Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Bye to Bounty

Tall ship Bounty was lost in Hurricane Sandy off the coast of Cape Hatteras today.  While there are many unanswered questions why she sailed into one of the largest storms we've seen on the Atlantic in years, thoughts now must go out to the 2 missing crew (including the Captain) and their families.

"Bounty was commissioned by the MGM film studio for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. This vessel was built to the original ship's drawings from files in the British Admiralty archives, and in the traditional manner in a shipyard in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Length was doubled and tonnage was increased.

Bounty was scheduled to be burned at the end of the film, however Marlon Brando threatened to walk off the set in protest, so MGM kept the vessel in service. After filming and a worldwide promotional tour, MGM berthed the ship in St. Petersburg, Florida as a permanent tourist attraction, where she stayed until the mid-1980s. In 1986 Ted Turner acquired the MGM film library and Bounty with it. The ship was used for promotional and entertaining activities, and was used during the filming of Treasure Island with Charlton Heston in 1989.

In 1993, Turner donated the ship to the Fall River Chamber Foundation, which established the Tall Ship Bounty Foundation to operate the ship as an educational venture. In February 2001 Bounty was purchased from the Foundation by the HMS Bounty Organization LLC."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Exploits Out!

Single digit temperatures today and double digit wind made for a cool haul out.  For the most part everything went OK.  There was a brief moment of excitement when I discovered that the travel lift strap was around the keel.  Thankfully I noticed before the boat was too far out of the water and we were able to secure it properly.  It went on the cradle the best yet!

I rented a pressure washer to clean the bottoms, which turned out to be very popular with the Skippers of Silver Seas and Bella Rosa.  Makes short work of a potentially dirty job.  I have a few more hours of work to prep the boat for winter.  Nice to have her safely on the hard!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Giving Thanks for Another Successful Season

Sail #36: 08/10/12 - 10.4 nm

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend, which started with a hike to High Head on Saturday, Thanksgiving supper on Sunday and we finished it off with the last sail of the season on Monday.

The weather hasn't been the greatest lately after an absolutely fantastic summer.  Thanksgiving Monday was coolish, windy and intermittent rain.  We charged out of the bay at 6.5 - 7 knots and turned towards Bayhead, where the sun appeared to shining.  Sadly, it wasn't to be.  The conditions worsened, and we just "weren't into it".

It was nice to get the boat out one last time, but it is becoming apparent that there is very little sailing after mid September on the Strait.  However the past 4 months have been nothing short of fantastic.  Another successful race season, the memorable cruise to the Bras D'or Lake and many fun day sails with some old friends and many new faces.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Race Mathematics - First Place

I sort of wrote off this year's race season given that we were going to be in the Bras D'Or Lake for 2 weeks and had a number of other events that meant we were going to miss a number of races.  However, as luck would have it, cancellations and an adjustment to the Wednesday night handicaps resulting in us winning the Wednesday night series on the strength of 2 first place finishes.


Our success in Forshner was also a surprise.  All and all, our best season racing yet!  Not bad for a year we'd written off.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Amet Island 2012

Sail #35: 15/09/12 - 24.6 nm

THE most special race of the season is this weekend and it's shaping up to be beautiful. Thankfully my BHYC buddies rescheduled the annual trek around Amet Island, which was originally scheduled when we were in the Bras D'Ors. To most this is one long MF'er of a race.  For me, it's a reminder that I am still kickin', and survived "that day" in May.

For the 2 people in my life, who I have never told the story to, let me take yah back to when Mark Gee and Daniel Grant were babies and Allison Grant was still a dream...

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.

Enter "Exploits Sailboat"......

So, today, my best friend and anyone else who like to join us, are gonna sail around Amet...and back! How we finish is not important....finishing IS important! I am a very lucky man. I watched 3 kids grow up and graduate and grow into amazing people....and I have experienced 30 of the most amazing years with the most brilliant and capable women I know...Saturday is reminder of that.

I am excited!

Allison arranged a crew of 5 from the REM Masters Program Dalhousie to do the race around Amet.  They were warned that it was a long, tough grind.  Boy, were we wrong!

We had fantastic winds and finished in 4.5 hours.  The boat worked beautifully and we hit our lines perfectly.  We came close to hitting the mark off Cape John, while Fly-Bye-Wire and Abigale struggled to get around it, which likely was the difference for us.

Of course at the end of the race we had our customary shot of Screech in honor of Exploits.

While I really didn't care how we finished we managed to finish second overall, 44 seconds out of first on corrected time.  The REM students were a real delight to have aboard.  They are a great bunch of young men and women.  Any or all are welcomed back any time.

