judy!

We almost didn't come back to Brule after dropping Daniel off at the airport for his trip to Vancouver.  Oh boy, what a sail we would have missed!  We were cruising along side our dock mate, Fly-Bye-Wire at 6 knots in steady winds and go close enough to have a chat.  One long broad reach out to the head of the Bay, a turn back towards Bay Head and then home. 

What made the day extra special is this was our 29th wedding anniversay.  Seems these days, not many people can say they have had a 29th anniversary.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate and a more special person to celebrate it with!

What a special day!  One I'll never forget!

Fly-Bye-Wire (C&C 30 MK1)

Midnight Magic (C&C 25) sailing across the Tatamagouche Shore in front of the Tim Horton's Camp.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sail #10: 2nd Generation Cruise

14.7 nm, average speed 5 knots, elapsed time 2:57:48

What an absolutely special day.  I am sure Jude and I were smiling the whole day.  We had all three of our kids and Allison's guy, Robert from St. John's and Alison M aboard Exploits for a headsail only run around Tatamagouche Bay in 28 knot winds. 

What a great day with the whole family!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sail # 9: Happy Birthday Gloria!

17.3 nm, average speed 2 knots, elapsed time 10:24:25

Happy Birthday Gloria!  Most people seem to know Gloria. She celebrated her birthday with her new "friend", Jorge, Anne and Ian and Jude and I.  The weather was perfect for a birthday sail and supper.

Rather than worry about the tides coming and going from the marina, we anchored Exploits off the cottage and used the tender.  It worked remarkably well, to say nothing about how nice it was to look out and see the boat lying peacefully in the setting sun.

A great day with some great folks, who seemed to enjoy a day on the water.

The 2nd generation (and Mr. Bazeley, vacationing from Newfoundland) arrived at supper time along with Mariah which was really nice, particularly since they brought an impressive fireworks show.  Mark of course ended the show with a classic "Happy Birthday Gloria...and Canada).   Two birds with one fireworks show...well done!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sail #8: Happy Canada Day

13.5 nm, average speed 2 knots, elapsed time 8:52:42

Jude and I sailed out past Kate and Tarjei's and moored off Saddle Island with Fly-Bye-Wire, Torch and Ever After.  The plan was to stay there for the night and watch the Canada Day fireworks in New Glasgow and Charlottetown.  In between Judy and I were going to take the tender from Saddle to Kate and Tarjei's.

The storm clouds rolled on the trip out so we opted to drop the sails and motor in to Saddle, but not before a sail past.  While we were taking the sails down, Sean Davidson dropped by on his jetski to say "hello" on his way back to Bagnell's in Brule.  He must have made pretty good time judging by the speed he was making after leaving us.  We motored the rest of the way to Saddle where the Canada Day festivities had already begun.  Ever After and Torch had rafted up so we anchored along side Fly-Bye-Wire.  We secured Exploits, jumped in the tender and motored off to supper after a quick visit to our neighbours.

Ever After and Torch, Fly-Bye-Wire and Exploits anchored off Saddle Island.

Skipper Gee from Exploits heading in for Canada Day celebrations on Malagash Point (PFD on and Coors Light in hand).
The weather changed while were celebrating at Kate and Tarjei's.  Anything out of the east is bad news for anchoring at Saddle.  We radioed Ever After after supper and Skipper Steve warned us that we were in for a rough return.  The wind was on the nose of the inflatable on the way back, which made for a bumpy wet ride.  Thankfully it was reasonably warm and we had a few "pops" to take the chill off.  Back on Exploits things were rocking in 1.5 - 2 foot swells. 

We watched the fireworks in New Glasgow and Charlottetown both more than 30 nm away.  The the shoreline was dotted with more modest firework displays from the local cottagers.  A few crew members started to feel the effects of Canada Day or the rough seas so we opted to motor back to BHYC at 11 pm. 

Jude and spend our first night on the boat in 2011 tied to the dock in our homeport.  However we woke to a great breakfast on Exploits, how bad can THAT really be?!

