Pathfinder arrives at its winter home!

On November 02, 2010 In Boat, Captains Log

So Pathfinder made its final journey for the year from Toronto Island Marina to Pier 4 this year. Naturally since this is one of my stories things didn’t exactly go as planned as you can see by the map below of approximately where we went.

View From TIM to Pier 4 in a larger map

First was the break out from TIM that was a bit fun but not overly scary. As some of you know we were hard aground. Thinking back on it we may have been as much as 18 inches into the mud at times so a good portion of our propeller was buried… Mind you with a 40 inch prop that really amounted to a hill of beans really.

We cast off the lines… no movement.
Dad started the engine at low… no movement.
We throttled up higher… no movement.
We maxed it out… It slowly pulled itself backwards into the deeper waters of the middle of the marina. Marginally deeper that is. We were still dragging bottom but only a bit. We had a piling post put in for us for next years dockage which was in our way for turning out (our ship has a huge turning radius) so some of the TIM dock hands help push us around so we could get out easier and then we were off to brave the Deep Channel pass.

“Why ‘brave’ Josh? It’s a deep channel! No problems there right?”

Yaaaa. About that. It’s deep in places but that channel has had freak sand bars pop up with the crazy weather systems pushing the water around. Regardless though we did get out without hitting bottom and kept a decent amount of space beneath us most of the way. Part of the issue is that we don’t have a working depth sounder so we never really know how much water is beneath us at any given point so it’s all done by eye balling the depth (correction: we HAVE a depth sounder… it just doesn’t work well if it works at all). Once we got to the buoys outside of the channel we were in the deep water of the Toronto Harbour area.

There I called up Pier 4 to ask if we had permission to slide right on in since I knew that there was 1 guy that “needed” to get in before us. A bit of back story on that and why we didn’t go into the slip on Friday like we had originally planned because the other vessel needed the space around us to get into his slip for winter (the channel into the marina is just shy of 30 feet across and Pathfinder is a whole 18 feet wide so it makes it a bit tight for anyone to maneuver). That timing worked out well for us anyways so we had no issues. We decided to try maybe for Saturday then… The guy had to reschedule his entry date again due to engine problems. So we said we’d be in early Monday morning… Annnnnnnnnnd so did he. But that he’d be at latest noon… Mind you we got a lot of work done Saturday and Sunday so having a Monday departure was ok. Just the time was getting late especially with me having to work on Monday as well. We call up Pier 4 and the other vessel still isn’t there because he’s getting a pump out across at RCYC. So we end up taking a toddle around the harbour area completing 1 loop.

During this Pier 4 calls again and informs me that they’re STILL not there and that it may be a bit later. So we decided to do yet another loop of the harbour as you can see. At one point we thought we saw the other vessel and did a bit of zig zagging to let him get in front of us so we could just follow him right on in. But when he got closer to Pier 4 he veered to the west and headed for the western gap. Just then Pier 4 called again and said he wasn’t there yet so I called to Dad at helm that we couldn’t come in yet, but Pier 4 interrupted and said to just come in now since it was after noon anyways and the other boat would just have to shuffle in around us. So with some maneuvering we slid right on into our new home at Pier 4 on the western wall just passed the white draw bridge.

Thanks to all that helped out with the journey!
Mom, Dad, my number one gal (you know who you are), Skipper Cheryl, and Mitch!

The merry month of Rushtober

On October 19, 2010 In Boat

As my previous post said I’m not dead yet but there is a lot of stuff going on. To attempt to keep it straight in my head I’m writing down what has transpired over the past month and a bit.

First off since dockage has been secured at Pier 4 for this winter I’ve been given a rough date I have to be in by which is around the 30th of October. Reason for this is how the boats in Pier 4 are arranged to protect each other during the winter seasons. All normal liveaboards are on the West side of the marina on normal docks, the larger more sturdy ships are docked along the concrete wall on the east side effectively blocking the canal entrance for all the vessels. This has the effect of making sure large pieces of ice don’t come into the pier and wreak Titanic like havoc on the fiberglass ships there. The down side of this is that everyone fits in more or less like Tetris pieces and once you’re in you can’t move, plus I have to enter the marina at a specific time to make sure I’m in the right place. In this case I have to be behind a ship called “Challenger” and before a ship called “Kajama” both of which are larger than mine so much more difficult to maneuver than mine. Hence the requirement of getting in at the right time. To finish off the docking dance the entrance to the entire marina is blocked off by the “Empire Sandy” sealing us in for the winter. Since this marina is also closer to condo’s, other small vessels and more hoity-toity places and people we’re not allowed to do any serious construction. So end of this month whatever I have done on board is essentially what will be done for this winter.

So this month is BUSY with finishing the boat really is what I’m saying. As a result instead of having a sitting room in the cargo hold area of the ship it’s being converted into a master suite… sorta… for this winter so that NEXT year we’ll finish it when we’re back at Toronto Island Marina. This is pretty cool anyways since that means the master bedroom/stateroom will have it’s own wood burning fireplace. Not a bad thing in my mind or my girlfriends mind either. :)

On top of all this this month my 1 tooth that was bothering me a bit was joined by a new friend on the other side. BOTH need root canals now. FUN. As a side note to add to all this since they’re both in the molar area I can’t really chew properly so I have to go with more liquid or soupy meals. Needless to say I’ve been losing weight and I’m down to about 165lbs. Not so good but still in the ok range. The down side is that my body is used to taking in more calories so sometimes if I’m in a decent amount of pain I’ll get dizzy while at my desk from lack of food. This should be getting fixed though within 1 or 2 weeks… I hope…

Now on to some other fun I’ve had. My apartment from hell had a lot of drama at the end of last month. Near the end I was informed that since the Land-bastards… errr… Landlords didn’t get my written notice a full 60 days before my leaving date that I have to pay for an extra month. Which in my mind said “Congrats. You have to stay there for November.” so I was ready to stay there for an extra month which worked out well for the whole boat building thing. Then a week before the end of the month they asked “When are you moving out?” which I replied that since they’re forcing me to pay for an extra month the end of that month naturally. They informed me then that they had already rented out the place for the month of October. Since I hadn’t continued to pack since I was going to pay for October this meant I had to rush. I talked to them and said that they had essentially screwed me and to please give me more than 48hrs to move out. But to no avail. So in the end I had to move in 48hrs to my sisters place for this month (Thanks K!) until the boat was finished.

In the end I’m tired, sore, and ready for some R&R. UGH! Well 2 more weeks is all before I will be basically unable to continue work on the boat (except for painting and maybe some minor furniture stuff). The end of this week Jeannie will be here living either on the boat with me or up at my parents place while I bust my buns to finish the boat with my Dad (Thanks Dad!). And then a little madness at the end of the month to move the boat and some madness for Jeannie’s exams come the first week of November (and her B-Day! Don’t think I’ve forgotten hun! :P).

I’ve got my camera with me so I’ll take some more progress photos before I leave tonight and post them here.

A wild floor plan emerges. It uses simplify. It’s super effective!

On September 10, 2010 In Boat, News

So just a quick update because frankly I haven’t had a lot of time to… you know… sleep. So a bit exhausted.

This past weekend we worked our butts off (Dad and myself) also my Dad worked on the boat (with my Mom) for part of this week as well. A number of things got done including a redesign of the upper floor plan. Before I explain that here’s a cut away of the boat itself and how the ship is more or less laid out.


ShipCutAway.jpg

Ok. The image is REALLY not to scale so don’t get too hung up on that. So in no particular order here are the room’s described:

  • Master Cabin: Basically the master bedroom you’d have in a house. 2 closets, bed side tables, queen sized mattress, and even a little sink.
  • Cargo hold: This is the tiled area from previous posts and will contain the bathroom (shower, toilet, sink etc), a sitting room that will span from port to starboard for about half the length of the cargo hold and can be converted into 2 additional cabins in the future if needed. Currently this has the wood burning fireplace in it. Also this is where the straight stairs come down to a little counter which will have the washer and dryer underneath.
  • Engine room: This has the engine (surprise surprise), the fuel tanks (500 gallons in each tank), the batteries, generator etc. A future plan for this is to get rid of the engine and put it into the Lazaret (different type of engine known as a Volvo Zeus Pod Drive System) and changing this entire space into a much larger master cabin and larger master bath, leaving the existing ones as a spare cabin and guest bath. Nice huh?
  • Lazaret: Currently a cargo hold and where the steering gear is.
  • Pilot House: Primarily where you steer the ship from but with the modifications we’ve done we’ve made it much larger and usable as a living room that happens to have a steering station up front and a dynamite view from the top.
  • Galley: The kitchen and dining room area (Stove top, oven, microwave, dish washer etc etc).

So the floor plan changed as to where the galley was going to go versus where it is now. The old plan we were trying to put the galley up behind the steering station in the pilot house. Which would be handy on long cruises (like REALLY long cruises) but ridiculously hard to put there with the size and space limitations. My Mom and Dad came up with the idea of why not put it where the living room was going to go where there’s a bit more space, closer to all the plumbing, AND we can use a rubberized tile in there as a nonslip surface that can take a bit of a beating (shoes from outside with the whole winter thing coming up would be hard on any other type of material we put down).

So ya. THAT’S the NEW plan. Also we figured out the final way to do the walls easiest so that may be started on this Sunday.

I may also have secured winter dockage… But it may be a bit tight to get in there. I won’t relay too many details now just to not get my hopes up too much. But it is looking good.

Thanks again to my Dad and Mom for all their help!

The weekend that wouldn’t DIE!!!

On August 16, 2010 In Boat, News

Hey! How’s it been? What did you do on your weekend? Good good. Watched TV? Nice… Anything good on? No? Sounds fun. Mine? WELL. Let me tell you about mine.

Overall it was a good weekend. Got some work on the boat done but not as much as we had planned thanks to mother nature turning on the broil setting with the weather. Regardless though we got the stairs back down and fastened at the top. We also figure out how we’re going to do the master cabin (the flooring in there currently would have been too… tedious… to do with wood and foam so instead we’re going to level it up with concrete and plywood on top of that. WAY easier), rearranged the galley design and figured out how we’ll do the flooring.

Sounds pretty typical up to this point right?

Well Saturday we started hearing some overly loud music coming from Center Island, some concert was going on, which is fine and all but was a bit annoying. Sunday rolls around and that concert became a LOT annoying. We spent a great deal of Sunday filing a police report. Ya. Some drunks stole one of my life rings off my boat which sounds like no big deal until you know their price (like $200 easily). But I wasn’t the only one it seems. There was a few paddles stolen, and one of the marina’s boats. What they figure happened is a couple drunken morons missed the last ferry and decided it’d be a good idea to steal a boat and get back to the main land. So ya. Fun.

After that we secured the boat a bit better and called it a day since it was getting late and the temperature was insanely hot and humid.

To top it all off the day that wouldn’t end continued… cuz it’s never ending and stuff right? *sigh*

I had (emphasis had) an issue with one of my 2 AC units in my apartment. 1 was leaking water because the humidifier to get rid of the water it accumulated from cooling couldn’t compete with the humidity that we’re suffering through right now. We solved that Saturday night with a large plastic bin under it. So last night at 12:30am the landlord bangs on my door to inform me that the tenants below have a drip coming from their ceiling. So I’ve disengaged 1 AC in light of that despite the fact that my floor is dry now and no more water leaks. Part of the weird thing is that they wanted me to go down and look to see the drip. Which is weird because all I’d be able to say is “Yup. That’s a drip.” Anyways they were supposed to talk to me today regarding that but I haven’t received a call yet. That’s more or less what I figured would happen so I had preemptively setup a webcam to monitor the door. Lets see what pics I have tonight. Hopefully nothing. But who knows.

Huzzah.

Tile progress on the boat

On July 29, 2010 In Boat, News

I meant to post this earlier but a lot of work has gone into the boat lately. Also with work being nuts as it is I haven’t really had any decent time to sit down and finish the load of 1/2 finished blog posts I have stashed away (most notably the next day in the article series on my trip from Eastport to Toronto). Anyways here’s a photo of the boat cargo hold before:

P4240097.JPG

And here’s the after pregrouting

P7220624.JPG

And here’s a series of the tiled cargo hold from in the cargo hold looking in various directions.

Excavation in the Pathfinder

On July 20, 2010 In Boat

Just a quick update on the boat progress now. The new hatch in the concrete floor has been cut and the concrete removed with GREAT difficulty and the wood for the walls for the master bath has been fastened to the floor. We’re now ready for tiling which starts this Wednesday. This weekend I’m taking off because I’m absolutely wasted and to giving the tiling and grouting some timing to finish hardening. The next big jobs are to put the walls up and run the wiring for the cargo hold along with clearing out the V-Birth to get ready for reno’s in there too.

HUGE thanks to my parents and my sister for all their help. I guess I’ll be doing slave labour for a few years now huh? :P

I’ll post photos of the work once I get back tonight.

The weekend the stairs died

On July 07, 2010 In Boat, News

This past weekend and the prior 2 days was unusually busy for me. First off the best girl in the world came up to see me (You know who you are) and for the next 4 days we did some shopping, some working (I had to work this past Friday between Canada Day and Saturday), some exploring of Center Island and a LOT of working on the boat.

We got the spiral staircase cut out and the new staircase put in. Sadly the spiral staircase had to go, it was simply too small to use daily and generally we injured ourselves on it more often than not. My Dad had a straight Stainless steel staircase that he was using as a ladder for his boat up north that we’ve re-purposed into my new steep stairway. This will give us a lot more usable space around the cargo hold itself and afford us a huge bathroom for the boat.

