On November 25, 2012 In Boat, Captains Log, News
Here’s the final installment of Hurricane Sandy… And in true Josh style it’s several months late.
First a quick confession. I had debated about not posting this as we were very close to possibly giving up and selling the boat out right after all the issues we had over winter which is why this blog hasn’t been updated recently. Part of it was to hide what damage had been found in case this would dissuade potential buyers. But after all the repairs were done and some other stuff that had gone on we decided to keep Pathfinder and continue our life on the moderately high seas.
Ok. Enough soul baring onto the Dry Dock.
When we finally were able to get going to the dry dock my Dad took the helm and I was on bilge watch duty (this is primarily because my arms are skinnier and I’m a bit more flexible than my Dad so if something happened to the plug when we were pulling out I could fix it a bit quicker in an emergency). Getting out proved to be more tricky than initially anticipated as we were extremely hard aground and backing up required several minutes over going at 1/4 power in reverse to blow out ground below us. Eventually though we managed to slowly pull backwards and into deeper water. The cruise over to the dry dock was uneventful if a bit stressful as I was running around checking for leaks etc.
Once we got to the dry dock area they weren’t quite ready for us so Dad docked us in a single smooth move into the wall just in front of dry dock ship. Honestly his docking skills are seriously mad at times. An hour or so later we met with the dry dock workers and they started to flood the old ship that they use as their floating dry dock and shortly after we were hauled into place and the dry dock started to pump itself… well… dry.
One of the Toronto Ferries was being worked on when we got to the dry dock. Here it is pulling out.
This is us in the dry dock while it’s being pumped out. The door in front folds down to let boats in and out.
Someone with a sense of humor had painted this on one of the walls. Rather appropriate for us.
The dry dock takes about an hour or so to fully pump out but afterwards we (naturally) took a variety of photos… And ya. Pathfinder is a LOT bigger once she’s out of the water.
The beams on the side are used to hold the ship upright while on the supports on the bottom.
The stern. The large gray blocks stood just over hip high just to give some perspective.
I heard you liked ships. So I put a ship in your ship so you can boat while you boat.
After the guys hydro blasted the bottom they got to work on the hull doing a survey and checking for any other weak spots. The welded over the patch and a few days later we were ready to launch.
The holes that caused us to leak in the first place. The big one was about the size of a twoonie.
So with the hole patched over they started to flood the dry dock again… When disaster struck! Another hole appeared! They quickly pumped out what had already filled in the dry dock and we were back on the hard.
What had happened?
Well a few things.
- Because a boat is meant to be floating on water and not sitting on land the hull flexed a bit making and other weak point weaker.
- Since when I picked up the boat it had been left in the ocean almost unattended for a few years the bilge in the cargo-hold had been partially filled with sea water which at the steel from the inside out
So with both those items we were forced to do a very thorough hull examination (even more so than what is typically done) and another 7 holes in were found bringing the total to 9. Given the history it was decided to simply ensure that the entire area was safe and 2 new steel plates were welded on for the entire length of the cargohold (and then some) to form 2 new garboard strakes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strake) which are essentially the plates of steel on either side of the keel. This took several more days naturally since it went from welding a piece of steel the same size as a small paperback book in place to 2 sheets of steel over 2 feet wide and 20 feet long into place.
WHILE this is going on (cuz of course we’re not really done yet) we were supposed to be going into our winter slip. Fortunately the ship that goes in after us (Kajama) to seal us in for winter was very understanding as they had gone through the same sort of ordeal before. And the ship that goes in after him to seal him in (Empire Sandy) is owned by the owner and operator of the Toronto Dry Docks. Luck was on our side for timing all through this along with the patience and cooperation of the Harbour Front Center staff.
