Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Seaweed

With the fleet reduced by the loss of the Ghetto Fabulous in the winter, It became clear that we were going to need a new flagship if we were going take over the coast that summer (we try at least once a year). We needed something fast, like yesterday, and fast, like 20 knts, So with a modest budget, and a competent crew of beer drinking buddies, we set about whipping together a proa in the alley before they tore our house down. Behold !! the S E A W E E D !!!

At 32 feet, in length but only a 2 foot beam of the main hull, She actually paddled alright with three people before Naomi and I loaded her down to her lines, and motored out of the bay in late summer. Of course when the engine died (swallowed by a wave) it was just the two of us, and the first leg of our journey was marked by dark entries to the log book. Oliver fell over board, it started to rain, and i dropped our best enameled cast iron frying pan into 30 feet of water, not necessarily in that order.

We made it up to Cortes, and spent a couple of weeks basking on the beach gorging ourselves on oysters and experimenting with sail rigs. We couldn't seem to correct our weather helm, and every time we sailed we frightened ourselves due to not being able to control the vessel with our steering oar. We need to haul her out and install a proper rudder hung on a skeg. She made fine time under power though, (overhauled the evinrude), and we still made a summer of it. Andre cought a salmon, Max cought a Sheep, and even though it is challenging to sleep 4 or more adults and one chihuahua, (where do you put 40 pounds of sheep meat) on a 32 foot canoe in the rain in late summer on the pacific north west coast, id say we had a pretty good time.

Also, I got to see the house that Naomis Mom and Dad built in Anderson Bay on Lasqueti, where we loaded up on fresh veggies and plums from Michelles garden there.

And we got to hang out with Captain Dan on the SAMSARA, a beautiful atkin design ketch.

Catastrophes of 2010/ the loss of the Fog Ducker

After the Thunderbird sank, some losers stole the Fog Ducker from out at Jericho Beach. Vancouver is a pretty crime free city, but after this I just about packed up right then and there and walked away. Luckily Kevin and i found it stashed in the blackberry bushes, with one broken oar, and a hole in the side, and we took her home for servicing. The patch job didnt really hold though, and sometime in the fall my old friends the marine cops "impounded" her from the dinghy dock because she was full of water and assumed to be abandoned. I asked them about it when i saw them, and they said they knew nothing about it, but my friend Pete wrote a letter to the city and somehow uncovered the truth that it had been crushed. Rest in peace little Fog Ducker, you were the best rowboat a guy could ever ask for. I used to row from Cambie bridge all the way out to jericho in about 45 minutes on a good tide. The photo below is of Kevin teaching me to sail in the Fog Ducker, (I still haven't managed to teach Kevin how to row)!
The Fog Ducker was never a loyal boat though, like the time Naomi, Kevin, and I were running downwind with the T-bird in about a 20 knot breeze from northwest bay, and we were right out in the middle roughly between French Creek and Lasqueti, when Kevin at the tiller noticed we weren't actually towing the Fog Ducker anymore. I thought i was going to get washed off the deck dousing the main, but luckily we were able to find and retrieve the Ducker under power relatively easily due to the bright red windsurfer mast.

The Fog Ducker also carried a tremendous load, and motored swiftly and safely under the power of the Seagull. Really, it was the perfect little boat from spearfishing expeditions, to loading cargo. 6 people was never too many, but even if it was just you you werent alone! If Kevin was here right now we could mix up a turqoise turtle and cheers to the Ducker.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Catastrophes of 2010 / Evicted

Thats right, we got thrown out too. Long live Shawnee and Mona, now being someone elses awesome roomates. Commercial drive and 5th avenue will always be the center of my universe. Ive seen the great beyond, its across that little chain link fence in the alley everyone walks down, where friends drop by, sometimes theres a fire in the backyard, always theres a beer in the fridge. Fields of kale and the sweet smell of marijuana from pretty well everywhere. The ethiopians argue in amharic until 5 in the morning, and on wellywednsdays the sirens never stop. its 13 steps to the video rental, we counted, we can watch Jaws any day of the week. when it rains, and it does rain, we go out in the rain, because we never have to go very far. I miss you guys, its been like 4 years Trawn. 167o Rest in Peace.

