Category Archives: Sailing

Oh yeah! Sailing!

So we got our new cushion covers done. Thank you Mom! And since they are looking at cute as ever, we were eager to try them out.

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We invited Marc’s mom for a toodle out in the straight. And off we went and found ourselves heading for Saturna Island Pub for a lovely 3pm meal.

It was a quick pop out as there are babies coming, but it looks like August promises some more time with some good sailing weekends in store for us!

Between the gardening, the beekeeping, the doula-ing, a surgery, and raising a toddler, I kinda’ forgot we were sailors. Until we find ourselves at the beach every day and my heart is longing for the water! For the wind and waves and I find myself getting insanely jealous of the boats bobbing about. And that is when I realize: I have a boat too!

Silly me.

A Completely Failed Sailing Attempt and “New” Friends

Have you ever attempted sailing with a toddler? A toddler who is past her nap, in lumpy seas? Then you may have sympathy for us, or wee Gabrielle during our Saturday morning experience.

We lasted half an hour. It was a beautiful day for a sail. The winds were 15-20 knots. And our boat just loves being out there. You can almost feel her smiling as we took off from our mooring buoy with the jib taut.

Then it began.

“No lumpy ocean! Back home! No up and down! Back home now!”

So yeah. We thought, oh this could be fun. We could do this for a 3 hour sail with no napping Brie (the ocean was much too rough for a nap) or we could turn around now and try to have a pleasant afternoon.

Upon arriving home, Marc began researching multi-hull boats to quell his frustration of missing such a beautiful sailing day.

“Maybe if the boat wasn’t rolling, she would like sailing?” He reasoned. I think she’ll grow out of it. We’ll try again soon.

On the upside, we were rowing out to our dock and a sailboat was coming in. The person on the bow shouted, “Amanda? Are you Amanda?” And it was a blog-reader who lives aboard with her Twins(!!) that are the same age as Gabrielle. Then, the same afternoon we got an email from Lara on Spirit of Kaizen and they were hailing Pender for the weekend too. What fun!

We spent Sunday with the crew from Kaizen and it was lovely. It was completely refreshing to connect with people that you don’t “know” but only virtually know and now that makes all the difference. I was thinking about it last night. It’s like the internet provides this make-believe place. And in this make-believe place you have these pretend friends who post pictures, who seem to like doing the same things as you, and they are the kind of people you’d love to hang out with every day. Then when these people materialize and are just that cool, well it kinda makes my head explode.

And now that we’re entering into September, Marc has begun wholeheartedly chopping wood for our early morning fires. I cleaned out Gabrielle’s drawers and put her shorts in a donation pile. We begin leaning towards Autumn in earnest, because it is our favourite season after all. And my doula work has begun to pick up again. Yay for sweet little babies about to enter the world!

Happy September wishes to my real and make-believe friends.

Nesika’s Haul-out

Hard to believe, after owning our 25ft C&C for three years and owning a 47ft Endurance for 13 months, this is our first boat haul-out. And thankfully, it is only the little one. But man, I was stressed! There was the whole issue of sailing the boat for three hours to take it to Sidney, and the whole issue of bringing a toddler, and getting a car over to Victoria for us to use while we were painting the boat, there was also the bright and glaring fact that I’ve never done this before!

Doing something that’s a bit of an undertaking, requiring planning and forethought always renders me a bit of a stress-case.

We woke up before dawn on the day of the haul-out and Marc’s mom gave us a ride to the boat. (We’d dropped off our car in Victoria the day before.) The engine started without a problem though our littlest sailor was adamant, “No Sailboat!” We explained to her that she lived on a sailboat for the first year of her life, we tried to convince her that she loved sailing. Clearly she simply wanted to go back to bed, but with no cushions on the boat (they are getting recovered) there was no place for her to sleep.

We bundled her up with her turtle and sang some songs, read some stories as she acclimatized. Sort of.

The perk is, she loves her life jacket. Like really truly loves it. This is a big hurtle we’re glad we don’t have to deal with.

With our rudder quite wobbly (a bit concerning but I’ll get back to that) and our bottom hosting a flurry of marine life, we made the trip in just over 3 hours. Thankfully the current was mostly with us.

We got to Sidney with time to spare and decided to get breakfast. Gabrielle and I made a trip into town to drop off some of our stuff where we’d be spending our nights. On the way there, it was hot in the car so I rolled down Gabrielle’s window halfway. As she told me she was taking off her shoes, on the drive, I thought nothing of it, until I realized upon arrival that we were one shoe short.

When we drove back down to the boat, I spotted this forlorn orange shoe on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road. I said, “Gabrielle! Did you throw your shoe out the window?” Her reply was a smirking one. She said “Tay (yes) Silly girl!” Both shoes recovered, I rolled up her window for the duration of the drive.

Silly girl indeed.

As we are not homeowners, this boat is the most substantial thing we own, if not the most valuable. To see such an item expertly ushered into slings and then hauled up out of the water. It is something I held my breath for. Firstly, I was concerned about what might be growing on the bottom, Secondly, of what damage there could be that we did not know about, and Thirdly, what if they drop my boat??

