Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Only a month to go before we leave the dock....

The trouble with getting ready to sail for a year is that really we haven't had a whole lot of time to sail at all in what is turning out to be the summer of the century. OK, so maybe I'm whining just a wee bit. We've actually only had our boat off the dock three times this year. I'm volunteer driving a vanload of kids down to the Port Dover Harbour Marina all summer for the Port Dover Yacht Club Sailing School (I'm program coordinator, popsicle delivery person and general gopher). Coming over the crest of the hill, the view of Long Point Bay is spectacular nearly every day. Sun shining, setting sparkles over the white crested waters. Sigh. Lucky little whatsits.

We are planning a jaunt across the lake in early August to shake down the boat - we have run out one night to test the new anchor windlass. Very very cool. So easy it seems a sin. One press of the button and the anchor comes up and neatly slides into its groove. No muscle whatsoever. Scott had taken apart and cleaned and repaired the auotpilot so that needed to be reinstalled and tested and that seems to work well also.

The new roller furling that curls the genoa up at the front of the boat is a wonder. It's weird how effortless it is to put the sail away. I can see the attraction for the main. If living in the lap of luxury.

The new batteries are installed, and thanks to Ken and Linda Foote we have a lovely new bimini and joiner at the back of the boat to create a full enclosure around the cockpit. We can now sail in all weather.

I'm trying to squeeze in dishes, pots and pans, utensils and baking equipment into the galley and new storage shelves Scott has built.

I've also started taking loads of books down to what is fast becoming a floating library and schoolhouse. So far though, there is a surprising amount of room on the bookshelf. Scott just pointed out that we still have all of our charts and guides at home. Ugh.

I've said it before but I really mean it this time, pictures this week!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The 65-line list

So, on the first weekend of my leave, Scott kindly developed a project spreadsheet tailored just for me.

It is, in fact, 65 lines long.

So, insurance is under way - travel medical insurance (slightly more than expected), boat insurance (also slightly more than expected) and car insurance costs while we were away (yes, also slightly more than expected).

I spent last weekend running around assisting our friend Heather Rand, who kindly agreed to help cut and sew clever storage panels to substantially increase our storage capacity. Photos to follow of the installation of this great innovation (not quite complete). Heather and her husband Murray stay on their C&C 40 Windswept in the Bahamas six months a year. Scott and Murray met while Scott started his first job at Timberjack in Woodstock 20 ears ago. Murray and Heather were in the final stages (which took them years instead of months) to head south. They are both wizards at creating space where none exists, of fixing and installing just about anything, all with a cheerfulness despite a humidex of 40 or more. Stowage, including designing and building shelves is one of the items on the list and Heather is making that much more enjoyable.

The home schooling portion is coming along nicely.

This week, I also hope to start tackling several safety items on the list - buying and installing jack lines for safety harnesses, locating a place to refurb our diesel fuel fire extinguisher, checking for the expiry on flares,sourcing new automatic inflatable life jackets with safety harness carbines and starting to shop for the first aid and other safety equipment. Also on our list: installing some hammocking on our life lines supplied to us for free by a Ken and Linda Foote of Better Than New who are making us a canvas bimini (awning) for the back of the boat.

The intent of the hammocking is to catch kids or gear or maybe even us in a heavy sea.

Every night we read various articles or books about offshore sailing. Some of the more alarming tales I've relegated to the bottom of the pile.

After all, I'm all for safety first, but really, do I need to know about how to troubleshoot collisions with whales?

Still, I know that at 4 a.m. about a week before we leave I'll have a nightmare about Moby Dick and the lack of a collision mat.

If I can conquer this part of the list, I might make it to line 42.

You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family

So, with Charleston, South Carolina on our itinerary on our travels to the sunny South, I thought it prudent to mention to my cousin who lives there that we would like very much to visit him and his wife and their washing machine when we pass by sometime in November.

Lucky for us, they just finished a whirlwind visit to Ontario to visit family. Thinking of the benefits of a car and facilities, I offered them dinner, plied them with wine, enough so that they by late that night, they were promising visits to Costco and grocery stores and points of interest in Charleston when we arrive.

If only I had family members in Baltimore, West Palm Beach and Cuba.

Friday, July 2, 2010

and so it begins...

Lisa's leave started on July 1 - Canada Day and all of a sudden it seems real, the homeschooling, the route planning, the boat, our family, the leaving behind everything that is familiar. It's a bit overwhelming, scary and thrilling. It's kind of like forcing your eyes to open at the top of the roller coaster, looking down, taking a deep breath and there it is - the scream that allows you to feel alive and in the moment.