Okay, okay, okaaaaay. Maybe this story isn’t done…
We’ve been getting quite a few not so veiled comments and emails asking us why there are no more posts on this site. Ahh well, t’is the working world (and a few other things) that have wrapped us up in her grip and has yet to spit us loose.
After arriving home at the end of May, we jumped feet first into both house maintenance work and that paying sort of work that involves a commute of some sort. I was immediately back in the saddle doing some great editing and writing work. Blair spent the next six weeks sprucing up our house which we’d sadly neglected for this past year. He painted the inside of the house, I planted our garden, we hired someone to paint the outside and do quite a few handyman sort of tasks, we fertilized the weed patch formerly known as our lawn, moved one child out to Vancouver and sorted through all the correspondence and dust bunnies that had accumulated over a year’s absence. We’re happy to say that the neighbourhood children no longer dread passing our house late at night!
Blair started work in mid-July with a good long commute from our country home in Navan to downtown Ottawa and across the Ottawa River to Gatineau, Quebec. We’ve had a summer’s worth of visits, lunches, dinners and wonderful catch up with all our friends and YES, we even did a little bit of sailing. Yes, that sailing thing…there is much to be said on that front. In our laid back frame of mind when we arrived back at Trident Yacht Club, we envisioned long lazy days on the St Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, leisurely sails and calm anchorages, sweet and warm winds with the sun on our cheeks.
Yes well….. Environment Canada declared this summer to be one of the rainiest, coldest summers on record. Most weekends it rained and with the rain came the accompanying rampant grass growth; growth so bad that we were cutting our lawn two and three times a week. On top of all that, Strathspey had a bit of a limp. Our fine boat has a few maintenance issues that made us want to cut our sailing season short.
First and foremost, Strathspey is sadly not a fast boat any longer! The Micron CSC that we spent hours applying last spring isn’t giving the performance we’d expected. Last April, I applied three coats of the stuff (black, red, black). The drill is that when you start seeing the middle red coat, that’s the sign that you only have one more coat of protection against algae forming on your hull. Well we’re down to the red coat and we’ve got quite the slime forest building up on Strathspey‘s hull. On our weekends down at Trident, we’d swim around Strathspey while we were anchored and we’d spend a good hour or so scrubbing the algae off. But the next time we arrived back at Trident, there was at least an inch or so of slimy green strings clinging to her hull. So we’re sorely disappointed in the performance of this bottom paint which had been touted as the cat’s meow as far as algae protection in both fresh and salt water.
We’re also having problems with Strathspey‘s Yanmar saildrive. The saildrive is immersed in oil which makes the gears shift smoothly. Where the propeller is connected to the lower part of the saildrive, there’s a seal that prevents lake (or sea) water from leaking into the gears. The seal is slowly giving way and is letting water leak into the oil. This doesn’t really affect Strathspey‘s performance but it’s a crap shoot as to when the seal gives way completely and our transmission starts screaming for lack of oil.
On top of all that, one of the coolest features on Strathspey has gone belly up. Our electric swim platform is no longer electric; in fact, it is no longer functional except when Blair lowers it using a strong line (much the same as a drawbridge). The motor that powers the swim platform to rise and lower still works but the steel bar that attaches the motor to the platform has corroded from all the salt water this past winter. So the motor can turn all it wants but our swim platform sits still.
So, all in all, it is time for us to haul Strathspey out and give her the tender, loving care she deserves after serving us so faithfully this past year. To that end, we’ve left Trident Yacht Club and sailed downriver to Williams Marina where we’ll haul out and have the Micron CSC removed, the saildrive seal replaced and the swim platform repaired. It seems early in the season to be hauling out. Especially when we hear from all last year’s cruising buddies who are scrambling to ready their boats for the return trip down south! But, there are other things that are keeping us close to home.
We’ve decided that it’s time to downsize and so we have listed our house. We love this house which we designed and built 20 years ago. We have wonderful memories of our children learning to swim here, heading off to primary school on their bikes for the first time and sitting up tall and proud in the family car while backing out of the driveway on their own for the first time. We love our wonderful view of long sloping farmland for miles and miles. We love our impromptu campfires with friends in the backyard. We love the young frogs yelling from the creek behind our house; peeping so loud that you think you’ll go deaf each spring. And most of all we enjoy our neighbours that have become our good friends rather than just the people next door.
But, it’s time to find a house that will let us “lock up and leave” when we decide to go sailing. It’s a hard decision to make; you list the pros and cons and in the end, you go with the gut feeling that it’s time for a change. Our children have flown, our perspective after a year aboard a 35 foot sailboat has changed and that sense of adventure that launched last year’s cruise kicks in and we know that if we’re together then all is right in our world.
So here we are in an extremely (I have to repeat, extremely clean) house; our thoughts are ranging from what we’ll miss most about this home right down to when does common decency dictate that you quit adding to the back yard compost box. Life is still good and I guess this story is not yet done.