Thursday, November 20, 2008


Tim McGivney is surveying my Folkes 39.9 foot 13 ton steel hulled cutter today. Last night I was on my boat delighting in the nostalgic feel of a loyal old friend and lover. After years of living on my boat now it's a weekly visit as I wait for the autopilot to be restored and the compression pole supporting the mast to be welded. Thanks to Laura Murray and Eric at Steveston Marina I was put in contact with Tim McGivney this summer on my Satellite phone when a thousand miles from Hawaii and 1700 miles from North America the rigging on the mast went slack as the compression pole supporting the mast collapsed. After that the topping lift became the back stay, the boom stayed in the rack and Tim's idea of a Spannish Touriquet around the rest of rigging allowed us to use the main sail to return much as I was using the main sail in this picture coming up the Juan de Fuca. It was taken 10 years ago when I began solo sailing and was returning from my first trip to the open water off the west coast of Vancouver island.
This summer, 34 days at sea, with the rigging problem and loss of autopilot and having to rely on our Hydrovane and hand steering, Tom Kennedy and I were ecstactic to see this bit of Canada appear on the horizon.
In 2005 I'd set sail solo for Hawaii in November and close to where my boat is in the picture I'd been knocked down 3 times in 40 foot seas and over 50 knot winds crossing to get in the lee of Neah Bay in the wake of a passing hurricane. "I'll never forget catching my little scotty dog Stuart by his life jacket as he was being washed to sea when the cockpit filed with water and there was that horribly long wait before the boat righted itself that first time. Stuart stayed close by my side pressing his little body against my leg thereafter becoming quite blasse by the third time we were knocked down and the boat lurched and staggered back to upright.
Further south on that journey, I'd escape another hurricane stealing into the Columbia River, hitting bottom crossing the low tide sand bar, but reaching to the safety of Astoria when the hurricane hit the coast and the wind was 50 knots.
In the 25 day passage from San Francisco to Hawaii that winter, with only my scotty dog Stuart and calico cat Angel for crew, I'd only have 3 days of storm while the rest was idyllic. I especially loved losing the winter clothes to sail in shorts, warmth and sunshine, knowing the mates back home were bundled in parkas or rain gear.
Tom and I on this trip back had only a couple of nights of bigger seas and stiffer winds but we had to contend with the mast and steering issues slowing our speed. Listening to the Pacific Sea Farers Hamm Radio net we heard another boat had hit a whale and were glad to keep our own problems.
Landing in Victoria and having sailors hamburgers at the Empress was both relief and joy. Now I'm restoring the boat after passage and looking forward to summer sailing the spectacular British Columbia coast after sailing the Hawaian Islands. Thanks to Tim McGivney whose help has already been indispensable I'll know what has to be done before I do any more passages. Nothing like a good survey to indicate a boat's strengths and weaknesses and where and often even how best to begin the work

