I am ashamed to admit that this is my first lengthy post of 2022. The time has flown by, the world continues to change and for once, I couldn’t keep up. Or didn’t keep up. Why? Probably sheer laziness! But life does happen. In the previous fall and that winter, we helped a dear friend dying of cancer live out her last months on her terms. Cheers to you my dear!!
Besides our regular volunteer duties at Fanshawe Yacht Club here in London (Jim and I are tasked with installing, inspecting and assigning the moorings at the club, and he takes care of the safety boat motors), I took on the job of building a new website for FYC. It’s always a work in progress but I found the build interesting and rewarding. (If you want to have a peek, check out https://fyc.on.ca/wp-v1/)
Over the winter, one of our goals for our Corsair F-31 this spring was to fix up the outside of the port ama (pontoon) where we had scraped it up a bit on a -thankfully- crumbly island in the Bahamas. Then once it was faired and painted, we thought we would figure out a way to put the name of the boat on the sides of each ama… Thunderstruck. One thing to consider with fonts for the name is if using fonts which are on angle, say in italics, they’d look dynamic on one side with the lines of the boat. But maybe not so much on the other side! As a retired Art Teacher, these are concerns which I could lose sleep over! (But then I could just sleep in! Yes, we’re loving retirement)
As we pondered the effectiveness of serif vs sans serif fonts, time again seemed to zoom ahead. We got very busy in the spring when we decided to help a Ukrainian family which had come to London in April. Soon, Canadians jumped into action helping a growing number of folks fleeing the war in Ukraine. Many of us had had relatives who had been affected by war in the past and we empathised deeply with those trying to find safety in Canada. Can you imagine Facetiming with someone in Ukraine who suddenly cuts off the chat because air raid sirens have gone off, indicating rockets are going to pass over … again? It’s surreal. I’m convinced that my ancestors in 1916 and 1939 for example, thought as we do …”How is this possible in this day and age?” I won’t go into the twisted ambitions of a little dick-tator with nationalist expansionist goals.
Note: As I write this in almost mid-December, the brave, resilient Ukrainians are holding on, gaining some ground and the rest of the world is desperately trying to not trigger a third world war. Our new Ukrainian friends have settled in to their lives here and soon Christmas and a New Year will be upon us. We fervently hope that there will soon be a positive outcome to the madness in Ukraine. But for now, we will do what can to help.
Suddenly it was the end of July! Time to go sailing! No, we had not taken the time to fix the port ama or put the name on the boat. But we really wanted to get away: to find new anchorages, delight in favourite spots, and to enjoy the tiny part of our country that we like to cruise in… Georgian Bay and the North Channel.
We planned on 6 weeks away!! We’d sail into the middle of September if the weather held and family responsibilities allowed. Jim sagely reminded me that I didn’t need to load the boat with supplies for six weeks…that there are supermarkets where we could reprovision and who would appreciate the business (I tend to have a “better be prepared, just in case” mentality).
This year we added things to our provisions list such as Covid test kits, a thermometer, sanitizer and masks. Though we had received whatever Covid vaccines were offered, we were still wary of the virus. Happily, being on a sailboat for weeks is a great way to isolate!
I booked us an outdoor storage space in Midland for our van and trailer. (Access Storage on Balm Beach Rd if you care to know) and a slip for the night at Bay Port Yachting Centre. Then after what seemed like weeks cleaning and preparing the boat for cruising, we were on our way. I know I’ve said this before but a trailerable trimaran folded up on the trailer looks like a side show as we’re driving. I have literally seen people point and stare as we pass by. Some folks wonder if it’s an airplane! One fellow thought it was some kind of telescope and another thought it was a “fair ride”. It’s a big load with a 31′ long boat plus its 40′ mast! Jim does a great job hauling it with our big 350 Ford van. I think I could drive it too now but only on flat country roads!
At the launch ramp, we always need to find a spot out of the way where we can spend a couple of hours to put the mast up and load what we can before she goes in the water like the 9.9 hp outboard motor. That sucker alone weighs about 100lbs! The rest of the gear such as our cooler and our Engel freezer, the inflatable dinghy, paddleboard etc are loaded once we’ve launched and are tied to the dock. We try to do all of this quickly so as not to take up space for too long as many small fishing boats often come and go from this launch ramp at Pettersen Park. We unfold the pontoons and bolt them down. Then we motor the boat around the corner to Bay Port Yachting Centre. Once we’ve secured Thunderstruck in the slip, we walk back to van and run it up to the storage area. Next year we might even remember the little solar panel which plugs into the 12 volt receptacle to trickle charge the van while we’re gone! 🙄
As we often travel in a small fleet with our friends on their boats, we make up supper menus ahead of time which list who will prepare what part of the meal. Normally there is also a Happy Hour listed too and which boat will host it! Here’s an example of one supper: HH = Thunderstruck (we love to serve happy hour snacks on our trampolines!). Main= salmon on Cuencanita (they cook the main dish and host us all aboard their boat – we bring our own plates, utensils, drinks); Starch= Quinoa from Adventure; Veggies= stir fry from Blue Heron; Bread and/or dessert= Thunderstruck. This planning ahead reduces the amount of food each boat has to carry and can be adapted to conditions.
Our loose itinerary was to cruise to Beausoleil Island (we like Chimney Bay in most winds except a south wind) then into some of the other bays not far from Honey Harbour, then eventually northward along the eastern shore of Georgian Bay and up into the North Channel – the body of water between the north shore of Manitoulin Island and mainland Ontario. We hoped to get as far west as Blind River. But I say that the itinerary was loose because our travels are subject to wind and waves. We want to enjoy our cruise, not bash into strong winds and waves when it’s not necessary! It’s not fun and it’s hard on the boat and the crew. If the weather gets rough, we find a snug place to anchor and wait. Those “down times” are great opportunities to clean the boat, catch up on reading, for Jim to go fishing, play games with our friends, etc. So the key is to be adaptable.
But I realize that this post has not even scratched the surface of our 2022 Cruise so I will continue the tale in the next installment. Fair winds and following seas friends!