July 21,2007

Some Early Interior Shots

Bronte Harbour Trip
Friday August 10, 2007

So far so good – Falcon GT is in slip #194 Oakville harbour.
Quite popular with all family members at any time of the night and day.
One trip with Thomas and 2 friends to Ontario Place for overnight – passerby in the marina asked me if I had been given a welding machine for Christmas. The sail up was near perfect – 15 knots beam reaching at 8 knots in a 1' chop. The autopilot steered the whole way.
Next day we motored back to Oakville and at 2pm left with Doug S and Brendan S for Wilson NY – 37 nm. Sailed in spots – not bad – got up to just 8 but mostly 6, then wiped off the masthead light, and wind instrument on lines across the creek at Wilson. That's a sharp little lesson. Came back – not much wind but quite comfortable under motor. Tested out the dive platform/radar arch – very pleasant –

Sailed Thursday morning in 15 – 18 knots in a lumpy 4' chop – very smooth ride – lots of up and down but no stopping. Got 500# of chain in the bow helping smooth (and slow) the ride.
Getting the main sail cover from Martin of Somerset sails – via UPS
Ordered the day glo orange storm sails
Will try out the new assy spinnaker in the next week. Kingsley is making a nice long pole.

Click here to view the Wilson NY trip pictures

Falcon files Saturday morning , August 18, 2007

Sailed once with Thomas this week – to Bronte and back – 7.4 knots under full plain sail in smooth water . Returned to the slip with me coaching Thomas on docking techniques managed to kind of get sideways so reversed out , and tried again, successfully – during which the local Coast Guard fellows shouted out ' you get 3 tries – you've had 2!! Then they started laughing!
Visitors on board this week- Mike C – race competitor from Bronte, Gavin – boat painter, Dave – boat carpenter, Rich – one of guys who welded the hull – he and his wife seemed quite pleased to be associated with the end result, one interested onlooker, a couple of ducks, and a dead salmon.
Work done this week – strengthened mast winch mountings, almost got the anchor roller installed ( finish it this morning), Doug S installed lights and fans leaving just 4 lights to do when I buy them that is. I installed 2 line stoppers for the running backs while attracting just a few drops of that white sealant that jumps all over you as soon as you look at it. The stove is swinging happily in the kitchen, and the microwave was heading for a 5' forward pike with tuck when Thomas yelled at me to catch it.
Spoke with Kingsley about the spinnaker pole – he will leave it an even 20' long so it can be used as a bowsprit for the snazzy new assy spinnaker.
Engine hours = 40 – how did that happen??
I wonder why everyone asks when it will be painted?

Falcon files Friday morning , August 24, 2007

Sailed last Sunday from Oakville to Youngstown NY. left 4pm arrived 9:30pm in the dark. – no wind – gave motor a work out . The old 6.5 kt average. Changed engine oil and filter prior to departure. Crew – Thomas, Julia, Doug S, Mike C and self. Hung out alongside the YYC – very quiet and even a tad cold. The Niagara river runs at 0.5 knots per our boat speedo! Hardly a ripple on the water. Next morning filled up with a huge Yankee breakfast and hit the water at 10:15am. Forecast was for 15 – 20 Easterlies to push us home to Oakville. No wind in the river but the she was roaring on the lake – we found the 15 – 20 -25 right there and struggled to get the main up. Didn't succeed – one batten shot out and a hole appeared, plus one main halyard is now inside the mast. Lucky we have two. So we tied the main on the boom and pulled out the jib. A bit underpowered but no more damage and we were offski in the building waves and wind – waves got 6' and getting some nice shapes – max boat speed 9.0kts. Av 6.5 dead down wind so the jib was well twisted off – power only in the bottom half. Not one slam – that hull action is smooth.Thomas and Julia spent time at the bow checking out the slicing action , then snoozing in the forepeak , then steering– outside she was getting wild and woolly with one breaking crest rolling up to the second transom step, lots of swooching and windy noises, but downstairs with the door closed it was almost silent – quite odd – that insulation is wonderful.Funny how the silence reduces the motion perspective – you had to look outside to see the relative motion. Outside conditions were good for mal de mer but not inside.The auto pilot steered better than me - very satisfying.Arrived in Oakville to find the yachts in the creek closest to the lake ( incl us) had been moved right up the creek so we went up there and parked in the mud next to an old boat – snug as a bug while the East wind continued for another 2 days. Had to wait 2 hours for a Customs inspection but no issues there.That was a nice trial in a rough sea – what a nice ride – felt under control and quite safe with the handrails all over. Next time we'll get a bit more power going.So now I have new battens and a way of permanently keeping them in place ( ¼" bolts) and reefing lines for the main

Click here for First Pictures with the Sails Up

Falcon files Tuesday September 4, 2007

Fixed the damn battens – riveted them in after I got a replacement plus some spares. Put on the spreader patches and a reefing line. Now the main works good. Tidied up the insides a bit and tried racing on the Sunday but not much wind and then found an adverse 1knot current caused by the East wind piling up the water in the West end of Lake Ontario. So Thomas and I gave Mr Diesel a work out and went home. Very satisfying to be able to turn on the engine and buzz off. Aahh that auto pilot is magic. And the so is the fridge!
Got the spinnaker pole – slightly over length ( 3') - it works great but kind of hard to store so it currently resides next to the inner forestay.

