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Monday, January 23, 2017

A full day's work

Spent pretty much the whole day at the boat today, popping home for lunch. A bit rainy but able to work outside between the showers. Got a mains power cable wired in, so I can connect to AC power when I'm there and keep the batteries charged up too. 

Then I was able to get to the main jobs, tidying up the mast and getting some potective boards over the teak in preparation for lifting the engine. Lots of trips up and down the ladder with measurements and cut boards. Making progress....

Stripped the mast down by getting all the shrouds and the forestays off, coiling those up and into storage, remove the spreaders and tuck the mast in close to the boat. Still need to work on the forestay and get all the halyards out and replaced with mousing lines. But it's all pretty nice and tidy now. I found that the split pin that secures the forestay clevis pin had been worn or fractured and could have worked itself out. That wouldn't have been good. As with a few things, it's proving we're doing this refit just in time, or maybe a year too late but with Lady Luck on our side. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mast Tidy Up

Spent an hour today taking spreaders and some shrouds off the mast, labelling everything carefully and prepping for storage, all the time with the Trump inauguration on the radio. Sigh.

And my discovery, late in life but still a revelation, is that an impact driver is a tool of magic. The unmovable is moved.

Mast down - further

So we unstepped the mast and laid it on the deck a couple of months ago at the Comox dock. Now we brought it all the way down to the ground. Some helpful friends have a crane truck so a quick 15 minute job to lift it down and place it on the racks I'd made from old pallets.

And then I spent some time looking over the engine and taking photos of the mess for reference as we clean it all up....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Get ready to Scrape

Popped over to the yard today to set up the supports for the mast, three pairs of pallets set up to prop up the rig down on the ground so I can work on that much more easily. Prepared the mast for lifting down, which included defrosting the frozen ropes with the heat gun.

I've bought a long handled scraper to take the hull back down to the epoxy coating. It's going to be a long task but attacked a bit a time, it'll be no problem. Perhaps the kids can do some of this one....And it's less potentially damaging than sand or slurry blasting.

And the big step for today, ordered a load of Coppercoat bottom finish - has to be shipped from the UK and even with the boat show pricing, it's a significant chunk of change. But it should last at least 10 years, meaning much less lifting out to paint and none of the eroding biocide laden antifouling. Mum and Dad did their boat with it and are very pleased.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Walking to the Boat, ahh, so nice

Beautiful sunny day here, was in work early, so come 3pm, said what the heck and walked the ten minutes to the yard. Lovely to be able to do that.

Scraped all the mussels off the hull, cleared some snow, removed the saloon table to get full access to the engine and spent a while lying on my belly with a flashlight thinking about how to pull the engine out of it's bay. So much work, fun to be getting dirty hands again.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Snowstorms don't stop us

Today's achievements. Collecting pallets to make supports for the mast, deliver the stern frame and pulpit to the yard, take the solar panels down ready to be set up to trickle charge the batteries.

Then head over to Comox, take the dinghy out to collect the mooring lines from the buoy in the driving snow, then put outboard and dinghy on the trailer and bring home for storage.


Tested out some plans to refinish floorboards - took the brass pulls off and polished, they should look good when lacquered. Checked out the new heat gun to scrape varnish, that should work well. There's a risk I'll get carried away and want to revarnish everything......that will have to be a job for after everything else is done.

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Refit Diary

I'm going to try to keep a diary entry for each day I do something during this refit, so that I can look back and have a record of some stuff. Much of it is just to jog my memory, but I post it here for anyone who might want to follow along (if you're working on a Young Sun 43, good luck!)

Today, it's going to get down to -8'C later this week, so I winterised the engine by pouring antifreeze into the raw cooling water intake and turning her over until I could see antifreeze in the exhaust.

Scraped a few mussels off the hull, then did the main job of the day, building another set of props for extra security. Cut the lumber to size and assembled it, smashing up the ice enough to put some slabs down for support.

Nice couple of hours, working in the sunshine.


