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Monday, 27 May 2013

Let's Get Started

So back from Cuba, I started the new job, and new life, part I.

We took possession of the boat April 27, and we had a boys weekend, getting the boat ready for launch. Some might call it slave labour, but I bought my son and his buddies, Tim Hortons, and pizza! It was a cold weekend, but we made the best of it. An army of heaters kept us almost warm. We sanded the sanded the below water hull, and repaired a few blemishes, before putting a very mediocre new bottom on it. Any real sailor would call our efforts pathetic, but the plan is to do it properly in the off season, giving us a shiny new coat to go away with.

The next weekend, May 4, was my birthday. I found it fitting that we launched the boat, and spent my '20-26th' birthday on the boat, for the first time. Once I came to fully understand that a boat is a "hole in the water, that you pour money into" I began to second guess the charm of my gift!

May 4th also happened to be the day we took the boat for the test sail. First up, we had a canvas guy come and quote us for an enclosure for our dodger/bimini top. It's scary how they see fit to spend money we don't have, as casually as I spend my time writing nonsense about selling t-shirts on the beach! Another $2500 or so, to find! Next up, Ewan Campbell, the boat broker, showed up around 9am, to accompany us on the test sail. Because the anchor went missing before we took possession, Ewan brought us a replacement, in lieu of the absentee seller. After a half hour of rigging the boat, it was nearly time for our first sail, but first, the name changing ceremony.

Ewan has sailed around the world, and is the man to see in the Georgian Bay region, if you're buying or selling a sailboat. He has been around boats for most of his life, and is quick to answer any question I've had. We were certain he would be a veteran of the re-naming ceremony. Shocker to find out that he's never been a part of one. Luckily we found very credible instructions on the Internet, on how to conduct such a ceremony!

We headed out of the marina, and drifted into Midland Bay, where we summoned, via Skype, those who couldn't attend in person. We called out to the Keepers of the Ledger Deep, to erase from memory, the old name, which can't be recalled by this writer. We offered a libation to those same keepers, in consideration of their efforts. Next we offered libations to the Gods of the Winds, asking for fair winds and smooth seas. The Gods of the Winds are said to be brothers, so we offered a libation to each of the Gods, Great Boreas, (North ), Great Notus (South) , Great Eurus (East ), and Great Zephyrus (West). We uncovered the new name, Tranquilo, and raised our glasses in toast to her new identity. I'm not sure what Ewan thought of our formality, but the champagne was free, so I'm guessing that's why, he didn't throw us over, so one has to think he was sincere in his appreciation of being included.

On to the test sail, we motored around Midland bay, testing the engines first, before raising the sails. The surveyor told us the engine was 'like new', and it seemed to live up to that expectation. We raised the jib first, and the gentle breeze swept up the sail, and carried us across the bay. After a quick tack, we raised the main sail, and enjoyed another lift in speed. Leanne, now at the helm, got a bit of a startle, as the breeze turned to wind, and started to lean the boat a little more than her liking.

After about a half hour, sailing around alarm set in as the engine would start, then stall. Start, then stall. Finally, we got the engine going, and limped into the dock. The marina had serviced the engine the day prior, so we hoped the mechanic could offer some insight. He explained to us, an issue of a non Yanmar fuel pump installed, likely to save money. He showed us how to deal with the issue, and cautioned that installing the original equipment was the safest way to ensure no future problems. We were planning to make our first run, from Midland, to our new marina in Penetanguishene, and he assured us we would be ok. We filled the fuel tanks, and started out... stall! We started again, and managed to get on our way.

We charted our voyage the night before, and almost convinced ourselves that we knew what we were doing. We set out on a course to the first buoy, then lined ourselves up with the range at the base of Midland Harbour, on the reciprocal of 152 degrees. The range markers lined up, and we were stoked!! We chose to motor for our first voyage, to give a long rested engine, a chance to get back in action. Leanne took the helm, and I sought out the markers. I reflected on the story told by Renee Petrillo, in A Sail of Two Idiots, and wondered if we had earned the right to call ourselves 'Idiots'? Soon we had found the buoy marking the entrance to Penetang harbour, and started in. If you've been to this harbour, you know the entrance is less than visible. It's a crooked harbour, with islands straddling the opening, creating the illusion that there is no entrance. The confidence in our navigation, was challenged to the apparent lack of an entrance. We proceeded cautiously, and eventually made our way in past Whiskey Island, around Asylum Point, and found the range markers at the base of the harbour. So jubilant were we, we didn't even think to use the range markers, to measure the deviation on our compass.

As we proceeded into Bay Moorings Marina, the reality began to set in, that it was almost time for my first docking. I tried to explain to Leanne that it would be good for her to learn how to do this... no luck! I slid around the break wall, through to the entrance to our section, and slipped into slip 222 with no hassles... except that we later discovered our slip was two over. But we were home safe!


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