THE START

A short series of my blogs about buying Truce and preparing to sail north to Alaska on a new adventure.

FATE OR CIRCUMSTANCE – BUYING A BOAT

 Many people don’t believe in fate, some consider fate an alignment of coincidences, others don’t believe in coincidences. 

As a seaman I am super suspicious, I never walk under ladders, I have lucky numbers, never sail on Friday the thirteenth, monitor the movements of black cats, constantly touch wood and know that fate and circumstance are realities of life. 

Late in 2015, a group of factors (fate?) conspired to lead me towards buying what I consider to be an excellent little cruising boat. Briefly, here is how it happened.

In July 2015 I travelled from my home in Auckland, New Zealand to Vancouver in Canada  The purpose of the trip was to join a tug boat (Pacific Hickory) as Captain and take her across to China to pick up a return tow.

Whilst waiting to board my flight in Auckland I took advantage of free airport Wi-Fi to check out Vancouver, it had been many years since I last visited that beautiful city.  Purely by chance I came across a boat for sale locally, it caught my eye and roused my interest and imagination. Now you must believe me, I wasn’t looking to buy a boat, it was pure coincidence that I saw it online (my wife, Ngozi still doesn’t believe me).

Upon arrival in Vancouver I was busy taking over from the departing Captain and preparing for the trans Pacific voyage ahead.  However, I found time to contact the owners of the boat and learned she was called ‘Truce’.  The boat was lying at Ladysmith Marina on Vancouver Island.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to travel over and inspect it so I sent an email to the owners letting them know I was interested in looking at the boat and that if it was still for sale I could visit in a few months after returning from China.

The trip across to China went smoothly with the obligatory few days of lumpy weather and we arrived in good time to pick up our tow in Shanghai.  The return voyage went well for the most part, some nasty weather in the Bering sea called for a quick southerly exit through Adak Pass in the Aleutian Islands to find better weather.  The voyage across the Gulf of Alaska into Juan de Fuca Strait was a downhill run.  I was happy to arrive in Vancouver Harbour, early morning in late September to hand over the tow to waiting tugs.  The tow from China was completed at a speed of just under ten knots, the fastest tow I have ever done and the owners seemed happy.

Pacific Hickory returning from China and entering Vancouver Harbour with a barge in Tow, September 2015. Photo Ray J Ordano
Pacific Hickory returning from China and entering Vancouver Harbour with a barge in Tow, September 2015. Photo Ray J Ordano

Once secured at the dock and all the official chores completed I contacted the owners of Truce again, they confirmed Truce was still for sale.  Wonderful, I was leaving the Pacific Hickory in Vancouver and could take the opportunity to have a look at Truce and combine that with some sightseeing and exploring on Vancouver Island.

So, I handed over the Pacific Hickory to a new Captain and signed off, taking a ferry across to Vancouver Island where I hired a car to get me up to Ladysmith where Truce was berthed.

The little boat didn’t disappoint me, to my eyes she was beautiful, thoughtfully laid out and obviously well-constructed to a high standard.  She looked a little tired or maybe just in need of a new owner who could give her a good work out and maintenance schedule. 

Peace and tranquillity on Vancouver Island – welcome after a North Pacific round trip
Peace and tranquillity on Vancouver Island – welcome after a North Pacific round trip

Ocean towing is a wonderful thing but can be stressful at times with the engines constantly straining and the whole enterprise dependent on a length of steel cable. Its not until you get into port that you realise how stressed you have been. Vancouver Island turned out to be a wonderful place to unwind for a few days after the trip.

I would have to think about buying another boat, this time thousands of miles from home.  Returning to New Zealand my head was full of possibilities and imagined future adventures.    

A few months later, in March 2016, after some to and fro with the owners my offer for Truce was accepted, subject to a satisfactory pre purchase inspection.  In late March I travelled back to Vancouver Island from New Zealand and contracted a local surveyor to undertake the pre purchase inspection. 

PRE PURCHASE INSPECTION

March 31 2016

I left home in Auckland on the 26th March, one day before my sixty fifth birthday and official retirement age, landing in Vancouver on the same day thanks to the date line.  Upon arrival I hired a car and took the ferry over to Vancouver Island where the pre purchase inspection of Truce was to take place at Canoe Cove marina.  Canoe Cove is a great spot, just next to the BC Ferry Terminal to Vancouver, it’s very sheltered and has a wide range of marine services available with practical type of people available to fix, repair and build boat things.