Alan with the backside of Amet in the distance

Our second place crew from Dalhousie

Another successful race
 (l to r, Lou, Allison, Andrew,Jody, Fiona, Judy and Alan)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labour Day

Sail #34: 03/09/12 - 12.5 nm

We had been spending alot of time on the boat lately, but Labour Day Monday was just too nice to pass up.  We decided to call Kim Harris, my Executive Assistant and her husband Neil to go out on the boat.  We've talked about it for 3 years, so I figured it was time.

The wind earlier in the day was discouraging, but by the time we left, it was a perfect sailing day.  We really couldn't have planned a better day.  Sometimes things just work the way they are supposed to!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Forshner Race #2

Sail #33: 02/09/12 - 11.1 nm

We had a quick turn around for Race #2.  Fortunately the winds improved from the morning and so we had a lengthened course out to the Malagash pin marker and back.

We did well on the windward leg, as always, but struggled with the downwind leg.  Some of the other boats opted to take a reach and minimize the run portion of the leg, which proved to be the best course.  However we still managed to finish 6th overall and 2nd in cruise.

Our overall performance was good enough for 5th overall in the club championship (our best finish to date) and first in the cruise class.

Another successful racing season for exploits and her crew!

The Yacht (one of them) that coffee and donuts paid for

Struggling wing on wing

Forshner Race #1

Sail #32: 02/09/12 - 2.1 nm

Strong winds on Saturday forced a rescheduling of the first rave in the Forshner Race Series to Sunday morning.  Unfortunately, there was little or no wind on Sunday morning, which usually spells disaster for us in a race.

However, we got off to a good start and decided to stay close to shore and take advantage of a minimal  breeze coming off the shore.  We were well off UD4, the first mark when the race captain announced that the race would be shortened to UD4 and back.  Fortunately we were able to work our way up and around the mark to claim third place overall and first in cruise.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect...Maybe

Sail #31: 25/08/12 - 12.8 nm

Our BHYC club mates decided to hold a impromptu Saturday race leading up to the Forshner Weekend in order to get a little extra practice in.  Sadly, the winds were frustrating light.  Fortunately, none of the Ingvaldson - Fraser Clan decided to join Jude and I, so we confided the punishingly slow conditions to us.

I can't even remember where we finished.  I do however remember using navigation markers as race markers, which make absolutely NO sense to me.  The reason that green marker is off Jollimore's because there is a big mother f'er reef off of Jollimore's.  There were seals there a few hours ago.  What's the point of putting race markers out, if we never us them.

...end rant here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ingvaldson Cruise

Sail #30: 23/08/12 - 13.9 nm

Thirty (30) years later Ardith Fraser and Family (my cousin) and Aunt Joan and Uncle Jim returned to beautiful Brule Point.  Ardith visited with Husband Dennis, and 2/3 of her sons (Ben and 1/2 of the twins Del).  The trip was initiated by Ben's participation in the Legion Track and Field Meet in PEI the week before, where he earned a bronze medal.

It was a treat to have the Fraser Clan on "da Point" for a week or so.  The weather forecast wasn't sail friendly, but it was a fantastic week none the less.  Despite the forecast for light winds, we did manage to get out for an afternoon and showed the boys the ropes, while Dennis tried his hand at the tiller.

At one point point, Ardith declared "it was like vacationing like the Kennedys"...which we'll take as sign that Ardith at least enjoyed her time aboard Exploits.

When we arrived back at the cottage, Mom had made her way over for the day to catch up with the Fraser Clan.  It was nice day all around.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to BHYC

Sail #29: 18/08/12 - 30.8 nm

Little or no wind again today.  Headed out for what we hoped would be a short trip to BHYC.   Motored sailed most of the way.  Rough seas and no wind.

We left Caribou at 0900 and arrived at BHYC at 1500.  It was nice to be home.  Many of the BHYC fleet were out to greet us.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Alan

"Sail" #28: 18/08/12 - 64.5 nm

"What a great place to celebrate with my captain / repair man"

Left Port Hawkesbury Marina at 0830, forecast of variable (no) winds> The trip through the causeway went smoothly.  It makes you feel like a rock star to stop traffic for our sailbaot.

The water on George's Bay was flat (as piss on a plate) and it wasn't long before we spotted the whales again.  Sadly since we were motoring they didn't seem to get as close as they did the first time.