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home in Vancouver

We're home. That's Tom and me with the GIRI in Vancouver. The Giri picture is of her in Victoria where we cleared Customs. The tuna I caught before we reached Juan de Fuca and we were glad for barbecue and fish soups in the home stretch. The sailing picture shows us in English Bay with Vancouver ahead of us. We'd arrived in Victoria at dawn and left that same evening missing the closing of the fuel dock so stopping the last morning in Ganges marina to fuel up. To our surprise we'd only used about 60 gallons on the journey and had some 40 gallons left in the tanks. Thanks to Graeme for keeping this site going. I'd planned to email him each day and have him just post my emails but we never did get the software and modem to work with the radio. Thanks for passing on the sat phone messages I made to family. Tom and I were glad for that as we didn't want our elderly dad's to be reassured we weren't vying for a Darwin award. It certainly was a concern when the mast broke settling 2 inches so that the stays were no longer providing tension to keep it upright and the wind was blowing 30 plus knots. We got the sails down and Tom jumped to using the topping lift for backstay. I phoned my friend Laura to call Folkes but they'd since gone out of business. Instead she called Eric at Steveston Marina who she knows from Bluewater Cruising Association. He gave us his surveyor friend Tim's number who we called and discussed our problem with. Tim was terrific recommending Spanish Turnbuckles and just generally being serving as a sounding board. We weren't making much distance for those 2 days but with resolve we headed on and became more confident and again began to progress. As our one bladder of water with 50 gallons was lost when a patch chafed off we'd used up the other 50 gallon tank and were dependent on our watermaker which of course began to squawk complainingly. The instructions insisted we use 'silicone' grease which we didn't have after a minute search of the boat I turned up a tube of 'silicone grease' which had come with my underwater camera housing. So we now had water. We'd bought all the island stock of Reed's Gingerale so hadn't worried about drinking fluid as the boat veriably clinked with my favourite sailing drink. With the galley pump we had saltwater for dishes and cooking. It was just this psychological addition to our other problems and we were seriously asking ourselves whether we should turn back with mast broken, autopilot defunk, damage to the hydraulic steering lines, watermaker problems and just a lot of other uncertainties about equipment. We decided to go on and slowly we overcame obstacle after obstacle. A partially displaced regulator wire turned out to explain the poor charging with the alternator. But by that time the Four Winds wind generator was producing power thanks to Tom soldering a broken brush. I'd turned up all the soldering equipment for the task only to find we'd no more rosin. That's when Tom figured on the rosin from his violin case. When the engine died I was glad it only took my changing fuel filters to solve that problem but until as with each of these 'events/challenges/moments - choose your own word" our hearts were beating faster until the problem was solved. The marine environment is harsh on equipment and things do break down and maintenance is required. I kept all the tools and all the spares and all the installation and maintenance manuals on the boat and we were thankful too that we could get advice through radio or phone. By radio we had contact with Alfred on Waterhoen who was getting weatherfax and able to advise us about the weather ahead the couple of days when propagation was such we couldn't get the daily SSB weather. In the midst of our own concerns which got less and less as each challenge was mastered we listened on the Pacific Sea farer's Net as another boat called in after hitting a whale. We were glad we didn't have his problems that night though whale and boat and crew all did well. We were well provisioned and while my stews and soups were well enjoyed Tom made bread and pizzas that could easily compete in any galley cook off. There was a minimum of whining though I won't say I didn't express some self pity when the engine overheated in Juan de Fuca and Tom was somewhat graphic about the wind and wave conditions off Race Rocks as we turned in for Victoria. What we'd suffered stoically at sea was not tolerated so close to our destination. At the customs dock in Victoria we really did have trouble walking and we were equally glad that no one was awake to process us leaving us to get some much needed sleep at dockside where the world wasn't moving and safety was far more assured. The world got busy too with so much activity. When we got to Vancouver we found there to be simply too much stimulation. Lights and cars and people and the fireworks crowds were overwhelming. What a shift from a month with nothing to see for miles and the world reduced to a boat. And yes we loved the showers. What a blessing, endless water. When Louis caught hold of the line Tom threw him at the dock in Vancouver and the two of them secured the boat it was with great relief I turned of the engine and stepped ashore, thanking the Lord for another safe passage. Awesome!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Home Stretch

Sailing is going well, the repairs they rigged are holding up and should last until they get back home. The good news is they can now motor home if they have to (enough fuel on board). On Sunday they were 750 miles from Victoria and covered an average of 75 miles a day more or less depending on the winds. Meals are still enjoyable - roast and home made dumplings. If all goes well we should see the sailors home in port around the 22nd of July.

They are getting closer and closer to home.

Update - today puts them about 550km from home.

If you click on the little marker you get his coordinates and other info.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heading East with Partial Sails

Friday they had lost there auto steering due to a freighter coming at them head on Thursday night. Tom was able to avoid a collision by turning the wheel hard it caused the auto steer to break but they can still steer the boat manually. They were in full sail, could see San Diego on horizon a ways off. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables still, and barbecuing steaks so all was good.

