Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | February 6, 2016

Winter on the Hard


Our boat cradle mounted on the trailer

Back to November 23, 2015.  The photo above was the morning I headed for Red Rock to haul Hearts Content.  Not ideal weather.  We have been nearly the last boat out of the water in previous years but this was pushing it.

Last June we sailed the boat from Thunder Bay to Red Rock.  The plan was to spend the summer and winter there as it is so much cheaper than in Thunder Bay.  The problem with that plan is that there is no boat lift at the marina in Red Rock.

Then there was the added complication of my total knee replacement surgery.  I was on the “immediate replacement” list as of May 2015 due to the severity of the deterioration of the joint.  With a fortunate cancellation I actually got in at the end of Sept.  That pretty much ruled out sailing HC back to TBay, a three day trip going up with the wind behind us.  So we found a used trailer, had some quick repairs and mods done and off I went.

We really like the marina at Red Rock.  Only an hour north of TBay at the mouth of the Nipigon river on Lake Superior, it is a jewel of a spot.  Almost a brand new marina, constructed with Federal and Provincial grants, it is badly underutilized by larger boats due to the lack of a public lift, while boaters in TBay wait years for a slip.  The clever locals have come up with a workaround; you buy an old trailer, bolt your cradle onto it, extend the tongue with a pintle ring hitch and the town works dept uses their backhoe or the grader for larger boats to haul and launch your boat on the ramp which has up to 9-1/2 ft of water depth. Cost, $75.00 compared to nearly $300 in TBay.


Breaking an inch of clear ice from slip, Go HC!

The sound of the fibreglass boat hull against the clear sheet of ice as I backed out of the slip was horrific but did no visible damage.  Mr Thumpety Thump, our single cylinder 8 hp diesel had no problem pushing Hearts Content through the ice over to the launch ramp.

With a little jigging and jogging on the mooring lines from the dock we got HC located in between the orange fibreglass snow marking rods we had zap strapped to the cradle arms, swiveled the pads using the boat hook and out she came.


Oscar supervises out the window of the jeep.

My last trip up to Red Rock to pull off things that we didn’t want to freeze was in early December.  It is just too traumatic to see Hearts Content, not only on the hard, but the frozen hard!  There was ice in the bilge!  By now, there are no doubt snow drifts around the trailer.  As the ancient mariner said, “Twas sad as sad could be…”

Wouldn’t you rather read about her sitting in the azure waters of the Bahamas, Exumas or Turks & Caicos?  Something more like this?

Me too!  Yup, that’s HC37, Sam and I in 2009 at Stone Island, just south of Mazatlan.

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | February 5, 2016

More Coffee, please

Pics above are trying the tiled mosaic which doesn’t come up with a toolbar to allow a caption. Sigh!  The ways of the blog are mysterious, Grasshoppa…

The two of Sam are in HC27.  The fuzzy, crusty old fart is me in the ice shack at New Years a couple of years ago.  Note large coffee cups, or clown cups, as I refer to them.  Yes, it gets me a swat every time I do so!  Need to find them in Mexican ceramic colours, as Javier had at his coffee shop and deli at Marina Mazatlan in Mexico.  When we staggered up the dock from HC37, usually late in the morning, he would bring us out two steaming cups in vibrant primary colours.  Wakey, wakey!

I wrote the meanderings below early yesterday.  Just some random thoughts in a document.  Posting it now as I think I just linked this blog to my facebook page!  Want to see if it posts something as I add a blog entry.

I could hear the wind as I woke up. The light snow is swirling past the windows. The house creaks in the gusts but the trees make no sound, just hunch and shrug in the gusts then straighten up again. Now, sitting in bed, I have a cup of coffee and Oscar is stretched out between Sam and I.

Early morning philosophy strikes! Houses and boats are two very different human adaptations to our environment. Duuuh! Bear with me, I am still trying to knead a small ball of thought-dough enough that it will rise and be something. Dangerous trying to think when the metaphors stray to food, means my falling blood sugar is demanding attention, diverting my struggling thought process, not robust at the best of times.

