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Still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

October 16, 2012

01and winter is coming.



Back in Cowichan Bay from what is to be my last sailing trip with the “Puffin” until she is restored. Just so I could not be tempted with the next good breeze, one of the first things I did was to take down and fold up the sails.


October, in with a blow and out with a short bout.

November 16, 2013

NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Watching the tides and wind, sun and rain it’s not all pretty at all of the times. When it blows from the North/West it funnels it’s force right around Mount Tzuhalem and takes no time at all to turn the end of Cowichan Bay into a giant washing machine with whitecaps a foaming on top of a whirl of current and swell.

Image152 Andreas on Escape

October introduced the begin of fall this year with such a wind that lasted for hours. Besides from being tossed around a good bit there was thankfully little damage. After this first blow of the year it took little to realize how ill prepared I was for fall, never mind winter. Most damage inflicted was on the ‘Escape’ having to cope with the full weight of the “Puffin” bashing into her port side (being still rafted together) and her stays cutting and scrapping the gunwale of the 30 ‘ Monk. Needless to say that taking down “Puffin’s” mast became a priority and was done shortly after. Furthermore I salvaged all of the little jewellery she owned. Now she is ready to serve as a boey once I get more chain to secure her to the ocean floor. Yet as a reminder that tide and season waits for no man the second blow (from the same direction) hit us and even so it lasted only 3 hours it was severe enough to cause havoc. 5 boats got ripped of their boey and (loose of their anchorage) swept unto shore hitting everything in their way. Again it was only by luck that I was spared major damage as there was very little I could do, to intervene potential disaster without a motor in that sea.

Will  loaned me a 9.9hp.-4 stroke outboard motor, but I’m starting to wonder if it takes a secret handshake to get it going or if I’m allergic to second hand engines.

In between bad weather it was a struggle to get a roof onto the “Escape” and equip her with an old cast iron wood stove. Weighing between 300 and 400 pounds it was no easy task to move the fireplace  from boat ramp to rubber dingy, to have it lifted up and hauled into the hull of the“Escape”. 2 days ago I finally got the first fire going and hopefully the boat will be dried up soon.

Another moon and still no end in sight of turning the ‘Escape’ into a houseboat, a place of comfort, into a home.  Cold air on the move. Better keep the fire stoked, it takes a lot to keep an open air palace like mine dry and heated. On the bright side I’m getting rid of all burnable on board.

Besides the handicap of never having enough energy or resources, having to do without power (hence everything in a very primitive way), is one of the reasons why a simple renovation seems to take forever. If I ever see the end of it, it will have been well worth it.

I do not work for you,… only trying to help…!

October 28, 2013

As a favour I agreed to take a 28′ cal. sloop from Oak Bay to Cowichan Bay. She was supposed to be with a full tank of diesel and her sails as a back-up. Had a nice afternoon despite being fogged in and did good speed whenever the sun broke through.. 3 hrs. later, close to Swartz Bay I run out of diesel. Thank God the tide was with me and there was a light evening breeze.” Laura” was all new to me and by now it was getting dark. I had taken everything said to me at face value ( full tank, a sea worthy boat) but now I a hard time fighting with sails all fouled up, hall-yards and sheets all tangled up with knots (as one would use to pack a parcel for the mail) everywhere. Thanks that no one saw me, because “Laura” must have looked a pitiful site, with her floppy main. Yet, I was able to I turn around and  tack back to Sidney. “It toke over an hour but by now I’m fairly save anchored close to the Sidney fish market and (maybe) in the morning the owner will come out to help me get the tank filled and the motor going again. So with a little luck I’ll be back in Cow Bay tomorrow. The moral of this story ???  Don’t listen too much and check for yourself the craft you commandeer is up too snuff  ???

Well, here is a bit more to this little tale… “Laura” was definitely not in a good condition to sail. From the bilge pump not working, corroded wires doing havoc to the electrical & draining the batteries, the mess the cabin was in (nothing stored away save) to the slippery deck that hadn’t been scrubbed since who knows when, I felt very lucky I’d gotten her that far without an incident. Not only did I inform the owner by phone of the circumstances, but also committed myself even further …to be willing to continue the journey providing he could get the motor started again first thing in the morning. Did I just elaborate on my mistakes ??? …to agree on any more involvement with “Lara” ??? Whatever made me do it,??? …but then, if I could help a guy that apparently was in need, wasn’t it worth it ???