Bill called this morning (Tuesday July 1st) the mast has broken away from the keil and only have one small sail up just poking along not making much headway. A call has gone out to Folkes Manufacturing in the morning and ask them for advice regarding a solution to this problem in hopes they can help advise a rigging system for the GIRI.

The water maker has broken down so Tom is working on that, Bill has a message for his dad - will be moving to Saskatchewan living on land no water or boat going to return to prairie (HA)!

This too shall pass! They are heading for coast and will stop wherever they first land to get boat fixed. For now slowly but surely.......tedious! Bill expects return home to be another 2 to 3 weeks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Radio is Working

They got their radio working, turns out they were trying to use the old broken microphone instead of the new one that they had just bought. DUH!

So now they report their location to at 5PM each day.
I'm (Graeme) no nautical expert but doesn't 3POB mean 3 people on board? (2 People and a Cat)

UTC: 24/06/2008 04:00:00
Position: 26°43'N 156°37'W
Course: 340 (°T) Speed: 4.0 (kts)

You can see their position on a map here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Still Heading North

Bill reports sunny conditions and full sails as they continue north. Bill does mention that the radio is still down but that they are in good humour.

Coordinates: N2447, W15721
Course: 350
Speed: 4 knots

And their off - again.

Graeme here reporting for Bill. They are on their way again. Bill says he and Tom had lovely 2 days of great sailing. Now getting into some squalls for next little while. They both
are feeling a bit peaked so not eating much. Heading North, speed 5 knotts.

Time: 12:45 EST Saturday June 21st
Coordinates: N2213, W15733
Course: 351
Speed: 5 knots

Best of luck & good weather.

PS. Bill said Tom won't fetch the ball like Stewart, his scottie use to!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Adventure in Slow Motion Continues

Well, it's the day of departure. Tom was up till 3 working on the packingless sealer for the rudder shaft. The existing one has been improved on satisfactorily avoiding the final combat with flanges which the new one we received through the Bishop Street UPS would have required. The steering shaft seal works marvellously now that we've expelled the air from the tractor fluid. The radio microphone arrived and with the tech serviced radio is transmitting and receiving just fine. Allex Viernex at NavTech was a real source of help and support as were the folk at Oceantronics. Kat's General Repairs Inc. and Ed Dang Machine shops were terrific too. Homeland Security also did it's best to encourage our departure. This morning we joined the 12 coconut meeting before saying prayers again at St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral. Now it's just a matter of putting 2 more bolts in the flanges, confirming shaft allignment, stowage, dissassembling the dinghy, leaving the mooring buoy in Keehi Harbour and filling up with fuel and water. I found an organic food store yesterday where I replenished the fruit and vegetables and stocked up on my favourite Reed's Ginger Ale. Now we drop off the glorious mustang with Enterprise. The weather reports are without warning but fresher. The adventure in slow motion continues.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

24 hour Extension

Last night Tom insisted we take the mustang and cruise Waikiki. So there we were looking for parking before hitting the pavement and checking out Prada lapel widths and Louis Vitton tie sizes. We cruised the malacon with honeymooners and hundreds of juniors (20-30 yos). Lots of bittersweet memories of other lifetimes. Regae street bands, shell string necklaces, coconut art, moonlit palm trees amid the rip tides of 2 for 1 conviviality. Beautiful people everywhere in this shrine to holiday happiness.
This morning I woke at 6 am to the sound of jet engines taking off over the boat. 7 am we were at the 12 coconuts meeting doing the dance with Ron and talking about God with Norma Jean. At Pier 1 Border and Customs the Homeland Security folks extended our stay 24 hours. Breakfast burritos and americanos at Red Elephant. Cellphone call saying the steering cylinder is ready. UPS, Radio, Westmarine, harbourmaster, fuel dock and on down the list.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Downtown Honolulu

This is downtown Honolulu near the Hawaii Pacific University. In this church Father Damien gave mass in the 1850's. Thanks to prayers, UPS and the good folk at Wagner we now have the seal repair kit .
The hamm/ssb radio is with Icom radio tech. A machinist is making a new bronze bushing for the rudder post mount. Tom believes there's a hydraulics shop near Pearl Harbour which will do the seal kit repair. We found a laundromat and will get to that task later.
My sister in law Adell calls this 'an adventure in slow motion'.

