I took the cover off today.  It’s nice to see the great outdoors. 

I was also relieved that my new anchor fits well on the roller.  I was confident until I got it.  It’s a beast.

Countdown is on.  I’m off the dock in less than three weeks, and am poking away at my lists.  All good.

I got my first Covid vaccine today.  Toronto’s infection rate is at an all time high, but everyone in my bubble has now been vaccinated.  Kathleen got hers a couple of weeks ago. 

I’m not in any rush when I leave here.  Will noodle down to Collins Bay near Kingston and hang there for a few days to finish up a few things and update some gear.  There is a very good chandlery there, with an anchorage and dock.  After that it’s up the Rideau Canal after it opens May 21.

The new dinghy is most satisfactory.  I cleaned out the carburetor on my old outboard – it hadn’t been running well since I sank the dinghy in 2019.  Now it’s running like a top.  I’m impressed with the boat based on solo operation.  Easy to plane and stable at speed.  Much better than my old Avon 310.  The extra length helps a lot I suspect.  Bigger tubes too, so it feels like a much bigger boat.

I had been planning to build a floor in the anchor locker, but to my surprise found one there when I removed the chain. The previous owner told me that the locker drained into the bilge. There were holes drilled in the floor.

It turned out that it drained into a section of the bow contained by a watertight bulkhead, and I found a compartment full of water. There was a hole for cabling that allowed it to drain with a couple of feet of water in it. Looked like it had been there forever, with marine plywood delaminated. I’ve pumped it out and run a heater in there to dry things out. Not concerned. The boat is massively built, and the folks doing the conversion used 1″ marine ply everywhere. Originally it had a watertight collision bulkhead and lifting point in the bow, but that was all removed to create the berth.

I’ve confirmed that the floor is a few inches above the waterline so I’ll plug the holes in the floor and drill a drain through the hull.

Since I’m not building anything there I’m back to using the eye for the anchor snubber. Will post pics when it’s set up.

2021 Travel Plans

I’m itching to get going. Picked up my new dinghy today.

New dink.

And I have a travel plan. I’m going to do a reverse great loop. East out the St Lawrence, around Nova Scotia, down the east coast of the US to Florida, across to the Gulf of Mexico, then up the rivers to Chicago.

I like big loops. And I like to keep moving. This books in the next year or so. Summer 2022 I really want to get back to sailing in Ontario. I’ll either arrive back on Escapade in the spring or leave Escapade on the rivers somewhere and return in the fall.

My winter dockage is ending at the end of April. I’ll be leaving Toronto in early May, noodling east for the opening of the Rideau Canal, then up to Ottawa, down to Montreal and down the river.

I had been thinking of exploring Labrador and Newfoundland, but I think that’s too ambitious. As usual I’ll make plans on the fly. No time constraints other than seasonal, and I’m happy to be a straggler heading south.

I think Escapade will be a fine river runner, and I’ve been itching to head north from Mobile. I really want to explore the Tennessee and Ohio rivers.

I’ve designed out extra tankage and will order and install in the US before that segment. Apart from that I’ve solved for all the major boat issues, I think. Time to put down some miles…

Too Many Boats?

It’s a tough problem, having too many boats.

The question is a bit of an inside joke in my family. We had a bit of a problem with bicycles, and maintained a household cap of 15 for years. Getting a new bike was OK but you had to give one up.

That for me was a good exercise. It sort of forced examination of the use case for each bike, how wide or narrow the bike’s range of activities, and how much you needed those capabilities.

I think I’m at equilibrium with boats. Here’s the fleet.

Escapade you know already if you’ve been reading along. This boat is my traveling home. 2021 will be my first full season with this boat, and I’ve been doing lots of improvements over the winter.

New for 2021 is a brand new inflatable, a Highfield 340 ultralight. I’m excited about this. Will be putting my 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke on it. Related to this, I have a new set of stern davits ready to install.

