Friday 19 July 2013

Think She's Not Happy?

      "Fine young lady, standing by..."
                          -Johnny Kemp

        Ahhhh, it's Friday night.
        The turn of the key that starts the weekend.

        The night when romance is kindled...

        And, sometimes the night when relationships have a wooden stake driven through their heart.


      Thus, it seems like tonight is the perfect night to, erm, whip this out:

     Boat For Sale.

   In case the link disappears, here's the ad copy:

     "My stupid ex boyfriend is a commitment-phobe, so I guess it's no surprise that he wasn't up to the commitment involved in owning a boat. Like every other good thing in his life, my stupid ex boyfriend walked away from a beautiful sailboat, and left me to pick up the pieces. So I`m selling it. Don`t worry; I`m not a crazy jilted woman. I`ve got the legal right to sell this beauty.
The boat is actually quite wonderful, unlike my stupid ex boyfriend. It's a classic Alberg 22, with a full keel, a furling jib (something the stupid ex boyfriend never fully understood) and a suite of sails, all in pretty good condition. It's also unique in that it's got a black mast, and from the research I've done, it might be one of a kind in that sense. One of a kind--definitely not like my stupid ex boyfriend. It also has some very valuable opening, screened ports, probably worth more than I'm asking for the boat just themselves. I just want this thing out of my hands!
With a little dedication and work, this boat could be turned into something really special, not like my stupid ex boyfriend. No amount of work, dedication or patience could save him. Not even Christ can save him. Luckily for you, he never followed through on his plans for the boat (typical). Otherwise, who knows what kind of disaster he would have left in his wake (also typical). So do me, and yourself a favour, and buy my stupid ex boyfriend's ex-sailboat. Deals like this don't come around every day!
The boat is now in storage outside Almonte.

What you get:
Alberg 22 sailboat, sound hull and deck with amazing woodwork both interior and exterior
Folding cradle
Custom-made skeleton and canvas boat cover for winter
All sails, both hank-on or furling configurations
The satisfaction of knowing that my stupid ex boyfriend has nothing, and you have a beautiful boat."

         I gotta admit, that is maybe the most emotion fueled boat ad I have ever read.  Intrigued, I contacted the author/seller, and got the skinny:

      First, the owner, Alanis (all names changed to protect privacy)
       ((except mine.))
      seems like a very nice person.  She's a sailor, sails an Alberg 22, does some racing... sounds like she'd fit right in around here.

       Somebody else thought she was a nice person too, and thought she'd fit right in...

       Enter boyfriend, Slacker McUnsailor.

       Slacker and Alanis had been friends for a dozen years and decided to attempt getting serious.
       They had some hurdles to overcome.

        Hurdle #1 is obvious to anybody who has ever attempted to pop the Friend Bubble and move into the Love Zone- too much shared history.   Romance requires discovery and shared adventure to grow, that honeymoon period where you are discovering all the ways you are different, and all the shared dreams and passions, diving the path forward to create an "us" out of "me" and "you."

        Hurdle #2- Alanis and Slack were trying to make this work long distance.  Really long distance- about 600 kilometers separated them.

        Hurdle #3- In a quixotic kamikaze  gesture to prove his love and compatibility, Slack bought a boat.
         In the same club as Alanis's boat.

        Just like Alanis's boat.

        Except not as nice.

       Waaaaaaaayyyyy not as nice.

   As Alanis tells the tale, " Plan was to sail it back to his part of the province, or truck it, but it never came to be....He wasn't a sailor as much as a general boater. The sailing, apparently, was something he did for me."
      "The boat my club,.he couldn't afford to move it, so he walked away."

    So, to recap:
   Slacker buys a fixer-upper,
   fails to fix it up,
   bails on the project...

    And leaves his now-ex-girlfriend to deal with the fallout.


    She is a much, much more reserved and composed writer than I would be in the same situation.

    So, if you know anyone looking for a great little full keel project boat in the Ottawa area, fire me a getback, and I'll pass the info onto Alanis.

    *Update:  I just got an email from Alanis- she sold the boat last week to a National Post editor, after the National Post ran an article on her, the ad, and his boat.

In the meantime...
"Talk the Dock!"


Thursday 18 July 2013

New "Low-Buck" Project Boat

"There's a world to explore, tales to tell , back on shore..."
                                                               -Split Enz

I wasn't looking for another project.

We didn't need another dinghy.

We are, however, sailors, and that means that rationality and logic go out the window when opportunity beckons.

Rod, occasional crew, company and keeper of the Dock Six Upriver Annex:
    Mentioned in passing that he had an old Zodiac that he wanted to get gone.

    8' ish.  Inflatable.  Old.

    "It leaks."

    Not unheard of.

    Inflatable dinghies are great boats- they are light, stable, and carry a big payload.

    They are, however, as the name implies, full of air, and are only usable when inflated, and will only remain  effective as long as aforementioned state of inflation lasts.

