Monday, April 8, 2013

Notice from Owner: the JAFTICA is For Sale

If you don't mind, please post a notice that Jaftica is for sale and any inquiries can be directed to my email address ""

Thanks a million,


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sailing Onward

There is an update and new photos on Peter's Facebook and thought I would share that on the blog. Peter has returned to Nova Scotia and is enjoying the beautiful weather and sailing out of Ballantynes Cove.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Captain Peter and the Boat designer/builder

In this photo we have Peter with Bruce Clinton who built the Jaftica.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Capt and the Crew

James on the left crewed for Peter from Ballantynes Cove to Halifax last fall. Captain Peter is in the centre and yours truly on the right.

An Evening Celebrating Sailing in Nova Scotia

Friday night we had great gathering of Capt'n Peter and his friends, and a good time was had by all. We shared stories, photos and experiences.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Road Map of the Area Sailed

This is a cropped portion of a mini roadmap which better shows the towns and villages of where we sailed. We started in Halifax, and were towed in to New Harbour. The Coast Guard Cutter Bickerton is based in Port Bickerton which is not far from New Harbour. We waited two days in New Harbour for weather and then got as far as Port Hawkesbury. From there next day we sailed to Ballantynes Cove (B Cove) which is on Cape George. After repairs in B Cove we sailed to Pictou and after several days there sailed back to B Cove.

If you don't see the whole map, click on the image and it should expand.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The JAFTICA Chronicles

The Captain and crews of the Sailing Vessel JAFTICA would be pleased to have you join us at the Clocktower Pub, 422 Mackay Street, on Friday, June 4th at 1830 hours. There will be plenty of salty stories to pass around - including the one that appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Look forward to seeing you there.
The Capt'n.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lessons Learned

Experiences always provide benefits - an opportunity for lessons learned. To not learn from one's experience is an opportunity lost.

Tight Schedules and Sailing Voyages Don't Mix

Recreational Sailing is very prone to weather which can be very unpredictable. Good sailing conditions are very dependent on the wind. When the wind is calm or too strong -- say over force 5 the sailing conditions are not suitable for a comfortable or effective sail. During this voyage the wind conditions were exceedingly variable. Possibly half the days allowed for nice sailing conditions.

May Month is bad for Sailing Near Shore

During the months of May and June the waters within 5 nm (8.3 km) from shore are often littered with lobster pot marker buoys. These are not safe to sail through since the rudder and propeller of the vessel risk fouling (get tied up) in a marker line. One of the other sailors that we met in the harbour related a story where he was sailing across the Northumberland Strait from PEI to Nova Scotia. It was beautiful sailing weather his boat had a nice lean and was making good speed. Then he suddenly noticed that the boat speed came to a stop and yet the boat still had full sails. Suspecting that the rudder was fouled he donned his diving suit and went in to look and found a lobster trap line stuck to the rudder and acting like an anchor for his boat. as soon as he released it his sailboat took off. After much difficulty getting back in the boat as it propelled forward under sail and exhausted he sailed on home.

Cotton clothing

A lesson learnt was to not wear ANY cotton in cold and damp situations. On this trip I had pretty well converted all my gear to nylon, polypropylene or spandex with the exception of a cotton undergarment. When totally drenched from the spray you can imagine that it was the only clothing that took forever to dry and remained cold and uncomfortable for considerably longer. All other parts dried relatively quickly and were never really uncomfortable.

Expect delays for Repairs

Although we likely had longer than normal repair delays, one must always allow for unexpected events. During these repairs we ensured that the repairs were permanent and proper, taking the extra time to do it right. A number of minor failures were also detected and repaired during this run which though minor remained troubling. The vessel is now in better condition than when we began. It is now ready for a great sailing season.

During this trip, skipper and I both read some books of other sailing expeditions, and both experienced frequent technical failures regardless of preparation, so I consider it the norm.

About Fitness

At the start of the trip I left my desk job with my computer keyboarding calluses on the finger tips and nowhere else. Sad to say I sometimes had difficulty walking up 5 flights of stairs at the office without a rest - pretty pathetic I say. During the trip we were continuously busy, always climbing aboard over things, walking to the wash house 300 metres away, sometimes contorted trying to fit in the engine room etc. Of course while at sea one was always balancing on your feet, or holding on with one hand and doing something with the other. Yet at no time were we really exerting ourselves along the lines of "no pain, no gain", but rather keeping a steady pace of activity.
I was quite surprised to find that when I returned home I had lost easily 10 pounds for starters. Much of that may well be due to the motion sickness, but I also found when back at the office I was never winded as a result of climbing the five stairs as I was before. What a bonus.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Peter and his Boat

The JAFTICA is a very handsome and and well appointed boat. Skipper Peter keeps it in impeccable condition and I found that throughout the voyage is was a very well performing boat. The design is by a well known Australian Naval Architect, Bruce Roberts who designed the hull below the water line. The deck etc above the waterline with the pilot house etc. was designed by Bruce Clinton of Pictou NS. Not only was the boat sea worthy it was also very sea friendly regardless of the conditions. I never felt ill at ease while at sea (as long as I had my Scopolamine trans-dermal patch on for motion sickness.

And about the patch, I happened to read recently that in rare cases, unusual reactions to ordinary doses of scopolamine have occurred including confusion, agitation, rambling speech, hallucinations, paranoid behaviors, and delusions. What's so surprising is that I thought those symptoms was completely normal. It happens to me all the time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Messing About in Boats

There is a passage from Kenneth Grahame's Book - Wind in the Willows which reads:

`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, [to Mole] . . . `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing----'

`--about in boats--or WITH boats,' the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. `In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like,
. . . '

The Excellent Service in the Maritimes

During this voyage, we occasionally had to depend on suppliers for parts and what have you. Regardless of  which town or port we went to, we Ontarians, at least Ottawans, were most impressed by the services we received from local suppliers. Consistently suppliers were well informed of their products, went out of their way to help us with a problem, often committing time to solve our problems without charge for the consultation and only charging for the parts. We found this level of service quite exceptional and most endearing of the Maritimes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Closing the Boat in Preparation for the Next Chapter

After fixing the O-ring and hydraulic leak we placed the JAFTICA back in ship-shape and ready for the next excursion. We then proceeded to close up the boat in preparation for our leave of it. We had to take in some stuff, clean the garbage, perishable foods etc. and lock it up. This is a picture of JAFTICA as we left her this afternoon in beautiful Ballantynes Cove.

