Friday, 31 July 2009

9 Days and Too Much to Do...

We are on the home stretch before our big trip to Georgian Bay.

If you had asked me 2 months ago how things would look by now, I would have smugly replied that there would be a line-up of packed Rubbermaid bins in the front hall, each labelled with their contents, the boat would be tuned and ready to go, our charts would be marked and the transits into each anchorage plotted and ready for transfer to the GPS.

All the marinas would have reservations, our lights and new gear tested and in place, and our food packaged by day, with a shopping list for each port of call. Everything would be installed, in place, and lined up ready for packing into the boat. Instead, we are still trying to work out the basic kinks in preparation for the trip.

The packing list is coming along nicely. Its a month late, but as I type this, SWMBO is wrapping it up.

  • We haven't bought our new gear yet, let alone tested it.

  • Nothing is packed.

  • I still have to install the tether point for buddy, get the new chain hooked up properly, and change the bulb in our steaming light.

  • I haven't built an A-frame.

  • I've marked the charts for where the anchorages we want to use are, but I haven't got a clue about how to get into them. I haven't found secondary or tertiary locations in case the wind is coming from the wrong way.

I did call the marinas to make sure we would be able to get in and get spots. They tell me I'm over-planning this, just show up - there will be room. I have a hard time with that since I don't like surprises. "Surprise! Your batteries are dead and you can't plug in!" That would really suck. Tonight I have to get a haircut, cut the lawn, and then I can look at starting to pull the stuff together that's on the packing list and refine my shopping list. I'm also hoping to get down to the marina to get a tracing of our hatchboards so I can make a screen insert.

It should be a busy weekend.

Doing Your Homework

When one receives a catalogue from a sign manufacturer

And upon flipping through said catalogue briefly, one finds that the company is selling a sign that is no longer legally allowed to be used, and a sign that's been replaced from everyday use by another, and one is not even looking carefully through the catalogue, what does one do with said catalogue from said manufacturer?

(I feel like I'm reading a resume full of spelling errors here)

Not only does one find that the catalogue is full of misinformation and is poorly written, but ones's department does not even deal with sign installation... yeah, these guys made a GREAT first impression here.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Half a Chain... of Chain

Ok, so the title is cheesy. A chain in surveying is a measurement 66 feet long. I just bought half of that... in chain. Get it?

Anyway, I've been in the hunt for high quality anchor chain at low budget prices lately. The stuff at Home Depot and Canadian Tire says "Imported by: COMPANY" but doesn't say where from. When I Googled the company names I get websites that say they both manufacture and import chain and cable. Again, no hints of where.

Now I'm fairly patriotic, but that isn't the driving factor in my chain dilemma. The driving factor is that Chain made in ISO countries tends to be more dependable than chain made to ISO standards in non ISO countries. As it was explained to me, some places try to hit the top of the standard, and maintain consistency, while others are just happy to be within the bracket.

When your family is depending on this chain to hold you in place you want to know that it is at the top of the standard. Every link. You want to be sure that the chain was made to spec and accurately tested and reported. Around here that means it should say "Made In Canada" or "Made in USA" on it. In big letters. It should also be graded, and marked with the grade. I think stuff made in Europe would be fine too.

Chain of unknown origin can be had for cheap. Chain that is tested and proven is more pricey. I don't do pricey well.

The car that keeps on breaking was broken down (again) last week, and being that it is completely weird, it needed custom fasteners to hold components in place. I needed to go to an industrial supply to buy screws of strange sizes. 4 of them. While I was there I noticed they had chain and shackles there.

It was labelled "Made in CANADA." Each link was stamped with its grade. the price was reasonable. I had my source. Finding me chain is the first good thing I the piece of crap car has done for me. Oh - and pulling the boat straight on the trailer that one time.

How much chain to carry is an interesting question. According to the bible of small boat handling; "Chapman Piloting: Seamanship & Small Boat Handling", you need 1 foot of chain for every 1/2 foot of boat as a minimum. For Iris that would mean a minimum of 12-1/2 feet of chain. BUT... More chain allows the anchor to dig in better, and 12-1/2 feet is a MINIMUM. Since the chain is heavy, it drags the anchor across the bottom of the lake, forcing the flukes in, so more is better.

To figure out how much chain and rope you need out to anchor overnight, you need to complete the following math:

(Freeboard X 7) + (depth of water at high tide X 7) = 7:1 scope

Aside: In bad weather/strong currents/exposed anchorages, this is usually changed to a 10:1 scope ~ (Freeboard X 10)+(depth of water at high tide X 10) = 10:1 scope

Since I'm too lazy to actually do the math, I got to thinking about cutting the work in half. Our freeboard (height from the top of the water to the bow of the boat) never changes, so I could round it to 4 feet, and be pretty sure I was safe. 4 X 7 = 28 feet. I can mark the anchor rope at 28 feet and automatically add on the (depth of water X 7) part to it. No problem. Now how to mark it?

AHA! I could just be extra safe and get 28 feet of chain (rounded up to 30 feet for an extra degree of safety). Now when I go to anchor I automatically let out all the chain as the freeboard part of the equation, and then let out (depth X 7) of rope (sailors call it rode). Bingo - Half the math, and all the pleasure!

The weight of the chain to buy is a little more specific. Since the chain is there to weigh down the anchor, dampen shock loads to it, and slow the movement of the boat, you want to be sure it is heavy enough to do its job. You also want to be sure it won't be too heavy and hard to handle.

In Chapman's it suggests that 1/4" chain is adequate for a boat like Iris. I wanted to be sure that on Georgian Bay, where things can get bad we would be held well, and the weight of the chain would really dampen our movement, so I went 1 size up to 5/16"

After all this thinking and hunting, I bought 30 feet of 5/16"Canadian made chain, cleverly asking the clerk for half a chain... of chain. She didn't get it.

Lawnmowers & Daddy

My Buddy knows that Daddy is the one who does the lawnmowing around the house.  As we have an acre & a quarter or so, we have a riding mower.  Buddy stays in the house while Daddy is mowing, but he'll watch him from the window, and wave when Daddy goes by.

