Pit Stop

I pulled into Campbellford early this afternoon and stayed put. I had noticed the starter seeming a bit sluggish – I’m locking down every few miles on this stretch, and at the last lock I lost engine instrumentation after starting.

Fortunately there are nice municipal facilities here with power. And groceries and takeout very local. So I plugged in, confirmed charging, and had a lovely afternoon tidying up and getting provisions. I’m not concerned about the batteries. I already have plans for tearing the charging system apart this winter.

It’s also nice to have heat. The last couple of nights have been in the low single digits, and it’s been sunny but cool in the daytime. The portable electric heaters plugged in fore and aft tonight are a welcome luxury. I was tied up at the locks in Lakefield and Hastings but without shore power or working generator.

I was frustrated when I dug out my heated matress cover and it wouldn’t work. Turns out that it doesn’t work on the inverter, but works when plugged in. One more argument for a fancy new inverter.

One nice thing about extended shakedowns is that you can try out various situations and use cases as you go along. I was in a deep lock today and had the opportunity to consider my railings in that context. I thought I had this solved last week, but that was in the context of boarding and open water. It won’t work at all for vertical walls. Back to the drawing board. It might just be a really robust hip strap and more handholds.

I also noticed a noise today that I took to be play in the linkage to the backing rudder. On investigation I found the linkage to be broken, and the noise was the cone swinging around and coming up against the prop shaft. I secured it in the centered position.

I’ve had a bit of a fascination with this device. I may have broken it when reversing aggressively out of Buckhorn the other day. It’s a rigid linkage and one of the threaded pipes broke at the fitting.

I had to take on fuel at Peterborough. I have sight tubes, and both tanks were low. I’ll empty one by transfer before I refuel to get exact capacity, but as suspected these tanks are small, no more than 300 l each.

Boat is fabulous. Lots of compliments from the lock tenders on this stretch, and I’m spending more time appreciating the inside now.

This is a lovely stretch of the waterway. It’s completely different, far less jagged and threatening. I’ve been able to relax and look around a bit.

Buckhorn

I’m anchored here just above Buckhorn Lock. I arrived there shortly after lockage stopped for the day at 3:30, then steamed back here to spend the night at anchor. The destination locks in this section always collect overnight dockage fees, and I’m just as happy out here. They open at 10:00 tomorrow.

I’m really liking driving the boat. Got the autopilot fully figured out, and am feeling very confident in close quarters maneuvering. I backed out of the Buckhorn Lock entrance into the breeze today rather than try to turn around in the channel. Made it fairly cleanly. Using the thrusters I can slowly approach a wall and easily come alongside. Pretty slick.

I’m also liking the inside. I like to sprawl, and there are comfortable places for me to hang out in the pilothouse and the salon. The outdoor grade cushion coverings are perfect for me.

Today was warm with a moderate south wind. Beautiful day. Tomorrow it cools off. Probably should look for long pants. I should have some aboard somewhere.

Stopped for a few minutes in Bobcageon to grab some takeout sandwiches from the Italian Deli, but otherwise just cruised along. Spent a lot of time at 5.5 – 6.5 knots. Tonight I am digging into my inverter and AC system a bit. Getting familiar with what I have, and figuring out what I may want.

More of the same for the next few days. I’m enjoying this.

Rosedale

Got up to Balsam Lake today. At 841 feet above sea level this is the highest point on the waterway. Now at Rosedale lock 39. Nice spot. I haven’t stayed here before.

Not much else to report. Just read up on the Robertson/Simrad AP21 that came with the boat. Worked fine in open water but dead zone was too wide for narrow channels. I think I’ve got it configured now to be more aggressive. Also discovered rudder position display, which I was missing. All good.

Mazurka – Total Cost of Ownership

I think I mentioned earlier that I had completed a five year plan with Mazurka.  I want to lay out the context in which I bought the boat, and the basic costs, planned and actual.  It’s part of my retrospective learning, and might be of interest to others.

