• Weather,  Winter

    Winter is Here? Where is that Global Warming?

    This week the ice arrived. One day the boat was floating peacefully in lovely Lake Ontario, the next morning she was frozen into the ice – each move of the boat grinding and groaning against the ice.

    So…global warming…where, oh where are you? It would seem to me that if humans had affected (or effected) the world so much and that the global temps are approx. 2 degrees higher than what they should be, then we should be experiencing longer falls, shorter winters, hotter summers, etc. Yet here we are, frozen into Lake Ontario in early December. What’s up with that?!? Maybe we need more SUV’s.

    To live here in Toronto (Mississauga really) on a boat in the winter we must find some way of keeping the boat moving freely while surrounded by ice. What we use is called a bubbler. A bubbler is really just a big powerful underwater fan. The bubbler is dropped down into the water and constantly moves the water past the hull of the boat preventing the ice from forming. There are two schools of thought regarding the proper use of a bubbler. One keeps the bubbler relatively shallow and blowing the water basically horizontally down the length of the boat. Others use the bubbler to bring up warmer water from deeper down toward the surface which in turn keeps the ice from forming around the boat. Compared to the surface, the water close to the bottom is usually 3 or 4 degrees warmer. (I think it is called a winter inversion.) I subscribe to this second theory. My bubbler is about 15 or 16 feet down and is bringing up water at about a 45 degree angle toward the hull of the boat. I will concentrate the force of the bubbler toward the stern of the boat to keep the outdrives clear of ice to prevent damage to them. We will see how this works and adjust the bubbler as necessary.

  • Questions,  Simple Life

    Thoughts on Moving and Possessions.

    When we moved from the house to the Alberg 30 back in ’05 we had a terrible struggle trying to find a place for everything. After giving away piles of stuff to Goodwill, selling junk in garage sales and just junking piles of other crap, the rest went into one of three places. Some went into storage, others things wandered into my mother-in-laws basement and the rest we tucked into the nooks and crannies of the Alberg.

    It was an uncomfortable existence. For instance, my books. I loved having my book collection available to me at the house. Whatever mood I was in, I could head over to the bookshelves and satisfy my current curiosity until the next change in focus took place. When I moved all the books into storage, I lost the ability to reference my collection and have been feeling the loss of ‘curiosity relief’ for two years now. Now that I’ve installed some shelves here on the River Queen, I’ve been reading and referencing at will again – oh, what a relief it is!

    Another example is cooking supplies and equipment. The Alberg had a very (very) limited galley area. Basically, a small but deep sink, a 2 burner Origo alcohol stove and a toaster oven. No cutlery drawer, no pots and pans drawer, no cupboards to speak of. Now….I’ve got a 3 burner propane stove with an oven!!! A massive pots and pans drawer. Cupboards that are stuffed full of supplies and cutlery at my fingertips. The luxury!

    Moving from the Alberg to the River Queen could have been done in about 4 hours if we had really put our minds to it. As it is, we still have some stuff on the Alberg. What I can’t believe though, is how fast the River Queen is filling up. I know we have so much more room here, but do we actually have to fill it up?

    This brings me to my final thought on this post – possessions.

    Do we actually need all this junk? If you don’t use it and you don’t miss it, do you really need it? As I look around the room here, I can see several items that have not been touched since we moved aboard over a month ago. I suppose that I will use that foot rest under the helm someday – but I haven’t yet. And that Captains chair – man that looks good – kind of impractical though, as it is too high to sit comfortably on unless you are actually piloting this tub. And my new book shelves – already filling up with books that I want to read but likely won’t get to anytime in the near future.

    So, how does one maintain a clutter free life – free of the encumbrances of unused possessions, without giving up all that stuff that you want to have around because … well, just because? Is there some sort of checklist that one can follow, or do we have to go though the yearly process of collecting and purging like some bulimic teenager?

    Thoughts anyone?

  • River Queen,  Shrink Wrap,  Weather,  Winter

    River Queen is wrapped

    I’m up in the middle of the night again because the wind in blowing so hard that I am worried that all my hard work in shrink wrapping the boat is going to blow away! Of course, there is nothing I can do to prevent it – being up is not helping a bit. But up I am and am anxiously going out on deck every once in a while to check and make sure everything is still OK. So far the wrap and frame are holding.

    I finally got the engines winterized on Friday night. I hired some help for this as I was unsure how to go about doing it myself. Now that I’ve seen it done – for next year, I will be fine to do it myself.

    On Saturday, the wind finally died down for a couple of hours in the afternoon and we got the boat shrink wrapped. We got it done just in time as we had our first major snowfall Saturday night – about 10 inches or so. Then most of the day Sunday, we had freezing rain. Hmmm, makes one want to go south for the winter…

    The wrapping went quite well and the result is – well, not pretty, but functional. I still have to finish the door and install it and also fix a couple of holes that I melted into it while shrinking. All in all though, I am pleased with how it went up and am very happy to finally have it done! I should get the door and repairs done this week and then bring on the winter!

    Now for the Alberg. She comes out today … then I get to build the frame and shrink another boat. Oh the joy.

    UPDATE: Done! The Alberg is out of the water and in its stand in the shed no less. That means that I don’t have to shrink wrap it – just throw a tarp over it. How great is that?! I also winterized the Atomic Bomb, the toilet and the water system. Once the Alberg was done – I finished the door for the houseboat and tightened up the plastic so that it cannot flap so much in the wind.

    It was very windy today – getting the Alberg to the mast step dock and then to the travel lift was a real adventure. I was singlehanding as A. was somewhat preoccupied with the wee lass. Heavy winds mean heavy on the throttle and staying aware of where the bow is, ’cause if you don’t pay constant attention you are going sideways in a flash and there’s no room to recover if something goes wrong. I banged the pulpit a bit getting into the mast step slip but other than that it went well.

    So, that’s it – for now! Both boats are winterized, wrapped (or in the shed) and ready for the next 6 months. Now I can relax a bit … for a day or two anyway.

    I’ll post a picture or two tomorrow.

  • 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.