Back in Canada now, I had a busy three weeks back in the UK. Firstly I had to get down to Portsmouth for Isaac and his partner Holly, who both had graduated with first class honours degrees in Maths from Portsmouth University.
Back in West Kirby, the weather was great, and I was reminded just how lovely the Wirral is when the sun shines, I must try to schedule another day here in a few years time 😉
I made the decision last week to sell the apartment there, so I ended up with about ten days to pack up all my favorite possessions and get them into storage.
I was pleased to find I could fit everything into the back of a transit van, and in fact I didn’t really need to keep half of that. I left a furnished, but soulless flat behind me, and with Kathy we headed off to Manchester airport for the flight back home to the boat. As we flew from the UK, Boris Johnson was taking over, it felt good to be departing at 500 mph travelling away from him.
The 9 hour flight to Vancouver was quite painless, and a few hours after arriving we took the small plane up to port Hardy. From there a taxi to the ferry at Port McNeill, just enough time to get some basic provisions from the supermarket before the 20 minute ferry ride back to Sointula. Once off the ferry, our good friend Jim met us and drove us back to the boat.
It’s great to be back, the boat is just fine, and we both slept well, going to bed around 11 pm, which was really 7am the next day in our internal clocks.
I managed to get Kathy connected up with her new AT&T sim, and being android, it means she can provide a hotspot to us, which is how I’m able to get this blog post out over 4g.
This week started with varnishing the bow platform and ended up much the same.
Along the way I fitted the radar and gave it a basic testing, which it passed with flying colours.
Monday saw me rushing up to Greg’s house to see about sanding the rollers for the platform, and buying some 4×2” cedar planks I planned to use for securing the spare diesel Jerry cans to the boat. The old planks had given stirling service, but where now firewood. Greg smoothed the faces of the planks, but I told him not to bother smoothing the edges, as they looked fine rough sawn, however before I left he insisted he put a smooth edge on them. He’s a man who appreciates quality.
After Gregs I took the ferry over to Port McNeil to buy some varnish and paint, I also picked up a small 12v fan for the V-Berth, It won’t be long before we hit hotter climes.
Finally I had to remove some rust stains from the hull due to complaints from the neighbours, well Doug specifically, he also thinks the rust inside the dorade vents are not acceptable, so they have moved up to the first page of the to-do list.
On Tuesday I popped down to ‘the ways’ to see when they might haul me out,
I was told to have faith, not to give up hope. But no date as such. I was getting worried now as time is running out. I don’t know if you have read “The Castle” by Franz Kafka, but if you have you might understand my predicament, if not, I can recommend it as a good , if not slightly frustrating read.
Wednesday and I pop to the hardware store to buy rollers and trays ready to antifoul the bottom of the boat, I’m thinking that by generating a Karma of haulout readiness it may help the situation along.
Later I climbed the mast and fitted the radar, while up there I replaced the bulb on the spreader that lights up the deck. I call them spreader lights, but others call them deck, or working lights. I also use them at night when sailing to illuminate the sails, hopefully making us visible to fishermen out there who may not have seen us. I expect they get a fright when this huge area of canvas lights up in the blackness of night.
Finally I removed a forestay from the mast, I say forestay, it’s really just a length of wire that hangs from the front of the mast and is tied to a stanchion at the side of the boat to stop it banging against the mast. I have no idea what this wire is for, but having sailed from Malaysia to Canada without any need of it, or being able to guess its purpose, I unshackled it and set it free. Along with the Air-Con unit, it was denoted to the Canada Day Jumble sale.
Given the pleasant weather another coat of varnish was slapped around the boat.
Every Thursday, a fuel truck turns up at the Jetty, and boats moor close by to get very reasonably priced fuel. I took over 2 of Malaysia’s finest 30ltr jugs and picked up some fuel. I will go back and fill the tanks when we come back to the boat in four weeks, but I have learnt to always get fuel when you can, because when I have missed the chance, something has always gone wrong and I end up panicking. It’s not like there’s anything out there right now might that affect fuel supply or prices 🙁
Thursday and I finally fit the bow platform. I also paint the blue strip along the port side.
Victor has no bread today, which is a disaster , I console myself by sitting on the waterfront with an Hagen Daz (American) ice cream and a can of Fanta, watching the new, bigger ferry depart.
On the way back I call into the ways and ask Tom if he has any update on when I can haul out, he suggests in a couple of hours if I want, crikey, it must have been the purchase of the paint roller that did it after all.