The survey took place on the 29th March and the underwater inspection on the 30th when the boat was to be hauled out.  Tim Amy from Inland Marine Surveyors carried out the inspection, he took his time and I exercised great restraint is keeping out of his way and letting him get the job done without interference.  At the end of the day the survey was going well without any serious issues uncovered. 

I organised for a rigger to climb the mast and do complete rig inspection.  All went well and no major problems were identified, the rigger was most impressed with the quality of the wooden mast.  The rigger did find an area of rot on the outboard end of the port spreader that will need attention in the immediate future.  I climbed the mast later to check it out, its only superficial at this stage but the spreader is compromised and not going to get any better. 

Mast and rig inspection at Canoe Cove Marina Vancouver
Mast and rig inspection at Canoe Cove Marina Vancouver

At the end of the day with the in-water inspection and rig inspection complete I retired to the pub for a beer and to reflect on the day’s events.  It had been a very eventful day, I was feeling tired but happy with the days work.  Truce was proving to be a simple and well-constructed boat without any major faults.  There were a few small niggles and maintenance issues but certainly nothing unexpected on an older boat.  After a nightcap I had a good nights sleep in my motel room.

The next morning, the 30th March, the engineer from Gartside Engineering turned up to check the engine and mechanicals.  He spent some time working around the cold engine before starting up for the hot check.  With the boat tied up securely to the dock he tested the engine on load in gear at high RPM and ran up to working temperature.

I am sure the engine hasn’t been worked that hard for a long time but it held up for 10 minutes before being pulled back to a more moderate power.  The engineer found some corrosion on the exhaust mixing elbow and a hose that needs replacing due to chafe – otherwise all is sound.

With the engine nice and warm we let go from the dock and headed around to the travel lift. 

Yacht Truce Lift off
Ready for lift out, backing into the travel lift – Photo Ray Penson

The lift out went well, always a nervous time. The underwater profile of Truce looked good with heavy lead ballast at the forward edge of the keel and a solid transom hung rudder on a skeg well aft for good directional stability. I let the surveyor do his thing, tapping and inspecting every square inch of the hull.

Yacht Truce Underwater profile – Photo Ray Penson
Underwater profile – Photo Ray Penson

After the underwater inspection Truce was splashed back into the water and motored around to the berth where she lay to await the final outcome of the inspections.

At the end of the second day the surveyor indicated that all was well from his inspection apart from some minor issues, he would have a completed report ready for me tomorrow.  Another busy day was finished and time for me to consider going ahead with the purchase or not.  The engineering and rigging survey had been completed without any major issues, the boat was sound and from what I had seen I didn’t have any reservations.

Once again I returned to my motel room and felt quite excited at the prospect of owning Truce.  But first a phone call home to New Zealand to consult Ngozi on what I was about to do.

SALE AGREEMENT SIGNED

April 1 2016

Truce has a new owner – and its me!  Tim Amy, the surveyor delivered his report this morning and it came through without any major concerns.  The rig had been checked and deficiencies quantified, likewise the engine was good apart from a couple of spare parts required.  A final price was agreed with the owners and the sale agreement signed. I was a bit concerned about signing on the first of April being Aprils fools day, but reckoned that by the afternoon all the fools are finished – I am happy.

Buying a boat such a long way from home is a challenge.  The trip back to New Zealand is an ocean crossing, not something to undertake single handed on a boat just purchased without a good shakedown cruise.  Now that Truce is in my ownership I can look at doing a shakedown cruise to Alaska.  I don’t have any destination in mind but would like plenty of time to get accustomed to the boat and iron out any issues along the way.  Also, who knows when I will have the opportunity to visit Alaska in the future and summer is coming.

YACHT TRUCE
Yacht Truce under new ownership

Now there is a bit of work to undertake, voyage preparation and maintenance to carry out before departing north.