Click here to view the QCYC trip pictures

Doug S and I sailed up to Toronto Harbour last Thursday afternoon, and tooled up to the QCYC ( Queen City Yacht Club) on the Toronto Islands – managed to park in the spot where their ferry docks, then arrive late for dinner at the restaurant, expected to have a frosty reception all round but the only frosty was the enormous beers they produced. Magnificent view of the Toronto downtown lit-up skyscape - Slept well that night. Next morning quietly left and examined the RCYC and the TIM, and the IYC and headed for the Western Gap to be politely requested to use the Eastern gap by the water police due to air show rehearsals. We obeyed.
Not much of a sail back to Oakville but Doug id'd an F22, a P51 and I P'd 2. ( after a couple of drinks).
Hot week end – went boat swimming yesterday - that's when you hop in at the transom and hang on to the ladder shouting –' it's freezing – it's freezing – I'm out - hand me the towel.'
Looking forward to warmer waters.
Moved 300' of chain to the back of the boat which raised the bow by 1.5 inches – still have 100' up front.
More clean up
More later

Falcon files Monday September 17, 2007

Some day sailing since last report, plus getting some work completed. The deck wash works great. The hot and cold water is connected but as there is no water in the tanks it can't be tested. I don't want to put water in the tanks until this freezing season is over which will be next April.
We had a sail last Friday morning with 4 of my fellow work supervisors – nice breeze of 12 kts, and lots of information being exchanged – lots of good clean fun by guys who had never been on a sailboat before. Just one hiccup on the application of running backs, or rather the non-application so now this voyage is named the 'O S..t' trip.

View pictures of the Cobourg trip here

A longer trip was planned with Brendan and Stuart for Friday night and Saturday. The destination picked was Cobourg on the North shore of Lake Ontario 70 nm to the N-E from Oakville. Winds forecast were for strong SW Friday night turning to strong NW Sat morning then diminishing.
We stocked up and left at Friday 6pm. Wind was 15kts SW as forecast, and outside the Oakville harbour it was reasonably flat water. Up with the main – 1 reef, and unfurled the #1 jib which isn't that big anyway, and we were offski. As we got up to Toronto area the breeze seemed to strengthen, and the fetch was increasing so the waves were building, and the wind was building and the boat was sitting on 8.5 with surges to 9.5 and the weather helm got harder and the auto-pilot was working harder, and the main flattened against the spreaders, and the rig was very tight at the back and kind of loose at the front, except the forestay which had a nice catenery. All the sheets were bar taut. The good news is nothing broke on this trip.
We were the only boat in sight on the lake.
Night fell with a notable sunset, and soaking rainshowers. I pointed out to Brendan and Stuart that it was nice and dry inside and quiet so wake me if you get into a pickle. They never did but when I got up a few hours later Brendan was the lone helmsman, then he disappeared, and the world was in its rightful order – that being when it's nasty up you usually find you are the only one on deck – this applies at various stages to all of the crew of course!
While it wasn't exactly nasty it was close. The waves were now consistent 4' with the old sets of three 6 footers rolling through regularly. The waves were spaced about 15' – 20' apart so steep and choppy. We saw 10.1 on the gps instantaneously but one wave we surfed very nicely at a faster speed. The sail area was maxed out for that wind, maybe a wee bit too much main up but lessons learned in being able to reef in those conditions – we could if we tried hard but, taking the easy way out, I left the sail area up justifying it by 'if nothing breaks under these conditions we should be ok for the ocean' It was wild and wooly, but fast. The auto pilot needs some tuning up – I think it was trying to turn the boat too quickly and it wouldn't respond due to weather helm so we hand steered for 30% of the time which was good fun anyway.
The chart plotter is a great way of knowing exactly where you are particularly in relation to shore lights as there are lots of them which are not navigation marks – can be confusing. Cobourg turned up when it was still dark, and we felt our way into the harbour from 2 miles out – that took some time but all was well and we tied up at the municipal marina. A stretch of the legs – nothing happening at 6am – we had breakfast on board and left.
In the harbour it was calm so we thought Mr Diesel is in for a workout – sure enough we left the harbour, pulled up the main, sheeted it tight and motored at 8 knots for 40 minutes before running one tank dry. Pulled out the staysail and asailing we did go. Wind started to pick up, water was sparkling deep blue, sky was bright blue with low rolling clouds of various colours – all the weather coming from the direction of Toronto (NW) so the forecast was right on.
The old story – wind building, waves building – right on the nose. The wind was now a good 20 gusting to 25 knots. The staysail set nicely, and then the speedo settled in the 7ish range. The same old waves – 4 foot close spaced with the gang of 3 arriving regularly. The bow would slice through the first wave, straddle the second, and scoop the third one over the weather side sending 2" of frothy water over the deck up toward the mast. The old washing washing machine trick. Getting rough. I found a good spot to watch the action perched on the weather rail by the shrouds – out of the spray, up high and you could watch the bow action and see all the sails. Brendan was munching away but Stuart and I were less hungry. And once again we were the only boat on the lake. But what a scene – wild and wooly again – down below an oasis of calm – not much noise from outside and while the motion was the same it seemed reduced inside. In similar conditions the canoe hulled boats, or even worse the IOR hulls would be slamming and banging. The R14 ride is very smooth and cushioned - no slamming at all. As we approached Toronto the wind came more in front and the staysail wasn't giving the drive we need so we replaced that with the #1 jib and hoped that it wouldn't rip apart. It stood up well and we continued at 7 knots right up to within 3 miles of Oakville. That was about it for the rough weather – a good 8 hours of it coming back from Cobourg.
As we got past Toronto the fetch decreased and the waves calmed down with a very smooth ride to end the trip. We thought it was a slightly unsatisfying way to end a rough trip like this – who would believe us when it was so calm in Oakville.
We tied up, packed up, shut up the boat and went home, tired and pleased with ours and the boats performances in rough conditions.

