Saturday, December 20, 2008

Renova Has Moved!!

Hurray! After about 18 months on the waiting list, we've finally secured a slip at the marina. We've loved the time we've spent at the government docks - it has a great sense of community, we enjoy walking down to the boat, and the price is right. We'll miss our harbour neighbors. Yet...we are looking forward to having a designated slip, always knowing where we'll tie up, and not be so vulnerable to other boats.

We had a glorious, sunny day yesterday so John rounded up a couple friends to help move the boat. Without an engine, this task isn't as easy as it seems. We had to tow it with our little aluminum boat, and the outboard wasn't very happy with the freezing temperatures. Apparently, it was a gong show, and we've already managed to gain quite a reputation at the new marina. I'm glad I wasn't there.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Sad Day

Yesterday, John came home with some bad news from our diesel engine mechanic. Following our third re-build this year, he is now convinced that the motor itself is fine. There seems to be other problems. The backing plate between the transmission and the engine seems to be warped, perhaps indicating alignment problems. George is hesitant to work on a fix. In addition, he is wary of our exhaust system. The multiple 90 degree elbows and convoluted routing system could also be causing problems. Although these seem to me like fixable problems, he and John are both convinced that we'd be throwing good money after bad. So...we're finally considering re-powering. The bad news is that a new engine is not in the budget, and would require us to delay our departure by another year, in order to save enough money for the engine. The disappointment is overwhelming.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I MUST down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

~John Masefield

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We've got glorious fall weather this week. Yet, Renova is STILL engine-less (and they don't have a clue what is wrong). So we're still home bound. I had visions of sailing through fall and winter. Or at least moving the boat to a more protected slip in time for our winter storms. Right's not looking so good. I guess there will be no escape from the drywall project after all...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Winter To-Do List

Here's a list of items that we hope to accomplish over the winter (and spring, and summer...):

John's Tasks
  • replace mainsail furling line
  • new sails: genoa
  • repair leaks: cockpit locker lids, companion way, steering pedestal
  • find storage solution for sewing machine - new table top
  • buy rode for sea anchor (use existing anchor rode?)
  • find new storm anchor
  • build a drawer insert for the deep drawer of navigation station
Naomi's Tasks
  • replace lifelines
  • install new mast track for trysail
  • apply for radio station license
  • assemble a ditch bag
  • install moisture barrier (HyperVent) under v-berth
  • install liner in lower cabinets
  • create boat cards
  • sew cover for staysail
  • add blocks for headsail furling line
  • buy storm jib sheets
  • get antenna for SSB receiver and learn to use it
  • purchase sextant DONE and tables/books required to use it
  • source pilot charts and cruising guides for west coast USA, Mexico, Galapagos and South Pacific.
  • compile sewing kit and beef up first aid kit
  • visit travel clinic for appropriate vaccinations/medication
  • sew padded bag for outboard motor
  • sew cover for flag staff
  • HAM license
  • develop sailing system for our dinghy
  • install wi-fi antennae
  • secure floor boards and settee locker covers
  • add home port to stern transom
  • sew cockpit cover for sun/rain protection and rain collection
  • register EPIRB with authorities DONE
  • purchase super-duper mosquito screens DONE
  • find 12v cabin fans DONE
  • purchase horizontal propane tanks DONE
  • find and install solar panel DONE
  • buy new chain to fit into windlass DONE
  • make GPS connections to VHF and computer DONE
  • troubleshoot spare alternator DONE
  • new GPS DONE
  • install water faucet for use with foot pump DONE
  • purchase epirb and life raft DONE
  • build arch for solar panel installation DONE
  • install GPS receiver DONE
  • install new battery and box DONE
  • finish refit on anchor lockers DONE
  • buy small GPS receiver for computer DONE
  • purchase sea anchor DONE
  • purchase two double blocks for windvane steering lines DONE
  • buy storm tri sail DONE
  • purchase and install Monitor windvane DONE
  • repair old depth sounder and buy replacement transducers DONE
  • new back-up depth sounder DONE
  • buy 2nd snatch block for spinnaker DONE
  • purchase diesel jugs DONE
  • replace staysail halyard DONE
  • purchase water jugs DONE
  • purchase new engine instrument panel DONE
  • purchase fuel/water separator funnel DONE
  • create foam blocks for dingy to sit on cabin top DONE
  • build MOB pole DONE
  • exchange gypsy on windlass for 3/8" chain DONE
  • install new engine instrument panel in cockpit DONE
  • replace spinnaker halyard and genoa sheets DONE
  • install flag line to spreader (this has a proper name, I'm sure!) DONE
  • follow up on MMSI application form and program new vhf radio DONE
  • repair leaks: navigation station locker DONE ,
  • repair/reconfigure cabin heater DONE
  • purchase new water faucet for use with foot pump DONE
  • install manual windlass DONE
  • rebuild engine and re-install DONE
  • inspect/clean holding tank and plumbing system for leaks (source of smell) DONE
  • convert 2-pin 12v plugs to cigarette socket type DONE
  • sort out navigation software on PC DONE
  • purchase courtesy and quarantine flags DONE
  • replace fuel filters and buy spares DONE
  • empty and clean out fuel tank DONE
  • find rebuild kit for head DONE
  • sort out navigation software on PC DONE
  • buy drifter or assymmetrical spinnaker DONE
  • repair or replace ship's clock DONE
  • repair shower sump pump DONE
  • sew D-rings onto John's inflatable vest DONE
  • install second bilge pump DONE
  • install solenoid and remote shut off for propane system in galley DONE
  • install bilge high water alarm DONE
  • install CO detector DONE
  • new 3" cowl vent for aft lazarette DONE
  • find new boarding ladder DONE
  • purchase shore power adapters (15A and 20A) DONE
  • fix outboard pull cord DONE