After all this work (totaling $18,000… ouch) we were launched and able to head to our winter slip. My Dad brought one of his friends, Chris, with us to help with the lines
(sorry I can’t remember your name!) (Update: Got the name. Sorry for gaping on it. I’m really bad with remembering names), Dad was at the helm, and I was panicking in the bilge to make sure that there were no leaks. Which there wasn’t!
Fully repaired and not sinking anymore we slipped into our slip for Winter and buckled down to face off against mother nature again.
HUGE thanks to
- Everyone at the Toronto Dry Docks (http://www.torontodrydock.com/) you guys are a nutty bunch and do frankly awesome work
- Craig at the Harbour Front Center for helping keep everyone organized and informed with what was going on with our poor ship
- The captain of the Kajama for understanding our situation
- My parents and sister for being there when the days got particularly dark
And finally my wife Jeannie! They say your first year of marriage is the most difficult. I had always assumed that that meant just personality clashes and leaving the toilet seat up. But since we’re us NATURALLY it’d be something else entirely.
Here’s a few other photo’s of the underside of the ship and the dry dock itself.
Along the bottom of our hull.
The great Canadian Barnacles… Otherwise known as Zebra Muscles. Our anti-fowling paint seems to be holding up rather well.
A view of our propeller, rudder, and the unique cage design around our propeller to protect it from lobster traps.
My Dad using his hand as a size gauge beside the propeller itself. His hand was just barely larger than the nut that holds the propeller onto our shaft.
This door was in the bottom of the dry dock and is water tight. The reason for the door is that behind there they have their entire shop so it’s easier to get to working on the bottom of the hull.
The beams used to hold our ship upright have to be levered into and out of position manually. Here’s on the workers wrestling with it.
Pathfinder underway to our winter docking.
On August 08, 2012 In Boat, News
I guess I could call this “What did YOU do on your weekend Part 2″ but it was a few weekends apart and I don’t feel like changing the title of this post now… So ya…
This weekend we (or rather I) decided that it was time to get back into the swing of things with reno’s on the boat in a big way. As a result we made a HUGE mess since the first step was to remove everything from below the deck of the pilot house (our utility room) and either throw out what we don’t need/want, store what we need for later but not now, or repack what we need soon. It resulted in us getting a LOT of space back overall which was fortunate since I was stuck in that area most of the weekend framing up where some walls would be going to finally seal off the utility room from the rest of the boat.
And just to give some context as to where this is here’s an old image I made up to help explain the layout.
Basically all this work was being don in the grey area below the pilot house on the port side where the stairs lead up into the pilot house from the galley and on the starboard side near the stairs into the cargo hold. This week we hope to get the framing completed for the rest of the wall on the starboard side for the inside of the outer wall so we can go ahead and throw up some nice maple plywood with some hatches and some pot lights to light the stair well. I’ll post more as time goes on.
On August 04, 2012 In News
So although this is the 3rd year I’ve been at the Toronto Island’s Jeannie and I have very rarely (if ever) participated with the events that go on on the islands themselves. It’s usually because we’re busy or our schedule for not being on the island doesn’t line up with theirs (either we’re up north at my parents, or out with friends, or just… out…). So this year we had a bit of luck and earlier we participated (sorta) in the Toronto Island Marina’s “Christmas in July” celebration (we literally got back to the Island’s the day of the celebration so we just had enough time to plug in our wreath from normal Christmas for the judging… Good thing I hadn’t taken the wreath down from Christmas eh?). We got an honourable mention!
Any ways this past long weekend I had a whack of stuff I wanted to get done on the boat (My next post will be about that) since we were going to be hiding out on the island away from Caribana going on at Toronto city side (turned out to not be as apocalyptic as we had initially anticipated traffic and wave of humanity wise). When one of our friends on the island mentioned to Jeannie (and someone else mentioned to me earlier in the week) if we were going to participate in the Gala. We decided to go to the first night at least and check out the other nights if we weren’t too tired from all the work we were going to do on the boat. Turns out that the first night is a play done to music (provided by a local Dixie band) followed up with everyone that went there participating in a “lantern parade” through Wards Island and ending with a bonfire at one of the beaches with fire dancing along the way… Ya. There was a lot going on.
