A relaxing time?


20140815_083049As many of my readers will recall, I sold my dear vessel Fainleog to a friend a year and a half ago after Tracy and I moved ashore. Until recently, the pain of that divorce has prevented me from even seeing my ex, much less boarding her again (in case you wondered, I’m talking about the boat, which are very much like wives, only more loyal and much more predictable).

But my buddy, who on some days has more androgens than neurotransmitters, wanted to sail her north to Desolation Sound, despite having zilch for experience, training, and knowledge (which helped a lot when I talked him into buying my boat.)

Now I’m as much for insurance payouts as much as the next guy, but I have strong residual feelings for Fainleog, and it seemed to me I needed to step up to the marlinspike and do what I could to introduce my buddy to the mysteries of the sea, on offer to which he jumped at, although in his mind it probably involved mermaids.

After a spring that would make Mephistopheles grin, and a long protracted war with Thunderbutt that featured as many inconclusive battles as the war in Afghanistan, I was ready for a relaxing cruise on the water.  I assumed Fainleog was ready to forgive me for abandoning her. I was ready to believe that my buddy (who shall remain nameless) could take us places without killing us, I was ready to believe this time afloat would involve great relaxing ease, with me travelling as far on my back as many aspiring starlets.

I was wrong on all accounts. I should have stayed in Victoria, suckling on Thunderbutt’s cold, iron teats.

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Thunderbutt dreaming.


It’s been two weeks since we moved aboard Thunderbutt, and so far it’s been pretty good, although not without a few issues. She’s fully self-contained, and we’ve been living more-or less off the grid for that time. There’s a fabulous, little known municipal campsite that’s one of those very rare birds, located right off a beach. Cheap moorage but with zilch for services. Water is trucked in and dumped into a big tank, and toilet facilities are just portable toilets of the kind dropped off at music festivals. It’s a bit much to expect an RV to supply the needs of two people living in an RV for 15 days, especially with Thunderbutt’s meagre (compare to our sailboat) tankage. Power is being supplied by two deep cycle batteries that I keep rotating. One is at my daughter’s in town charging while another keeps the lights on: as one goes flat I simply swap them.

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The last mile


Five days to moving, and the transmission of my new home needs to come out again. Long story, but my helper put the reverse band servo spring on the wrong side of the servo piston (inside the servo cylinder instead of above the piston) which made the reverse band always partially on, and it quickly burned out, taking out the band, the reverse drum and the servo piston.

As we knew the reverse band was shot (but not the other parts, which we couldn’t see), we ordered it from Lordco on Tues afternoon. It was supposed to be in Thursday AM, so on Wednesday my helper (who will remain anonymous) pulled the tranny again and we tore it down, finding the other parts damaged and needing replacement. That’s why a transmission tech will never give an estimate until they get it apart.

Come Thursday morning Lordco couldn’t find the band I ordered, but this wasn’t too much of an issue, as I doubted I would find the other parts I needed locally. A major downside of living on the Island is that obsolete parts like this are only in Vancouver available overnight. Lordco re-ordered the missing band and I went to a competitor, Key2 Parts, and ordered the drum and servo piston. Everything was set for the rebuild next day.

As if. I went back to Lordco and they again couldn’t find the part. I told them to shove their band and stormed out. I then went to Key2 Parts and found out that while they ordered a reverse drum, part no XXXX, that part number was actually for the front clutch drum, that I was now staring at. Somebody’s book was wrong. I had had enough and went for a walk on the beach.

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