We planned our summer holidays on Blue Tale to coincide with the Bluewater Cruising Association’s rendezvous in August. We also decided to go down to the boat later in the summer to avoid the summer crowds that we were sure to encounter while sailing from the Gulf Islands to Desolation Sound. However, our idea of what our summer would look like and how it actually looked like are two different outcomes. We did sail but there were many tears (mainly mine), broken equipment and questions on whether Blue Tale was still the boat for us or even if this was the lifestyle we wanted to continue with once we left the north. But it was not all gloomy; ok, the weather was! We had some interesting sailing experience including having winds up to 25 to 30 knot winds.
We arrived on the boat on August 14 and the boat was in very good shape after being put to bed almost a year and half ago. Our first few days were spent getting the boat organized and getting provisions. When we put the boat to bed, Rob pulled all the halyards and replaced them with a thinner (and cheaper line). Unfortunately, due to weather the line for the main halyard degraded and slipped of the topmast sheave for the main halyard. So Rob also had to go up the mast to run the main halyard through. Luckily, it was a quick job and we didn’t have much trouble doing it.
We also decided to have an electrical audit done to determine our electrical usage, ensuring the batteries were setup correctly and whether we needed to replace our solar panels with larger ones. Before the auditor showed up from Anchor Marine Electronics, Rob decided to start the motor, and low and behold, the engine did not start. We checked all the connectors and everything appeared to be in place. The auditor checked the batteries (both the house and starter) and both were full, so that was not the problem. After going through the electrical audit and scratching heads a few time, it was determined that the potential source of the engine problem was the starter. Rob and the auditor took about 20 minutes trying to remove the bolts to get to the starter. At this point, I suggested they contact the diesel mechanic (Doug Perry) we’ve used in the past just to make sure that it was the starter and not something else. Everyone agreed and luckily for us, Doug was available that same day.
Doug arrived and squeezed his 6 foot frame into our tiny engine room and within 5 minutes he found the problem. It was a loose ground connector that goes to the engine mount! After he tightened the bolt, our engine worked perfectly and now starts up every time with no problems. Such a simple problem and easy fix.
After six days (yes it took us that long to sort everything out), we left on August 20th and headed for Montague Harbour. We put up the sails as soon as we could just south of Saltspring Island and as we entered the Satellite Channel. We puttered and kept going with the sails, occasionally turning the motor on to avoid the ferries coming towards us, but as Rob pointed out we always seem to find a deadzone in this area. As soon as we left Swanson Channel and entered Captain’s Passage, the winds finally picked up for a great sail. We were both reluctant to bring the sails down by the time we approached the entrance to Montague Harbour near Parker Island as we had such a good day sailing!
Montague Harbour understandably was very busy as everyone with a boat appeared to be there for the last bit of summer. Luckily we were able to find a nice spot in the anchorage and enjoyed a lovely evening after a very eventful week. More to come…
~Sophia & Rob