The Curse of the O-rings

It turns out that the O-ring replacement that we did last week did not solve the leaky hydraulics problem after all. We tried a number of solutions. First we found out that the replacement O-ring recommended to us by a supplier was the wrong one, for a low pressure system while this was a high pressure system (3000 psi). We replaced it with the proper O-ring and the drip stayed the same -- grumble grumble. While I took advantage of this short recess with a brief leave of the vessel to visit with my parents in NS, Peter and Wayne even replaced the attachment fixture itself with a new one to see if that would solve the problem, still no change. How frustrating!

The next course of action was to remove the entire control unit so that we could properly examine it. I was back by now so that I could meddle some more. Several hours of fiddling and fidgeting followed and we got it out. After careful examination and frigging with the unit and looking at some diagrams, I found a steel plug right next to the now-apparently leaky fixture that could be removed, (on the right in the picture) so being adventurous with a hex key and I removed it and "Sproing!" off popped the plug and out popped what looked like a piston. Oops!! The plug also had an O-ring. A-ha! another potential source for the leak. The piston had a very strong spring pushing it out. How would we ever get that back in now? With a block of wood, a Vise-grip(tm), the hex key, a folded glove, and a wad of paper, the three of us holding and pushing and grasping and a lot of grunting and struggling managed to get it back in after numerous attempts. Whew!

Now that we got the whole control unit out, we figured that the right thing to do was to take it to the company that supplied it, which happened to be only an hour away in Port Hawkesbury and have it looked at by someone who knew what they were doing. So off to Port Hawkesbury we were today. They cleaned it, looked for small cracks - none found, and replaced both O-rings. We went back to the boat and put the unit back on and voilà! After three or four days or failed attempts, dry as a bone, no leaks. Will miracles never cease?

Problem solved.

Boat Peter and Peter with an Eye.

To distinguish us two Peters, my parents have decided to call Capt. Peter as "Boat Peter". Other friends distinguished us by referring to us as Peter and Peter with an "i" or Pieter. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Captain at the Helm

The Captain at the Aft Helm, doing what he does and likes to do best - playing with the big wheelie thing.

The aft helm is a repeater of the main helm or steering position. It is used when good visibility and comprehension of the situation is required especially in narrow channels.

Voyage Navigator

The pretend navigator playing with the Furuno GPS, electronic chart and the autopilot.

A View from the Trail of the Valley next to Ballantynes Cove

The start of the trail is near the Chapel in the right of the photo. The road in the picture leads south towards Antigonish.

A View of Ballantynes Cove From the Trail

A Map of the Hiking Trails on the Cape

Sunday - a Day of Rest

Sunday was a windy day again, hence a day in the harbour. White caps could be seen on the water. Capt. and I decided to take in some of the very fine hiking trails on Cape George. We walked just under 10 km. of trail as we walked from hilltop to hilltop. It was a great walk. We found the remains of the M.V. Sea Swan a decades old abandoned lobster boat, from one of the hilltops as seen here. To our untrained eyes it was an unusual object to discern at first. Was it an aircraft fuselage? A boat? How did it get there? Was it blown there by Hurricane Hugo?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to Ballantynes Cove

This photo was taken of the sunrise as we sailed out of Pictou Harbour heading for Ballantynes Cove.

We started out on this voyage as keen, optimistic and invincible-minded baby boomers. We both concluded at this point that if we were not a 50-something and a 60-something but rather two 30-somethings that we would likely have made less comfortable though more ambitious decisions resulting in different circumstances.

At this stage we hit the tipping point however. It was now too tight a time frame to make it to Caraquet. We estimated that it would take 8 days under normal circumstances which left us very little leeway. After some serious reckoning Saturday morning, we sailed back to beautiful Ballantynes Cove. We learnt unquestionably that schedules and sailing don't mix well.

The Captain's plans are now to tie up at Ballantynes Cove in preparation for the next chapter of the story of JAFTICA. Captain and I both have family matters to attend to that take us away from our adventure, and thus are required to take leave for now.

Captain Peter, ever the keen sailor, is continuing his summer adventures with JAFTICA, and extends an invitation to anyone that would like to share his future sailing experiences. If you are interested and would like to join him in his adventures email him at It is certain that the weather will be better after June, besides the lobster pot marker buoys will be gone and it will be much nicer sailing then.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Helpful Boat Neighbours at the Cove

There was no shortage of help during our stay at Ballantynes Cove. There were at least half a dozen other sailboats at this wharf and all were helpful beit with advice -- sometimes unsolicited or the lending of tools. Most helpful was Walter D. pictured here with the Captain, whose boat the Minnie D was tied up near the JAFTICA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blown back in to Pictou

Well if we can depend on anything it appears we can depend on very changeable weather. The repairs were completed on the exhaust cooling system yesterday. It required special stainless steel welding which was not as easy to access hence the delay. Once mobile we decided to get on with progress on our next leg to Caraquet, and got away mid afternoon. We were well rested and raring to go.

We set up a new set of waypoints to allow for the new wind direction, set the autopilot and off we were. The winds were good and solid but in our face coming from the north. Once clear of the harbour we could see on our radar some squalls approaching from the north. First squall was no problem as was the next. Each brought with it some strong winds for which we adjusted the sails.

The third squall though was another story. The sky darkened, now the boat speed dropped right off, resulting in autopilot malfunction and the JAFTICA began to veer to the south towards land. The lack of control of the vessel was quite disconcerting especially when heading towards land. We started the engine which gave us control back but at this point it was uncertain which way the wind was coming from. Also we anticipated sailing in tight navigation quarters and it would happen during the night. The waves were also building up again.

That's enough we agreed. Our closest port was Pictou so we returned there for the night.

We had another restful sleep in harbour. The loss of this day of travel was critical though. We are approaching the point of no return for Caraquet. Captain and I agreed that we should now reexamine our options. Captain has contacts in Caraquet, and familiarity with and access to friends and excellent support in Pictou and Ballantynes Cove and nothing in between. At our current rate of progress and our time constraint it became obvious that Caraquet was now beyond our reach.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Day in Pictou and The Hector

Yesterday we found out that the JAFTICA's diesel engine starter switch needed repair. That was soon fixed after finding a very competent shop and the required parts. In the installation process however, Peter and Wayne found a leak in the exhaust cooling system. This is a pipe that feeds seawater to cool the exhaust before it is expelled from the transom -- the flat back end -- of the boat. This calls for a more involved repair where a welder is required to visit the vessel to repair the steel pipe. The welding company is scheduled for tomorrow morning first thing.

This allowed us a day to enjoy the town of Pictou. At the waterfront we saw a replica of the vessel The Hector, a Dutch-built sailing ship that carried 186 Scottish settlers to the Pictou area in September 1773. The Hector exhibit area was closed but the beautiful replica was still quite visible from the sidewalk as pictured in this photo.

