Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reflections for 2013

It seemed appropriate to reflect on the 2013 sailing season on this last weekend of Canadian summer.  While the sun has finally broken through and the first threat from tropical storms passed us without fanfare, fall is evidently on the way as the air has a distinct "chill" to it.

Yesterday was our final "official" sailing event, the annual sailing marathon around Amet Island, a tiny spot of land off Tatamagouche Bay.  As noted in previous posts, this race has a special meaning for, since I washed up on the Island's shores over 24 years ago, after a windsurfing experience went very badly one day in late May.

Eight boats joined yesterday's race, and excellent turnout, particularly given the dramatic way that last weekend's race ended.  An unexpected squall at the end of the race resulted in several torn sails, a a couple of knock downs.  Thankfully, no one was hurt and all boats eventually made it back to port.  The race is a memorial race for a fellow sailor lost while sailing several years ago, so it was even more important to make sure the race went off without incident.

The Forshner Regatta and that memorable weekend in May so many years ago, are constant reminders of how quickly things can change on the water.  They are also reminders of how fortunate it is to be able to enjoy hours on the water on a "good old boat" like Exploits.

Exploits had another successful race season, finishing 3rd in the weekend series, 5th in the Wednesday Series despite 2 first place finishes and 3rd overall in the Club Championship.  We also had another memorable cruise to the Bras d'Or Lake in Cape Breton where our sailing skills were put to the ultimate test on more than one occasion.  From a dramatic docking in Ballentyne's Cove during a massive rain event, to the 10 foot seas in Cape |George, we proved to ourselves that not only do we have a worthy boat, but that we are worthy of sailing her.

This year's season however is not about what we achieved on the water, but for the events that occurred off the water.

We celebrated the marriage of our son Mark and gained a fantastic new daughter-in-law Alison.  We also were privileged to participate in my older brother's wedding to a wonderful lady.  Despite our numerous jokes about weddings during sailing season, I would gladly trade a day on the water to celebrate seeing two people join in marriage and commit to a life together.

The brightwork will get done some day and I am sure we'll have many more successes on the race course and enjoy countless cruising hours.  However 2013 was perhaps our most successful season.  For certain, it will be our most memorable.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sail #1: Launch, Rig and Sail: Let the Season Begin

I took advantage of better weather and a long awaited day off to make it a long weekend, to launch on Friday.  What I wasn't counting on was the card of firewood delivered to the cottage earlier in the week.  I had to move and restack a couple of rows of dry wood and stack the new wood,  I finished late Thursday night to make sure I was ready for the Friday launch.

The launch went smoothly and after a mild panic over a fussy engine that didn't want to turn over (compression switch), Exploits was back in her dock by early afternoon.  Jude arrived home on Friday night after a week in Guelph for work, just in time to lend a hand on Saturday morning to get the sails on including our new mainsail!

A small work crew assembled in the gazebo to prep it for next weekend's BHYC summer meeting and Blackfly BBQ on Saturday morning.  The rest of the day was cold and very windy.  Fly-Bye-Wire was the only boat to venture out.  Unfortunately they had a rough experience and a worse return to BHYC, hitting the dock and putting a nasty scratch in the hull.

Sunday was a better day, altho sadly none of the kids were able to come out with us on our shakedown cruise for 2013.  Fly-Wire-Wire and Gaila joined us as we made our way down the Bay towards the Tim Horton's Camp, where they were having an open house.  After a sail past we headed back to BHYC.

It was a spectacular day on the water and the new main worked beautifully.  We noticed the upper batten was working its way out so we furled the jib,dropped the main and fixed it before we lost it or worse, it damaged our new sail.  We got a chuckle when Skipper Watt sailed past and asked if we planned to drop our sails in every race, so other boats could catch up!  That's is as close to a compliment that anyone can expect from Gaila.

A successful and very busy weekend, capped off by a great sail.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weather Woes

No end in sight for the wet weather we've been experiencing, which makes any outside work on the boat impossible.  I've given up on the idea that the brightwork is going to get done before we launch.

I cleaned the boat inside from bow to stern today which was long over due.  It looks a lot better.  I might have a brief weather window tomorrow to get the bottom painted.

We painted the cottage bathroom today as well, but we're quickly running out of rooms to paint.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's a Spar-Raisin'

I finally got outside after a couple of long days of painting.  The weather was better than forcasted which was a bonus, given the plan was to spend the day in the boatyard.

