The Final Stretch

I came into Sarnia three weeks ago.  I’m now counting down the days to departure.

I was tired and sore today.  Lugging batteries up stairs and climbing around a lot has taken its toll, along with irregular eating and sleeping.  But I’m fine. The end is in sight.

Today we confirmed what we had guessed yesterday – that the house battery bank is shot and was causing the thruster problem. That’s a good thing. Will have new batteries in tomorrow.

I need to find a way to move my generator tomorrow, but think that’s doable.  Then some final checks and a celebratory pizza. 

Scott brought a 20′ utility trailer down, and we’ve packed the old dinghy, winter frame, and a few other things in it.  We may even throw in the chair and love seat.  He’ll bring it to Guelph and return with Mazurka’s cover.   Good solution.  He drives to Toronto regularly.

I’ve got all my stuff in the cockpit of Mazurks and Escapade is empty.  Am going to move in tonight.

I’m increasingly thinking I’ll head north. Looks like a good weather window through to Thursday or Friday then stormy.  I might get out of here Tuesday and dash for Port Severn.  But that’s a more challenging first segment than heading south.  I think I can be reasonably prepared. Lots to think about.

It’s going to feel good leaving in Escapade.  I’m very pleased with the results of the last few weeks.  But I feel like I’ll be at full alert until I’ve got some miles in on the boat.

One pledge I’ve made to myself is to take better care of my equipment.  Escapade is in really nice shape, and I’d like to keep things that way.  It’ll be fun adding the systems required to make the perfect boat. 

Back to work.

Late night thoughts

I’m getting a sense of scale sitting on Mazurka and looking at Escapade next door. With the two bows even I’m looking into the pilothouse door from the aft end of my flybridge. These pictures were taken from my flybridge helm. The top of the forward cabin house is maybe 18″ lower than my flybridge floor.

It’s a lot of boat. Not perfect, but impressive in all the right ways, and I think it’s an ideal platform for my next boating chapter.

Things have gone well over the last few days. I’m enjoying my time with Scott the seller, and I think we’re both comfortable with the process so far. George the broker has played a supportive peripheral role, which I think is appropriate. He did a good job of managing the introduction and initial negotiations. Between the three of us we made a deal happen that I think fits for all.

My anticipated Monday departure date is looking unrealistic, but that’s fine. We’re on Scott and George’s home turf and I’m confident that we have everything we need to complete the swap successfully in the next few days. I’m quite comfortable taking things day by day, as usual.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the return trip to Toronto. I have a winter slip there that opens up in mid October. Need to install heat but with some timely design and planning can have everything ready there when I arrive.

My plan has been to go downriver and then east on Lake Erie and down the Welland Canal. But that’s just a delivery trip. I’ve covered pretty much all of it before, and there really aren’t any spots where I’m keen to stop for any length of time. I have yet to go down the Welland, but have given up on the tick-the-box method of routing. I’m starting to consider the alternative route back through Lake Huron and the Trent Severn. Would be a more pleasant trip and lots of flexibility on leaving the boat for a while once I get off the lake.

I could go on, but need to get some sleep. More to do tomorrow.

Getting Closer

Scott and I had a good day prepping Escapade. Got the old generator out, the batteries aboard, and all the electronics out. Launch is scheduled for late tomorrow morning.

In other good news, I’ll have a winter slip at Marina Quay West again this year. There was some concern about space for a bigger boat, but Petr confirmed today that they can fit me in. As I think I mentioned earlier my plan is to heat the boat with diesel, and with lots of water tankage and a real shower I expect to be comfortable and self contained.

The more I poke around the more I like the boat. I think it’s actually going to be fun to work on a few things over the winter to make it perfect.

Sorry no new pics. Tomorrow!

Ready for Launch

I got the bottom painted today, and it was dry before the rain hit around 3:00. Phew. Spent some more time aboard looking at fuel system and other stuff. It all looks good.

Tomorrow we’ll get batteries aboard, and hopefully get launched. Then a day or two of checking systems, swapping gear and setting up electronics. I’m making (very) tentative plans to leave Monday and head down river. Mallory will join me then for a couple of days, which will be lovely. We booked this time together a while ago, when I didn’t know where I’d be or what boat I’d have. Glad that’s going to work out.

The bottom is done with Aquagard antifouling, which I’m pleased about. Water based makes for easy work and cleanup. It’s a big bottom!

Will try to remember to take some pics tomorrow.

Escapade Uncovered

Escapade Uncovered

I signed the agreement this morning, and George chauffeured me around in the rain to pick up a few supplies. Once back I got to work. I’ve uninstalled all the electronics on Mazurka, and started disconnecting the generator.

This afternoon once the rain stopped it was on to Escapade. I got the cover off, started uninstalling Scott’s electronics, and checked on a few things. All good. They’ve got bottom paint and all the other supplies I need here, so tomorrow morning I’ll get a new coat of bottom paint on. Will set an alarm, as rain is forecast later in the day.

The name is kind of growing on me, and I don’t have a better one, so it’s staying for now.