Red Elephant

We've just come from the 12 coconut meeting past Waikiki across from the zoo. Heard a old fellow say that he was told he didn't have a good childhood or a bad childhood but it certainly was becoming a very long childhood. Reminded me of Milton who says he doesn't know about having a 'child within' but sure does think there's an 'adult within' trying hard to get out. Right now we're in the Red Elephant, a downtown cafe near the Bishop Street UPS where our parts are being shipped. Jimmy Buffet's, Mother Ocean is playing in the background. We're on hold waiting for the hydraulic steering seal kit and a propeller shaft seal kit and a new hamm radio microphone. This morning we're heading out to have the radio checked by a radio tech, get a prop shaft bushing and do our laundry. It's a bit cloudy so far we haven't had to use the air conditioning in the convertible. In the pictures Tom is demonstrating his personal one man escape dinghy.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Well, the tractor hydraulic fluid didn't do it's job so we decided to head for Honolulu. This is us coming by Diamond Head. The other picture is me with the white mustang convertible. Since we had to rent a car to haul stuff and get about I figured this was it. We just cruised Waikiki to find where the UPS store is that we've had the Wagner steering cylinder seal repair kit shipped to. It's supposed to arrive overnight. West Marine was helpful as always and we got a replacement propeller shaft packing less seal. It's possible we're be able to just tighten the present one as it now appears from looking at the replacement that the problem wasn't as serious as it appeared. It's going to feel good to have the replacement nonetheless and just for good measure I got a replacement kit for the head since I'd used the one I brought to get that up and running again. Tom just tried out the electrosan waste disposal unit without warning me to put on a Hasmat suit. Much to our surprise it's functioning fine. Homeland Security won't be after us because of it. Customs has given us 48 hours to put our ship in order so we're planning on leaving Wednesday morning. Right now Tom is on the phone looking for parts for the Icom Hamm/SSB. The Icom 706 MKIIG unit has an unusual microphone plug that no one likes and though there's an "optional part' to convert this to a regular microphone plug I don't have the optional part. We're still trying to find out why the pactor III connects and then disconnects. Something in the initial communication identification is interfering with email getting out. We're receiving well on the radio so have high seas weather reports.
Meanwhile Oahu is beautiful. Great weather reports continue. The boat is at anchor in Keehi Lagoon. Despite the incredible surroundings I'm really looking forward to getting back to Canada. I just have to steer Tom away from the beaches.

Friday, June 13, 2008


We couldn't get the part because the fellow in Washington wasn't available till next week. Tom and I mutually concluded we couldn't leave on Friday especially Friday the 13th. The Canoe Club which has been accomodating here has a regatta tomorrow and we're in the midst of their race lines so must move first thing in the morning. Tom's added tractor fluid to the hydraulics with improvement so we're going with that knowing we can still go to Honolulu if the problem persists. No luck finding a microphone but my water bladder patches appeared to be holding after I physically hauled 25 gallons of water. We're having another dinner at Koho's. Tom said this may be the last 'dinner out' for weeks. Despite only seeing the commercial parts of this town and the beach we've enjoyed the stay here. Tomorrow we're leaving again with the weather reports for the week good for east trades at 15 knots. We'll be heading north again.