After having now sailed for most days of a week I can only appreciate how difficult it must have been to sail a vessel with square rigging, and no auxiliary engine power, no GPS, no Radar, no electronic sounders, no detailed charts etc. The Hector is more than ten times larger than the JAFTICA. Understanding the use of sails one can only imagine that all of the deck hands aboard such a vessel had to work very well together, very coordinated like a well oiled machine to make the vessel sail properly and without going aground. The captain also had to have extremely good command of the crew.

It would be interesting to take a tour of the vessel one day.

My appreciation and admiration for 18th. century sailors has undoubtedly been elevated considerably. Also it is very hard to imagine 186 passengers in such a small vessel.

Proposed Route for Caraquet - the next phase

This is the proposed route for Caraquet. The photo was taken of an electronic chart display.

Our Fine Friends and Shore Support Crew

Wayne and Carol Druhan, our pit crew and great ambassadors of Nova Scotia hospitality.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Great Sail Today but Murphy Still Lurks

Yesterday - Monday, Ballantynes Cove.

Peter and Wayne went to town (Antigonish) to get a replacement "O" Ring. By early afternoon the "O" ring was found and installed on the boat. Weather forecast wasn't the best, so we figured that it would be best to get a good early start the next morning. Typical of a marina you get many like-mined folks with much to share. That afternoon we had a visit with Wayne B. who keeps a boat in the same pier.

We had a very fruitful discussion. Wayne had been sailing these waters for many years and gave us invaluable tips on how to sail our next leg which would be the Northumberland Strait. He advised us of the tidal currents and possible maneuvers to avoid them.

This morning, Tuesday, we cast off from the B.Cove as planned. We started out on engine power but as soon as we were clear of the breakwater we set the sails. It was a perfect North by northeast wind. It was a lovely sunny and windy morning for sailing if it wasn't for the lobster buoys. Outside of B.Cove it was like a mine field. One of us had to stand a continuous watch on the bow while pointing out the obstacles to the helmsman. Once we were several nautical miles off shore and rounded the Cape, the water cleared up of buoys.

Late morning, I noticed a relatively high speed boat motoring towards us. Peter and I mused that they might be pirates. The boat was definitely heading our way, and once close enough for identification, it was a gray coloured fisheries patrol vessel which proceeded to come along side. We hadn't been fishing and had nothing to report. I found the fisheries officers very congenial. After a chat about the sailing conditions and such, we were again left to our own devices and sailed on toward Pictou.

After lunch the wind died down, and our progress was slowing to 2 knots, so to maintain some progress we decided to motor again. Then around late afternoon we got a very good wind. We were doing 6 knots on full sail. Once in close to Pictou we decided to again motor into the harbour since it gives us better control.

So now what? The engine wouldn't start. Fuel was good, battery was good. The starter made a clicking noise and that was all. Peter phoned Wayne and tried a few things and we got it started again. It was a faulty solenoid switch for the starter.

We were still a couple of hours from the Pictou entrance so went back to sail. The wind was perfect and we made very good time. Much better than we could have done with the motor. Hoping that the solenoid problem was intermittent which they usually are we decided to go back to motoring. And again it would only click and not start. We had to "short the solenoid" to get it started. This had to be repaired now. We set into Pictou and again our most reliable friends Wayne and Carol were there to meet us at the dock. We are so fortunately to know such a kind and reliable couple. Though we are blessed with the Druhans, we were beginning to wonder if we weren't cursed by Murphy's Law. And we ran into more lobster buoys as we approached Pictou to boot.

We'll be taking out the starter and solenoid out for repair first thing tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Breakfast of Sailors aboard the JAFTICA

Captain Peter at the breakfast table aboard.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

All for Want of an “O” Ring

The winds were very shifty this morning. At one moment all was still and the next moment we could hear the halyards slamming against the mast of the boat, with a clang-clang, clang-clang, clang-clang. Then the wind would change, and the boat would start rocking side to side. The weather was holding up our travel plans for today. It was going to blow hard this afternoon and we didn't want to experience yet another force 8 wind scenario, but Monday was supposed to be perfect. Peter and I dined again in grand style in our floating RV, and we were contemplating maybe taking a walk up the mountain to have a look at the lighthouse just up the road and do some other relaxing stuff, but this was soon overtaken by another life lesson.

The Captain Peter noticed that the bilge pump wasn't sounding right so wanted to check it out. The bilge is the bottom of the inside of the boat were excess water collects, and the bilge pump is obviously to pump it out. Wayne and Carol came by and as usually when Captain Peter and Wayne get together, a synergy happens typical of two close friends. They rolled up their sleeves and the floor hatch was open and all was soon astir. The pump wouldn't work at first so we poured some water into the bilge and then this awful brown sludge was pumped into our yucky bucket. When oil and water mix the product becomes a brown sludge. How curious, then upon examining the hydraulic fluid reservoir level viewing glass, we found that it was completely empty, yikes!!

There obviously was a leak of some sort. So first thing was to replenish the hydraulic fluid. This was Sunday and what stores would be open that supply hydraulic fluid on a Sunday? Lo and behold, Peter and Wayne located some at the Canadian Tire in Antigonish a good 33 km away. They bought all that was left in stock of the type we needed which consisted of 7 – 4 litre (c.a.1 gallon) jugs. While they were away I starting trying to find the leak. I had some experience with hydraulics with my '67 backhoe so knew what to look for. A hydraulic system is really quite uncanny. It consists of a very strong oil pump that is turned by an engine and it pushes the hydraulic fluid at up to 3000 psi in a hose to a motor which is forced to turn by the fluid. 3000 psi is a lot when you consider that you car tire usually only has 30 psi or so. What is neat about that system is that you can put the motor anywhere in the boat and then just run a pair of flexible pressurized hydraulic hoses to the hydraulic motor that in this case is positioned on the end of the propeller shaft which it drives. A return hydraulic line then sends the lower pressurized oil back to a reservoir which then feeds the pump like in a loop.

But before the pressurized oil goes from the pump to the motor it goes into a directional control device which is like a switch in a way. This is operated by the lever at the helm that moves the boat forward or aft.

I checked the entire circuit and found a lot of spilled oil around directional control, so the area of the leak was located. The engineroom deck (floor) in which the equipment was located was completely covered by special oil-absorbing clothes that were completely saturated. Wayne and Captn returned with the fluid which we proceeded to pour into the reservoir and it all disappeared into the pipes and never yet appeared on the fluid level viewing tube. It looks like the entire system was empty.