VOYAGE PREPARATION

April 2 2016

One of the beauties of travelling to Alaska from British Columbia is that most of the voyage can be undertaken in sheltered inshore waters without venturing onto the rugged exposed outer west coast.  This allows opportunities for shelter, repair stops and plenty of rest on the way.  I have travelled the inside passage from Prince Rupert to Vancouver a few times on commercial vessels, a spectacular and scenic trip under pilotage.  For the proposed trip ahead I will be my own pilot, for that matter I will also be the deckhand, mechanic and cook.

Inside Passage to Alaska

Before I head off northward there is a long ‘to do list’ that needs checking off.  I also have some additional equipment that I want fitted, mostly relating to safety and communications.  The engine exhaust elbow and hose will need replacing and the port spreader will need repair before I depart from the dock.  I will also be taking some essential spares on board for the engine, fan belts, impellers, filters etc.  Fortunately Truce comes with an extensive tool kit and parts on board, everything is almost ready to go,  Time to get to work.

It’s a sparkling day at Canoe Cove, still and cold in the morning and warming up nicely as the sun gets some altitude. Everybody else around seems to be busy preparing to sail off somewhere.

First item this morning was to order an Iridium GO satellite communication package from Predict Wind.  The Iridium GO will make communication much easier, no need to come ashore and hunt out WiFi hotspots.  The package should also allow me to upload photos, and embed a tracking page to the website.  The Predict Wind package will be helpful for weather forecasting and routing.  Also, with the Iridium Go I will be able to send SMS and email, even make phone calls if needed.  I have used Iridium before, it’s a handy piece of kit.

In the afternoon I went shopping for some provisions.  I returned to the boat and when stowing the goods away realised some provisions were missing.  I checked the receipt and found all the last items have gone astray.  I must have left a bag behind at the checkout.  I am annoyed but can’t do much about it now.  I will go back and check tomorrow but don’t expect it will have been kept overnight.

I returned in the evening for my final sleep on land for a while, tomorrow I will move onboard Truce and start the bonding process.

BOAT ALONE

April 3 2016

Today was my first day on Truce alone.  I kept busy all morning stowing all my gear and finding all sorts of new discoveries in every nook and cranny.  At first the contents of my three large bags appeared too voluminous to fit the available space.  However, everything got stowed neatly away with plenty of space to spare.  This boat was built for cruising and there is ample space for all manner of things.

Life at sea, Calm and Tranquil
View from Canoe Cove Marina, Calm and Tranquil

In the afternoon I took the bus from Swartz Bay into Victoria and purchased some more provisions and emergency flares, the old ones being out of date.  I also had a look at a small Dickinson Sea Barbeque, this is a local brand and although not flash looks functional and well built.  Truce is fitted with a Dickinson diesel cabin heater which I look forward to firing up soon.  First I have to move the dinghy that is on the foredeck as it is covering the chimney.  

Another nice sunny day and calm cold night.  I have lit the two oil lamps in the cabin, they give out a wonderful soft light and an additional benefit is they give off heat and the cabin is getting quite cosy. Truce is well insulated and the cabin warms up quickly. 

The day has been full on and I don’t really know where the time has gone.  Its been a day of doing a hundred small tasks and discovery,  Nothing of any great importance achieved, just learning. 

It’s the weekend tomorrow and l will be running the engine, anchor winch and exploring the boat further.  Then I may go down to Victoria for a look around.  I feel I need a rest day to regroup.  In the meantime, it’s time to relax with a low flyer (Famous Grouse Whisky) and watch a bit of Fools and Horses comedy video.

THE SEARCH FOR LONG LIFE MILK

April 4 2016

Woke up to a clear, cold overcast day, but it soon turned to sunshine again.  I wonder when we will pay for all this beautiful weather?  I didn’t get down to Victoria today but had a walk around Sidney by the sea instead, not quite the same as Victoria but an interesting place anyway.

The New Zealand Radio callsign and MMSI number came through today.  The callsign is ZMG3222 and MMSI #512005417. What a great service from the guys at Callsigns NZ, thank you.  Truce currently has Canadian registry and this needs to be deregistered before I can start the process for New Zealand registry on the small ship register. Just another administration thing to do. 

The main provisioning is all but finished now, just some fresh fruit and veg to load before I depart.  The only critical item missing is long life milk, I can’t seem to find it locally.   I find this unbelievable as there is a bewildering display of milk types on display at the supermarket.  The nearest to normal milk I have found is called Homo Milk – which I find a little queer.  I will keep asking around but so far I only get blank looks from the shop assistants – maybe long life mild doesn’t exist in Canada.

