Last year, the quest to be a crew member on the Clipper Round The World race came to an end, unfortunately. It was a huge disappointment but with the delays to the current race due to COVID and port closures, the next race (the one I was supposed to be in) also was delayed and that prevented me from participating due to other commitments.
A new year stretches out in front of us. Like most, I've made my New Year's resolutions. Anne and I are actively looking for a boat to own and sail, adventures we can call our own. We have our eye on one right now. Perhaps it will become our new floating advanture, perhaps not. But as I said in some other pages, it's the striving, the honest best attempt at the goal that is so worthwhile, perhaps more than the actual achievement.
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 3/4 - 2 lbs Kirby Cucumbers (about 6) cut into halves or spears
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 6 large garlic cloves peeled and halved
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 16 dill sprigs
Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or teflon) over high
Another one opens, to mutilate a saying about doors. Assuming that this pandemic eases up relatively quickly (a very dodgy assumption), I’ll be skippering a boat delivery for a nice couple. They are remaining in Europe, due to various reasons, but their boat is in the Caribbean. They need it relocated back to Europe and, lucky me, I’ve been selected to be skipper.
Well, this COVID thing and the Stock Market together has ended the quest for racing around the world, unfortunately.
As I said earlier, the COVID lockdowns caused me to have to postpone training with the Clipper organization, as there was too much uncertainty about health, or even whether England would let me in (or Canada let me back in).
In addition to health concerns, the markets have taken a beating, which has wiped out the funds that were earmarked for the Clipper Race. So, in total, I've had to notify the race organizers that I am withdrawing.
As of yesterday, Canada is requiring all travelers entering Canada from a foreign country to self-quarantine for 14 days. Even if you just pop over the border to the U.S. to pick up a jug of milk, you are supposed to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada.
It's been another long while since I last posted. What have I been up to?
Well, haven't actually been out sailing a lot as I've been busy with "other things" such as my winter time activity of officiating at various curling events, culminating in the most recent of officiating at the BC Winter Games (which, though it had some stresses, was definitely an interesting experience!)
It's been quiet for the last few months as I've been working on various things. One of them was a transport of a sailboat from Seattle down to San Diego. It was a leisurely trip, with stop offs in San Francisco, Monterey, Avalon, and then San Diego. We left the boat there for a bit and then returned to race it from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. That was a stage race as well with the legs ending in Bahia de Tortugas, Bahia de Santa Maria, and then Cabo San Lucas. Despite blowing out our spinnaker, we ended up winning our division (Cruiser/Racers with Spinnaker).
It's been a while since I last posted. It's been a busy time, though not with a lot of sailing in it.
Firstly, It's official and sealed. Unless I fail in the training, I'm a crew member for the race. I got my contract and everything!
First let's deal with the elephant in the room - the number of days remaining changed. This is due to an alteration on the (assumed!) day that the race will start in 2021. I'm still not sure what day it will start, so I might need to adjust it again at some point. I promise only one more adjustment, which will happen when I know the actual date. Right now I'm assuming the first Sunday in September, which is the day that this (2019) year's race will start.
I haven't blogged in a number of weeks. It's not that I haven't been doing things, but it's more for another reason.
Let’s talk a bit about the trip to San Diego. We did a lot of planning this past weekend and I thought it might be nice to put that planning into words.
There are many things that need to be decided amongst the crew of a boat on a long cruise. Although we will be well within reach of land at all times in case of emergency or needing (as opposed to wanting) something, this trip down is a trial run for the longer trip across the S. Pacific.
We woke this morning to find the dinghy looking somewhat wrinkled and pruned in the water next to us. It definitely has a leak and would need to be pumped back up again if anyone was to use it today.
Best sleep in a long time, though the mooring ball kept tapping against the hull. It’s almost I am and I’m just waking up.
Well, a horrendous drive down. Google is apparently not very good at estimating morning rush hour traffic. It estimated 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. 3 hours on the road and I wasn’t there yet. Oh well.
Today is the first day of our second Quijote training trip. In a little bit more than 2 months from now we’ll be setting forth on our 2500 nautical mile trip southwards. You can see the Teddy Bear moving into the V-Berth which he'll share with me for the next few days.
