Finally! a post about R.E.D. Not about RED by the Sea. Not about beaches, pretty scenery or gardens or guests. Just R.E.D. This is after all a blog called sailingred.com isn’t it?
Yes our lives have changed considerably since moving to the east coast. Our past life basically revolved around boating during spring/summer and part of fall with the rest of the year holed up in our little condo planning our next adventure and dreaming about being back on the boat the following year. Even our social life was primarily boat-centred.
Here, living in the country, our lives have become much more diversified. Yes, there is yard work needed but we have inherited lovely three-season perennial gardens which are pretty much self-sustaining from the previous owner. We enjoy a thriving social life thanks to wonderful neighbours.
…but hey! I said this post is all about R.E.D. didn’t I?
We’ve created the perfect place for her during the winter months with space for Francois’ Crow’s Nest and extra parking for guests (you can read all about that heavy machinery and stuff by clicking here)
After a very quick ‘putting to bed’ last fall she really needed a good cleaning inside and out but that’s all done now with her usual two coats of wax and belly painted with a new layer of anti-fouling.
Hubbards Cove. Photo cred. Marinas.com
Her new home during boating season is a well protected cove just six minutes from RED by the Sea and quick access to St Margaret’s Bay and beyond (more about how we almost didn’t launch this year here).
The ramp access at the marina makes it super easy to launch with more than enough water depth even at low tide.
Most of the rigging was done at home first so that once we arrived we just needed to fix the lines and step the mast.
Back ‘Yard’ View
Our finger is located on the inside with port docking (yay! my favourite orientation) with an awesome view off the bow of another little ten-boat marina across the cove.
The Boat Yard
The yard is small but well maintained by a volunteer base and at the top of the road is the best little cafe serving fresh pastries and breakfast paninnis.
As I mentioned above, our boating lives have changed and it feels really good. No longer do we have to drive forever in nasty traffic to spend time with her. Six minutes and we’re there. It feels like our lives are in better balance. Time at home. Time with friends. Time to enjoy visitors. Time to explore. Time on the water whenever we choose. There are still at least two big adventures in the planning and this year we’ll be venturing out beyond St. Margaret’s Bay with new charts in hand and can’t wait to sail along the coast this fall (Nova Scotia’s very best season) to catch all the changing colours.
It feels so good to be back on the water. To feel the movement of the sea under R.E.D.’s belly. To move our bodies in ways that have been dormant for the past few months. To watch as all the boat bruises appear after a day of frisky sailing. To breath in the salt air and smell the sea. There’s nothing quite like it in the whole wide world.
Good to be Back
Well, here we are again, at the end of another boating season…our fourth in fact. Each year though, it gets less and less depressing putting R.E.D. to rest for the winter. We’ve developed a good system that works well for us and the routine has become a familiar part of the changing seasons.
We’ve been asked many general and some specific questions about how we prepare our lady for the ‘off’ months so I’ll try to detail the steps.
By the time we are hauled out, the mast is down, sails have been removed and checked and packed away in their sail bags. We remove all rigging…all. It may seem a bit extreme to some but it doesn’t take that much more time and it gives us a chance to check all the bits and pieces for wear. Each year we’ve found at least one bolt needing replacing and this year the genoa furling line and topping lift will need to be replaced. (Story from last year here)
Our sailing base is in fresh water so issues with rusting is not usually a huge problem but for the past two years R.E.D. has had her belly dipped in salt water for several weeks at a time so this year there was some extra polishing of the stainless rails to be done.
Once all the lines have been removed, they are taken home to be washed (past story here)
Giving the boat a thorough going over also means we can identify any needed repairs. We, or rather I, found a couple of uncharted rocks this summer and although there was minimal damage the dagger board has been removed and the dings will have to be fixed. I see it as an opportunity to learn how to fibre glass. How’s that for a positive attitude? (the year we had a minor repair done here and no, I wasn’t at the helm that time but in Captain’s defence it was during a bloody big storm)
This year ‘my’ motor was due for its 300 hour maintenance servicing so we took a short trip to the Evinrude dealer for an eTec spa appointment. That amazing little internal computer told the detailed story of the past four years.
Once back at the club, we focused on the rest. The anchor and engine wells are cleaned out, dried and run through with antifreeze as is the galley sink and head (make sure to use an alcohol-free solution. Past story here). Just in case of water infiltration we plug the holes in both the engine and anchor wells with a small cork. This year we also put a piece of screen mesh over the ballast opening to keep out any curious critters. The gas tanks are winterized with a fuel stabilizer. Inside and out we treat all electrical and other metal fittings with a silicone-based spray.
All non essentials are removed from inside : galley gear, bedding, personal items, tools (except those needed for a few final chores). We have found the Ikea rails have been a great help to hang and store post season (story here)
The two batteries are removed each year, brought home and placed on an intelligent charger.
I’ve used to use Kanberra gel pots in the bilges each year to offset any chance of mold and related odours developing but I find it pricey so this year I’m trying something different: two terra cotta diffusers and tea tree oil. The clean fresh aroma is pleasant and as we frequently visit R.E.D.during the winter months I can refil from time to time. Will see how it goes.
We are still using our PVC ‘igloo’. With the mast support extensions still installed it gives a great angle to keep snow from accumulating on the tarp, still the original from four years ago. There are a few rubbed areas which we have reinforced with red tuck tape (that’s tuck not duck – made in Canada, eh?). We tried using tarp patches last year but possibly because of the cold and damp they came off but this red sheathing housewrap tape will not budge. Past story here.
I guess to some this may seem like a lot of work. It takes us a good two days to complete but as I mentioned above it’s now a routine. We care about making sure our little chalet-on-the-water is well maintained. Our club seems to have that same mentality. Each boat is hauled out with great care and now that they are all placed for the winter months, the process of removing docks is underway.
This one last sunset image will have to keep us going for a while. We come back to visit R.E.D. from time to time to tighten the tarp lines and dust off the snow and to talk to her so she doesn’t feel too lonely. She’s in good company though surrounded by all her boat friends.
We really enjoyed having you along for another spectacular season. Our posts may not be as frequent as we hunker down for the upcoming Canadian winter but from time to time check back for updates on the ‘home’ front…
Now that all the priorities for spring launch are complete,
2 coats of wax,
antifouling touch up…
we can begin to prep R.E.D. for the upcoming season..
Mast roller extension installed…
…re-put the spreaders and stays
…mast stepped and secured…
We decided to try to fix a problem we were having with the main furler last year…
something to do with the internal bearings…
Undid the base and the internal cable came flying out,
furler taking flight..
Luckily, no one was hurt,
no damage done to our boat
or neighbouring boats.
Mast stepped and upstepped 3 times,
but we finally got the bearings back in their housing
and the cable threaded back through the furler.
Club staff were also working hard to prepare for upcoming lauch.
Still so much more to do, but whenever the docks are ready,
we will be ready.