Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Westerlies

Another season of fireworks is upon us, and this year's Celebration of Light is now three days, down one from the usual four. Greig always tries to have some boat out there for which the kids or mutual friends can take in the show from a boat.  Usually though, neither of us are are ever actually on board we are working on other charters.

This year we took the Malacite down, even though we haven't got it fully repaired, it's been beefed up, and although it isn't pretty, it is well supported. The Malacite has lots of space on deck and even from inside for viewing, rain or shine.

I was on board the Burrard Queen and so when the fireworks began, we all jumped on the opportunity to clean up the boat as much as we could. I missed them.  Frankly, I can take or leave the fireworks, but after a while they all look the same in my memory. I suppose the most memorable fireworks for me was back in 2009 and really, it was Mother Nature that had me gobsmacked.

As Monday was a civil holiday for us in BC,  Greig, Dosha and I bunked up on the Malacite.  Greig was up bright and early to do a camp run to Keats Island so Dosha and I were on anchor watch. It was a swelly night in the and the Malacite pitched and rolled substantially enough to keep me from a good sleep. The marine forecast certainly didn't mention anything about potential winds and the westerlies were blowing a good 20-25 knots by about 10 am. It was enough to keep me busy keeping eyes peeled on both the hobie and our prop-less tender. (The Prop fell off our new tender on Saturday night. DOH!)

We had a secondary skiff but Greig had used it to go dockside for work and thus, Dosha and I were stuck out there for the day.  For the most part that was just fine for us. Greig had put out two bow lines and a stern anchor.

From about 10am to about 4pm we got bashed around pretty good. The Uniflight was tied to the starboard side and one of the fat bumpers came off in the chaos. I'd only checked on it a few moments before and went upstairs to listen to the weather on the radio, only to hear a different sound emanating from down below. Sure enough, the bumper was gone.

Greig has conditioned me to pay attention to the sometimes subtle changes:  a sound, a list to port or starboard or just how the boat sits on it's natural waterline. But I heard the difference and went running. I looked around the boat for the bumper and it was no where near us and then I saw it sailing off and over into False Creek. Attempts to flag down a jet skier failed, the guy just looked at me funny and kept bouncing around and he couldn't be bothered to inquire what I was on about. I was quite ready to pay him a quick $40 for the two minutes it would have taken him to run after it!

Feeling flummoxed on how to beef up the protection on the rub rails of the Malacite with one less bumper,  a bumper miraculously floated by, sans rope. Seriously! Oh, serendipity how you surprise me!  It was a bit of a dance trying to get it on the hook with the 14' pike pole but I was determined and re-hung the other two existing bumpers with my new "acquisition."

Phew.

In spite of it all, it was a glorious day for sailing and I think I counted at least 60 sailboats out in the bay alone flying around. I got some sun on the legs. But all in all, I was pretty happy to see the Captain by the time he arrived. I was pooped! Funny but I just don't find boat life to be always that relaxing.

Maybe it's just me?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New neighbour at Granville Island

Last Sunday evening we had guest in from out of town and we took them on a dinner cruise. After, we did a quick tour of the docks and I mentioned that the SS Master was on Granville Island and wouldn't it be neat to go have a look at it. It was late and I certainly didn't expect to see anyone about but Chris Croner, President of the SS Master society was there closing down the vessel for the evening. Take a look at this video from the CBC news from a year or so ago, and you'll see Chris here speaking.




It is with great excitement that finally after five years of their negotiating with the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), who own and operate Granville Island, that the SS Master Society has permanent summer moorage, on popular Granville Island where it will be seen! There is so much foot traffic on Granville Island that it is a brilliant addition to the colour and interesting things to see there.

The SS Master is the last surviving triple expansion wood-hulled tug in North America. It's the west coast's Bluenose, only it isn't a replica vessel, and is all ORIGINAL. And unlike the Bluenose, which receives millions dollars in funding for it's existence,  the Master is funded by donations and volunteers.

Lucky for us Chris was there and kindly let us come aboard for one last evening look at it's engine room.

He lamented that it had taken years of negotiating with the CMHC to get the Master there. I said, "Well, I am not surprised since this town is so unfriendly to anything that floats, let alone of major historical importance." He said, "Oh yes! Isn't that the truth. For a major port city it is ridiculous."

