With Mizz Fitz finally tucked nicely in her slip. The ship’s umbilical cords connecting her to the dock, providing security, electricity, and water. I can finally take a breath and say yes, she is home.
This time also gives me some time to reflect on the struggles, difficulties, near tragedies. Which would get most people down, but realizing the fact that I survived them, due to luck, skill, and help from others has helped fuel the dream and provides encouragement to take a further step towards the dream.
Looking back the support of my family, friends, and simply positive energy in the earth’s ether provided me with the extra energy to carry on. The positive energy that I am speaking of, comes in many forms. The simplest form of energy in the ether, is the positive people around me that I don’t know but are just willing to try to help. I have found this so open and giving in the boating community, thanks to everyone.
Ironically, I was parked beside “Outlandish” another well-built Canadian boat, a Bayfield 34, she is a beauty. I say Ironic, because Jonathan and Karin, are preparing to sailing down to the Caribbean and beyond. This is similar to my dream, and I was lucky enough to be parked beside them. Jonathan helped me out with some suggesting and gave me the lay of the land so to speak, all positive, while making some upgrades and doing some maintenance on his boat. Jonathan and Karin are on Instagram, please support them, SV Outlandish. Good luck guys stay in touch!
The knowledge that I have gained was tremendous. I learned a lot from Gerry K, Kenny K, Paul W, and Mikey H (sorry Mike, I think you would have been disappointed if I didn’t do that). I am a very lucky person and I appreciate everyone’s help to bring my dreams to fruition.
So I am finally at my home slip, and simply enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin, the smell of water on the air, and the sounds of the waterfront. My family came down to visit the boat, and have a bbq, on the dock. Hamilton Harbour West provides a picnic area on the dock. We bbq, sat at the tables provided and enjoyed the afternoon, having a sociable beverage some food and a few laughs and meeting new people from the marina.
Now after a couple weeks, and if I am to be honest, the boat hadn’t moved. Doubt started to creep into my mind. It seems every time I try to move the boat I run into a problem. In addition moving a 42 foot boat into a slip that doesn’t have a break to stop you right away is a little intimidating. I know I had to get back behind the wheel. I gave a Gerry and Mike a call and we set up times to take the boat out and practice.
On the days selected, Gerry and his girlfriend Sharron, and Mike came down to the boat. We discussed how we were going to do things. What lines were needed which were not. How we were going to back out. Where we were going. Deep down I know I had to get the boat out.
Once out, fuel was a must, as I hadn’t filled the tank since leaving Amherstburg, and we motored the whole length of Lake Erie, through the Welland into Lake Ontario, into Hamilton Harbour. Once the plan was discussed we untied the lines, made our way over to the fuel dock, fueled up, and had the holding take pumped out, as that hadn’t been done since leaving Penetangushine, and was much needed.
Once fueled up, and holding take emptied, the boat was started, and we headed off the fuel dock deeper into the harbour looking to turn the boat around. I found this stressful, as in situation like this, the boat tends to stall. I motor in and using prop walk with Gerry and Mike’s coaching we were able to turn the boat around. We went back to the dock and practiced “parking” (docking) the boat. Once that was done, we head out towards the break wall.
Motoring slow, as we rounded the corner of the last dock we motored our way out into Hamilton Bay. Once out in an area with no other boats around we hoisted the mizzen sail and unfurled the genoa. Then began the silence and tranquility, of sailing. It was a comfortable sail and we tacked our way up towards the Burlington Lift Bridge (BLB). Gerry and Mike were giving me advice on a lot of things sailing, while we were escorted by the gentle kiss of the wind on our sails.
We made our way up to close to the BLB, and at that point we turned around and headed back to the dock. As we turned around, the area that was clear on our way out was flooded with sail boats. It must have been race night, and there was a lot of boat out. We sailed around their course and gave the boats a wide birth. We then doused the sails and powered up the motor and headed back so that we could avoid coming into the marina at the same time as the racing fleet.
Now the stress levels were up once again, as I had to navigate through the opening in the break wall, and get back to the slip. This is the part of concern for me, docking and undocking. Remembering what we practiced, and with coaching from Gerry and Mike, we were able to do it, with a couple of minor concerns, but it worked out okay.
Mike gave me some advice, about speed. He said don’t come in any faster than the speed you’d be comfortable hitting the dock. He went on to say to try to keep the speed at 1 knot, suggesting I have the GPS up and use that to note my speed. We all knew that there would be changes pending conditions to the wind direction, wind speed, and sea state. However, that would be a good basis to start from.
In later blogs, I will let you know how that worked out. Next week we take some of the family out for a sail, and yes we have a small hick up, that brings me back the fear of earlier problems.
Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or feed back at the bottom of this post.