When he hears the mower coming, he'll run to the window, to see Daddy and wave (Daddy is usally concentrating on the lawn, and does not necessarily wave back though).

Our neighbours all have similar or larger parcels, so they also have riding mowers.  Bud figures that any man riding on a mower is Daddy.

Have you ever tried to take your Baby for a walk down the street, and have him point at the neighbour on the mower and yell "Da!  DA! DADADADA."

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Tennis Ball in a Sock???

I need to start this post with a thank-you to all the people who emailed me packing lists so that I could round out mine and be sure nothing was left at home.

One of the lists we got had "Tennis ball in Sock" on it. This was the same list that differentiated between white underwear and coloured underwear, so I know this person is detail oriented. I just can't figure out why you need to pack a tennis ball in a sock. If you travel with a dog, maybe. But this person didn't have dog food on the packing list (I checked).

Maybe the dog eats people food.

What would motivate you to pack - individually - a tennis ball in a sock, and itemize it so you wouldn't forget it? Is it used as an anchor float? Do you put it in the dryer when you reach port to prevent your clothes from clumping? Do you play tennis while aboard? Do you throw it at passing vessels in a massive game of tag? Does the colour of the sock matter? What about the colour of the tennis ball? Do you need matching shorts? I cannot honestly think of a reason to pack a tennis ball in a sock for a sailing trip. I have tried to think of a reason to do it, and can't.

SWMBO and I ran through every scenario we could imagine for it, and have come up empty. I am open to suggestions of what the tennis ball in the sock does that I haven't considered yet. Right now we are assuming that it is OK to pack tennis balls and socks separately.

My most plausible use is that it gets put in the bilge, and if you see the tennis ball/sock float past you in the cockpit, you will know the boat is sinking.

Incidentally, I haven't done it yet but our "Sailing your own boat packing list for cruisers" or whatever it should be called so Google will find it needs updating because there were some Very Good suggestions that came out of my begging for help in various online venues.

We are in process with the compilation, and currently have over 300 items in the unculled list. Our evenings consist of lovingly asking questions like: "Do we already have shampoo on the list?" or "Do garbage bags fall into galley supplies or cleanup? How about Ziplocs? Should we have a separate plastic bags section?"

Some of the ideas I got in the packing lists reminded me of the "50 reasons to bring a condom on a canoe trip" discussion I was once part of. It is amazing how versatile a condom can be. You honestly do need one on a camping trip - not just to prevent babies.

Condom uses I can remember:
  • Prevent babies
  • hold approx 1 gallon of water (water pail)
  • Can be fitted directly onto water filter
  • make a pinhole in receptacle tip to irrigate wounds (with the clean water you filtered into it)
  • tourniquet
  • slingshot shooter part thinggy
  • rubber band
  • surgical glove
  • to make replacement seals for fuel bottles
  • the foil wrapper was good for something I can't remember
  • rubber makes good firestarter
  • Bungee Cord Extension
  • Waterproof Storage
  • etc.
Anyway, tennis ball and sock ideas anyone? Toss 'em in the comments section and lets see what sticks.

Monday, 27 July 2009

In the Garden some more

'cause even though it dosen't feel like summer, we better get our butts out there and enjoy what we've got, right?

Buddy, helping Mama

The tomaotos are going to be ripe right when we go away.... boo

Mommy's flowers are just for looking at....

Back of the garage


I forget what this is, but it is a perennial that I was expecting to loose over the winter.  It looked gorgeous by the end of last summer, and it looks like this summer will be the same

Back of the garage / house

Trellis for the Peas & Clems

Can you visualize my new garden in here?

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Around the Yard

I haven't told my husband yet, but this tree's days are numbered.  This is the before shot of the garden, before the weeding was started, before the tree gets yanked.

I'm nearly done weeding it now, but that tree... I hate that tree.

Poor hubby is going to come home one day, and as he drives up to the house, he'll see me in the yard with a saw in one hand, and the tree in the other.

There are a few Lily's that don't look very happy, a Seedum (sp?) and a Hosta in the garden.  I don't really like the garden in general, and am really torn about whether I will even keep it. I may move all the plants I like to the new garden that I'm planning (still trying to wrap my head around it all).

I found that while I was weeding this spot, I was really uncomfortable.  The road is just on the other side of the creek there, and it felt kinda weird being gawked at by everyone on their way home from work.  At least when I'm working up by the house, I feel a little more secure.

The debate is whether or not I can pull the tree, and not have it look dumb (it does kinda need some height... maybe), and whether I can plant it to be very, very low maintenance.  If I can throw anoter Hosta in there, and then just ignore it and let it do it's thing, it may be ok.

So, the process that I'm thinking is:

1) cut down the stupid ugly tree
2) put down cardboard over the garden, but around the plants that I like
3) mulch over top of the carboard
4) plant any Hosta's / whatnot to fill in the gap left by the tree
5) hope that the cardboard prevents all the grass form coming through again.  I kinda think that the previous owners just threw some mulch on the yard and turned it into a garden, without actually taking the grass out, because the grass is just prevailant through there.  It's what I've spent the past three nights pulling!

Any thoughts?

Friday, 24 July 2009

A call for Crew - Night Race August 8-9th

It looks like we will be short a couple folks for the night race. Ideally we should have 3-4 people on board for it, but right now it looks like Patty and I are the only ones confirmed.

The race goes from Barrie Yacht Club, around Lake Simcoe, and then back to Barrie Yacht Club and starts on the 8th of August, ending on the 9th.

In a perfect world, 3 people would be on deck and one sleeping at all times.

If we only get 3 people for crew this time around, then we will have three on deck for the start, and then send one person to bed right afterwards, rotating a person out of the watch every 2 hours or so. This way everyone should stay well rested no matter how long the race runs.

Remember, we are in first place overall right now, and we can't afford to miss this race! We need you!


Chuckie comes home tonight, and we can't wait.

Especially Buddy. The poor little guy can't understand where his sister is. Every time he sees a girl, he looks, and you can just see him thinking "is that one mine??"