Happy Caanda Day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sail #7: The Puppeteer Run

7.4 nm, average speed 3 knots, elapsed time 2:23:31

Very little winds (but NO rain).  Out with Torch, Fly-Bye-Wire, Baby Bird and Midnight Magic for a quiet evening cruise.  The wind was blowing at roughly 5 - 6 knts when we first got out and quickly dropped.  We did have a nice reach across to Malagash and back.  Torch lost the wind completely on their trip back from Cape John.  I attempted to fly the spinnaker but struggled to keep it full in the dropping breezes.  One of the other boats called me a Puppeteer, gien that I was playing with the spin sheet off the stern.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sail #6: Summer Solstice Season Opener Race

7.0 nm, average speed 6 knots, elapsed time 1:15:32

Wind warning was in effect for the Northumberland Strait later in the afternoon with mid day winds from 15-20 knots, gusts to 25.  The race fleet agreed to start the race with reefed mains over a shorten course (Start - UD4 - BHYC2 - UD4 - Finish).

We had a full crew (Alan - Judy - Daniel - Mark and Alison M - and Allison) who looked great in their new Exploits t-shirts.  Allison later commented that she was happy we got the quick dry fabric since she spent the race on the rail and got more than one wave over the bow!

The adventure started as we tried to leave the dock.  Strong gusts pushed us sideways and almost into the finger pier.  While we made it out with no damage, Fly-Bye-Wire did take a dock in the side and put a nasty mark in the Awlgrip.  I believe she also left the marina stern first after getting bucked about in the gusts.  Once out in the starting area, we struggled with the reefing set up on the main (which I subsequently changed the minute we arrived back in the marina).  The gusts made it a challenge, however the roller furler made setting the headsail a breeze!

The fomat for the race was a Pursuit start with boats starting according to their handicaps (slowest to fastest).  It's a fun race since in theory, everyone finishes at the same time.  Abigale started 3 minutes ahead of us, followed by Between The Sheets, a minute after them.  Gaila started with us and Fly-Bye-Wire was next and  Nut Case, the fastest baot in the field, started last.

We battled with Gaila the whole way around.  She got on the inside at the first mark (UD4) and took it with ease.  Abigale was still out in front as we made our way to BHYC2.  Nut Case worked her way up wind on the return leg beautifully and shorten the course by almost a 0.5 nm from the rest of us.  She crossed well ahead of the rest of the field.  Fly-Bye-Wire struggled to get the headsail furling to hold and dropped off from Gaila and us.

Gaila had to tack just short of the finish line in order to take the mark on the starboard side.  We opted to fight up wind for the last 100 feet and nosed out Gaila for second place.  In fact the crew noted that our nose crossed first, but Gaila was completely acrossed before we were.  It was an exciting race and an even more exciting finish.

A positive start to the racing season for Exploits.  Many stories were told on the docks after the race as we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the great folks at BHYC!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sail #5: Sunday Brunch With Ally

Soccer schedules and the tides were working against us on Sunday.  Ally wanted to get out for her first sail of 2011 so we headed out very early in the morning in order to be back by noon'ish.  The wind was extremely light, but it was a bonus to have sun on a Sunday so no one seemed to mind.  The crew of Nut Case  and  Fly-Bye-Wire set the race markers and got in with 1 inch of tide below their keel.  Thanks Mikey and Doug.

4.9 nm, average speed of 3 knts, time of 1:47:20

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sail #4: Go Fly a Kite

Light winds and dropping.  However, it was a bonus to even get out out with Fly-Bye-Wire who had the crew of Baby Bird on board.  Thanks to Fly-Bye-Wire for taking the picture of our new kite!

9.80 nm, average speed of 3 kts (booze cruising), time of 2:52:27.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sail #3: Sunday, June 5

Cloudy with a couple of sunny periods.  Still cool.  Nice breeze out of the north, with 1 - 1.5 foot chop (no whitecaps).  Travelled 13.7 nm out to Jollimores, across to Malagash to the end of the point and back to BHYC.  Just Jude and I.  We did reef the new jib for a bit...because we had to and because we could.

While we were out there we got a call on the VHF that we were being moved from our spot at the marina.  Seems marina etiquette is that if you had a slip 2 owners ago but never used it for 2 years while your boat sat on the hard, you can reclaim it if you launch your boat.  We moved and I very much doubt I'll be partying with the crew of All Set any time soon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sail #2: Fly da Kite

Overcast day with light breezes. Jude and I had lunch as we made our way to Jollimores.  We made the turn right in front of the cottage and made for BHYC before the tide stranded us (the channel is getting cleaned out Thursday).  On the way home it seemed like a good idea to fly the spinnaker, a first for us in any boat.

