Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Grub-a-Dub-Dub Vlog # 163

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

The less romantic and idyllic part of boat ownership is the not so picturesque job of cleaning. All boats need cleaning. Some get cleaned, others not so much. It’s sad to see neglected boats. And I see a lot of them.

The case in point: Little Bear.  The fuel tank holds are nasty. The starboard side must have been leaking for years. The foam around the tank is soaked in ancient diesel and the engine pan  that it sits on is stained by diesel and rust.  That’s gonna change. Today.

I do apologize for the audio quality and the sheer boring aspect of this video but I wanted to show that it’s not all exotic destinations, white sand beaches, bikini’s and buff bodies. To get to that point a lot of work and associated sweat needs to happen.

So I’m putting my scrub brush where my  mouth is. Ew. That was a mistake. But I think you get what I mean.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

The Yacht Club in the Storm surge

The following set of pictures were from the peak of the storm surge in the river.  It only lasted about an hour or an hour and a half. You can see how the gang way to the float is bent backwards on it’s hinges. Fortunately there was no damage  but any more high water and there would have been.  That gangway was only just installed!
Gangway from the dock at Ward’s
A zoomed in view of the gangway from the dock at Ward’s.
The road and parking lot by the retaining wall of Stewart farm.
The parking lot and gangway at peak tide and storm surge.
The tide is starting to ebb and the surge is dropping.
Tide and surge going back to normal
Nice clean gravel for the boats and vehicles to drive on.
Still submerged but dropping quickly.
The start of the ebb…

All picture credits go to Doug McKinnon Vice Commodore of MBYC. He said that he and the club Secretary Treasurer were down the end of the dock and someone on shore started shouting and waving at them. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong until they interpreted the waving to mean ‘look at the gangway!’. It only took about 10 minutes to to from normal to ‘oh my gosh! we need to vacate NOW!’

Fortunately there was no serious damage to the gangway or the dock itself nor were any animals hurt in the creation of this blog. None of the boats were damaged as the river is fairly protected from the wind that hit White Rock.

Locals are correctly saying they’ve never seen a storm like this one.

Storm and Disaster! Devastation and Destruction! Woe, alas!

December 20th 2018 brought disaster to the sister club of MBYC that I belong to.  On that fateful day, a storm such as had not been seen in living memory hit the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The lads over at the Lower Mainland Yacht Club moor their boats on the float at the end of the White Rock pier. They have (had) seven boats in all.

All seven boats were either sunk or so badly damaged in the storm that they were written off.

According to BC Hydro, the December 20, 2018 storm was the most damaging in the Crown utility’s history making it larger than the August 2015 wind-storm that affected the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, and larger than the 2006 wind-storm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.

The damage:


A good shot above of how the waves surged over the breakwater battering the float and the boats tied to it.

breaking loose

Above the boats are starting to break free and bounce down the pier.

under the pier

Making their way towards the shore.

boats agains the pier

Above – being forced through the pilings on the pier.

busted boat

Almost through..

on the beach

Clear of the pier & on the beach..

on the beach 2.jpeg


on the beach 3

Not where she’s supposed to be…

on the beach 4

Badly busted up.

An arial view of the damage post storm. That’s about 100 feet of pier missing and a sunken boat in the gap.

A sad day for the sailing community.

White Rock Council is predicting that the repair to the pier will be northwards of 5 million and probably closer to 6 million dollars.  The project likely won’t be completed till August 2019.

This storm affected my boat as well.  While the wind and waves didn’t really affect the sheltered little cove where I moor my boat, the storm surge sure did.

The river has a dyke built along it to protect the low-lying farmland from flooding. It was built many years ago. The builders clearly didn’t anticipate the kind of surge that this storm bought along with it.  The water was within about a foot of breaching the dyke. 

Little Bear’s mooring buoy is in the deepest part of that section of the river.  When I calculated the length of chain I would need I based it on High High Tide plus a few (about 5) feet.  It didn’t occur to me that there may be a surge of any sort. We just don’t get storms like that. Well, at least not till now. 

The tackle on the bottom is about 1100 lbs of steel & concrete. Under ‘normal’ circumstances this is plenty adequate to hold the boat.  However, as the surge came up the chain and buoy reached their limit. Added to that is the relatively short pennant I have to attach the boat to the buoy and the boat simply lifted the tackle off the bottom.  It would never have dragged but pulling straight up was absolutely no problem at all.   So my boat, with it’s buoy & tackle drifted. Toward shore. And other boats that are moored in shallower water.

Little Bear ended up bumping into a trimaran. Between the trimaran and the shallower water she stopped drifting toward shore.  The following day I hustled down to the river to assess the damage and rectify the mooring.  Understand that Little Bear has no fuel tanks at the moment so her engine won’t run!! In a pinch I could have filled a jerry can and stuffed the fuel hose into that but with time and circumstances it was easier just to tow it.