Whenever I started seriously contemplating getting another big boat it was a tough sell.  Not just for my wife Samantha, who has an active and fulfilling life without boats, but for me.  I had no use case that would come close to justifying the cost of ownership.  There were no places that I wanted to keep the boat within easy driving distance of our home.  I had played with the idea of getting a Nonsuch off and on over the years – the 30 is one of my benchmark boats – but always came to the same conclusion. 

But I had a dream to travel the inland waterways that had been percolating for a very long time.  And I was getting within sight of executing on that dream.  My kids were nominally independent, my parents had both died, and I had been working remotely for years.  And there’s no life better for me than messing around in boats.

One of the big triggers for me to act when I did was an inheritance from my mother.  She and I and Suey had worked collaboratively and thoughtfully before her death to appropriately allocate her modest estate. My kids got some money to help with uni/life expenses, and I got a pot of about $65.000 that was pure mad money for me.

So I basically took that as a budget for five years of ownership, with an expected significant residual value at the end.

I still only had a vague use case. I planned on being solo. Never owned a power boat.

I put an upper bound of $40k on the purchase price, and started the search. As it happened, Mazurka came with a use case that was my template. The owners lived in Chicago ten months a year, and cruised the great lakes from end to end the other two months. Had done it for eight years and kept the boat in top condition. Never had a permanent slip.

I bought Mazurka on shore in September 2015 for US$24k, wrapped and winterized, storage paid, fuel tanks full. Arrived back to the boat in the spring and got underway. Landed in Canada total cost was about $36k.

Major costs (approx) in 5 years:

  • Insurance $3,500
  • Winter storage ashore (2 years) $2,500
  • Equipment (cover, electronics) $9,000
  • Repairs from grounding $3,500
  • Winter liveaboard Toronto $6,500
  • Hauling and storage NY $1,500
  • Waterway passes and fees $1,500
  • Transient dockage $5,000
  • Oil, filters, bottom paint $2,000
  • Fuel $11,000
  • Mechanical $28,000

I’m just doing this off the top of my head, but I’m pretty close to an accurate accounting I think. So total is $36k purchase + $74k since, total $110k. That missed the budget by a lot. This is the first time I’ve actually totalled it up.

Residual is also settled, more or less. I traded Mazurka plus cash for Escapade, and we valued Mazurka at $25k in the deal.

So, net cost for 5 years of ownership was $85k. Nice round numbers. Canadian dollars, if that wasn’t clear.

A few notes in my defence WRT managing to budget: my plans got more ambitious as I went along, and went from seasonal great lakes to 2 years of full time liveaboard/travel including the Great Loop. That use also decreased the residual value. The boat was ready for some time in the shop when I traded it. And the mechanical costs are only as high as they are due to my own negligence and ineptitude. I learned lots.

Was it worth it? I was fully prepared to go back ashore at the end of my mad money adventure, but instead here I am in Escapade. Doubling down.

I just went back and read one of my earliest posts here. No comment. https://boatingadventures.ca/2017/06/16/faq-cost/

Gamebridge

I came across Lake Simcoe this afternoon from Barrie. Played with a variety of speeds between 7-9 knots. I’m really pleased with the economy and ease of operation in that range. The boat just slides along. Reminds me more than anything of small ferries I’ve been on. I guess that makes sense given its heritage. I like it. I also like that I’ve had no temptation to go up top. Docking and maneuvering is very easy from the pilothouse, and I have good 360 degree visibility using the back window and sticking my head out either door. Boat has wicked prop torque in reverse, and I’m learning how to harness it for good when maneuvering.

I’m now secure just inside the swing bridge for the night. Fall hours are 10:00 – 3:30. But I’m not in a big rush. Canceled my shore side obligations this week and will travel each day. I have a few projects like installing the generator that I’ll poke away at en route down the waterway.