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Friday, May 25, 2012

View from the Water (2)

We miss so much by traveling at speed. This area is so beautiful and more so when absorbed slowly and fully. The other day I stopped at the viewpoint going over the Malahat pass; how few of us who live here ever stop to drink in that view as we rush back from Victoria at 100kmh.

And life, like the scenery, seems richer and more rewarding when taken at a slower pace.

View from the Water

If you build a multi bedroom mega mansion on the far reaches of Salt Spring Island, and then put solar panels on the roof is that being green or hypocrisy?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet

 Here in Otter Bay, I shouldn't be surprised to lie in my bunk at night hearing the sound of little paws on the deck above, but did they really have to leave me a gift too? 
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Mobile Office

Over the past couple of days, I've sailed the boat down from our base in Comox to Pender Island, a beautiful part of the Gulf Islands, between Victoria and Vancouver.  It was a lovely, single handed voyage with a couple of tranquil evening stops. 
At Princes Margaret Provincial ParkCruising in these areas is especially beautiful because there is so much coastline, and you are frequently travelling close by the coast of islands and narrow passes.  Watching the scenery pass by at a slow pace is a great way to observe and absorb the beauty of these land and waterscapes.
The Steep Shores of Lasquiti

Over the course of the journey I've seen seals, otters, porpoise, and eagles, these are frequent companions in these waters.

The boat is working out as my mobile office, modern technology lets me keep connected and whilst it would be nice to be totaly away from it all once again, this is a best of both worlds approach, and I can stay in touch with the family easily too.  Once school finishes in June, they will spend a lot more time aboard sharing these trips.  I'm looking forward to that.... 
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Setting Sail Again

The expanded fleet - Ty Dewi and 'The Pioneer'
So after a long silence on this blog, it's time to start posting again because this summer promises a lot of sailing and family fun around British Columbia.  It looks as if some of my work will need me to travel to most of the BC Coast this summer, and that sounds like an excuse for a sailing trip.  One of the real pleasures of our two years cruising was writing and sharing the adventure, and I've missed that in the busy shore life that we have woven for ourselves here in Cumberland.

So I hope to get a chance to slow down a little and write some more, to share this fabulous place with my friends and continue to think upon the experiences we have and the relationships we treasure.  Welcome aboard again, hope you enjoy the journey.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Off sailing

We've been doing great stuff here with Gesa's sister and her two kids, seeing the sights and going to places we haven't been yet either. Mount Washington was awsome. Photos will follow, really.

Right now we're off to the boat for a few days - the relatives fly back to Montreal on Sunday and then we relax on board for three days or so before it's back to Cumberland and busy busy. More posts then.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


In the UK we have some sticky stuff used to hang up pictures etc, we call it 'blu-tak', it's usually blue.

We got some here, different name but we still call it Blu-tak. Except Max, who has mis-heard.

'Daddy, where's the Blue Tang, I want to stick up a picture?!'

I guess only a kid who's been snorkeling tropical reefs would come up with that one.

Moving in - frugal style

Moving into a new house is always interesting. When that house is unfurnished and most of your few belongings are back in the UK then it gets even more intriguing. We know we have one dining table, an armchair, a double mattress and a rocking chair back in storage. Other than that, it's all small stuff.

The photos show our lounge, with the balcony currently home to 'moose', a nice steel sculpture Gesa found a few months ago. In the kitchen there's enough space, even if the style wouldn't be our choice. Our bedroom has an en-suite and - gasp - a walk in closet. Oh the decadent north american life.

So we need to furnish a three bedroom + den home from scratch. Gulp. Fortunately, the Comox Valley is big on thrift (charity) stores, and we have become true aficionados of these fabulous places.

See that chair there, and footstool. Gesa calls it her 'ikea chair' because she always wanted one from there in the UK. Found it in Value Village for $22. Then we found a white one, without the foot stool, in the Salvation Army for $16. Good start.

