I learned to sail in a folding Kayak
and vinyl 2 seater with a foot operated rudder
, a unstayed mast
about 8 feet high, with a gaff main and a small jib
about the size of two tea towels. There was a fitting to rig leeboards on her, and this is how I learned to sail. That was back in the end 60s and early 70s Til I went off to college, met women, learned about beer
In 77 I bought an old 16 foot cedar runabout which was on the bottom at Frenchman's bay east of Toronto, and rebuilt it into a junk rigged sailboat. Not very successful but it did move. That ended up being ate by the snowplow that winter. Opps.
Finally I decided I wanted to live aboard and in April of 79 I bought my first Grampian
. I had a friend of mine help me rig her, set up the rig and then we went out a couple of times so I could figure out the intricacies. Finally I went out alone one Wendesday, motored out about 5 miles into Lake Ontario
and pitched the spark plugs overboard
. By the time I got back in, it was Sunday and I sailed up to the slip. I spent 5 days going back and forth between Port Credit, and Toronto Island until I could do it properly and without any kerfuffle. About that time I met Terri, and we spent most of that summer and the next pretty much living aboard
. I was a live aboard for 18 months, Terri, being a tad younger wasn't allowed to stay over much but we did end up going off for 3 weeks the second summer.
It ended up that we parted ways, and it messed me up pretty badly. I ended up walking away from my boat, moved ashore and spent the next 2 years boatless. After a while I ended up buying
a wooden cutter
, 1944 vintage, built of cedar on Oak framing. The engine
, and she had more rot
than anything I've ever seen. She ended up a dead loss, but as a learning
experience, she was invaluable. I then moved on to an HO-28 a steel
kit boat built around Hamilton Ontario
for a while. This is where I decided that steel
was the way to go. She had fallen off a trailer while moving at 60mph down the road, and while banged up and dented, was till sound. I worked on her for a few years, trying to get her set up as a going concern, but loss of job and other financial issues forced me to sell her off.
My next boat was again the trusty Grampian
. I played around with that one for 6 years, going to school
again at the same time. In 2000 I joined the Lakeshore Yacht club, where I saw Espina for the first time. After 5 years of dickering,(2005) I ended up with her, and sold the Grampian to a fellow near Brighton Ontario
for what I had paid for her. Espie was in fair shape but the coach roof was in bad shape, and deteriorating fast. But she was a sweet boat to sail. The only problem was a lack of bunks big enough for my size. In Harbor was no problem, the settees joined together to form a queen sized bunk atwartship but underway it was sleep on the cabin sole
About this time I got a wild hair up my backside and with my brother in tow flew out to PEI, rented a car and drove to Souris on the east end of the island to look at a Douglas 31. I'd always had a liking for them, and found one listed for cheap
. No wonder, it was a wreck. 36hrs, and a $1000 later I was back in Toronto where my brother took me to see a friend of his who lived aboard in Port Credit. Turned out his wife worked for a broker, and we talked will my brother and her husband chatted. Told her of the trip to PEI, and she asked what sort of boat I was looking for. Turned out she had a listing for a Roberts Offshore
38. Based on her description, "Its weird", I had to go have a look. Of course Weird is difficult to pin down. The boat looked OK, surveyed OK, so I bought it. Weird I figured out later. This boat was put together to fit a slim guy about 5' 6". I'm large and 6' 2". Ergonomically this boat is a mess. Nothing fits, once you try it on for size. So, as she said, it's weird. I'll be looking at gutting the main cabin
and reworking it so it fits my size.
Sadly, I got a surveyor
who would be better qualified to pick up garbage, and his survey
missed a goodly amount of problems. However, this is the one I have, and the one I am going to stay with. Time will tell, the engine
is coming out this summer and the main cabin refit
will happen as well. I will miss the 2011 season but should be ready to rock come 2012. If all goes as planned, 2012 is my retirement year, and I'll be heading down the St Lawrence and across to Germany
. I promised on my mothers grave that I would sail the Atlantic so its time to fulfill that vow.