Falcon files Wednesday Oct 3, 2007

Couple of weeks gone by quickly – managed to get the cabinet frames and the head door screwed in place. Makes the inside look finished.
Sailing wise we had a family day 2 weekends ago with 11 on board including a quite active 4 yo who found lots of places to dangle and swing.
Great day for sailing – flat water 15kt offshore breeze, plenty of experienced sailors on board. Those aboard were : the male side of the H family, Fred, Andrew and Paul, Doug S (Crew), Stuart H (Crew), his wife Helena who looks like Yovi's twin, daughter Georgina – 13 yo Olympic swim contender, bro Calvin and little Terror Joshua. The Gayford's were ably represented by Thomas, our resident host, and yours truly whose job it was to look behind for passengers who fell off.
We tooled up to the Port Credit Yacht Club about 12 miles towards Toronto from Oakville. We averaged 7.2 kts.
The stated goal was to inspect the open 60 'Spirit of Canada' , a massive single handed boat sailed by Derek Hatfield, entering the Vendee Globe race next year. Falcon GT Crew will be pleased to note they will sailing the same ocean at the same time in Nov 08. The boat is very impressive – almost unimaginable how one could hoist, let alone reef the mainsail alone. Good luck Derek. Don't hit us.
A motorsail back to Oakville (kids watched Family Guy) where Fred's wife Lynn, and Jeannette took the bowlines- quite a gathering let's hope we have many more.

Click here to view the Port Dalhousie trip pictures

Last Friday afternoon Doug S (Crew), Brendan S (Crew), party host Thomas, and yours truly (Crew)
Left Oakville for Port Dalhousie at 6pm. 21 nm and a straight shot across part of Lake Ontario. Last sail we were a bit underpowered sailwise, so this time we yanked up the whole shooting match. Not such a smart move as the following wind was forecast to diminish but it did not. In fact it blew harder. We soon discovered another feature of the Falcon GT – The automatic wind spilling mainsail – works by wrapping the part of the sail outside the spreaders around towards the front, bending 8 large battens like snakes. Works though. We were mainly under control – just a couple of broaches (my steering), caused by rogue waves as Doug politely excused my efforts. We had decided not to put up the spinnaker (due to weather conditions – wind now above 20 gusting 25), so we compromised on poling out the #2 jib – just to balance the boat. That didn't work so we continued under mainsail for a while, then the wind lulled, sort of, so up went the chute. No pole as it is an assymetrical. It worked great except we had to go 40 degrees off course to fill the sail. We enjoyed the ride. We were getting down the track and the waves were building nicely – the old sets of three 6 footers for your surfing pleasure. Sun setting behind us, roaring waves – great stuff – then, 30 minutes later, with a very loud bang, the spinnaker tack let go, and that was it for spinnaker sailing, - snuffed it and put it away.
Next question was where was the entrance to Port Dalhousie?. Brendan said it was just to the right of that ship in front. "What ship?" Look up John – Oh dear - blinded by the lights – a salty slowly moving right across our pathway, looked like the Titanic – lights blazing – so much for my looking out abilities – maybe I should get out from below more often.
The chartplotter never lies and in we went, then the owner began screaming turn back there's a breakwater in front. There was but it was 0.5 miles away so a 360 showed everything nicely and in we went.
Tied up by the other boats, went to a bar where the staff wear short short kilts – called the Kilties bar, then snoozing till sunrise. Had a coffee at Timmies, met my boss, Pat, reviewed the Falcon GT, and motored back to Oakville – no wind – enjoying the hors dourves on the foredeck, autopilot taking care of business.
This week cleaned the deck, thought about painting the deck, and started to figure out what needs doing so we can haul it out next Tuesday. Maybe sail Saturday briefly but that's it for sailing until April- May next year – The year.

Click here to view pictures of John & Doug sailing with their wives, Jeannette & Audrey