Before this turns into a long soap opera, here is briefly what happened next:  First thing in the morning never came and I surprised myself of how much patience old age and the sea had taught me. Despite a damp night in a strange boat and my dealings with her (by far more strange) owner, I stood fast to my commitment to do the man a favour. By noon he finally showed up. Instead of being thankful he still had a boat close to shore,safely at anchor and out of harms way and instead of apologizing of being late, he blamed me of being incompetent, followed by a long list of what he needed me to do next. Several times I had to point out, that I did not work for him. but only tried to help him out ( for which I did not expect anything). A couple of hours later I was convinced that this was a waste of time and tired of all the blame I got bestowed upon me ( I’d drained his batteries by using my lap-top all night and I had not done this, that or the other), I had to tell him there was nothing I could do for him anymore and wished him good luck. How much is too much ??? Help is hard to come by and should you be lucky enough to get some, appreciate it and don’t abuse it….

Reminder, some people can’t be helped!

…me oh my, how the time does fly…

September 5, 2013

Has it been over 6 month already that I moved onto the C-Dream? The first 8 weeks of Spring, while she was still sitting high and dry on shore, I would get up before dawn with the high tide to make the most out of the outgoing current. Working to move the sloop all day, cooking and eating on the beach, I only used the boats interior to rest. Once floating everything changed. While cleaning out 10 years of abandonment in very confined space the boat seem to shrink and turn into a bit of a pain. The first sailing trips seem to be ill timed, but now that I got use to her, she seems to grow on me again.

Yet wouldn’t it be nice to move unto the “Escape”, a 30’ Monk that got demoted from motor yacht to houseboat. Since it’s renovation I got a bedroom loft, twice as much space inside and plenty of headroom. The exterior too has a lot more deck space. The price for all the alterations is the mobility, her former speed and glory. The pity is that the job isn’t completed yet. It needs 5 plywood sheets and a bit more wood, a few more screws and a bit more of this and that, some more high finance and a lot more work before the place is liveable. After that it will take a good sized stove to get it comfortable.

Is it Fall and the rainy season upon us already again? I’m not ready yet. I’m as always late…  Oh dear me, Oh poor my,…how the time does fly….

In three years, three month and twelve days Cap. J.C.Voss crossed three oceans. From Victoria, B.C  to Margate Harbour, South England.   Around the world in the Tilikum, 1901. 

The Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss


It’s one of those “Being on the water” things…

July 2, 2013

Every time I’ll find myself near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal the wind will die down. Frequently without motor & wind I’m at the mercy of tidal current and this time I’d pulled myself with the tender and one paddle all the way from the entrance boey south of Piers I. across to the Public Dock on the north side of the terminal.

Since I’d timed it right, there was an one hour open window without traffic. Even so it’s not on the charts, there is 1 ‘n 1/2 knot current going through Page Pass. and almost 2 knots through Iroquois Pass. Got very familiar with either one of them, as I was running with 3 sails flying with the wind against a 2 knot current. Both times I almost made it  past all those rocks just to have the little breeze there was, die down. Deprived of my propelling force I would sail backwards and hence had to turn around. Looking into many places without getting anywhere. Well at least I managed to stay away from the many exit routes of the ferries and only had a brief encounter with the “Spirit of Vancouver Island” when crossing from Coal I. to Pym I.. Since I was going so fast (it’s a joke), she was forced to hug the starboard side of Colburn Pass. coming into her crib, cutting right in front of me instead of behind, the exact opposite of what I’d expected her to do. To see one of those big boats barrelling right towards you… what a feeling… and then surfing with your small sloop on top of her wake…

5 hours of drifting all around the many little islands and rocks of Swartz Head without wind or any hope left of even a slight breeze, I was going to tuck myself in close to the southern shore of Knapp I. and call it a day. When along comes Lenny, who had seen and watched my little odyssey into nowhere and offered to pull me with his 20 hp. outboard motor. Despite himself being low on gas he towed me all the way into a quiet cove out of currents and ferry wakes southeast of Piers I., telling me it’s one of those “being on the water” things. Often one spends hours out there without getting anywhere. To top it all off he shared his Pizza with me, so that this really got the feel of a Friday night party. When we part he ask me for a snapshot for his scrap book ??? making me wonder if he has a competition going with a friend, of how many tows did you do this year??? Well, thanks a lot Lenny for a beautiful experience and I proudly be one of your towees.