We needed more, and based on my experience I recommended that they buy lots more, like two more 18 litre pails. By now we were tipped by others that Wally Mart might carry some and they did. After another trip to Antigonish we added about ¾ of a pailful or about 13 litres. Nothing leaked yet so it must leak when in operation, so we decided to do a test run just outside the harbour to put it through its paces. Sure enough when going forward a drip occurred at the bottom of the bidirectional control unit. It dripped at about 1 drip per second when going forward and 4 drips per second when in reverse. When switching from forward to reverse however the fluid streamed out of the unit. This confirmed the other findings. Wayne and Carol left for supper by now.

We really wanted to get a good early Monday morning start but now this. We could have just put a pan under the control unit and carefully monitor the reservoir level, but that was not a good solution, as the problem was not solved. The only other solution was to take the unit apart to carefully identify the source of the leak. There were four fat hoses that went to the control unit. Each hose was full of hydraulic oil which gushed out as we disconnected them. In the confined space it was not a pleasant or easy task. Many a time my legs fell asleep as I was carefully balancing on one knee. Capt. Peter then took over. This took the the rest of the evening to disconnect all the hoses. Finally we found the connector where the leak was evidently happening. The oil was slipping by a small 1 inch diameter “O” Ring. The ring must have become hardened with time and lost its flexibility. That is how we spent a Sunday evening.

Our plans are now delayed yet again by at least half a day now. We must replace the “O” ring before continuing and then reassemble all the hoses and reload all the lost hydraulic fluid before we can cast off.

I still have waypoints to prepare for tomorrows trip.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A day in the harbour at Ballantyne's Cove

At about 5 am or earlier we could hear the lobster fishers board their boats and head out to their fishing grounds. As soon as they left all was quiet again and it offered a rare opportunity to sleep in until about 7 am. We breakfasted on fair trade coffee, multi-grain toast and Carol's homemade blueberry jam, and meusli cereal. Its all fine and good.
Wayne and Carol very kindly lent us their van today so Capt'n Peter and first mate Pieter headed into Antigonish to get parts for the boat. We were due for an oil and filter change, needed some gaskets for one of the hatches which took in water when the bow was awash. That was repaired.

This afternoon a crane was engaged in the harbour to put 6 sailboats into the water. This was an opportunity to fix the rigging on the JAFTICA. After all boats were in the water, Peter was lifted by the crane up to the top of the mast in a basket that let him access the mast top. All was fixed. We are now ready to sail again.
The weather forecast for tomorrow does not prove too encouraging though. We will be tuned to the marine radio forecasts tomorrow morning.

Tom Hanway with the Ballantyne's Cove Harbour Authority has very kindly let me use his computer at his home to access internet and make this update.

In this photo Wayne is working on the engine.

We hope to head up toward Charlottetown or Shediac tomorrow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Little (Very) Pitchy . . . Again!

We have been sleeping well onboard the last couple of nights. Last night we docked at Port Hawkesbury after a full 12 hours of motoring and sailing with the jib from New Harbour. Our destination today was Ballantyne's Cove or B Cove for short. We got another good early start, and cast off at 5:20. We had about an hour to sail to the Canso Canal Locks and after that we figured we had a short three or four hour sail across St. Georges Bay estimating arrival time at B Cove of 10 or 11 am, or so we thought.

By now we had mastered using the Furuno Marine GPS receiver. The Unit allowed us to navigate along nice straight lines between imaginary navigation marks called waypoints. A waypoint is like an imaginary x floating on the water. On a navigation chart you can mark a point with a pencil and then measure a latitude and longitude coordinates for the point and enter them as a waypoint coordinates in the Furuno. The unit allows you to store a whole string of waypoints called a route. As soon as we approached and got close to a waypoint the Furuno would automatically switch to the next waypoint along the way - very convenient. The Furuno will then tell us how close we are to the line as we sail along. If we wander off the track it tells us how many degrees that you have to change the direction of the boat to get back on the line.

Capt'n Peter's boat also has autopilot which is a marvelous piece of equipment. The autopilot will point the boat in a direction that you enter into it. So you get the direction in degrees from the Furuno to the next waypoint and punch it into the Autopilot. The autopilot takes over control of the rudder of the boat and keeps it on a nice straight track. In ideal conditions the boat would follow the desired track. In reality though there are all kinds of forces on the boat that make it want to go off track, like waves, current and wind. So you have to change the direction of the autopilot to stay on the desired line. The only real way to do that is to make adjustments by feel and keep watching the Furuno to see how much we are off track. This takes some getting used to.

The weather forecast was for force 5 winds with is at the tolerable upper limit for fun sailing so by now we were ready to cross St. Georges bay in a nice straight line. We aimed for a waypoint right across the bay positioned just outside the harbour entrance at B Cove. The Furuno also tells us how fast we are going and how much distance is still remaining to the next waypoint.

With this new capability we set out across St. Georges Bay. It worked like clockwork at first. The wind however was getting quite heavy and was blowing directly against us. The waves were a metre or so at the start, but as we got to the middle of the bay it got quite heavy with waves as high as three metres. We looked at the Beaufort wind scale and estimated that we were dealing with force 8 winds, by the whitecaps and foam. At least we did not have the huge swells of the Atlantic. The boat kept going slower and slower with the wind resistance.

The chop was very steep with short but tall waves. The JAFTICA would climb a wave only to fall straight down on the wave that is rapidly disappearing from under it, only to climb again up the next wave. This really slowed us down. At about 6 nautical miles away from our destination, we were now creeping along at a mere 2 knots. The estimated time of arrival was now 2 or 3 pm. Once we slowed down to 1.7 knots the rudder was becoming very sluggish and ineffective at keeping course and the boat starting to turn away from our destination. We thought maybe that we had caught another lobster trap line at the rudder. Next thing the engine started to sputter and figured that we must be low on fuel. While Peter kept the helm, I took the extra can of fuel and filled it into the tank, and the engine stabilized. The gas cap like on a car is on the exterior of the boat. Even though we were so close to our destination we started contemplating plan B which was to sail with the wind back to the shelter of Canso Strait back all the way across the bay. When headway is zero we are only wasting fuel.

Captn Peter cranked the engine speed up to the top limit which is not always recommended and thankfully we were now close enough to get into some shelter of the beautiful coast line mountains. Pretty soon we were doing 4 and 5 knots as the waves subsided. We got into B Cove around 2 pm.

The overheated engine now caused other problems. The control cable (like a bicycle brake cable) from the helm to the engine seized. And the engine wouldn't stop. By now Wayne and Carol were at the dock to greet us. and with Wayne's excellent mechanical skills the problem was resolved.

We couldn't see any lines in the rudder or propeller so figured that it was just the engine speed that caused the weak steering.

B Cove was an important destination for our trip. We could now repair our topstay and be sailing with all sails again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Great Day Today.