Following the philosophy of reduce, reuse, recycle, we have tried to buy very little new. It also follows my philosophy of 'frugal'. Last weekend we had fresh bread from our $15 breadmaker and crispy waffles from our $3 waffle maker. Mmmm. We've been finding furniture, tools, hi-fi, clothes and kitchen ware. Our regular run into town (Cortenay) for groceries takes us on a loop past three great thrift stores, so we always stop and check them out. If you want it NOW, go buy it new. If you can wait a week or two, save 80%. At the same time, our money goes to local community charities instead of the big box stores, and we save a lot of stuff from landfill. Works all round, for us.

We're also benefiting from being in a new development with building still going on around us. The nearest built on plot is about two hundred feet away, and that house has just been sold but the new owner wants some changes. In the UK you couldn't do it, but here the timber frame construction makes it easy. A wider balcony and an extra patio door - no problem, rip off the vinyl siding, take the circular saw to the underlying frame and bingo, new doorway. Change the size of the downstairs suite, just rip out a few interior walls and rebuild a few feet to the left. The crazy thing is that the house was built a month ago so all the materials being taken out are brand new. Sadly, it's cheaper to use fresh ones than pay someone to strip out the nails.

We gain because a quick word with the project manager and we have all the scrap we can take. They pay for landfill disposal so it helps them too. I have more 2x4 timber than I can use, and plenty of 2x6 and even 2x10. Taking the nails out isn't that hard, and now I've built two big workbenches and some shelving in the garage. Cost me a few dollars for screws. It's a tragedy to see brand new 14 foot lengths of 2x10 timber going to the tip. Sadly our reclamation must be the exception not the rule.

So we're getting set up in our home, and thoughts turn to business and earning a dollar or two to support us. That's taking a lot of effort and time right now so apologies for the lack of posts, we'll try to catch up a bit.

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Family photo

From the boardwalk in Comox, in our first few days ashore.
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Back in Nanaimo

Here we are, back and getting ready to move in. In fact, Gesa and I have the magic school bus all loaded up with stuff and are off to collect the keys to the house and unload the first lot into the garage. One more night on the boat then we all go up to Cumberland tomorrow.

Had a great, great cruise up to Desolation and back, wonderful places, amazing weather and great swimming. Some photos here and more to come. N.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Up North

Apologies to our regular readers, but we've been a bit quiet on the blog. As usual this reflects the opposite in daily life - things are getting busy as we begin to reattach ourselves to the land. We did, though, have a great trip across to Vancouver where we met up with friends and had a great afternoon and evening with Gesa's sister. It was very good to catch up with everyone, and the anchorage was perfect. We stayed in False Creek, near a place called Granville Island, which is a pretty big tourist and artist place, with markets, studios, playgrounds and other attractions. We had a lot of fun, especially on the hot day when the kids found the water park, and spent too much money - but the food from the market was superb and shows that you really do get what you pay for.

On the way back we stopped for a couple of nights at a nice place called Plumper Cove, a little park accessible only by water about twenty miles north of Vancouver. It was a nice quiet stop and some good walks in the forest and on the coastline.

Back to Nanaimo we made a trip up to Cumberland and Comox to check mail and see that our house is still there - it is and it looks like it will be ready for us in a few weeks time. WE sorted out gas, power, internet and phone - the usual necessities of modern life, although we have eschewed cable TV and will try to get by on dvd's and video over the internet for now. We've also been thinking about stuff we want to have for furnishings and houseware. We have ended up finding pretty much every thrift (charity) store in Nanaimo and Courteny, and there's a superb selection of second hand stuff. In most cases, this ticks the boxes of being more environmentally friendly as well as much cheaper. For example, we all have cycle helmets now, four of them cost us twelve dollars. One new one would be thirty, and have a load of cardboard and plastic packing. So it's thrift stores for most stuff, then if we buy new we buy high quality so that we only buy it once, hopefully.