So, how are they different?

Houses completely resist the wind, snow and rain. We take refuge in them and feel protected by them because they are steadfast in the face of the elements. They may creak and groan a bit but the more solidly they are built and the less they react to elemental forces the safer we feel.

Sailboats, on the other hand are much more like the trees. The nature of boats and water means that feeling safe is much more about being comfortable with things moving and changing and less about solidity and massiveness and unmoving strength. It is an acceptance of how tenuous our hold on our place in the world is, symbolized by that thin filament of the anchor or dock line. It is about resilience, and like the Inuit, walking in an Arctic storm, you can only go directly downwind. To go against the wind you must tack back and forth and making progress always takes good navigation and perseverance.

Time for more coffee.

That is my job most mornings, on the boat or on the hard; grind some beans and boil the water.  Brendan and Gizelle gave us an amazing stainless steel and wood hand coffee grinder for our wedding.  More and more, I like to pour the freshly steeped coffee from the french press into the Thermos bottle.  Means you get a second hot cup when the clown cups are not available to just dump the whole pot in at once!

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | February 5, 2016

Introducing The Oscar

It’s time.  For gratuitous puppy pictures and stories that is.  For the almost true to life story of Oscar Selkirk, our Adventure Puppy, as we know him, see the link to the children’s ebook story, if I can figure out how to do such a thing.

Oscar is a West Highland White Terrier.  Sam found him online at a breeder’s just south of Winnipeg, MB.  He was the big guy in the litter of five.  We didn’t realize what that meant until he finished growing.  Westies don’t typically weigh more than about 25 lbs apparently, so we had hopes that he would fit in a pet carrier under a seat for air travel.  Ha!  Our little bulldozer topped out at 34 lbs!  His Dad was also a bigger than average Westie so no surprise I guess.  We were most concerned that we didn’t get a timid wee dog that was afraid of it’s own shadow.  The breeder said she picked him as the most adventurous of the litter and now after almost three years we can attest to that!


Oscar at 6 months

We also refer to him as The Oscar, when he is at his most pretentious.  That is usually when he feels the need to regulate the behaviour of squirrels, birds, airplanes, barely heard trains, trucks on the highway and most particularly, the scourge of puppy sensibilities, snowmobiles!  Off he goes stomping through the snow to the end of his lead, his muttonchop whiskers bristling, mumbling and grumbling his throaty, “All right then, you’ve forced me to come out here and bark at your incessant noise!”  And bark he does, long after they are gone sometimes.



Below he is helping Sam by peering over her shoulder and down through the floor and the ice below.  This was after the first fish so he knew exactly what was supposed to be coming up out of that hole!


Pic above was not showing up.  Moved cursor down to see if that helps.  Didn’t seem to help but I forgot to refresh page in browser so I don’t really know what I did??


Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | February 5, 2016

Somebody Shrunk our Boat


Have to start all over again, again.  Sounds like a metaphor for life: every day we get up and wherever we find ourselves we start over.  Like the weather, the continuum of our lives is auto-correlated so mostly a new day roughly follows the trajectory of previous days.  And like weather there are cycles imposed by external forces and those internal urgings and yearnings which overall determine our inherently chaotic path from month to month and year to year.  Then there are the surprises!  An aquaintance from long ago and far away was fond of replying with a smile to any complaint about life’s vagaries, “It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life!”

He would then duck and dodge the inevitable physical response as it is rarely what you want to hear when looking for sympathy but it IS all a rich tapestry, sad, silly, not often catastrophic, mostly satisfying if you have a sense of humour and every once in a while, perhaps, you get one of those transcendent moments that have such clarity and “rightness” that you say to yourself, “I’m glad I was here for that!”.  At even longer intervals, you may get to turn to another person that you have just shared such a moment with and acknowledge it with a smile or a touch, hopefully not too many words.

Then we go looking for the next one of those moments….

