I get increasing numbers of hits about what I have written about boats, sailing and practical tips. We all seem to be raring to go, but we still have at least two months of winter with perishing cold or foul weather.
Perhaps we approach a time for getting out of our own hibernation towards the time for doing maintenance work on boats and spring cleaning in the house. My next project on the boat, apart from some repairs, is making two fixed watertight lockers either side of the centreboard to put my galley and food supplies. I already have a fore compartment for tools and camping equipment – and my safety equipment goes in the lazarette (stern locker). I look forward to the Semaine du Golfe in May – we are already 866 boats registered and it is in four months from now!
It is a frustrating time of year, because it isn’t yet the time to take off the wintering tarpaulin and begin to check everything thoroughly. I suppose I could begin on things like the rudder, mast, gaff and boom. I did my sail repairs at the end of last season (my mainsails are still in the chapel from when they were folded). The first launch of the new season is so far away, but tantalisingly close…
Patience, my dear sailors reading this blog.
My sailboat sits draped with its blue tarp on its trailer in the driveway awaiting the warmer weather. There is some ice where it is docked from the beginning of May until the end of October. The rest of the Georgian Bay appears to be wide open water. Usually, the Sound near us is well frozen over by now with fishing huts all over. We are now well past the usual freeze up dates. Temperatures have been hovering around the freezing mark lately.
It was watching a canoeist on Saturday paddling his racing boat on the river across from our house that really got me a bit antsy about getting back on the water. (I do have to say that he was wearing a diver’s wet suit a jacket and life jacket.)
On Monday just past I went to Toronto–about 3 hours drive–to the indoor Toronto International Boat Show and spent part of the day wandering among like minded (at least with respect to getting on the water, anyway) people, looking at boats from tiny models, small antiques, and up to a 41 foot Hanse sailboat (the mast was not up) and a 52 foot Carver.
I was amazed at the number of people who were sitting with sales people filling out offers of purchase documents. A couple of the sailboats were being advertised–show price–at $CAN 40 – 50,000 off the regular price of $425,000.
I settled for a reuben sandwich for lunch and a new wind vane for the masthead of our boat. It all worked out much cheaper than buying a new boat.
I left the show and started to work my way home around the rush hour. Traffic was slow so I revised my route and found myself at my usually ecclesiastical retailer’s place with time before closing to pick up some altar candles and charcoal and to have some conversation.
All in all it was a good day.
I would be quite tempted by the Hurley 18 which can be found for £1-2K. The fin keel version has a full length keel giving better upwind performance and very good stability in a heavy sea. It is said to be transportable but I fear that it can only be launched by crane from the trailer. Perhaps for the 18 foot version, I might as well have the Hurley 22, which has been known to sail the Atlantic! Both boats are straightforward to sail solo without crew (especially if you don’t use the spinnaker). A lot of thought needs to go into it. For the time being, I sail with my 12 foot Zef and Mirror rig.
We have a 21 foot Sirius–a Canadian make folk boat with a 9.9 HP Honda long shaft motor. We have two jib sails, a mainsail, and a spinnaker which we have never used.
The cockpit is long enough to put a sleeping bag and sleep under the stars.
Mosquitoes and little blackflies are notorious in our area. The day wind generally keeps them away when we are on the water but moored at night we normally sleep in the cabin with screening. There is a little galley and table. The table drops down and makes into a bed. The cabin top raises and can be covered with a canvas tent. It gives us good head clearance in the main part of the boat.
The keel is a retractable one with a winch just inside the cabin. Full up draught is about 20 inches; full done about 5 feet. This is great because, while we have a huge expanse of water for sailing, we also have a wonderful rocky shoreline that wants to be explored. Usually we tow a 16 foot canoe behind and that makes us even more flexible about what we do.
The great advantage of a dinghy is there are no mooring costs, it is easy to launch and recover and the draft with the centreboard and rudder up is measured in inches. My boat can be safely beached on sand and light enough to drag to the water if the tide goes out a little. But, it is cramped if I am camping and sleeping aboard.