RAIN AND PLANNING

April 5 2016

 It rained all night with some gusty winds.  This morning was damp and there was a nice fresh cold breezy day today.  I am trying to get a reasonably priced ERPIB and expected I could get one from West Marine in the USA.  Unfortunately, although the price is great they are only programmed for American boats.  I then spoke at length with West Marine in Vancouver and they say theirs are only for Canadian boats and their price was double the USA price.

So, eventually I contacted Burnsco Marine in New Zealand, they have an EPIRB at a good price and will ship to Canada.  If only I had known before I left NZ – hindsight is a lovely thing.  Thank you Burnsco.

Got frustrated today with the mobile phone.  The system here in Canada for non-Canadians is pretty poor.  My credit ran out mid call to a supplier this morning.  I then tried to top up with my phone, but its not possible.  I then tried to top up from my laptop, again not possible as I don’t have a Canadian registered address.  The only option was to get on a bus down to Sidney and top up at the seven eleven store.

An hour later I purchased a top up at Seven Eleven and it didn’t load, the guy at the counter said that happens all the time and gave me a number for customer service, but this number could only be called from a landline!  Eventually, thirty minutes later I managed to top up.  On the bright side my trip to town was not wasted as I managed to find a coffee plunger and brewed up some decent coffee this afternoon on my return to Truce.

I have been in contact with New Zealand’s best sign man, Bryant Thompson, for a new port of registry sign on the transom.  I will also get some signs for the new NZ Callsign and MMSI number which go above the chart table.  All being well the signs will be here later this week and I will try my best to get them applied straight.

During a sunny spell this afternoon I tried to figure out a way of launching the dinghy without crippling myself.  The dinghy is cold moulded and built like a battleship, apparently Ernest considered that it would be his lifeboat as a last resort.  Its heavy.  I may try rigging a spare halyard and using a short spinnaker pole as a davit – needs a lot more thought really.

More planning for my trip north today and more small jobs and cleaning carried out onboard.  Every day is full of small jobs.

Off to do the laundry tonight, its nice and warm in the laundry which is a bonus.  Then back for a low flyer and a chat to my Swedish neighbour.

Still can’t find long life milk.

WET, WINDY AND OVERCAST

April 6 2016

A wet windy and overcast day today.  The sort of day when you never really get warm, just feel damp and cold.  I sorted out a number of charts that the previous owner passed on to me, some are very old but interesting.  A great way to lose time.

Also did another rig inspection today as the port spreader repair is bothering me.  I was planning doing a epoxy wrap but have now decided to replace it.  I don’t want any failures on my trip and it has to be done at some stage so might as well do it now properly and not worry. I am going to take the old spreader off and make a copy replacement.  The mast can remain standing and I have backed off the turnbuckles ready for the old spreader removal tomorrow morning.  I have asked Jespersen Boatbuilders to craft me a new spreader, they are a local boatbuilder and I am very impressed with their work.

The Insurance company came through with the insurance confirmation today, an improvement on the previous quote so I am happy to save a few bucks and still have good quality cover. 

Wind has dropped this evening and all is calm again.  Nice and cosy in the Salon of Truce and an early night after a good meal.

SPREADER REMOVAL DAY

April 7 2016

Woke up this morning and it was warmer, did the breath test and only a bit of steam came out.  Later turned out to be a sunny and warm day, could have worn shorts but I was too busy to stop and get changed.  I turned out the lockers under the cockpit and laid everything down on the jetty in the sun to get rid of any winter damp.

Spent another hour on the phone to my lifejacket supplier in Vancouver trying to get a replacement gas cylinder.  They have now contacted the UK office for help, at this rate I may just have to buy new lifejackets and get on with life.  I am pretty sure the jackets take standard gas cylinders but the local people think differently.

The big event toady was the removal of the port spreader, luckily it came away easily and it was quite a quick job.

As you can see from the photo the rot is quite extensive and close to the tip.  It could have lasted a bit longer but it would have failed in heavy weather when under high stress, no doubt at two in the morning – not a nice thought.  I feel much better now that the job is underway and an new spreader will be fitted soon.