In any case, here we go with the newest restart of the blog.  It will take me a bit to re-learn the mechanics of writing and adding photos again and more importantly, how to make the blog accessible to the wider world.  We have decided to throw it out there onto the internet and see if we can build a bit of a following and at the same time make some coin to supplement my old guy money.   So as I flounder through, comments and advice are welcome, my only caveat being that I am getting old and stubborn and do not always recognize good advice as soon as I should.  A major part of the learning curve will be the whole moderating/commenting interaction thing so please be patient with me.

The title of this entry refers, as can be seen from the picture of our current S/V Hearts Content, a John Cherubini designed Hunter 27 built in 1978 and our first one pictured on the page banner, which was a 1979 vintage Hunter 37.  I suppose I could do several blog entries chronicling the transition from the larger boat to the smaller but for now suffice it to say that the 27 foot boat seems entirely adequate for our needs.  I would be happy to do a post on the similarities and differences between the two vessels if anyone is interested.  It is still a bit odd sometimes being in the smaller boat with essentially the identical layout.  10 feet less overall length and 2-1/2 feet less beam makes for an enormous volumetric difference in interior space.

I think both Sam and I are more comfortable operating the 27 under sail and power as it responds so much more quickly and everything is so much more easily handled, in terms of size and weight.  If there is a downside it is that we have to be a lot more diligent in arranging stowage, organizing what we are doing and so on.  Same issue in small apartments versus large houses;  smaller spaces demand more attention to keeping the clutter to a minimum.  The larger the space I am operating in, the more things I tend to start and leave unfinished before starting something new.  Soon, I find I am making to headway on anything, simply wandering around picking things up and putting them down.  I’m sure that no one else has this affliction and please, let us not get into the whole discussion about whether humans are even capable of multi-tasking or if we really only engage in time division multiplexing.    Tut tut! No discussion until you at least go look up and understand both.

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | July 22, 2013

A Few Years Later….

Wow! 2013

I won’t take the time to fill in the details of our adventures since the last post in June 2009.  We have moved several times, from Fox Valley, Saskatchewan to Delta, BC, back to Medicine Hat, Alberta and we now find ourselves in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  The most notable of events was Sam and I getting married on August 23rd, 2011 with all 5 of the boys in attendence in Medicine Hat.  I will try to add a brief chronology at some point for later reference.  As with photos, they are not so much for others as a memory jog for myself.

Andiamo!, On We Go!

So, July 2013.  We moved to Thunder Bay in December, 2011, partly to be closer to a large enough body of water to get back to sailing, partly to be central in the country where we are accessible for the boys and the rest of our families and somewhere we can afford to live.

It took over a year here to get our finances somewhat in order and in May we started looking at smaller boats. From our experiences of the last few years, smaller works well for us.  We don’t want to be slaves to large possessions.  So we were looking for something in the 25 to 30 ft overall length. Nothing that was available really struck us, so we went back to Cherubini Hunters and the 27 seemed to fit.  It is almost identical in layout to the 37 and feels completely familiar.

We watched Hunter 27s listed for sale on Yachtworld and searched the owners forums.  Serendipitously, as life sometimes is, the Hunter 27 located the closest to Thunder Bay, also happened to be for sale, so what could we do but go take a look.

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | June 18, 2009

Here goes with the photos…I think

I just click on the Upload/Insert whizzeroo up here….


view from 2nd floor walkway outside our room

Entry courtyard from 2nd floor walkway outside our room at Old Mazatlan Inn

Apparently, the original owner spent 14 years designing and building this wonderfully interesting hotel.  There are 20 rooms, 18 of which are used.  We spent a week here while finalizing the purchase of our new boat.

Stairwell joining two of the three buildings.

Stairwell joining two of the three buildings.

Note the paper carnival decorations and the inlaid brick and tile work under the balconies.  There are bits of broken tile and pottery, even decorative glazed dinner plates, ceramic faces and animal figures all set into the concrete along walls and the edges of the walkways and stair landings.

Outdoor kitchen and patio down one level from pool deck.

Outdoor kitchen and patio down one level from pool deck.

Sam’s favourite spot in the Inn, after the pool.

OK the suspense is killing me.  I have to post this and go see how it looks.

