I’m back!!!

On May 25, 2010 In Boat

Amazingly enough I’ve made it back alive. I’ll be doing a more thorough day by day blog posting of the trip when I get a chance. I’ve got a string of emails that I used essentially as my source of notes for the entire trip. Sadly there is NO time lapse video like I had promised to make due to the electrics on the boat failing a spectacular and mystical fashion.

I’m now at Hanlon’s Point and safely docked for now. What a trip.

Day 2: Still in Eastport but refitting nearly done

On May 11, 2010 In Boat, Captains Log

Today was a lot of work. We got the power run to the pilot house, organized the main saloon, sorted out some of the wiring, got the mast ready to be cut down, setup the temporary head, disconnected the old radar and got our food supplies for the trip. All in all it was a good day.

We brought 2 crew members along with us (John and Neil Cameron) who both have experience in handling vessels. My Dad naturally given his past. I on the other hand have very little experience with handling vessels of this size and even less experience as being the Commander of any vessel (typically I’ve been resigned to being the swabby at most, or deckhand really) so this is all new to me. Fortunately I don’t plan on taking the ship out often without help with more seasoned sailors for the time being and probably not until I’ve modified the hull a bit with a bulbous bow with a thruster inside of it.

A final note regarding the dockage I’ll have in Toronto. Plans have had to change literally last minute. I called the harbour I was going to dock at just to confirm with them that I could dock there and to give them my insurance information to make it official. They reneged on the months of verbal confirmation that they had given me. As a result I had a thermal melt down and had to get my Mom and my sister to help me at 2:30pm on Friday to find a dock that could take me. To that we have 2 solutions currently.

  1. Toronto Island Marina (Hanlons Point): The dock there isn’t specifically for full time docking for the summer but they did say I could stay there for a month currently. However, I’m going to try to stay there permanently as the location is great, the price is better than OHM, and the people are friendly.
  2. Midland: This may end up being what I go with depending on the time I have left after this trip. The idea is that we’d take it up to Midland and for the Summer I’d put it on the hard to work on the interior, when winter comes I’d launch it again and move on. This is handy because I’d be able to check the hull, repaint it and figure out why the depth sounder and forward looking sonar are all messed up.

So there you have it. The update thus far. Anyways it’s late and I’m exhausted.

Captains Log

On May 11, 2010 In Boat, Captains Log

So yesterday I didn’t have an internet connection but clearly today I do. Yesterday I wrote this log entry that was essentially from day 1 of the entire Eastport to Toronto adventure for picking up my ship:

Day 1 in Eastport

Still a bit nervous about the entire boat thing but I believe this will work out now that I have a place to call home at least temporarily in Toronto. Karen the nice lady that manages Toronto Island Marina said I could tie up to Hanlons Point since it was deep enough. But she mentioned that it was a bit isolated which personally I don’t really mind. I still haven’t really eaten yet for a few days only having had a burger sometime the day before yesterday, and dinner last night so I’m not feeling 100%.

Since I forgot the power inverter I hope we can find one when we go shopping for a new radar unit. If not then there won’t be many logs or the timelapse video I was hoping to make. Sort of a little price to pay considering all the stress I’ve been under in the last 3 days.

Today we should see how much work there is left before we head on out. I know from looking at the ship that we still have to take the mast down but that shouldn’t take too long now that we have a few extra hands. I think we’ll also be trying to get the head hooked up today. Dad bought some lumber which I’m thinking he was planning to use to make up the bulkheads of the head. We’ll see.

Anyways 10min before I have to meet everyone for breakfast.

The merry month of May

On May 07, 2010 In Boat, News

So it seems I haven’t updated for a month. Well crap… No excuse really but I have been extremely busy. Just to quickly go over the details of what has gone on here’s a bullet list:

  • During April I had a business trip to Portland Oregon for most of a week.
  • The week that I returned I went to Eastport to finally see the T-Boat in person. So by this point I have literally flown from 1 coast to the other within the span of a week.
  • Arranged for the final purchase of the boat.
  • Arranged for insurance for said boat.
  • Figured out financing… for said boat.
  • Found dockage but couldn’t book until I had insurance
  • Couldn’t get insurance until I got a new survey
  • Couldn’t get the survey until after I bought the boat

Overall it’s been very exciting and exhausting. I hope to update more often now that the paper work flood is almost done (I have to get my slip at the dock today and that’s it for the preliminaries). After all this I head on out on Sunday to Eastport to bring the ship back.