Canada Day and I find myself back in Port Washington  on North Pender Island…


Maiden Sailing Voyage

June 15, 2013

sailing the Salish Sea

3 days I’ve been out there with the C-Dream now, but didn’t get very far (with little wind and no motor that is unavoidable). I’m a little disappointed as my expectations were way too high…

She is a slow old lady with too much weight in the middle ( those cement tiles) and not enough on the very bottom ( it should have iron under the keel). So I’m in need of U-shape length of iron, need to add a lot of weight to the very bottom, as she almost wants to flounder once we get to 5 knots.

All the lines were very confusing for the first while, but it’s just a matter of getting use to. It is definitely a  cutter with very steady steering and very easy to handle. Sails can be exchanged without getting of your butt.

Should I compare, the “Puffin” feels like a small…

View original post 47 more words

in response to Edwards comment “What’s up”

May 30, 2013

Well, Edward, not too sure what”s up…sure know what’s down (on the bottom of the sea) these days…my toolbox & most hand tools, fittings,ect., a few days later my flashlight (that for a brief moment looked like it would float) and among other things my phone is down as it got water damaged. Needless to say that the power is very low and if it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any… on the bright side…an offer has been made…a wharf with a house and a work shop (incl. 4 anchors) ….in the end of Genoa Bay…
Cause you see … up on top of the hill there is a group of people that would love to see me gone ( my boats being old & ugly…(ironically berthed next to the Wooden Boat Society…

Spared by climate change: The 10 best cities to ride out hot times

May 26, 2013

C-Dream, from idea to reality (Pt. 2)

April 10, 2013

Already getting to Port Washington on North Pender was marred with the break down of my old outboard motor and a late start to get there in time for the high winter tides that was to help me in my endeavour. Full of the idea to get the sloop sailing again this were all minor setbacks. Still not fully aware of how long it was to take me to get the boat afloat again, I convinced myself that I only had to move the whole thing for some 75’ down my makeshift ramp and that I would be ready for the next period of 12’ tides in the middle of February. Had I not moved her some 20’ in a week and was descending of the platform where she had been for over 10 years. Everything was going a bit slower than anticipated, but it was happening. Refusing to acknowledge the hardships of camping out in the middle of winter I only concentrated on getting C-Dream (no sailing vessel should be without a name) back unto the water to sail the Salish Sea.

As mentioned in the last chapter already, it was quite a task to keep the sloop in the center of the ramp. So it was not that surprising  that half way down I got too close to the edge and barely managing to keep the boat from tipping over it slid down some 16’’ to settle next to the big bolder I had used to brace and sturdy the ramp. Now that not only the decline, but also the smooth surface of the wooden planks had gone, my daily 3’ to 4’ achievements were cut in half and some days despite all my painstaking efforts I could hardly move the craft at all.

The timbers I used to create a point to pull the sloop towards to kept on falling or busting. The come-along wasn’t working as smooth anymore, until I finally broke the handle and it became even more awkward to use. A one-ton hydraulic car jack (used to shove the boat closer to the water when the pulling became to hard) gave up on me. 3 weeks had past and it did not look promising, even so the high tide had reached the hull of the boat there was a lot of distance missing. Never once did I question the point I’d determent to be reached to start floating. Until a week later, when the last of this years 12’ winter tides came in. Despite empty barrels I used to help floatation, the hull submerged under the water, but the boat itself never moved. I’d giving up on the idea as reality set in… I was in it for the long haul. With diminishing tides from here on in even time became irrelevant…  only one thing remained, the desire to see the sloop afloat.

Constantly seeking different ideas, alternatives to make my task easier, I started to reroute the little creek that was running close by. Digging a new creek bed I determent that, if it was to difficult to pull the craft into the sea, I would bring the water to it…

C-Dream 7

C-Dream, from idea to reality (Pt. 1)

April 3, 2013

With the lyric of an old song: “ A dream never dies, but the dreamer…” in my head I went to work. First to visualize the few easy steps it should take to move a small wooden boat, it was to take but a mere few days.  Too easy, as one never fully considers all the unforeseen, mishaps and errors one is sure to encounter.