The chap who owns the trimaran was also there.  He helped me with a tow and we moved Little Bear to an empty mooring much further up river. His boat didn’t have any damage at all and Little Bear only suffered the indignity of a bit of scuffing on her new shiny paint.

It could have been worse. Much worse. Look at those pictures!  Some of those boats I know quite well. Every spring they haul out at my club’s facilities for maintenance, bottom cleaning etc. Now they’re gone. I still have a boat. And she’s safe and secure.  Thank God.

Next week I’ll post what the water around the club looked like… stay tuned.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Tank Template Blog #162

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Back on track. It’s fuel tank time. I have the styrofoam template mock-up complete and I will try to fit the whole thing into the tank hold. The trick with doing this is the material that the mock-up is made of.  It’s styrofoam.  If I push too hard it will bend and I’ll be able to fit it but metal will not bend so I have to be very careful.  If I push even harder it will break – not good. Not good at all. Bad even.

At the end of the expedition, I did manage to get the mock-up positioned correctly in the hold. Making a template based off of the large end proved to be the correct idea. The template fit just as sweet as sweet can be.

Now that i know I have a workable mock-up, I can take it back to welder-dude and we can start on the real thing. The aluminium tank. I will be using 3/16 5050 grade aluminium. This is suitable for  the marine environment and probably a bit thicker gauge than necessary but I want these puppies to out-last me. Fortunately for who ever owns this boat after me, the grunt work of replacing the tanks has been done. It’ll be pretty straight forward to create new ones.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Le Mastgate Vlog # 161

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Annnnnd another small project with which to stall the important project.  This small project is necessary, but not too important. It’s self explanatory really.  When I refit the mast and boom I didn’t want to have to disconnect and drop the boom to take the mainsail off. Now I know that the number of times that I’ll have to remove the mainsail will be few. But the prospect of disconnecting the boom under what may be rough circumstances seems a bit daunting.

The solution? Simply to cut a slot in the sail track through which I can remove the sail lugs. The challenge with this is that with an open slot, the lugs tend to want to fall out of the track under normal use. This will not do. Not at all.

The slot in the track is about 2″ long and I need a graceful and elegant cover for the slot. Fortunately, there is an outfit in the US that specializes in mastgates. Yes, that is what such a solution is called: a mastgate.  So I bit the bullet and purchased a custom mastgate for my specific mast to accommodate my specific lugs.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work. the mastgate is about 1/16th of an inch too thick to allow the lugs to pass comfortably.  The manufacturer is quite willing to reconfigure to fix it but that would be $10 shipping handling which is more than I’m willing to spend on top of what I’ve already spent.  I’ll have to fix it myself.  :/

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Franken Tank Blog # 160

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Winter has set in. Rain, cold, wind. Not a good combination for working on a boat! Fortunately there are things I can do to move the project ahead. Things that I don’t have to be on the boat to accomplish.

In a previous blog / vlog, I mentioned that I had created a tank template out of cardboard for a test fit. That was a massive fail. But I generally fail my way to success so there was no great frustration or disappointment.

In order to get an accurate assessment of what the new tanks would have to look like I needed to reassemble the old tanks.  When I took the old tanks out I was pretty brutal with them. I gave no thought to careful cutting and removing. It was more of a hack and slash job. I just wanted them OUT!

Once I realized that I would have to reassemble them, I thought “huh”. Oh well, onwards and tankwards.  In this episode my friend who also  happens to be a professional welder volunteers to give me a hand in fabricating new tanks.  Step one: reassemble the old tanks.

It is more or less like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Satisfying once finished.  Now we have the ‘originals’ from which we can make templates. Right?

Well, almost.  Because they have been welded back together from pieces, the corner angles and precise dimensions are a bit off.  This will come back to plague us as we cut and assemble the new tanks. But as always, we overcome, we conquer and attain victory.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Glorious Sanding! Vlog #159

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Procrastination.  Oh boy, the killer of progress. Yes it is. focusing on the necessary over the important only delays the important. The important still has to be done, but now it’s later than anticipated.  What am I talking about?

The weather is beautiful so I chose to work on the deck. Do a little sanding. Pretty easy, needs to be done. But at the expense of moving the fuel tank project forward.  Oh well. It’s only time right?

There is always a consequence for putting things off. You’d think at my age I would know that. And in reality, intellectually, I do. But I still do it. Do you? Ok, I know you do, so don’t get all judgy on my butt.

I did get a lot of the sanding done albeit not in time to paint before the cold and rainy weather set in. Winter on the west coast is wonderful.  No now to shovel. 🙂

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.