We went to a playground the other day, and he kept hugging all the girls (flirt!), but I'm pretty sure he was trying to find his sister.

Whenever we walk past the family picture on the wall, we'll stop, and say "Where's Chuck? Where's your sister?" And he grins and points right at her.

Of course, she's coming home, packing, and then heading to Guide camp almost right away. But she'll be back next Saturday for the rest of the summer, and then my little guy will be happy, 'cause he'll have his big sis back!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

I am thinking of some projects

Alternatively titled, "The post wherein my husband's head explodes"

So, on the weekend, hubby & I cleaned all the windows inside & out on the main floor, and all the windows outside on the upper floor. When I say ‘we,’ what I mean is he did all the outer stuff, and I ran around inside trying to amuse a baby while scrubbing windows and finding odds & ends that needed to be out away before I could reach said windows. That’s why he got all the outer ones done, and I got sidetracked in the kitchen.


Except for the fact that we cannot scrub the paint enough. The dirt and oil and ‘kitchen mess’ etc. is just stuck on. So, we need to paint, right? RIGHT???

We are *ahem* negotiating over colours at the moment. I want a “terra cotta” like colour… kinda pinky-orange…. You know, like a sunset… the red sky at night, sailor’s delight kind of sunset.

He thinks that Mattel may sue us for copyright infringement. Seems that the colour I’ve chosen reminds him of Barbie Doll Pink. I assure you it is not, I once had a bedroom that colour (That’s how it was painted when we moved in. It took four coats of paint to remove), and this is not Barbie Doll Pink.

So this weekend, if I can get him onboard, I will be painting. Of course, I could send him away for a week, and when he comes home, it will be a different colour. Sortof like how when he went canoeing a few years ago, and when he returned, the computer room that had been builder’s beige when he left was bright blue!

And this is just one project… I’m still trying to wrap my head around how to describe what I want to do out in the yard…..

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Before & After


New Garden

And now:

Even the grass in front of the garden looks much greener!

3 'Round Tuits Pt III

With the Playpen tested and the COB pole in place it was time for the final tiny task.

Imagine yourself on a sun-drenched beach, girly drink in hand, warm breezes blowing through your hair. You are likely lying down. You probably don't want to have to swim to lie down, and probably fibreglass isn't a good thing to lie on. If you are lying in the sand, you will have to wash off, and that's like work, and no one wants to have to do that.

You need a hammock.

If I could rig a hammock on Iris, it would save me the hassle of swimming to a beach and stringing it between 2 trees. It would also mean that I was closer to the drinks that are aboard.

I took our backyard hammock off its frame and looked around the boat for likely places to hang it. The immediate place that came to mind was from the mast padeye where we would attach the whisker pole when sailing, forward to the forestay at the bow.

By attaching the jib halyard at the bow, I was able to hold the hammock in place on the forestay, and adjust its height. The mast padeye held the other end of the hammock nicely, and when I lay down in it, the whole thing was tensioned just right. All I needed was a margarita.

On Sunday afternoon, I rigged the hammock and SWMBO gave it a try. I may never get to lie in it again. Now I need to locate a second hammock and attachment point. Maybe from the boom? Maybe if I go from the forestay to the shrouds I could put 2 hammocks up beside each other. Hmmmm. More testing required.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

3 'Round tuits Pt II

Spotting a person who has fallen off a boat is a difficult thing. If waves and weather conspire against you, it can be damned near impossible. Sailing with 2 children aboard, we have higher probability of facing a crew overboard (COB) situation than most of the other sailors we know.

We hope that teaching the kids good safety practices will prevent us having a COB, but things happen, so preparedness and safety are very important.

In order to be as safe as possible, SWMBO and I have both taken Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) accredited course, and either one of us could, if needed, perform a crew overboard manouever in order to recover lost crew. BUT you can't rescue a COB if you can't see them. Thats where the COB pole comes in.

A COB pole is quickly deployed buoy that is thrown overboard the moment you notice a crew member has fallen in. The buoy has 2 purposes. First, the COB is to swim to the buoy, which has an internationally recognized symbol for crew overboard flying at the top of it. Any passing boat *should* recognize that the person is in distress, and stop to recover them.

The second feature of the COB Pole is that it stands about 6 feet high in the water, and is of bright colours. In heavy seas, even if it drifts, the COB pole should be much more visible than trying to spot a bobbing head down at water level.

Mounting the pole on the pushpit was easier than I expected. It just took 2 hose clamps to put a holster in the railing, and the thing is ready to go. Now it is perched on the transom at the ready.

Of course Rule 1 is still that no one is allowed to fall in.

Someone explain this to me....

Chuckie left on July 2.

I did all the laundry that first week that she was gone, including EVERYTHING in her room, all her bedding, towels, etc.


Are there little gremlins sneaking into the house during the day, going through her dresser, and tossing her socks into the basket????

Monday, 20 July 2009

3 ‘Roud Tuits Pt I

There are things that you know will make life better, but you procrastinate, forget to do, or what have you. This weekend I decided to take 3 of those things off my list. They were all fairly benign, small tasks that really would only take a minute, but would make life easier. The first was Buddy boy’s sleeping arrangements.

When he’s aboard Iris Bud sleeps tucked between SWMBO and I, which is to say he sleeps with his feet in one of our ribs and his head on the other one’s face. Sometimes he kicks. After about an hour of this, SWMBO will take him and put him against the hull since she is paranoid that in his sleep Bud will fall out of the vee berth and onto the floor.

I am usually supportive of this since it means bud is trapped between SWMBO and the hull and can no longer kick/smother me. SWMBO says she doesn’t sleep well while on the boat. I wonder why since I wake up well rested.

In order to help SWMBO sleep better I keep saying we should check to see if Buddy Boy’s playpen will fit on the boat. If it did, then he could sleep in baby-jail while SWMBO and I snuggle in the vee berth. Of course I never think to take the playpen to the boat with me. Last Friday I finally remembered to take it.

The playpen fit in the salon with about 6” for SWMBO and I to shimmy into the vee berth. Perfect! Since it fit, SWMBO agreed to spend the night aboard! BONUS!

Only one thing… we couldn't find a pacifier for buddy, and if he saw us he stood up in the playpen and wailed with his arms stretched out. He didn’t think he should have to go to bed. SWMBO and I sat out in the cockpit for about an hour waiting for him to fall asleep while the wailing continued in the boat. Finally, it stopped and we thought that maybe it was safe to go back in.

Using our best secret agent moves we slipped into the vee berth via the fore-hatch, and were met by Buddy boy standing in the playpen staring at us with big eyes. Busted.

At least he wasn’t crying. Yet.

As SWMBO and I got the blanets laid out in the vee berth, she came across something hard and plastic – BINGO! We had left a pacifier on board last time we had buddy there.

10 minutes later, buddy was asleep, but SWMBO and I stayed up at least an hour longer fighting over who got more blankets and who was hogging the bed. Anyway, the playpen fits onboard, and now we can sleep in peace – as long as SWMBO doesn’t steal the pillow.

Weebles Wobble

But I wish these fell down!!

These are the crayon markers that are advised for little guys.  They are supposed to fit nicely in the baby's hand (which they do), but everytime he puts them down, they go marker up.

Then he grabs the marker end, because he can't figure out how to turn it upside down!!  And then he pounds the paper, and tries to make it clour like Mommy just showed him... but it isn' working!!

Oh well.  At least he noticed the colour this time.  The first time we tried these, he didn't even realize the cause-and-effect factor, that the paper was changing its apearance!

Sunday, 19 July 2009


I guess that they fit.....

But I don't think that those square blocks were what was supposed to go in that!!
Unfortunatly, the camera wasn't handy when he hit the button, and was most perplexed when they didn't come flying out the top, like the balls do that belong with the toy!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

What happens

When you put the Buddy in his baby proofed room, so that you can sleep in a little on a Saturday morning?

When you go to get him, you find this!

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Friday, 17 July 2009

My very own buttons

My little Buddy loves buttons. Radio, remote control, phone, cell phone, GPS, handheld radio on the boat.... all of them.

When we were in the restaurant the other night, he was “talking” on his dinner roll…. Have you ever had to say to your child “please eat your telephone now, it’s dinner time.”

He tried to put Grandma on speaker phone the other day… I guess he just wanted to chat, eh?

I went to bed the other night, and looked at my clock.... why does it say that it's 3:00 in the afternoon???

He's figured out how to turn on & off both Mommy and Daddy's clock radios. They are both different makes, different manufacturers, different colours.... but he know where the on and off buttons are on EACH OF THEM!!

The other day Daddy was shopping and found buttons, just for the Bud:

He was nearly levitating trying to GET THE BUTTONS while Daddy was unwrapping them, and taking off all the zip ties etc.

Now he has his own buttons… and so all other buttons have become off limits. This morning he kept looking at me, and looking at my radio…. “No Buddy, you have your own buttons now. Leave Mommy’s radio alone please!”

And... instead of talking on his dinner roll.... he has a phone to talk on:

Packing & Shopping List


When I was a kid, we took a trip via mobilehome from Kitchener to PEI with a variety of stops along the way. I still remember my Mom bringing boxes and boxes of assorted sundries out to the camper and stashing them away in every hidey hole and cubby she could find. Eventually the motor home was packed and we trundled down the road - only to realize we had forgotten something, and would have to pick it up at the next town. Then we'd have to cram whatever it was into some other spot in the caravan and continue on our way.

When we take Iris to G-Bay, it will be just like that, only there will be more stuff to bring, less places to buy forgotten stuff, and greater implications if we miss some crucial piece of equipment. Oh, and it will be a 20 minute drive from the marina to the house for whatever we forget - if we catch it before we cast off our lines and head for the unknown.

To avoid unwanted surprises I've started a packing list. I just realized I entirely forgot a tool kit... Stuff we still have to buy is highlited red.

First Aid and Emergency Supplies
First Aid Kit - Cockpit First Aid Kit – SalonBenadrylSunblockAfterburn Cream
Aspirin/TylenolChapstickZinc cream (nose)
Safety Gear
Handheld VHF and chargersHandheld VHF battery adaptorSearch Lights and chargerHeadlampHandheld GPS and cable
Extra fuel tanksChartsDividersPorts Guide to Georgian BayBatteries (AA, AAA)
Radar ReflectorCell PhoneCell phone chargersBinocularsFibreglass repair kit
Bungs for through-hullsUnderwater epoxySewing Kit
Rigging & Boat Supplies
Dock Ropes, spare cordageShore Power110V extension cord and adaptorMast A-Frame and mast suppliesDinghy (outboard, fuel tank, pump, repair kit, oars)
Screen Hatchboard insertsBoom tent/tarpKellet, line, and swivel snapsSpare Parts (Anchor Chain, Shackles)LED click-it lights (cabin)
BungeesBucket (2 if there is room)Burgee
Cooking & Galley
Butane StoveButane fuel CellsPrimus StoveNaptha Gas Water filter
Collapsible Water jug Corn skewersNon-stick pots and pansCoffee PressCoffee
Coffee mugsKabob sticksMetal spatulaPlastic spatulaPlastic spoon
TongsSilverwareDrawer-liner place matsPlates, saucers, cupsMeasuring cups
Folding colanderPan/BBQ sprayCheese slicerHot padsDishtowels
NapkinsPaper towelsBio-friendly dish soapDish spongeWine glasses
Salt and PepperKetchup, Mayo and mustard Knifes – cutting and breadChip Clips Garbage Bags
Mini spice rackLightersMedium zip lock bags (with a few big ones stuffed in)Nalgene Bottles (6)
Creature Comforts
Roll of quarters for showersMP3 Player and chargerBath towelsToilet paperHeater
Solar ShowerSleeping bags and pillowsLaptopCameras (Disposable, old digital, new digital)Small umbrellas
Mosquito netting (forward and companion-way hatches)Mosquito spray (Muskol) and Avon Skin so SoftCitronella lamp oilMosquito coilsPlay pen (check fit)
Swim toys (noodles, goggles, polypropylene line and Type IV CushionsHammock (mast to forestay – check fit)JournalDeck of cardsMini board games
Waterless hand cleanerSoapShampooToothpaste/toothbrushDiapers and wipes
LaptopHair care (for the girls)2 favourite CD’s (each)2 Favorite movies (each)
Beanie and gloves and warm socksRain gear (coat, pants, hat, boots)Boat shoesClothes pinsSunglasses
Sunhats (Tilley)Chuck RubbermadeMom RubbermadeDad RubbermadeBuddy Boy Rubbermade
Rubber gloves/work gloves for anchor chain etc.
Backpack or fanny packsStroller (umbrella)Baby BackpackWalking Sticks
Minnow TrapFillet knifeFishing polesTackle boxFishing license
Landing Net

Looks like maybe SWMBO and I should plan a shopping trip...

Whatever you spot that I may have forgotten - post a comment to remind me. Its a long walk home for a cheese grater.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

You see that bug?

Yeah, that one right there:

The one under the fan?

He's hovering there.... can you see him?

That bug has been flying under the fan for days now.  I think that there is a wind pattern that he just can't get out of.  It's like there's an invisible fence around it, he gets tot he edge.... then flies back under!!

One Fine Pig.

Maybe you have never been to a pig roast. Maybe you have never combined the three key elements of manhood (Fire, meat, alcohol) into a daylong orgy of the senses, or maybe you wish you could but you need an excuse. If that's the case, you should join a sailing club, become the social dude, and put a beast roast on the schedule.

Really roasting a pig has very little to do with sailing, but its fun, can be done at the marina, and I put it on the sailing club schedule, so it qualifies for the Iris blog. Besides, I left the pig alone long enough to sail a race, so it has to count as a sailing adventure.

This was not my first pig roast, but it had been a few years since I had done one. In the time between I had moved and rules had changed, but the key elements were still the same.

There are only 3 ingredients to a successful pig roast.
  1. A pig
  2. Fire
  3. Alcohol

And the recipe is pretty is pretty simple:

  1. Start the fire
  2. Rotate the pig over it
  3. Drink alcohol

Once either the pig or the alcohol is done, its time to eat. If you are drunk enough you won't care how the pig is cooked, and if you still have some booze once the pig's cooked, then you have something to wash the meat down with.

The thing I messed up with on this roast was the timing. Previously the roasters I had used were open-topped. This one was a big kettle that sealed shut. Since it sealed shut the pig cooked in half the time I had expected. Dinner was scheduled for 5:00 PM, but Wilbur (you should always name your pig) was cooked by 1:30.

What can you do with the extra 3.5 hours? Get more alcohol would be a good thing, but instead, I stood around worrying. We took the pig off the roaster and covered it to keep flies away, and while we waited I paced, wrung my hands, and acted like things were perfectly fine. It was pointed out to me that you can't really screw up a pig roast, so I calmed down long enough to set up tables and get the serving area laid out as guests started to arrive.

Then I put Wilbur back on the roaster for 10 minutes just to warm him back up. Not long after going back over the fire Wilbur showed his "fall off the bones" goodness by breaking in half. Yup, just behind his head, same spot as last time. Good thing I had secured him to the spit at multiple points.

We took him off the fire, slid him onto the table and then the skipper from Newfie Screach and I sliced the meat away from the carcass.

Dinner was a great success. The members of the sailing club brought every kind of bread and salad you can imagine to go with the meat, and there were half a dozen different kinds of pie, cakes, and cookies for dessert.

We were lucky with the weather too. The rain held off until everyone was done dinner, and then poured. It helped with the cleanup. You've never seen folks run so fast to get things put away.

All in all it was a great event. And in the words of Charlotte, Wilbur was Terrific!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

More High Tech Stuff

Ok its not rocket science, its a fishfinder.

Our depth sounder has been notoriously unpredictable since we first launched the boat. It is great for locating weeds, and lets us know (with some accuracy) if the bottom is between 20 and 60 feet down. Anything deeper, and the depth sounder reads zero. Anything shallower, and I don't trust it since it oscillates between zero and an accurate reading.

Hardly ideal.

The depth sounder is the only SR Mariner instrument we haven't had rebuilt. SR has done a great job on all the gauges, but I don't have the cash on hand to get this last one rebuilt before heading to G-Bay. G-bay has some very interesting rock formations that are better admired with things other than the keel.

In the basement I had a fishfinder that I had been meaning to install forever.

Last week during my bouts of disease I installed the fishfinder, and now a week into operation I am duly impressed. The fishfinder does some cool stuff.
  • It finds fish (whoda thunk!)
  • It finds the bottom of the lake (my slip is between 5 and 6 feet deep!)
  • It warns if the bottom is less deep than it oughta be. (BEEP!)
  • It warns you if the house batteries are dying (BEEP!)
  • It tells you the water temperature (Ok, since I mounted the sensor inside the hull, it tells you the hull temperature, but lets not get picky)
  • It gives me more buttons to push (I like pushing buttons)
While Judi and I were racing at the Women's race the other day, I spent a lot of time playing with the fishfinder. At one point there were about 30 fish under the boat! Judi told me that putting out a trolling line would slow down the boat, but it looked like we had hit the motherload. I gotta get out there with a fishing pole.
Installing the fishfinder was surprisingly easy. In fact there are only 3 steps to it:
  1. Solder the power wires to a power source. Since the fishfinder needs to be near the companionway, and the radio needs to be near the companionway, that one is a no brainer, they are both on the "accessories" switch on the panel as well, which makes sense to me.
  2. Mount the transponder. Get a toilet bowl wax seal and find a good spot on the bottom of the boat. There is some debate as to what counts as a good spot. I chose right under the companionway, aft of the keel. Some guys say that you should mount it forward of the keel so you see what you are going to hit before you hit it, but I think I am happy with where it is located since the bow would bounce out of the water in heavy seas, causing the transponder to lose its reading. Besides my reflexes aren't up to the millisecond you would have to respond

    Clean the hull, press the wax onto it, and press the transponder into the wax, ensuring that no air is trapped in the wax.
  3. Find a good spot to screw the display on so you can monitor it while sailing. I chose the back of the lower hatchboard. I just flip the hatchboard around so its facing me, and I'm set to go. Plug all the wires in, and you will be finding fish in no time!
The only complaint I have with the electronics I've added is that the wires can be unruly. To that end I think I'll add a second 12V outlet to the boat so the GPS can be plugged in closer to the companionway. With that done, I think I can handle the setup as-is.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


For any of you who are thinking that I'm ignoring Chuckie, and only posting / photgraphing the baby right now....

She's gone to her Mom's for 24 days, home for a day, then off to Guide Camp for a week.

So I'm not ignoring the big kid.  I'm just getting some one-on-one 'baby time!!'

Monday, 13 July 2009

Ladies at the Helm.

I went to a pig roast and a regatta broke out.

I told SWMBO that I wouldn't be racing on Saturday. She wasn't very interested in the Ladies at the helm race that our club was putting this past Saturday, and without SWMBO, I couldn't very well enter Iris in the race. Instead I organized a Pig Roast so that when the ladies got in we could offer them dinner.

Rain was in the forecast. There was a wind warning on the lake.

I got up early with speared pig in hand and headed to the marina. Who wants to go sailing in the wind and rain anyway.

Got the fire going under the pig and looked at the lake. The wind looked good. The rain didn't look like we would get hit hard. I went back to watching the pig turn on the spit. Then a volunteer showed up to do the cooking. Then another.

I went back to Iris to do some chores while other folks cooked for me.

Talk on the dock was that a lady was looking for a helm. The lady turned out to be Judi. Judi has sailed Iris before. I suggested she just take the boat and see how things went. Judi wasn't about to go sailing on my boat without me. Then Tim said he would step in if help was needed on the pig roast.

Judi took the helm, and we were racing.

4 boats entered the race. Ourselves, Newfie Screach, Tecumseh and Moonshadow. Since we were a last minute entry, there were no tactics and no planning, just go sail. Judi is able to handle Iris like its her own boat. and she does a good job with her.

We got to the start line right behind Newfie, and worked to keep him in our sites throughout the race. At the start we were ahead of Tecumseh and Moon Shadow. About halfway to the the first mark we were passed by Tecumseh, but didn't pay it much attention because she has a much higher handicap than we do. For the rest of the race we tried to hold our position against Newfie and Tecumseh, and did a pretty good job.

The wind was just about perfect, strong enough that the boats kept moving, but not over powering, and it felt good to be out on the water. We never got the rain. In just a little over an hour, the race was done, and I apologised to Judi, but we had to get back to the pig right away. I had to be sure the cooking was going well.

We sailed back to our slip, and I ran to check on things. While I was away, Judi packed up the boat, and put everything away! Holy cow, she's hired! in the end we placed 2nd in the race, tied with Tecumseh. Not bad for a last minute entry!


Chuck, Buddy, and SweetPea on Sweet Pea's 1st Birthday
Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Little sailor in training

I know, a second sailing post IN A ROW!!

Wow, some kind of record.

These aren't really sailing posts though... It's not like I'm going over race tactics or any of that.

Just showing you cute pics of the Buddy, helping Daddy pump out the Bilge!

Friday, 10 July 2009


I Know I know, these are supposed to be on Iris' blog, but whatever.

Two weekends ago was the Cook's Bay to Kempenfelt Bay race , and it was an exciting two days. When I arrived at Cook's Bay with the Kids (By car... we can be wusses at times), the marina was abuzz with rumours about how the O'Day went down.

Sunday morning we all crawled off our boats (and I mean crawled... one Mama, one Daddy, and one baby sharing a v-berth on a 25 foot sailboat does not make for a good night's sleep), and went for breakfast.  After breakfast, the boats all left their raft up.... very, very slowly & carefully. 
There were two boats left to go, and then the relay came down the line of boats heading out into the Bay.... There's a Boat Stuck in the Channel.  There is very minimal draught in this channel, and one of the boats was appparently a little to "draughty" to fit in (well... he made it in... it was out that was the problem...)

So the little Tanzer 22 went to his help, being close, and also having much less draught than the others.  With all crew leaning on the rails, and with the T-22 pulling on one of the halyards.... Nothing.

Captain C tried his best to get her free... but just couldn't
A powerboat from the Marina (you can just barely see it in the picture above), eventually pulled her free.
Now, because the other boats behind were in a holding pattern, waiting (it is a narrow channel), the next boat was stuck, and needed a pull.  Then the one behind that was aground, but he was able to push out.
The next weekend, DH sailed Iris around to Lagoon City... and BB & I, in our normal pattern, drove. 

Lemons Again

My mother phoned me last night to say that if the baby was weird, so was his Mama.  Apparently, i loved lemons as a baby also.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Weekend Update (Not from SNL)

I have been remiss in not updating here in a whole week. This is a brief update:

Friday July 3rd: An amazing sail from SGA to Lagoon City. Made this trip an hour faster than expected without ever bothering to raise the jib. Winds were strong out of the southwest and pushed Iris across the lake at 5.5 knots all the way. SWMBO met me at LCYC where we spent the night along with Tabasco and her crew. Felt a tickle in the back of my throat and tried treating it with the best medicine available. Appleton’s Extra Old Stock.

Saturday July 4th: Said buh-bye to SWMBO and Buddy as they headed home, then sailed to an anchorage. White caps were all around on the lake and the winds were a steady 25 knots. Under main and 60% storm jib did hull speed and above all the way from LCYC to Snake Island where we planned to anchor out. We were met on the way by Dolce Vita who came to anchor with us. We rafted the boats together and set about relaxing. The anchorage was a bad choice as we were buzzed by jet skis, fishing boats, water-skiers, tubers, tour boats, cottagers, Carver-miniums and every other watercraft imaginable. Eventually the wake from a passing boat busted one of the lines I was tied to Tabasco with. The tickle in my throat progressed to a scratch, which I treated with more of the same medicine (Appleton's). We broke up the raft and headed to JP, an hour’s sail away where we tied the boats into their slips. Had dinner and went home. Felt a little gunky.