SO like I was saying the party started off with a Dixie band playing and started shortly afterwards:
The play was about how this was the year of the anniversary of the war of 1812 and specifically how we had the help of the British and local native people push the US back (represented by a guy on stilts that vaguely looks like Uncle Sam waving a huge American flag). What was kinda funny was that some people were booing “Uncle Sam” there and a few other people they knew were Americans (in a playful manner not malicious no worries). The first photo there shows some of the lanterns people made.
Next up we all joined in a parade through the homes of Wards Island and then out to a sort of mini “volley ball beach” for part 2 of the play I guess. Which included fire dancing and some singing by the locals.
The fire dancing was pretty cool really. Lots of fire being flung around on hoolahoops, staffs, and sticks etc. The singing was ok but very quiet because of how far away we were. Oh well. But it was very nice sounding.
Next after that we all went to the beach where they started the bonfire!
During the bonfire a canoe came over that was shaped like a dragon and had a rather large blowtorch throwing blue flame out it’s mouth. They also set off paper balloons into the air. Most of them hit the lake but 1 of them made it quite far… Like to the point where everyone there went very quiet because we were worried that it’d crash in Toronto or Billy Bishop Airport. So ya. That was fun.
Overall it was a great time with a few friends there and loads of nice strangers (to us any ways) all hanging out talking and carrying on. The water by the bonfire was nice to walk in to cool off from the day as well and the moon was pretty awesome to look at since it was a deep red and nearly full on the horizon.
I can’t wait till next years!
We didn’t make it to any other events that weekend (dances, bands, dinners, drinks etc.) mostly due to us being super busy on the boat or because of the torrential downpour we had later on in the weekend but next year we’ll definitely attend again.
Note to self… Bring a better camera instead of my cellphone.
On June 06, 2012 In Boat, News
As a friend of mine pointed out a lot of my posts tend to be along the lines of “Wow. I haven’t posted here for a while.” so here’s another one. Although arguably it’s not without good reason.
Not last Saturday but the Saturday before (May 26th) I got married to Jeannie (there are a few photos of her on this site already)! So ya. I figure that’s a pretty good reason to be a bit late with this. Some guys may be saying “Pffft. I got married and I had like nothing to do!” ya. Well I decided to take the path less walked (as normal) and discovered a whole new world in stress (oddly normal as well). Since Jeannie was busy with classes and everything I had to do a LOT of the planning for the wedding itself. While this was a really neat experience I can honestly see how being a wedding planner is a very lucrative business. On the other hand I did get to see a whole area usually left to the “women folk” and possibly explain how the phenomena of “bridezilla” comes into being. I won’t go into the details here since it’d end up being one of those “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read) posts. But ya. Needless to say if anyone is getting married and the person handling most of the planning seems to lose their mind don’t freak out! There are a LOT of little things that are nerve racking for ridiculous reasons and it just sorta gangs up on you! I may do a more lengthy post on our wedding soonish. But I’d prefer to have more photos about that first.
Quick note as well Pathfinder was moved over to TIM and I have yet to put that post up (again busy). Not very exciting fortunately but I wasn’t at the wheel at all this time since I had the stomach flu. So ya. Mostly manning the “rail” if you know what I mean.
On March 15, 2012 In Boat, News
So ya. I’ve kinda lost some steam with the renos on the boat lately. I find it’s very hard to pick it back up especially with everything going on as of lately (wedding planning, work, weather causing fantastic migraines etc). So nothing lately to report in that area. Even the stuff I have planned isn’t exactly “glamorous” either which may be what I tackle this weekend (through hull fitting, some battery stuff). But whatever. I also have another project I’m trying to get out before the summer season starts so that is also taking my time. I’ll elaborate a bit more when I have something to show for it (hopefully by next week).