Looks fine.  One more to show the old town from the roof.

Looking south from the top of the stairwell. El Faro lighthouse on right in distance on top of hill.

Looking south from the top of the stairwell. El Faro lighthouse on right in distance on top of hill.

On the far edge of the patio in the view above is a figure of a woman in a full skirt with her Carnival mask and headress.  It was moulded with wire, paper, glue and paint in an afternoon over top of a rooftop tank of some kind by one of the local youngsters for ONeil, the manager.  That night it was lit by a string of lights for the rooftop BBQ buffet ONeil threw for the guests while we watched the Carnival fireworks. Groaning tables of food;  two kegs of cerveza on ice… Magic.   Ok, Ok, Sam said there was wine too and other refrescos.  I’m sure there was.

Navy ship firing from Olas Altas Bay.

Navy ship firing from Olas Altas Bay.

The theme this year was “Naval Bombardment” and featured a Mexican naval ship which fired rockets and all sorts of fireworks from Olas Altas Bay, on the right in the picture above.  Each fullisade was answered by two batteries on shore and culminated in the ship burning flares all around the bulwarks to simulate being set afire and sunk.

And the reply from the shore battery.

And the reply from the shore battery.

Very impressive display.  Good thing my mouth was hanging open so the concussive noise on my eardrums was somewhat equalized.

Way too many pictures to post them all so you have to come visit and see them yourselves.

But this is a sailing blog so back to the marina!

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | June 16, 2009

Honest there will be pictures!

Tweaked a few things in the first post.  The next part of the story will get more interesting and we can start posting some pictures, because….

We bought a boat!  Serendipitously (I think that is a word….yup, checked Wiktionary….superlative of serendipity, “blind luck combined with wisdom, by fortunate accident”)  anyway…………

By fortunate accident we managed to book our sea trial and final acceptance during Carnival in Mazatlan, Mexico.  That’s when we always buy our boats!  When do you buy your boats??

Miraculously, one week before Carnival, we managed to book a room at The Old Mazatlan Inn, in Centro, the old town city centre which borders the harbour and Olas Altas beach.  We really had no interest in the glitzy new resorts in the Zona Dorada (gold zone), aptly named as it’s sole purpose is to spin touristas into gold!  Gakkk!   Run away…..

Also amazing was that Westjet had cheap flights available from Calgary via Vancouver.  Feb 20  we landed in Mazatlan, found out there are no bus shuttles into the city and paid a very official uniformed lady in a round booth on the sidewalk $25 US for a taxi to the hotel.   First night, we strolled in the total enveloping luxury of the warm evening air down to the Plazuela Machado, the public square in the old town, and ate fresh seafood at an outside table in shorts and sandalsl  February, right?  It was -26C when we left Calgary that morning.  We, ate, drank Pacifico beer, the local brew since 1896 and schemed how we would stay there forever.

Next day, after visiting the broker and our surveyor at Mazatlan Marina and reassuring ourselves that the boat actually existed, we spent the first week wandering around enjoying Carnival, trying to figure out where the bus routes had been changed to avoid the malecon (ocean boardwalk) and the areas set aside for the celebrations.

We were anxious to check out the boat  and complete the paperwork, as we only had two weeks.  However, the first week we knew was pretty much a write-off due to Carnival and we had prearranged with our surveyor, Rick Cummings, to meet Feb 26th to go over his survey results before doing the final sea trial and make our decision on purchasing.  Who were we kidding; once we saw the boat and crawled around it enough to confirm the survey, we started moving in.  The first day, we found and rigged the bimini top and side curtains to get some shade in the cockpit.  The second day, before the fireworks, we started seriously digging through all the gear to see what we were actually buying.

More on that later.  A wee digression here just to keep you hanging on the edge of your seats in anticipation.

This is where pictures are more eloquent than words so now I have to figure out how to do that.  Stay tuned…

Posted by: Cap'n Fuzzy | June 11, 2009

First try at blogging

Welcome to our blog.  We are hoping that we can use it to provide our families and friends with news of our sailboat related adventures.  Mostly because I am too lazy to email the same information over and over to everyone.  Now the ball is in your court.  We will send you the link and it is up to you to check in once in a while if you are interested.  No more whining that we don’t call and let you know what we are doing.