Here’s a link showing the path I’ll be taking:

View Eastport Maine to the new Home in a larger map

So ya. 5 to 6 days and in theory I should be back to clear customs and then finally dock at OHM. And on the 7th day I’ll rest… Yeesh…

More chaos and Plan C

On April 07, 2010 In Boat

I managed to forget to post a few things that had happened along with the stuff that happened in the previous post. I heard back from the aluminum boat builder people and got a quote as to how much the Tres Petite Hermine would cost. They estimated that the hull itself – that is ONLY the hull, no motor, paint, portholes, electronics or anything like that – would cost between $278k and $304k and that it’d take 704 man hours to complete. A few days ago I sent an email saying that this was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my budget and got a reply back saying that perhaps we can adjust the design to make it cost less. Which is a nice thought but I basically needed it cheapened by a factor of 2 or 3 before it comes anywhere near to how much I’ll be paying for the boat in Plan C… which I haven’t posted about either.

Quick recap of the plans.

  1. Plan A: Have a hull made for me out of aluminum
    • Pros: Never rusts, very light, already in Canada, very easy material to work with
    • Cons: Very expensive, when the hull is made it still needs a mountain of work to make it a ship first before I finish the interior, a bit smaller than the other plans
    • Dimensions: 60′ LOA, 16′ Beam, 2′ Draft (prior to interior work)
  2. Plan B: Have a hull brought over from denmark
    • Pros: Dirt cheap hull ($30,000), very interesting shape, loads of space, has rivets!
    • Cons: Will cost a lot to bring over here ($60,000), no engine, no wiring, lots of work needed on the hull, hull is over 100 years old.
    • Dimensions: 70′ LOA, 18′ Beam, 2′ Draft (prior to interior work)
  3. Plan C: Higgins T-Boat from East Port Maine
    • Pros: Very cheap fully functioning ship ($120k listing), LOADS of space, recently painted, interior ready for conversion.
    • Cons: Modifications are needed to get it to Canada first off, not a complete interior yet.
    • Dimensions: 65’LOA, 18′ Beam, 7′ Draft

Overall Plan C is the most economical and viable option to get me quickly out of the tropics known as my apartment. Plus with the space available I can move into immediately if I needed to and still have enough space to work on the rest of the ship until completion.

Chaos ensued

On March 31, 2010 In Boat, News

So what has been going on with the boat? Well its been a little while since I’ve done a post and I thought I’d have very little to post about honestly as it seems that for the most part the marine industry moves at a pace just slightly faster than a herd of turtles through a field of peanut butter. That being said stuff has happened since the 16th just that typically it’d be 1 or 2 small things a week. Well that changed this week. So to keep things simple here’s the bullet point version:

  • Banking: I’ve investigated 2 banks to get a loan/mortgage (yes you can get a mortgage for a boat with some banks).
  • Banking: Scotia is very picky about WHERE a boat is registered for their Marine Financing to be applicable. It has to be a registered Canadian Ship before you buy it. I tried talking to them that it WILL be a registered ship in Canada once I get it here but they weren’t going to budge. However, with my credit rating with them (I don’t have an account so it’s all based off of bank statements etc) I could have easily gotten a loan for $93,000. Good to know for the future but they are out of the race at this point.
  • Banking: There are ways to secure a loan for a boat with other banks but they’re a bit… funny about it. Essentially you have to back up the loan amount with the same amount (or greater) somehow. This could be with say a lean on a house, or a bank account with that much money in it in some shape or form. This is rather difficult for someone looking at a boat as a house since you clearly wouldn’t have both (unless you’re loaded), and the other option of having the amount of money in existence already in some form beckons the question “Then why would I need you Mr.Bank?” Still there is hope.
  • The Ship Itself: My Dad took a few days and went to investigate the ship directly. He came back with an impressive assortment of photos and data. Now that I have a better idea of what exists in the ship (the 65′ US T-Boat from 1954) I’m fairly confident that this is THE ship. The sheer size of the ship makes for great interior space. THANKS DAD!
  • Docking: This is still an on going investigation but in a quick nutshell it’s not hard to find docking at the moment,  partially in thanks to the economy, but many docks are a bit… mmmmm… nervous about a ship of my size floating there. The length is fine naturally but the tonnage is a bit high up there. Another option is to dock it with the other commercial vessels but I have to contact the Toronto Port Authority. Funny story was that I was warned that sometimes those ships knock about a bit and damage each other. Which would be amusing to see since their ships are built to standard commercial grade whereas mine was built for war… Bring it on.
  • Ship Names: A few more to add to the list:
    • Hot Spur (another ship name from the Horatio Hornblower series.)
    • Equinox (probably not the most original name but I kinda like it.)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff that has gone on but I’ll list it later in another post when I have time.

I really think in the end of all this I should write a book about my experiences as a live aboard captain right from start to finish because I have yet to find somewhere that lists out all the financial considerations and technical ones for this sort of lifestyle.

