Monday, August 31, 2009

Sailing with the Nephew and Friend

The Giri repairs have restored it to a functional ship once again. Tom and crew are to be commended. Stewart, from Protek tuned the rigging. I'd checked the Yanmar and thru-hulls and did a systems check to see everything was working earlier in the week. There's still some offshore systems like the wind-generator which are off line but mostly it's back to being nearly ready for another world cruise.
Kyle and Andrew said they were up for a sail and that suited me because, rafted to another boat, I wasn't able to take the Giri out myself and return. Rafting on return for sure would have needed an extra hand.
Laden with food from the requisite Safeway store shopping stop we were all set to go when I found my handheld radio wasn't working. I needed a backup since the main radio was down so made a quick run to Martin Marine to pick up a new one with built in GPS and emergency locator.
We untied the lines Tom's ship, Naomi, and were off. Then I realized the guys had thrown the dock lines onto the Naomi and rather than go back I had to make some more from the extra rope I had on board. "You know, you young guys look smarter than you act sometimes," I said. "Thanks, uncle" was the "whatever' kind of reply I got after that. The two of them really are bright and competent and turned out to be great crew. But young people do somehow look smarter.
We had to fuel up at the Coal Harbour fuel dock with a queue of other boats. The line handlers were the best.
Then it was passing under Lion's Gate to the freedom of English Bay. That's when the guys really proved themselves. I showed them the fundamental principles of sailing and tacking and left them to it while I made coffee and sat back to enjoy the glorious sunny day. Amazingly they missed big ships and small and tacked back and forth out to Pt. Atkinson. They weren't crisp as racers might be but otherwise solid sailors. The wind died off then.
I took the helm and the two of them went below to nap. I called them back up when it was time to anchor in Mannon Bay.
We got the dinghy off the deck into the water, young muscle helping with that and lifting the outboard. That's when the excitement began. I think my dinghy is rated for 2 1/2 people and I couldn't find the seat. It also leaks a little at the front and if I go too fast water comes over the back board. They sat on the pontoons holding on for dear life and I sat on the gas tank with my arm 'over' the outboard, the handle upright for steering as there was no room for it straight out with all the bodies and legs. This was an occasion where life jackets weren't just for regulation but a wise choice.
Doc's Restaurant on Union Steamship Marina was terrific. Busy day on Bowen with the Bowen fest going on. I enjoyed the Halibut while the guys had clam chowder. Later we listened to the band outside and enjoyed all the kids running about with neon rope. Returning in the dinghy at night was almost as exciting but the sea was glass and the canopy of star studded sky a joy to behold. I'd only a pen light, the batteries dying in the nav lights. Sitting on the tank I closed the vent so the engine sputtered, causing some concern to my passengers when I stood up to start it again. No problem. The GIRI with the new navy blue painted hull was easy to find amidst all the white hulls. When we got back on board I told them about the night in Mexico that we found the dinghy had been sliced, had to keep blowing it up with my mouth, got lost heading out to sea then couldn't find the boat in the flotilla. Andrew asked, "What I can't understand, Uncle Bill, is how you've stayed alive all this time." And I didn't have an answer but agreed it was a good question. Obviously God had other plans.
After that it was a great night at anchor.
In the morning the guys were keen to go fishing so we weighed anchor early and headed out. We had herring and anchovies but the fish weren't cooperative. It was a lazy sunny day trolling. We barbecued steaks and scrambled eggs for brunch. It was a veritable feast, Andrew proving a master chef on the barbecue while I worked the frying pan down below.
We passed Wreck and Jericho and English Bay Beaches. They were all packed.
Coming in on the tide we had a quick crossing under the bridge and whizzed across Coal Harbour. Then the guys handled the tying up rafting like pros as I struggled against a current to keep the boats alligned.
All we had to do was haul up the perishable food we'd not eatten along with sleeping bags and gear after I shut the boat down ensuring the thru-hulls were closed and everything was shipshape till the next trip.
Good to be out on the ocean with a smart, enthusiastic, competent crew. Glad the hull held and the mast didn't break. Fair winds, indeed.

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