We didn't come in last...
Nor did we come in first either.
I almost didn't go racing with the LMYC people today. I reached the dock to see the stern of a sailboat retreating out towards the marina exit. It was a bit too far away to make out the name, but the thought went through my head, "hmmm. I bet that's them." In all fairness, I was a bit late. However, as they are all really nice people, they turned around and came back for me, so the racing was on.
It's still an Owwww day. Anne and I went to see Cher tonight, but of course Anne wanted to make sure she looked fabulous (though in my opinion she always does). This meant running around to various places, then driving off to Vancouver to check in to our hotel. We had decided we didn't want to drive home at midnight, so had taken a reservation at one of the properties in which we have an interest.
had a session with my trainer today. How can such a devil hide behind such a pleasant exterior? They say that lucifer was the fairest of all angels. I think my trainer is related. He’s not really sadistic, he’s just... inventive.
we started off with rowing for a warmup, only 400 meters, and I’ve learned to treat it as a warmup, not a full effort workout. After that came some stretches, lunges, inchworms, Spider-Man’s, curls, extensions, planks, rows, squats, and I can’t even remember what else. By the time we were done, I was leaving puddles on the bench.
Sometimes a little thing can just derail your mental attitude and determination. I had to resign from a board for various reasons, but the effect on my psyche is disproportionate.
Even though the decision to resign was the right one, the feeling of quitting and giving up on something is very difficult for me to swallow, and it gets even more difficult with each passing year. I’m not sure if it’s wrapped up in feelings of failure or what.
Today was a lot of computer work. I’m trying to simplify my life, cut down on the distractions from aiming, like a projectile, towards sail racing. It’s not that each one takes up a lot of time, but in aggregate, they nibble away at time and attention and energy, so I’m trying to eliminate at least some of them.
For instance, there are two computer programs that I’ve been working on, and even those have different platforms for which they are aimed. I want to finish those off and get them “off my plate” so to speak.
Not really doing much today since I have to go do a volunteer commitment for another organization, managing the house (theatre) for a performing arts group. Look for a posting tomorrow when I get my head back into this!
Due to the various indignities I perpetrated on myself in my youth, I was at that point in life where I found myself asking people to please repeat themselves as I didn't catch it the first time, or else turning to my wife and asking her what the other person had said. Eventually she grew tired of it and more or less dragged me off to get my hearing tested and, as you might imagine, the test came back as hearing loss. More specifically, hearing loss in those frequencies that make speech intelligible.
Today started a new phase of the exercise regime as a consequence of seeing the physical trainer (as opposed to physiotherapist). For the coming week I have to just do brisk walking. Of course, I still have to keep up the exercises from the physiotherapist too. It's always nice to combine something with an opportunity to do something with Anne. She works 3 days a week and so I'll be walking her to work and/or walking to pick her up and walking home as well.
Anne had to go to the BCAA to inquire about trip cancellation insurance and also health insurance for her upcoming cruise (I can't be the only one to have fun on the water!). While there, I talked to the representative about insurance for me during the race. I've not actually seen the terms and coverage available through Clipper, but they charge something like 400 GBP per leg (or is it month?) for their insurance, which amounts to close to $1,000 canadian (per month). Through BCAA I can get a year's worth of insurance for about $1,400.
Today was a medical and paperwork today. On the heels of passing the interview, today was getting my medical form signed off by my doctor stating that I was medically fit for the rigours of the race. Fortunately, he could slot me in today, so it was trucking off to him for the doctor things, then he checked off some boxes, asked me if I thought I was ok for it, and signed it off. That's (currently) the last bit of paperwork I need to do until they send me a contract to look over and get back to them.
I will have more to put in later today, but I had to write while the excitement is still coursing through my veins, which actually is making it difficult to just sit here and write. The interview was this morning and I had a lovely chat with a representative of the Clipper race. Apparently, I didn't say anything too alarming as they will be issuing me a contract to look over. It won't get here for a couple of weeks, but it's a "done deal". Barring injury or illness, or my doctor nixing my participation, it's a go.
Tomorrow is one of those seminal days - the interview with Clipper Round The World. Right now my to do list for it goes like this:
Studying today, reading up on a number of things pertaining to sailing and racing, not to mention a new article on this website about helming a boat.
Today was spent writing a new article for the website explaining the very rudimentary theory about celestial navigation, plus putting in some coding work (not visible yet as it's not even close to done) on a better way to organize these blog entries. If you want to read the article, you can find it here.
I'm biting my nails regarding the interview. The waiting is killing me. I'd almost prefer that they have said, "how about we call you now?" rather than having to wait three more days!
I really do need to make it a habit of hitting the "submit" button when I'm done. I had thought I would add more to yesterday's blog entry, but was too tired when I got home and forgot to actually submit it. :/
Today was all sorts of non-sailing things. First was a trip to the dentist to get some old fillings dealt with. Then there was a board committee meeting for an organzation, and then a meditation session. Meditation? Yes, meditation.
A bunch of things happened today on the racing front.
A few days ago I had been put on notice that I might be teaching part of a preamble class. The company I teach through always runs a "Swiftsure" course and then enters one or more boats in Swiftsure for the students to experience the race. For those people who are not familliar with it. Swiftsure is an intrernational race with its roots going back to the 1850s. It's one of the largest races around and welcomes all sorts of boats from pleasure cruisers all the way to true racing yachts.
Oooo, an exciting day. I received a long (25 questions) questionnaire from the Clipper Round the world folks. It asked questions about why I want to do this, some personality questions, etc.
The first question, "why?" was pretty easy to answer as I've done a lot of thought about it and even put up a page about it on my website, so that was basically a bit of cut and paste. Other questions, such as what is my most annoying trait, required some thought.
I had intended to edit and curate and massage and wordsmith the last two week's worth of blog entries. In fact, I spent a lot of yesterday doing just that. However, after doing all that work, I looked at them and thought to myself, "maybe it's better to put out what I wrote in its raw form and let see people see what I thought and said." I admit, though, that I couldn't resist (after posting it) going back through to fix grammatical and spelling errors.
Reflection time about the last two weeks at sea, and some notes to myself.
First note: Take the darn sea sick medicine the night before heading out into the ocean. Take it again in the morning and again in the afternoon. After that it's likely I'll be fine, but meh, trying to be brave and tough is certainly stupidly brave, with the emphasis on "stupidly".
Russell Island to Deep Cove. 1 hour 29 minutes, 5.9 nautical miles
The rest of the night passed tranquilly and most of us slept in. We knew that this was going to be a fast trip home and we would be arriving relatively early regardless. Breakfast was make-do with whatever bits of supplies we had already opened, trying to use that up rather than opening something new. So we might have toasted bread with peanut butter and broccoli for example.
Ganges to Russell Island.
Poet's Cove to Ganges. 3 hours, 13.8 nautical miles
Originally our destination had been Thetis Island, which is a bit north of us. However, after some reflection, we decided to change our destination. Ganges has their "Saturday Market" which is fun to visit. By making this our destination, nighting over, we'll be here for the opening of the market tomorrow.
Victoria to Poet's Cove. 7 hours, 28.1 nautical miles
A really easy day, Victoria to Poets Cove. That’s about a 4 hour trip using the motor. Faster if the winds are blowing right.
In port in Victoria
Another day in Victoria. Some of us wandered over to a chandlery to browse through the wares, a potentially dangerous activity for me if I have my credit card with me. Fortunately, I was fairly restrained.
I am not always the most patient of people when it comes to alcohol-fueled behaviour and today was a bit more than I could deal with. I ended up going out for a long walk, the second one of the day (first was a couple kilometres to the chandlery).
Ucluelet to Victoria. 15h 41m, 101.9 nautical miles.
A relatively easy day today. It’s interesting how my perceptions have changed. Only 16 hours of travel is now an “easy” day.