Tom's been on the cell phone to the new Wagner in Vancouver and has the part number which we need. Apparently there's a part in Seattle and right now Tom's off looking for a quiet spot with my credit card to order it via ups overnight. This gives me time to look for a microphone for the Icom 706 MK hamm radio I have. Right now I'm unable to transmit and while it may be in the program it seems to be the microphone so with another mike I'd be able to solve the problem or move along the diagnostic curve. The Maui Harley Davidson is just down the street and another part we need is in Lahania so it may be we'll rent a Harley for the trip across island. One taxi trip for a part yesterday cost $20. Rent a car's aren't expensive but they can make it harder to leave island whereas a motorcycle could be a compromise (business&pleasure). For now back to the boat for hauling more water to test the bladder repairs and collect the microphone. Cruising = doing boat work in exotic places.


We're on Maui still looking for a solution to the Wagner hydraulic steering system. Hawthorne here were terrific and would restore it and add seals and rings if we had the replacement kit however Wagner went out of business. This was the same problem I had with their autopilot electronics. Tom's looking for the specifications of the seals and rings on the other Bad Ass Coffee Co computer. Otherwise we'll get by with heavy hydraulic oil and trust our Hydrovane self steering system which bypasses the hydraulics. I did get all the patching done on the water bladder and hope it will hold. Chafe wear from previous trip.
We're anchored off the paddling club here. The picture of Tom and I is from this morning when we came over in the dinghy. The boat's there in the background. I forgot to say earlier we saw flying fish on our way. Angel my cat would like to know that sort of detail. Also that Maui has an excess of wild chickens. Very colourful.

More Kahului

Found wifi spot in restaurant here!

Kahului, Maui

We got away from Kona after a pleasant night of fine food and music with Alfred and Adva from Waterhoen. Saul who'd been in the 1948 Israeli war before becoming a fishing guide and now at 80 thinking of retiring, had sold me a 12 foot Korean inflatable. We think it was the only one on the island. We left the marina and anchored off the beach before setting sail in the morning. En route we caught an ahi and barbecued it for dinner. All that night we were sailing across the channel thankful for the advice to do the passage when the trades were light. Finding that one of our water tanks had leaked and that the steering was mushy we decided to put into Kahului on the west coast of Maui. Caution is the better part of valour. While I fixed the water system Tom tore apart the hydraulic steering. It's getting to be that there's not a system that we've not taken apart and put back together. Tom says he's getting all the demons out. Today he told me he was making certain the hydraulics were Christianized. We've made a hundred miles of the 2500 journey. If we can get a hydraulics shop to repair a fitting in the morning we should be off again. It's been good to have cell phone connection. I've not been able to get the hamm radio email connection because of com port problems with the computer. I hope to fix it before Tom takes it upon himself to evangelize the radio and pactor modem.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Later Sunday

Bill shorn and weather looks good.

Hawaian Sunday

We just took communion at the oldest church in Hawaii founded 1820. The service started at 1030 and we arrived at 1045. Tom and I had been up since 5 am. I spent 5 hours fixing the head then changing fuel filters on the engine while Tom got the electricity going to the Hamm/SSB radio giving us access to offshore weather. Being filthy from head and engine I jumped overboard and swam around the boat seeing a really large box fish and a school of blue fish. After I got to rinse off the with shower and have the shower pump take away the water. When I came out in clean clothes, Alfred was on his boat holding the plunger arm from his head.
"The cruising world is all about doing boat work in exotic places," I said. He agreed going on to recommend a lagoon and a Fiji Island he'd come from. "All the people do there is eat and procreate and the women take really good care of the men."
For the first day this week, Tom having only been working on electrical, could get away with just washing his hands. Now it's time to look at weather reports to plan passages.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The GIRI is in the WATER!