  • purchase spare bulbs for all interior light fixtures We will replace with LEDs
  • find new home for battery bank to enable regular monitoring X
  • hook up salt water foot pump in galley X

Monday, September 15, 2008

Engine is Out...Again

The engine is beginning to look a bit like a it comes out of the boat, goes back in, and comes out again. In fact, we're becoming quite proficient at this process. Here is Dave and John pulling out Ol' Perk, for the THIRD time this year.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Summer Holiday Summary

Here are a few notes summarizing our 5 weeks of travel in the beautiful Pacific Northwest...
  • Nights moored: 15
  • Nights anchored: 18
  • Rainy days: 16
  • Not rainy days: 17
  • Predicted gales: too many to count
  • Actual gales: 2
  • Money spent: $1800
Stuff Broken:
  • Day 0: Cabin Heater
  • Day 1: Water pump hose
  • Day 3: Galley sink drain hose breaks
  • Day 6: Lost critical part for coffee percolator
  • Day 7: Engine exploded
  • Day 10: Antifreeze cap is leaking
  • Day 23: Lost 2 prawn traps
  • Day 28: Head (ship-speak for toilet) pump siezes
  • Day 36: Outboard pull cord breaks
Someone once told us that cruising is simply fixing your boat in foreign places. Yeah.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

North Coast: Week Five: Coming Home

As luck would have it, as soon as we dropped Ken and Cherie at the ferry terminal, the weather forecast began to look up. On our cruise south, we had nice weather and were able to enjoy sunny days...a welcome phenomenon.

As we travelled south, we were able to enjoy the good weather and calm seas. My folks, who travel much faster, left Ocean Falls at the same time, and spent their days fishing in various nooks and crannies, as they waited for us to catch up!

We were entertained by humpbacks, as we had been on most days of our trip, and also had the pleasure of seeing a pod of orca near Malcolm Island. WE spent our evenings in beautiful Fury Cove, in Blunden Harbour, in Port Harvey (with the Pictographs), and finally at Kelsey Bay. We had the wind at our backs for most of this time, and were lucky enough to have some fabulous sailing as we made our way on this final leg of the journey.