Water was a flat as piss on on plate

Skipper on the bow

Skipper updating the diary

This little fellow followed for quite some time

The wind came up briefly off Cape George, but never enough for us to shut the motor off.  Unfortunately we were fighting the tides most of day and it was extremely hot, since what little wind there was, was on on our stern.  Jude and I had a quick swim in the Straight to cool off.  Never hit the bottom in 135 feet of water!

Cooling off in 135 feet of water in the middle of the Straight.

We motored the rest of the way and made Caribou just as the Confederation was leaving.  There was also a flotilla of fishing boats filled with people.  One of the boats was also towing a rubber tube with a couple of kids on it, which got on the wrong side of a red marker on way back in the channel.

Fly-Bye-Wire in the shadow of the Confederation

A VERY long day.  There has to be a better way to make this trip.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pan Pan Pan - We have no engine power - Another good day

Sail #27: 17/08/12 - 26.1 nm

The storm passed quicker than expected, so we decided to head out.  After a quick trip to St' Peter's for provisions and restocking our ice, we left by mid morning.

After an uneventful pass through the lock we sailed on and off to the Lennox Bridge.  We did have some trouble contacting the bridge operators.  Luckily they raised the bridge as we got close.  Not sure whether they were having problems or not.  On the other side of the bridge we had a fantastic reaching sail down the Lennox Passage, averaging 6 knots per hour all the way down to Port Hawkesbury harbour.

We dropped the sails only to discover that we weren't pumping water and that the engine didn't sound right.  A quick check revealed that we were also taking on water.  We immediately cut the engine, called Fly-Bye-Wire and them tow us to Port Hawkesbury Marina.

On the tow in,we took apart the water pump and discovered a broken fitting from the water intake.  We got the water intact shut off and removed the pump and realized that the repair was less serious than we initially thought.  The good folks at Port Hawkesbury Marina were ready for us, and we gently glided into the seawall.

After two trips to Canadian Tire (a completely useless place to go for advice) we were back in business and tied up next to Fly-Bye-Wire.

Another good day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Amazing Day

Sail #26: 16/08/12 - 23.3 nm

Great night.  Very quiet.  I've decided it's much nicer be to on anchor at night than tied to a dock.

Woke to no water...and fresh raspberries!  Fixed the water (loss of prime) and enjoyed the raspberries with breakfast.  Thank you Skipper Kent for the raspberries!  The plan is to head to St. Peter's this morning.

Galadriel (Skipper Kent) joined us for the day and offered to show us the sights which started with a sail to Johnstown Harbour for lunch.  It was a wonderful series a quiet coves about an hour from St. Peter's Marina.  Lots of birds!  Somehow Judy managed to lose her bathing suit top along the way, which we believe was clipped to the lifelines drying.  She did manage to improvise in order to take advantage of excellent swimming at Johnstown Harbour.

Kent's a true sailor.  He single hands his boat as well or better than most skippers do with a full crew.  His C&C 30 was fast as any we've raced against and he certainly had it in peak race condition.

After lunch we set out for St. Peter's in a really nice wind.  Had we not had the benefit of Kent's local knowledge, we would dropped the sail's at the head of St. Peter's Channel.  As it turned out we sailed the entire channel and only had to tack twice at the very beginning.  It was an experience we will never forget!

After we settled in, we walked to the local pub for supper and spent the rest of the night listening to the wind and the rain on the boat.  Fortunately we got back before the rains started.

It truly was an amazing sailboat day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fresh Raspberries in Pringle's Harbour

Sail #26: 15/08/12 - 22.2 nm

Sittin' in Pringle's Harbour and the Captain is on dinner detail, cooking up scallops on the BBQ.  Still covered in seaweed on us from the walk on Pringle's Island - a short (maybe a little long) row from our anchorage in the harbour.

Met a "local" sailor on the way in to Pringle's.  His C&C 30 guided us to good site to anchor and then he returned with freshly picked raspberries from his garden!  On Ontarian who learned Cape Breton hospitality!  "Kent" was a retired faculty member from the StFX business school and has been living in CB for years.

Kent delivering fresh raspberries to Fly-Bye-Wire

Great day on West Bay.  Sailed from Little Harbour to Dundee to check our Prospector's new home.  Had a walk and a look around.  We saw Boudreau's boat at the wharf across the cove.  We were very impressed with Kim and Andy's new property.  Lots of potential and we're sure it'll be spectacular!

3 generations of C&C sailboats

Doug and Alan making sure the deck carpenter was doing a good job

A natural dingy repair.

