This year was a very windy year. There were many days of high wind -15 plus knots- and many of this coming from the South and building quite large waves. Although my little Skerry is pretty solid in high winds and waves, 15 knots is too much even for Cricket, or more to the point too much for me.
I love a challenge but sometimes (just sometimes) I would like to know that if I make a mistake I will not be swimming in freezing Lake Ontario.
Did I mention I like a challenge? Anyway I felt ready to try my hand sailing a bigger boat. There are several Tanzer 22 at my boat club and they are well though of. They have the reputation of being well built and of being a good boat to learn on.
Kijiji produced several possibilities. I chose the closest on and went to see her. It was a strange story. The boat had been purchased 5 years prior by a woman who wanted a project and a boat. She was not a sailor and had no experience with a keelboat. For 5 years she had lovingly worked on this little Tanzer. She rented space in a friend's yard and gradually she cleaned up the keel, woodwork and rudder. She painted the topside and cleaned up the interior.
Her life moved on and she put her boat up for sale having never put it in the water. I bought it after a quick inspection. The hull was OK, the mast was OK, Sails were there but not great, it came with a cradle.
Coming from a position of great ignorance I jumped in knowing full well that I would find all kinds of problems but not knowing exactly what they were going to be. Boats are like horses. Cheap to buy, expensive to maintain.
You need a place that has a crane and a metal frame that keeps the straps separated so your boat doesn't get crushed. Many Yacht clubs will put your boat in for a fee. The ones I phoned were as snooty as it gets. They were also staggeringly expensive. I think they try and discourage outsiders from using their facilities. The man who moved my boat finally suggested someone he knew and that problem was solved. Lesson 1: it's much cheaper to buy a boat in the water.
The friend of the previous owner moved boats and made that part simple. He had a huge trailer and was an expert driver. Lakeshore Blvd was a mess because of Caribana and construction so scheduling was a nightmare but finally boat was in the water across town and the cradle delivered to the boat club. Yes, the cradle unfortunately doesn't float very well and had to be delivered after we got the boat off.
NOTE: It is just possible for 2 strong people to lift the cradle and put it on a small boat trailer. I later did this using 2x4 ramp and the winch that came with the trailer.
This is the first time this boat has had wet feet in 5 years. Here she is floating happily. You can see the wooden bracket I made so I could place the motor lower than the existing motor bracket permitted. I had borrowed a short shaft motor.
Although I had a mast and sail and if I knew what I was doing, could have sailed her to the club, I had no idea where to begin. I had never sailed a keelboat, in fact I had only sailed in one ONCE.
Here she is gently being lowered in the water.
There are 2 ways to move a boat on the water, SAIL or MOTOR. Since the boat was not masted and I had no idea how to sail her anyway, I had borrowed a motor ("Works just fine") because the one that came with the boat was not back from being serviced. I scrambled to get a gas tank, gas, oil, and to make a bracket to get the propeller to the water since it was a short shaft. We never got the motor started and after a couple of hours of cranking, fussing and cursing, we left the boat at the dock sadly floating, and me in complete despair.
There is a whole industry out there dedicated to separating boat owners from their money and towing is high on the list. Since I did not have a working motor it was necessary to find a tow as fast as possible. Once again Phil, the boat moving man, made a few calls and located a guy with an inflatable and big motor who repaired boats and towed on the side for a resonable fee. He arrived calm and competent, and gently nudged my new boat across the harbour through the western gap and to the boat club, safe and sound, while I steered.
He used an inflatable with a large motor to provide the towing power and I used the sailboat's rudder to steer us.
It's hard to describe how wonderful it felt to be finally moving in my new boat.
HOW TO TOW A BOAT SAFELY There is more to it than meets the eye!
Compared to my Skerry, she felt like a tank, but she was MY tank. She felt very stately and magestic as she glided through the water.
The Boat finally made it to the club just as the sun started setting.
I tied her to the dock, made sure she was settled in for the night and reluctantly went home. What a day!
After spending a quiet night I got a tow to my new assigned mooring spot and settled the boat down.
I finally had a chance to explore her. That was one of the most thrilling experience I have had. Just quietly sitting in the gently rocking boat and figuring out what was what and just sitting cosily in the cabin. I had not expected the cabin to be so pleasant. It was like having my own tree fort.
This is a thrill that I continue to feel every time I go down below.
I try to be accurate and check my information, but mistakes happen.email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine