Posts Tagged With: learn to sail

Actual Sailing!

It has been a while since I put up a post, but it’s not for lack of activity. Actually, lots of real-life activity keeps me away from the internet, so maybe a lack of posting is a good sign. We’ll just go with that.

Yesterday, I left work early to meet Jason for our very first sailing class. We decided a few months ago to sign up with Simply Sailing for their intro course, which consists of three evenings in a classroom and three full days out on the water, as I explained in this post. Yesterday was the first classroom session. Our instructor Christof covered such lovely topics as hypothermia, basic knots, and reading tide and current charts (all vital knowledge, for sure).

His version of the figure eight knot goes like this: “You make a smiley face, then you strangle him, and poke him in the eye.” It actually works quite well and I like his morbid sense of humour. We have a different instructor for on the boat, so we will see how he measures up to Christof’s glowing first impression of the school. (By the way, several weeks ago he dropped off our books at our house instead of mailing them, since he lives close by. More brownie points for the sailing community!)

The people in our evening class will be out on the boat on Saturday, not with us on Sunday.  However, it seems like there will be a third person on our day, which will be nice from a social perspective, but it would’ve been awesome to have basically private lessons.

No, it isn’t…

Unfortunately, Jason works until midnight on Saturday and we have to be at Granville Island docks at nine in the morning on Sunday. Not fun. This weekend will be particularly trying, since the clocks go forward for Daylight Savings, so we will miss an hour of sleep. Oh, well. I’m sure he will survive, plus we can always go back to shore a bit early if we get enough practice in for the day, according to Christof.

We are both super excited to get out on the water, even though the forecast is predicting crappy weather for the weekend. I went out and bought a Wetskins rain jacket and pants set from Canadian Tire for $69.99. A lot of sailors have mentioned it on forums or blogs, and it seems much more reliable than the cheap vinyl outfit I got for refloating our boat. I don’t think this one will shred at the first touch!

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Categories: Getting Started, Lessons | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Warming Up

It finally feels like spring today. I know, I know. People in the rest of Canada and many parts of the US, Asia, and Europe will be thinking, “Finally? It’s only mid-February!” But to us spoiled people here in Vancouver, this month marks the beginning of the end.

The days are getting longer too, which gives me a fuzzy feeling and an itch to get working on the boat.

However, I realized today that we have everything we need to actually sail Tomahawk. The sails are beat up, but seem workable. The hull is solid, albeit due for a cleaning and a fresh coat of bottom paint. The rudder responds well to the tiller. Our biggest concern is the engine. I’m starting to understand why so many boaters are fans of diesel over gasoline. And electric starters, rather than pulling the cord, which I suck at.

We also need to take our engine out of the too-small engine compartment and mount it on the transom. This will be one of our first priorities. Of course, if the engine won’t start properly, we may need to shell out the cash for a new one, which will hurt a lot.

After basic preparations, we will soon need to turn our attention to the battery bank. We’ll need a new battery, in all likelihood, as well as some sort of generator. We have a solar panel on board, but we are thinking hydro would be awesome. And possibly wind. The more sources, the merrier.

Of course, before we can live aboard, we will need a solution to our toilet problem. No, we haven’t solved that yet. We will likely ask a few sailor friends for advice and see what our bank account thinks of the various options.

And a shower. We have our solar shower, which should be fine for summer, but we need some sort of hiding place to shower in. I’m thinking maybe one of those collapsible camping showers, if we can set it up in the cockpit. Hmm…

Lots to think about. Can’t wait to finally start sailing next month!

Categories: Getting Started, New Boat, Practical Stuff, Supplies | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Much Rain

We haven’t had much chance to do anything with the boat, because our schedules haven’t been lining up very well with each other. Last week was particularly busy, as we went to see Bon Jovi one night, and then Michael Franti & Spearhead another.

The other factor was the weather. It suddenly turned into fall here, which means rain, rain, and more rain. We had torrential downpours over one weekend, with more than 50 centimeters in two days!

Being the newbies that we are, we were afraid the Zodiac dinghy might have drowned. So we did go out to check on it at one point. There was a fair amount of water in it, which we bailed out using the cut-off top half of a plastic milk jug left by Danny, the previous owner, for that purpose (presumably). The other dinghy and kayak tied at the dock had water in them too, so we figured that was just what happens when it rains. We also discovered that the Zodiac has a drain in the back, so that’s good to know.

Checking out the Zodiac

This is sort of how we looked trying to figure out our Zodiac in the rain.

Finally, yesterday was a gorgeous day, so we paddled out to the boat. Our paddling was not very efficient, since the oarlocks are broken. Jason has way more experience with rowing, so I’ll have to take some lessons from him! Still, it was nice to be out on the water, although Jason’s sneakers got soaked. My feet stayed dry, but the shoes I had on could get ruined pretty quick by getting wet all the time. Another semi-urgent thing on our list of boating needs is proper waterproof footwear. (In this city, it’s more than just a boating thing, since it rains so much!)

Tomahawk was still there and doing fine, as we expected. We figured out how to open the hatch and did a small bit of exploring. Mostly we just sat in the cockpit, soaking up the sunset and talking about what we need to learn. It’s a long list. First up is anchoring and using the motor properly, so that we can actually take a trip out of False Creek.

Funny that learning to sail is not very high on the list of challenges right now!

A liveaboard couple who we’ve seen before rowed by in their dinghy with their baby and some supplies. They said hello and asked if we’d just bought the boat. During our brief, shouted exchange, they wanted to know if we were planning to live aboard. We told them, “Eventually!” and they implicitly welcomed us to the club by saying, “We’ll see you out there!” We’ve heard the liveaboard community is friendly, and if these people are a typical example, it certainly seems that way.

Categories: Dinghy, Getting Started, Practical Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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