On February 27, 2012 In Boat, News
Not this past weekend but the one before we finally got to install a new staircase in the boat down into the cargo hold… This would in fact be the 3rd system put in so far but it is the last. Lets go over the systems I had (sadly I have no photos of them).
- The spiral staircase that was originally in the ship. I’ve always wanted a spiral staircase so when I was looking at Pathfinder for purchase it was a major selling feature for me… Until during our trip back with it we discovered how truly terrible undersized and thrown together spiral staircases are. Everyone on the trip ended up sliding down them or nearly through the railings when we hit a wave. Even better was that the top hand rail on it was in fact a plastic tube. Not exactly safe. So we cut that right out first chance we got at TIM and replaced it with…
- A very steep stainless steel staircase with narrow steps. This worked out quite well for over a year. Except that it was VERY steep and the steps were a improperly spaced (each step was a bit too far away), so at the end of the day when you walked up and down them a lot your legs and hips were killing you. Also when taking laundry up and down the stairs it was literally like scaling a mountain at times. Which lead us to…
- Custom polished stainless steel stringers (a stringer is the side beams of a staircase). These were made out of Barrie Metal and Welding for us after we carefully measured the space it would go into. Once they were completed they stayed at my parents place until we were ready for them on the boat (2 weekends ago). And here they are!
The stringers side on of the new staircase.
Right now the steps are pieces of 2×10 spruce. Later on they’ll be replaced with mahogany.
That corner of the cargohold also acts as material storage for paneling etc. Eventually we may be building a laundry room there by walling it in possibly.
These steps are incredibly comfortable to walk up and down. The neat thing is that although they look thin and they do flex a bit when you walk up and down them a bit they’re strong enough to practically park a car on. I also have to modify the hatchway a bit since my head nearly hits some metal on the way up and down the stairs. I’ll be doing that after I finish a through hull fitting to fill the water tanks. I’ll do a post about the water system and all the hookups once I get that all done.
On February 21, 2012 In Boat, News
So as I eluded to in the last post I had been very busy over December and January. What have I been doing? Well when Jeannie came back she saw this in the galley.
The wrapped sink stares into your SOUL!
Dishwasher says “LIFE IS FUNNNNN!”
Which when unwrapped (as the captions suggest as well) turned into these!
Nice eh? K helped me out a lot with the cleaning and sadly I didn’t take a photo of the rest of the galley since we had put in some new chairs (New to the boat anyways) and organized the starboard side counter. It has REALLY opened up the space in the and it’s quite nice now.
So one might ask what the hell took me so long to install these. Well lets go over the task list of getting all this installed (this is the summarized version as well just to tell ya).
- Install and hook up the hot water tank
- Wire up the hot water tank (110Volt)
- Install the water pump for water pressure (12 Volt)
- Hook up the tank and pump to the manifolds installed earlier (Centralized water manifolds are WAAAAAY easier to troubleshoot and maintain. All houses should have them.)
- Hook up the through hull to be used for gray water pump out into the lake
- Create an anti-siphon valve system (I’ll have to take a photo of this to show everyone the madness of what I ended up building. This is to ensure that if the gray water manages to force out all the air and the 1 way valve breaks for some reason that the lake won’t try to drain into the boat)
- Attach the pump out pump to the anti-siphon system
- Attach the pump to the gray water collector tank
- Curse at European wiring for being backwards and rewire up the sensor to the gray water tank
- Run waste lines up to where I wanted to install the dishwasher
- Run a water line to where the dishwasher
- Run 110Volt power lines with GFI’s to the dishwasher area, hot water tank, fridge and the back of the cabinet so we don’t need to use extension cords.
- Wire up the dishwasher
- Try to cut the holes needed in the deck for the waste water, hot and cold water for the sink (this took days alone thanks to the military grade steel I had to try to cut through. I literally destroyed brand new drill bits in this processes. As a side note Milwaukee drillbits are designed to drill through butter and that’s it.)