When I came south through here 4 years ago I was tied up on the lake side when a 28′ flybridge boat came through from the canal side and steamed straight into the bridge. Took out the top of the boat and disabled the bridge for a day. Fun times. I had the minor equivalent earlier today on a fixed bridge when I lost the top couple of feet of my VHF antenna. Bridge is fine :-). Mast is now down for the duration of the trip.

Snipe Racing Day 2

As expected the front came through this morning. The rain had stopped and the wind was westerly pretty solidly 10-15 knots when we went out.

We were fast upwind in this stuff. We were the heaviest crew and that became an advantage. We sailed three short races and went in for lunch. Lots of close racing, and decent 2-3-3 finishes.

At this point we were in third place overall by a very small margin with 11 races in. Not too shabby.

As we were on shore the wind shifted towards the northwest and started to pipe up. The RC reset the course and we went at it again.

One of the other heavier crews that had struggled on Saturday was now in the front row, and the some of the lighter crews were having trouble. In the next race we had some exciting sailing. Sarah and I agreed going into the race that our main goal was to get around the course cleanly, not break anything, and sail conservatively. We rounded the last windward mark in third place, well ahead of our competition for series third. Big puffs rolling through. Ahead of us one of the top crews capsized. That should have been a warning. But we were now in a race for second place with another boat that had rounded on our stern and was now on our beam. We were broad reaching with our jibs to leeward. Our downwind speed wasn’t as impressive as our upwind speed.

We hit a bit of a lull, and decided to pole out the jib to windward. That’s the fast way to sail a Snipe in pretty much all conditions. Then another puff rolled down on us, and we lost control and capsized to windward. Watched the rest of the fleet sail by, then righted the boat (twice!) and finished the race. At that point the racing ended and we finished fourth overall.

I’m suffering a myriad of muscle soreness and cramping, but can’t think of a more fun sailing event I’ve done recently. Neither of us have spent much time in two-person boats, and it’s been fun to figure some of that out. The boat, the venue, and the level of competition is just right for me, and it was fun sailing with Sarah. We both felt the marked improvement in communication and teamwork over the two weekends.

Thanks to Julian Inglis for your dedication to the class, and congratulations on getting your name on the trophy!

https://sciracanada.com/

Sorry no pics. If I come across any I’ll add them here.

Edit Sept 14: Julian has some boat can footage of Sunday morning. See https://youtu.be/gjEpBiWsFUI

I don’t know where we were in this. Must have been ahead!

Snipe Racing

Cheddar and Snipes

Samantha, Sarah and I have a Snipe that we keep on Guelph Lake. There is a boating club there that has an active fleet. I went looking for one when we knew we were moving here and found a decent boat that was pretty turn key. I love small lake sailing. My Laser is there too, but I’m going to get back to Water Rats with it one of these years.

Sarah and I were out today racing in the Canadian Championships. That’s a picture Samantha took from the beach with our dog Cheddar in the foreground. Like last weekend, great racing. The Snipe is a fun boat. Easy to sail to 90% then endlessly tweakable. We’re at that fun stage in the learning curve where we’re seeing steady improvement in boat handling, mark groundings, etc. Boat speed isn’t awful. We were pretty smooth today, relative to last weekend, and I was more deliberate and successful in starting after a less than stellar first race.

Back at it tomorrow. We got eight races in today. Front coming through tomorrow morning but looks like we’ll get more racing in.

Edit Sept 14: Julian captured one of the starts Sarurday on his Go Pro. That’s us on his hip coming off the line.

Speed Trials

One of the key features of Escapade for me is the motor. I’ve been getting to know it and running at high outputs periodically over the last week or so. See https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53138

I got down to Barrie yesterday, and spent this afternoon cruising up and down the bay doing performance tests. Beautiful day.

The motor and drivetrain seem to be well set up and in good running order. I’m very pleased with the fuel usage numbers.