After doing a few errands, in Stellarton I picked up some food to replenish our stores. Wayne Druhan, and his wife Carol were most kind in first letting me enjoy a night's sleep in their guest bedroom, offering breakfast and then driving me to a few stores and then driving me back to New Harbour that evening.

Wayne at this point decided to leave Peter and I and return to his lovely wife whom he has been away from for already a week. Wife Carol or two crazy sailors, one a land lubber come wannabee sailor. What was so hard about that choice?

The seasickness patch worked like an absolute charm. One was only a little disoriented at times but otherwise fine.

This morning we got a very good early start out of New Harbour. It was a beautiful morning with a very light breeze. We basically jumped out of our sleeping bags, dressed and untied and were off at 5 am.

We motored for the day and got as far as Port Hawkesbury. The weather behaved very well until around suppertime. We decided to tie up for the evening, walked into town for Chinese Food Buffet (lol eh? Carroll) and stopped in at the local library to take advantage of the computers.

We will now walk back to the boat for a good night's rest.

The captain tells me that We had to motor and sail with the jib because the topping lift let go and that put too much weight on the jack stays. Hence the starboard jack let go and dropped the mainsail boom onto the solar panel which broke. Capt'n managed to repair the jack stay, the rest will be repaired the moment we get a chance, which will likely be in Ballantynes Cove. We will need to reach the top of the mast for the next repair.

New Harbour Images

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beaufort Wind Scale

The beaufort scale of winds is described in

Waiting at New Harbour

Situated at New Harbour, the winds are still very strong today, showing white caps in the bay. Whitecaps indicate a force 6 or 7 winds. For sailing force 4 is quite nice and 5 is fast and probably still manageable. So we are waiting for the winds to die down a bit this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Not-So-Perfect Storm

In the morning I was called up on deck. We were 15 nm off shore. Things were going crazy. Stuff was being thrown all about the JAFTICA pilot house. Chairs were all over the floor, drawers were pulled out, we were being volleyed and thrashed from bulkhead (wall) to bulkhead.

The waves were easily the sizes of houses, as we were being pitched around.

Peter and Wayne had been sailing all night on half sail in pretty rough seas. The front sail or jib was taken down all together, and the back or mainsail was only raised partway, and we were still moving fast. We figured that we were a couple of hours from Canso Strait and refuge from this awful weather.

At this stage we thought we should continue under engine power. Meanwhile I took some regular walks out to the back deck to now give up earlier meals, and working backward and was probably getting rid of Sunday brunch by now.

Then all hell broke loose. Like could it get worse? The engine stopped abruptly. That is typical of a line getting stuck in the props. So Peter shared that we were here to sail weren't we? So obviously continued to sail. Then the rudder jammed...

We were now adrift bobbing like a cork among these huge waves in the wide North Atlantic, outside the sight of land. I had to stay above decks (outside) to manage my gut. We tried restarting engines, no luck. Electrical was still good. Peter had equipped the vessel with three banks of batteries. Thankfully Peter, an experienced radio operator, called the Canadian Coast Guard for for assistance. Now we bobbed and waited. Before too long we could see the CCG Search and Rescue Cutter Bickerton arrive also bobbing in the ocean like a cork among these huge 4 metre plus waves. The Bickerton appeared to surf down the waves. The wind was now blowing extremely hard as we could hear it flapping the sails with a regular staccato. Now the only plan was to try to keep the bow of the vessel into the waves and the mainsail probably did that for us.This would keep us from capsizing or at least from being rolled sideways.

The Bickerton circled us to check out the situation. And then headed out to the windward -up wind side. They -- there were three crew on the Bickerton Stern -- threw us a line. I being the most spry old fogey among us scrambled to the bow of our vessel holding on the the stanchions and guardrails (railings) in the driving spray to receive first a light line with a monkeys fist (ball) at the end and tied to the tow rope, one hand for yourself and one for the ship. I would be knee deep in sea water at one minute and on top of a monstrous wave the next. The CCG hand signals were confusing and impossible to understand. Wayne then came forward from the cabin, after getting radioed instructions from the Bickerton, to assist. This was a surreal moment. There was nothing between me and the deep blue sea and these swells but this guardrail and a lifejacket. We fastened the line. Gave the OK. I returned to my favourite spot on the back deck. Even though the spray came over my head and soaked my back, this was still the the most comfortable spot.

In a few hours were were towed to New Harbour, still under fierce winds. We tied up. New Harbour is nothing but a cluster of a dozen or so houses and a Small Craft Harbour dock on the end of a road. There were no services to speak of.
Peter tried the engines, that suddenly worked. The line entangled in the prop must have come free when we reversed the engines or were towed. It might also have been a line from a marker buoy to a crab pot on the ocean floor. We came across many lobster trap buoys nearer to shore as well and carefully tried to avoid them, should the lines get entangled in the prop and rudder.

Due to the overpowering winds, it was very difficult to detach the JAFTICA from the Bickerton as each boat bobbed and banged into each other. Some of the JAFTICA stanchions were damaged as a result.

Once ashore, Wayne called his wife to come and get us. Being invited to stay an evening as a guest at their house was an offer I could hardly refuse for a good night's sleep on Terra Firma.

While near a pharmacy I took advantage of seeing about motion sickness pills. I knew of a very effective motion sickness drug called Marzine that I used many years ago in Newfoundland when I was first working on the ships back in the early 80s. The drugstore advised that it was not commercially available in Canada but recommended a very similar drug called "Transderm-V" or Scopolamine, which is a patch to put behind the ear. Apparently the fishermen like them. It reduces seasickness for three days with each patch. Back in business.

So it will be an exciting day tomorrow if the wind dies down and as we continue our trip. Now we must go from New Harbour to Canso Straits to Ballantynes Cove. It should be about 12 hours of sailing according to the Capt.

Press On!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rock and Roll

Left Halifax in a light breeze and slight overcast. Once we cleared land the swells were quite modest at first at about half a metre high. Unfortunately my bravado over sea sickness was soon deflated. I started having sweats and cold hands and feet. We got pretty much clear of land, and eventually met the Canadian Coast Guard vessel William Alexander out quite a ways. At first its profile looked like a battle ship in the distance.

At this point I thought I should lay down for a snooze to see if this wooziness would dissipate. I shared the aft bunk with Peter, and Wayne slept in the forward bunk. The wind was extremely variable from the south west at this point. This is not a bad direction for us although a north wester would have been faster. Capt decided to alternate between sailing and motoring depending on the weather. We'd motor when we had insufficient wind.

I ended up sleeping pretty much all day and from time to time came up to check in and to see how things were going whenever I could. Seas were starting to get rougher. I never thought that I could sleep so much.

By now the only two comfortable places for me were above deck looking at the horizon or laying down in the bunk. We had KD (Kraft Dinner) and tea for lunch. Unfortunately a couple of hours later that was all gone over the side, there goes lunch.

