Night time in the boat yard

The damaged prop looks like new. We’ve agreed to depitch and reduce the diameter of the original prop and install it. It’s a nice Nibral 4 blade. They’re machining the new shaft. Planning to launch by the end of the week.

My uncle Eric came yesterday and we tackled the generator and ran around collecting tools and boat bits. He stayed over to help complete the job today. The generator is now installed and (I think) fully operational. We had it running briefly. Will fully test when we hit the water. He enjoys challenges like this, and it gets me off the couch. Glad to have that done. It’s been sitting there for a year.

I had been toying with the idea of going without a generator. There has been some excellent discussion on Trawler Forum, and I was quite excited by my solar panels. I was sort of considering selling the generator and putting the proceeds into bigger better solar. I’m quite confident that I could satisfy my house needs that way, and I’ve got lots of rooftop space.

But the nagging doubt is air conditioning. I had it on Mazurka and didn’t use it that often but appreciated it when I had it. I’m prepared to put A/C on Escapade if I feel the need, and for that I need a generator. And I have one. Now it’s useable, and I suspect I’ll keep it forever.

There isn’t too much left on my list. I’m feeling comfortable with time lines. All good.

I’m quite happy here. Lots going on. I’ve met the owner of Impulse, the Class 40 here that I mentioned earlier. It’s not aluminum, but stitch and glue foam/wood/glass composite. Cool boat. Kyle is launching the boat and trying to get to Portland with the mast on deck. I offered my services as volunteer tow boat. Think it would be fine in favourable weather.

Some pics of Escapade out of the water. She’s passed the one year probation period with flying colours.

Drivetrain Update

The yard crew got the prop and shaft out this morning, and I had a visit with the shop folks later.

They’re banging the damaged prop back into shape. It’s a three blade 24×22. I got a second 4 blade 24×28 prop with the boat, and it looks like we can depitch it to fit. So I’ll have a spare prop.

The guys here convinced me to get a line cutter. I’ve been concerned about the exposed running gear, and this will help against prop entanglements. We settled on a Piranha unit.

The old shaft was in poor condition. I had noted some pitting when I bought the boat, so was not surprised. It was pretty deep and extensive. I’ve opted to have a new shaft made. This is going to likely delay launch by a couple of days and add a few thousand to the bill.

As a side note, I had booked a haul here in early September to have this work done. But I didn’t have any shore side plans, and I was thinking of hauling here for the winter and could do it then, so I deferred the work. If I fall behind on time lines it’s on me.

Heavy rain today, but decent weather coming in a day or two to get the outside stuff done. Bottom paint, topsides cleaning.

I’ll try to remember to take some pictures at the shop. They’ve been making props and custom castings there since the 19th century. I got a tour of the foundry today. Fascinating.

Short Haul

Escapade is ashore.  14 months and about 3000 nautical miles since I launched in Sarnia.  I’m targeting launch in 6 days.  We’ll see.

The yard is removing the shaft and sending the prop and shaft over to the shop, repainting the bottom, and a few other small things.  I’m removing the backing cone.  I’ll just cap the stuffing box so it can easily be reinstalled.  I don’t think I’ll miss it.

I’m working inside on getting everything secure and ship shape. Would also like to get my generator operational. No shortage of small tasks, as always, but I don’t want to worry about stuff coming loose in rough weather.

I always like boat spotting.  Took a few pics today.

This is a local boat. Fiberglass from the 1950s. I’ve been admiring it for weeks.
These guys left Sweden a few years ago and sailed to the Carribean. Now going the same way as me. Nice boat, an older Bowman 45
Some lobster boats have length/beam ratio < 2.

This boat caught my eye immediately. Aluminum solo racer. Apparently stranded by COVID. I told Eric it was like Tin Lizzie but a bit bigger. I had a little peak into the cockpit from the ladder. Looks serious.

Speaking of aluminum, I’ve seen Boreals all over NS. I now recognize that some of the sightings were duplicates, but there were three here a few weeks ago at the same time. I think I have a thing for metal boats.

I was also quite taken by an Outbound 46 that passed through recently. I circled it from my dinghy a couple of times trying to guess what it was. Dr Google confirmed it to be a Carl Schumacher design. I liked all his designs. My kind of voyaging sailboat.

No real power boat envy. I still love the traditional north shore lobster boats. They’re very lean, and seem to go any speed without fuss. But I have no conceivable use case for one. And Escapade has spoiled me for

More progress pics tomorrow. Weather is going to be snotty for a couple of days. Lots of rain and wind coming.

Hello NS. Again.

I’m getting reacquainted with the Halifax airport. Just flew in from Kitchener.

That’s me trying out my survival suit in Guelph Lake. I like it. And this probably sounds odd, but it feels like it protects me from fish. I can’t imagine getting eaten by a shark while floating around in that thing.

Boating related, it was fun to go sailing on Lake Ontario with my Masters Laser buddy Brett. He made the jump to a 2008 Jeanneau 39DS. Nice boat. Watching the evolution of these boats over the years is interesting.

