Thursday, September 17, 2015

Transporting Sailing Vessel GIRI from Vancouver British Columbia to Bath Ontario

I just heard from Glen at Andrews Trucking that the SV GIRI has arrived at Lake Ontario.  Bob, the trucker from Andrews was a great guy.  Glen had phoned Monday to say that the boat Bob was to bring back from BC wasn’t ready so he could pick up the SV GIRI.  I’d planned to ship the GIRI but there was no rush.  In Ontario boats are hauled out for the winter and sailing season begins in April.  Now here was Glen asking me if Bob could pick up the boat the next day.
Tom Kennedy and Bill Gyles, the great guys who have always come to my rescue when it comes to boat matters,  were both out of town.  I had clinics fully booked till Friday and was covering for a doctor on vacation as well.  Lots of phone calls and tremendous support from the boating community.
Lynnwood Marina Boatyard and Dry Dock has always been a great place to haul out my 13 ton sail boat.  I’d just been there bottom painting my boat last year. I learned from Phil whose in charge of the yard that they transport big boats out of there all the time.  They have an arrangement with CNN to let the truckers go over their crossing, thereby avoiding the nearby underpass that would make boat transport impossible.
 I’ve hauled the SV GIRI out there several times, every time a terrific experience,   Lots of upgrades and improvements in the yard over the years but always the same down to earth helpful attitude.  Great customer service.  Here again, with short notice, Lynnwood came through.  Phil agreed to do a little rescheduling to  haul out my boat and help with the mast Friday morning.
Then the unbeatable Stuart at Pro Tech Rigging came through big time sending  a couple of guys to join me Friday morning. Graeme and Colin were amazing young workers.  Friendly knowledgeable and efficient. I think I just may have moved that fast and been  that confident and competent when I was young doctor.  I don't know for sure but it was great to watch their team work, enthusiasm and excellence.  I liked that a couple of the Pro Tech older guys came by to help with tricky mast bits too. One delightfully experienced guy did the ugly of climbing the mast, clearing the shit at the top and making it ready for the crane attachment.
Colin and Graeme disconnected all the wiring my friend Tom had installed when he repaired the mast after we broke it on our sail back from Hawaii. Watching these pros go at it I couldn’t help but consider that alone the whole thing would have taken me a day or two maybe.  They had the whole job done in a couple of hours.  I’m  sure that I’d have needed a ball peen hammer to separate the Murphy Law screw that Colin and Graeme solved with brains rather than brawn.  Mechanical engineers obviously learn some handy tricks to beat Murphy.    What would have frustrated the hell out of me was just a laugh and challenge to those Pro Tec guys
The Lynnwood crane lifted the mast off. Then the Lynnwood guys lifted  the denuded boat up on land.  Interprovincial law says you can’t carry critters across the line.  So Lynnwood folk did an especially good job of pressure washing the hull to keep our barnacles here.  The local sea gulls were delighted with the sumptuous feast.
Getting the boat just so on the flatbed truck was it’s own challenge.  Phil at Lynnwood with his crew specialize in this so together with Bob, the trucker,  they had the SV GIRI lowered exactly so for maximal safety.  Bob’s Truck wasn’t any old truck. Andrew’s Trucking specializes in boat transfer. The truck is  specifically made for big boats.   Once the boat was situated Bob began putting together all the braces that would keep my 13 ton sailboat from falling over on highway turns.  I then helped him on the upper deck making sure nothing that would fly off, taping and tying down everything.  Nothing could be sticking up or sticking out.  Bob made sure of that.
Finally it was ready.  We’d begun at 8 am and it was nearly 4 pm when the boat was finally ready to haul.  I left Bob then to await permits and the rush hour to pass. He also had to arrange routing especially for Ontario bridges. He figured he’d leave most likely at 4 in the morning to get away from the city before morning rush hour..  The estimated time of arrival was Thursday.
The SV GIRI was going to Loyalist Cove Marina in Bath on Lake Ontario.  I had always wanted to take my older brother, Ron,  sailing. His recent cancer diagnosis and need for chemotherapy meant  he’s wasn’t likely to be coming west till he’d got over the cancer.   If Moses can’t come to the Mountain best to get the Mountain to Moses.  My brother is a real Mensch.  Besides, there’s my nephews, Graeme, Andrew, and Allan,  all who will make good crew.  The youngest, Allan now completing a second degree at University is the only one who’s sailed with me so far.  But Andrew with his beautiful wife Tanya have (almost) mastered albacore sailing on Hay Bay.
A few days later Glen from Andrews Trucking called to say the boat was arriving on schedule. Bob had said he hoped for an ETA of Thursday and sure enough he did it.   After that the great folk at Loyalist Cove Marina emailed  me to say SV GIRI had arrived.  "Houston, Houston, we have touchdown!"  I was elated.
I called my brother Ron to tell him the great news.    Ron, who lives in Nappanee,  drove the short distance to Bath and emailed me pictures of my sailboat in her new home.   The SV GIRI had arrived. "Kaloo Kalay, he chortled in his joy!"
To say I felt relief, is an understatement.  My sailboat and I have had a close relationship for over 25 years, longer than any marriage.  I am so glad she’s survived another passage, even if it was just overland.
Now we have sailing with my brother to look forward to.
Eventually I hope the sailing adventures will continue in receding retirement to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic.  I have always wanted to sail to  London and Scotland.  This spring I admired the Dublin Harbour in Ireland. The Mediterranean would be something wonderful too.  I've thought Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Morocco, the countries I've visited there so far would all look better from my sailboat.  I've loved visiting those ancient harbours and thinking how exciting it would be to look out at the SV GIRI at dock or anchor.
Now, sailing  the Thousand Islands of Lake Ontario with family will be the next grand adventure.  As a kid ,I learned to canoe  with my brother Ron.  He continues to be an avid kayaker.  I so look forward sitting with him in the cockpit  letting the sails carry us effortlessly forward. If the wind isn't blowing where we want I can crank up the Volvo D 40 diesel engine and let the iron jenny take us to our next anchorage. For years the SV GIRI has been a fine home and good ship whose taken me safely on countless adventures.   I can hardly wait for spring to share the next adventure with my brother Ron.
Thank you Lynnwood Marina, Pro Tech Rigging,  and Andrews Trucking, and Loyalist Cove Marina!
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 SV GIRI Loyalist Cove Marina Bath Ontario!
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