As we neared Campbell River, we decided that we would spend the next few days in and around Desolation Sound, as we didn't wish to be home earlier than planned, and thought we should take advantage of the weather. We were in no rush to be home to the inevitable stack of emails, phone messages, bills, and work.

But Renova must have missed her pals at the dock, because just as we entered famous Seymour narrows, good ol' Perk (our engine) started hunting again, where her RPM varied up and down. We were able to quickly shut her down, and were thankful for our outboard that we had strapped on the transom. John expertly reached over and gave a tug on the pull cord...only to find the pull cord break in his hands. With only a couple of expletives...he quickly got to work fashioning a make-shift pull cord and had the outboard running in only a couple minutes. And soon after, he had made adjustments to the injector pump, and we were running under both engines as we pulled into Discovery Passage. Our plans of lazing around for the next couple days were shot. We pulled into our marina, found a slip adjacent to a new portion of the dock, and quietly crept up to the house with only our keys and wallets. And just like that, it was over.

As luck would have it, Pierre and Danielle, were able to track us down in Campbell River, and we enjoyed a dinner with them at the house, treated to orca swimming by in the channel. What a great end to a great holiday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

North Coast: Week Four: Central Coast

This week begins with "bumping" into my parents in Seaforth Channel, near Bella Bella. Although I knew that they were going to try to meet up with us, we didn't know when they were leaving or have any way to reach them to find out where they were. Our only way to connect was with our handy little SPOT device. We send a automated email each evening with our position. My parents would then have to call my sister to find out our lat and long, and then guess where we would be traveling the following day. They cruised right past us twice, as we were holed up in a safe harbour!! When we finally met, we traveled to Eucott Bay and waited out the rain and wind, were entertained by dolphins, enjoyed the hotsprings, and waited for Ken and Cherie to arrive via ferry at Shearwater. When Ken and Cherie did arrive, we met them in the dark at the Shearwater dock, thanks to the shuttle service provided by the b&b Ken and Cherie had arranged, and had a nice evening of catching up before they retired to their comfy (single) beds, and John and I to the boat at the dock. The next morning, we bought copious amounts of rain gear and boots, enjoyed brunch in the pub, picked up a few groceries, filled the water tanks, and we were on our way to explore Burke Channel. The weather wasn't as cooperative as our first two times up this way, and we found ourselves in chopping seas, with a fresh wind. Luckily, I steered to keep my stomach calm.

Without a protected anchorage to hide from the wind, we went all the way to Ocean Falls, where we could tie up our boat safely. Ocean Falls, once a booming mill site with the biggest hotel north of San Francisco, is now a small community of fifty year round residents, and twice that in the summer months. Fishing is still very good in the area, and we saw several boats catching salmon at the mouth of Cousins Inlet. We stayed three days with Ken and Cherie and were able to explore the old town, Martin Valley and the old holiday homes along the inlet. Although it rained constantly, we enjoyed poking around town, fishing, relaxing and visiting. Ken and Cherie jumped back on the ferry for the return trip to Port Hardy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

North Coast: Week Three - Heading South

Finally, a break in the weather, and there was much activity on the docks as all the boats - fishing and cruising - were being prepared to head South. Even though our gasket set was lost in purolater heaven, we left with the convoy and optimistically made our way to warmer and drier climes. We traveled with Skylark II and Lyla, and it was reassuring to have other boats around, in case our engine played up again. We were thankful that the engine ran perfectly on our first day as we travelled through Grenville Channel and anchored in pretty Kumealon Inlet, enjoying drinks and dessert on with Lyla on Skylark II.

In hopes of getting a slight head start to make up for our slower speed, we left Kumealon Inlet earlier than the others, travelling by radar in the morning fog. As we entered the channel, the fog lifted momentarily to reveal a glorious blue sky!! Wahooo....laundry day! We were able to sail with our genoa for short periods, but mostly we motored along, as our laundry dried in the breeze.