After a healthy dose of socializing with my fellow Skippers, I turned my attention to the mast which needed a few fix-ups.  It turned out things went quicker than expected, so I had time to chat with Skipper Steve who was home from the hospital.  Rather than leaving the mast on the ground for another week, I took advantage of a boatyard of help to raise the spar back onto the boat.

If we get a few good weather days this week the target launch day is next Saturday or Sunday.  Fingers crossed!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Official Start to...errr....Fall?

Victoria Day weekend is normally Canada's official start to summer, but single digit temperatures, wind, rain and wet snow made it feel like fall.  Not being able to work on the boat met that I was assigned to paint the 1970's wood panelling at the cottage.  I am sure it will look great, but I sure hope the weather improves soon!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Good Ol' Boat For Sale

One of the beautiful things about sailing are the people you "meet", or in the case of the electronic world the virtual connections you make.  Through the wonders of the internet and Facebook I connected with Skipper Jarrett, who captains a Redwing 30, serial number 137 (Exploits is #136).  I've never met Jarrett and never talked to him on the phone.  Yet oddly enough, I consider him and his advice and encouragement to be a very important part of my sail boat life.

I am guessing that Jarrett's boat is maintained in mint condition.  I also know thing or two about Redwings.  I'm thinking then, that this is a fine boat that will provide someone with years of enjoyment, just like Exploits has provided to us.  And who knows, if they have a Facebook account, maybe I'll make a new friend!

Good luck selling the boat Skipper and thanks for all the advice!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hooray, Hooray

Hooray,'s May and sailing season is only a few days away!

Demasted Exploits today for some electrical and rigging repairs. Took advantage of the nice weather and got the woodwork sanded and ready for varnish. BHYC docks are in...expect boats will splash on the Victoria Day weekend....Canada's official start to summer.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Halifax International Boat Show Day

We had a beautiful day to drive down to the Halifax International Boat Show. It meant we missed a day of skiing but we always enjoy bumping into our sailing buddies and spending the day talking about sailing.

On our first stop to the Yacht Shop booth, I bumped into "Wilson" who I blogged about on August 12, 2012 after running into him at Baddeck Marine.  He dove under our boat to check the anodes for me which turned out to be a false alarm.  It turns out he is one of the key drivers behind the new marina at Ben Eoin.  We're looking forward to visiting them during our trip to the Bras D'ors this summer.  Just around the corner we bumped into the crew of Abigale who also plan to make the trip to Cape Breton.

We were also pleased to see Gerry from St. Peter's Marina which is probably the nicest and friendliest marina we've ever been to, after BHYC of course.  Gerry was there promoting the Race the Cape Race this summer.

On the way to our second stop at the Yacht Shop we bumped into Luther, skipper of a Bayfield that sails out of our club and Ernie, who played volleyball with Jude.  Luther is planning a trip to the Maggies this summer.  I did invite him to join the flotilla travelling to Cape Breton as a fall back plan.

I was trying on a pair of boat shoes at the Yacht Shop booth while this friendly guy from the Dartmouth Yacht Club stood by.  We causally chatted while I debated over the wide width or medium width shoes, which also happened to be the last 2 pair left.  When I finally made up my mind, he said, "I'm gonna try on the ones you didn't buy".  I felt bad for making him wait, but I did enjoy the chat!  I got goosed a couple of times by a spirited lady as she made her way past me.

As we were leaving we chatted with the crew from Bella Rosa who were just arriving.

After a quick lunch at Pete's on the way home and long visit to the wine store in Bedford, we headed back to Truro.

We can't wait for sailing season to begin!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Groundhog Day

If a sailor sees his shadow coming out of his mid winter boat inspection, does it mean there is going to be 6 more weeks before boating season starts?

I took advantage of the unusually warm temperatures and rain over the past few days, that took away any snow we had, to check on the cottage and boat.  Cooler weather today and high winds made for a quick visit.  Everything seemed to be fine, altho I find this to be THE most depressing time to see the boat since everything is tore apart, winterized and covered in mildew.

I did however have a nice visit with the Commodore and First Lady of BHYC.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year.

In 2013 long may your big jib draw!

Our very talented future sister-in-law painted this picture of Exploits Sailboat from a photo we posted on Facebook. Exploits was on anchor in a quiet cove at Clarke's Cove, Bras d'Or Lakes, CB beside Marble Mountain in the Bras d'Or Lakes. It was a pretty special day and this is a pretty special reminder proudly hanging in our house.