A little light rain in the bay tonight but very still and quite muggy. The swallows were having a field day on the twilight insects.
It was a fabulous day on Sunday down at Horseshoe Bay.
As soon as I got to the dock, I kicked myself for leaving my camera at home, and had to settle for the lame camera in my Samsung phone.
This Adirondack chair has seen better days.
One question – do you think this particular item is flotsam or jetsam ?
Sitting in Madsu’s cockpit patching a few small dents in the gelcoat on the cockpit lockers, I can’t help notice Howe Sound’s dramatic sky.
The day was a round-robin of sun, rain, thunder, and little squals.
The patching I’m doing is really fixing old patches that have fallen apart. They aren’t big, maybe half the size of a dime. I can’t quite figure out how they were caused in the first place, a 30 year old boat has a lot of secrets to tell. Probably a dropped wrench or some other heavy tool. One or two of them look like they might have been from the boom, maybe dropping the main without the topping lift (my boom kicker avoids that altogether).
The wind’s howling again.
I’m wishing I was heading out instead of sitting here with a putty knife and sandpaper. I’ve got a couple of new jibs coming from Dave and Marcia at North Sails for this type of weather, and I console myself with the thought that it would be a rough ride today with my bagged out #2.
Patches done, I head up to the foredeck to soak up some of the late afternoon sun, the smell of salt water and sounds of the harbour surround me.
The boys and I had an awesome day sailing in Howe Sound.
The overcast sky occasionally spit out of a few drops, but we managed to avoid the real rain until we got back to the dock around 4pm, pure luck that one.
The wind was a steady inflow with some lovely gusts that put Madsu’s rail down a few times – I kept debating whether to reef the main as I’d already gone to a smaller jib, but the puffs didn’t materialize into anything. We kept a steady 5 knots to windward with maybe 3 other sailboats in sight the entire afternoon.
On the way back, while beam reaching, two Dall’s porpoises surfaced twice off the port beam while we were on starboard tack. They were tracking straight towards the beam, and I’m pretty sure they went straight under the boat. They’re always a thrill to see and I headed up hoping they’d come and ride the bow wave, but they went on their way and we didn’t see them again.
It’s a sure sign of spring. Madsu made the move from her off-season storage next to the house, to her salt-water moorage at Sewell’s in Horseshoe Bay.
She’s got an “I can see myself in this shine” buff on her fiberglass – it wasn’t nearly as much work this year as last – proof that buffing up the gelcoat is worth it if you do it every year. Catalina really put these boats together well – that’s 30 year old fiberglass shining like it just came out of the mold.
Before hauling the boat down to the marina, I gave the non-skid on the deck a work-over with our powerwasher, packed in all the interior cushions, loaded sails, safety gear, charts, and the most essential item – a coffee pot.
A rental F-150 truck, a few miles down the road later, MB and I step the mast in the Thunderbird Marina parking loft, and the next thing you know, Madsu’s on the lift. The guys in the yard at Thunderbird are totally awesome – I highly recommend them. Madsu looks rather elegant hanging out on the Travelift!
I gave Madsu’s steel swing keel a fresh coat of rust paint – I’m not using anti-fouling paint at all since the boat comes out yearly. You can see the large sacrificial anode bolted 2/3rds of the way forward on the keel.
With Madsu on the lift, you also get a really good idea of how little surface area is actually in the water – with her keel up like this, Madsu only draws about 2 feet.
We had some other things to do, so MB and I made haste for our moorage at Horseshoe Bay. I couldn’t help but notice the snowline on the North Shore mountains, and smiled knowing that while we were sailing, loads of folks were boarding and skiing just a few miles away.
Being able to trailer our sailboat Madsu is a tremendous advantage.
For one, she spends the stormy winter months parked next to our house, under a full Sumbrella cover.
But the real bonus comes in the spring, when it’s time to get the boat ready for another sailing season.
Now that my seasonal moorage at Horseshoe Bay is available again, spring time prep is just steps out the door.
Today Madsu got buff. With Aretha Franklin on the MP3 player, the hatches open and the sun shining, I spent the day buffing and polishing with a variety of 3M products.
Its such a delight to see the glimmer come back to the hull and cockpit and I find it amazing how 30 year old fiberglass can look brand new with a little elbow grease and rubbing compound.
In the next couple of days I’ll get the mast out of its winter home (hung under the roof overhand in our backyard), put the spreaders back in place, and load Madsu up for the short trip down to the water and a lift back into the salt chuck.
I did loads of work on the boat last spring, so I get a bit of a ‘buy’ this year – not much to do other than clean things up.
I spend a bit of time re-affixing the electrical conduit in the huge port locker, replaced the corroded connectors on the solar panel and attached a new sacrificial anode to the keel. Since all the cabin cushions spend the winter inside, they’re fresh as a daisy. I’ll give the inside of the cabin good cleaning and then we should be good to go. And not one bit of it feels like work.
Especially with Aretha helping out.
My little sailboat Madsu will be back in the water in 63 days.
I was in Horseshoe Bay on other business today and took a walk down the dock. It’s a very different feel this time of year, the docks deserted and today, wet from a light snow fall.
Yet as soon as I walked down the ramp, I immediately felt that thing I feel every time I go down to the boat. Its impossible to describe – a connection of some kind that can’t really be articulated.
In sixty three days I won’t need to try to articulate it – I can simply go – and be.
The title of a 1975 album by Supertramp has absolutely nothing to do with the current financial meltdown. But the phrase (also from the movie Day of the Jackal) is my favourite response when things get testy.
With every news report laden with the latest stories on the financial crisis, and an election campaign both here and in the US, its time to deal with this stuff once and for all.
Down on the docks at Horseshoe Bay there was no inkling of anything other than the typical waterfront activity.
Ferries from Bowen Island, Departure Bay on Vancouver Island, and Langdale came and went like clockwork. And hundreds of cars – long-weekend mainlanders heading to a B&B or Gramma’s house – lined up (as usual) waiting for their boat to arrive.
Over on the east docks, where Madsu is moored, river otters continue to make a mess on boats tied there. Given the choice between munching their seafood on the rocks or on a nice Sumbrella fabric cover, they go for the boat covers ever time.
They also seem to like those lovely upholstered seats in power boats, and they leave quite a mess.
Here’s what they left behind on the boat in the slip next to me.
This is the same guy who’s parents leave CBC Radio One on in their boat, claiming it keeps the otters away ( and it seems to work).
My boat neighbour though claims he’s found the perfect anti-otter-repellant: wolf pee. I’m not entirely sure how he’s going to acquire it, or how he’s going to apply it, and if his boat will smell better or WORSE because of it, but what the heck – sounds like a plan
Over at the government dock, a big vintage power vessel was tied up, getting all gussied up for what looked like a wedding party.
I’ve not seen the Tarapunga before, and her aft deck was decorated with ribbons and flowers – but the wedding is a fake: they were shooting on-the-water scenes for the TV series Harper’s Island.
While I was out sailing, Tarapunga went steaming by – not far behind the picture chopper flew just a hundred feet or so off the deck – swooping in on Tarapunga for what I’m sure will be a very sweet shot since as she steamed out into the Straight with the sun glistening off the water.
Beautiful BC couldn’t be much more adorable than it was today.
I tried to get Madsu in the shot but when it comes to a race between my Catalina 22 and a helicopter, well…
The wind piped up so I put a 2nd reef in the main and pulled out my bagged out old jib.
Six hours later I was back at the dock, giving Madsu a proper scrub down after soaking the foredeck in salt-spray.
One fine Thanksgiving Weekend sail – and the only bail-out I considered the entire day was in relation to the dinghy.
Markets ? What markets?
What a difference a couple of days make.
This is the last weekend of summer, and to make sure we get the picture, the sky turned heavy overcast with, yes, some rain today.
Walking to the marina ramp, I was stopped by a tourist who was looking out at Horseshoe Bay. “I guess it looks better in the sunshine ? “, he asked, optimistically.
At the boat I managed to drop my boat keys into the salt chuck as I was loading stuff into the cockpit. The keys were on a lanyard around my neck, but as I pulled my shoulder pack off, it managed to catch the keys and slide the lanyard right over my head and into the water. After 20 years of sailing, I’ve managed to do this twice – both times this year. The last time was at the beginning of the season, and even though I had a key float attached to the key ring, it too sank like a stone.
Since I’d already lost a set of keys, I knew I had no duplicates for the padlocks on Madsu’s hatch and cockpit lockers. So, off I went to the hardware store to buy more locks, and home to pick up my bolt cutters.
When I stopped by the Marina office to buy a new gate key, the staff and I exchanged ‘lost keys in the drink’ stories – I think they were doing their best to make me feel less foolish.
Somehow it all seemed to fit with the grey day and light drizzle, and somehow it didn’t really matter.
The Marina was quiet, so after cutting the old padlock off the hatch, I listened to Radiohead while I wrapped self-amalgamating tape around the new lock bodies so they won’t rust all over the cockpit.
Two slips over is a powerboat with a full canvas cover. The owner keeps a radio on inside 24/7. It’s not terribly loud so it’s not so much annoying as it is curious. When I asked one of my other boat neighbours what the deal is, they told me he uses the radio to keep the otters way.
The river otters use the boats as a sort of dining room. The guy next to me has tried everything and still the otters find a way into his powerboat and leave behind a huge smelly mess. I’ve been gifted the occasional bit of leave-behind, usually on my docking lines, but there’s some serious chowing-down that goes on in the boat next to me – and remnants smell to high heaven.
Radio guy seems to have found the answer though. He’s not troubled by otters any more.
His secret ?
He keeps his radio tuned to CBC Radio One, and that keeps the otters away.
Wonder if that’ll make it into an ad campaign anytime soon.
I’m really liking having Madsu moored at Sewell’s in Horseshoe Bay. The downside is that the slip is tight and there’s ferry wash, but its not really a big deal. An extra spring line seems to be handling the turbulent wash all right, and a tight slip is just good practice.
The great thing is that the docks are buzzing with activity. Sewell’s is famous for its power boat rentals, but they also run Sea Safari Zodiak eco tours and I love seeing the participants waddling down the dock in their red cruiser suits ready for a zoom around the Sound. The dock staff are young and friendly (and cute) and there’s a constant stream of tourists checking out the boats.
I had 2 different couples, also with boats on the finger I’m on, come over and introduce themselves in the short time I spent getting Madsu set for a sail. There’s a scuba boat just up the dock that picks up and drops off on a regular basis. Sewell’s also have a boat launch which is surprisingly busy, both with launches and recoveries, but also is used for small barges hauling all sorts of things.
As much as I love the hubbub dockside, the trip out under power is super short – just a few minutes and I’m under sail is marvelous Howe Sound.
I had a spirited sail over to Bowen – Madsu’s never been so speedy thanks to new sails from North Sails. I popped a reef in part way across and still managed to hit 7 knots in the puffs. It was a classic inflow and with very little chop, it was an awesome sail over. After the outbound Bowen Ferry left Snug Cove, I tacked over and played in the puffs for a few hours.
And those new Andersen self-tailers I installed ? Worth Every Penny.