Here goes….

The sailboat saga started a long time ago for me, so long ago that I hesitate to say….well, OK, it was back in 1975, when I still had hair, before kids and other worthwhile distractions.   That is all part of a long prologue to what is happening now so someday I may do a retrospective with the whole tale.

Suffice it to say that, the 30+ years since then can be divided into various stages which many sailors and those, like myself, who aspire to thinking of themselves as sailors, will no doubt recognize.

For the first 5 years I owned a set of plans for a 43ft Bruce Roberts designed ketch.  I built the dinghy but left before pulling it from the mould to sail as crew on a boat going from Vancouver to Alaska.  I still have the full set of plans for the Mauritius 43, if anyone is interested.

In 1981 I bought another Bruce Roberts designed 25 footer, hull and deck joined, and spent 5 years working on it at the same time as getting married and having two sons.   After 7 years I couldn’t stand seeing it sitting unfinished, sacrificed boat to the house gods.

“There passed a weary time”, as the ancient mariner said.    The dream was dormant but still crept back to edge of consciousness from time to time, when I would drive by a marina or see a sail out on the water… day at a time…take a deep breath….stay calm….”Hi, my name is Steve Adams and I am a sailboataholic.”

Fast forward to 2006, the wee smouldering ember burned back to the surface of the dead litter of the forest floor and fanned by a rising wind, ignited the dry leaves and the path cleared and I could see how to get to the dream again.  OK, I couldn’t think of a sailing analogy but I got some wind in there…

A friend fed the flames by inviting me on some overnight and day sailing jaunts on his 30 ft Hunter on Lake Ontario.  Scheming and dreaming with Sammiegirl, my new partner, over the internet we came to the conclusion that all we had to do was make the decision and we could see over most of the obstacles to where we wanted to go.  Go sailing, that is.  Bluewater,  salt spray, come listen to a story of a man named….

This would be a good spot for Sam to jump in to keep this from being a monologue and fill in a bit of her story.

meanwhile I will chatter on…

Now we are almost up to late 2008.   The lovely Sam-I-am moved across the country to join me in 2007 and we implemented the plan: find boat, buy boat ready to sail, don’t try to build one,  stupid!

The path was not straight.  First step: Find boat.  No problem.  I had been searching the internet used boat sites since early 2006 and reading up on everything I could find.

Second step:  Find boat we could afford.  This, we found, would take longer.   We looked at one in Vancouver but apparently the lead keel was cast around a large ingot of pure gold and we were unable to negotiate reasonable terms.   Then , in late 2008 the world responded to our anguish and despair (well, the timing was uncanny, anyway) and lurched into an economic meltdown.   I am not trying to make light of the serious problems created by economic events, however….is it the Chinese whose ideographic character for misfortune is also used to indicate opportunity?

A boat we were watching in Wisconsin sold as we were contacting the broker and a surveyor to look at it.  Not long after, we heard that it had serious deck core problems and stopped mourning.

Our next choice in San Carlos, Mexico, cost us a preliminary survey to decide it wasn’t worth further investigation.  Now it was November 2008 and an old listing that we had watched for most of a year tugged at us.  We inquired and found a topsides survey had just been done, offer made and accepted but the buyer abandoned the purchase to meet work commitments overseas.  In early Dec we asked the surveyor to contact the prospective buyer about purchasing the survey.   December seemed very long and in retrospect I don’t recall many details of the holidays with family, while we waited.

In January we received the topsides survey report and asked for a haulout and bottom survey.  That received we decided to make a low offer before booking travel and accommodations to take our own look.  Misfortune? Who knows but certainly from our perspective it was opportunity.  Our offer, amazingly, was accepted, no exclusions, everything on board at the time of the survey was ours!  And that, dearly beloved, as they say along the banks of the great grey, green Limpopo River….is enough for tonight.

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