Check out the SS Master here. Chris told us clicking on their videos and specifically the one entitled Engine Room Tour, generates money for the society. It's a little loud but they've also got other SS Master videos on their YouTube page too.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some "before" and "durings"

It's been a busy few weeks. Lots and lots of cleaning. We've been lucky that Bui has conscripted his friends to help ups clean it up and without their help we wouldn't be this far ahead. As of today, we are working on dump load number four, which we expect to complete by the weekend.

Smoke damage isn't the easiest thing to clean up. By far any "green" solutions, ie vinegar and baking soda just don't cut it. Simply putting the sooty glasses through the dishwasher at my house didn't clean the glasses. They needed a de-greaser and happily Oxyclean seems to have done the best trick. Did you also know that the smoke is quite corrosive? I really had no idea that it was actually. And sticky gooey too. Any cheap utensils that didn't have a good finish on it corroded quite quickly to the point where they were fairly un-salvageable. All the chafing dish stands and glassware cleaned up well when I was able to soak them in an Oxy solution.

We are also very thankful to our friend Ryan Langlois of Shoreside Maintenance for putting in some time to help us as well. He had some help from his four year old son and his girlfriend Kallie too.  He has a commercial de-greaser that is very eco-friendly which I'd like to get some for myself. He cleaned the windows of the wheelhouse and hung himself off the outside and pressure washed it with his diesel pressure washer. Ryan and tribe, you are all gold. Go SHORESIDE!

We pulled out the toilets and while the kids have been doing a large part of the dirty work, Greig installed one of the secondary toilets from down in the bow and replaced the old toilet that was up in the wheelhouse. He's been back tracking wires and marking them to find out what wire went where.

Still lots more mucking about to do.

Here are some before and durings. "Afters" will be a  bit.




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Thursday, June 09, 2011

More boats and a "Hey Ho! Let's go!"

OK, Waterlogged has been too quite I guess and as long as the G-man and I are together there will always be boats. Plural. My vehement protests over us only having one boat lasted all of about 10 minutes when we got down to just our tug, the Saorsa, upon selling the Pacific Express this spring. Hey did ya hear? It now runs too. Yay to James and Dean and all their hard work!

The Bowie, to which this sorry blog pays it's original homage to, has now sunk over at Mitchell Island and it appears that it won't be righted. Rhianna broke the news to us a few weeks ago and posted it on her blog here. It was sad to see and certainly the kids were pretty busted up over it but it was really bound to happen. Glad it didn't happen to us.

Rest in peace old boy. Too bad the bastards let you down, once again. 

So where does our inventory lie these days? We still have the Saorsa and Greig is trying help broker the sale of the MV Island Jewel for our friend Maureen. Who wants a liquor license on a boat? They don't hand these out like candy doncha know? C'mon....special deal for YOU! You just gotta get the engines back on line and go through the CSI. Happy go-go!

At any rate, he'd been moping about the house, frustrated, on the "EI sailing team" and with too much time on his hands and a head full of Drudge Report and Infowars. So much time actually that he started blogging too. I expect my editing duties shall subside for the time being. ;)

A few weeks ago he came across a couple of ads on craigslist for Hobie Cats. So he borrowed some money from a friend and he bought two: a 16' and an 18'. Now, I admit to not actually having *too* much issue with this. Admittedly, however our lifestyle in the summer is so darn busy that we'd hardly have enough time for one Hobie let alone two, but the rationale he countered to me was, "I got two so we can RACE!" The "we," being the kids, their friends and us and Greig is currently the only one who really knows how to sail. (And Bui is now at that age (18 this month!) where this boating stuff his dad's been on about might actually get him to score some cool points with the chicks.) Dean on the PE knows how to sail too and said he'd help teach us sorry lot. I am sure I'll be able to drag him out to tutor some of us one of these days as he was pretty excited that we got them.

Here is Greig and James of the Pacific Express on the 16'.  Honest, they are there!

I actually think a Hobie cat is a fantastic idea as I would like to improve upon my own meager sailing experience once I have a decent sunny day and a good wet suit. The best thing about these is you can just hop on these and go, providing there is wind. This saves me from packing up food for the army that would invariably accompany us on a larger vessel, 'cos sure as God made little fishes, they won't even think of it. Plus the Hobies don't require renovating. Major points here people!

Of course this is all prefacing up to Greig's newest acquisition, the MV Malacite. We've spoken of the Malacite before and it was featured in select scenes on the tv pilot we did several years ago too. It's own recent drama was an electrical fire occurred down in the bow at Sather. The New Westminster Fire department got on it quick thanks to Byron, who purchased the Partnership, aka, the floatie. By in large it all could have turned out much, much worse, thanks to alert eyes and the quick action of contentious neighbours who heard the fire alarms going of inside.