We left Dundee for the Crammond Islands but the wind was blowing through the middle of the islands so we decided to spend the night in Pringle's Cove.  It turned out to be a great decision since we met Kent, who would become an invaluable resource to us.

Good spot for the night.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Little Harbour

Sail #25: 14/08/12 - 29.6 nm

The fleet departed on mass, but decided to separate at Iona.  Joe and Wendy were ready to head back and Brian had only joined Gaila for a few days.  Friday's weather forecast was concerning to the crew of Gaila who made the call to head back.

All four boats, plus Mon Ami (Tony) out of Pictou headed out into Great Bras D'Or towards Iona.  Winds were steady and it was warm and sunny.  It was one of those "one in a thousand" sailing days with long close hauls towards the bridge, averaging 5 knots per hour.

We raised the sails again after the Barra Strait Bridge and made our way down the coast on a close haul  on auto pilot.  We watched Gaila with Willet close behind make their way to St. Peter's.  As I relaxed on deck while the boat cruised on auto pilot, Jude prepared a great lunch of peanut butter and jam sandwiches (my first in years) and highbush blueberries for desert.  It was a spectacular sail.

As we made our way into little harbour we noticed there were already 3-4 boats on anchor.  After a nice shot of screech, a quick swim and a "toweling off" we rowed ashore to the Cape Breton Smokehouse for supper.

The Smokehouse is a two person operation, run by a german couple out of a beautiful log house.  The food was excellent (I had the smoked salmon and Judy had pork tenderloin).  We met 2 couples from Pugwash who knew Jamie and Andrea Adams.  They store Kittiwake at BHYC for the winter.

The bugs were very bad as we rowed back to Exploits, but the night was absolutely beautiful...warm, quiet and lost of stars.  There was a huge steel hull boat, without sails, anchored in the harbour which we assumed belonged to the German couple.  They seemed stressed running the restaurant by themselves, which may explain why they don't have time to get the sails on the boat.

It was an early night to bed and both of us slept like logs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tied Up in Baddeck

The weather forecast was calling for strong winds so the fleet decided to stay tied up at Baddeck Marine.  Tony from Pictou headed out on his own, but returned later in the afternoon after struggling to work up Big Bras D'Or against strong winds, waves and currents.  Willet moved back out on a morning to allow "Bagerra" a 53 foot motor yacht to tie up next to Fly-Bye-Wire.

Jimmy takes the crew of Willet back to their boat...maybe man

Jude and I walked along the waterfront and up to the NSLC and Co-op for provisions.  We admired the lake front homes and boats and boat houses along the way.  The afternoon was spent working on the dingy and making many trips to the hardware store and getting Exploits ready to depart in the morning.

That evening as the fleet waited up for the arrival of Brian, Exploits hosted the group for drinks.  Gaila toasted the trip earlier in the evening with champaign.  The fleet would be splitting up in the morning, with Gaila and Willet heading back to BHYC and Exploits and Fly-Bye-Wire heading down to Little Harbour and West Bay.

Catchin' up with our official recording of events.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hey Man...Jimmy the dock dude

It was a very noisy night on the hook.  We set the handheld GPS to where we were supposed to be on the anchor and checked it throughout the night.  Exploits seems to like to swing alot through the night, but everything was fine in the morning.  The wind died down in the morning in time for us to wake to the rumbling of "Big Zip" coming into Baddeck Harbour.

We met up with the kids for breakfast in a little cafe in Baddeck which seems to be our favourite place for breakfast.  Raison bread toast with apple and cheddar cheese was a popular choice.

After breakfast, we finally got to tie up at the marina.  We were told "Jimmy" would be down on the docks to greet us and help us tie up, but I guess it slipped his mind.  This would be a re-occurring trend over the next few days.  The day was full of events.

Jude and the crew went for a walk up to Usiage Bang Falls.  While they were gone, the gong show broke out.

I noticed Joe was hosing his tender out on the dock.  Turns out that their head storage tank overflowed a few days before.  They hosed the offending mess into the bilge.  Once we tied up, Joe ran a hose into the front hatch to wash things down, which of course filled the bilge.  As "luck" or "bad luck" would have it, the bilge emptied out into the tender tied off the stern.  It was almost too funny to be true.

We unfortunately weren't spared a poop story either.  "Jimmy" the dock dude who operated in a serious haze, spilled poop over our deck while pumping out the holding tank.  Next time I'll just discharge "off shore".

I discovered the guy next to me was a diver, so I asked if he was interested in going down to install a new anode on our drive shaft since we finally flung the loose on off the day before.  Wilson discovered  after he suited up with all his diving gear that we still had one attached.  I was sure it wasn't there the day before!

