Friend’s Boat

Camping versus Living

Almost two months ago, we left our land base behind to move onto our sailboat Tomahawk. At first, we thought of it as camping out for the summer, but now we are beginning to understand how you can live comfortably in such a small, isolated space.

If you truly want to make your boat a home, it has to have everything you need. We bought some bins at Home Depot recently, so that we can get our key items out of storage and have everything accessible on the boat. Our goal is to cut down our belongings to what fits onboard (other than Jason’s instruments).

To end the suspense, I’ll tell you now that the breaking glass was our friend Jamie’s French press crashing to the floor. English Bay can get a bit choppy and rocky, especially when the swells hit the boat side on instead of on the bow or stern. We promptly stowed all other items left out by Jamie in his chaotic haste to depart on time with the delivery boat and crew.

When our False Creek permit for Tomahawk expired, we successfully transferred our lives over to Paramour and moved the comparatively massive boat into the Creek. Soon, we will do the same in reverse. It works out well for us right now.

Last time, I mentioned that our brand new engine isn’t working right. When we start it, it stalls out as soon as we put the choke in. We’ve figured out how to keep it going by feeding it more gas than it should need to idle, but now we’ve encountered other issues. Once it’s on, it runs great, but when we shut it off, it refuses to start again for a while. We experienced this under uncomfortable circumstances when we were trying to motor back into the anchorage and ended up having to drop anchor to avoid hitting other boats or drifting too far into the swim area.

Of course, it decided to work perfectly right after we made that decision, so Jason had to pull the anchor right back up again. Lovely times.

(On the same outing, we learned we still have far to go before we can sail comfortably or efficiently… or even in the direction we want to go.)

Everyone says the problem is the carburetor, but we beg to differ, since we’re so knowledgeable and all. The reason for our opinion is that when we took it into the dealer, they charged us a hefty sum and proceeded to tell us that it worked perfectly. So we think the issue lies in the fuel setup. We still have our old tank from the original engine, so we are going to try hooking it up to that to see how it goes. Internet research suggests a vacuum is forming in the tank, which could explain why it won’t start the second time around.

Maybe.

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Categories: Friend's Boat, Life Aboard, Misadventures | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Rock and Roll

Our first few nights on Tomahawk were peaceful, despite some bouncing around out in English Bay. We were a bit wary rowing into shore when the waves picked up, but we found a place to lock our Walker Bay onto the beach and all was well. However, I found myself suffering from an inability to get into anything, even reading, while sitting on the boat.

Jason rigged up a tarp for a sun shelter, but it flapped around at night making a ruckus. So that idea was scrapped. Most people have a proper Sunbrella cockpit shelter to keep the sun off. Bits of rigging make noise at night too, and not just on our own boat. We dubbed a neighbouring craft “Noisy Halyard” due to the pinging noise of the line slapping against the mast all day and night.

We soon discovered that English Bay was making us irritable and exhausted. So we moved into False Creek. The silence and lack of motion were a welcome respite from the effort of the bay. We anchored next to the dock, so it takes us much less time to get to shore. Plus we can sleep at night.

Back on July 1st, for our first night as liveaboards, we slept in the V-berth, a small cabin in the bow of the boat. If it was just me, I could probably sleep fine in there, but the two of us were way too cramped. Jason is also not as short as me and the weird angles made it extra confining. The boat cushions need replacing too. Musty smells added to our discomfort, so they had to go. Since then, we’ve converted the dinette to a berth (bed) and have been okay there. It’s a bit short for Jason and there isn’t much wiggle room for either of us. Luckily we like each other a lot and we have been settling in to a routine.

Last night, we stayed on our friend Jamie’s boat Paramour. We are boat-sitting while he’s away delivering another boat to Mexico (poor guy, hehe). It was much more comfortable, albeit a bit musty and rocky. After watching an amazing fireworks display all up close and personal, we woke up to the sound of glass breaking. But that’s a whole story in itself, maybe for the next post. Also a bit about our brand new engine not working right…

Categories: Friend's Boat, Life Aboard | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Refloating Again

A boat on the beach is always a sad image. Early one Monday morning in June, as I was getting up for work, I saw our friend Jamie had left me a voicemail. He’s a man usually more inclined to use Facebook or texting, so I knew something was amiss.

I feared for Tomahawk.

But to avoid keeping you in suspense, I will say right off that Tomahawk was sitting perfectly safe and sound where we left it. We had recently moved after an uncharacteristically petulant call from the VPD Maritime Unit. They said we were in the swimming area off Kits Beach, but the guy on the phone, allegedly a police officer, didn’t seem to know the anchoring rules or what our permit was for… and he asked if we were using a brick to anchor because we have a spare anchor on our bow… weird.

Anyway, so Jamie’s boat Paramour had landed on the beach exactly where Tomahawk was last fall. I called work to see if I could come in late and they gave me the okay. Jason and I took our shovel down to the beach to dig it out. Jamie’s brother Michael arrived shortly afterward with more shovels and we all madly set to work. As usual, the media came by to make a story our of it and many spectators stopped and chatted. A few people offered to help, all fellow boaters, while the majority simply sipped coffee and stared.

It turned out his anchor hooked into a tire on the bottom of English Bay, leaving the boat free to drag. With so much trash around here, it seems like it was bound to happen eventually. Knowing how easily that can happen is a good motivator for setting your anchor properly (pulling back on it with your motor in reverse) every time.

I had to go to work, but Jason and the others managed to kedge off. Jamie and a couple of others put out three anchors to pull Paramour out at high tide.

Another successful refloating!

Categories: Anchoring, Friend's Boat, Misadventures, Troubleshooting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful Seas

(Disclaimer: it was a bay, not a sea.)

The day after our adventure with the kayaks, our friend Jamie took the three of us out on his 43-foot cutter-rigged ketch Paramour. Until that day, I had no idea what those words meant, although I had seen them in some sailing publications and blogs.

So just to be clear, a ketch is a sailboat with two masts. A cutter has an inner and outer forestay (thick wires that support the mast and where the foresail clips on).

Anyway, it was a beautiful day and he had us do most of the actual sailing. Muna steered while Jason and I were in charge of tacking. Jamie also showed us his autopilot, which I had been curious about since watching Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story. (It’s on Netflix, if you want to check it out.) I didn’t really understand how a boat could have autopilot.

Now I know that it basically takes control of your rudder to keep the boat on a chosen course. The downside is that if the wind shifts, which it does a lot around here due to all the mountains and buildings, the course may no longer be the best one for the current sail trim. So basically, you still have to pay attention, but it is useful for taking a lunch or bathroom break. It also means you don’t have to stand at the wheel all day.

We went out farther than we had been so far, past the freighters but still not in fully open waters. Of course, you have to go pretty far to get to open waters around here, what with the Gulf Islands in the way. That’s a good thing for newbies like us though!

In addition to a crash course in sailing, Muna took some photos, which you can see below. See? Sailing has good times too! 😛

Paramour at sunset. The wake in the foreground is from the dinghy we are sitting in.

Paramour at sunset. The wake in the foreground is from the dinghy we are sitting in.

Aw, family shot!

Aw, family shot!

Jason enjoying the view

Jason enjoying the view

Me chilling in the cockpit

Me chilling in the cockpit

Jamie and Jason on Paramour

Jamie and Jason on Paramour

Categories: Friend's Boat, Good Times | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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