Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First trek with the little ship Mojo (June 17-22)

Well, we did it; headed off in our little ship Mojo.  Rather Sophie and CJ headed out while Kathy slaved in Vancouver, working on her IT project.  The Princess and I headed off early Monday morning - bound for Pirates Cove where Kathy was to meet us via seaplane on Wednesday morning. With a helpful hand from our friend George, we slipped quietly away from our dock and headed off across Maple Bay. Well actually, we headed away from the slip, then slowed to drift while I raised the main (without falling over-board or making too much of a fool of myself). The main went up smoothly and so we continued... motor-sailing if you will, across Maple Bay and north towards Thetis Island.

I had decided to tow the sausage, er I mean dinghy (aptly named 'sausage' for it's incongruous lines and tendency to drag through the water rather than on top of it).  Anyway, it towed pretty well at 4 knots which seemed to be the speed we motor comfortably at.  But when the breeze filled in, which it did just abeam of Tent Island, and our speed picked up to 5 knots... well didn't I look back in time to see it starting to ship water...  spray, you know, off the tops of the waves that were slapping against its ungainly bow.  So, without the aid of an auto-helm and using my not-very-long legs and whilst trying not to gybe (which I did several times during this comical manoeuvre) I managed to reach back and pull the dinghy closer in an attempt to raise its bow out of the water and stop the ingress of spray.  After all, it was a heavy enough tow.. who needed a tub full of water dragging behind?  That went well... sort of.  As the wind continued to build, and the little ship began to sail well.... (couldn't possibly have been my finesse.... so it must have been the boat) our speed rose to, believe it or not, 6 knots.  Yippee !!  this was really fun..  heeled over with nothing flying about in the cabin.  Even Sophie was having fun, ears in the wind.  But, oh oh, a quick glance behind saw the horrible sight of the little sausage now attempting to submarine...bow first, into the depths.....  Drats!  Had to reef the foresail and slow down in order to prevent a sure disaster.

Oh well, we had our fun and besides, slowing down just when we did gave me cause to consider what lay ahead; the open expanse of water between the north tip of Thetis and the south end of D'Courcy Island. With a vision of the SE winds pouring up the channel, I realized I should down-size my sails if I expected to arrive at Pirates Cove with a dinghy still in tow, and so began another rather comical segment of "getting to know your boat". Of course everything is different on Mojo compared to Shannon and there is a real learning curve as you defy the forces of habit in favour of the 'new' experience demanded by a different set-up. Add to that the realities of no auto-helm to hold the course steady, and no extra pair of hands to release and pull-in the main sheet at the appropriate moment.. well, you get the picture.  A nimble acrobat with ballet like balance is required.  Having none of those attributes I had to think about this quite carefully and did, I thought, develop a pretty good plan of how to bring down the main smoothly and with some control over the situation.  Hmmmph.... I did pretty well up to a point.  First, I brought the boat up into the wind and then, after taking a quick turn around the tiller with a line I'd prepared, I leapt to the cabin top and forward to the mast. Lowering the sail as quickly as I could.. I thought it was going pretty well.  I even managed to keep the sail out of the water when the boom swung over the port side.  Then I realized my first mistake.  In my haste to dash forward I had forgotten to bring the sail ties with me.  They lay in a heap on the starboard cockpit bench seat - mocking me.  No problem.  Starting back down the starboard side I reached for the boom to steady myself (as had become my habit at the dock).  Big mistake.  Too late I remembered I had loosened the main sheet and, with my balancing touch and weight on that side, the boom swung neatly over towards me.. and beyond. Yup, as I looked through my knees at the water I knew that, for sure, things could get worse (and wetter).  But luck was with me... and we (the boom and I) were able to fling ourselves back towards centre line....  and I continued on my way back to the cockpit.. this time without the help of the boom as balance.  Phew!!  The rest went well, if not prettily (is that a word??) and, with the mainsail lashed haphazardly to the boom, we continued on our merry way to Pirates Cove and the Park Host dock.

The "Sausage" with her accessories

The rest of the day, and the next, were spent in glorious sunshine, fulfilling the duties as park host... and visiting with a few other Club boats that had come for the practice and to assist.

Mojo and friends at the Park Host dock (photo: Mike Weld)
CJ in her element (Photo Mike Weld)

CJ and Sophie enjoying the sunshine (Photo Mike Weld)

Kathy/Sophie heading for shore in the rain

It's all good with the right outdoor wear

Pirates Cove really is a beautiful marine park and my personal favourite on the south coast.  The other boats left on Wednesday morning... just at the exact time Kathy's seaplane was touching down and ferrying her to the private dock on the north side of the cove.  Tofino Air, bless their hearts, fly from Richmond to Pirates Cove... what a treat for us!  After lunch we went for a great walk and checked all the trails of the park.  Returning to the host dock we were greeted by MV Silver Fox who had stopped by for one night on their way north for the season.  Thursday we spent hunkered down in pouring rain.. which wasn't all that bad.  The interior of little Mojo is quite spacious because the table folds up against the bulkhead and then there's just a salon with two couches. We read books, played cards and went for short walks when the rain lightened up.  Oh yes, and about the sausage... it isn't all that comfortable for rowing either....  perhaps time to look for a replacement when we get home.