In port at Ucluelet
A day of relaxing. A bunch of us went up for breakfast at a charming little place. Basically, we wandered about or did whatever amused ourselves for the rest of the day. For me that is catching up on my blog writing, reading, and just enjoying the sunshine. Others went bar hopping, enjoying a sauna, etc. Oh, and I even took a few pictures.
Winter Harbour to Ucluelet. 22h 43m, 150.8 nautical miles (Part II)
We arrived at Ucluelet this morning and did our usual stuff after docking such as straightening out the boat. We are at the “Japanese” dock, which is where the Japanese fishers had docked back before World War II. After that it’s resting, doing laundry, showering.
Winter Harbour to Ucluelet. 22h 43m. 150.8 nautical miles
This is our biggest day, meaning our longest leg, almost 190 miles from Winter Harbour to Ucluelet. We had a “following” sea meaning that the swell and waves were hitting us in the stern. In addition, the wind was off our stern quarter helping to push us along.
Port Hardy to Winter Harbour. 14h 44m, 77.5 nautical miles
This is going to be our first day on the ocean. I never thought that I would consider a 14 hour, 74 mile day to be an “easy” day. It’s amazing how the overnight trip has changed my perceptions.
Comox to Port Hardy. 24 hours, 170.3 nautical miles (Part II)
As I woke up each time, I could feel the world getting rougher and admit that I was getting more and more concerned about my turn on the helm. At 3:45am I was woken by a tap on my foot and I emerged from my latest “borrowed” berth, donned all the gear I had taken off, and then up to helm.
Comox to Port Hardy. 24 hours, 170.3 nautical miles (part 1)
We left Comox for our first big leap. It’s going to be an all-day, all-night, some of the next day sail from Comox to Port Hardy. We are basically racing against a weather system that’s approaching from the Northwest.
Nanaimo to Comox (10 hours, 53.4.8 nautical miles)
Each day we rotate positions. The rotation goes Motherwatch, engineer, navigator, captain, crew 3, crew 2, crew 1,and then motherwatch again. Since I was motherwatch yesterday, it’s ship engineer today.
Deep Cove to Nanaimo. 8 hours, 36.8 nautical miles.
Long day. Today I was motherwatch which basically means cook and morale. Breakfast was cold cereal still in Deep Cove. We got off the dock around 10.30 and headed up through Sansum Narrows.
I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to do another blog entry today. In fact, not sure when I'll be able to post another blog entry since I'll be on a sailboat for the next 2 weeks. I will be writing daily and I'll post them when I get a chance, but it might be 2 weeks from now.
Today was all about studying up on celestial navigation. I have a new book on it that is a study course rather than an explanatory book, and it’s helping a lot. I’ll go back to my other books once I get some experience under my belt.
As you might imagine, it’s tough to go away for a few weeks, leaving everything in the hands of Anne. She’s a trouper, though. Still, some stuff requires me. For example signing our tax returns requires my signature too - something I can’t do from the boat. We also went to see the Avengers: Endgame movie, and then did some sofa shopping.
The next two weeks are the "Around Vancouver Island" trip. I leave on Sunday to board around 4PM and then we slip our lines bright upon Monday morning. Though we'll be stopping a few places, we won't return until 2 weeks from Sunday after having gone, well, around Vancouver Island.
I will not give in to impatience again.
I will not give in to impatience again.
I will not give in to impatience again.
I will not give in to impatience again.
But I'm so sick of my hip not being 100%!
It was the usual routine this morning - wake up, do some work, do my exercises, do some studying which is not very interesting for you to read. However, one of my appointments was cancelled and that got me to thinking.
I'm a Puffin!
Apparently, puffins mate for life, but separate during the winter to go their own way, reuniting back at their nesting site. I'm looking to do a bunch of sailing and training culminating in a nearly year-long voyage. I'll be separated from Anne for long periods of time, but I'll always be returning to our home, to her. Puffins even kiss when they come back together. Ok, they tap their beaks together, but close enough!
Well got home late last night and basically just dumped my stuff on the floor to head off to sleep. I somewhat overdid it this past weekend and my hip was hurting quite a bit. Since I have a Physio appointment today, I forwent my morning exercises and the physiotherapist agreed that had been a wise choice. We did the electro-stim thing today at a slightly higher intensity. This is one of the things that doesn't hurt, but it's weird and some of the patterns they use (there are multiple electrodes and they use different patterns, frequencies, and intensities) cause the muscles to twitch.
