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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparation Step #6 - Waiting, Weather, GRIB files and Dreaming of S. Pacific Anchorages

Sigh!  I guess what people say is right - when your boat is out of the water and getting work done - your guestimation for end date needs to be double what you think it might take (although Kerri, our ever optimistic April Point Marina manager says "Double the time you think it might take and triple the cost") YIKES!!  We seem to be pouring money into our lovely Lady and our big day is still a year away!  It's been over two weeks now since "Lively Lady" went on the hard and yesterday when I visited her in the yard and saw that they had painted red anti-fouling paint instead of the black that we asked for (think how cool that will look with our burgundy boot stripe and sheer stripe and the Black Cherry Sunbrella sail covers and dodger) my heart sank... more time needed...

...and the other day we were trying to figure out how much time we have over the next year to take her out to put to test much of what we need... testing out our new anchor and snubbing system... practising heaving-to... testing out our para-anchor...not to mention just a few times when we just want to sail into Desolation Sound to enjoy ourselves!!  Not a lot of time since we will be in Calgary for much of that time so that we can both work and save up our pennies for our 6 month hiatus! can we do it all??!!

Oh well... we are nothing if not busy in our preparations, I must say!  Co-Cap'n Bill is now busily studying anything and everything about weather. 

We have now have Airmail and applied for and received our callsign for Sailmail... have everything loaded on our super duper laptop now installed in the nav station (Bill, my sweet ludite, keeps saying he can't believe he bought yet another computer!) and now need to learn how to use it all so that we can receive Grib Files showing weather patterns when we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and not having CBC weather reports to listen to. 

Since you may not know what Grib files are (I sure didn't until launching on this little project I can tell you!) here is a litte explanation from one of our weather gurus, Frank from Frank Singleton's Weather and Sailing Pages, ( ):

GRidded Information in Binary (GRIB) files are output direct from Numerical Weather Prediction programs and provide an extremely useful and cost effective tool.
GRIB forecasts are particularly useful for planning purposes for the next few days ahead. There are finer scale, meso-scale, forecasts that can add value in the form of more localised detail but, again, these should be used with care and in the light of hard won experience. 

Okay now won't I look smart when at my next hoity-toity cocktail party (yeah right!) I can drop a few witty tid-bits about Gridded Information in Binary (or GRIB) files.  Of course we now need to study what all of those lines and arrows and numbers mean so that we will be able to decide to skidaddle away from any potential nasty weather patterns coming our way.  That means getting more books to add to the piles of tomes lying around 

we already have in both our teeny-weeny 100 year old (read No Storage) house in Calgary and our little cottage on Quadra Island (that is slowly filling up with sailing parafernalia - the guest suite is now known as the Sail Locker!!)...  

Bill has discovered David Burch's Modern Marine Weather with the accompanying workbook... you guessed it...  Modern Marine Weather Workbook! Required reading for those of us heading over the horizon.

Meanwhile I am still slogging through my celestial navigation course assisted by my wonderful Mary Blewitt book Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen that I talked about in Posting #1.  I find that I need to study little bits, test myself then read back over it again, make notes, highlight the notes and re-read it all again.  I blame my almost 60 year old brain for the snail like pace of learning this stuff!  (Not to mention my total resistance to understanding anything resembling trigonometry).  I must say though when I leave it for a couple of days and then go back over what I had "learned" earlier I feel a few struggling synapses weakly flashing and it does begin to look familiar :-)

YAY!  Now for those of you worried that we will be trying to find our way based solely on my brilliant navigating skills not to worry!  We do have GPS loaded with all of the electronic charts plus all the paper charts we need (although we are looking for some more up to date ones of Marquesas and French Polynesia)... besides which Bill already knows the ins and outs of taking sights with a sextant and actually getting an accurate fix on our position!  We also have some great books (surprise, surprise) about anchorages in places along the way.  Boy, if that doesn't get you excited about this trip nothing will!  

Two great books that we found are Exploring the Marquesas Islands by Joe Russell and 

 South Pacific Anchorages by Warwick Clay which for the last few evenings we have been reading about and salivating over ...

Hey!  We are getting really close to our big de-naming re-naming ceremony once Lively Lady is back in the water.  Next posting I'll tell you all about it as this stuff is really serious and the gods of the seas (Neptune and Posieden) require considerable attention to these kinds of actions!  

...sooooo, as my sister Carole likes to say,... 

Talk to you when I talk to you :-)


  1. Dear Cathy and Bill:
    Do sailors really say, "Ride the wave?" Trigonometry and GRIB, along with the sextant, will indeed make lively conversation at the next cocktail party.
    What an exciting time for you to be learning and stretching your minds in preparation for sailing the ocean blue.
    Two more weeks and another year is down.


  2. After 30sec of internet research I have found this:

    "Renaming a boat or a ship is considered to be very unlucky. But if you have to do it there is a a procedure and ceremony. According to legend, each and every vessel is recorded by name in the Ledger of the Deep and is known personally to Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea. therefore, the first thing we must do is to purge its name from the Ledger of the Deep and from Poseidon’s memory."

    Here are preparatory steps to expunge the old title:

    (1) you must prepare the vessel: you must remove all physical traces of the boat's old name.
    (2) Take the old log book ashore, along with any other papers that bear the old name.
    (3) Check for offending books and charts with the name inscribed.
    (4) Sand away the old name from the lifeboats, transom, top-side, and oars. Yes, sand it away or replace. Painting over is not good enough. King Neptune can see through the paint.
    (5) If the old name is carved or etched, remove it dig it out and fill it sand it and then paint over.

  3. Here are some rituals:

    (1) The Superstitious Ceremony was to write the soon-to-be-exorcised name on a piece of paper, fold the paper, and place it in a small cardboard or wooden box. Burn the box. Scoop up the ashes and throw them into the sea on an outgoing tide. If you live on a lake, do it at night and only during a new moon. River dwellers should send the ashes downstream.

    (2) Vigor's Denaming Ceremony
    SPOKEN OUT LOUD "In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past, and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient gods of the wind and the sea to favor us with their blessing today.
    "Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves; and mighty Aeolus (pronounced EE-oh-lus), guardian of the winds and all that blows before them:
    "We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port.
    "Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known (_____), be struck and removed from your records.
    "Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.
    "In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea.
    "In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea."

    I bid hail !! Aeolus and Poseidon !
    And seek your benefaction upon this vessel ,
    May the name she carried before, be gone as the winds of yore,
    Having served the former master with honor.
    I now, with deep respect, petition you royal beings ,
    To give this vessel's new hailing and her next voyages, your kindnesses.

    I request you take this procedure very seriously as the source material comes from a website called


  4. Thanks Cam for your very interesting results from your extensive (30 secs?) research on denaming-renaming our boat... we will definitely be using all of the above in our upcoming ceremony!

    also... thanks Mark, for your comments (love to hear from our readers!)... Wow! You are close to the end of school - YAY! Hope to see you on Quadra some time this summer :-)

  5. hmmm, I wonder what's to be done about the extensive electronic record of the boat's old name...

    and I have a tough time imagining Bill at ANY hoity -toity cocktail parties.

    too fun!

  6. Hey Robin! (Nice to meet you electronically at least!)... Bill cleans up really nicely, but messing about in boats is more to his liking :-) Thanks for your comments... - Poseiden and Neptune are still ludites according to my sources and since non of our electronic boat stuff is official it doesn't count (again, I've got that from an excellent source!...don't ask :-))
    You are invited to our ceremony - just don't know when yet :-)