The rest of the day spent cleaning out the cockpit lockers and Lazerette.  There is so much gear in there that I feel I need to lighten the load a bit.

Not long to go now before the boat is ready.  One of my neighbours is just finishing his engine repairs and will be heading out tomorrow, going north.  We may meet up again on the way.

SHORTS AND T SHIRT DAY

April 8 2016

Wonderful day, bright sun and no wind.  Broke the shorts out today.  Spring can be wonderful in BC.  Another day rummaging around the boat.  I have now found just about everything on board and been in every space possible.  I set up and tested the autopilot and it ran OK after I cleaned the contacts.   I topped up the fresh water today and found where the overflow pipe is.  This boat has an ingenious system of water tanks and pipework, all designed to allow any one tank to be used at a time.

To separate the three water tanks is practical, particularly on a long trip.  However, the pipework and valves associated with the system are challenging at first although no doubt perfectly logical to the person who installed them.  Anyway, when filling the tanks I was puzzled why the tank fill pipe was full but the hose was still running.  I reasoned that the water must be going somewhere – and probably not into the tank!

Inspection showed the overflow gushing merrily into the galley cupboard behind the cooker.  Good to find these things out.  I now know where the overflow vent is for future fills. 

I went across into the boat builders shop this morning to see how the spreader replacement is coming along.  The new spreader is being fashioned out of a nice piece of spruce and was at the marking out stage.

The packages of AIS and Iridium Go still haven’t arrived, the couriers seems to be taking forever.  Still no joy in finding replacement cylinders for my lifejackets.  I will just buy a couple of new lifejackets, the old ones look quite worn anyway.  

I threw out an old Jib sail away today.  There are a large number of sails on board and the lockers are jam pack full.  Out went an old jib that will never be used gain and I still have a spare main, jib, staysail, storm jib and spinnaker.  Getting anything in or out of the lockers is a mission and I had to free up some space. 

My Swedish neighbour and drinking partner departed north today after finishing his maintenance and engine repairs.  I am eager to get going as well but need a few more jobs completing before I am ready.

All quiet at Canoe Cove as the sun goes down

A DAY OUT IN VICTORIA

April 10 2016

Sunday and its Brass Monkey weather this morning so decided to get the bus to Victoria, good decision the day turned out to be sparkling and once I had warmed up really enjoyed it.  While I am waiting for parts to arrive I might as well do some tourist stuff.

Victoria Harbour and Parliament Building. Photo by Ray Penson
Victoria Harbour and Parliament Building. Photo Ray Penson

I picked up some tide tables and a guide to Alaska wildlife at Munro’s Bookshop in Victoria, what a great place, I could have lingered for hours.  We now have all the charts and books on board needed for the trip north, I can tick that off my to do list.

Captain Cook looking miserable

There is a nice statue of my hero Captain Cook on the harbour side.  He looks a bit glum, perhaps because the birds are shitting on him. But I expect he put up with plenty of that during his voyages of discovery – so more likely it’s because he is facing inland when he should be overlooking the harbour and out to sea.

I picked up a carbon monoxide detector / alarm from the chandlery, the surveyor noted it as a deficiency and the insurance company thought I should have one.  Really it is a good safety measure as we have oil lamps, gas cooker and a diesel heater on board that could all cause a problem if not properly ventilated. I also picked up a new handheld VHF radio and lifejacket with manual inflation.

I installed and tested the detector when I returned to the boat this afternoon.  Its loud and there would be no way of sleeping through the alarm.

Its Monday tomorrow and I am looking forward to more items ticked off my outstanding list.  The show-stoppers are the spreader replacement, EPIRB and the engine parts at the moment, all the other bits I can sort out on the way.

There is a nice pub at Canoe Cove, a cosy place on a cold night and only a short walk from the boat.  A perfect way to finish of the day

ENGINE READY TO GO

April 11 2016

Finally, the engine parts arrived from the USA.  Big event, the engine has now been serviced with new belts, impeller, sea water hose fitted. the new exhaust mixer was fitted this afternoon. The engine runs well, sounds good and is all ready to go again. Thanks to Gartside Marine. Another big ticket item off my list. After the engine was done I took a trip into town this morning to pick up some additional antenna cable and connectors.

New AIS received. Photo Ray Penson

This afternoon I installed the Matsutec AIS antenna on stern rail and ran the cable through the boat. Running cables through boats is always a mission, lazerette to empty, cockpit locker to empty, quarter berth the empty, ceiling in salon and insulation to take down, holes to drill and fill, cables to clip in place. Then everything has to be put back in place and cleaned up.  All that remains now is to install the head unit and connect the power and we should be in business. That can wait until tomorrow.

When running the antenna cable I found one of the echo sounder wires had almost worn through and disconnected.  Age and corrosion had done its work and the echo sounder had stopped giving a reliable reading.  Lucky I found it as we definitely need an echo sounder around these parts.  I will get going on a repair in the morning.

Back of depth display with corroded wire

The couriers with the EPIRB, Iridium Go and boat name stickers didn’t arrive today, they must be coming tomorrow, always tomorrow…

The replacement spreader has been cut and faired to shape. The mounting holes have been drilled oversize and filled with epoxy resin. Its now receiving a second coat of paint and is on track for fitting soon.

Looks like I may only have a few more sleeps at Canoe Cove Marina.

WET AND HAPPY – A GO DAY

April 12 2016

It’s been wet and damp all day today, and still raining.  Never mind the weather, we had a good day and after some soldering and improvisation this morning the echo sounder came back to life and is now showing the correct depth as far as I can tell, at least it goes up and down with the tide.  I will do a proper calibration later.

Yacht Truce Echo Sounder
Yacht Truce Echo Sounder

The spreader is coming along nicely and received its last coat of paint today ready for installation in the morning tomorrow.

I rigged a new flag halyard on the starboard spreader and have a new one made up for the new port spreader.  Important to have a flag halyard to fly the courtesy flag.

I also finished off the installation of the AIS today and just need the services of an electrician to hook it up to the power.  Electricians seem hard to get hold of this time of year, they are very busy commissioning boats. If I can’t find one may try and hook it up myself.

The good thing about dealing with 12 volt it doesn’t bite like the mains power.

Lastly the Iridium Go finally arrived today.  I will take the unusual step of carefully reading the manual before doing anything, it looks simple though.

Just waiting for the last two couriers with EPIRB and stickers now. If everything turns up I could be sailing tomorrow afternoon. But have just realised that tomorrow is the 13th – so I wont be sailing.

A QUIET DAY

April 14 2016

A quiet day at Canoe Cove.  I paid my bills for work done and my marina berth charges.  The marina charges are racking up and as I don’t need to be alongside a berth anymore I will move out to the anchorage where I can pick up a mooring.  I will move out to the anchorage in the early morning tomorrow.  

I am looking forward to getting out of the marina and away from the power tools and constant noise from frantic fitting out work.  It also moves me a step further towards my goal od departing and going north.

Another milestone today, the new replacement spreader was fitted today. I tightened up the rig and we are ready to go sailing. Yet another big ticket item ticked off the dwindling list.

I have been playing around with the Iridium Go. The first test call home went through without a hitch, followed by SMS and email.  There is still some set up to with the antenna and I need high speed internet to complete it. Unfortunately, I can’t get internet on the boat and have to keep trotting off to the laundry – for some reason that’s where the best Wi-Fi signal can be found!

Iridium GO Installed. Photo Ray Penson

Another item received in the post today was a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). This is a small model that can fit in my jacket pocket. I think it will good to have if i take walks in the bush or have to abandon ship as a backup to the big EPIRB. I can also fit the small PLB into my sailing jacket and foul weather gear so its always on me in bad weather offshore.

I will miss the friends I have made but we will meet up gain along the track in the future most likely.

The only thing I am waiting for now is the EPIRB before setting off. 

SELF INFLICTED ENGINE PROBLEMS

April 15 2016

I departed the marina berth this morning and went to a mooring.  I am so relieved to be moving, no matter how short.  It’s a psychological milestone to get away from the marina and into some quiet space.

 I am still waiting for courier packages so can’t completely get away from Canoe Cove just yet.

“Truce on a swing Mooring at Canoe Cove’
“Truce on a swing Mooring at Canoe Cove’

Also I had an engine problem this morning. When I started the engine this morning it was reluctant, but eventually started to a great cloud of smoke, then a couple of minutes later it stopped.  Most unusual.

