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.