Needless to say I skipped supper.  Seas were getting quite rough now. So back to the bunk I went.

We made pretty good progress along the coast. We sailed along the shore about 15 nautical miles out which is far enough that you can't see land. We figured that by next day noonish we would be entering the Canso Canal.

Casting off

We will be casting off shortly, departing the RNSYS.

Some of the Main Waypoints Along the Way

Once out of the harbour we will be tracking the following waypoints:

Listed is the Name, Latitude and Longitude

HFXBC #2     44°35'52.47"N     63°32'14.55"W

HFX BC #3     44°34'5.74"N      63°27'27.95"W

HFXBC #4      44°37'41.34"N      62°47'57.56"W

HFXBC #5      45°13'31.78"N      60°58'45.91"W

That will bring us a good way to Canso Strait.

Waypoints (or WPs)

Waypoints are imaginary points out in the middle of the waterways, like a floating "X" on the water if you will. A navigator uses a waypoint to get some sense of where he is. Now with GPS this is quite easy to do since GPS tells us where we are electronically and all the time. One then navigates always between waypoints. A straight-line distance between waypoints is typically called a leg. It consists of a straight line from the waypoint or WP that you started at and the point you intend to travel to. Navigation systems like a marine GPS receiver will usually tell you how far you have to go to get to the next WP and how far off track you are from the straight line between the two WPs. This is usually referred to as the cross track error or XTE.

A series of waypoints listed in order from start to finish makes a route. What is nice about a route is that you can estimate how far you have to go and thus how long it takes to get to the end of the route. During the many hours at sea I intend to prepare a series of routes so that we can calculate the entire distance from start to the intended finish at Picton on Lake Ontario.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Waypoints Planned.

Spent the evening choosing GPS way-points together for the route from here to Port Hawksbury.

The visiting Party

Leenhouts and Cowling Party Inspection and Visitors

Afternoon inspection and visit.

Boat is Afloat.

All hull work was completed yesterday. After a fine barbeque with Peter the Skipper's friend Barry Cowling and family in Halifax we retired to our refuge in the boat yard.
This morning the boat which is cradled on a sloping railroad was lowered into the water. The only casualties are two wet sneakers.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Replacing the Anodes and Painting the bottom

Bare steel, like the hull of this boat will rust more quickly in salt water than freshwater. Putting the anodes on the boat basically turns the entire boat into a big battery cell. In a battery cell there is an anode and a cathode. This anode will protect the steel (cathode) since the zinc will more readily release ions than steel and take the corrosion instead. Called a sacrificial anode they will need to be replaced from time to time. This cluster of photos shows the spent or sacrificed anode, a new anode and Wayne replacing one on the boat. The boat requires around 8 to 10 such anodes on various parts like the hull, rudder, and propeller shaft.

In fresh (unsalty) water this corrosive effect is much less and the anodes degrade at a much slower rate. Also the better covered or painted the steel is the slower the anodes will degrade.

Living Quarters for the next two nights

The boat as been pulled up on a boat lift, which is like a platform that sits on a railway. It gets pulled up by cable pulled by an stationary engine that operates a winch.
This will be our quarters for the next couple of days. It was quite cold last night. The summer sleeping bag didn't cut it. will need to add a blanket tonight.  It is a bit like living in a tree-house.

Shofeered from the Airport

Arrived at midnight last night, and was shofeered from the airport. Skipper Peter and first mate Wayne are driving and riding shotgun respectively. Let the fun begin.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Report from the Skipper on the Jaftica Bridge in Halifax

Hi Shipmate,
I made it down to Halifax. Wayne Druhan and I have moved aboard JAFTICA and we spent the day rigging the sails,and flushing the water systems. The boat is scheduled to be hauled out on Friday in order for us to clean the bottom.
Tomorrow Wayne and I are going to repair the scratches on the hull and paint a few touch ups here and there.
 - The Capt'n
JAFTICA is currently stored at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

About the Metre

Probably the most common distance measure today worldwide bar none is the metre however  it isn't commonly adopted in the USA, where the mile, the foot and the inch still reign - domestically at least. In Canada we adopted the SI or System International spelling of the metre while in America it remains the Meter.

By the end of the 18th. century, England had pretty much established standards for weights and measures in the pound, foot and quart and profited well in trade as a result. France meanwhile as a country had no national standards yet to speak of and suffered for it. Each municipality or locality pretty well had its own standard for a loaf of bread or measure of length or a sack of grain. For reference, these standards were frequently engraved into the sides of structures such as bridges, or fortress walls or buildings. The problem with each town having its own standards was that it severely deterred trade, due to the mistrust or understanding of each other's measures. Also many towns had their own keeper of weights and measures and I can imagine that he was not too interested in having his standards go obsolete by trusting that of another town.

The French Academy of Science became quite aware of this problem and came up with a very ingenious concept. The Academy wanted to determine a measure that would be "universal" for all mankind and that could not be argued. So they chose the size of the earth as a reference, since the earth is indeed common to all. After much deliberation, they decided that the measure shall be a metre and the metre will be of such a length that there shall be 10,000,000 or ten million metres between the Equator and the North Pole. Using the best astronomical instruments of the day and mathematics the Academy came up with its metre.

Today's metre is based on the same original metre that the Academy calculated in the late 1700s. So how well did the Academy do? Using Google Earth to determine an estimate of the distance from the north pole to the equator I get  around 9,987,601 metres.  That is an error of about 12.4 kilometres which to us doesn't seem that good, but it is an error of 0.12% which considering the technology and mathematical challenges and unknowns of the day, it is still very impressive. Over the length of a metre the error is 1.2 millimetres.

For a longer and possibly more boring version of this story see

A tip from a Career navigation officer

I thought the following tip very relevant for the landlubber that I am, from my Sixth cousin once removed who has retired from a career as a navigation office.

"a calm trip - remember, one hand for yourself and one for the boat!"

So balancing acts are out I guess. 

Of course I suppose good sailing and calm weather are probably exclusive of each other. You need the wind to sail but wind creates waves i.e. no calmness.  I suppose you could say there is good weather. One can always motor in calm weather.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Inspiration from the Captain

To young men contemplating a voyage I would say go.
The tales of rough usage are for the most part exaggerations, as also are the tales of sea danger.
To face the elements is, to be sure, no light matter when the sea is in its grandest mood.
You must then know the sea, and know that you know it, and not forget that it was made to be sailed over.
                              Captain Joshua Slocum - 1898

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eclectic Posting

I was advised by a close family member that I should remove the boring posts about miles etc. and I thought at the time that a mix of stuff might keep the blog more interesting. So now I was becoming doubtful of my approach until I got an unsolicited message from a fellow UNB Engineering Graduate, who wrote me:

Pieter, good luck on your sailing trip. Read your blog, definitely written by someone interested in surveying history, nice to read. I ran into.  .  . 
Ha! Maybe I'll give a short history of the metre now.  Courage, courage I need courage.