So there is one slightly negative aspect of rafting (though there are a lot of good things about it and makes the entire experience come out positive). If you're not one of the boats on the end, you're kind of stuck until enough boats peel off that you are now an end boat. That means your boat doesn't leave not only until your own crew is ready, but also the other boats are ready and head off as well. Not all the boats are running on the same internal clocks either (I'm an early riser).
This morning came bright and early. I was up long before my two shipmates, so wandered off to use the shore-side facilities. Unfortunately, I didn't know where our captain had stowed the dock card. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just prop the gate open a little bit and be able to get back in." Excellent plan. Wonderful plan. After all, the gate isn't far from the facilities. Unfotunately, the facilities were still locked, so I resigned myself to using the head on the boat and headed back to the propped open gate. Except it wasn't propped open anymore. I was now locked off the dock.
The day started out rather inauspiciously. This is the scene as I left home on the way to Seattle:
Headed out on an old friend, Quijote. It is good seeing her again and renewing my acquaintance with her captain, Rod, as well meeting Kay for the first time.
Ok, so what sort of gear do I bring with me on a sail? The following picture is of the gear that is in my "standard" set. The weather report is for rainy tomorrow morning then partially cloudy to partially sunny for the rest of the weekend. Highs around 16 degres, lows around 6 or 7. So I need to dress warmly, but in layers, with rain protection as well.
Have you ever been so excited about something that you leaped into it, putting your heart and soul into it, so enthused and blindered, that you went at it too hard? In some ways that describes my experience this morning.
Anne's off to Toronto for a few days, so it's just me at home now. Somehow that makes working out more difficult to stay motivated, but I'm still keeping my eye on the end goal and putting in the work. The workout is now more than twice as long and this morning was the first day of the new regimen. I realize the idea is to do them properly, not race through them, but it felt really weird to watch Anne stand up and walk away, done, whilst I'm only about 1/3rd of the way through.
Well, now we're making it real - the application to be crew was sent off to the organization today. Up until now it's been sort of "well, I'm going to try to do it." Although it wasn't unreal before, it somehow becomes more real when you sign your name on the line, attach the pictures, slip the package into the envelope, seal it, take it to the post office, and pay the postage.
Today is all about the mental, with a side of writing. Got home late last night, hurting, and then it was up this morning to do it again. Don’t have to like it, just have to do it. Right? Right.
Although a lot of this blog will talk about the things that I do to get ready, it should be noted that even more important are other people who are working towards this with me, people who are impacted and sacrificing. Without their support and encouragement, this whole idea would have been derailed at the very first, "You know..." trailing off as I look into their eyes and realize they aren't ok with it and that it's going to affect them badly.
it's amazing how much stuff we have to do in life that takes us away from our goals. It's necessary stuff, but it keeps trying to yank our attenion away from what we're trying to accomplish. Today was another day of keeping previous commitments and not making a lot of progress on my goals.
Much as I want to devote 100% of my attention to achieving the goal, there are other commitments already in place. It's important to keep promises to folks.
Yesterday I visited the physio-therapist for more of the ants-holding-a-rave, ultrasound, and to make sure that I'm doing the exercises properly. Except for one, I was doing them properly which was good news. The bad news was that now that my form is corrected on the one I was doing improperly, it's a lot harder to do. Drats!
Sometimes it feels like I'm in a race just to begin to get ready for the race. The first step was setting up this website. I know, it seems like there are other things to do that are more important, but this website will be the focus of my efforts, keeping track of to-do items, project management, etc., so it was important to get it up and running. Not everything on the site is visible to visitors, so there's a lot more behind the scenes.
I've been breaking things down in my head into 5 main categories to try to keep a bit organized. The categories are:
So what is this multi-year event that I'm going to do to test myself?
As you might imagine from the pictures and the nautical allusions on many of the pages, it has something to do with sailing and the sea.