What excitement as the travel lift lowered the GIRI into the water! She floats. No leaks!
Next it was getting the engine started. Tom had a time with the old fuel and we've concerns to come. No one is polishing fuel on the island any more and only a coffee plantation sailor may pick up old fuel. We couldn't reach him so are making do.
Leaving the lift bay and the rusty helm skills began returning. Backing up and turning with a full keel to land along side a dock with just enough wind and current to remind me of past encounters of the third kind.
After a night at dock we put on the sails this morning and moved the boat to the fuel dock where we did mediterranean moorage rafted up with Waterhoen. I actually dove into the clear blue warm water with mask and fins to retrieve a moor buoy rope. Tom got out a 2 x 8 board and walked the plank to get back onto our boat from aft.
Alfred and his crew, whose name means "little waves" are returning from the polynesian south about to passage back to NA.
Tom and I have been visitting the first church on the islands set up here by the missionaries including Brigham and Thurston. A nice break from our earlier time in the bilge from hell.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kona Boat Work

Flying into Kona the volcanic nature of the island is readily apparent. Tom said he thought he was landing on a moon scape. The lush palm trees surround the airport though along with all the exotic vegetation that the island is famous for. Tom was there to meet me and it was a great reunion. Laughter and that great manly handshake hug.

It was good to reunite with the GIRI too. For two days now we've been working and outfitting, hauling all that is necessary for an ocean crossing from Kmart, Home Deport and Walmart. I even found Reed's Ginger Ale. The engine part has arrived and Tom's fixing that tomorrow. I've been doing inspections and wood work and cleaning tanks. Only wasps got in so my fears were unfounded. Lots of superficial rust to be addressed and bottom painting to be done. A few more days before she goes in the water. I"m aching everywhere from the physical exertion. Good feelings of accomplishment as each day brings us closer to going into the water. Right now we're at the Bad Ass Coffee Co enjoying the sound and sight of the night surf. In the distance a great big ketch is all lit up.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Dawn over Honolulu. Aloha!


Arrived with all bags accounted for. Flight made better by MP3 Monty Python, Third Day, Sarah McLaughlin and Anne Murray. I could not hear the two babies demanding first class service in coach. The couple beside me were on their honeymoon. Hot humid tropical air hit when we landed. Though I've been to Hawaii several times it was Saipan that I first thought of. Next the airport itself brought to mind my last transit here with Scotty dog Stuart and calico cat Angel in tow. 12 coconut meeting tomorrow at 7 am in Kapiolani Park. Now for bed with Jimmy Buffet's book, A Salty Peice of Land. Can't imagine why I just don't feel like dancing all night. Might have something to do with Saturday's 250 km Ride for Dad, with the 1020 other motorcycles Laura and I and Harley joined which raised over $100,000 for prostate cancer research. Tom's calling me in the morning to let me know if Kona's Yanmar engine distributor can access the exhaust part that he found we needed yesterday. If so I'll be hopping on Hawaian Air. If not I'll be sourcing the part here before I fly over there.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


It's time to board the plane. Tom's been phoning each night claiming to be working on the boat while no doubt lying around on the beach. Time for me to join him lying around on the beach to claim to be working on the boat. Thanks for all the help and encouragement. Hawaii here I come. All's well I'll be on the boat tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kaloo! Kalay! He Chortled in his Joy!

Tom has phoned to say the GIRI is in tact. The boat is much as I left it. No major repairs. No theft. Sun damage to ropes and fabric and possibly a rat came and went. The boat will float and the sails will capture air and the anchor will hold and the engine run. I'm delighted. So looking forward to disentangling myself from the office which threatens to strangle me for leaving. Whether a doctor leaves for a week or a month there's twice as much work to be done before and after. Such is the punishment faced that some just opt to stay rather than take time off at such a high cost in so many different ways. Not sailors though. The call of the sea and wind makes all the effort worth it. In a few days I'll be flying out to join him. Anticipation!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tom's Ready to Fly

