It is unusually hot here in this part of Nova Scotia (near Mahone Bay), for early September. Knowing that we’re going to be experiencing the eye of a hurricane before things cool down is not a great comfort, at least not when you own a boat.
Some people are taking their boats out of the water. Nearby, Oak Island Marina is asking boats with the greatest windage to leave the marina before the hurricane passes, whether to a “hurricane hole” such as Chester Back Harbour, or onto the land, to prevent damage to the marina and other boats.
We have a strong mooring and a small, seaworthy sailboat (a Tanzer 22), and we still plan to do lots of sailing this fall. We will remove the sails to reduce windage, remove the outboard engine, secure or remove anything that could cause damage when bouncing around inside the boat, double up the mooring lines including a line from the mooring to the mast, and hope for the best.
If it weren’t so hot, this work would be easier.
Meanwhile, at home we have to be prepared for power outages and high winds, which means taking down the screened-in mosquito shelter, putting tools and toys away, filling the bathtubs and jugs with water, backing up my hard drive, and stocking up on food, batteries and camping gas. As long as the power stays on, I’ll report here on the storm as it passes.
It has been raining for weeks now, it seems. A quasi-stationary low has delivered warm, moist air to the South Shore on an ongoing basis.
Lunenburg is still picturesque through the fog. You get a new appreciation for why the buildings are so brightly painted. It’s a cool place to hang out.
Friends of ours are waiting to make a trans-Atlantic crossing in their sailboat, but the weather has delayed their departure. They’ve moved the boat into Lunenburg Harbour so they can enjoy the ambiance and feel like they’ve started their trip. No matter what other ports you may visit, Lunenburg is special, a unique, historic, world-class sailing destination.
It’s a laborious but joyful spring chore for boaters in Nova Scotia: taking off the winter cover, cleaning her, fixing her up, painting her bottom, waxing her sides perhaps, and getting her ready to launch.
Owning a boat means using a lot of elbow grease, unless you’re wealthy enough to hire someone to do it all for you. And contrary to what you may think, boat owners aren’t all wealthy – partly because their boats keep them so. But the ability to get out on the water provides richness to their lives, whatever their bank balance may be.
Here’s a lovely account of Rob Dunbar’s adventure, in 2006, of sailing solo along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in a sailing dinghy. Took him 8 days. He was going in the right direction; coming the other way you could expect it to be harder with prevailing winds against you. The story is well illustrated and described. I’ve sailed there in a larger keelboat and paddled near Tangier in a canoe, and look forward to going back. Recommended for hardcore sailors, armchair adventurers and sea kayakers!
Got some serious cash and top-notch sailing skills? Want to sail the Southern Ocean in a very fast, well-equipped boat with an experienced skipper, take her round Cape Horn and up the South and North Atlantic to France? Does Derek Hatfield have an opportunity for you!
Stranded in Tasmania after broken spreaders on the Open 60, Spirit of Canada, forced him to quit the Vendée Globe round-the-world solo race, Derek has been repairing the boat, but can’t afford to pack her in a crate and ship her back. He has to sail her. And this is where you come in – if you can outbid your competition, that is. Go for it!
Derek Hatfield is in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, having carefully piloted his Open 60 sailboat, Spirit of Canada, to the closest shelter of land after the boat was damaged in the Vendée Globe solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailing race (“the Everest of sailing”).
Spirit of Canada had been hit by a huge wave that knocked the boat over and broke the spreaders high above the deck. The race’s rules require that participants repair any damage without any outside help if they are to stay in the race, but this damage is not something that Derek could have repaired alone.
In fact, of the 30 boats that started this race 50 days ago, only 12 remain in the running, so he is in very respectable company. A look at the race’s map (see www.vendeeglobe.org/en/ and click on the Map) shows the southernmost points of land littered with boats that have had to abandon the race.
“Spirit of Canada” has been a shoestring project all along, without the major corporate sponsorship and intense media interest enjoyed by Derek’s European competitors. The whole enterprise has been built on the small donations of thousands of Canadians. Now they have to get the boat back home to Nova Scotia, and fixed so it can participate in future Open 60 races. Shipping a boat like that is very expensive. However, sailing it home would require that it be fixed first, which has its own logistical challenges. If you can help support “Spirit of Canada” with a financial contribution, please do so. You can make a donation via their website, SpiritOfCanada.net, and send supportive e-mails to Derek from there as well.
After what will surely be remembered as the great November snowstorm of 2008, I went for a walk this morning in crystalline -8 degrees(C). From Crandall Point I looked out on the still waters of Mahone Bay, the open ocean behind, and counted six boats between Oak Island and Tancook. I thought of our sailboat, now snug and dry, and marveled at the fishermen who brave such cold. But it’s the first day of lobster season, too important a day to stay home if you have traps to set.