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.

Thanksgiving

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.