Yesterday I had the joy of being on my friend's beautiful Beneteau, Turnpoint. He's ready to go offshore and done a wonderful job of preparing his boat. He's such an accomplished coastal captain and competent seaman yet still worrying about that first ocean crossing. Reminded me of the psychological and spiritual leap of faith that goes with leaving land far behind. Chatting sailing in his cockpit with him and his lovely partner brought back so many fond memories of the world of cruising. Driving away on the Harley, I found myself humming Jimmy Buffet's song, "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude."
Today found the picture of the GIRI under way in Juan de Fuca before my friend Gary and I painted it gunship grey.
Tom arrived and we spent the day loading up suitcases with engine parts and such, all the while balancing bag weights for Westjet then Hawaian Air. I don't envy him herding luggage through the airport and customs but he's beaming at the thought of being in bikini heaven sometime tomorrow. Tom corrected me and said he's looking forward to the cultural experience of hoola skirts.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mounting Excitement!

My nephew Graeme, has kindly agreed to manage this blog while we're offshore. Graeme is a photographer by night whose own blog is at By day he is a chemical engineer working at a Star Trek Ottawa plant that uses a plasma gun to zap all manner of garbage into usable fuel. I asked for yacht sized trickle down technology but as yet his company in more interested in supplying the fuel needs of cities rather than individual cruisers.
Tom is back from jury rigging an engine for JD's canvas California plane, getting his tenants and friends settled into his Frazer Valley home so he can run away to sea.
With my medical scales home from the office I'm weighing hamm/SSB radio, sextants, power drill, gps, laptops and such for our carry on luggage. The World Cellular Rentals Iridium Sat phone arrived in it's yellow Pelican case. Our 89 yo dads are glad we're keep in touch. At rental cost and $2 a minute we won't be talking to teenagers but I will maintain emergency contact with secretary Noreen. The Hamm/SSB can't be used for business but will continue to be the mainstay of communications and email given the short range of VHS.
Despite having his mind on his new ketch, Eric at Steveston's marina explained the advantages of heading first to Honolulu as he handed me spare parts for the head. Today I'm finalizing moorage for the GIRI with a friend.
Last night Laura and I saw the Pacific Theatre's brilliant and hilarious play, "You Can't Take It With You" which I chose to take personally. Time to go sailing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


May 14,2008
Great Club Night at the Bluewater Cruising Association! It's such an inspiration to look at the motley crew of modern day adventurers following in the tradition of Captain Cook. Not that any of us look particularly edible. What a gift to hear from those who have returned from the far reaches of the worlds oceans. Heroic true tales of Cape Horn storms are juxtaposed with the humorous tales of would be racing circumnavigators whose boats are still captive to the syren manana shores of Mexico.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I just heard today that Rob won't be joining Tom and I
this sailing trip. Rob had already made plans to
accompany his daughter on a missionary trip this summer to
treat Aids patients in Africa. His devoted wife
felt wisely she could miss him for that but not that as well as a '3 men in a boat' experience with the likes of Tom and myself. Last year I'd hoped to sail the Giri home in June with Mark but he had surgery that failed to heel according to our schedule. Obtaining crew is sometimes more difficult than feeding swans by hand and sadly pressgangs, walking the plank, and cats of nine of tails are frowned upon by the politically correct. More people today are solo sailing. The Blue Water Cruising Association has mostly cruising couples and often sailors do their best cruising in their retirement years. With our busy professional schedules I have difficulty making dinner dates with friends let alone finding people who can take off a month from their work and families to play pirate or explorer. Further the people that you want to share weeks of life together in small spaces where competency and skill and emotional stability and mental health are all critical factors are few and far between. When I sailed solo with my dog Stuart I can honestly say that I had to put him "on the couch" many times about his obsessive ball behaviour. In the cruising community most know that marriages and friendships are made incredibly richer and stronger through the cruising experience though some are sadly broken by the demands for honesty and mutual respect that arise in small boats in big seas.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8, 2008

The new watermaker arrived at Steveston Marina. Over the years I've bought a lot of equipment there and it's served me well. Also appreciated all the advice I've received especially in the early years when I didn't know diddlysquat.

