• Baby On Board

    Baby has Arrived!!

    Our little girl was finally born last Saturday at 2:00am – 9 days late! She is beautiful and is the perfect addition to our new boat. She and A. are both healthy and doing well.

    My boating todo list for this weekend is:

    Finish wrapping the River Queen. I have the framework up but have been waiting for a day without wind to pull the plastic and shrink it.

    Get Strathgowan ready for haul out on Monday. I was hoping to do a whole bunch of sailing this past month but only got out twice. What a drag! The mast is booked to come off at 9:00am and the haul out for 11:00

    Winterize the Atomic 4 one more time.

    And then I will be modifying the frame from last year and remounting it. One last shrinking and it is done for the winter.

  • News,  Pictures

    Wow! Has it been more than a month?!?

    What a busy time it has been for us!

    First, some updates…

    We are living on the houseboat. We finally finished all the upgrades and then reapplied with PCHM. After a couple of phone calls and submitting our upgraded survey along with some pictures of the work done – we were accepted in! We are currently in our winter slip but have not yet winterized the engines so we can still go out for another run or even a pumpout yet. I will likely winterize them in the next week or so. Last night we had a hard frost on the water bucket out on deck so I will have to get the engines ready soon.

    I will get some pictures up soon of the new slip and the boat and work we did on it.

    Next – A is still pregnant – now 3 days overdue. At this point she just wants the business over with! So many aches and pains – stretching and pulling – peeing all hours of the day and night – and frankly … COME ON, enough already! Anyway, the doc has told her that they will go a week past the due date, then induce her. Hopefully, things just start on their own sooner than that. I am so glad that we are on the new boat for these final couple of weeks – it would have been too hard for A on the sailboat. She is a real trooper though.

    Finally – about the Alberg – I love that boat!! I hate to even think of selling her – but…

    I’ll have to decide soon. I think I’m big dog in the marina right now with 70′ of boat!

  • News,  Opinions

    Politicians in Trouble Live on Boats?!?

    If you are a US politician and are in the middle of a bribery scandal or maybe a sex-solicitation investigation, you might just be a live-aboard.

    This article in the N.Y. Times reveals how many US politicians who are in trouble for something live on boats. It is kind of uncanny but I suppose understandable. There certainly is a bit of a code among live-aboards – one that says you don’t broadcast around who owns the ‘gold platter’ down the dock or who you saw in the shower this morning. Many of us also guard the lifestyle by not granting interviews to reporters – we’ve been asked for an interview at least half a dozen times.

    Capital Yacht Club might be a place to avoid if you are looking to keep your nose clean!

  • River Queen

    It’s Coming!!!

    A quick update about the new boat.

    We’ve spent 2 full Saturdays up north working on the electrical system of the boat. I hired a marine electrical company to do the work. (I play the part of gopher – as in ‘go fer this and go fer that’.) We also decided that if we had to have a professional working on the boat, that we might as well do everything that we might ever want done. So we have run all new wires to all outlets, removed the old breaker system and installed a new marine breaker panel and added several new outlets in places that we felt they were needed. When everything is done we will have essentially rewired the complete AC system – which is a good thing. No surprises for us in the middle of winter when the boat is drawing full amperage.

    There is less work to do on the DC system but that will be completed as well.

    We’ve received a new deck box for the propane tanks and will be doing that this coming weekend too.


    after spending hours on the road to get to the boat and then hours on the road getting home again each weekend, we’ve decided to eliminate the hours on the road and bring the boat down to Oakville. A marina there, simply asked, what size – how long and do you have insurance – and then gave us the OK to bring it down. So tomorrow the boat will be within 15 min driving distance of us here and will be easily worked on in the evenings and weekend. I hope to launch next week.

    So that is exciting news for us – once down here – it’s just a hop, skip and jump away from being able to use it as our new home!

    I’ll post some pics from when it comes in tomorrow.

  • Marina,  News,  Opinions

    Something Fishy.

