Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cat's-Paw IV without the boom, without the boom gallows, without sails, waiting for the new engine.
Well, we got kicked off our boat yesterday! The mechanic who is fixing the engine told us we could have access to the boat and work on while the motor was getting changed, but yesterday his father, who owns the chandlery next door, told us that we couldn't be on the boat because he didn't have insurance to cover us. I totally understand that, but you remember that aluminum bridge that the traveller is attached to that I was trying to paint.

WELL, we had just finished scraping it for the THIRD time (because I had bought and put on the wrong kind of paint) just as I was finishing putting on the primer coat that needs to be covered within 24 hours, the father comes up and politely tells us to GET THE HELL OFF THE BOAT!
Well, I was stupified, there was no way in hell I was going to scrape that thing AGAIN, and once I said something he said it was okay for us to come back and finish off whatever we had to, so we painted the blasted thing, it is now a thing of beauty, but requires a second coat, and because of the long weekend I can't get back on the boat until Tuesday. Probably by that time the tape we put on to hold down plastic bags to cover up the deck, (so I don't get paint on it) will be welded on to the deck and it will take mucho hours to get the stuff off. I HATE THAT ALUMINUM THINGY.

Sooo, we can't get access to the boat for at least another week, after this Tuesday, so Barry and I figured we would go up and visit the Queen Charlotte Islands. His sister lives there and is off on an adventure of her own, being a contract nurse in Pelly Bay, Nunavut (now known as Kugaarut). She will be there for seven weeks so her house is empty and her vehicle is there so we are going to fly to Masset in the Queen Charlotte's next Wed. and spend a week there. It should be lovely and a nice change.

We will fill our long weekend with picking blueberries at Barry's younger sister's place and tying up loose ends that can be done when we aren't near the boat. Maybe we will even get in a round of golf. Hope your August long weekend is sunny, warm and relatively bug free!!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Theres's the old one

and here's the new one.

What a beaut, and it’s even red, one of my favourite colours, it will match that lovely pair of shoes that I have. I may even have to buy a new red pair so that I can match!

Barry is tickled pink, or should I say red about this beauty compared to the ugly old one.

Well, we have access to the boat during the mechanic’s office hours so we can work on our varnishing and we get to watch the process they have to go through to get the motor out. It is quite amazing how much of the boat they have to take apart to get the old one out, and I know you can’t tell from the pictures, but the new one is about two thirds of the size of the old one. So we will possibly have much better access to engine parts that need to be changed because there will be more room in the compartment that it is supposed to go in.

For you boat people you may appreciate the next paragraph. They have had to remove all the molding from around the hatch, they have to take off the cowling that holds the top of the hatch, they have removed all the steps from the boat except the last one so in order to get in now you have to lower yourself very carefully from the deck to the bottom step to get in. (George there are five actual steps with the sixth step being the floor, so I am not sure who has more steps!!) I am learning a lot about the construction of the boat by watching what they are doing.

I am quite happy the motor is getting done, but the amount of work still to be done seems endless and just when I think that it may be still possible to leave in Sept. I discover something that we have to do. I am sure it will end at some point. The new sails are supposed to be here fairly soon, about the first week in August so hopefully they will arrive about the time the engine is done and we can GO FOR A SAIL!!

Hasta la vista.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Heather and the grandkids left this evening. It has been a whirlwind of visiting Great Aunt’s and Uncles and Great Grandma’s, swimming at beaches, swimming holes, and pools and discovering all Sidney has to offer in the way of playgrounds. We had a great time, Grannie Annie didn’t even have time to do any varnishing!!! Grandpa Barry had to forego a few expeditions to help out the plumber repair the hot water heater and the water maker, both of which are now in fine shape. The rigger has been here off and on putting on new running rigging, all the new line looks really nice. He will be back tomorrow to put on a new traveler, the old one had an end broken off and the piece that had broken off was duck taped in place, hmmmmm.

Anyway this rigger is a really nice guy, BUT he had been a cause of a little frustration in my life. The traveler is attached to this aluminum track that is bolted to the deck and fibreglassed in at each end, anyway this lovely strip of aluminum needed to be painted after the traveler had been removed, fine the rigger removed the traveler and Barry and I used a wire brush, scrapper and a copper dish thing to take off every bit of paint. It was a thing of beauty, and then we had to decide what we needed to paint it. Well, glory be, you needed a primer (that had to be mixed seven part to one) and then aluminum or metal paint at $50 a quart to put 2 coats on.
Well, I mixed up the primer in the correct proportions and painted away, then upon reading the can it said the stupid thing was supposed to look yellow afterwards and upon further examination of the directions I was supposed to stir and shake the primer first (duh). So, I repainted the lovely aluminum thingy with what I hoped was the correct proportions, over top of the old not yellow stuff.

Then yesterday the rigger was by and said he was going to take my now primed piece of aluminum and fix it at his shop and I could paint it afterwards. I forgot to tell you that the second coat of real paint had to be applied within 24 hours of the primer. Well, glory be, the rigger’s helper showed up today and said could he attach the traveler now and I being stupefied said “Aren’t you going to take it to the shop?” Well, actually NO he wasn’t!! They were just going to do it right here after I had painted it. So NOW I had to rescrape the whole frigging thing, because it was over 24 hours since I had put the primer on. So out comes the wire brush, scrapper, well Barry says to hell with that and disappears into Sidney to get a wire brush attachment for my new toy, a wireless Dremel tool, and wham, bam thank you Mam, that aluminum strip was once again a thing of beauty, shiny and gorgeous for all eyes.

I proceeded to mix primer again, this time remembering to stir and shake thoroughly, and I repainted. It is a lovely shade of yellow and it awaits the first coat of real paint. I was going to put it on tonight after Heather and the kids left, but after carefully reading the directions and shaking for 5 minutes, as instructed, I opened the sucker and having learned from my mistakes decided I should perhaps stir it up and wouldn’t you know it there was a whack of gucky stuff in the bottom and I put off any further painting escapades until the morning after the paint had been thoroughly stirred and mixed at some wonderful paint shop.

I think that if every little job that I have to do takes as long we will never leave the slip. I am beginning to despair. Barry calls the engine guy and gets the run around “I don’t know where the motor is, I will check, I am not sure when it is going to come in.” Whatever, if you know how to run a business you had better have that motor in here PDQ and if those truckers that are holding up the port of Vancouver are involved they will soon get a piece of my mind, let me tell you.

Anyway if any of you are still with me, thanks for listening to me rant and rave, time for bragging rights for a smitten Grandma. The kids behaved very well while they were here. We got them minnow nets and when the minnows proved too elusive we got small rubber duckies for them to rescue before they floated under the dock or the tide swept them away. Cassidy lost one her top teeth while she was here, so she now has the cutest most endearing smile. Elijah was a whirling dervish, pelting up and down the dock, scaring away crows in Beacon Hill park, seagulls at Stanley Part, and blue herons on our docks. They are both wonderful endearing children and I will sorely miss them. OH MY!
Heather managed to get tan lines and relaxed and enjoyed the fact that there were NO BUGS, that there was grass and flowers everywhere and that her Dad did the dishes after almost every meal, she even mentioned that she might miss her Mom’s bossiness. Hmmm.

At the moment Cat’s-Paw IV looks a little forlorn, she is boom less (at the riggers being repaired) sail less (we are awaiting a new main, new staysail, and a cleaned furling genoa), the boom gallows is gone (Barry took it to get relaminated and was told we need a whole new piece of wood made up) the bimini can not be put up because it attaches to the now absent boom gallows. Her bright work is partially sanded, awaiting further attention, the porthole screens are in the process is being repaired the there is stuff all over the main cabin, it has been pulled out of the aft storage compartment so the plumber can repair the water maker, the rigid vang is off and being overhauled and the list goes on and on.

Soon, though, soon, her sails will be on, all shiny and crinkly and new, the boom will be back, all shipshape and repaired and God and the Vancouver truck drivers willing we will have a new engine in about 2 weeks. That will take us to the middle of Aug, which will leave us about 3 weeks at the outside to get to know our boat and get her prepared for a nonstop week to 10 day passage to San Francisco. Who knows, life will continue if we don’t leave this fall and we will have a chance to show those wuzzie West Coast sailors what sailing North of 60 is like. We’ve sailed in snowstorms before and I have pictures to prove it!!! The lady a couple of slips down was lamenting that there was 25 knots of wind out there the other day, and I’m thinking wow, that must have been a blast, and she was complaining that there was too much wind. Well, maybe I had better keep my mouth shut until I figured out whether I can handle ocean swells. Hope all is well with everyone and keep those comment coming, I love to hear from you. I miss all my buds.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here are a few pictures. They aren't in the order I would like but am just learning and it will improve.

The Good Life continues…my Mom has left and Heather and her two kids have arrived. It is soooo good to see them all again. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them. The kids are fascinated with life aboard, Cassidy, who will be seven in the fall, is figuring out what tides are all about, why the poles with the dock identifications are shorter sometimes than others and how much of the shoreline is showing every time we go out of the marina. Yesterday morning I took both Cassidy and Elijah ( four) out at low tide and we collected shells and put them in their minnow nets, Elijah was absolutely enthralled with all the tiny crabs that he could find hiding under rocks and crawling around.

