Sunday, 20 August 2006

Sivier Island Weekend

If you are looking for a sheltered harbour, close to Lewisporte, then give Western Harbour on Sivier Island a try. It is a little tricky to access, since you must be especially cautious of the rock in the middle of the entrance. Many a boat has found out it was there the hard way. There are two LYC moorings in the inner cove, and we were heading for one.

Twice a summer, the provincial government opens up a recreational cod fishery. You are allowed to take 5 fish per person per day, and a total of 15 per boat per day. We used to participate fairly often when we had the speedboat, and thought we would give it a shot from the sailboat, using Sivier Island as our base.

On Friday evening we sailed for roughly an hour to get to Western Harbour, and picked up a mooring on the NE end. It was a calm evening, which was good for the mosquitoes. Roxanne and Cheri lit coils and smashed any that got aboard.

It was such a lovely night that I spent much of it up on deck watching the sunset, and then all the stars as they began filling the sky.

Even Roxanne popped her head out once in a while to take in the scenery.

The next day we headed out to the northern side of Sivier Island, near Camel Island, to do some fishing. There are a couple of good grounds there, and it was somewhat sheltered so that we did not drift too fast.

We lost a few cod due to the high freeboard of the sailboat. Just as they would break the surface, they would let go of the hook. Bringing a net is a must for next time. We managed to haul a few on board, and even some mackerel.

Motoring through Birchy Tickle.

The women were not happy about spending several days crammed into a small boat, so we tied up to a wharf where we could get off and stretch our legs. A request was made for a dinghy, to make shore access possible from a mooring or while anchored.

This was also a good place for me to go ashore to clean the fish. The first one completed was rushed back to the boat to be prepared for supper. It was a very tasty meal, with the fish so fresh.

The next day we headed back. The weather was not quite as nice, being a little cooler, and the wind was picking up.

Cloud IX catches up and then passes us.
Cheri, and some items hung out to dry.

Once again we survived a weekend aboard Serenity with three people. I don't think I would want to do it with 4 adults, but we would have been fine with the two kids, when they were small. Now that we have the sailboat, we are not tied to just going to Exploits Islands. The entire bay is now available for us to explore.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Engine Upgrade

Serenity came with an old, regular shaft, 6 HP Mercury outboard. It could push the boat well enough, but it wasn't reliable. Several times, while idled down for docking, the engine would cut out. This left me with no propulsion just when I need it most. One time, while entering the marina, it gave out, and I was barely able to use the rudder to skull my way to an open floating dock.

Also, with it being so short, even when the mounting bracket was all the way down, the propeller would come out of the water if I went up the the bow, without sufficient weight in the cockpit. The local Mercury dealer wanted more than the outboard was worth to me to attempt to repair it, so the engine would have to be replaced.

I wanted a Honda, but they are expensive. Checking around, I found a 9.9 HP long-shaft Johnson. It was new, but had sat on a showroom floor for a couple of years, and the store wanted it gone. They gave me a very good price on it, such that an 8 HP Honda was about $300 more expensive. I was getting more for less with the Johnson, so this was what I bought.

Having done some research on which propeller to use with a sailboat, I went with a 4-blade, low pitch model. That would give me a lot of low end torque and pushing power. I only need it to move the boat at 5 knots. With inboard engines, you have to worry about the drag introduced by a large area of blades, but since my outboard could be lifted clear of the the water, this was not an issue.

One thing that is an issue with going from a 2-stroke 6 HP to a 4-stroke 9.9 HP is weight. the new engine weighed nearly twice as much, and the outboard bracket struggled with it. This was another item that had to be upgraded. Funny how things snowball.

On the evening of August 18, we took the boat out in the harbour to start the break-in procedure. Cheri was along, as usual, as was our son. A rather large sailboat from the US was in port, so we went by for a closer look. Here are some photos.

Parker and I. New engine by my left arm.

Parker and Cheri

Chris and Greg

Under sail in a light breeze

A large visitor

Heading back to the marina

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Floating Cottage

One of the nice things about a boat with a galley and beds, is that you can use it as your cottage. Why cook supper at home, when you can sit outside, overlooking the water, and have a meal with friends.

The Lewisporte marina is a nice place to hang out and socialize. Cockpit gatherings are quite common on warm summer evenings. Many a delicious meal has been prepared aboard Serenity.

You don't have to travel far, or even untie the docklines to enjoy your boat.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Adding Improvements

Owning a boat means having a never ending list of things to do. If you are not repairing or replacing something, you are adding new gear to make life aboard easier. Having the cabin floor taken care of relatively cheaply in both time and money, helped with the process of obtaining new gear.

Centreboard post and new floor.

The electric bilge pump which came with the boat was located in a position where you would already be getting your feet wet in the cabin before it was of much use getting the water out. A new bilge pump was required, and put in a location where it could do more good. A section of the lip holding up the bilge access cover had to be cut away for access, but that itself is covered up by the new floor. Being one of the lowest points on the boat, it is a much better location than under the cockpit, and the hose can be lead back trough the existing drain.

Test fitting the new bilge pump.

With the addition of a new block and some nicer line, the backstay adjuster is looking much better.

When sailing solo, it is important to be able to let go of the tiller for a minute or two for raising and lowering the sails, etc. Adding a Tiller Tamer it like having another crew member.

You have to enjoy working on a boat almost as much as sailing it, because you are going to be spending a lot of time and money on it when you are not out enjoying it.