The Malacite is an old Canadian Navy PT boat. The story goes that back in WW2, it and two other sister vessels were coming around UBC/Point Grey and the noise from the engines alerted those in the bunkers on the beach, sending the whole city into blackout for fear of it being an attack by the Japanese. For many years it was the private yacht of the Commodore for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and a trip up to the Wigwam Inn up in Deep Cove, will find many photos of it on the walls therein.

MV Malacite, June 2011, post fire. 

It's hull was completely rebuilt about two years ago when it suffered damage in a storm. That was a pretty major insurance job then and so this time around, these same underwriters decided to write it off, pay out the owner and offered it to Greig. He countered their offer with a more affordable one and they readily agreed. During the last repair of the hull they replaced one of the engines and both engines and genset are fine. So with that in mind and all it's recent repairs, it was really a no brainer. The wheel house is aluminum though the main deck is wood.

The bulk of the damage occurred down in the bow betwixt the heads and the galley. We've some major work to do in this area structurally but it really is quite confined. There is lots of smoke damage too but we'll rip out the major stuff and sand the rest.

Already in the last few days with the help of Greig's son Bui and big clan of friends whom he conscripted, and it is looking remarkably better. As well, our friend Ryan at Shoreside Maintenance surprised us and cleaned the wheelhouse for us. Hanging off  huge downtown high rises is no big deal for him and so hanging from wheel house wasn't either. It so happens he uses very environmentally friendly degreaser that cuts through the creosote, whiz-bang without the scrubbing of commercial household products. I have to get me some of that!

Here are some pics!

All the forward windows from the bar need replacing.

 In the rear salon looking forward toward the bar.
The two curved windows opposite each other survived. YAY!

 Even in the back salon there were some windows that cracked from the heat. 

 Care for a glass of wine?

 Top part is the shore power and the bottom is the 12-volt panel. 

 Greig in the forward salon. 

 Forward salon, the busted up front windshield and all the broken windows up forward. 

 Down into the depths of where the fire started. 

YAY to steel steps!

 Point of ignition is here on the port side in what was the buffet room. 

 Closer shot of the damage. 

 Starboard side with the buffet counter. 

The galley with apparently brand new appliances. I hope if we build a new galley it will be on the upper deck 'cos whether it is a yacht or a house, the galley is still where the most time is spent doing stuff." I don't want to be stuck down there where  I could be creating delicious meals and enjoying the view. 

OK, who needs to use the head?
Yes, they still work!

Monday, April 25, 2011

It shall rise again!

Well I am happy to write that the new owner of the Pacific Express, has been going great guns on renovations. He's managed to get the starboard engine up and running, a 1671 Detroit and they didn't seem to have too much trouble doing so. Congratulations James! Thanks for letting Greig and I witness this significant milestone.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What tha haps?

Yes. I have been quiet lately.
Very quiet.
We've been laying quite low.
Re-grouping. Losing weight, eating better, sleep better. Attempting Cuban dance classes. Together! Yep, true story.

We've been trying to find a common purpose that leaves us both with our own respective sense of self intact. The years after selling the Bowie and moving up the river and downsizing from all of that took a bit of a toll on us both. It took three years and through various negotiations and trades we have now gotten ourselves down to ONE BOAT.

Sometime soon, probably in the spring when we've got some more cash to blow, we'll amp this baby back up again with the new star of the show, the Saorsa. And it only took two subchasers, a ketch, a chris craft, a steel cat/floathouse, a water taxi, a bayliner, a ferro-cement tug conversion for Greig to finally find a vessel that fit us both. Turned out it would be a tug.

Jaybus was that a journey or wot? Yep. And it ain't over.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Nutmeg

One day a few months ago, I stumbled upon Thomas Dolby's blog. I was probably rooting around on TED.com for something. Turns out he's the music director for the conference. I discovered that he has restored an old lifeboat and made it into his recording studio. He writes about the Nutmeg from time to time on his blog. He has it pulled up on land near his home so it doesn't sit in the water. Have a look at it here. It reminds me of a elongated version of Rhianna's now not so Lucky 7. Regardless, I am adding him to the blog roll 'cos he's doing a cool thing with an old boat and he does post about it from time to time.