Sunday July 5th: Woke up with definite cough. Being manly I tried to ignore it. Went to boat and installed fish finder. Felt awful. Went home and to bed. Treated cough with unmanly real medicines from the drugstore.

Monday July 6th: Deathly ill. Never left my bed. SWMBO offered TLC. She must love me after all.

Tuesday July 7th: Repeat of Monday’s performance, but not quite as deathly ill.

Wednesday July 8th: Returned to work. OMG email is overfilled, work is backlogged. I may never catch up.

Um, Honey? Your baby is weird

Two nights ago Hubby & Buddy & I went to Swiss Chalet for dinner. High class dinning I know. We asked the waitress if she could bring us a dinner roll for the baby with our drink order, to keep him happy. And because Mama had forgotten the diaper bag at home, which contained the sippy cup, the cookies, etc. Great planning, eh?

So dinner arrived, and my little Buddy kept pointing to the Lemon on my drink, and asking for "more." We gave him a couple of french fries, a bit of chicken, some lettuce


and an orange from our salad.

"more." "more." still pointing at the lemon.

Buddy, you’re not going to like it, trust me. It's even worse than anything green, I guarantee.

Eventually, I gave in and gave him the lemon. And watched him try to devour it whole. Skin & all. I took it back, pulled off the rind, and he inhaled the fruit. Didn't even make a face. He ate Every.Single.Lemon. in all of our drinks & refills. Inhaled them. He gave me back my french fries, but the lemon... don't get between me & my lemon Mama!! You eat these things, they're no good, but make sure I get that lemon!!

I looked at hubby and said that his baby was weird. Next time, instead of asking the waitress for a dinner roll to keep him happy... "Um, excuse me, but could you please bring me a lemon for my baby to eat while we're waiting for our dinner? Thanks a bunch!!" I can't wait to see the looks I get for that one.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Chuckie's Haircut

The Before Photo:

Mama, can I get my haircut?  Like up to above my shoulders?
Um... well, it's your hair, so I guess so.
And I forgot to take the after shot of it down her back, but here's a recent photo from her Cousin's B-Day party last weekend:
The hairdresser asked her why she wanted it so short, and she said that it was because she wanted to be nice and cool for the summer.  The Lady took one look at her hair, and suggestted a leetle bit more length....her hair is very, very thick, and if cut that short, would just puff right out, and be too short for a ponytail.  The hairdresser suggested that she keep enough of the length to tie it back when it was hot out, otherwise it would be sticking to the back of her neck.
I think she was a little dissapointed... I think she wanted the 'shock factor' of really short hair, especially since her hair had been long forever.  If she's still unhappy with it when she comes home from her three weeks at her Mom's house (where she is right now), then I'll take her in and let her get it done... she will probably be unhappy with it, for all the reasons that the hairdresser suggested, but, it will be her choice, and she was warned by us both!! 

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Happy 12th B-day Chuck!!

On June 19

(yes I'm a little late)
(ok a lot late)
(ok, late like Sweetpea's B-day post is already up, and her birthday is 17 days later.  oops)

So, Churck's b-day this year fell two days before Father's day, as per usual.  Try getting a bunch of kids out for a party on Father's Day weekend.  I dare you.

So instead, her Dad took her and one friend to the drive in movies the next weekend, then the girls stayed in a tent in the backyard.  I think that it was a success.  The girls saw "The Proposal," and "Up."  For some reason, the theater played "The Proposal" first, then the kid movie, otherwise DH probably would have just brought them home after seeing "Up."  In preparation, I went to the store and bought a crap load of candy, drinks, etc.  I figured it was a drive in, they could take food in in the car, and the more I sent them with, the less they would whine for food from the concessions.  As far as I know, it worked.  They arrived home at 2:30 am, tired and happy, and went out to the tent, which was equipped with a portable DVD player, a Ghetto blaster with extension cord from the house, and a Ninetendo DS.  The girls were told as long as we couldn't hear them, we didn't care. 

Friend waking Chuck up in the morning
If Grandpa P is reading, yes that is the canvas tent that you took your kids camping in.
(I know, I'm a horrible parent)
(yes that is orange pop in the glass, not orange juice)
(And Doritos beside the chocolate cake)
Oh my sister... I think that I like this breakfast!!

For her Birthday she got a gift card to W*lM*rt from her Aunt, and a cheque from my Grandma.  Between the two, and other assorted W*lM*rt gift cards from previous birthday's / Christmas', she was able to buy herself a brand new spankin' bike.  If I were organized, there would be a picture of it here. Alas I am not, so you will have to use your imagination. It was nice that she was able to combine gifts from people to get something that she really, really wanted.  From her Dad and I, we got her an electric razor, in the hopes that she is less likely to injure herself that way.

A few days later, my Mom did a little party for her at her house.  This time, we had the cake for dinner, not breakfast!

Chuck with Great-Grandma Ruth

Happy Birthday Chuck!

Friday, 3 July 2009


On Sunday I got to go grocery shopping.


Without the baby

Without the big kid.

It rocks having a "tween" in the house.

Mama: Can you stay here with your brother while I get groceries, that way I won't have to drag you guys out in the rain?

Chuck: yep!


Thursday, 2 July 2009

Home again, Home again...

After the driving rain in LSIS Race #4, I wasn't sure about sailing home. The Volvo was sitting at the marina where I was, and the van was sitting at our home marina. Whether I sailed home or drove home it would work out the same.

I dropped off Judi and looked at the sky. It was cloudy everywhere. The rain was still coming down, the wind was quite strong, I thought about the car, I thought about the rain. I didn't want to pay to store the boat here until I could get back. Cheapness won out. I decided that since the weather was crappy I would just motor home.

After thanking Judi for her help at the races, I nosed Iris out of the marina, and into the wind on Cook's Bay. The motor chugged merrily along and the clouds cover went from dense to patchy. I decided to hoist the mainsail to help things along.

With the main up I was sailing quite nicely on a beam reach. Hmmm. Maybe I should let the genoa fly as well... Then I shut off the engine.