A lot of painting was done too! Nearly the entire port side was repainted black and she’s looking really good now.

This week and weekend will be mainly cleaning up the cargo hold to get ready for the tiling and walls etc. So ya. Things are moving well now. :)

Special thanks to Mom, Dad, and K. Extra special thanks to my hun!

Day 4: Part of the wavy navy.

On July 05, 2010 In Boat, Captains Log

    Yesterday we decided that we would try to leave later at night with the tide just to make the passage that much quicker. The speed part worked out well as we were able to hit 10 knots while in the area outside of Eastport with the islands, the down side was that with minimal lighting and basically no light from the moon that night we couldn’t see the buoys at all. To solve this Neil and myself went out onto the bow with flash lights to light up the buoys as we could find them. Let me tell you that breeze from the ocean is cooooooooooooooooold. So it took us a bit more time to get out of that area and into the actual ocean than we had anticipated and the entire journey part went off with no more of a hitch than going down the wrong side of an island part way requiring us to double back on our path. No biggie really.

    Now that I we were out in the ocean we could start our shifts which was 2 people awake for 6hrs, then another 2 people awake for 6hrs. Since it was my turn off I could rest and relax… HAHA Just kidding. The “calm” weather that we were told about was technically “calm” for that stretch of the ocean. By calm they mean 10 to 12 foot waves constantly tossing us. Fortunately our course aimed us straight into the waves so we pounded through them fine enough. UNFORTUNATELY I discovered that I get violently sea sick in those conditions and spent the next day (yes ALL night and all day pretty much) hurling onto the back deck.

    Pro tip to those that get motion sickness and plan to take on a trip such as this. Do NOT have rum and cokes, fish and chips, and red wine right before heading on out. Tangy was the flavour and disgusting was the experience.

    So anyways my shift began which I pretty much just tried to soldier through as much as possible between bouts of “christening the back deck”. Things were going fine until near the end of my shift when disaster struck. The steering became increasingly difficult to operate at all to the point where steering was near impossible to keep a steady course (of which we had had a hard time due to the waves and the inaccurate steering system anyways but this enhanced it 10 fold). Little did we know that at this point the start of a long series of problems was just beginning. My Dad woke up from his night early and Jon and I informed him of the issue with the steering system. We decided we’d go down and see the issue first hand.

    The steering system is a custom and overly complicated mess of pipes and pumps. Behind the steering wheel is a sort of mini-pump that when turned pushes steering fluid down to a compressor pump that ups the pressure from the engine turning. That is kept full by a resevoir that is nearby the pump and the fluid is kept cool by a cooling system attached to a pipe on the water intact for the engine. FINALLY we get to the pipes that go to the piston that turn the rudder. What broke or what we SHOULD have noticed that broke before we did what we thought was a good idea was the belt that ran the compressor pump on the engine. We should have noticed this and just soldiered on but we decided to stop the engine to see if there was something we could do. A few things were going on at once at this point that we hadn’t fully thought through. First off the waves were coming from the South South East direction while we were heading more or less South and on top of that the wind was coming from the South East. When we shut the engine off to have a look we lost steerage (like in a car if you’re not moving forward you can’t steering) and were hit by a big wave that turned us sideways to the waves. This rolled us extremely dramatically throwing cargo and people all over the place. My Dad at the wheel at that point hollered down for us to get the engine back running. An operation which I had not done before nor had Jon who was with me. So I was hitting the switches and hollered that I had no idea how to do this. Jon to his credit was a sea of calm during this and just said “Calm down. We’ll be alright.” at which point my brain instantly painted a picture of us capsizing and drowning while locked in the engine room. I managed to get the engine back running regardless and we got steerage back. So we took 5 (oddly enough I wasn’t sea sick during this moment of terror) and then surveyed the damage. The entire saloon/galley area was trashed. The table was overturned, provisions were thrown all over the place but the only casualities were a bottle of beer and a jar of pickles. Once those 2 smells had combined and heated up I naturally took my spot at the stern hurling some more. Yay me.

    As a point of interest Neil pretty much slept through all of this. The guy is crazy. He was smiling like a maniac while at the wheel when we were pounding through the waves. I basically took mini cat naps between bouts of hurling. To add to this part of the journey we believe there is something happening with the electrical system as some things seem to be acting a bit weird at times (Radar, and radio most notably). This is not a good sign since we have to dock at Cape Cod in the middle of the night.

    (Tune in next week for the rest of the hurling express. I should be adding the next article when I have a few minutes to myself.)