We then spent time preparing for my parent's arrival on Friday. They are with us for two weeks sailing then another week as we move into the new house, so they will see some of our new life too. We found that the marina has some small storage cages up in the underground carpark, so we rented on for a month and took loads of stuff off the boat - mostly books and clothes - as well as storing our new houseware purchases. There is a lot more space on board right now, many lockers are not even close to full. It's amazing how much can be accumulated even on a small boat.

Mum and Dad's arrival coincided with the start of some superb weather, and we have had a great trip up the coast. Apart from motoring everywhere because of light or northerly winds, it's been a really good trip so far. We've had a couple of quiet coves all to ourself - rare at this time of the year when everyone is on vacation - and are now in the famous Desolation Sound. Poor old George Vancouver was pretty down by the time he got here, and it was raining too, so the area gained it's undeserved name from that. In reality, it is majestic, and, like Princess Louisa Sound, defies description or photography in it's grandeur. Massive mountains rise behind the shore line, and sheltered coves make perfect anchorages. It is a deservedly popular place, and sadly it has some of the features of beautiful places in the Caribbean or Bahamas, it is a spot where the rich gather to burn gasoline. There are quite a few big motor yachts, with powerful dinghies to zoom around the area and even a float plane anchored just next to us, probably to ferry guests in and out and avoid the need to spend a day or two on the water traveling here. Of course, I might argue that when it's so easy to get here, the experience is dimmed and just becomes another neat place you flew to once.

Thankfully, this place overwhelms even the most vulgar attempts to show off. The best anchorages are too small for the big yachts, who anchor outside in the deep water and all their toys don't buzz around where we are. Next to these mountains, even the biggest boat is just a dot on the water and we can all admire and enjoy these surroundings together. It really is fabulous, especially when the sun shines!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Engine fixed - let's go!

So we got the engine problem repaired, relatively simple once we found the right mechanic - experience and the correct tools make all the difference.

Today we cast off the lines once more and head for Vancouver itself, a chance to visit the city, meet friends and, hopefully, meet up with Gesa's sister who will be there briefly as part of her flying rota, she works with Air Canada.

Time to go sailing, yipee!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Swallowing the anchor....

Swallowing the anchor is the cruisers' term for packing ones bags and moving ashore. The term is apt, the process can, at times, be about as pleasant as swallowing a large lump of pointy steel. In our usual way we aren't hanging about too much, choices are thought about, options explored then we go for it in a pretty decisive way.

The key things here are a house and transport. Up in Cumberland we found a brand new house, very close to the kids school and ready to rent just when we want to move up there, at the start of August. The house ticks a lot of boxes, three good sized bedrooms for all of us, a large basement room for office / guests, and a big garage to set up as a workshop area. Lots of storage too. Sadly, it's darned ordinary, unimpressive and contains one of my biggest pet hates about North American houses, which is that the most distinctive feature is the garage door. Sigh. This is temporary, we keep reminding ourselves, although we expect to be here at least a year.

Next up, a car. Given that we are likely to be hauling around a lot of stuff, and/or kids friends, and/or guests, the obvious choice was a mini-van. Seating for seven, lots of space, comfortable. Also boring, not very fuel efficient and wallowing around the bends. We'll do our best to shop very locally and use the car as little as possible. We kind of managed it in Cambridge so hopefully we can do so here too. We think we found a decent example, it's 2002, with quite a lot of miles but seems to be in good shape. There are so many to choose from that prices are very reasonable, in fact it's less expensive than any car I ever bought in the UK.

To help us drive less, and enjoy the local area, bicycles are essential. I found a good one locally, second hand, and spend a half day with Max helping me to clean, adjust, oil and generally turn a scruffy neglected bike into a pretty good one. Then, yesterday, we were browsing the Charity stores (a favourite activity lately) and found a nice mini-mountain bike for Issie for $30, which seems like a good deal. It's very like the bike she had back in the UK which she did very well on. In the same store were cycle helmets, and Max got a very cool one for three bucks. Reduce, reuse, recycle.....
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