    At some point in the boat's life it will develop an annoying habit of refusing to stay all full of air, preferring instead to slowly exhale it's contents, often from difficult to detect defects.

    Which was, apparently the state in which Rod's red ride now reposed.

    Making it the perfect candidate for another quixotic Dockside quest.

     Meet the latest "Low-Buck" project, dubbed Honk:

  Mostly complete, needing only a threaded air valve (the valve from our unused-in-two-seasons Airhead tube fit just fine)  and a good cleaning.

   It breaks down, rolls up and stuffs into it's own bag in a package small enough to stow in Whiskeyjack's  quarterberth, and, with a total weight under 50 lbs., it is relatively easy to lug down the Dock and on the deck.

     Right, then- let's see if this boat will float.

     I opened the bag, unrolled the boat, slid in the floor slats, blew up the cocktail weenie seat and two flotation chambers, and in less than ten minutes had a floating boat.  After a quick scrub...

    She looks good and smells good...
   ...with no easily detected sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss sounds or bubble visuals to locate the latent leak.

    Well, okay, no one said this was going to be easy.

     As luck would have it a crew of crash test dummies was on hand to assist in testing.  Hilary's daughter Sarah and her friends were enjoying the sun on the Dock, and happily agreed to seatest Honk.

    I probably should have mentioned the "it leaks" part.

   With Hilary towing Honk behind his C&C and I following behind as a photoboat  we headed to the beach.

     The test crew clambered aboard Honk and set out.  I would occasionally yell for progress reports.

     In retrospect, radio communication might have been more effective...

     Me:  "How's it going?"

     The crew of Honk:   "Yes, I am rowing!"

     Me:  "No!!!  Is it leaking a lot?!!?"

      TCoH:  "Yeah, we know it's freakin' hot!!"

   Me (to myself):  " This is an exercise in frustration."

    TCoH (to each other):  "Can anybody figure out what the short fat guy is saying?"

   Me:  "Any hissing, or bubbles?  Anything to see or hear?"
   TCoH:   "Sure, we'll row back for a beer!!!"

      TCoH:  "Hey, is this thing supposed to be getting softer?"

      Okay, the bad news is, the leak remained undetected.

      The good news is, we discovered that it tows fairly well, rows fairly badly, and can be deflated and stowed on the foredeck of Whiskeyjack while on the water.

      Next episode of  This Old Dinghy:  Finding and sealing the leaks.

      Stay tuned.

     "Talk the Dock!"

Monday 15 July 2013

Post-Pottahawk Party Pandemonium

     "I got my swim trunks and my flippie-floppies..."
                                               -the Lonely Island

         The annual Pottahawk Pissup is over.

          Here's a recap, by the numbers:

          2000 boats*
          1500 boat trailers*
          10000 people*
          1972 pirate flags**
          174 designated drivers*
           437000 cans of Busch Light consumed.*
           2.5' average water depth.
           5 degree (celsius) increase in water temperature compared to the day before*
           (It's not called a Pissup for nothing.)
           6 arrests.
           8 sent to hospital

           And then, they all came home.

           See, here's the thing about the Pottahawk bash- boats travel to the uninhabited speck south of Turkey Point throughout the day, and even the day before, staking a claim and getting a head start on festivities...

       But most boats return from whence they came in a crush in the evening, everyone wanting to get home and loaded on trailers before dark.


        For some, the ride home was a long tow on a short rope...

     ...only to meet the same fate as all the other rampies who trailer their boats- a long wait to get off the water at the end of a long day on it.

    Some decided to cool off  by swimming in a working fairway:

  Which didn't seem to be working much at all...


    You just know at least one skipper couldn't find his truck keys when he got to the front of the line.

                                  *All figures PFTA (Pulled from thin air)
                                 **Except the pirate flags.  That's pretty accurate.  Those damn things were                                                     everywhere.

    "Talk the Dock!"

Friday 12 July 2013

New Crew and Visitors, Too!

             "I'm just trying to make some sense."
                                   -Rolling Stones

  It's been raining down here on the Dock.

   A lot.

   Yeah, those worries about water levels I voiced a few weeks back?

    Water's way up.

     Thanks to all of you who prayed to whatever deity floats your boat.

     We're good now.

     You can stop.


      In between cloudbursts, we managed to get some time on the water and drink some rum with some new, crew, old friends, and new friends I've known for years.

      I joined the SailNet community back in the fall of 2008, as a way of getting a sailing fix throughout the winter, and to  learn from the experience of others.  Interest-specific internet forums and chatrooms have been invaluable in every aspect of my life, from occupational advice to repairing my latest home improvement attempt.  I have learned a lot from crawling the web, and made some great friends as well.

    Back in 2008, I was one of the few Canadian members of SailNet, one of even fewer who lived in Ontario, and when it came to representing Lake Erie?

    I was it.

    Then I see a new username asking some good questions about a boat he had just bought and was fixing up to sail the next season.  He mentioned that he planned to sail on Pittock Lake, and my curiosity was piqued- Pittock Lake was where I learned to sail back in the 70s.
  And it's also less than an hour from here.