Tin Lizzie is a 31′ racing sailboat that I own with Samantha and Sarah. I wanted a fast boat to sail solo through the great lakes and had a blast doing that in 2019. There is an active shorthanded racing fleet on Lake Ontario, and I hope to join them. But probably not until 2022. Boat is shrink wrapped on the trailer.

We also have a Snipe. I like these boats, and there is an active and competitive fleet at Guelph Lake. Samantha and Sarah go club racing, and Sarah and I have done occasional regattas.

I haven’t sailed my Laser much in recent years. Sarah has been using it occasionally in Guelph. In 2021 it’s going on the deckhouse on Escapade. I still have aspirations of doing more Laser racing. There is a great Masters fleet in Toronto.

There. Five. That feels about right.

I should also mention that I have an old inflatable free for the taking. It’s in Guelph. 9′ Zeppelin aluminum RIB with hypalon tubes. Needs a patch.

Deep Freeze

It’s been consistently cold since I last wrote. Overnight negative teens regularly.

That’s a winter hat I’ve had for 30 years. It doesn’t come out often.

I quite like this weather, and there aren’t many people out. I’ve been walking 7+ km daily between Susan’s place and Escapade. Nice to be out.

The boat is fine. Ice is comfortably at bay and cover is intact. I leave a 1500w heater on forward, and all thermostats set to 8C when I’m off the boat. Lots of heat in the ER from the furnace exhaust.

I finally had to fetch fuel a few days ago. No big deal to get 80l in four cans and dump it in. There is a fuel station two blocks away. I’m using about 10l per day on average, but that will get better once the weather breaks.

I’ve been sort of lollygagging the last few months, getting through the dark period and COVID lock down, and spending some time with Susan. She has just completed a fairly long and arduous experimental treatment for Parkinson Disease.

Now as I look at the calendar I realize that I should be on a path to being fully under way in 10 weeks. Time to get to work!

Uninstalled boat parts


Winter in the marina. I finally hung a de-icer off the stern today.

It’s been well below freezing here for the past week or so, but this is the first time I’ve had ice encroachment. My neighbor in front has kept a big pool open with his system.

I’m quite confident I can keep my second unit dry. On my limited shore power I basically swap 1500w heaters for bubblers. Now I’m down to one heater from two.

Here are a few pics walking to the boat this afternoon. Beautiful and sunny, but chilly.

Saturday Night

I’m on Escapade listening to blues on CBC. I’ll sleep aboard tonight for the first time in weeks.

Ice at bay

It’s been a benign and mild winter so far and I realized today that January is almost done. We’ve been managing well. Just had the first real cold snap. My neighbors turned on their bubbles and I’m still in their pool. The furnace now has about 300 hours on it. I leave two 1500w heaters on full time, and set the temp on all thermostats to 10 when away. Fuel is below half, but a couple of trips with Jerry cans should keep us through the winter.

Boat projects: ordered a Rocna 33 anchor, and am pursuing a snubber solution. Discussion here.

After much deliberation, I ordered a set of davits. I had been thinking of storing the dinghy up top, but had a bunch concerns with deployment that sent me back to a system that I know will work fine for me.

Electronics: I’ve ordered an AIS tranceiver.

I’ve been scoping out additional fuel tankage. I think i have a plan, but haven’t committed yet. Getting pricing for flexible tanks. Discussion here.

Not much other boat stuff this time of year! I’ll chat about spring plans in a new post some time soon.

New Dinghy

I just bought a new dinghy, a 2021 Highfield Ultralight 340 Hypalon. Info here

I’ve been thinking of a new RIB for the last year or more. The local dealer runs good January specials, and they had very good pricing on the Hypalon version. I think I’ll be happy with it.

I have an old Yamaha 15 hp 2 stroke that will be a good match for the boat. Total dry weight of the boat and motor is under 200 pounds. My plan has been to keep it on top of the deckhouse, but I’ve recently been having doubts about that. The alternative is a good set of davits. In any case the new dinghy is well suited for either storage method.