It’s been a long time since I blogged because I’ve been focused on getting back home, and then I’ve been taking a little rest. At the end of August, my engine broke down just north of Seymour Narrows, so I had to get towed to Brown’s Bay marina by the Canadian coast guard. My mom loaned me the money to buy 20HP Suzuki outboard, and my girlfriend picked it up in Port Alberni on her way to visit me. She showed up with a large Garelick mounting bracket many tiny bits and pieces from Fisheries Supply, too.
I installed the shift and throttle cables and the wire harness, moved my starter battery to reach the short battery leads at the back of the boat (as I didn’t have enough electrical connectors or supplies to extend the battery leads–one thing I forgot), got some help from locals tacking all 130 LB of it onto the back of my boat, and it got me home.
I’ve got a 48 North article out about this in the October Issue. It was still a great trip, I got to see and learn a lot, and I don’t regret it. I had a fixed window of time off from work from two jobs that I had scheduled far in advance. It’s not ideal to have to cram everything into a set window with a sailboat, but for anyone who works regular hours for a living, that’s just reality. If you ever want a chance to do anything, you have to do your best to be ready by the scheduled window, and that’s all you can do: finish the things that are the most critical, then leave the rest till later.
I wanted to see how far I could get, having worked as hard as I could to be as ready as possible by a deadline. I got over halfway up the eastern side of Vancouver Island and I singlehanded over 400 nautical miles total. (Sixty of those miles were overnight in the fog with my AIS in the Strait of Georgia, from Comox to Nanaimo. 1am to 10am was the only weather window between storms.) I’m planning to try again, probably looking at Summer 2021 instead of 2020, though I’m not 100% decided yet. The reason is, I’m saving up for a brand new Beta inboard engine, and I’ve also got some boat work to do. I don’t want to be set back in saving up for the Beta by the expense of another trip so soon, and I’d like to have the Beta for my next attempt, since outboards have issues with over-revving in large waves.
This year I plan to focus on refinishing my cabin, adding cabinets, shelves, new teak veneer on the bulkheads, drawers, etc. But first, I’m doing a fairly long routine maintenance and clean-up checklist. Responsibility and protecting the boat first, then fun later! Also I get a great deal on all Whitecap teak products where I work at Fisheries Supply, but since I’m paying my mom back for the outboard (which will serve as a backup or secondary engine during my second attempt at the island), it’ll still be awhile before I can buy them.
Also this year I want to go out sailing more regularly, singlehanded.