Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Vacation Stories - Little Bits #1

I don't know if I mentioned that we busted our mast head instruments, including the anchor light, on a bridge gong through the canals, but we did.

In Midland, Hubby went to put on the new anchor light (we'd already bought it, just hadn't gotten around to installing it).  He dropped it.  He dove for it, and got it, let it dry, and installed it.


So instead, everynight we put a little LED flashlight type light in a ziplock baggie, and ran it up the halyard.  Worked like a charm.

Monday, 28 September 2009

I am afraid to answer my phone

or open my email.

I am a Girl Guide leader.

I have been for a long, long time.

I have never had a until larger than 13 girls.

Right now, I'm up to 27.  And every time the phone rings, or I open my email, someone new wants to join.

Now, I LOVE that girls want to do this.  This is an organization that I firmy believe in (I better, I'm heading into my 19th year).


27.  And about to start a waiting list.

Send wine.  and chocolate.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sept 8 - First day of School

A brand new school and a brand new school yar.  And this year, she's taking the bus for the first time since grade three.

And she has to hobble on on her crutches.

Let's hope grade seven rocks.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Vacation - Recap / Conclusion

Would I do it again?
yes, absolutely.

Best Part:
I really enjoyed going through the locks.  Maybe next time, we can go the other way and just leave the mast at home.

Favourite Spot:
Secret anchorage on 12 mile Bay, Hands down.

Tomorrow, we'll return to our regular scheduled program!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Vacation - Navigating

Unknowingly, for most of the vacation, every time I pointed out a red dayMARKER triangle, I called it a dayLIGHTING triangle.  Hubby chuckled, then corrected me after about six days.

(this is probably only funny to the two people who read this blog and know what I do for a living, but whatever... )

All the green squares, I still called daymarkers.

A good pair of binoculars was invaluable.

All crew members should know of hazards... If I'd looked at the chart before we hit ground, I would have been more aware of what to look for.  I also probably would have gone to the bow and sent Chuck to look after her brother, had I realized how tight the entrance was.

A person with good eyesight is important when looking for far off markers.

It should be illegal to paint garages / boat houses / etc along the shores either red or green.  You have no idea how many times I thought I saw the marker, only to discover it was someone's boat garage.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Vacation - Lessons Learned

Thing we should have packed but didn't:
  •  Meal time booster chair for Buddy.  Getting him to sit still through a meal was a definite challenge
  • Goggles.  There were a few times that hubby wanted to check out the Keel, but couldn't see very well to do so.
Things we packed and never touched:
  • Umbrella Stroller.
  • Baby backpack.  These weren't even used when Hubby took Bud for a little 1 km hike.  Maybe one or the other, but definitley not both.
Things we weren't sure about, but were glad we had:
  • Buddy's carseat.  Otherwise, we would have had problems getting to the hospital, grandma & grandpa getting him to their place, etc.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Twelve.

We were up bright and early the next morning, waiting for the locks to open.

After we got to the top, we decided to go to the little restaurant for breakfast, since we hadn’t even stopped to eat the day before.

We had a great breakfast, and were on our way.

We found that the current was a lot greater going up stream (of course), but much more significantly than we expected. We found when we reached home that the water in our harbour had dropped significantly, and we wonder if water is being drained from Lake Simcoe into the Trent system, as this does often happen towards the end of August / early September.

We got through the last two locks without incident, and continued on, into Lake Couch, then Lake Simcoe.

Across L. Simcoe, the water was rough. It would have been a much more comfortable ride if we had sails up, but with the mast laid down, obviously it wasn’t happening.

I drove the last bit across the lake, while Hubby dumped everything above deck below.

We arrived in our slip at 7:30 at night, dirty & exhausted. We docked, locked the boat, and left. I think it was a record for least time spent in the harbour after a sail.

One fellow sailor asked if we’d sold the children into slavery, to which I replied that no, they were at Grandma’s.

We arrived home, and phoned Mom & Dad. Buddy was just about asleep in Chuck’s lap, so we decided that we’d be best to get a good sleep, and go get the kids the next day.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Eleven

Early the next morning Hubby & woke up and, after a quick breakfast of Butter Tarts and Coffee, headed out. We were gone even before the dock staff had woken to give us a hand off.

We were cruising like we were racing. It should have taken us two days to get to Midland. Instead, we found many shortcut channels to take. It was funny going back south, and in one day:

“there’s where we stayed last night”

“there’s where we were two nights ago”

“there’s the cut off for Frying Pan bay”

The only ‘dicey’ part of the trip was when we were off the strip charts an on the large chart, and we were TRYING to find the marker buoys, and couldn’t see them. If we missed them, there were breaking rocks to the south that we were worried we would get hung up on.

We found the buoy’s eventually (we never got close to the rocks), and headed down into Midland. Coming down the Bay, I drove, while Hubby removed the Boom, and tidied up the boat, getting it ready to drop the mast.

The journey that should have taken two days? We left Henry’s at about 8:00 in the morning. We arrived in Midland at 2:30 in the afternoon.

By 4:00, we were already heading out of Midland with our mast down.

We went through Potato channel again, after searching for the Bifurcation Buoy in the bay. We sent warning out over the radio that we were heading through the channel. One boat heard our warning and waited for us. One didn’t, and crowded us through the channel, but we made it through without touching bottom.

We made it to the locks at Severn, and went up. At this point we checked our log book, to see how long it had taken us to get from Severn to Big Chute, and found it to be 2 hours. The locks were closing in an hour, so we knew that we would make it to the bottom of Big Chute that night, but no further.

I phoned Mom & Dad that night to let them know what our progress was, since we’d said we’d phone when we got to Midland.

They were most surprised to hear that we were already in the Severn system.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Damn the Butterflies!!

Almost there. Almost. Tomorrow is LSIS #10 - The Georgina Cup. Whichever boat is first across the line on straight time wins the cup. Likely it won't be Iris, it will probably be one of the spinnaker boats, but then there was that race back in the spring where we beat the spin fleet on corrected time, and Newfie beat the spinnaker boats to take the cup once too. Anything is possible.

What I do think is possible is that we beat both Canadian and Newfie across the finish. I am optimistic. I have great crew, and it looks like the wind is in our favour. My fingers are crossed.

On Sunday we have the last race of the season - LSIS #11 - Georgina short course. Its a quick triangle-sausage around the buoys. Wind is predicted to be light for it as well, but with a little rain. We may do well, I don't know what to expect.

My hopes are high, but these damned butterflies just won't let up.

Vacation Stories - Part Ten

It was the weirdest thing to have to go back to the boat without the kids. I have spent many weekends away from Chuck, and one away from Buddy before.

Chuck has ben going to camp every summer, weekends at her Mom's, weekends at Grandma's, etc, for as long as I've been around.

Buddy went to Grandma's in June while I was Girl Guide Camping.

But it is not the same when it is unplanned. The worst part was going back to the boat, and seeing Carlton Bear, Buddy's story books, Chuck's novel, all in the boat.

In an attempt to tidy up so that we could move quickly, Hubby packed all the kids things into a rubbermaid, and put it back in the quarter berth. I went and got Carlton and Sophie out of it. They would be lonely in there. I just couldn't couldn't pack them away!

On our way back from Parry Sound to the boat, we covered as much ground as we were planning on covering in the next week or so on Iris. I think that the engine on the water taxi was worth more than our whole boat was.

I tried to take photos. I said to Hubby we would know which ones were from the water taxi, since they all had the wake in them.

We got back to Henry's.  I took a picture of Chuck's rock, just for fun.  Here's where she broke her leg:

Hubby & I went for lunch at Henry's.  The plan had been to have lunch and get going, but as we were eating, we were both crashing.  We decided that we would be better off to have a rest, a good night's sleep, and then get going early in the morning instead.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Vacation Stories - Part Nine


We made it to Henry’s and the bilge was still dry. I went and borrowed a pair of goggles for hubby to check the keel with. We really need to put them on our packing list for next time.

The keel seemed fine. The rudder needed a small fiberglass repair. Hubby went to do the repair job at a picnic table, Chuck was playing, and I took Buddy into the Vee berth in hopes that he’d have a nap.


Buddy was just drifting off to sleep, when I heard:

Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! (read this in the tone of voice of, ‘come look at this cool frog’ or whatever).

Then again

Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! (read this one in a slightly panicking tone)

And again


At this point I popped up from the Vee berth, to see Chuck laying on the ground, with a lump growing about half way between her ankle & knee.

I ran up the side of the hill, gave the baby to some random stranger from another boat to hold (it’s a good thing he doesn’t make strange), and knelt down. I knew it was broken as soon as I saw it, but was in denial. We were very lucky that there was a nurse on one of the other boats, who did a great job of splinting and bandaging her up.

The ironic thing was, just the night before, Hubby had been complaining about how unadventurous she is, and that he's never had to take her to the emergency room.

The problem was that we were on an island at the time. The owner of the restaurant phone for an emergency water taxi, to take us in, and then had a land taxi meet us and take us to the Hospital.

We arrived at the hospital looking like a family of hobos.

We had not seen a shower in six days. We had Buddy, his car seat, his life jacket, two pillows that we'd used to keep Chuck comfy on the water taxi, a backpack that I'd thrown a bunch of stuff into since we didn't know how long we'd be, the laptop, etc....

There was this heap of stuff all around my chair in the waiting room.

Once the doctor had confirmed that, yes, it was indeed broken, and no, there was no way she could get back on the boat, I phone my parents:

Me:Hi Mom

Mom: Hi! How are you?

Me: I'm... fine

Mom: Just fine?

Me: Well... I'M fine

Mom: wha......

Me: Chuck-fell-and-broke-her-leg

Mom: Do you need help

Me: Oh yes. We need help. She can't get back on the boat. We're going to get a hotel tonight

Mom: We can be there tonight

Me: No, morning is fine. We need to get a hotel, she needs to rest, and we can't get back to the boat until tomorrow anyway.

We arrive at the hotel by taxi again, and again, looked like a family of Hobo's. Hubby had called ahead from the hospital, and they had reserved a room for us. They had in fact reserved the last room for us, the place was full. After settling Chuck into bed, I went up to the front to ask about where we could walk to to grab dinner & bring it back. So she gave me the run down McD's, Harvey, Tim's etc.

Then I asked about toothbrushes, etc.

"Do you have toothbrushes?"



"um.. we have combs..."

"good enough. How 'bout razors?"

"I'll just get you one of everything dear. There's four or you, right?"

I'd mentioned we hadn't seen a shower in a week, right??

Mom and Dad arrived the next morning, and offered to take Bud along with Chuck. We figured we could get back faster that way, and jumped at the chance.

Mom and Dad took the kids home, and then went out and outfitted them for a few days. I had enough diapers with me for a couple of days maybe. Buddy had one onesie, and one soiled romper. Chuck had an extra t-shirt. We had one sippy cup.

After leaving the kids with Grandma & Grandpa, hubby & I headed back to the boat, no kids.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Eight

Day 9 of 18 for the kids & I
Day 9 of 25 for Hubby

From absolute bliss to fear to retreat then catastrophe

Day nine.

We woke, said goodbye to our new friends, and navigated our way out of the anchorage. We decided not to head for Henry’s in Sans Souci, but instead head elsewhere. (I’d tell you where, but I forget where we were going).

We left the channel, and posted Chuck on Bow watch. She was very busy looking for the rocks all around us, and unfortunately, not looking at the rocks ahead of us.


We hit bottom. Hard.

Chuck was on the bow, and held on. Hubby was holding the tiller, and didn’t go too far. Buddy was on a short tether, and flung forward, but came back on his lifejacket. Had his tether been slightly longer, he would have hit the bulkhead. I went forward, and hit my knee on the bulkhead. Hard. It was very pretty shades of purple and yellow for a couple of days afterwards.

We hit, spun, and then the rudder hit, and ripped off. We were hung up on the rocks, with no steerage. I un-cleat the Baby, and re-cleat him tightly, so he can’t go anywhere, but loosely, so if I need to release him (If we’ve ripped a hole in the keel and are taking on water), I can.

Throughout all this, I'm remembering the O'Day on Lake Simcoe a few months earlier.

Chuck went below to check the bilge. It was dry.

I pulled the pin that had failed out of the rudder. THANKFULLY the pin failed. Otherwise, we would have had an even bigger issue.

Hubby dropped an anchor to hold us off the rocks while we were recovering the rudder. I steered as best I could with the outboard. Eventually, we had the rudder jury-rigged back on, and were able to move off. Except... The anchor, which we hadn’t set properly, and thought was just holding us down by weight alone, had grabbed. Hard. Hubby told me to put the boat in forward…. Ok now in reverse… ok now in forward…. SH!T!!!! the engine stopped!!!

I may add at this point that until this time, I had been unable to shift the boat out of neutral. The shift gear was too stiff, and I didn't have the muscle power. It's amazing what you can do when adrenaline is pumping and you HAVE to do it.

I had “throttled it right out” apparently (whatever that means). He ran from the foredeck to the cockpit, fixed it, restarted it (I can’t pull start it… simply don’t have the muscle power required). And we kept doing the dance back and forth trying to get the anchor up, while at the same time staying off the rock.

Shaken and bruised, we managed.

I went out on bow watch, as we retreated back to the channel. We made it, breathed a sigh of relief, and I checked for injuries. The only injury to ourselves was my knee, which just looked skinned (the next day was when I realized it was badly bruised. It is still, three weeks later, bruised now.

We went to Henry’s. It was the closest port, we knew that the rudder had been damaged, and we needed to check our keele.

coming tomorrow

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Seven

Ok, so we had dinner aboard Iris, and were cleaning up the boat, when Chuck looked out and said “they’re coming over in their dinghy I think!”

We spent a very pleasant evening playing ‘Wizard,’ (card game), and chatting. It was probably close to eleven when we packed it in and the other folks headed back to their boat, “L’eau Rider.”

Buddy was asleep in the Vee Berth during this visit. Apparently, he was sleeping with every bug in the bay.

We were planning on leaving the next day, but again, stayed. The kids swam and played, the grownups relaxed, all was good.

The kids aboard the other boat came over in their dinghy, “Genesis,” to pick Chuck up. The kids went for a little dinghy ride, then back to L’eau Rider. Hubby & I squared away the boat, then got into the Barbie Dream boat to go for a ride. Hubby pulled the start cord, and….. had an engine in one hand, and a start cord in the other. Oops.

We rowed over to L’eau Rider (it was the stealth approach), where Greg had an assortment of tools. While the Daddies fixed the engine, the tweens continued playing, and Buddy & I hung out.

We went back to Iris for lunch, and afterwards the kids all went for a swim with the Daddies, while Buddy went for a nap. The only way to get Buddy to nap while at anchor / dock was to nap with him. So I ‘sacrificed’ and went for a snooze too.

That evening, we took sausages and went to L’eau Rider, they brought out Kraft Dinner, and we had a great evening hanging out. The tweens hung out below, the grown ups had some time to chat above, and Buddy snoozed on either my lap or Daddy’s. We had to leave the next day, but we could have stayed there for the rest of our vacation.

That afternoon, wicked storms had blown through the GTA, including Tornadoes. We sent off a quick email from the wireless on L’eau Rider to let folks know that we were safe. Where we were, we had a few Thunderclaps, a steady rain for an hour or so, but that was all.

Monday, 14 September 2009


Hawkestone is a week past. I'm really happy with how we did. 2 thirds and a second. Iris is still in first place in our division, and we are headed into the last regatta of the season, hosted by my home club, and usually well attended by local racers. Its great to see everyone out enjoying a day on the water. I hope they stay home.

As much as I love the guys from my home club, and as much fun as it is to sail against them, they cause me much concern. First, I haven't made it to any of our races this year, I made a deal with SWMBO at the start of the season that I would cut back on the sailing this season, so I have only been racing LSIS events, and that means no Thursday night Beer-Can races, and no "off the schedule" fun races.

Since I haven't raced against the guys from my home club, I totally don't know what to expect from them on the course.

In order to defend our 1st place standings in the club, I need to get a first place finish in both races this weekend, and Newfie Screach needs to get 3rd or worse. In both races. Newfie is hard for me to beat. Newfie is from my home club.

Since things are points based, its not a matter of finishing 2 places ahead of Newfie. I have to get a first place finish. And Newfie has to take the points for third or worse. I need a miracle for that to happen.

I'll need a second miracle if a few of the other tough to beat boats from our club show up. In particular I am concerned about "Stardust", "Summer School", and "Desiree", all of whom can really boogie in the right conditions. If any of them beat us across the line - well, there goes our first place finish.

To beat these guys, I have made a grid of the things that would work as offensive tactics...
Summer School Announce a Windsurfing Competition on the other side of the lake
DesireeAnything shiny will distract him.
StardustHire him as a photographer for something far away from the marina

If I don't finish in first it becomes a battle for second. To take second place I have to beat "I am Canadian". As long as I finish ahead of him, and in the top 3, I think I'll be OK. I think.

I've tried to recruit the skippers from some of the other boats, and no takers. I am not sure how I can beat all these guys, but there must be a way.

I'm open to ideas. Whether I beat them on the water or off it doesn't matter, I just have to get around the pins faster than anyone else.

The jitters have set in.

Vacation Stories – Part Six

We left Indian Harbour, and headed up to 12 mile Bay. There is a very common anchorage in 12 Mile Bay, right at the mouth of Georgian Bay. We decided to skip this anchorage though, and kept heading up the bay.

Holey Smokes!! A photo of Buddy WITH HIS EYES OPEN while we’re underway!

The Bay was gorgeous:

We found the best spot ever. I’m not even going to tell you where it is, because it is MY secret anchorage!! :)

To pull into this anchorage, we went in between the bleach bottles that were marking the opening of the Bay. There was one other boat in there at the time. I was a little nervous when we first pulled in.

Me: Um, honey??? Are we sure this is a good place?

Him: What are you talking about! This is great! Sheltered, beach area……

Me: Um, did the other boat say that they were staying overnight, or just for lunch?

Him: Just lunch I think

Me: oh… ok

Then Chuck asked if she could go for a swim.

Me: Yes, but only on that side of the boat away from the other boat!!

Hubby is thinking that I have completely lost my mind by this point.

The other boat took their Dingy down the Bay for a bit. While they were gone:

Me: Um Honey? You’re sure the nudists aren’t staying, right?

Him: She wasn’t naked, was she?

Me: No. But he was.

Note: overweight out of shape 60+ year old men SHOULD NOT wear speedo thongs. Nor should they go skinny dipping.


They left.

We Chilled

And swam

Another boat arrived, and called out if it was ok to drop anchor for the night. We saw TWO tweens on deck, and told them OF COURSE!! People for Chuck to hang around with!!! Perfect!

There was an 11 year old and 13 year old. Chuck is 12. Could it have been any more perfect?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Five

We left Frying Pan Bay, and headed up to Indian Harbour. I must admit, I was not a fan of the Indian Harbour anchorage. When we arrived, there was one other sailboat at anchor here, and they were getting ready to head out.

After a few hours, Hubby was napping, and Buddy and I were playing in a bucket of water in the cockpit.

A Very Big Boat came and tried anchoring in the harbour. Try one… fail. Anchor didn’t grab. Try two… fail. Anchor still didn’t grab. Try three…. Um, honey??? Can you come up here for a sec?? this guy seems kinda close…….

Unfortunately, the anchor did grab that time. When we were sitting above, we were staring right into the guys boat.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a few hours later her decided that he was going to drop a second anchor, so that he wouldn’t swing. Now, when you go into an anchorage, etiquette states that you drop the same anchors as the first guy there. That way, when you swing (which you’re supposed to do), you swing together, therefore not hitting. With where we were, we could now swing right into him, since he now had much less of an arc.

I got a horrible sleep that night. I kept getting up and ‘gophering,’ sticking my head out of the hatch on the vee-berth to see how close we were to him. It was most unsettling, and I was eager to get going the next day.

The other problem with this anchorage was there was no where to go…. There were cottages all around, so we couldn’t use the Barbie Dream Boat to go ashore at all.

ON TOP of all of THAT, there was one boat that dropped anchor SMACK in the middle of the channel. Then swore at all the boats that went by him. One boat slowed right down “Um excuse me…. Do you guys know you’re in the middle of the channel???” His response? “Yay well… F you too!”


The next morning we got up, and went to our favourite spot on the trip.  We waved to the hitchhiker on our way out of the Harbour

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Vacation Stories – Part Four

So on Day Four we were ready to actually start our adventure. We left Doral bright and early, and headed to Midland to grab a few groceries before we headed north.

Heading out of Midland:

We got our stuff, and headed on out. It was a Sunday, and so most of the boats were heading back in to the harbour, we were one of few that were travelling northward. This was ok since we were heading to Beausoleil Island, a National Park, as we figured since the weekend was over, there would be more space for us.

We went up to the north tip of Beausoleil, to Frying Pan Bay. As we pulled into the Bay, we noticed that there were two sets of docks, and a few boats anchored out. We weren’t really sure if the docks had enough draft for us, but they had plenty, and there was plenty of room.

There was small beach there, and a few other boats. I took Buddy over to the beach, still with his lifejacket on, but dressed, figuring he could get his toes wet (it was very hot… a cool down was definitely required). He promptly ran into the water and fell. So much for just getting his toes wet, eh?

So I went back to the boat, grabbed his bathing suit, put him in that and his lifejacket, and let him play in the water. We have a lead line on his lifejacket, about three feet long, so that when we are underway, he is cleated to the boat (easy to un-cleat in case of emergency), and it also means that he can walk on the dock ‘independently’ with one of us holding his line.

We spent the first night there. In the morning, we were supposed to head on up the Bay a little more…. But we felt lazy. And comfortable. So we stayed, and rested, and played in the water for another day.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Sorry Kiddo...

Chuck has been "lumping" around ever since her cast was put on in Parry Sound, gradually getting more comfortable with her crutches and regaining Independence. Yesterday, we were straightened up on that.

Our first visit to the local bone doctor yesterday was a disaster. The technician who takes care of putting casts on and removing them commented that the cast was really beat up - that it looked like it had been worked too hard. he cut it away, threw it out, and replaced it with a fibreglass one. Chuck chose a green cast with a blue "candy-cane stripe" to it as a replacement. I mentioned to the tech that we were more than halfway through our time with a cast on, so things couldn't be so bad.

He looked at me like I was crazy. "how long do you think this is staying on her?"

"They said 4-6 weeks in Parry Sound. This is week 2, so we are either at the halfway mark, or close to it."

The tech moulded the cast and forced the bones back into place with his hands. He never looked at me, just shook his head and made the correction. "4 - 6 weeks is very optimistic. Expect 3 months or more."

3 months would mean Chuck has to be on crutches until Christmas. It means that she won't be sledding, or skating. It means she may miss the annual class trip to "Snow Valley" for skiing and tubing. Crutches in the winter means we will have to be careful whenever there could be ice around. She will come home from school, and won't be able to start a fire to heat the house (we heat exclusively with wood) since you can't carry an armful of logs while on crutches.

3 months on crutches is not what we were expecting.

The tech sent us into the X-ray lab to get an update on how the bone is healing. Chuck was brave, and got her pictures taken, and then we sat and waited to see the Doctor. We were called into a private exam room.

Proudly Chuck told the Doctor how she could get around, up and down stairs, doing the dishes, carrying her own stuff around school, even participating (in a diminished role) in phys ed. The doctor turned the tides on us.

"Your fracture is worse. you need to sit still and do nothing. Nothing at all.You need to be driven to school. No bus. No phys-ed. No stairs. No hopping on one foot. Never let the baby near by. Never stand if you can be sitting. Lie down if you can. Always elevate the foot. Stay indoors. If need something to do, read. Anything more is too much."

He showed us the x-rays, and it was plain to see that the bone had moved from its original position, and was definitely looking worse. Chuck and I were both surprised.

We are hoping the cast will come off around Christmas. I think that's the best gift Chuck will get this year. Right now she is kinda happy in her queen of the world role, lying on the couch having us bring her drinks, but I bet she will be tired of it in a week or less when she realizes just how little there is to do lying on your back with your foot in the air.

Hurry up and get those bones growing Kiddo, we're going to run out of dishes soon!

Vacation Stories - Part Three

After getting through the locks, we spent a night at Doral Marine Resort in Midland. We had a free night pass here, from the boat show last year, so it was a good deal.

These guys have a pool, a playground, power & water at all the docks. I could have totally gotten used to that!

They gave us a slip right beside the pool, which was great with the kids. We wondered at first how we'd managed to get a prime spot, then realized that to most people, it wouldn't be prime. It would be too loud so close to the pool!

So hubby started getting the mast up, and I started dinner. There was a picnic table at our slip, so I gathered my pots, stove, bbq, food, etc, and spread it all out at the picnic table and started making out spaghetti.

People kept walking by and looking at us weird. We were definitely the odd ones out, cooking AT OUR PICNIC TABLE!! but I wasn't going to cook in the boat, which can be quite cramped, when I had the table there, and Hubby was trying to get the mast up!

We ended up staying for two nights, since it took a bit longer than anticipated to get the mast up, and we needed time to chill out. Day two was spent lounging in the pool and at the playground.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Vacation Stories - Part Two

So, the next day we woke bright and early to continue through the locks. We had made it through one lock the day before, and we tied off at the top of the next overnight.

Have I mentioned how much I like the locks? This was a great place to stay. Very quiet and peaceful. At this particular lock, the staff commute in by boat in the morning, as the only other access is via a logging road.

So, we prepared to go down:

(I'd just like to point out the location of my coffee right now. In my hand. 'Cause that was a good place for it)
We made it down the lock, with the only incident being that by the time we reached the bottom, instead of my coffee being in my cup, it was all over the foredeck.
This lock was a HUGE drop, and I felt slightly claustrophobic as we decended.
Chuck elected to walk down, so she got to photograph our descent:

(I'd like to point out the presense of COFFEE on the deck right now)

We made it down, and Hubby made me a new cup of coffee.
We then continued our leisurly motor through the locks.

Here's how Buddy spent his day:

And how Chuck spent hers:


Until we got to the marine Railroad.

Everyone woke up for that one.

After the railroad, Buddy was sleepy, so his sister took him below to have a nap:

I'd like you all to notice WHO'S eyes are OPEN and WHO'S are CLOSED!!
From here we motored out to Georgian Bay, and on to Doral Marine Resort.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Vacation Stories - Part One

So, we packed up our boat with everything we thought we would need and then some. You remember those cartoons, where there is too much stuff and too little space, but the character puts everything is a suitcase, and then they show the suitcase with everything neatly folded and fitting properly???

That's what the boat was like, except for the neatly folded and fitting properly.

When we left, this was what the boat looked like:

That's where the playpen usually goes. Buddy got to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy for the first few nights until we had things sorted out a little better. I didn't take a picture of the aft berth, but it was just as bad.

Buddy spent much of the first day like this:

And this:

Chuckles spent the first day doing this:
Mommy spent her day doing this:

While Daddy was busy driving:

A few days in, we did manage to get things squared away better. Going through the locks was great, it was nice and peaceful. We left during a heat wave, but the temperature dropped perceptibly when we left the open lake and entered the canal system.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hawkestone Regatta

Well, after our many “adventures” on vacation, I had to get myself psyched up for the annual labour day weekend regatta. 4 races in 3 days, and as of the day before the races I still hadn’t put the boom back on the boat. Too busy licking my wounds, and fixing stuff around the house that had been neglected in our pre-vacation preparation.

Friday night, I took all the “Camper-crap” off the boat, and got her close to race ready, put the boom on, and motored across the lake to the Barrie Marina. Arrived at 2:30 AM and joined the raft-up, then crashed.

At 07:by-God-30 some prick woke up the fleet for breakfast. I stumbled to the clubhouse for coffee and eggs, then returned to the boat and realized I hadn’t checked the rig since raising the mast. A quick tweak here and there, and the rig was close to right for racing, then it was off to the skipper’s meeting.

At the skipper’s meeting , I received my flags for previous races, a first, second and third, and felt pretty happy with myself, then it was the instructions for today’s race. The day would start with a windward-leeward race, followed by a medium distance race to Hawkestone Yacht Club. Due to light winds, courses would be shortened if necessary.

I don’t remember much of the windward-leeward course. I think I started middle of the pack, and worked hard to hold position, but this is usually my worst race of the season, so I didn’t expect much. Some of my fiercest competition (“I am Canadian”) finished ahead of me, but I was happy when I finished the race in what looked like a decent position. After the race, I hove to and waited for the start of the second race.

Race 2 was the distance race from Barrie to Hawkestone Yacht Club. Only 6 boats were entered in my division, but I hoped I would do well in this one. In light winds, Iris tends to do well, and our tacking angles and strategies were working OK. The race would have a struggle to windward in Kempenfelt Bay (about 15 miles long and only a mile or so wide) then we would skirt the North shore of Lake Simcoe to reach HYC.

The race committee blasted out the pre-start warning, and I moved to the preferred end of the line, getting ready for “the ultimate start sequence” I thought I had it too, until, with less than 2 minutes to start, I realized that I was on the leeward end of the line, in the dirty air of every boat in the race. I ended up crossing the line behind the rest of the fleet. A dismal start, with both classes beating me through the start, and heading up the bay ahead while I sat alone, trying to get traction in their dirty air.

I tacked over to port tack, and clawed my way to windward. I decided early that going up the bay, I would only tack once I was so close to shore that I could read addresses, or that the air was failing due to shoreline features. While on each tack, I made sure I was as close to the wind as possible without losing speed, and used my compass to hold a true heading. Last year in the night race I had taken in excess of 30 tacks to make it up Kempenfelt Bay This time I was making much more progress with much less work. By the top of the bay I had worked my way through more than half of the fleet, and was ahead of every boat in my division. I was ready to celebrate.

As I cleared the bay and got into Lake Simcoe proper, the wind began to fail. As it dropped, the boats behind filled in until they too sailed into the dead calm. A light rain fell, a tiny breeze blew on and off, the sun was hot and humidity filled the air, and we sat.

In this part of the lake a current pulled the boats along at 0.3 knots (GPS) and careful steering could get you up to 0.5 knots, but there was no hope for us to finish the race before the allotted 7:00 PM curfew. Still we sat.

For hours we drifted across the top of the bay until HYC came into view, then the RC sitting on shore waiting for us, and the tetrahedral that marked the finish. With half a mile between the 7 boats waiting to finish, and the finish line, the speed on my GPS dropped from 0.3 to 0.1 – in the wrong direction. I was actually drifting away from the mark.

There was no way any of the boats in my division would finish in time.

I took a dockline and quietly tied it to a bow cleat, then went back to the cockpit and took off my socks and shoes.

Dockline in mouth, I dove off the bow and started swimming toward the line. Everyone laughed and one of the other boats took pictures, and protested me, it was all in fun. Everyone knew this race would not have a finisher. Sure enough we were still sitting out there within a half mile of the finish when the RC called the curfew and packed it in.

I took Iris straight into HYC since SWMBO and the kids were waiting, but the boats that sat out the calm ended up finishing about an hour later. For me 7 hours of going nowhere was more than enough.

The party that night was good with some great guitar playing and drinks and food, but after getting to bed so late the night before I was mostly tired, and was glad to curl up in my berth. Too bad the baby had other plans. He whined and cried until SWMBO brought him to our bed so he could kick and squirm and keep us up all night.

At 07:by-God-30 some prick woke up the fleet for breakfast. I stumbled to the clubhouse for coffee and eggs, and met my crew for the day – Peter. Peter is a dinghy sailor who has sailed on the coast and places between, but has little racing experience. I though we’d have a good time.

Right after breakfast I ran for the Men’s room, and was seated comfortably when the call went out for the skipper’s meeting. I hurried hard, but by the time I got out and joined the gaggle, I had missed the first 5 minutes. This would turn out to be critical. The course for the day was handed out, and everyone headed to their boats. We got Iris away, and were out and set for the pre-race circling. Peter settled in nicely, and I gave him the run-down on the boats we were up against.

All of our best competition was out, and the course wasn’t one that I particularly relished. We would be sailing from HYC to a channel marker for the Trent seaway, and then we would set a course to round Thorah Island – a part of the lake with a renown for light winds and shallow water, before returning to HYC for dinner. Once again there was a 7:00 curfew, and once again provisions were made for a shortened course due to light winds. Out in the starting box was Icarus, Newfie Screach, I am Canadian, Lake Effect, and Second Wind – all boats that are fighting to beat us out of our current first place standing.

At the start we circled about as usual, and tried not to get pushed out again. With 2 minutes to start we spun the boat in a tight donut and came out right next to Icarus. 30 seconds to start, and we were leeward of him at the pin end. 10 seconds to go and we pushed him up into the pin, forcing him to circle back.

5 seconds and we were next to the pin.
4 seconds and we were at it accelerating
3,2,1 – at the line, across it and accelerating with no one to windward. No black flags, no second horn, no recall. I finally got my perfect start. The rest of the white sail fleet was dueling it out behind us while we sailed in clear air, with the spinnaker fleet up ahead of us. And we were accelerating.

We put time on the rest of the fleet most of the way to the first mark. About 2/3s of the way to the mark, the fastest of the PHRF lo boats passed us, but most of our own fleet was way behind. Then we headed for the Island, and kept our position pretty well with only 3 PHRF-lo boats ahead. Going around the island though, proved to be our undoing.

On every tack we seemed to lose ground, and before long more boats were ahead of us than behind. It was absolutely frustrating watching them pass us one after the next as we blew tacks, failed to trim to conditions, had tacking angles way over our normal 90, and generally gave away the race. Peter was trying hard, but I wasn’t giving the sort of guidance he needed to make the boat move. Eventually, we were reduced to sitting with the rest of the boats in our own class, rather than sailing with the class ahead of us.

Then the wind died, and the water got skinny.

Our batteries were low, so our depth sounder and fish finder weren’t working. I sent Peter on the bow to watch for rocks, but with low wind it was difficult to get good steerage anyway. We picked our way through the shoaling waters on the back of Thorah Island at 2 knots or less, and then sat and waited for the wind to fill in. I began doing the calculations for how long it would be before we got in, and whether we would make it before the curfew.

The rest of the boats came up from behind. I worried.

Then a breeze came up, and we took off with the other boats getting further and further behind. We were making time on them, and would certainly finish before them. Behind us was Canadian and Second Wind, and a couple others. We had a chance if we could just get this last leg perfect.

The boat accelerated with the wind and the water hissed as it sheared off the bow. We heeled nicely and sliced our way to the finish line. I made sure we were lined up perfectly between the mark and the lighthouse at the entrance to HYC, and we dove toward it at breakneck speed. Now the rest of the fleet were getting up to speed and some of the faster boats were challenging us. Dammit this would be tight. Perfection. If ever there was a time I needed perfection, this was it, and dammit, I was getting it. I told Peter not to let up in speed until we heard the horn at the finish. On PHRF we needed every second we could get.

We crossed the line at full speed, but I didn’t hear the horn. Maybe I had missed something. I looked at Peter, he looked blankly at me. The horn finally sounded, and I looked behind me. The rest of the boats had rounded the end of the line and finished, crossing the line in the opposite direction.

I swore, gybed, and fought back up to the pin to round it and cross the line, adding about 5 minutes to what would have been our time. The instructions for finishing the race had been given while I was in the washroom at the start of the skippers meeting. Peter hadn’t heard them, I didn't even know, and there was so much separation between us and the boat ahead that I hadn't seen their finish.

Supper was provided by HYC, and I got a lot of comments on our non-conventional finish, but it was OK. There was a lot more to the race than the 5 minutes at the end. Next time I’ll be more judicial in my choice of times for restroom breaks.

That night we hung out on Tecumseh and enjoyed their company, before going to bed. The next morning was a flag ceremony followed by the skippers meeting for the last race of the weekend. I wasn’t expecting much at the flag ceremony since the windward-leeward race wasn’t (in my opinion) one of my better performances, and the fiasco at the finish in the distance race had pretty much dashed my hopes for placing in that race. To my surprise Iris took third in the windward-leeward race, and third in the Thorah Island race though. To my dismay, Newfie Screach beat us in one of them and I am Canadian beat us in both, tightening up the race for the cup. We are now only 1 point ahead of Canadian.

The last race of the weekend was to be a short course around the buoys right at HYC. I circled the line, got an OK start, and tried in the light winds to pull off a good race. All the way through the race though I was blanketed by a pair of Hunter 28.5’s (Lake Effect and Second Wind) and at every mark rounding had at least 3 boats to contend with. I was keeping an eye on Newfie Screach and I Am Canadian behind me, and trying to get ahead of them, but match racing tactics were being employed against me at every turn. Then Icarus sailed up behind and made things even more complicated.

I was being headed up by 3 boats who all have PHRF ratings 20 points or more less than mine, while the guys I owe time to were making on me from behind. I had to get out of there.
Eventually I got ahead of Icarus, and Lake Effect opened up a gennaker, putting him ahead of me. Now it was just me and Lake effect, but we had caught up to Peanca – a boat in another class who thought it would be fun to play games. Once again, caught in a 3-boat fight with match racing tactics, I was forced to leave my plan to get clear and sail my race. The only boat I was really concerned with was another Catalina 25 “Allegro” who I had beat last year, but was now cleaning up on me way up ahead, however if these low-PHRF boats didn’t stop messing with me, I would be in trouble very shortly.

Luckily, the RC shortened the course so that after a final windward leg, the race would be done. As I rounded the final mark with Second Wind and Peanca, The high PHRF boats were pointing high for the finish, while I aimed low on the mark. The separation this gave meant I was no longer being harassed. Trouble was that while I was fighting with Second Wind and Peanca, Icarus had rounded the last pin ahead of me, and we were crossing very closely.

To my starboard, Second wind was pinching high to make the finish without tacking, while Icarus was crossing ahead of me, and Peanca fell behind. Altogether, about a half dozen boats crossed, recrossed and did hard battle in the last mile of the course to get to the finish first.

In the end I crossed the line ahead of I am Canadian, Newfie Screach, Icarus and Second Wind, but behind Allegro and Lake Effect. On PHRF, I took second, with Allegro taking first – that’s 2 Catalina 25’s in the top 3 positions!!