    Just a quick note to thank those who have sent me emails and comments about our problems getting our boat ready for launch. I have chosen to not publish some of the comments as some are quite – shall we say – ‘expressive.’ I would however love to continue to hear about your experiences with not only this marina but others anywhere. It would seem that there might be some common themes that, if known ahead of time, could be recognized and avoided if possible.

  • Marina,  River Queen

    Houseboat Update

    The whole houseboat move thing hit another snag today. Our marina here will not allow me to bring the boat into the yard to finish the work. In fact, I’m not sure if he is even going to let us bring it into the Marina even after the last of the upgrade work is done. It seems that the management here knows better than both the surveyor and our insurance company as to what is a safe boat and what is not. His exact words were “under no circumstances will I allow that boat into my Marina.” Now he did not specify whether that included after all the work is done or not, but he did not say that either. I’m kinda depressed about this whole thing now – and not exactly sure how to deal with it.

    I’ve hired a local marine electrical professional to go up to where the boat is tomorrow and together we will hopefully correct any and all defects that he finds. There really is not much, so hopefully we can get it done in a day. He will also advise me on the propane system and supply the parts needed for upgrades. I will install them and then get one of my appliance repair colleagues to pressure test the propane system and sign off on it.

    Then, I will get my surveyor back up there to reinspect the boat and provide me with a clean survey.

    With that I can get full in-water insurance for the boat and reapply to the marina here.

    If, at that point, the management here is still a no-go, then we will move to another marina. We don’t want to, our lives are here and this is where we want to live, but there is literally nothing that I can do if they won’t let me stay here. The funny thing is, there are boats all around me here that are in far worse shape and with many more defects than mine, yet they can get a slip. Strange.

  • Books

    Island of the Lost – Review

    This is a quick book review of Island of the Lost – Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett.

    Set in the 1860’s, Island of the Lost tells the incredible story of the schooner Graphton with it’s Captain Thomas Musgrave and crew of four who wreck on Auckland Island approx. 285 miles south of New Zealand.

    At the same time during a raging storm a second ship, Invercauld, wrecks at the other end of the island (about 20 miles away from the first wreck); 19 crew members including Captain George Dalgarno survive.

    Both groups found themselves stranded on the same isolated and uninhabited island, both having to endure the same poor weather conditions, the same lack of food with many of the same resources. Yet, the tale of the two groups could not be more different.

    The crew from the Graphton under the leadership of Captain Musgrave, and with the ingenutity of the crew build a proper shelter both strong and warm enough to survive a south sea winter. They forage and hunt food enough to keep themselves alive and once they came to the realization that nobody was coming to save them, built themselves a new boat on the frame of their old dingy and sailed to safety. In the process, they build a forge, manufacturing their own charcoal and tools and even set up regular schooling in the evenings to teach each other their native languages and for two of the crew, how to read and write. This crew demonstrates the perfect example of group survival and is a testament to the basic human desire to survive and thrive. Twenty months after wrecking – almost 2 years – the complete crew of the Graphton stood together safely on the shores of New Zealand in the port town of Invercargill.

    The fate of the crew of the Invercauld was far different. Captain Dalgarno, failing to demonstrate any leadership skills, goes into a listless stupor and allows his men to fall upon one another in fights, divide into two groups and finally descend into cannibalism. The first mate orders the men around only to further his own chances of survival. The gross apathy and selfishness of the mate and captain is shown time and time again from laying down and refusing to move to ordering the cabin boys to fetch water and food until they too, succumbing to cold and hunger, die. Of the crew of 19 that survived the original wreck, only three lived long enough to be rescued almost exactly a year after going aground.

    This book is a based on historical records and several survivors’ journals. It appears to be well researched with an excellent “Author’s Note” where author Joan Druett explains the various intricacies of historical research and the special problems associated with this particular historical study.

    This is a wonderful story, well told, and deserves to be on the shelf of every sailor or armchair sailor. It is an ideal book for those long cold winter evenings when the boat is up on the hard, the cold wind is whistling through the eves and the memories of warm summer days have faded. Indeed a well founded tale is welcome anytime and this book would be a welcome diversion any season.

    See Amazon here for more reviews and to order a copy.