It took me a couple of trys to get it rigged right.  It went up like a charm and the the snuffer made taking it down very easy.  We're gonna love the new spinnaker.  Oh yah and my jury rigged set up worked great...thanks Commodore Joe for the suggestion!

The new guy got wedged in the marina channel, three times.  It was quite a gong show for a while.  It didn't help that he has a bad engine.  It was entertaining if nothing else.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Launch and Shake Down Cruise

We got Exploits back together again on the May 24th long weekend.  The furler installation went very smoothly, with everything cut to perfection by North Sails Atlantic.  I repositioned the VHF antenna, which should allow me to be even more annoying before the races, and installed a new anchor light and windex.  I also replaced the main haylard, boom topping lift and added a new spinnaker halyard (which took some creativity).

We hoisted the mast on Saturday and after a few tense moments getting the furler hooked up, everything else went very smoothly.  I had set the furler at the finished lenght and didn't have enough adjustment on the back stay.  I had to raise the foils and furler until we launched the boat and I could get the back stay on.

The stuffing box repairs seem to have worked and the new Garber plug in the bilge came out great.  The new chartplotter is a nice addition.  I don't need to get my glasses perscription increased now that I can actually see our location on the map.  I used an environmentally friendly, water based bottom paint for the first time.  Hopefully it works!

We hoisted the retro fitted main sail and the new #2 furling headsail and both went on beautifully.  We also took advantage of light winds and hoisted the cruising spinnaker in the marina just to see how it was all going to work.  I was very pleased with how simple the spin is to hoist and even more impressed at how easy it was to take down with the sock.  Someone suggested my snuffer looked like a giant condom going over the sail, an image I am going to have to get out of my head.  The sail is very pretty and looks brand new!  We're can't wait to fly it in Tatamagouche Bay.

Our first sail (shake down cruise) was May 28th with Fly-Bye-Wire and Gaila.  It had been very foggy and overcast most of the day.  Just before supper the fog lifted and the sun started to come out.  Jude and I and Daniel took Exploits out for her first run of 2011.

The boat worked better than we could have hoped.  Our improved performance didn't go unnoticed by the Skipper of Gaila who asked us what we had done to the boat.  We have great up wind performance and much less weather helm on a reach.  The new sail performed very nicely and Jude still talks about how nice it is to have roller furling, it is after all according to her "all the rage".

We're really looking forward to the 2011 season.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Checklist

Sailing is one of the most relaxing activities I've done, but the spring "to-do" list is advanced punishment for all the enjoyment I know is just around the corner.

· Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild , environmental safe detergent
· Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
· Put on a good coat of wax in all hull topsides
· Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
· Clean teak (and other wood) and oil to reseal
· Clean windows and hatches, clean screens
· Use a hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.
· Clean canvas, bimini and dodger (use same soap)
· Clean sail covers
· Clean interior including bilges
· Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
· Make sure registration is current and onboard
· Clean interior cushions, cockpit cushions and curtains

· Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
· Check and replace zincs
· Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
· Check rub rails, has anything come loose?
· Check swim platform and/or ladder
· Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
· Check rudder and fittings. Check to make sure the rudderstock hasn’t been bent.
· Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft - if it’s loose, the cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.
· Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness. After the boat is launched, be sure to check these as well as through-hulls for leaks.
· Touch up or replace antifouling paint

· Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
· Check ground tackle, anchor, rode and backup anchor / rode, etc
· Check lines, fenders, etc.
· Check chainplates, cleats and other deck fittings
· Check hull/deck joint
· Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
· Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
· Clean and grease winches
· Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
· Check dinghy, and life raft

· Check, test and lubricate seacocks
· Check all thruhull fittings
· Check condition of hoses and clamps
· Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
· Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
· Check for oil in bilges
· Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris

· Check battery water level – the single most often ignored task
· Check/recharge batteries
· Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate .
· Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water.
· Check bonding system
· Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
· Test all gauges for operability
· Check shore power and charger
· Check for spare fuses or breakers
· Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
· Check all electronics for proper operation
· Inspect antennas