In other news, my dinghy has three holes in it. Weird. I was underway for a couple of hours yesterday in Mazurka towing the dinghy, and I noticed one side was flat when I came in. Today I pulled it out and checked. I’m quite certain that debris got caught at the stern by the lowered outboard and made the punctures. Likely driftwood. I could see where it rubbed one side and punctured the other, in the lower section just behind the transom. Lesson learned. I don’t think I’ll try to fix it. That dinghy was pretty scary at any speed. Bottom was almost flat. I’ll have to measure, but I’m pretty sure I can put a light 11′ RIB on the top deck. Crane is all set up. I’d really like to have a working dinghy when I leave, so may call around on a new one. The Highfield 340 looks like a good choice.

I’m excited about Escapade, and glad I found a good home for Mazurka.

Making Lists

After a leisurely couple of weeks of inspections and negotiations we have a firm deal and a timeline.

Escapade – that’s the new boat – is ashore under cover. I’m going to uncover the boat and paint the bottom in the next two days. Friday Scott the seller is bringing the batteries – all 12 of them – and we hope to launch Friday or Saturday morning.

I’m taking the electronics from Mazurka and need to install them on Escapade. I’m also taking the generator from Mazurka. We’ll use a forklift to pull and transfer it after launching Escapade.

After a brief sea trial and check of equipment, we’ll close. Then it’ll be south to Lake Erie and back to Toronto. I’ve been targeting Labour Day weekend, but really there’s no big rush. I might slow down once in eastern Lake Erie.

I’ll also stock up on fuel filters and check safety equipment. Rig some lifelines forward. That’s about all I can think of at the moment.

The biggest fall ptoject is to design and install a heating system. I want to be able to stay unplugged, so it’s got to be diesel fueled. I’m leaning towards a hot water system for the whole boat, with 4 zones.

Other projects for the winter include installing A/C in the pilot house for use underway, and beefing up generating capacity on the main engine to run it. I’d love to have solar panels on the flybridge. There’s a lot of room there. Dinghy will live on the aft section of the flybridge. I can fit a bigger RIB, so that’s also on the winter list.

I’ll try to remember to take pictures tomorrow.

My New Boat!

A Sistership

So, long story, but I’m trading in Mazurka for a bigger power boat. 

I’m reminded of a brief facebook interaction when I quit work to do the Great Loop on Mazurka

It’s now 29ish months, and I’ve now got a proper big tender!  I’m pretty chuffed.  And maybe retirement is the right term.  But that’s another topic…

This boat was built for the US Navy as a 50 foot utility boat.  Uniflite built them for years.  The photo above is a sistership that’s been done up and is for sale

They were used on aircraft carriers mostly.  Lesser ships had smaller versions.  12 tons displacement, single engine, up to 12 tons cargo or 150 passengers.  Ten knots fully loaded with DD 6-71.  Heavy rub rail all around, built in lifting points.  Pretty tough boats.

Mine ended up at Hindson Marina in Penetanguishene, and somewhere along the line it was converted to a trawler.  Later the original motor was replaced by a new John Deere 4045, a very good motor for that boat.

The current owner has had the boat for ten years, and spent a lot of time remediating issues and refinishing inside and out.  It’s almost too nice for me.  He’s taking Mazurka straight into the shop for a makeover, and I’m sure she’ll be a fabulous boat for him. 

I’ll take some pics of the actual boat when the cover comes off.  But there are lots of them in the listing.  Go take a look!

My Travels with Mazurka

I’m anchored in Sarnia thinking of what I’ve done with Mazurka.  Here’s a summary of my travels.

2016: left St Joseph’s MI late May.  Entered Canada in Little Current, spent 6 weeks in Georgian Bay, then Trent Severn, Bay of Quinte, across to Oswego, Syracuse, Erie Canal to Buffalo, then Canadian shore to Port Burwell.  2430 NM.

2017: Back east through the Erie Canal to Oswego.  Thousand Islands, Kingston, Rideau to Ottawa return, Bay of Quinte, then Bowmanville for storage.  1110 NM.

2018: Bowmanville to Chicago via Trent Severn and North Channel.  Entered US at Sault Ste Marie.  Chicago to Houma LA via Illinois/Mississippi/Achafalaya Rivers.  2900 NM.

2019: Gulf ICW to Florida, south to Ft Myers, across Lake Okeechobee, St John’s River, up Atlantic ICW to NYC, Hudson River, Erie Canal back to Lake Ontario.  Wintered in water in Toronto.   3117 NM.

2020: Thousand Islands, Rideau to Ottawa, Ottawa River to Hawksbury, back through Ottawa to Kingston, Trent Severn, then up Georgian Bay and down Lake Huron to Lake St Clair.  1774 NM.

Over 11,000 NM, or 20,000 km. I should draw it on a map some time!

Sarnia, again

I had a great trip up from Lake St Clair, took a different route back up. I’m now anchored in Sarnia Bay, trying to put together a trade for a new boat.

I also took a video while coming up the main branch of the river at speed. I removed a bunch of stuff from the boat, and with empty water tanks and half fuel the boat scoots. Nice ride @10 knots over the bottom, 12-13 through the water, about 2200 rpm. I haven’t run at that speed in a while.