Naming the ship

On March 16, 2010 In Boat

Yes I’ve been neglecting my interblag for a bit. Things have been unusually busy at work, at home, and with the boat. I’ve opted to go with Plan C out of the plans I listed earlier… Of which I haven’t described yet… Ya…

So Plan C is to buy a ship from the US and have it converted. Sounds like I’d end up getting a rather boringly typical ship of which I could for crazy prices thanks to Repo’s down there currently. However, the prices that are equally nuts for some of their more unusual wartime vessels that are currently for sale. I don’t want to spoil the surprise about which ship I’m looking at (partially in fear that someone may steal it before I buy it via the intertubes), but needless to say I may have it as soon as 1 or 2 months from now and 3 to 4 at max.

However, that means I have to come up with a name for her. Currently she has a fairly common name registered to her in the US and since I’ll need to re-register her in Canada it’s an opportune time to give her a new name… Which is proving difficult… So below is a list of names I’ve come up with for ships and I hope to either add to this list or select from it soon enough:

  • Great Atuin (from the book series Discworld. It’s the name of the giant space turtle that the discworld is more or less on)
  • Tres Petite Hermine (Jacques Cartiers boats when discovering parts of Canada were the Emerillon, the Grande Hermine, and the Petite Hermine… Mine is a bit smaller)
  • Otter or the latin version Lontra Candensis
  • Peregrine
  • The Witch of Endor (name of a fictional boat from the Horatio Hornblower series… although the nerd factor is kinda strong with the whole “Endor” thing)

So ya. As my friend from Scoopmedia said “man this is hard, it’s like naming your kid”

Too true.

Plan A vs Plan B

On March 03, 2010 In Boat

The radio silence on this blog recently is mainly due to a new development that has manifested itself (along with the usual work whackiness getting in the way of things). I still have yet to send off my plans to the Aluminum guys (something I hope to do this week) to get an estimate but I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be very expensive as in well north of the $100k range. If that’s the case I’ve been recently looking into a bit more radical of an option. I’ll go into details a bit more later on but suffice to say that it’s buying a used/antique hull from Denmark and having it shipped over here. Sounds like it would be expensive but it could very well be cheaper than having a new hull built. Again I’ll post more details in a few days and possibly some photos and graphs showing cost comparison but in either case it’s very exciting.

Here is a summary of the plans essentially:

Plan A: New Aluminum Hull

  • Pro: New Aluminum hull built from my plans.
  • Pro: Aluminum doesn’t rust.
  • Pro: The hull is basically ready to go and needs an engine etc to get it moving to a location I can complete it at (most likely Midland)
  • Con: Is VERY expensive to build initially
  • Con: Smaller than what I could get for less money with a used empty hull from Denmark

Plan B: Old Hull from Denmark

  • Pro: The hull is very cheap and in good condition (under $30k CND)
  • Pro: The hull is VERY big (nearly the same width as my plan, 10 feet longer)
  • Pro: Lots of character in the hull itself (My designed one is designed a bit boring intentionally to save on money)
  • Con: The hull is steel and old (114 years old in fact) so it may not be suitable for transportation
  • Con: It’s in Denmark without an engine or running lights so I’d have to trust people I’ve never met to do work on it and get it to the ship on time to ship here.
  • Con: In addition to the hull base cost when I have to factor in shipping costs, and repainting costs to make a comparison between the 2 plans.
  • Pro: Regardless of the additional costs this plan could end up being significantly cheaper and end up with a larger space than Plan A (Significantly cheaper in the order of several 10’s of thousands of dollars).

Anyways once I find more out and price etc I’ll have a better idea of which to go with.

Other possible hulls

On February 23, 2010 In Boat

So I still have yet to send off my plans to the hull people (probably do that this week) but after thinking about it and comparing to other aluminum hulls of smaller (albeit more complicated) design I think having this hull made out of aluminum is sadly unrealistic. Although there’s always the off chance that the price may just be right. Who knows?

Although contingency plans should be made and oddly enough the most likely of them is to revisit an idea I had several years ago when this obsession began. A European river barge. Back then most were priced very high and there was very little chance to get one over here but with the sagging economy, especially in the nautical world, boat costs are starting to bottom out. There are hulls available in Europe – more specifically Denmark, Britain, and France – that are under $50,000 CND and are larger than my design. Issue is what is the cost of moving a hull from Europe to Toronto? No idea really but there are people that do these things of which I have to find and contact them.

Quick Boat Update

On February 15, 2010 In Boat

Just as a quick update here are some old renderings of the boat itself.

The name Tres Petite Hermine is only there as a name stub although I may stick with it. The idea came from the names of the 3 ships Jacques Cartier used to sail up the St.Lawrence which were called the Emerillon, the Grande Hermine, and the Petite Hermine. Since my ship is smaller than the “Small” Hermine mine is the Tres Petite Hermine or “Very Small” Hermine.

Another thing to note is that there are portholes in the final version so it’s not just a floating coffin and that the hull colours will be different as I’m probably going with Aluminum instead of Steel.

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