Iris jumped from 5.5 knots to 6 when I pulled up the engine, and for the rest of the sail back to JP we skimmed across the lake. This was her victory lap after a great weekend. We flew the length of Cook's bay, between Fox and Snake Islands, and all the back to JP at 6 knots. Pretty good. As we came out from between the islands I adjusted course to close hauled, and sat up on the high side to take a look around. It was perfect sailing weather. The wind had stayed when the rain left, and the sun even peeked through every now and again.

Iris ate up the miles back to JP. As we went I could see Tabasco and Blue Sky and Moonshadow sailing up ahead. I would be the last boat back, but that was OK. I was tempted just to stay out and play in the wind and waves.

by the time I was back in my slip, word had spread about the Saturday race, and I had folks congratulating me all around. It felt good. I went aboard Moonshadow for a quick lunch, then got help from a few other folks to button up Iris so I could get to Chuck's birthday party.

That was when I realized that SWMBO had the keys to my van. I had 2 choices. 1. Sail back to Cook's Bay, and drive the Volvo home. This would take hours, but be a load of fun. 2. Get a ride home and trade the Volvo keys for the van keys. Tabasco's skippers offered to drive me home to get my keys.

I unlocked the house, threw my keys on the table, and grabbed the spare key to the van, then got Tabasco's skipper to drive me back to the marina. At the marina I jumped into the van, and drove back home - I would quickly change and shower at the house, then meet the family at the birthday party.

All in a rush, I ran from the van to the front door and slammed into it. OUCH! The sucker was locked. I pulled out my keys, and... the spares only had keys for the vehicle, no house keys. All the doors were locked. I took a quick look at the second storey window that was open, and decided that I would save falling off ladders for another day.

I drove to the birthday and arrived soaking wet from the rain I had sailed through. What an intro. Everyone got to hear about the weekend races. Oh, and I arrived just as the cake was being served. Perfect timing!

Baby Math

One molar almost in + One upper left eye tooth halfway in + One upper right eye tooth about to come in = One Cranky Baby

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

LSIS #4 - Racing Like We're Racing Pt. 2

Sunday dawned with dead calm air and rain in the forecast. LSIS #4 looked like it was going to be a bomb. Around breakfast everyone was wondering if there would be a race. We had our yogurt and bagels, and joined the glum faces at the skippers meeting.

The race committee shared the instructions and gave a reminder about safety gear and the need to be sure everything was right on your boat before heading out. It was a grim reminder of the events the day before. Folks all nodded; a few who hadn’t heard the news gasped, and then we went to race.

At the marina we had formed a raft of about 12 boats jammed into the space allotted for 5, so it took some time for the raft to break up and get out of the marina. Because of our great results the day before, we were the second last boat out of the raft. One of the boats leaving the marina ahead of us got stuck in the channel and held things up a little longer. Sometime between the skippers meeting and the raft breaking up, the rain front arrived.

At first the rain was falling nearly straight down, but it didn’t take long for it to start slanting, and the wind continued to build. It was the sort of strong, steady breeze that Lake Simcoe is famous for not having. It was perfect for racing sailboats.

In a repeat performance of Saturday’s pre-start, we headed for the wrong spot on the lake looking for the start line, and then found it just in time to start with the fleet. Judi set the timer, and we got our position set. We were going to be early to the line, so we pulled a donut, and got positioned. Icarus, who we were sailing against, came around us as we circled. I’m not sure what he was doing, but he went to the back of the fleet before turning back to the line.

We approached the race start with speed, right on time. To our windward side was I Am Canadian, leeward Newfie Screach was up higher on the line. I pushed Canadian up as high as I dared, and tried to push him over, but it didn’t work well. Eventually I gave up and just drove my own race, leaving him to his own devices. In a heartbeat we had passed Canadian, and were off to the first race mark, Newfie trailing right behind us.

The wind was blowing strong and steady as we rounded the mark, and I was looking forward to a good reaching leg, but as soon as we rounded, the boat wanted to round up.

I held her as long as I could, but then she rounded up even herder. It was a battle to hold the boat, and Newfie was getting past us.

I pulled back harder, feeling the tiller flex in my hands, and the boat rounded up again. I decided that maybe a reef would be a good idea.

Judi took the tiller while I put a reef in the main, and the boat settled down. Trouble was that now we were only doing 5.5 knots while Newfie was doing 6 and clearly getting away from us. We were holding our position against Canadian though.

At the top of the reaching leg we had a lot of time to make up on Newfie. As we rounded the mark to run down to the windward leg, I shook out the reef, and worked the jib to maximize our drive. It would be tough to catch Newfie.

For the rest of the race we followed Newfie around the course. We got close to him, but never passed, and as we approached the second reaching leg I talked to Judi about reefing again.

“Let me show you a trick” she said, and I became the student.

Sailing is a game of inches, but I tend to think in miles. Judi took the mainsheet and played it out an inch at a time until the sail was on the verge of collapsing. Doing this allowed the sail to drive the boat forward without the wind pushing it over and rounding it up. All along the reaching leg Judi played the sail out for the gusts, and drew it in when the wind eased off. I had learned this in sailing school, but had let the lesson slide. Now it came back. It worked. The second time around the course, the boat never rounded up at all.

Throughout the race the rain pelted us, but the winds were perfect. The water that splashed up from the lake was warm, but the rain was cold. Every “ying” had its “yang” and all in all it balanced out to a great race.

We finished the race in second place, 3 minutes behind Newfie. I think we lost those 3 minutes when I was fighting the tiller and rounding up. Next race, I’ll have another weapon, and maybe I’ll be able to catch him.

Right now we are first overall in LSIS White Sail High PHRF division. We'll have to keep holding off Canadian and Newfie if we are going to maintain our position.

Course and Stats to be edited in later.

LSIS Race 4 Stats:
Distance Covered: XX.X Statute Miles (Slip to Slip)
Time on course: 1:39:14
Corrected time: 1:29:04
Time out of 1st Place (Corrected Time): 0:04:19
Iris was on course 5.09% longer than the first place boat.