After lunch Heather and I and the kids went to a fresh water beach and swam and played in the sun and sand all afternoon. It was about 27 degrees with not a cloud in the sky and a slight breeze off the water to keep us from baking. Grandpa had to stay on the boat because a plumber was supposed to come to fix our fresh water pump (he never showed, the part hasn’t arrived yet) that keeps setting off a breaker because a sensor doesn’t work. He is also going to install a new hot water tank, so glory be, I should have really hot water to do dishes and possibly have a shower on board. I just found the shower attachment yesterday!!!! Treasures abound in every nook and cranny and I thought I had found them all!

I have made a one slide Power Point presentation of some pictures that we have and I will try and import it to the blog, if it doesn’t work, I will send it as an attachment to an e-mail and those of you that have Power Point will be able to see some pictures. We don’t have internet hook up on the boat yet, still, (although the electrical guy is coming today) so I have to go into Sidney and sit in a coffee shop and illegally use someone’s unsecured wireless hookup to go online with our laptop. Otherwise I have to send an e-mail to my mother-in-laws computer, that doesn’t have a lot of fancy programs, and then drive for an hour to try and figure out how to get pictures from my e-mail onto the blog site. I know you guys don’t care about all that stuff but it is a frustration for me!!

Heather and the grandkids are here for 10 days and supposedly the new engine should be here sometime this week so we may or may not have to find alternate accommodation (a motor home, if one is available, or a cottage on the beach, or a hotel room). All the trades people are so busy they don’t have time to communicate very well so we have no real idea when the engine is supposed to arrive so we can’t book something yet and OH WELL life goes on J. We are planning on going to Vancouver so the kids can experience the Vancouver Aquarium, and hopefully we can co-ordinate the visit so we can see our life raft that is over there to be serviced being repacked. Apparently it is a 2 to 3 hour process, and I am quite interested in seeing what they do.
The summer is quickly slipping away and we haven’t even had a chance to sail the boat, so the possibility of us leaving in the fall is looking a little dim. We did talk to someone in a chandlery and he said people leave in Jan. or Feb. and sail down, it has been done and the weather forecasting is so much better now that you probably could find a good weather window to make the trip to San Francisco. Barry, of course, the eternal pessimist, the cautious safety conscience person that he is, is sure that we won’t leave and we will not be able to leave until next summer. The prospect of living aboard in rainy, dreary, coastal B.C. for a winter does not please me one bit. I think we would both look for some kind of work in the fall if we are unable to get the boat into shape on time to leave in the fall.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cleaning and fixing is the name of the game for the last week. The boat is ours, but since the incident with the motor on the way to Roche Harbour, Barry had decreed that we will not take the boat off the dock until the motor is fixed. Oh well, there is plenty to do without sailing so we have been cleaning the boat from top to bottom and sorting out all the spare parts, old crap, useful stuff and .... well you get the picture.

My Mom arrived last week and she spent the week sewing up a storm. For those of you that have met my Mom and seen samples of her handy work you will remember that she is an absolute whiz with a sewing machine.. We all went to Victoria and picked out some pretty wild yellow and blue material and my Mom made curtains for the aft cabin and the V-berth, plus a fitted tablecloth for our teak fold down table, a cover for the part of the mast that is below decks and a bunch of sachets filled with lavender to make our lockers and cupboards smell good. Bless her heart, she also managed to repair the bimini ( for you land lubbers, that is some material that covers the cockpit so you don't fry in the tropics, it also keeps the rain off). We managed to get in a visit to the Butchart Gardens before she left and there was much laughing and giggling going on aboard as she designed the mast cover. It reminds me of a very large, very bright blue and yellow condom. ANYWAY!!!

While my Mom was sewing I was tackling the weathered teak on the deck and Barry was dragging huge hoses out of the bilge, cleaning them up and seeing if the hand pump worked. The former owner was a fireman so hoses are rated for 85 psi!! We should never sink because there is too much water on the boat. We have had a plumber on board to check out the water maker and all the pumps, etc. and I have been learning about systems that I never dreamt existed, at a great rate. Trish's significant other is an electrician so we called him and quizzed him on how our batteries, etc. should operate, my brother is a computer guy so he is working on getting our new laptop hooked up to a wirelss system and on and on.

For recreation we ride our bikes around North Sannich and take our zodiac out for a spin and explore the area by water. It's great, last time we set out we forgot to take a chart so putted around slowly and gazed around and managed not to get lost. The marina we are at is located fairly close to the ferry terminal in Sidney, it is a lovely spot with a new subdivision being developed right on the water. The houses are HUGE, with the norm being 3 car garages, once we get our laptop configured I promise I will add pictures.