After a long day, we found ourselves at Hartley Bay, again with Lyla and Skylark. Hartley Bay is a small community, built entirely on muskeg. Because of this, all the roadways and building foundation are elevated above the ground. There are no vehicles here, only ATV's and golf carts to move between the homes on wooden roadways. A beautiful, picturesque community. We were told that the woman in the green house sells bread, but apart from that and fuel, services here are very few. We spoke briefly with a visiting fisherman at the docks who had been having good luck on the water this week. We were inspired to do a little fishing the next day!

Pierre and Danielle on Lyla have cruised extensively with their boat and have caught all sorts of wild and exotic (to us) fish over the years. Over the last several weeks on their trip to Alaska, they had been very lucky catching halibut. BUT...they were hoping to catch a salmon. We would try our luck north of Butedale, and although Pierre had a great fight with a big one, I caught the only salmon that day!

After another night at the rickety docks of Butedale, we made our way to Windy Bay to wait out the predicted gales. A couple of relaxing days spent exploring, crabbing, reading, and resting!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

North Coast: Week Two - Engine Troubles

With a leaking engine, we realized we needed to alter our course, and make our way to Prince Rupert, in order to fix our engine. We weren't planning to go to PR, so we didn't have the appropriate charts, but we were fortunate to hail a passing fish boat, who gave us his local chart, refusing to take any of our tokens of thanks. This was an indicator of the kindness we were to experience in PR.

Immediately upon entering the docks, we met Marty, who was kind enough to provide some advice on local mechanics. After more chatting, he invited us up to his house for showers, laundry and even dinner!! What a treat. Over the next week while we awaited parts, took shelter from weather, conducted repairs, and re-provisioned, Marty and his family took us in and chauffeured us, fed us, entertained us, toured us, calmed us, and warmed us. We can't thank them enough. We're looking forward to repaying their kindness and hope we can do the same for other cruisers that arrive here in CR. We also hope to return to PR to explore more of the surrounding area.

At the same time that we were absorbed with engine repairs, many other boats had taken shelter from the terrible rain and storm warnings in PR. So the docks were full of other cruisers, and our engines problems seemed to solicit a fair bit of interest. Once again, we were taken aback with how friendly and helpful everyone was. Our dock mates, Cliff and Orma on Skylark II, even had the identical engine, and we spent a fair amount of time discussing the finer details.

As it turns out, we spent the rest of the week in PR. We (John) fashioned an outboard bracket to our transom, arranged for my cousin (Jo) to deliver an outboard from our home, ordered spare engine parts (that never arrived), visited the excellent local museum, bought groceries, and fixed our kitchen drain. It was a busy week. It rained the whole time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

North Coast: Week One - Heading North

Taking five weeks of vacation time is a first for me. Although I've been writing lists, John has done most of the work in prepping the boat, as I've been working late every night. But after a long week of preparations, I'm feeling good about leaving my job, and heading out for a month of sun and relaxation!!

Our first week was interesting. Some of the highlights...
  • Day 1: Cabin heater fuel tanks springs a leak, will not pressurize. Hmmm...but we buy a portable propane heater, before leaving the dock.
  • Day 1: Galley faucet suddenly does not work. After some investigation, it seems a hose has popped off, resulting in one whole water tank ending up in the bilge. Luckily our bilge pump works like a dream and handles it with no problems. We fix water hose.
  • Day 1: We made a new friend and were gifted a sockeye filet in Kelsey Bay tonight. A good way to end the day.
  • Day 2: Stopped in Alert Bay to pick up a couple of charts that didn't make their way onto the boat. Also picked up a frypan that will poach more than one egg at a time.
  • Day 3: We hear the Coast Guard looking for the owner of a aluminum boat that has been found adrift near Malcolm Island. dad is supposed to be fishing near Malcolm Island today. In his aluminum boat.
  • Day 3: Tonight we're the grateful recipients of a beautiful halibut filet. Plus I learned how to extract the 'ivory' from a rock fish.
  • Day 4: Had a less-than-welcoming party greet us at "you can't dock here" Shearwater. Anchored in beautiful Kynumpt Harbour instead.
  • Day 5: Engine makes funny sounds, so we return to Shearwater to talk to the diesel mechanic, Lorne, who assures us that this is typical of an engine that is seating its rings.
  • Day 6: Lose an integral part of the coffee percolater overboard. John is beside himself.
  • Day 7: Reach top of Banks Island in preparation to cross the strait to Haida Gwaii. Discover the bilge is full of oil, and we're pouring oil from both the front and rear main seals. Not good.
What a week. At least it was sunny.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


WARNING: Out of town guests will not be spared when Engine Removal Day approaches! Here is Jen wishing she had stayed in London...

Monday, May 19, 2008

May Long...

Well, after 3 months on the hard, we were thrilled when we were finally able to get in the water for the May Long Weekend. And we were more excited when Amy and Strahan decided to join us. We joined several other local club boats and headed for a weekend of fun and sun at Gorge Harbour.

As we loaded the boat, we were treated to a pod of orca passing by, a great way to start the weekend.

We had a great weekend, enjoying a grand potluck, sing-a-long, margaritas, and even a blind dingy race, before departing on Sunday morning. What a great facility!

Luckily, Amy brought along a belated boat-warming gift - a hand-crank blender!! Very fitting - given the well known affinity that sailors have for rum. YEAHHH!! We enjoyed the fruits of our labours all the weekend long!!

We decided to risk another night on the water - we had heard that the weather would turn nasty on Monday, but it was hard to imagine, when all was glorious...after all...they had been wrong before.

So we anchored for the night, in the protection of Heriot Bay, and enjoyed an evening at anchor. The wind came up, just as promised in the morning, and although we poked out into the channel and slammed into the weather for an hour or so, we knew that going around the point would expose us to tide vs wind...a losing combination. So we headed back to the protection of the bay, and enjoyed a well-earned brunch at the local pub. Soon after, a taxi took to the ferry terminal. John and Ken would return later in the week to bring the boat home.

Little did we know that this would be the only weekend trip of the year!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Tune Up

A few chores that we accomplished during our spring haul-out were:
  • seacocks - all were removed, inspected cleaned, re-installed
  • mast - removed, and all cables and bulbs were checked and replaced as necessary
  • standing rigging - ALL standing rigging was replaced (ouch)
  • new masthead light and wind indicator
  • batteries - all batteries are serviced, and one house battery is replaced
  • zinc - replace zinc on prop
  • nav lights - bow and stern lights were replaced
  • brightwork - all teak was stripped and 4 coats of cettol applied
  • hull - repair damage and paint port side
  • bottom paint (Interlux xxx)
  • VHF - new radio with cockpit mic, antenna replaced
  • bobstay - bobstay and backing plate are replaced
  • anchor locker - painted and removed rotten locker floor boards, leaks repaired
  • propane locker - reposition and secure locker
  • battery charger - install switch on panel
  • deck hardware and fittings - remove and rebed all
  • genoa furling - install new harken system
  • cabin heater - build fuel tank and install
  • stuffing box - inspected
  • charts - charts for BC coast trip obtained
  • lights - repaired interior lights and replaced bulbs as needed
  • jack lines - sew jacklines and tethers
  • sail ties - sewed many ties
  • companionway steps - repaired and reinforced
  • genoa - repaired
  • bilge pump - fix wiring
  • blocks - new mainsheet and traveler blocks, and snatch block
  • dodger - new, using existing frame
  • alarm - install engine oil pressure alarm
  • ignition - install ignition alarm silencer
  • outboard - purchase small outboard for dinghy
  • anchor rode - whipping to indicate anchor depth
WHEW. Exhasting work. Luckily, we had lots of help! (Thanks Dave)