Hunkering in during the rainstorm

Evening light in Pirates Cove (Photo: Mike Weld)

Looking out of the Cove

Mother nature rained herself out on Thursday and Friday morning we headed off to begin our return trip home (motoring as there was no wind... and maintaining a steady 4 knots for the sake of the sausage).  Still not ready to head in, we stopped off at Telegraph Harbour Marina on Thetis Island and had a visit with Ron and Tara the owner/managers.  Saturday morning we relinquished our hold on our freedom and headed back to our dock in Maple Bay (you guessed it, at 4 knots :-)

Mojo at Telegraph Harbour

It was a great trip... only one window leak and one of those hanging glass holders that are designed for life-lines... worked very well at capturing the wee drops of rainwater that found their way in.  We're home now, pleased with little Mojo and with a list of things we want to putter at as we make her even more comfortable for our summer adventures.

Hope all is well with all of you.....   Here comes summer... yippee !!!!!    CJ

PS:  A little note about what waited for us at home....  Way back, in September, when we'd helped Dad move into his 'new' home at Sunrise Senior Living... we gave him an orchid to brighten up his suite. Dad passed in January and as you know we celebrated his and mom's life this past May. The orchid came to live with us when we returned home and sat on our living room plant table through the grey months of spring.  When we left for our little jaunt on Mojo there was one bloom and it was beautiful.  When we returned, there were two... side by side... touching.  I'll say no more.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Newsflash!! The good ship Shannon is bound for more adventure...

Shannon and her crew at anchor off Chacala
(photo courtesy of SallyAnne Calver - "SV Jekamanzi")

We are excited ('though somewhat sad) to report that the wonderfully good ship Shannon will soon be heading for distant shores and more adventure than we could possibly give her.  Her infectious spirit and svelte lines have captured the hearts of Bill and Juliana Lance, a couple from South Africa.  They plan to sail her first in the Sea of Cortez and then on to Australia where she will likely be adopted by their son and his family.

The Ontario 32 spirit lives on in Shannon, a vessel that has seen much success as a racer and a cruiser (fastest in her division of the 1978 Vic Maui, as well as other races in southern BC; and victorious cruiser of the west coast of North America on her journey to Mexico).  She has also provided, and will continue to provide, years of safe and enjoyable cruising for her owners and friends... and she still has the prettiest lines in the anchorage (there's just something about those green boats :-)

We will miss this wonderful little ship, but we will cherish our memories of time spent with her, learning her lessons of the sea and life aboard.

Our plans are to return to Mazatlan this fall and re-commission Shannon for Bill and Juliana.  We will then begin our search for a new boat on which to continue our explorations of the Sea of Cortez and the Mexican Riviera.

We will also continue this Blog... as it now represents...  Travels with the good ship Shannon, the little ship Mojo... and a new ship (to be determined)...

As always, we wish you fair winds and calm seas, and a summer filled with great fun.

Carolyn, Kathy and Princess Sophie

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer sailing...on the "little ship Mojo"

Ah, yes... summer sailing.  We miss it so, so much...  "How much?" you might well ask.  Well, we miss it so much we kind of kept our eyes open on our travels home this year and... well... yup, we found a small boat to keep us happy on the water during the summer months...

Please meet the ...  little ship Mojo...

SV Mojo all clean and ready to return to the water

The SV Mojo is a 1978 Catalina 27.  She's in pretty good shape, needs a little tlc, and is fixing up nicely.  Since bringing her to the island (a very slow slog across Georgia Straits as we carried a significant number of False Creek muscles with us) we've had her up at the shipyard to clean her bottom and hull sides.  We're pleased to say we couldn't find one single blister (just a lot of shellfish)... and the bottom cleaned up very nicely. The sides of the hull responded well to some elbow grease and strong cleaners.. and she now has a gleaming white hull. Her motor, a 9.9 Mercury outboard, is mounted on the transom and seems to be running well.. even better since we added a spacer to keep the propeller from pulsing back and forth.  As for the interior... well, suffice to say it's setting up nicely as well... we've done a little plumbing and reorganizing and will be doing a little wiring over the summer.  All in all, we should be very comfortable.

Mojo has the 'traditional' interior.  That's the one with a pull-out couch (it makes into a double bed) and a drop down table... loads of room in the main salon with the table up.  Storage is very good as well... there's the V berth (too small for sleeping but great for stowage) and a full locker under the settee on the port side.  I've cut a hatch into that locker for easier access and added an inspection port to the side of the starboard locker (wherein lies the water tank and holding tank) for easier access to the heads thru-hull.  As well, we've turned the space below the two-burner Origo stove into a locker for pots and pans... never had one of those before... wonder if we'll miss the hassle of digging around for a pot in some godforsaken corner and having to remove and replace the upholstery and locker lid every time you want just one pot...?  Hmmm, probably not.  Now, we just have to open the door and presto! there they are.  The rest of the interior fix-up, well that will be taken care of by puttering, as the time allows and as we feel like it.

We hauled the sails off yesterday and dragged them up to the yacht club lawn for a good scrub.  I must say some of the stains came off, but not all.  We'll be keeping our eyes open for a new set of used sails... they're out there somewhere :-)

Our inaugural cruise is planned for next Monday (the 17th) when wee Mojo, the princess and CJ will head up to Pirates Cove for a little park hosting... and Kathy will fly in Tuesday from Vancouver to join the little ship.  We're really looking forward to getting back out onto the water and to spending some time relaxing and cruising in our beautiful Gulf Islands...

And so for now... we putter... we ponder... we plan... And, oh aren't those rhody's beautiful this year !  (we're enjoying being home too.. good friends to visit and we do so love Maple Bay).

For now, adios amigos y amigas ... we wish you all fair winds and seas... and happiness always.  CJ