And if all that was enough, I dropped the power cord adaptor into the water.  Jimmy, the dock dude, got me a dip net.  Unfortunately the handle was too short so he found me a stick and some duck tape.  He then proceeded to tape his dreadlock to the dip net handle.

After all the excitement of getting the boat docked, cleaned out and fixed up, a couple from Baddeck (John and Judy) who own a Alberg 37 came over to ask about Exploits.  They noticed us coming in a few days before and saw us tied up at Baddeck Marina.  It's kind of neat, that amongst all these boats, Exploits is unique enough to attract attention.

Later in the day the "boys" went over to BYC to have a beer or two.  "Some of us" eventually came back to assist in making supper.

Nice quiet night.  It felt good to be tied up and just relax.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Washabuck and Thistledown

Sail #24: 11/08/12 - 16.4 nm

The crew (Mark, Alison, Allison and Robert) arrived safe and sound from a night in a cabin at the local campground.  We ferried them out to Exploits in shifts just in time to be entertained by Skipper Gee who was attempting to remove an anode from the drive shaft which had come loose during one of the many motoring days.  After several attempts to dive under the boat, the Skipper had no luck removing the noisy attachment.  Mark brought the replacement stern vents which fit perfectly and look beautiful!

We had a really nice sail down St. Patrick's Channel to Indian Cove off the Washabuck River.  There seems to be no end to the secluded anchorages in the Bras D'Or Lake which provided fantastic spots to anchor for lunch.  Unfortunately Allison wasn't feeling the best but she was a real trooper.

We had a perfect wind to take us back to Baddeck and so we worked our way up to Beinn Bhreagh to catch a glimpse of Alexander Graham Bell's house.  We also had a front row seat to watch Prospector in the final race of Baddeck Race week.

There are not a lot of pubs in Baddeck, so we walked to the Thistledown Pub at the Inverary Inn on the outskirts of Baddeck.  Skipper Alan had put a nasty gash in his foot earlier in the day, which didn't improve after the walk.  However, the beer was good and the fish and chips and chicken wings were excellent.  After several days on the boat, the walk was nice as well, bad foot and all.

It was a windy, bouncy night on anchor so Gaila and Fly-Bye-Wire decided to take cover in Hurricane Harbour in Baddeck Bay.  The band in the Baddeck Yacht Club played full tilt again, well into the evening.  Despite the rough conditions, Exploits stayed put on her anchor and was were she was supposed to be in the morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baddeck Bound

Sail #23: 10/08/12 - 36 nm

We woke to glassy water and the sounds of terns in our secluded cove after a quiet night on anchor.  A Tayana 40 joined Gaila and us for the evening, otherwise there was very little activity.  Judy rowed to shore to visit the squirrels, eagles, woodpeckers and to watch the sunrise.

Exploits peacefully at anchor in Clacke's Cove, Marble Mountain

Bald Eagles

This little fellow looked like he was practising his rowing technique

The fleet motored off towards Iona on route to Baddeck where we planned to hook up with the kids for the weekend.  They were staying in a campground outside Baddeck for the weekend.  Luckily the wind came up just as we reach the lift bridge at Iona and filled nicely on the other side.  Wehad a nice sail up Great Bras D'Or, past Maskells Harbour arriving in Baddeck at suppertime.  The crew of Gaila engaged in some VHF banter on high power, which unfortunately was picked up by the race fleet out of Baddeck.  Skipper Larry would receive a scolding from the crew off of Prospector who picked up the transmission.

We radioed Baddeck Marina several times trying to arrange a mooring for the evening.  Eventually we were able to reach them on the cell phone and discovered there was "no room in the inn" anywhere in Baddeck due to Race Week.  Captain Larry sent the "good wife" ashore in the dingy to get ice and a new deck shower bag,to replace the 2 that went overboard somewhere between Iona and Baddeck.  Larry delivered 2 bags of ice to us in a sail past at speed, which added a little excitement to the day.

Once we settled in, we rowed ashore and had dinner in town at the Yellow Cello where we met up with the crew off of Prospector.  The volume level went up as the drinks flowed and we caught up on the latest news.

At some point during the night or early morning, Fly-Bye-Wire swung around on the anchor and collided with another boat.  Fortunately there was no damage and luckily it was dark since there was some readjustment needed with their crews wearing nothing but a nightie and undies.  Yikes!

Iona, Cape Breton

Tall ship cruise off of Beinn Bhreagh, where Alexander Graham Bell had a "summer home"