My friend David picked me up at the airport and will deliver me to Lunenburg tomorrow morning. Escapade hasn’t moved. I’ll bring the boat into the slings tomorrow for hauling.

No real changes in my plan for getting away. I’ll be happy when I get moving, but have some work to do and get done first.

Winter plans are firming up a bit. I’ve pretty much committed to being in the Florida Keys for a few weeks in late December and early January. So that’s the end point for this segment. I hope to be in Miami by mid December and fly home for a week or two.

I haven’t actually thought much about the trip timing up to now. Five weeks doesn’t leave a lot of time for dawdling. I’ll have to get up early every day and keep moving to meet that time line. I’ll revisit it when I’m in the US.

One of my blog followers and fellow TF participant Rick reached out in response to my earlier guest invitation, and will join me for a segment between New England and New York. Familiar waters for him. Looking forward to having him aboard.

I’ll take some boat pics this week during our short haul and post regular updates.

Prep Work

I’m relaxing in Ontario but have a flight booked back to NS Oct 25. Escapade will be hauled by then and we’ll get to work for a few days. I’m targeting Nov 1 for the splash date.

I’ve been thinking of heading straight across the Gulf for a landfall in Massachusetts. I’ve done that trip a number of times in sailboats. I could do it in 24-28 hours on Escapade, but being ten hours from the nearest shore gives me pause.

But regardless of whether I go that route, I’d like to say my boat is capable of doing it. That’s the immediate task at hand.

I bought a survival suit. I carry a small coastal life raft, but hypothermia is a real threat and the suit ups the odds of survival if I have to abandon ship.

Beyond the usual pre-voyage jitters, I need to remind myself that a December cruise through New England could be delightful. I’ve got a comfortable capable boat. I haven’t traveled the Maine coast. I think I’m more fearful of weather challenges than I should be. I don’t need to go far offshore if I don’t want to.

The prospect of being fully operational and back underway next month is exciting. Here’s to off season cruising!

Back to Plan – USA Bound

Route planning. Sort of.

For those that don’t closely follow my travels, I laid out my game plan for 2022 in an earlier post.

When I left Lunenburg I wasn’t sure when I’d be back. I was prepared to accept storing the boat on shore in NS and returning in the spring to resume travels.

As a subplan to this, I had originally thought that I’d enjoy living on Escapade over the winter on the south shore of NS. It remains a lovely idea, but I really wasn’t ready for that. I’m too hermitish, and most of my close family and support systems are in Ontario. And my insurance is OK with me living aboard during the winter, but requires daily checks in my absence. It felt like a bad plan to stay in the water there. Maybe another year.

Anyway, the major stop has been entry to the US by recreational boat. We now have credible reports indicating an opening in early November.

I’m slightly intimidated – mostly my fear is unpleasant sea conditions, and when you’re ten hours from nearest shore the safety and survival requirements change a bit. That’s generally not my thing and Escapade – let’s not forget – was not designed as an offshore passagemaker. But we’ll make it just fine. And I’m addressing a few boat prep issues, mostly securing equipment and storage for sea and reviewing/updating safety systems. Should have done this a long time ago.

But I’m not crossing oceans. Good weather forecasts are available. And chatting with Samantha about it I realize that in fact I’ve put Escapade through lots already and she’s passed with flying colours. No boat fears. Mostly I don’t want to be seasick for hours on end.

So off we go. Barring unforeseen events or circumstances, in a couple of weeks I’ll be back underway in Lunenburg, and heading for Florida. I’m busy looking at the route and making preparation notes.

At this point I’m viewing the trip as essentially a dash from SW Nova Scotia to Norfolk. There are no required stops. Weather windows will be critical. Once I’m in Norfolk I’ll relax.

If you’re reading this and you want to come along on this segment, reach out. I like having traveling companions, and could benefit from having a watch stander on the long bits.

Similarly, if you’re one of many who are heading that way on your boat when we’re allowed, pop me a note. I like the idea of a pack crossing the Gulf of Maine. Happy to have a buddy boat.


Lobster boats getting ready for season opening

I’m in Ontario for the last week or so. A blog post is long overdue. Sorry for the outage.

So, broadly speaking, a status update. Escapade is tied up in Lunenburg, winterized and queued up for hauling and some service work. I had noticed a bit of shudder at higher rpms. Not terrible, but pretty noticeable above about 1700 rpm. That’s well above my flat water cruise speed, but I had pledged to myself that I wouldn’t hesitate to use the 10 knot fast cruise capability if I wanted to. So I wanted a drivetrain inspection and service.

Added to that I whacked my prop on something hard in Gold River when I was there mid-August. My own stupidity. I realized on the trip back to Lunenburg that speed was down and fuel consumption way up. So I went into slow cruise mode, under 7 knots.

Anyway, there is a competent yard and machine shop there. They’ll fix it.

When the boat is ready to go, targeting early November, they’ll either store it for the winter ashore, or launch it for me.

I have to say, I’m completely charmed by Lunenburg. I basically hung out on my boat for a few weeks with frequent trips ashore. Dawdled around lots on Escapade. Had some lovely shore side visits. Not sure what comes next.

More to come.