- Run all the hoses and pipes needed for the sink.
Ya. That’s the extremely summarized version there. I didn’t even cover all the stuff I had to get out of the way of the pipes just to run them. So ya. FUN.
Anyways life on board has drastically improved with running water alone now and the dishwasher has made everyone in the marina very jealous (BWAHAHAHAHHAHAAHA!). So at least now we have fancy schmancy running water inside the place now.
Next post I’ll post pictures of what we did family day weekend with my parents. I’d make that post today but frankly I forgot to take photos. Awesome eh?
On February 07, 2012 In News
So no I haven’t disappeared entirely what I was doing was being very busy over the past month and a bit. One reason I wasn’t posting anything was that I didn’t want to leak all the work I got done on the boat since that was basically part of the Christmas gift to Jeannie (and myself if truth be told). Another reason is that our internet connection on the boat currently is crap so getting a consistent connection is difficult at best. I DO have a solution for that but didn’t want to implement it while Jeannie was away otherwise we might have decided to Skype while she was long distance and then I wouldn’t have been able to surprise her with THIS:
Not the most flattering photo but this is me with a mustache that took nearly 2 months to grow. All this to freak out Jeannie when she got back from NY! Sheesh. The things I do.
So ya. Since I basically decided to not shave since she left that ‘stache took bloody well forever to grow. Jeannie says I kinda look like Guy Fox… My sister agrees. Although I kinda wish I had more photos of during the growing process since I went through the “Pervert” stage followed by a long spell of “Drunken Homeless Bum” stage with this facial fuzz. Anyways I shaved it off the night she landed since Jeannie wasn’t too sure about it (I think she was just trying to not be negative with this ‘stache I hath wrought) and I personally hated the damned thing. So ya. That was fun. A post with photos of the boat will be forth coming once I get some more photos.
Hey all. So a number of things have gone on.
- We moved the boat! We’re back at Pier 4 for winter again.
- I piloted the ship out of TIM (thanks to Mitch giving me guidance on how to handle the ship) so now I’m no longer called “Swabby” by Dad.
- The best news is that on Halloween I asked Jeannie to marry me and she said yes.
So now we have to come up with some wedding dates etc around all of our busy schedules, while I’m still working on the boat, and while Jeannie is studying for her exams. Whee! I’m back to being silly busy… Wait… I never stopped being silly busy. Oh well. A change is as good as a rest they say.
Here is a map of our path. I took it out at TIM and headed straight across to Pier 4. Right where there’s the circle is where Mitch took over since the wind was starting to play tricks with us and so I got on the ropes to help creep us along the walls with the ropes (special thanks to Shane as well for helping with the lines despite his hangover from the night before.
View Saturday October 29 2011 in a larger map
After our motor across the harbor and when we tied up Dad gave me an official Pathfinder Captains hat as he had said that I’d only be captain when I had taken it out myself and docked it. Well I didn’t get to dock it but I did undock it and get it almost all the way there myself which is good enough. Next year it’ll be easier to learn since we’ll have proper instruments and what not to help us. And who knows! We might have the wedding party there! Go for a cruise with the families. Time shall tell.
On August 22, 2011 In News
Hey all. Just a quick note here on the distinct lack of any updates lately. I do have a lot of posts in the works but I’ve been either too busy to finish them or frankly too tired after all the work. With how some things are going lately I’ve also been left a bit angry, upset or tired which I’ve learned through some experience is a bad combination to write do any form of writing as those moods do creep out through the writing.
So just a quick list of what is in the pipe:
- Another captains log entry from my original trip
- My recent trip to NY, DC and Buffalo
- Boat work progress
Ya. In other words I have a load of posts lined up which I’ll try to break up so it’s not 1 huge post. But I’d rather do it when I’m not frothing out the mouth at times.
Ciao for now.