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Old 10-15-2015, 01:07 AM   #1
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Default Northern Radicals

First things First!
Thanks to all of you who have posted extremely helpful advise!

I and Wendy (first mate, ball and chain, life partner etc.) have been utilizing this site quite extensively over this last six months, creeping as guests, not feeling quite worthy to call ourselves "sailors" but knowing enough to know that "we don't know".

This is our first season sailing solo and, although six months does not sound like much, in Fort McMurray Alberta it is the entire season that may be considered sailable.

We have been described by friends and strangers alike as, eccentric (nuts) for putting our 2009 Mac26M, "Sapphire" into these northern waters but, we are having the time of our lives!

I (we) really want to share some of the exciting (sometimes scary) experiences we have had and, we would especially like to learn from others how to avoid the mistakes and build on the successes!

We are not quite sure how to start.

We are hoping to gain enough experience in the next 30 months or so (fresh water and tidal) to, not only, retire to the coast and purchase a boat to call our home but, hopefully make a half ways educated decision!

I doubt very much we are the only "Newbie" couple with this dream.

So, on with it.

How to start?

Do we just post a description of an experience and look for feed back? (God I have a couple that will really make us look stupid)

This is hard!

I feel like I did trailering that first time in a 12 knot side wind, on a wanna be launch, with 20 on lookers! lol

Basically, anything constructive is welcome.
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:06 AM   #2
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Blast away, we love a good tale here. I hope none of them include accounts of capsizing after forgetting to fill the 26M's water ballast though.
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Old 10-15-2015, 12:21 PM   #3
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There were many mistakes, that was thankfully not one of them. The tip of that mast came pretty close to the water a couple time regardless though! We heard enough tales of misery regarding the ballast, it quickly became a phobia. It is amazing the difference in handling and stability a couple of inches of low ballast makes!
Thanks for the response. We will dig through the log and post some humorous events (they are humorous now at least)
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:06 PM   #4
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Default Lesson 1 - Listen to the dog

Mother Nature is the giver of all things, including gentle lessons in humility.

Arriving at Lac La Biche, a beautiful 25 mile long, Northern Alberta Lake, we feel great. The season is early June and, being seasoned old sea dogs, we are now eagerly anticipating our fourth weekend aboard Sapphire..

So confident is our mastery of this inland waters are we that, we have decided to bring our 13 year old Rotti/Sheppard cross Dakota.

She is not fat, rather she “filled” her shiny new life preserver and actually looked quite dashing for this, her maiden voyage.

The hour is late, 8:30 PM but, there are still 2 hours of good light and, we are tired after the 3 hour drive just past. We just want to launch, get to the cove identified on the chart, and go to bed.

Arrival at the lake saw the water at dead calm, a bit of brooding on the horizon. The weather called for light rain thru the night. No big deal.
30 minutes later we are ready to launch.

The brooding on the horizon is now kicking up a bit of wind and rain is definitely not far behind.

I looks at her and she looks at me. The dog looks at us both with what I now think was a desperate plea for clemency and, we launch.

One final chance to turn back when the phrase “maybe we should trailer Sapphire and hit a hotel for the night" is spoken. Naw, the weather just says rain tonight and sunny tomorrow! We can wake up on the water, have coffee and Sail!!

It's agreed, we motor on.

Dakota is suddenly, visibly nervous and creates a fuss. We put her below thinking it just nerves.

Fast forward 20 minutes.

Rain pounding down, or rather sideways. Wind at,,,, too much, waves in the boat and the Evinrude ETEC 60 barely able to keep us on course.
We are definitely not going to make it to that nice little cove.

Ahead is a smaller cove with just enough lee to break the worst of the waves.

Set anchor and take stock. We are not in too bad of shape. As long as you brace yourself properly, the head should be doable.
Make secure and, below for a much deserved rest.

Wind is such a fickle thing. And the weather man is sometimes wrong. Change wind direction, speed it up a few knots and, so much for comfortably using the head!

We are like a cork on a set of rapids. The water too shallow to drop the dagger board for any stability into the wind, we take every third or fourth wave abeam. Now Port, now starboard with just enough head on in between to give time to swallow supper back down.

The dog is not happy. Thankfully, we had kept her in the flotation suit. It saved her from the worst of the bruising. Even though we brought her into the bunk with us to keep her from getting hurt, she will never forgive us. She almost went bald she lost so much fur.

Next morning, the rain is a steady downpour. The wind has eased enough for us to put on our foul weather gear, pull the anchor and head to the launch to trailer Sapphire.

Pulling up to the dock, the dog sees her chance! She is normally under complete control! Stays when told to, never breaks command.
Not this time! I have never seen a dog move that fast or jump that far. She’s gone!!

Wendy hits the dock and goes to the truck where she finds Dakota, already in the back.

To this day, even when we are just working on Sapphire at the storage yard, Dakota keeps her distance, ready to bolt at the first sign of any attempt to bring her aboard.
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:09 PM   #5
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Hey all, I guess the above should have actually been a new thread, not a post to my introduction. I am going to copy and paste as such so, forgive the duplicate. Sorry, be patient I will get the hang of it. I am a slow learner. lol
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:15 PM   #6
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Or not. I am actually not sure where to put this sort of thing. Any suggestions? Or should I just carry on with this original thread for my tales?
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:14 AM   #7
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This is as good a place as any, although for up-to-the-minute rambles that read more like a blog I generally use the Living Aboard section.

Nice story, poor dog!

We had a 17yo cat aboard on the way to NZ in 2014 and the poor old thing walked with legs so splayed out due to the heeling motion that it looked flat at times.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:13 AM   #8
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This kind of situation is normal - its called experience
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:12 PM   #9
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Thank you for that Steve... We are working on it.

When I flip back through our log, as inexperienced as I am, I get some really good chuckles.

I hope, 20 years from now, I have not gained so much experience that I cannot look back on the previous years log and find laughter.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:49 PM   #10
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Poor doggy! Keep on sailing--and with the dog too.
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