Catastrophes of 2010 / the little hyundai that could

The same day the G-Fab sank, I looked out the window and noticed that some punk spary painted F you on the trunk of the Hyundai. How did they know? I had put off dealing with the worn out wheel bearings from our road trip, and after unsinking boat i thought maybe i should take her in. The auto shop is just across the street from where we were living, thats it in the background there, VAP. I wasn't going very fast when the wheel came off, but it went down the hill, accelerated, and smashed into someones bumper pretty good. We wheeled her back into the yard and had a beer instead. It was morning. I just noticed Dans old truck is on the left there, which is a funny story also. A friend sold him a really nice Volvo, so he decided the truck had to go (it needed new brakes and a clutch). The battery was dead so we jumped it, but it died again in the alley, it was only after we jumped it a few more times and it dying that Dan noticed it was looking a little emptier under the hood. Dan to me, "didn't there used to be more stuff in here", i to him, "like where?", him to me "like right here", points at a spot, i to him, "like what?", him to me with disbelief, " like an alternator, they stole my fucking alternator, who the hell steals somebodies alternator, no wonder the battery keeps dying, i don't have a fucking alternator!". He was difficult to console, i offered him beer. Luckily the cop that pulled him over on his way to the crushers didn't write him a ticket for driving in the rain (it was pouring) without headlights on, she accepted his explanation that he was having the hideous little truck euthanized. Oh east Vancouver, if you ever have problems with your batteries start by checking for the presence of your alternator.
To finish the story, I spent 200 bucks for a new wheel assembly, only to get a letter from Victoria that the hyundais import inspection was void because the little chop shop in richmond got caught doing illegal inspections or something (i wouldnt know anything about it, i found their service excellent!), and i needed to have it reinspected. So the little Hyundai from Ontario that we inherited from the German couch surfers got taken to the crushers too. sad. they gave me 80 dollars and let me keep the battery. that was a good little car, it drove from vancouver to sacramento on one tank of gas.

Resurrection Post / Catastrophes of 2010 / the S/V Ghetto Fabulous

After three long years its time to bring back the Raccoon Mask. You may be wondering, "what has Erik been up to all this time ?", or rather, "has anybody been keeping an eye on what Eriks been up to all this time ?", well funny you should ask, because to my knowledge, the only people monitoring my activities these days seem to be the good folks from the Vancouver Police Department Marine Division. Were on a first name basis. Without getting myself worked up about the details, suffice it to say that they frown upon people leaving their sailboats anchored indefinitely in false creek. Well, quite unintentionally, we tried the novel approach of storing our sailboat UNDER false creek (above photo, our boat is the wooden mast in the front/ that's our friend Drew's trimaran behind it) . In the nautical world we call that sinking, and more specifically, a ship can founder, break apart, be scuttled, or as was our case silently slip beneath the waves of an incoming tide after drifting aground on the rocks. Needless to say, the police found our mooring approach neither innovative nor practical, and they requested us to please get our boat out of there. I think they may have been even more surprised than me to see the boat back at the surface, but impressed I think they weren't, because they promptly impounded her. Now the term "unseaworthy" is subjective in my opinion, and always seems to carry a scathing bite when delivered by those in a position of authority, but seeing as how I was able to promptly intercept the pirates, er police, at the dock in vanier park, (thanks for the tip off drew), I guess they decided she was seaworthy enough, and agreed to relinquish the vessel to me on the condition that I move her immediately, and store her at the surface of the sea from thence forth.
In the log book it reads, "what happened next is just too sad to tell".

These are the last photos we have of her out at Jericho Beach. As described above, she sank on January 17, 2010, in False Creek. Naomi and I worked around the clock, bridled her up, and winched her out using a come-along chained to the sea wall. Our friend Simon helped me lasso the mast, we heeled her over and patched her up using bondo. The police took her into custody, and when I got her back George towed her out to Jericho. During the windstorm on Easter she was blown up against the breakwater of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, and smashed into a million colorful little pieces. She was a Thunderbird Sloop, hull number 301, which made her 49 years old at the time of her demise. We found out her original name was "Teqila", to us she was the "Ghetto Fabulous". Rest in peace.