    Dockage, updates, and boat weirdness

    On May 31, 2010 In Boat, News

    So as you can see the post of the 3rd day of my trip from Eastport to Toronto is up. I’ll continue working through my notes and post the rest as I can. Not sure how long it’ll take overall though as I’m trying to make sure I get onto the ship permanently by the end of July… Soooooo ya. I’ll be busy.

    Anyways, this weekend ended up being very busy for me while getting only some of what I wanted done. We (my parents, my friend Jon and I) got the bilge pumped out over the weekend satisfactorily and were able to clean and pump over the side 6 barrels worth of water. The plus side is that with the considerably less fuel on board (400ish gallons of diesel vs what it is when full which is 1000 gallons) plus the water out of the bilge she’s now drawing only 6 and a half feet in the stern and around 5 and feet in the bow. Next jobs include finalizing on what phase 1 for the interior of the ship is going to be so that I can call it “liveable”. The basic features I’m going to have on board is the following:

    1. Master berth
    2. Master bath
    3. Some form of galley even if it is just a microwave, and fridge
    4. The cargo hold(s) interior completed with regards to walls (tiling may be done later)

    Naturally this is a lot of work but it’s not horrendous really.

    This weekend we also found where I’ll be docking permanently for this summer at least (I may try to convince them to let me stay there year round though because the spot is just awesome and in a spot that ice won’t bother it that much). The people of Toronto Island Marina are just hella awesome. They really have saved my sanity ever since OHM decided to play silly bugger games with me the day before I left to pick up the ship (long story). Gary the Dock Master at TIM is a great guy and REALLY liked my boat (so much so it sounded like he was interested in getting one himself) so at least I have the head of the Marina as my champion for the docks. It’s handy to have friends like that. :)

    We also met an elderly couple where the husband is a guy that has lived on a ship before in Georgian bay for many years and is now a glass salesman. So who cares right? The guy said if I need glass at a good price (which I do most definitely) of any variety including safety or even stained glass windows, talk to him he’ll get me an awesome price.

    I’m quickly realizing the mystical powers of owning a ship. When I bought a condo in Kitchener many moons ago people were nice about helping but they really weren’t proactive about it. With a ship however all my friends have offered help, my coworkers, and total strangers. It’s rather disorienting how friendly people are regarding this. Needless to say once she’s more complete I’m going to need to take a lot of people out for a cruise.

    Day 3: The Birth of Tusk

    On May 31, 2010 In Boat, Captains Log

    Today was another busy one. We finished fitting on the new Radar to replace the old one with a jury rigged scaffolding we made out of some lumber that was left on board, we also hooked up the auto pilot the best we could to the old steering wheel that is in the pilot house (an original wooden wheel from a Canadian Schooner of all things!). We also hooked up the head to a stable pseudo platform just below and behind the wheel house with straps and screws and a weird slab of wood and twisted metal we found. Should be sturdy enough for the strongest of craps. Although we bought a water tank for the express purpose of feeding the toilet with water we opted to use 2 barrels we bought in Eastport instead to keep things simple, those will be lashed to the starboard rail during the trip.

    We got ready to move the ship around near a crane at the end of the pier to pull down the mast (The previous day I had drilled a whole bunch of holes around the base of the mast about 1′ up to act like perforations to make it easier to cut with the Sawsall today). A few things happened that made this a particularly ticklish operation. First the engine wouldn’t start properly so we called over Butch (one of the previous Captains of the ship) to help us start it properly which he did by spray ether directly into the air intake. Then when we pulled out nice and slowly the auto pilot got in the way of proper steering of the ship (it wasn’t until later that we discovered we had left the clutch on the thing on thus locking it in place… didn’t matter anyways turns out the zip ties we used to attach the gear to our wheel were too weak to control the wheel anyways and literal snapped like dry noodles). Next since this was the first time we had taken it out ourselves my Dad was at the helm… We tried to approach the pier twice before we veered out to the bay a bit and make 1 last attempt. This ended up being more exciting than we thought, the boat being as heavy and big as it was, AND unfamiliar at this point essentially got away from my Dad controlling it a bit. The rollers that Hal (another previous owner and the broker for the boat) built are designed so that the “Bruce Anchor” when pulled up would roll up onto it and seat neatly in place. In our case it acted like a powerful wood plane and shaved of 2 inches and several feet of wood from the dock. This literally threw wood and gear all over the place… but the boat stopped in the right location after a bit of man handling from the lines that were hanging from the pier. Soooo ya… That was dangerous.

    Anyways we’re leaving tonight with the evening tide… Seriously how many times does one get a chance to say that?

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