I had to reply:

I am glad you like the bit about surveying history. I do find it truly fascinating, but alas . . . . thinks this stuff doesn't belong on the blog if I want to keep people interested. I thought that maybe by keeping the posts somewhat eclectic it might be interesting to a more varied crowd.

And then he replied:

Eclectic works for me, but I am an engineer as well so maybe I don't count :-).
Beware or stay tuned for a short history of the metre.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Planning Meeting Today

Captain Peter and his wife came by today to work out some details and plans for the trip. It is now firm that we can leave on Sunday preferably or Monday at the latest. I will drop off a duffel bag of my heavy gear with the capt to take down on his drive to Halifax in his van. Since I only need a one way passage, I will probably head down by air where luggage is restricted. 

Gear List

Captain Peter has shared with me a list of gear that I ought to bring.


Gear List

Suitcases are not recommended: Space is limited - everything should be brought aboard in foldable bags.

Standard Gear

    • Valid passport & valid medical card
    • Sleeping bag with removable cotton liner or bed sheet.
    • Flashlight with extra batteries & spare bulb
    • Rigging knife
    • Waterproof sunscreen (SPF of at least 15)
    • Water bottle
    • Beach towel

Recommended Clothing

    • Windbreaker, gloves, toque or watch cap
    • 2 pairs of non-skid shoes
    • Raincoat and rain pants (or other wet weather gear) are essential – rain ponchos are not suitable, rubber boots would be an asset.
    • 3 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of jeans
    • 1 or 2 sweaters and/or sweatshirts (preferably wool – hooded is best)
    • Enough socks & underwear for each day. (a few pair of wool socks are a good idea because they will keep feet warm during chilly watches)
    • Sunglasses with safety strap
    • Sun hat, gloves and a pair of long underwear for possible cold weather
    • Swim suits (one that can withstand the rigors of working)
    • T-shirts

    • Comb/brush
    • Wash kit (soap, shampoo, towel, tooth brush, toothpaste, shaving gear, deodorant, etc.)

Optional Items:
    • Camera
    • Small musical instrument
    • Reading book(s)
    • A set of smart clothes for when in port
    • Notebook & writing equipment
    • Insect repellent
    • Binoculars

The Nautical Mile

Another fundamental measure -- the nautical mile has a much simpler and more straightforward origin. It was originally quite simply a minute of arc of latitude. While longitude is the measure of degrees east or west from Greenwich where it is zero and the center of the British Empire. France had its own prime meridian running through Paris but that is another story less well told. Latitude is the angular measurement of the earth in the north and south direction starting with zero at the equator and ending at 90 degrees at the poles. If one knows the distance from sea level (approximately) to the center of the earth or its radius we can calculate the distance of a nautical mile. But it is not that simple a matter. The earth is not entirely spherical but actually an oblate spheriod. Some say it is shaped like an egg and that I must say it is not. It is more like a beach ball flattened at the top and bottom. There are many models that try to estimate the earth but probably the best one is that used for GPS called WGS 84 and its radius from the earth's center is approx 6357 kilometres to sea level at the north and south poles, and approx. 6378 kilometres to sea level at the equator, a difference of about 21 kilometres more at the equator. So the nautical mile will be a little bit larger at the equator compared to the poles.  A convenient conversion constant called rho (ρ) is the number of degrees in a radian calculated as 180 degrees divided by pi (π). So ρ is about 57.3 degrees. The nm can be calculated as the radius (6357 or 6378 km) divided by ρ to get degrees and divided by 60 to get minutes of arc. So at the equator the nm is very close to 6378/57.3/60 = 1.855 km. Similarly at the pole it is nearly 1.849 Km.
This of course was the original nautical mile before we standardized it. As stated in an earlier post, today we use a fixed standard for the nm which is 1.852 km. exactly by definition. This is likely to simplify its application in computerized processes.

Seafaring navigators used this nautical mile for its convenience on a chart. The edges of a chart show the degrees and minutes of latitude on the sides and longitude at the top and bottom.
The distance between longitude coordinates vary as we go north and get closer together. But for latitude it stays pretty constant as shown in the calculations above. On a road map one would use a legend to determine a distance with a ruler or a pair of dividers, well on a nautical chart the navigator could simply use the latitude minute marks on the left and right edges of the chart and not have to go turn the chart over looking for a legend. Also on some chart projections like the Mercator projection, the scale varied with latitude. For example you know how on some maps Greenland is bigger than the US. In these cases the scale would only be accurate at the same latitude where the reading was taken off the left and right edges.

The nautical mile is a pretty ingenious invention.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Origin of the Statute Mile

Measurement trivia can be interesting for one with a formal education in surveying and later career in electronic navigation. What is even more interesting is the anthropological rationale behind why we as a people chose our measures. Land measurement in England before the 18th century was measured in rods. For some reason the rod was 16 and a half feet long and land was measured by laying down the rod end to end. Astronomer Edmond Gunter came up with a novel new measure called the chain. Compared to the rod, this tool could be folded up and easily stored and could measure distances by stretching it out straight. He chose the chain to be four rods long which made it 66 feet, and his choice for that was that he figured that it could be easily manipulated by two operators and be of a reasonably useful length I suppose. Distances were then measured by a chain crew including a forward chainman and a rear chainman. The forward chainman would start out with a metal loop on his belt from which hung 11 chaining pins. Starting from a survey marker, the rear chainman would hold the trailing end on the marker and the forward chainman would press a chaining pin into the ground at the exact chain distance along the desired line. The pair would move forward a chain length the rear chainman holding the trailing end of the chain on the chaining pin left by the forward chainman and the process would proceed until the 10 chains were measured.

The only oddity is that the chain was divided into 100 links which makes each link an odd length of 7.92 inches. Old survey plans will show lots,  for example the original King's grants, measured in chains and links.

And so the 66' chain became important for land measure in the British Colonies such as Australia, Canada and the US. This measure still has a very strong influence in our lives today. For example a road allowance for all the older roads -- width of a road from boundary to boundary -- is 66 feet or one chain. This is the case for all the streets in Ottawa for instance, yet Wellington Ave, which was initially intended to be a boulevard, is actually 2 chains or 132 feet wide.

Today with the conversion to metric in Canada, newly built road allowances are now typically a convenient 20 metres or 65.6168 feet wide, a measure still strongly influenced by the chain.

