Little Bear Westsail 32 goes for a sail! Blog # 142

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

I enjoy working on Little Bear. Really, I do. But after two years I’m really itching to get out there on the water.  So, even though the boat isn’t really ready, although there are tools and parts scattered all over, although the head doesn’t work, although the lights are only half working – I decided to get out for a sail. Sail meaning ‘motor’.

July first; Canada’s 150th birthday seemed like as good an occasion to get out and go for a trip down the river and around the bend. So that’s what we did. Dread Pirate Admiral & a friend took Little Bear out to see the fireworks in White Rock…


Of course, seeing fireworks means that we’d be out in the dark. The Admiral said that without a head there was no way we’d be anchoring out so we had to navigate back to the dock in the dark. Fortunately the tide was right and we managed to get her back to her slip without mishap.  Although it was a bit of a white knuckle ride up the river.

Special thanks go out to all the power boats with their 5′ wakes blasting past us to create the atmosphere of a hurricane in full fettle.  So kind and thoughtful of you. Blessings.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Mast Refit pt.1 Blog #117

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Before the mast can be put up on the boat it needs some attention. The first trick was to move it into the shed. The winter weather is here in force – meaning rain, more rain, more rain, interspersed with rain. And then some snow. Needless to say working outside in the rain is a bit of an adrenaline producing activity – and I’m too old for adrenaline. So I had to move the stick inside.

And that is no easy feat for a grumpy old fart such as myself. I managed by getting a bit of ‘armstrong’ help from a buddy and utilizing an seldom used skiff on a hand cart. Worked well. Got the stick in the shed.

Now for the next part – stripping the hardware off and cleaning it up, then the inevitable sanding, sanding, sanding. Rock `n Roll good times. You see, once this particular party is over I’ll have a shiny new looking stick to plop up on the deck. I’m looking forward to that. There is something very satisfying about taking something neglected and shabby looking and making it look gooooood.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Salvage and an update Blog # 115

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

It’s not every day you see something like this:


That is a high-hoe excavator. It was being used to place large rocks along the dyke.

There is a dam not far upstream that tends to stop the river flowing an the reduction of current is slowly silting up the river. However, someone thought it a good idea to reinforce the dyke to stop any erosion. I don’t know if the excavator slipped or if the bank gave way, or if the rocks slipped but the end result was that the excavator ended up in the water. At high tide. Just deep enough to cover the engine. 😦

Needless to say the excavator needed to be retrieved and taken away. I assume for repair but maybe for scrap, who knows. But it was an interesting process that I thought I would share.

I also give a little update on the state of the refit.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Woody would you Blog #52

Arrrrr me hearties! Welcome aboard.

In this episode we get to see how the first attempt at laminating the rudder-cheek boards worked out. It went well if I don’t say so myself. It went so well that I promptly laminated the second set of boards.

I also take a shot at drilling out the epoxy filled holes on the boom-kin beam. It turned out just as I had planned I now have epoxy sleeves in my boom-kin.

We’re making some good progress:


Fair winds, following seas, and God  bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Through-hull removal tool Vlog #43


Ahhhrrrrr me hearties! Spring is in the air. I can smell it. I can feel it. In spite of the onslaught of rain, Spring is coming. And I for one, am looking forward to it.

Work on Little Bear has slowed to a crawl over the winter months, mostly due to inclement weather, but also due to other small things getting in the way. Like moving house. Yeah, we sold, bought, and moved into a new house. We didn’t actually move the house. We left the old one where it was and moved to a new one. A long way too, I might add. A whole 48 seconds by car if you get the one light green.

Anyway, in spite of things slowing down I have been working on the boat.  In this episode I took a break from not working on the boat and went to the Vancouver Boat Show with Dread Pirate Vlad. We both thought it was a bit of a wash.  I don’t think I’ll go again next year.

I also introduce the manufacture of a through-hull removal tool.  Yes, I know that a ‘step-tool’ would do the job just fine. However, they cost in the region of $70.  And I don’t trust them to stand up to the amount of torque that needs to be applied to get the old fittings out.  So as an alternative I spent a whopping $6 on some cold rolled steel rod and a welder friend of mine welded up a pair of tools for me.

Here’s the vid:

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


Fall Update Vlog #36

A quick update from Dread Pirate Biff. Work has slowed on Little Bear.

Life tends to get in the way so the progress on the boat has suffered somewhat. We’re moving house and so all the time that is necessary to deal with real-estate deals has been taken from boat-time. Nevertheless, we press on and Biff brings us up to speed on what is happening on the boat.

He also discusses the impact of weather, the time change and some new tools.

#FortLauderdaleMysteryMonkey makes an unscheduled appearance.

Fair winds, following seas, and God bless!


Ol’ Cranky

A short video and a quick update on the Little Bear situation.

I took the new AGM battery to the boat and installed it. With bated breath, I gave the glo-plugs a good 10 second warmup shot, then turned the key.  The ‘Suzie’ jumped to life so quickly it startled me. That AGM butt-kicker spoke with great authority to the starter and the result was very satisfying. No more teeth-clenching cranking, no  more wondering if the iron-maiden will wake up and serve before the mast (or propeller as the case may be), now the power to start is mine, all mine!! (Insert maniacal piratey laughter here).

Ok, so with the diesel happily idling over I decided to give moving the mooring buoy anchor / tackle a nudge to see if we could move it. I put the boat into gear and slowly took up the slack on the chain.  We had tied off the mooring pennant to the windlass winch and then the samson post at the bow.  Initial attempts to move the tackle proved futile.  In spite of the charts saying that 400 lbs of concrete wasn’t enough, I think we’re right on the edge of a secure system.

I backed the boat up giving the chain some slack then took the boat forward at about 2 knt. When the slack went out of the chain, the bow nodded and I could ‘feel’ the tackle dragging. So, it is possible to move it but it took a fair amount of power. Consider – Little Bear weighs 10 ton.  The Isuzu develops 50hp so I had 10 ton moving at approximately 2 – 3 knts and only with that amount of mass moving at that speed did the tackle budge.

We moved the tackle to a much more suitable position where Little Bear would not be swinging into her neighbours, and once settled we also threw out a 25 lb bruce.  That should hold her till we can get a bit more weight on the bottom.

The new plan is to use another garbage can but this time we will use old V8 motor heads as ‘reinforcement’. We will use a bit of PVC pipe down the center so that we can run the existing chain up through the new weight and have it sitting in line with the existing weight.  We will allow time, wind, and tide to see if the additional weight will hold Little Bear.  In the mean time we wait for an opening on the dock at wards marina. Much more convenient.

Here is how she’s sitting today: