Saturday 30 April 2011

Change of Command

          "A bad day's when I lie in bed, and think about things that might have been..."
                                                                                                                  -Paul Simon

     Way back in the day, when a front-loading four- head VCR was top-line home theater, everybody had a Maxell dude-in-the-armchair poster on their wall, and a subwoofer was my buddy Mike who could snarf down a foot- long hoagie in under 1:40, our planet had a circumference of around 24900 miles.
    Today, an equatorial lap is about the same distance, but this week I was reminded again how the interweb has made the planet seem a whole lot smaller. Here's what I mean:

    I used to participate at, but stopped a few months back.  I was prompted to revisit the site recently, and stumbled upon a thread requesting info on transiting the Welland Canal.  The poster mentioned that he had bought a boat in Port Dover and was sailing it back to Picton, on Lake Ontario, this weekend. I sent the OP (original poster), Bill, a message explaining that I lived in the area, and that if he needed anything to get in touch.

    Today, I got a phone call:
    "Dude! This is so cool!  I always read your blog!When I pulled into the marina and saw that breakwall, I said, 'Hey, that's Dock Six!'"
    "Thanks," (pause.)  "Who is this?"
    Then all the pieces fell into place.  THIS is the guy from the Cruisers Forum!..."Oh, okay, THAT Bill!"
    A half hour later Finn the Wonder Dawg and I caught up with Bill and Hugh at the marina, as Bill was prepping his new-to-him Grampian 26 for splash.

    Hugh is on the left, Bill on the right, gripping Canada's #1 meet-and-greet ice breakers.  Show up with Timmies and you've got new friends, no matter how big an asshole you are.

    Bill grew up sailing.  He raced, he cruised, he sailed Mirage 24s with his dad,, Northern 25s, 29s, raced a Bombardier 7.5 meter, then moved to Texas for a while.  When he moved back, he bought a powerboat, then a Hughes 25.  Craving a little more room than the Hughes provided, he was advised to seek out a Grampian 26.
     Enter Hugh.
     Hugh had reluctantly listed his Grampian 26, Suntack,  for sale. Bill and Hugh came to a meeting of the minds, and Hugh agreed to pass  command of Suntack to Bill... but not without one last sail.  Bill will be sailing single-handed from Port Dover to Port Colborne, where Hugh will step aboard Suntack one last time to assist Bill in travelling through the Welland Canal.

    One of the stripped-head cliches of boating is that "the two best days of being a boat owner are the day you buy it and the day you sell it."
    Might be true if you are a boat owner.  But if you are a sailor, it's bullshit.  Ask Hugh.  This was a tough day for him.

I hung around and snapped pictures and offered unneeded advice while Danny and his helper worked magic with the Travelift:

  ...and Bill finished the bottom paint...

   Then Danny took Suntack on one last tour of the marina...

       ...before splashing her in the basin...

... where Hugh and Bill climbed aboard to guide her over to the transient dock for her last night in Port Dover.

    Bill expects to depart at first light Saturday morning.  he's got a long day ahead to get to Port Colborne.

   So, in a nutshell, a guy from Dock Six, prompted by a message from a grieving American naval architect on an American based website, visits another American website and stumbles on a message from a Canadian  Lake Ontario sailor who has bought a boat in Port Dover advertised on an international listing site. Try THAT with a CB radio and a typewriter.

   The third rock from the sun maybe the same size as ever, but it's gotten a lot smaller.

    Fair winds, Bill!

   Hugh, you're always welcome to join us on the Dock anytime.  Bring your dog, we'll provide the rum and the boats.  Deal?

     As always, folks, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please fell free to "Talk the Dock!"  Follow us, link us, or just tell your friends.

Friday 29 April 2011


     "Oh here you are, there's nothing left to say, you're not supposed to be that way..."
                                                                                                       - The Goo Goo Dolls

     Today was a bittersweet day at the marina.  I got the chance to meet a blog follower from the east end of Lake Ontario, but the pleasure of that meeting was tempered by the sad remains of yesterday's freak winds. Scuttlebutt is that at least one of the four toppled sailboats will be a write-off.


A hell of a way to start the season.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Big Wind, Big Trouble

     "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."
                                                                  -Bob Seger

     Every winter those of us who live in regions that enjoy four seasons deal with the odd "snow day"-  a day when the weather is too inhospitable, or the snow just plain too deep, to go to work or school.  Inconvenient, but it can be kinda fun, with a fire in the fireplace and a hot buttered rum and a good book close to hand.

    Today was the first time I'd ever experienced a "wind day".
    It wasn't fun.

    At 0 Dark:30 this morning I woke to flapping windows and pitch darkness.  No power.
     "I'm pretty sure I paid the bill," methinks, so me looks out the window-  no streetlights.  Okay, it's NOT just us.

    Luckily, I have flashlights.
    Okay, no power, no problem.
    Until I stumble to the kitchen to start the coffeemaker.  The ELECTRIC coffeemaker.
    Note to self:  do NOT leave stove top coffee perk on boat at end of season anymore.
    Right then, tea it is.
   "The coffee dilemma and my apparent lack of preparedness has the bones for a good blog post," thinks I, as I sit down to my keyboard and...  right, no power.
    Remember Battery Day at stately Jones manor?  Guess who forgot that two of the radios in the house are DC powered.  Further guess who forgot to install new batteries in aforementioned radios.
     Guess who went for a drive just to listen to the car radio and find out the power outage details.

     It wasn't an easy drive.

     We have had almost a week of steady rain which has made our sandy soil very wet and very loose.  Add winds in excess of 50 knots, and...


    There are hundreds of trees down thoughout the area, with remarkably little damage.  It seems that given a choice between landing on power lines or crashing through the roof of a house, the trees opt for death by electrocution.
    Since I'm out driving aimlessly anyway, I figure it might be a good idea to check on the boats and the marina.  There is no power in Port Dover.  The marina gate is electric.  Hence, I cannot get into the marina.  The view from the street, however, is gutwrenching:


     Back in March, I took these pictures for future use in a post about imaginative, inelegant, humourous, but effective fixes.  Check out the amount of lumber supporting the aft end:

    Today, it doesn't seem so humourous.

   The marina staff was already hard at work righting boats, or preventing them from getting any more unright.

        I drove the short distance to the Bridge Yachts yard, where Whiskeyjack  and Legacy spend the winter, wondering what I would find.  By and large all the boats in the yard came through unscathed.  Some flapping shrinkwrap here and there, and Legacy decided to cast off her winter tarps,

   but otherwise, nothing to report.  Ah, it was time for me to start varnishing her anyway.

     The wind has started to die down, and power is slowly being restored throughout the area.  I finally have working wi-fi and a cup of hot coffee in my hand, so the heart palpitations and shaky hands should start to ease.
    It's interesting that I am able to live quite comfortably and contentedly all season on a boat with no shorepower, but feel all sorts of cranky with no power on the dirt.  Or maybe "interesting" isn't the right word.
Pathetic? Yeah, that might be more accurate.

     Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock"- link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Refit Roll Call!

     "Lord, I am so tired.  How long can this go on?"
                                                            -Lee Dorsey

      When we're not sailing, or fishing, or roaring across the Bay, or cleaning, or drinking, or eating,  Docksters are usually fixing.  Or improving. Or fixing what we had previously improved.  Since winter significantly cuts down on the "sailing, or fishing, or roaring across the bay, or cleaning" parts of our existence, we are left to fill the void with additional drinking, eating and fixing.
     Especially the fixing.
     If we drank any more than we already do, we'd have to start attending meetings.
     Bottom line, from October to April we get fat and work on our boats... not necessarily in that order.

     This winter was an especially busy one-  it seems like everyone had a project or two underway.
     Jim and Marianne gave Cranky a makeover- new topsides and deck paint, hardware rebedded, and fresh bottom paint.

   I like the rolling cradle, Jim.

   I have to admit to some serious boat shed envy.  Look at that high-falutin' ceiling fan in the background!  And Jim is working in short sleeves!  Heat AND ventilation AND shelter- that ain't fair.

   Here is what Cranky looked like before she entered the shed:

    Nice colour choice, Jim and Marianne.  It looks like we are starting an official colour scheme for the Dock Six fleet!

   James gets the "Pimp My Hull" award.  He built new smoked acrylic transom doors for George Too II, added more LED mood lighting, installed a deck throne, dialed in both outboards, and installed a new stereo with a DVD player and retractable LCD screen.  With the new entertainment system instalkled, James added cabling that will enable him to display his smartphone on the screen-  download Navionics chart app to  the phone and voila!  A fixed mount chartplotter.   Then he went over the top-  he installed night vision cameras fore and aft, and tied them into the screen on his stereo!  I can't wait to see how it all works.