The start was promising, once set up to do the actual work, I moved the mind boggling weight of well over a tone down a ramp for some 36’’. Furthermore I managed to keep her upright descending off it’s 4’ high platform in the center of my ramp. Yet this early success was not to last. Only a short distance later I veered to the portside and so was forced to spend a day straighten out my first mistake off many.

The question arises how did I move the boat at all… after I’d ripped every available boulder that could serve me as anchorage out of it’s sea-bed, I found myself left over with only sand & broken shell & no anchor big enough to hold. So recalling bits & pieces of lessons in physic, I build a very temporary brace in front of the ramp to pull the sloop towards with the come-along. So temporary was this brace, that it had to be changed; due to forever loosing the right point for all the pressure I was putting upon this contraption (after every couple of feet I got closer too), or more then half the time it fell or busted apart  on it’s own account.

The original owner of the boat had pulled it out of the water. To his advantage he had several trees close enough to the beach to use with the help of winches to make the pulling towards shore incomparable to pulling it back out to sea. He also had a place to go too after the day was done. Poor me had to spend weeks on a small sloop that wasn’t even afloat… not that I’m complaining… it was ,due to it’s airtight stove, warm and all that was missing was the ocean swell to give the illusion of an extended sea voyage.

Still,every day I pushed on and on, dreaming and working my way to the ultimate goal… get  this craft afloat & sailing again. By now it had become quite clear there was way more involved than I had imagined and it would take longer than just a few days. My good attitude and spirit had not yet diminished, that was to come a few weeks later when I asked myself more detailed what, why & how.

Thank God, the first time I did hit on a low of the roller-coaster trip I’d embarked on and which became more intense as time went by, …friends stopped by and gave moral support.

C-Dream 2.

C- Dream

April 2, 2013

Can’t rightfully recall from where this dream originated, it might not even have been only my dream…

Last fall while sailing the Salish Sea, looking for an inexpensive place to restore my 23’ Crown “Puffin”, I came across an old sloop abandoned on the beach in Grimmers Bay, Port Washington, on Pender Island. A local old-timer had spend years restoring a 80 year old Island Haida Mark 2 cruiser, dreaming about sailing, but had lost heart due to old age & health. So this unique little craft just sat there high & dry for over a decade, that is until silly old me saw her and immediately started to dream about wild sailing trips.

Little did I know how much work there was involved to get this old lady afloat again (and that in one piece), getting her cleaned of 10 years worth dirt & grime and now turning her into a sea worthy boat one can take sailing…

Well, when I first saw her on a sunny autumn day, it was like love on first sight. The 25’ cedar sloop had an aura of antiquity around her, but was surprisingly well build. The hull had acquired a thick layer of epoxy on the outside and the wood on  the inside was remarkable dry and firm. With her solid spruce mast (way towards the bow) and her 8 sided long boom I thought first that this was a homemade craft, yet slowly realized it to be a locally build island cruiser. The inboard motor had been removed, giving her extra space… and here she was standing braced up on a platform some 4’ of the ground, to be mine if I could get her back into the water.

What was I thinking (most likely not at all, or very little besides “it’s doable”), but in the middle of January (hoping the high winter tides would make my task a might easier) I found myself back in Port Washington to revive the boat, whatever it may take. Had I known before hand what energy, willpower and determination it eventually required to get her afloat I most likely would have shied away or found an alternative.

Maybe in older days, a long time ago, I can only imaging …, some 25 younger and stronger people getting together, they might have carried her with little effort and little time …, one afternoon…and then a party… As reality sat in I found myself alone and with few tools to help me in my plight… Even so, as I was able to inch her along with the help of a come-along, an old cable I found and a ramp I’d build, I was in good & optimistic spirits.

C-Dream 3

  • Arriving in Port Washington on Pender Island.  Jan. 15 2013, my ordeal pulling the C-Dream ( beached high & dry in background) back into the water started… and it was to be a continues struggle on a daily base for the next 8 weeks…
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