02 May

Back in the saddle again

Or, I suppose, “Back at the helm once more…”

Three years (minus about 3 weeks) since we’ve seen our boat. I have to admit it was a a bit of a shock as, unlike when we purchased it, the rosy glow had worn off and she looked  a bit more… well… her age.

Luckily it didn’t take long for the critical eye to go take a header off the starboard side and we nice more settled into the happy, familiar and comfortable home away from home we remembered. Still, there is a lot of brightwork that needs attending to and the canvas  is a bit too green for my taste.

Where are we now?

I am writing this post pretty much real time because we are back at the marina. Here’s a rundown of the first few days:

Wednesday: flight and ferry ride in and a quick grocery shop to  tide us over one night (coffee, breakfast etc.)

Thursday: Our new main showed up so we put that up. Then we hauled our stuff out of storage, L prepped her class and taught. Pub for dinner.

Friday: Still pretty worn out. We finally did a big shop. Stopped to book a rental car and chilled at dock with a lovely ribeye steak for dinner.

Saturday: Walked up the hill in the rain to pick up the rental car and drove to Alberni. We stopped in Cathedral Grove to enjoy some rainforest, visited L’s Mom and brother and then headed back.


Finally time to cast off! We started the engine and … lo and behold … no tach (or engine hours). Sigh. So we called in, made arrangements to come back the next day and  headed out to sail around Protection Island for fun.

There was a south wind and we need to make a greater than 90° turn into the wind, so that wasn’t particularly auspicious or convenient and on top of that NYCSS’s chase boat Gotcha was tied up just off our bow — so there was no room for error. So we walked the midship down to the end of the dock with a long line on the bow so we could swing it south into the wind.

A friendly neighbourhood Dutchman gave us a hand when we needed it and we managed to get the boat pivoted without hitting anything or impaling our hull on the end of the dock. And then we were off.

We headed out into 10–15 knots and unfurled the (brand new to us but it had been used by a previous charter) jib, killed the engine and sailed peacefully along slowly regaining our sealegs and more importantly our sea brains. After about a half hour we tacked back to shore and, as the wind was down to 8 knots or so, finally rolled out the main for the very first time. Crisp. Very, very crisp. 🙂

Then the wind started to play mind games. Between the various islands and inlets and big cargo ships at anchor we were sailing in wind that literally rotated 180° in less than a minute and dropped from 10 knots to 2 knots and back up again in the same time frame. Great practice and more than a little frustrating. But we toughed it out and didn’t resort to the engine even though our speed through the water was 0 knots more than once.

Eventually we emerged from behind Gabriola, caught the outflow from Northumberland channel and had a lovely beam reach into the harbour, dodging ferries all the way.  We sailed into the anchorage, dropped anchor  and settled in for the night.

Around 8:30 pm we heard a thump on the hull and a scruffy young fellow who was living in a nearby anchored boat somewhat belligerently stated we were anchored too close (we weren’t) and kept passive aggressively stating he didn’t care but he needed a new paint job so it was up to us. I tried all of 2 minutes to convince him it was all good and then  said we were happy to move if that’s what he wanted. Repeat statement about paint. Sigh…I think he is going to be  very unhappy camper when summer comes and the anchorage is actually busy.  Speaking of which, it was empty. As far as I could tell there were one or two other transient boats at anchor and the rest were permanent or permanent moorages.

So we pulled anchor and decided just to grab a mooring ball rather than fuss with the anchor. Only one other person moored as well. And then it was back to Jeeves and Wooster.

Monday (today):

So we woke up to rain and cold (around 11°C) and I decided to fire up the heater. We had tested it at dock and it worked fine but now it just wouldn’t fire up. I really really hate that thing. Anyway I figured out the error code was low voltage so I tried firing it up with the engine running and it finally caught. I let the engine run for 10 minutes before shutting it down and the  heater kept running fine. I suspect new batteries are in our future.

Then it was back to our slip (with the wind from the north which makes it way easier and Rob was there on dock to diagnose the tach problem. Which was a disconnected wire. Easy peasy.

We headed up the chandlery and bought some canvas cleaner and a new fender, picked up our old chartplotter to see if I could repair it and settled in to wait out the rain.

It’s still a crap day and we missed slack Dodd Narrows, so  the decision is we will charge up the batteries and take off tomorrow morning. I will update this all again when we hit Victoria after Saturday. Probably it make it more intersting too, with details and stuff and actual drama and storyline and… then again, maybe not.

Regardless, its good to be back.

2 thoughts on “Back in the saddle again

  1. Hi Bruce, I’ve read a lot of your articles and enjoyed them thoroughly. We are chartering Never For Ever in August 2023. Our goal is to buy a boat once we retire but buying earlier and putting into charter may work out well, as it has for you! Would love to chat and puck your brain one day. Drop me a line. Cheers, Chris.

    • Glad you’ve enjoyed. We are aboard right now enjoying Victoria and the Gulf Islands. I will send you an email and you can “pick” away 🙂

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