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer, it rains one day and it's sunny the next down here ( not great for varnishing) but it is warm all the time and being on the water it cools off beautifully at night. Until next time!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Hurray for our side, hurray at last!!!!
It's officially all ours. Woopee! and what an adventure we had getting it. We set out on Wednesday morning, July 6 to sail to Roche Harbour in the San Juan Islands in Washington State so we could officially take possession of the boat. The morning had started out being quite windy, so I figured the boat would be able to get out there and show us what it could do, the wind gradually dropped as we scurried around stowing everything that would move and tying the dynghy to the deck. By the time we left with the hired captain aboard the wind had dropped considerably. We sailed about half way across to the San Juan's and the wind died and we started motoring and the adventure began.
We had the motor revving at about 2000, 2200 RPM's and we were going great guns. We were chatting and talking and enjoying the sunshine as Cat's-Paw IV made her way merrily across the strait, then
HOLY SMACK, smoke started pouring out of the engine exhaust and the engine up and quits!!
It was like a frigging sauna down below, the hired dude heads down the stairs and we start opening every hatch and porthole that is on the boat. UGGH it was so hot and steamy down there it was unbelievable. We had to madly unfurl the genoa and try and maintain steerage in a fast flowing tide and very little wind.
We waited about 15 minutes for the engine to cool down and then Barry and I poured about 5 liters of water into the radiator, then we tried the engine again. Barry was sent below to watch to see if there were leaks and sure enough a hose was leaking like a sieve. SOOOOO, we turned the boat around, still not having landed in the U.S. and sailed very slowly back towards Canadian waters as Barry and the hired dude tried to fix the engine. Well, the sailing gods were with us, and as luck would have it the hired dude (whose name is Gerry, by the way) was a steam engineer in the navy, in another life, and we had put all the spare parts from the previous owner aboard and low and behold the owner had a quite rare, but entirely necessary ELBOW hose, that would do as a replacement.
We very tentatively started the engine again and chugged slowly towards Roche Harbour, very careful monitoring of the engine was taking place the whole time. We managed to dock at the Customs Hut and Barry went ashore and did all the paper work. Then we moved the boat to another dock and we all went ashore and and had lunch. Mission accomplished, now we just had to get back to Canada.
Well the ride home was very uneventful, except for the popping of a cork once we hit Canadian waters. We toasted everyone and everything, and the bow got sprinkled with champagne and there were smiles all around. We safely landed back in Canada and Gerry informed us that, that was the longest delivery he had ever made. We thanked him profusely, gave him a large tip and proceede to have our first real meal aboard. Man, will we ever be able to do anything the easy way.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Well we did it!

We actually got a big, beautiful boat!!!

A 1984 Fast Passage 39.

VOILA ---- Yippeee!

Cat's-Paw IV

We finalized the deal yesterday. The boat is ours, we've paid for it, but we can not sail or motor on it until Wednesday. Shit, I can't believe I paid for it but can't sail it, talk about tremendous amounts of frustrations.

Although we can't sail it we do have the use of it at the dock, so today Barry and I scrubed and puttzed to our hearts content. Barry managed to change the navigation lights on the bow and helped me figure out how our bimini was attached. He saw where the attachments were, I'd still be looking. I scrubbed lines, cleaned the decks, stowed away a bunch of stuff and made ourselves at home.

We took time out to take the zodiac dinghy for a ride. There is no motor, the paddles that they had were ready to disinigrate to we took some huge oars. Have you ever tried to make a zodiac move with oars that don't fit? WELL, we evenutally use the oars as paddles and if we paddled at exactly the same time we actually went in a straight line. Two guys went whizzing by us in kayacks and one guy said, "Wow that's teamwork!" It ended up that he was moored in the next slip to ours so we had a nice chat.

I kept having to pinch myself to believe that I was traipsing up and down the deck to get stuff, and I belonged. I have a key to the marina gate and don't have to wait for someone to come by and then slip in like a trespasser once they are through. We have a BIG BOAT and it's ours.

If any of you are in the Victoria area this summer make sure you drop by for a visit. We would love to see you, you can reach us on cell at 250 812-0222.

I am hoping to get my pots and pans and cutlery and such like tomorrow so we can have a meal aboard. I have lists like crazy of things that need to be done, insurance, registry, have the fire extinguisher's tested, have the EPIRB re-registered to our name and on and on. IT IS SO MUCH FUN.

Happy CANADA DAY. Hope yours was as much fun as ours.