Of course, they did not. Yet.

And yes, in the photo above, that is about 50lbs of mussels forcibly evicted from the hull.

The boatyard workers put it into position and we began sanding, scraping and surveying the underbelly of our boat. It really wasn’t too bad considering the boat is 40 years old. The rudder joining was toast. Thankfully Marc’s dad is a machinist and was helping us out on this project. He fabricated a brand-new rudder bracket. It’s a piece that could have cost us hundreds of dollars, not to mention the fact that most machine shops are not open on the weekends.

The rudder bracket, completely eaten away

After scraping and sanding, we got busy painting.

The improvement after even one coat of paint was substantial.

We waxed the topside of the hull and even applied fresh paint to our C&C signature pinstripe.

Tomorrow it goes back in the water and we sail it home, all smooth and clean. It’s fixed up with a shiny new head and we’re just waiting on the new cushions. Soon it’ll be like a brand-new-40-year-old-boat!

What can we say? We rather like things vintage.

Once a boat baby, always a boat baby

When Gabrielle was born and we took her home, home was a boat. It was a 47ft sailboat which hadn’t sailed in a very long time. For the first year of her life we lived aboard. When I think back on this, I think that it may have been slightly crazy. Not the living aboard. But how we lived aboard. We had no water other than what we carried down the dock by hand. We had no electricity and for the first few months of her life, we read in the evenings by oil lamp.

So it’s no surprise to me when I turn around and see Gabrielle playing “pirate.” She climbs into the laundry basket after hiring a crew of rascally demeanor. (Bears, cats and turtles alike, oh my!) and announces “Boat!”

She heads off, to the living room, in search of high seas and adventure. And maybe some loot!

She finds a treasure chest of free range eggs that she ditches all the eggs and fills it with magical rings and fairy dust and beads and imagination.

After this huge score, she lands her boat on an island filled with cheesy bunnies. It’s a very yummy place.

With that, she sails off into the sunset with a song on her lips.

Yo Ho Yo Ho a pirate life for me!

…More bunnies please.

Lists and Plans, This and That

Lately we’ve been making lists and sitting by the wood stove. The crocuses are dusting off their white little heads and our thoughts are turning to Spring. After all, it’s halfway through February.

On the lists are plans to haul Nesika out for a bottom-painting, perhaps install a new head as the other one is leaking a bit and stinking up the boat. We’ve also been considering installing a wood stove to extend our sailing season. Right now she has no heat whatsoever and it makes nights very very chilly. Other boat plans are to fix our dinghy seat. The fibre-glass actually broke away on the back seat, making my ride quite wet. We have another dinghy but it’s quite waterlogged (and came with the boat) and weighs nearly 300 lbs. That makes moving it quite a challenge for my burly husband and really, I’m no help when it comes to heavy things. When something outweighs me three times, I usually just run away.

And then there’s the bees. Oh the bees. I haven’t cracked open my hives since the end of October, what with heart surgery and all. I’ve started emailing people regarding buying more bees but I haven’t found anywhere that is convenient yet with a time-table that would be helpful. A lot of beekeepers won’t have their packages ready until June sometime and around here, that’s halfway through the season. Also, I find it just gutting to pour more money into the bees when the return has been so slim. Selling honey at $10 a jar seems atrociously expensive to me, yet it doesn’t even put a dent in my expenses to keep the bees healthy and well-fed. It is decidedly the most expensive hobby I’ve ever pursued. Honestly I had high hopes of it becoming more than just a hobby, but even though there is a demand for the product, the bees with their new parasites and diseases are so fickle and keeping them alive (that’s just alive, not necessarily producing copious amounts of honey) seems to be a full-time job. If we were rich, I would be happy to invest all our extra earnings into such a satisfying pursuit.

So I’ve turned to other hobbies, that are more conducive to wintering and hibernating right now. Knitting. I’ve picked up wool at the Nu-to-U and an expensive wool store in town and have turned my needles to hats lately. Hats and more hats. It’s lovely to feel the fibre between my fingers. And our little knit nights are so inspiring. There is a wonderful group of ladies who meet once a week to drink tea, eat cookies and oh yeah, knit!

Gabrielle is beginning to try to shape words. She’s quite interested in poking everyone in the eye, and poking her own eye, and saying “aaahhh” so intentionally. We can’t believe how much she is eating these days. And most of the food she’s preferred is distinctly Orange. So much so, that her fingers and mouth are getting this fake tan-O look to them. Luckily orange is a pretty easy colour to satisfy. Purple food, now that would be trickier.

Marc is in an unemployed stint again as we wait for work to start up at a farm down the road. We’ve been taking advantage of this by hiking together in the rain, making lists, and talking about meaningful things like “5-year-plans.” *shudder*

We’ve been fighting the February blues (because February is the worst of months, don’t ya know) by having friends for dinner, puddle-stomping, baking cookies and attending play groups. Man, there’s a lot of babies on Pender right now. It is fabulous.

My camera’s been on the fritz lately so the photos have been slow coming. Hope you enjoy the ones I’ve included below.