After many tries the engine started again and after running for a while I left the dock and went to a mooring.  Shortly after arriving at the mooring the engine died again.  This afternoon I decided to run the engine again (still not confident) and to also give the batteries a charge.

The engine was hard to start again but eventually ran but after 10 minutes shut down again. Seems like a fuel problem so checked the filters and all OK.  But now can’t prime the system, maybe the fuel pump is knackered.  I called Gartside Marine Enginers and they were pretty certain I has not turned the fuel on properly.  I was adamant that the fuel was turned on.

After getting off the phone I worked my way along the fuel system once again to look for problems.  When I came to the fuel tank changeover valve I pondered – could it be in the wrong position?  Could I be reading the position indicator wrongly?  I switched the valve position and started the engine again.  Bingo!  The engine ran first time and purred like a kitten.  Apologies to Gartside, you were right.  I put it down to a good lesson and learning.

I launched the dinghy today, quite a heavy exercise using the mast winch and spinnaker halyard. The bloody thing weighs a ton and is a mission to get over the side. However, once in the water it rows nicely and is quite stable.

Its been a nice day, the dinghy is in the water and the diesel cabin heater is working a treat and I know a bit more about the fuel tank switch over selector. I am expecting a nice relaxing night on the mooring, swinging to the wind and tide.  

Who knows the courier may arrive tomorrow, its only 10 days since it left New Zealand.

GROCERY SHOPPING, MAKE AND MEND DAY

April 17 2016

Another peaceful day swinging at the mooring in Canoe Cove.

Took the pig (dinghy) ashore and jumped on a bus to Victoria and then to Sidney to do some grocery shopping, thought it was time I had some fresh veg and fruit again.  Has a nice morning out.

This afternoon spent doing many small jobs around the boat.  I the past few days I have had a lot of things going wrong, fuses burning, lights going out and of course the engine stopping.  Very annoying to be constantly reacting to things going wrong. 

I know I will get to a stage where I am on top of the maintenance, I am just not there yet.  The frustration of sitting in port waiting for the courier to arrive with the EPIRB is also getting to me.  The courier tracking stops when the package enters Canadian customs and the courier company cant tell me what’s happening.

Rum and coke tonight and an early sleep.

A QUIET DAY ON THE MOORING

April 18 2016

It looks like summer is here early, bright sunshine and 22 degrees today.  Everybody is happy even the seal swimming around the boat today.  My morning row in the pig and walk ashore was delightful. This afternoon I finished the cabling for the Iridium antenna and its all fixed in position and working well.  It looks like mushrooms have been sprouting up around the stern rail area.

“Iridium antenna on the left” Photo Ray Penson
“Iridium antenna on the left” Photo Ray Penson

I managed to get myself into the small space behind the engine and double clip the exhaust hose as recommended by the surveyor and required by the insurance company. One of the final jobs on my to do list. It’s also good for my peace of mind that everything is double clamped, just in case one clamp fails. All the through hulls are now double clamped with new clamps.

“Hoses double clamped” Photo Ray Penson
“Hoses double clamped” Photo Ray Penson

It’s such a tight squeeze to get into that space and once in it’s a real challenge to get out again.  Anyway finding all the nooks and crannies on the boat is good and helps to get familiar with everything.

Still waiting for the EPIRB. Everything else is ready to go, including me.

I CAN WAIT NO MORE

April 20 2016

This morning I checked again at the marine office for my courier packages from New Zealand.  NOTHING! Fourteen days since they left New Zealand, that’s snail mail. That’s it!  I can wait no more.  I am moving out, I feel trapped at Canoe Cove and need to move. I can sail coastal without an EPIRB. I will check back from time to time by phone with the marina office and maybe get the packages forwarded if they ever turn up. 

I slipped the mooring at Canoe Cove at noon and headed out in a northerly direction.  Just a light breeze on the nose but I decided to get some sail on and have a play.

The boat sails beautifully in a light breeze, I just had the jib and staysail up and was playing around with the trim and balance.  Even better the wind vane self steering kept her on rails without any effort.  I had been concerned that the wind vane self steering would need some decent wind to work but, at least in calm conditions and light wind she worked beautifully and is easy to trim.  

I am on my way. To see more click on the voyage log Vancouver to Glacier Bay

 

 

 

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