     Jack bought another boat.   Jack will be splashing an O'day Tempest this season, providing he can find the sails, which apparently have gone missing.  I predict that Jack will buy another boat just to acquire the needed sails.

     Jim and Jill have been working on Carpe Diem, reworking the running rigging, installing a new loose-footed mainsail, and refinishing the teak trim.  It sounds like one of the prettiest boats on the dock just got prettier. I can't wait to see her.

    Rumour has it that Gavin bought new skatelaces for his fenders. (Oooohhhh, I'm gonna hear about that one.)

     The new boat, After School,  saw some serious structural surgery take place.  Eric discovered that the mast step was a little soft... he did a little exploring...

 ...then a little more...

... then he cut away about half of the deck and the cabintop...

   ... pulled out all of the wet rotted core...

   Installed new oak core, laid new fiberglass...
 painted the repaired sections...

 ...then fabricated new mounting points for his bow pulpit, allowing him to remove the pulpit so the boat fits in his garage.  Slick!

     Jordan, Andy and the family got bitten by the dinghy bug, and decided to build a D4 dinghy, Tempus 2.

 I focused on adding function to the interior of  Whiskeyjack.  There was a lot of wasted space under the v- berth:

So we decided to add a hanging cubby to the underside of the v-berth filler panel, which you can see just above the dog in the picture.

   Hopefully the dog will still fit.

   In true low-buck fashion, this is a freebie project. One of the advantages of being a really lousy woodworker is that I always have lots of scrap wood lying around from earlier mistakes. Some of it is really nice wood, which I decided to put to use in a galley extension.  Our galley counter space is limited, and our room to add more counter space is limited as well, so I cobbled together a folding extension which will mount to the aft end of the galley, beside the sink in the picture below:

     Here is the extension folded for storage:

    (Please ignore the epoxy bubbles and runs- I still need to sand and add the final finish.)

   And here, it's ready for use:

    (While you are ignoring the epoxy runs and bubbles, please also ignore the dirty, disorganized, disheveled workshop in the background.  Please.)
    Hidden behind the flap when it is stowed is a narrow shelf, just big enough for nav tools, pencils, a pad of paper and issues of Good Old Boat and Small Craft Advisor.

    Most of the materials were scrap on-hand, but I did have to shell out $7.46 for hinges.

   Next, we plan to build some small book shelves for the v-berth,  a stowable helm seat, and I still have to install a larger solar panel.  Luckily, the Easter weekend is approaching, allowing me to get some of this stuff done.

    Fellow Docksters, if I got details wrong or left projects out, please give me a shout, and I'll get the info up here.

   Thanks for taking the time to check us out!  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Follow us, link us or just tell your friends.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

WX Report

     "The morning was grey, but I had the motivation..."
                                                                      -Billy Joel

      It was a wild weekend, weather-wise, on the Dock.   Did we get rain?  Yep.  Wind?  Oh, yeah.  Hail?  Uh-huh.  Sleet?    Affirmative.  Snow?  SNOW???!!!???

     See that mast out there, across the fairway from Dock Six?  That boat is not supposed to be there.  More on that later.

    The wind had died down  by Monday, allowing the water that had been blown across the lake to return.

     The water level is still low, but Gavin might be able to get his boat into his slip (under sail, as he will smugly remind me) with the centerboard down.

       Remember that mast in the first picture of this post?  Tempus Fugit is the boat to which it is attached.  While transiting to their slip on dock two (note lower case "d" and "t"-  not that there is anything wrong with other docks, but they are docks, not Docks, and most certainly not Dock Six), Tempus stalled and failed to restart. Andy made for the closest dock, and tied up on dock one.  Andy sent me a video of  the boat dock-dancing on Sunday morning.  Later that day, the springline snapped. As Andy said, "It was wild."

  Last, any birdwatchers reading this?  What is this bird called?

     Whatever it is, it doesn't look happy about the snow.

   As always, thanks for taking the time to hang out here.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Sunday 17 April 2011

More Pretty Pictures

     "Sailing on my way back here..."
                                  -Rod Stewart

     Jack just sent me some more great photos.  Enjoy!

    St. Lawrence II  a big part of the Port Dover Marine Heritage Festival

   One of the Three Witches.  ED2, ED4 and ED6 mark the channel to the harbour entrance.  Immediately east of ED2 the water gets real skinny, and real sharp, real quick. Don't ask how I know.

     Jack, Walt, Bas and the Bluenose

     Jim and Jill and Carpe Diem


     Heave Ho

Another beautiful sunset, coming home.

As always, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.