Fuel Consumption

For comparison purposes, on my 6,000 mile Great Loop trip on Mazurka I got a little better than 4.5 usmpg with an average speed of ~6.8 knots. I can do much better than that with Escapade.

Couchiching

Tied up for the night on the blue line

Guess I have some catching up to do. Yesterday I had a nice cruise across the bottom of Georgian Bay and down the Severn Sound. Stopped in Honey Harbour and got take out pizza from a machine. I’ve had worse. Last night I anchored in a sandy patch off the marked channel close to Port Severn. Benign conditions.

Today was more cool grey weather. Went through Port Severn Lock and after a brief futile plea for a discount from my Mazurka season pass bought a one way lockage pass.

Big Chute was routine – it’s far more dramatic going down. Severn Falls is a huge lock in the middle of nowhere. Now I’m at the bottom of Lock 42.

It was a lovely day. This is the second time I’ve gone through in this direction. I had a few flashbacks to the same segment in Mazurka in July 2016.

I was enjoying the narrow cottage-lined segment of the Trent River near here and missed the cutoff to the lock. There is a distracting set of classic boats on the opposite bank, and I knew I had gone by them earlier this summer.

Anyway, I soon reached a fixed bridge that looked to be about 15 feet. Hmm. Didn’t remember that, but maybe could have cleared it with the bimini on Mazurka. I dropped my mast and as soon as I got through there was another big solid highway bridge with about ten feet of clearance. WTF? As soon as I looked at my plotter I saw what had happened, but I was up top going under the bridge, and spent a brief moment puzzling as I got turned around.

The boat is marvelous. The pilot house is marvelous. I’ve got a list of custom exterior railings sketched out and am looking for a fabricator. Boat slides along at 10 km/hr without a ripple. Locking is an absolute delight. Blah blah blah. I did had a toilet clog, but resolved it. Probably a bit more mess than necessary, but I now have a complete understanding of how the system works.

I have a long list of things to do ashore. Realized I have a cracked dental bridge today. Then heard a dentist on CBC a few house later talking about this. Guess I can’t escape the crowds on this one. Will likely stop for a while in Orillia or Barrie. Lots to do. Hope the weather gets better before it gets worse. I’m sure it will.

I’ve started a couple on threads on Trawler Forum on the motor and stabilization. I’m Jeff F. I generally don’t do a lot of cross posting, but there are some Escapade specific threads there. Some of my pictures were taken in specific contexts. Thought I’d just throw them in here each day.

Outside Railings

I can see how this boat scared off a lot of people. Going out the pilothouse door requires nerve and balance. I think I’ve arrived at a solution. Here’s what we’ve got now.

When I started thinking about absolute must haves, it started inside. I can’t be afraid of the open door, and I want to be able to extend my head and torso out the door with complete confidence and security when underway in any conditions.

Next is ease of entry and exit to the dock. I’ll be living aboard in the frozen north. The cockpit is a lot like Mazurka’s, but deeper and smaller. There really isn’t an elegant way in and out. I’m fine with that. So again, we’re back to the pilothouse doors as the front entrance.

Working on deck aft of the pilothouse is reserved for special occasions. I’ll wear a harness. Working on deck forward of the pilothouse is unavoidable, but the more I think about it, the more I favour an overhead lifeline that I’ll always clip on to.

So, final solution. I’m going to have a pair of stainless rails fabricated for each side that extent outward from the top of the deck house outboard then vertically down to the deck. There will be one on either side of the door as far outboard as possible and providing an opening maybe 8-12″ bigger than the door. Bracing at the top, and appropriate hand holds and lashing points to accommodate heavy straps or coverings. Then I’ll rig permanent lifelines extending from the top of the new rail to the bow. Can keep them taut above the deck. Good roost for birds 😦

I’m going to keep the option of a solid outboard rail forward, but it’s going pretty far down the list for now.

Anyone know a good fabricator on the Trent Severn? I’m ready to roll on this. Will also work nicely with shrink wrapping to frame the entrance.