Later that night, around 8pm, Jim arrives to help, he is the expert at haulouts here and we head over. I’m quite nervous, it’s possible to do all sorts of damage to the boat if we get this wrong, but to be honest, the main reason for hauling out here is that I find travel lifts quite boring, slow and tedious. This is much more exciting. The weather is perfect, sod all wind or current and I can steer her right up alongside the posts we need to secure to. We can’t use normal fenders to protect the cap rail so I have made cardboard fenders, on Jim’s advice. Two sheets of cardboard allow the boat to make a firm contact, but as the trolley is hauled up, and the front settles, the stern drops and slides down the post. The cardboard then slides apart and takes away some of the shearing effect.
A large tournequie is made with a length of rope that goes around the mast and over to the vertical post, it is wound up like a propellor blade on a toy elastic band plane, and tied off. This should keep the boat heeled over. By the time we are hauled out the tide is rising and it’s not possible to do anything like a power wash, as we need the tide to be low so we can catch the paint run-off from the wash. However the hull is looking in good condition, and most of the growth has washed away on the short trip over here.
Friday Morning an up at 7:30am to get started on the hull. I change the anode on the prop, this is a lump of zinc that stops the prop dissolving due to electrical action in the salt water. The zinc being ‘more noble’ dissolves before the prop, which is made of bronze ( I think).
The bow thruster anodes are made of Aluminium which is also more noble than most metals, and one down from Zinc in the ‘who’s the most noble metal’ charts, however once again they don’t seem to need replacing, it’s been three years since they were fitted and it’s a bit worrying that they are either not working or the thing the are protecting doesn’t need them. I also re-grease the propeller. It’s a max prop which needs lots of grease, it’s always empty of grease when I haul which makes me wonder if the grease I’m putting in will all be gone after the first journey?
All of the staff are busy helping the guy who hauled out next to me, he has a big motor launch (millionaire boat as my kids used to say) with two trashed propellers and a bent rudder, he claims the land rushed up from under the sea to whack him, but I suspect his chart / tide work leaves a little to be desired. Those big props don’t come cheap, but fortunately he has two spares close at hand and after the yard spend some time bashing his rudder stock on a makeshift anvil, he is ready to launch again. However the tide is now back in again and I still haven’t got my pressure wash.
I clean the through hulls and retire to lunch. I’m reading a book by John Steinbeck about the Sea of Cortez, he has a great comment on fishermen which I have attached.
After lunch Robert from the yard washes the hull down. There’s a few scratches, which I expect we got in Canada from hitting bits of forest that float around, but generally the antifoul looks like new, so I skip that stage and request a launch for that night tide. Jim pops down later and we are released from the winch and the trolleys screams down the track, the engine starts and we are away. That was the closest this boat has ever been to being on a fairground ride. I rev up the engine to max (2700 rpm) and we quickly reach 7.5 knots, I don’t recognise a noise coming from the transmission/prop area, but then it’s been a while since I had the boat moving so I decide to ignore it for now, It may be related to the cutless bearing being dry and/or the PSS shaft seal having an airlock. There’s not a lot it can be, but if there’s a problem I’m sure I will find out later.
We go in starboard side too behind Rick’s boat ‘Resolution’, this is more difficult for me as it’s a small space and the prop walk makes the boat move away from the dock as I put it in reverse to slow it down. In the end Jim gets a line ashore and we tie up. I now have the chance to paint the blue strip on the starboard side, then all the painting and varnishing is done for this year.
Im now at the rough end of the harbour, more neglected boats and less facilities. They boat will be safe here until we return and then we will move back to the posh side for a few days before we head south. I spend the morning fitting the cedar planks for the Jerry cans, and I get the outboard fired up and dinghy over to my old berth to collect the Kayak and a few other bits I left on the dock. Tonight is a fundraising event for the island’s fire brigade, and locals are performing at the pub, these North Americans are very good at performing live, the kind of thing Kathy loves, CSNY/Eagles etc.
Sunday and I do a little bit more varnishing, and cleaning, but take it easy, Monday arrives and it’s Canada Day, just like St Georges day back home, except it’s celebrated here. Jim is responsible for the Sointula Regatta and the place is buzzing with stalls selling all sorts of lovely crafty things, I didn’t bother looking to close, but they were also doing great pancakes breakfasts. Later a group gathered and sang the national Anthem, again just like in the UK, except for the singing bit 😉
So the boat is all fixed up now ready for another major voyage, I just have to tidy up inside, and make the boat pretty for when I return with Kathy on the 24th. I probably won’t have anything to blog about until we get back. It’s been a great experience being here in Sointula for the last 3-4 months, I have made many good new friends on the island and loved getting to know other sailors from around the world who have passed through. If there was a way to have a small house here and live here, at least for part of the year I would jump at that, maybe later.