Thursday, April 29, 2010

A bit overwhelmed

The list of things to do seems to keep on growing, not shrinking to prepare to leave on our trip south.

Lisa's jobs include figuring out our water capacity, water filtration systems, insurance, interior retrofit (including new slipcovers for the cushions, refinishing the teak table and teak and mahogany trim, plumbing, shower, galley shelves, for starters) and also the kids' school stuff.

Scott is engine, engine and oh yeah, the engine. Also electrical system, sail inventory and getting one for the new furling. Some fibreglass repairs and a few other hugely important items which slip my mind at the moment. Also trying to finish his celestial navigation course.

This while trying to deal with the sailing school, cleaning the house and keeping on top of the empty fridge.

Only three and a half months to go.

My friend Lori came over this week though and we tackled the basement and sorted a lot of boat gear. That is a huge relief.

One thing at a time . . . .

Reminder to self: keep your eyes on the prize . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

At the end of the day we get wet

Messenger goes into the water today - with a ton of VC17 on her hull and some saltwater antifouling on her shaft and prop. The mast will wait until our roller furling arrives. The new baby stay - a separate small forestay fixed to the bow will also be installed on the mast - this will give us a stay for a storm sail and will offer an extra safety component while we're on the ocean should our forestay fail (God forbid). The boat was rigged with that before but went astray during its ownership changes. An inexpensive but handy piece of rigging. The roller furling is also a bit of a safety feature - as any shorthanded boat crew knows - the ability to furl in the genoa becomes enormously important on night watches or if the skipper is unable to assist.

Four months to the day we leave!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An ounce of prevention . . .

So we lined up and got jabbed by Dr. Peeris today - Hep A and B for Scott and I, the same in junior format for Elizabeth and the boys started in with Hep A. The doc is putting us on a fasttrack for vaccinations, usually take a few months and we only have four.

She's recommended we consult with a doctor who specializes in travels so sent off a missive to him.

I also had a chat with our friend Rob Sloot, a pharmacist about his thoughts on what medications might be handy in our soon-to-be robust first aid kit.

Orthodontists onboard after today as well - need to sit back for a bit on Elizabeth which means we may have to remove her braces while we're gone and hope for the best with retainers. Reg will likely have his braces off before he meets us for good in January

Made an appointment to get Reg and Elizabeth in for eye exam too - we need some extra pairs given the rate Reg is going through glasses.

Eye glasses, braces, teeth and jobs. What a day. Now if we could only do something to deal with that roll around the tummy that won't look so good in a bathing suit . . . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

The trip (sort of)

A lot of people wonder about where we're going, how far we'll get and know little about the waterways that once were the highways that built North America.

We're starting in Port Dover and travelling to Buffalo, New York. There we will take our mast down, mount it on a stand on the boat and travel through the Erie Barge Canal. Check out Bruce Springsteen's version of the Erie Canal. Check out

We arrive in Waterford, N.Y. (great spot, we're sure) and then to Albany and the mighty Hudson River.

Then to New York, out to the Atlantic, down to Delaware (ish) and Cheasapeake Bay then the Intracoastal Waterway to points south - Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean and warm water.

As Silver Donald Cameron put it: we'll be sailing away from winter.


Building the floating schoolhouse

This week we're trying to figure out which courses Aidan will register for with the Avon-Maitland distance education program and which we'll leave to home school. Waterford District High School has been great, particularly Mr. Malcolm, Ms. MacKenzie and Paul Winward. We're likely going to take four credits through distance ed and then do three others home schooled with exams when Aidan gets back: geography, math and maybe science. He'll do French in summer school next summer.

Elizabeth is getting lots of support from her home school and her teachers - she'll soon have a blog of her own.

Reg will be staying behind with my mom and dad for the first semester of Grade 11, then doing two courses through e-learning at the Grand Erie Board coordinated through cool Mr. Malcolm. He'll likely earn at least one other through home schooling - geography and/or tech.

We're starting to get excited about this floating school. I've been picking up books to read and just ordered a set of marine biology books for Elizabeth as a surprise - all about reef life, marine biology and Caribbean animals. Can't wait to see those.

I also ordered an bird guide book that includes part of the Eastern Seabord.

We're wondering about trying to register Aidan for the Grade 11 American history course as we will be in the heartland of the birth of the United States and this will make that history come to life.

On Friday the boat goes in the water - four months to the day we leave!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If we leave the closets full will our tenants notice?

So we're trying to clean the basement, the closets, OK, the whole bloody house as get ready to try to rent it out. We have a nice young couple who are interested but this means of course that we need to clean it.

Halfway through closet #1 Scott posed the question, if we leave our junk in the closets will they notice?

I mean at least it gives you the sense of a well-lived house - or something.

The joy of roller furling

We are awaiting the delivery of a roller furling unit this week ordered through Bridge Yachts. Yay. Lisa's excited because it means she has a better shot at controlling the sails on her own while on watch. This quickly rose to the top of necessities for our family when looking at our cruising budget after Lisa wrestled the No. 3 genoa down in a 25-knot wind by herself a season ago. It was not a pretty sight - particularly after flinging her entire body across the bow to get the sail to stay on the bucking bronco of a boat while grabbing the front of the sail to pull it down with one arm (and leg?). There was heavy perspiration, grunts and the applications of several bruises during the course of the incident. Of course this event occurred while we had six guests aboard who had won a cruise we donated to Waterford Minor Hockey's silent auction. They thought this was all part of the experience and during the event could be heard to say 'look at that' 'wow' 'gee, are you OK?' It should be stated that the skipper at the helm had calmly offered assistance at two points but was not so calmly rejected.

So, the roller furling will be offered a toast by this particular crew member.

The bottom paint dilemma

Sometimes you can get too much advice. We have been in a quandry about what kind of antifouling to put on the bottom as we prepare to take the boat into salty territory. Some say strip the bottom, apply gobs of saltwater antifouling (at a cost of $1,000 and God knows how much in A535 and bandaids from the scrubbing). Some say we'll be moving constantly and all we need to do is jump overboard every now and then and scrub like mad (see aforementioned note). Scott, ever the thinker, decided the extra money we would have spent on the paint he could invest in used Scuba gear, and find a reason to get back into diving. We also decided we were running out of time. After applying two coats of regular VC17 we got a note from our friends Ken and Dorothy Wrigley who are still in the BVIs aboard Blue Star after asking their advice last week. Apparently superlube didn't work - but using a paint scraper while snorkeling under the boat repeatedly did. Strongly recommend saltwater antifouling.

Oops. They're not the first ones to tell us to worry about barnacles on the prop and shaft, adding to our antifouling anxiety.

Well, in for a penny....

So, we've decided to forge ahead with yet another coat of VC17 - which has some saltwater antifouling properties and apply some saltwater antifouling to the prop and shaft and an anode on the shaft to assist with protection.

On to the next worry.....