A Very Long Winter

June 17, 2018

Apparently, all the great marina managers are named Kelly.  At least in our experience so far, which is honestly, not a lot, but I’ll try not to diminish the compliment too much.

After Kelly from Beacon Harbourside gave us a fond farewell, Kelly from Harbour West welcomed us with a relaxed attitude and put us at ease.  Not a problem.  Whatever we needed.  Everything was good.

And just six days after our Plan B dramatically shifted to Plan C, we were hauling out the boat again for what was undoubtedly going to be a very long winter.

The sails, biminy, and dodger were taken down, we emptied her water tanks, and winterized the engine.  John kept coming back over the next couple weeks to do what he could before the snow fell.  We received a list of recommended names for wrapping the boat from Lynn, the wonderful woman at the Harbour West main office, and I called all three.  (Note once again, that I really need to stop listening to other people’s recommendations…) The first referral answered promptly and came out to look at the boat… he hummed and hawed (seriously, he actually hummed and hawed) and made a big deal about how difficult it was.  He basically talked himself out of a job.  The second never responded to either of my messages; he obviously wasn’t needing the business.  The third I had hopes for, as at least two thirds of the boat yard were wrapped in covers with his name displayed prominently.  I got a hold of Steve from California Shrink Wrap, who was a personable guy, we went over all the details, he mentioned he had already seen the boat at the yard, and gave me a quote.  Perfect.  I hired him and he said he would wrap the boat within the following couple of weeks and then send me an invoice.

By this point, no one will be surprised with what happened next.

Two weeks came and went.  I called.  No response.

Three weeks came and went.  I called. No response.

The snow arrived November 10th… I called.  And as I said, no one was surprised that there was, once again, no response.

So the boat was never wrapped for the entire winter and though the upside was that we saved some cash, John pretty much had to wait until spring thaw to even attempt to get back inside the cabin.

I spent the winter for the most part back behind the camera, teaching some yoga classes, attending an incredible leadership conference in Ohio (thanks so much Crystal!), as well as working a few weeks over Christmas for my sister and niece.  While I battled behind the scenes with web hosts and wordpress (hence this fancy blog), more boat insurance, health insurance, and evacuation services, John went ahead and make good use of the time by tracking down all the things that would one, make our life easier, and two, that we would’ve had to pick up along the way had we actually left last fall.

So we bought a dinghy and John painstakingly sewed the cover for it.  We ordered a new asymmetric spinnaker and he cut the original one into a smaller version. I finally finished the cockpit cushions.  Boxes started arriving at the door containing all sorts of boat parts.  We attended a three day cruising and weather symposium at the Toronto Boat Show.  John replaced all of the rigging, refinished all of the wood, attached the davit, painted, and undoubtedly did a million other things.  Our new VISA actually maxed out at one point and John gave me a sheepish look.  It’s all good.  I sighed.  All good.

In the end, the winter was put to amazing use. I am grateful that I was able to spend more time with Mom.  She and I managed to travel a bit together and enjoyed some time with family in California, as well as knocking off “visiting Cuba” from her bucket list while John dutifully kept slugging away.  I am also incredibly thankful that I was able to be there to help her when needed, it was the least I could do for her putting up with us.

It was a long hard winter though.  A couple ice storms resulted in damage of one of the sea walls at the marina.  It didn’t effect us other than granting us an very appreciated extension on our splash date.  The issue was that we didn’t have (translation: couldn’t afford) a slip for the season.  Once we were put into the water, our visa card would be charged again.  And Hamilton Harbour was an upgrade from Jordan Station: in accommodations and in price.  So we knew that we could only afford to be at dock a couple weeks after launch.  We watched all of the other sailors start putting in their boats at the end of April and refocused our energies.  We ended up finagling a time slot on the very last date Harbour West was launching: Friday June 8th, 2018.

Two days later, we hired a U-Haul and transported all the batteries, beds, and the dinghy from Mom’s house to the boat. Our friend Gar helped once again, though thankfully did not choose to give us his rendition of the Gilligan Island theme song this time.  Once everything was moved onboard, we successfully motored from the boat yard to our designated slip at Harbour West Marina.  That is, once we actually left dock.  A huge thank you to the captain of the Glen G tug boat who was our neighbour that day.  His quick thinking, calm demeanour, and strong legs saved us from possible damage although admittedly not from embarrassment.  As I said, it was a very long winter… and our boat was not designed to reverse… especially in strong winds…  Outlandish may be in her best shape ever but we definitely have some dust to shake off.

That’s okay.  We’ll have plenty of time to practice once we are underway.

And oh, extremely exciting news: after a slight hiccup (of course) the engine not only worked, but actually sounded like I would imagine it should: far more of an amplified Cheetah purr and less of an annoyed Chewbacca.  Life, for the moment, is good.



Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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