Yahtzee is back in the water!

After six weeks on the hard and being worked on nearly every day, Yahtzee is finally back where she belongs — in the water. Of course, when we pulled her out in mid-October to address a tiny leak, it turned into a much, much larger, time consuming and expensive job than we ever envisioned. As usual, we’ve made the best of our time off the boat and learned a few things along the way. Fortunately, though, it’s done now. And we know that we did it right.

Without the amazing work done by our fiberglass guy and new friend, Ethan, “doing it right” never would have been possible. His quality craftsmanship is not only something to be admired, but his attention to detail and assurance that he wanted to make it better than when it came out of the factory provides us with a peace of mind that can’t be matched. For an in depth look at how he fixed everything, check out his thread on the project at Cruisers Forum.

The new rudder and repaired skeg ready to hit the water.

The new rudder and repaired skeg ready to hit the water.

The new rudder caused the biggest wait while our home was on the hard, and it was worth it. We don’t know how long the old rudder was cracked and filled with water, but spending the time and money to get a new one now gives us a baseline and a fin that we can be 100% confident in. Thanks also goes out to Al and the rest of the team at Foss Foam Products (newrudders.com) in Florida for a job well done on the rudder.

And I couldn’t write this post without giving a big and sincere thank you to the many friends and family members who supported us along the way. With two children, not being in our home was difficult at times, but we made it work because of the people in our lives. Thanks to Mike and Maurisa, Lief and Kate, Matt and Katy, and Marcus and Ashley for your hospitality while all of this was going on. Opening your homes to us was amazingly generous and hugely helpful — so thank you! And to Darren and Erin for providing us with an open-ended offer of a place to stay. Your house is truly a home away from home for us, and we are forever grateful.

Yahtzee heading for the water.

Yahtzee heading for the water.

After being out of the water for so long, we need to get moved back aboard and wipe off the weeks of boatyard grime that inevitably come with being on the hard. We’ll be back out exploring soon, cruising the Pacific Northwest and sharing our adventures as we go. And for that, we couldn’t be happier.

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5 Favorites | Parks of the Gulf Islands

This is the fourth in an ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics such as memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, fun things to do, ports, days of sailing, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

British Columbia’s beautiful Gulf Islands are among our favorite places in the Pacific Northwest to drop the hook, tie a line ashore and head out on foot or by kayak to explore trails and beaches. So it was only natural that the many parks scattered among these islands would make a perfect “5 Favorites.”

But one of the things that guides this particular list is that our cruising time in the Gulf Islands has been heavily skewed towards the winter months. Cruising throughout the islands for many weeks at a time during the solitude of winter has been highly rewarding, but also means that very few boats are around. That being the case, we’ve visited all of these as the lone boat there and I’m not sure many of them would make my 5 Favorites had we been there exclusively in the more crowded times of the summer. Also, they are all great spots for kids, with easy hikes and accesible beaches.

Just like my previous “5 Favorites” topics, though, there are so many great ones to choose from that finalizing this list was extremely difficult. Alas, here are my 5 Favorite parks in the Gulf Islands from north to south.

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A rudder is born

Unswaddled and ready to meet its caretakers, a beautiful rudder is born.

Unswaddled and ready to meet its caretakers, a beautiful rudder is born. And it even came with instructions.

As the FedEx Freight truck rumbled its way into Canal Boatyard yesterday, I was high atop a ladder swirling wax into Yahtzee’s gel coat. When I turned and saw it, I nearly fell down the rungs in excitement. And I was so giddy that my signature was unrecognizable on the receiving papers.

Watching our sweet new baby being lifted from the truck and then unwrapped this morning for its first meeting with its new (to it) boat, I couldn’t actually believe it was happening. I still can’t. After a three week wait, Yahtzee’s new rudder is a thing of beauty, and allows us to finally see the light at the end of a very long, sometimes scarily dark tunnel. We’re closer to being home than we have been in a long long time. And it feels great.

There's still a short adjustment period for the boat and rudder to get through before they can be in the water together.

A short adjustment period for the boat and rudder is yet to come before they can be in the water together.

That said, there is still work to be done and a holiday to contend with. But as far as timelines go — which are never good for a boat in a boatyard — we’ll all be back in the water again fairly soon.

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

Stay tuned, folks, we’re getting there…