· Sound signalling device – spare air can for air horn
· Check distress signals and expiration date
· Check PFDs (lifejackets).Make sure you have a properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids and pets.
· Inspect life rings and cushions
· Check fire extinguishers certification and recharge if necessary
· Check and adjust compass
· Check navigation lights
· Check charts and waterway guides and replace as necessary
· Check radar reflector
· Check and replace first aid supplies
· Check bailer and hand pump

· Change oil & filters – have spare oil & filters onboard
· Check and change fuel filters – have spares onboard. Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.
· Check and change engine zincs
· Check cooling system change coolant as necessary – have extra onboard. Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for stiffness, rot, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.
· Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
· Check belts for tension – carry spare(s)
· Check transmission fluid
· Check and clean backfire flame arrestor
· Check impeller
· Check and clean water strainer
· Check bilge blower and hose for leaks
· Adjust valves, general service engine
· Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
· Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.

· Replace spark plugs
· Check plug wires for wear
· Check prop for nicks and bends
· Change/fill gear lube
· Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
· Lubricate and spray moveable parts

· Checked for smooth operation – lubricate and clean as necessary
· If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
· Y-valve operation checked, valve labelled & secured

· Flush water tank
· Shock the drinking water tank. Spa shock breaks down in a few days and then can be flushed out
· Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
· Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
· Check for tank cap keys on board
· Check and clean shower sump pump screens

· Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check storage box vent to make sure it is clear
· Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
· Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
· Check stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
· Check microwave, if fitted

· Check general condition
· Look for wear and chafing
· Check battens and batten pockets
· Check all sail attachments, including grommets, rings, and all reef-points
· Inspect all of the stitching on the sail edges and all seams. Pay close attention to the leech of the headsail
· Inspect bolt rope

· Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
· Inspect spreader boots and shrouds
· Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
· Check reefing points and reefing gear
· Clean and lube sail track
· Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
· Inspect stays for fraying and “fish hooks”
· Check forestay and backstay connections
· Check masthead fitting and pulleys
· Check and lubricate roller furling
· Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end
· Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape. Tape turnbuckles, cotter pins, and spreaders
· Re-caulk through-deck chainplates as necessary (generally, once a decade).

· Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.
· Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. Be sure you have fuel spill insurance coverage.
· Check and clean the BBQ

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Engine Repairs

I decided to take advantge of the spring-like weather today (and the fact that I have 2 weeks of unused vacation that I lose as of tomorrow) and do some repairs to Exploit's iron jib.  Inspection of the impeller went fairly straight forward and didn't need to be replaced.  I then turned my attention to the stuffing box which seemed to be leaking more than it should last season.  I must admit, lying on the quarter berth and trying to work on the rear of the engine was not something I was looking forward to.

Mistake one.  I found some advice on the internet.  There was a specific recommendation for a particular brand of penetrating oil and wrenches from West Marine.  It would seem it worked better for them, than it did for me.  I ordered not one but two wrenches from West Marine.  If you'd like to have them, I'd be happy to send them along.  I'll throw in the flax extractor I bought it the same time, altho you'll need a replacement part.  I struggled for a couple of hours trying to loosen the nuts and then decided to visit the local hardware store and pick up a couple of pipe wrenches.  Success within minutes!

I ordered a couple of sizes of packing to make sure I had the right one.  The packing that was in there seemed too small so I went with a 1/16 inch larger which seemed to be correct based on my measurements.  I struggled to get one piece in and had no luck getting a second wrap in.  After several hours I opted to leave the first piece in and added a second wrap of the 1/4 inch.  Hopefully it'll work!

The good news was, during one of my visits to the hardware store, I ran into a old windsurfing buddy of mine.  He lives completely "off the grid" in back of Tatamagouche although I couldn't quite figure out what his source of income was.  He'd need some income to pay for the stuff he was buying in the hardware store.  I figure I need to go visit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sailing is for Lovers!

Happy Valentines Day!

What better way to say "I Love You", than a bag of cherry Hersey kisses and the latest issue of Atlantic Boating News (  Thanks Jude!

I can't wait for this year's sailing season.  Our new North headsail has been ordered, as has our new Harken roller furler.  Our main is also getting a much need refit including loose foot, full battens and some other TLC.  More recently, I've been pouring over a couple of used cruising asymetrical spinnaker and snuffer sock options.

However, the 3-4 feet of white stuff in the boat yard will have to melt before I really start to getting serious about the 2011 season.  Till then, I am going to enjoy the ski hills...and oh yes, my Atlantic Boating News.