  • News,  River Queen

    Houseboat Update

    Terribly sorry for the lack of updates re: the new (old) houseboat.

    We are currently on holidays – visiting my parents in Manitoba, and so I’ve kind of put everything on hold while we unwind for a week. We’ve been fishing several times – caught 1 big old Crappie in Mary Jane Reservoir and a Winnipeg GoldenEye in the Pembina River. I know – not much in the way of fish – but much of the fun of fishing is the just go’n fishn’ part. We also spent a night at my parents cabin – no electricity or running water – almost like being on the boat!

    About the new houseboat – things are going a bit slowly. We’ve had a survey done which showed up a couple of things that we need to get done. The bottom needs to be redone as there is a fair amount of corrosion from improperly applied anti-fouling paint. When you apply a copper based anti-fouling paint to a steel boat, you must put some sort of barrier coat between the two so that you don’t get any electrolysis or electrolytic action happening. This was not done when the anti-fouling was applied by the previous owner. So we have to sandblast the bottom – apply about 10 mils of epoxy to provide a barrier and then the anti-fouling. This is not a real hard job and is really just a logistical pain in the butt – it is supposed to be done tomorrow (Friday). We will see – it has been delayed a couple of times.

    We also need to fix some wiring issues – some of the wires were not soldered properly and twisted wire covered in electrical tape is a no-no on a boat. I will hire out this work and get everything cleaned up.

    And finally, the propane system is not up to todays standards. It is just basically a tank with a hose going to the stove. What I need to do is install a regulator, new gas line, a gas sniffer in the bilge, an electronic shutoff and the tanks must be installed in a sealed box with an overflow that goes overboard. Whew – sounds like a lot of work, but in reality is again just logistics. I will likely do most of this work myself and then get it inspected and signed off on by one of the gas tech’s from my work.

    So, we are still at least a couple of weeks away from getting the boat down to Toronto – but things are looking up. I would say by September, we should have a brand new (old) houseboat to live in.

  • Dock Life,  Opinions,  Questions

    What is Wrong with People – Ungulates.

    At various times in life most normal people have to ask themselves, usually while shaking their head, “What is wrong with people?” This is the question that I currently find my self mumbling under my breath. (If you’ve never asked yourself this, you just might be part the subject upon which we are about to embark.)

    You see, it is 12:30am – that’s middle of the night here – and the people in the boat across the dock from us are carrying on as if they were the only people within 100 miles. I assume, as they have been drinking since I first saw them this morning at about 10:15am, that they are now good and drunk. There are various loud male voices punctuated by fits of drunken female laughter – none restrained, none moderated. The first thing we had to do this evening as we got ready to go to bed, was close all the hatches and doors to somewhat muffle the carrying on. In the time it took for me to get the front hatch closed I was privy to the most degrading and disgusting conversation that was taking place over which all were laughing uncontrollably. Decorum and common decency being sadly wanted by these pitiful excuses for humans, and the self centered nature of their actions, lead me to believe that they were either brought up by farm animals or like the prodigal have descended to the level of the pigs who’s filth they seem to revel in.

    In the past, I would have gone out, begging their forgiveness for my family’s bodily weakness in requiring sleep and to gently remind the farm animals that we, here in the civilized world, would very much like to retire in peace for the evening and would be much obliged if they would keep their grunting and snuffling to a minimum. My wife has denied me the joy of turning the hose on the floating pen as one member of the drunken troop is being rounded up tomorrow and shipped off to parts east of here – an occasion for which we too, by rights, should party and carouse all night long.

    So, we wait, hoping beyond hope for the sweet sounds of silence that should result in a few unbroken hours of sleep till the morrow when those of us who have some purpose in life and who attempt to be productive members of society rise to go off to our places of employment (and try not to stumble over the dozens of crushed beer cans that the menagerie will have surely left behind.)

    In my research for this very liberating post, I discovered that ungulates are known to eat their own young and often feed on their own excrement. I also found that pigs don’t sweat. And so, on that positive note, I shall end this post and go back to trying to tune out the nocturnal sounds of the swineherd 5 feet away from my bedroom window.