Heard from Tom again.

Bill I'm going south for a week or so to do some more on JD's airplane. I moved the boat, the odd adventurous moment but is secure now.hope to speak to you soon, Tom. (He's referring to his boat Naomi. )

I was at the Westcoast Biker Church last night and the talk was on positive 'holy fantasies' and 'fear based" thinking. I thought I'd put up a picture of the Giri in Vancouver's False Creek as what I plan to focus on and contrast it with the beginning of the storm I encountered on my solo sail to Hawaii. Blue Water Cruising Associations' club night next Tuesday

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May 5, 2008 - Packing and Preparation

Ever since I left the GIRI I've wondered if I remembered everything that one is supposed to do before leaving a boat in dry dock. There are a myriad of tasks including sticking aluminum foil in the through hulls to keep crawlies and wasps from getting inside.

Then there are all the things one must do to take a boat out of mothballs. Tom's going out a week ahead to survey the scene and give me a heads up for anything I might have to bring at the last moment. He's taking a new watermaker to install before we set off as the old one, refurbished, had its' last legs on my trip out. And despite those die hard sailors who ration water, I don't want to go weeks without a shower.

The bottom will need painting. The fuel tank will need emptying. The water tanks will need rinsing with fresh water and cleaner. The rigging will need checking along with the sails. I'd taken the hamm radio with me and that will have to be carried back and reinstalled. The batteries despite solar charger will likely have gone dry and need replacing.

There's the fear of theft though the marina storage facility hasn't had much of that problem. Still I'm looking forward to hearing that my spare parts and tools are all safe. There's often little real value in theft compared to the massive inconvenience it can cause. Propane tanks will need to be filled and the galley stove checked. I've ordered a new washer for the salt water pump and we're anticipating we'll have to change the head pump as well.

I checked passports and papers and found that the ships registry address was wrong. Thankfully the Vancouver Registry office issued me new papers in record time.

It was great to already get a reply from Donna Sassaman to my query about routing on the Bluewater Cruising Association message board:

Bill and I left Hawaii for BC on May 26, 1993 and we never did get over thetop of the high, which spread hugely to the north and west that year. So, wedid what any self-respecting cruisers do when they're in 'homing pigeon'mode: we sailed and sometime motored through it. There was a gale about a1,000 miles out from Juan de Fuca that helped us improve our speed a bit butother than that 36-hour push, it was a bit slow.A couple of details that I remember: (1) there was a nasty trail of plasticgarbage strewn for miles and miles along the shipping lanes north of Hawaii(we had seen no garbage in the southern hemisphere), and (2)for a couple ofdays we sailed through gazillions of jellyfish that looked like little blueboats with white sails. Unbelievable! We were in radio contact with othercruisers hundreds of miles away who were experiencing similar gazillions!Safe passage-making, and please remember to write an account for Currents onyour way back!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Tom Kennedy and I, Bill Hay, are in the final preparation stages for sailing my SV GIRI home from Kona, Hawaii.

The GIRI is a 39,9 foot steel cutter rigged 13 ton Folkes sailing vessel. I sailed her solo in the winter of 2004 from Vancouver to San Francisco and then to Hilo Hawaii before going around the island to leave her in Kona dry dock.

Tom and I sailed before taking the Giri down to San Francisco and sailing together off the Mexico coast to Cabot San Lucas on another sailing jaunt.

Tom has his own 37 foot sailboat Naomi. As well, he's a pilot, engineer, and fantastic fiddler. I'm a sailor, doctor, writier and master of 5 chords on the guitar. I'll have my Washburn little guitar with me. Right now I'm uploading tunes and stories to the Creative MP3 for night watch. We've been sorting gear we'll be flying out with as I took some of the portable electronics with me when I left the GIRI to work in Saipan.