In the 1880's with the very significant invention of spring steel, the tape measure took over from the chain. Yet I still remember in survey school seeing a steel windable tape measure that was marked in chains and links on one side and feet and tenths of a foot on the other. Inches were never used in surveying. This was probably very handy for retracing old surveys before the advent of computers that automated conversions.

The acre by definition is 10 square chains. The township lot that our property is a part of was originally 200 acres or 20 chains wide by 100 chains deep, the original grant from the king. In Ontario, for military service, officers were typically given 100 acres by splitting the front and back half of the lot, and soldiers were typically offered 50 by cutting a lot into quarters, one in each corner.

Many Ontario farmers kept a survey chain hanging in the barn, in case they wanted to divide their land into fields or put in fence lines. They are a lovely instrument, a steel chain with nice brass handles at both ends, and brass tabs that mark every ten links in the chain. I picked one up years ago from Ebay and still have it around here somewhere.

Finally the statute mile is by definition 80 chains long or 5280 feet.This is not to be confused with the nautical mile.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scheduling of the Trip

CP (Captain Pete) advised me that the departure date will likely be predicated by the seasonal plans of the Marina, the Royal N.S. Yacht Sqn. south west of Halifax. I am told that the date is not firm but for planning purposes we are departing on Sunday May 2nd. 

We will then sail a track made good of approximately (my estimate from my handy dandy Mapart roadmap) 2500 kms. In the nautical world all distances are measured in nautical miles or nm. The SI (System International) standard nautical mile is 1852 metres exactly. That is the modern definition. So to convert the 2500 km to nm, multiply 2500 by 1000 to get a distance of 2,500,000 metres and divide by 1852 to get very nearly 1350 nm.

CP tells me that we sail at possibly 6 knots (or slower of course). What is a knot you may ask?. Well in ancient times speed was measured by the number of knots on a rope that slipped through the sailor's hands during a specified time when the log that was tied to the rope was thrown in the water and allowed to drift aft. The spacing of the knots was calibrated to indicate the speed. A knot is equal to a nautical mile per hour.

We have scheduled 3 weeks to do the trip but there is absolutely no telling how long it will take or how far we will get. At worst we may not get up the St. Lawrence much past Quebec City, due to dead calm seas and/or head winds and head currents and at best I think we will make it all the way to Picton under perfect conditions.  Under absolutely ideal conditions i.e. perfect wind and maintaining a steady 6 knots, we would do the whole distance in 9 and half days, but that is entirely unrealistic. We need to stop for rests and visits and wait for locks, go through locks etc.

Bear in mind that with a sailboat you can not always sail a straight track along the desired route. One must for example tack or zigzag when we want to sail into the wind. So the real distance traveled over the ground can be much longer than the actual distance traveled along a desired track. In nautical navigation they use all kinds of other unusual terms as well like speed over ground, distance made good etc. I might expand on those later.

A note from the builder.

I received a message from the original builder of the boat and an excerpt of that is:

Hello Pieter, as the builder of this boat I am interested in her owners and travels.

. . .

Just a minor correction the Bruce Roberts design was for a 37 footer not 36, she was built in the small village of Scotsburn, just west of Pictou.

Pictou is where she was launched and kept for the nine years we owned her.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Boat

The boat:
Jaftica is a sloop rigged, steel yacht based on a Bruce Roberts design for a 36 footer. She was stretched out to 39 feet when built in 1998 in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The beam is 12 feet and the shoal keel has a depth of 5 1/2 feet.
This yacht has a pilot house containing a helm station and a dining/navigation benches and table. Steering and propulsion systems are hydraulic with autopilot and variable pitch propeller.
There are two cabins - one fore and aft, two heads and a galley. The interior is finished in Nova Scotia hemlock and has 6'2" headroom throughout.
The yacht is fitted with the latest safety and communication equipment required for off-shore voyages - including radar, EPIRB, GPS, VHF/MF/HF radio communications and a SOLAS style 4 man inflatable lifeboat.
All sail handing lines are controlled from the aft helm station. The jib is self tacking - making sail handling even easier.
Jaftica has a 40 hp Perkins diesel engine that is used mainly when entering or departing a harbour. Batteries are charged with a wind generator and solar panel.
A 10' inflatable zodiac style dinghy is carried off the stern on davits. The dingy has a 9.9 hp outboard engine and a set of oars.

Galley Stbd Side

Forward Cabin Head (sailor-speak for Toilet)

Forward Cabin Bunk

Forward Cabin Port Side

Forward Cabin Head

The Forward Cabin looking Aft

The Forward Cabin Bunk

The Aft Cabin

Captain Pete at the Helm

Playing with the wheelie thing, as he put it.

Pilot House Helm

The Tender

Some photos

Peter shared some photos of his boat.

This is taken by Peter sitting in a bosun's chair suspended from the top of the mast. He was servicing some equipment at the time.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Call from Peter

Peter called today to confirm plans. We will likely be leaving from Halifax around the first of May. The departure date will be based on the schedule at the Yacht club in Halifax where the boat is stored for the winter. It might be earlier.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An intriguing proposition

I ran into Peter at coffee break today. The ground floor of our office tower has a privately run coffee shop called the Corner Kitchen. I try as regularly as possible to go down to have a break with office colleagues as we used to do regularly back in the 80's just to nurture that important personal relationship that is otherwise lost in the hurried pace of today's workplace. With all the downsizing that has been happening since the late 90's we have become overworked. As people retired or moved the positions where often eliminated or just never backfilled but the work always remained and never disappeared so adjacent workers often took it over. Consequently to meet the workload, hours of work became longer. With that of course went any breaks and lunch was now normally eaten at one's desk, a significant drop in a quality of the workplace.

These coffee breaks – we usually break once-a-day in the morning – are great opportunities to discuss something that happened at the office, or share nuances, i.e. discuss a failed travel claim or impart personal experiences and the day's events or politics and its ramifications. These were also opportunities to discuss news, sports, or any new development such as the new iPod. Consequently I firmly believe that our office runs like a well-oiled machine. Admittedly such breaks can just as easily be abused to gossip or complain so it is very much up to the individuals involved.

For the last couple of years I also viewed these breaks as an important tool in succession planning and for transferring corporate knowledge. This is particularly important if one's retirement can be seen on the horizon. This type of knowledge does not preside just in emails and meeting rooms.

During my chance meeting with Peter, he advised me that he will be sailing his sail boat from Halifax to Picton. His previous plans were to sail from Halifax to the Caribbean however he thought that he would like to sail the Great Lakes this summer so changed his plans appropriately.

Being always keen for an adventure, and this being not too physically taxing for a 50-something, I offered to crew for him. He said he'd get back to me. I am quite intrigued with this proposition.