    Hey, cool, somebody local!

    In the years following, Eric and I would fire messages back and forth, trading advice and ideas on small boat repair, maintenance and sailing.

    But, even being less than an hour apart, we never sailed together.

    A couple of seasons back, Eric got a slip down here on the Dock for After School.  Now I could put a voice and a face to the name. We say hello and wave to each other in passing...

    But we never sail together.

    Last month, I'm walking down the Dock to Whiskeyjack, and Eric hails me as I pass his boat. He asks if I was heading out, and enquired whether I wanted company.
    Come on aboard!

     Great day, great sail, great company.

     One of the blogs I follow is Jaye Lunsford's Life Afloat ,  an excellent peek at the day-to-day of living aboard a smallish ( a 33' CSY ) sailboat.  Jaye and her husband Dan have lived aboard for more than a decade, ever since they both retired from government employment.  Jaye and I are both SailNet members, and we began corresponding semi-regularly when I started scribbling the D6C,  as I often picked her  helpful brain for advice. I got an email from Jaye in early June, informing me that they were going to be passing by on their return form a vacation in Michigan, and asked whether they could stop in.

    Oh yeah, and they would have rum.

     Come on aboard!

    The weather was dismal, but we had a wonderful time, meeting, eating, tasting rum, talking and laughing.

     Last month, on one of the rare  sunny hot days, I see a guy walking down the Dock, with a double-double in his hand.  He asks me about Whiskeyjack, and we get to talking:

    John has recently moved to Port Dover from Hamilton and is currently off work due to a bout of throat cancer.  As is often the case, a tap on the shoulder by the Big C will cause on to re-evaluate one's priorities, and  John had found himself spending a lot of time down here at the marina, just walking the docks, sipping coffee, watching the sunset or the sun rise.

   A lifelong interest in boats had gone from interest to passion, and "buying a sailboat" just shot to the top of John's bucketlist.

     Now, this is a fairly common occurence that usually takes one of two paths:

    Years of searching for the right boat, lots of discussion about what exactly is the right boat, some failed offers, and finally a new boat owner is born.

   Or, after some thinking and ruminating and examination, the boat ownership dream is quietly shelved.

    Over the following couple of weeks we'd talk about boats once or twice a week, and then John announces he has a slip.

   He got the last available slip on the Dock this season.

   Okay, John's not playing around!

   Now he just needs a boat to fill it.

   The slip was filled this morning.

   He's got some rigging yet to do, but he's hullwet, and that's a great start.  Good on ya, John!

     In Other Dock  news, Oriel C has new owners.

Glen and Debbie decided it was time to ditch life on land in Alberta and go sailing.

 So, they bought a boat.

Then they retired,  sold everything that needed selling, packed the camper and headed east.  They had sailed on Oriel, liked her and knew she would be a good fit for their next life-chapter.

    Glen and Debbie got here Tuesday, and two hot sweaty days of work later, got her splashed and settled in on Dock 1A.  After a couple weeks here, they plan to head into Lake Ontario and points East and South for the next year or so.

   New folks new to boats, new folks on new boats, and friends new and old.  We've met some good folks down here on the Dock with great stories to tell.

  You should come down and join us some time.

"Talk the Dock!"


Tuesday 2 July 2013

From the "You Can't Make this Stuff Up" Files

                    "It ain't no joke."
                          -Billy Squier

                  Spotted on a nearby dock.  Thanks to Gavin for pointing it out:

    Apparently, the person in charge of slip assignments has a sly sense of humour.

    "Talk the Dock!"

New Shoe Long-term Review, Part Deux

     "Before you come to any conclusions, try walking in my shoes..."
                                                              -Depeche Mode

    SWMBO and I have been wearing Crocs daily for two months.

    Not to get all Dr. Seuss, but our Crocs have been:
  On the boat, off the boat,
  On a bike, and on a hike,
  Walking the dogs on the Lynn Valley Trail,
  In Wednesday Night Races, where jib sheets I tail.

    Been worn on the floor, in the store,
    And walking to the job.
    Been worn all dressed up,
    And when I'm a slob.
    They've been worn naked footed,
    They've been worn with socks.
    From decks to dinghies and dinghies to docks.

       To date, they haven't let us down.

     GREAT grip on all surfaces, in all conditions-  an asset with the recent run of rainy weather causing all surfaces to be perpetually slippery.

      These shoes are getting better with wear- the laces that I complained about in the preview post  have softened and  now knot much better.

      These shoes are easy to clean, and dry quickly.

      After two months of daily, often damp, use, they don't smell.  BIG plus.

      The leather uppers have held up VERY well- no scuffs, no wear.

       The one aspect which has been mildly disappointing is tread wear. Two months in, both pairs are showing noticeable "flat spotting."

SWMBO's at the toes, mine at the heels.

    That's the only criticism so far.  Otherwise, these shoes are surpassing our expectations.  We'll continue to keep you posted.

  "Talk the Dock!"