Saturday, June 26, 2010

Furry Pirates and Landlocked by Water

It's hard to believe it has been 8 months since my last posting. I could make excuses about being busy at Christmas, visiting our kids in Australia in February and March but it just comes down to being lazy.

"So True", the world's first completed Pocketship after the prototype, survived being covered with a tarp over the winter and I had actually kind of forgotten what a beautiful little design she is. After her short maiden voyage last October I have been anxious to get her out for a real sail but the weather has been rather uncooperative.

There have been very heavy rains this spring and much of the cottage lot has standing water making it impractical to pull out the boat's trailer without creating huge soggy ruts on the lawn. Hence the landlocked by water in the title of this post. Read on for more photos and also details on furry pirates.

I do promise to post sailing photos and videos as soon as we can actually get the boat down to the nearby harbour.

The water in front of the boat...

The water around the boat...

The water on the supposedly high ground of the cottage lot. For us it is just an inconvenience but for the local farmers it is the third year in row that some of them will not be able to sow their crops because of the saturated fields.

I did manage to get the sails fully up and do some minor rigging adjustments that I found were necessary from the boat's inaugural sail. I discovered John C. Harris' (Pocketship's designer) instructions for raising the mast easily by one person lifting the mast up from the cockpit while another person on the ground pulls it up the rest of the way by using the spinnaker halyard attached to the top of the mast. I also sawed off part of the keel trough so that the rudder can stay on the boat rather than being attached and removed every time it is launched. In the wet conditions it has been difficult to clean the boat without tracking mud into the cockpit. Hopefully some respite from all the rain is in the future.

And now for something completely different, the furry pirates story. When we opened the cottage this spring one of the roof vents was damaged from what I thought was winter ice and snow. I replaced it only to find the next weekend that the new vent had been completely chewed through. I assumed it was squirrels but when replacing the destroyed vent with metal vents I looked in the roof opening to discover a nest of baby raccoons. The photo shows the mother raccoon giving me the evil eye when I looked in the attic to investigate. Wildlife management informed us that we would have to trap the mother before making any attempt to crawl in the attic and remove the babies as the mother can be quite dangerous and vicious when protecting her young.
The mother raccoon ignored the trap baited with sardines and instead spent 2 nights chewing her way out of the attic through the metal vent. Conveniently for us, we had disturbed and made things uncomfortable for the mother and she evacuated the attic with all three babies.
If we had trapped the mother and babies it would have been our problem of how to dispose of them.

A photo of me and my son in front of the 36' Pearson that he and his wife are now living on. He is now out of this marina and at a swing mooring at the Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast, Australia. I did get to do some minor cabinet work alterations done while I was there on our visit in February and March.

The entire family in our Australian apartment that was right on the beach. Left to right, my daughter Dana, her Kiwi boyfriend Paul, my wife Gab, myself, my son Trev, and his Australian wife Ali.

There is not enough room for 3 vessels on our cottage lot so the old stinkpot is up for sale. The sailboat and jetski should be enough to keep as busy.

Until next time, and I promise it won't be 8 months.


Anonymous said...

Believe it or not ... I've been checking your blog every week for about three months. Glad to see there's a new post. I'm curious to learn about new adventueres.

Keep up the good work,


george_zip said...

Looks like you got out-smarted by a "lowly" raccoon LOL. Oh well, you didn't have to put up a metal vent that would essentially trap the raccoons inside the attic, but you did it anyway which kind of makes you look like a fool. The raccoon was forced to chew trough METAL to escape, eh? That makes you look like like an even bigger fool. And I don't even want to get into your whole sardine-trap story. LOL. Dude, all you had to do was make a few loud noises and then sit back and watch the raccoons move out. That would have saved you time and money and the raccoon mother her teeth.

Dave C. said...

The trap was wildlife management's suggestion (the experts) LOL.
Yes we accidently stumbled on the most effective way to get rid of raccoons. Bright lights, lots of noise and basically make things very uncomfortable for them. Surprisingly, most of the advice online doesn't mention this very simple and effective method of getting rid of raccoons.
BTW, we didn't waste any money because wildlife management loans out the traps free of charge, but of course if you do manage to catch a "lowly" raccoon it is up to you to figure out how to get rid of it.

Clifford Cull said...

Interesting exprience with the Racoons. Hopefully they don't get into your boat cabin!
I am just getting to the stage of putting the cradle together for my pocketship. The keel is finished and the centerboad.
How much room did you have to work around the cradle in your shop?

Dave C. said...

No comfy insulation in the boat cabin so I guess it wasn't so attractive to them as the attic.
My shop was a standard single garage So there was probably about 4 feet on each side and a couple of feet at the front.

This link takes you to an old blog photo that shows you the amount of working space around the boat. At this point the boat has been flipped and is off of the cradle. I put appliance rollers on the bottom of my cradle so that I could move it side to side in the garage when I needed more room for doing tasks such as fiberglassing the side panels. You can also see that you cannot permanently install the tabernacle or the boat will not fit trough a standard garage door height.

Ken Sutherland said...

Hi Dave,
Building a 17' boat as I write this. Also have a cottage on Lake Winnipeg. Love the look of your pocketship. Hope to run into you on the water someday.
If you don't mind the question, where did you buy the tire weights for your ballast. I'm having a little truoble locating a source.

Thanks,happy sailing!

Ken Sutherland (sutherlandken(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dave C. said...

I got my tire weights from the Fountain Tire on Pembina HWY near Fort Richmond. I used to buy a 5 gallon pail from them for $40 as normally they sold it to a recycler for about the same amount. I think I ended up buying about 2 1/2 pails and got about 200 lbs of lead not counting all the waste stuff you cannot use. I'm guessing other tire shops might give you a similar deal.