Nice evening here. I can keep a close eye on Mazurka from the nearest park bench.

I had a nice dinner out with Samantha and Sarah, then put up holiday lights. I was hoping to see them from here, but the cover is too thick and there’s a lot of light pollution. At least I’m showing a bit to my dock neighbors.

Inside I have colours across the top. Not great pics but a nice effect with the lights dimmed inside.

All good aboard. Had a couple of cold nights below -10C and survived nicely. Haven’t had any significant ice yet. I have bubblers hung and ready to go, but the forecast through the new year looks benign.


My intent had been to use my storage cover, but Genco quoted $1000 and three weeks to make the necessary modifications. Even after that it would have been inferior to shrink wrapping in several respects, notably light and having a framed door for entry. So I used the frame and decided to shrink wrap.

Peter the dockmaster helped me on Thursday, and with his help it was pretty easy. As I was late deciding there was limited inventory of wrap, so I had 14′ width white. Next time I’ll get clear full width. Doing the seaming was a lot of extra work.

Today put things to the test, with snow, hail and freezing rain and strong east winds. The cover performed well, stable and tight. There’s a lot of windage, and the boat was moving around a lot, and heeling in the gusts. I kind of like it.

In other news, I installed a heated mattress pad in my berth. I realized that the area under the V berth is essentially unheated, and had been a bit cold sleeping. This solves for that.

It’s very comfortable aboard, with 6000 watts of electric heat installed, cycling on thermostats. But I won’t have that much available once I’m running bubblers. Think it’ll be ok.

I like this marina and community. There are about 45 boats here for the winter. This is going to be fun.

Winter Prep

It’s been unseasonably cold here. These pictures were taken last week.

I wasn’t quite ready for winter, but survived. Had 3000 watts of heat on inside, which kept thing above freezing, but not exactly cozy.

I finally built a panel to accommodate a second 30 amp service, and today added it and ran cords to supply the engine room heater and an additional baseboard heater.

Now I’ve got 60 amps available @110 v, and it’s toasty warm inside.

Next up is getting the cover on. I’m going to use my existing winter storage cover

It’s going to need some modifications, but I’ll get the frame on and try it this week. Wednesday looks nice for outdoor work.


Got back to Toronto today and am hunkered down on Mazurka as a front goes through. Very gusty west winds blowing down the western gap. Lots of movement and noise. I kind of like it.

My next major mission is winter prep. Shrink wrapping Tin Lizzie, and getting Mazurka ready for a winter in the ice. I brought two new 3/4 hp de-icers back. Think I know what I have to get done before winter sets in.

More to follow.

Fall in the boat yard

Crowley’s is on the Calumet River, with a sizable port operation inland. I never tire of watching the ships come through. This Laker went by traveling backwards unassisted.

Earlier we had another back in, with tugs fore and aft. Pretty cool.

In between ships and barge traffic we bring yachts in and land them at our docks. Most come from the Chicago harbors 7-15 miles away.

About 600 of them go into heated storage.

Pretty cool place.

Lotsa Boats

I’m at Crowley’s for a couple of weeks helping out with the haul out. This is in Chicago, where they close down the harbors on Oct 31 and the several thousand boats that summer there head for the storage yards. We put hundreds of boats into indoor heated storage here, and most of them arrive in late October.

I love hanging around busy yards. In addition to storage customers we also have a steady stream of loopers here, sailboats that stop in to have us drop the mast. In many cases we wrap them and have them shipped to Mobile to rejoin the boat there.

This looper started their trip in Germany. Very nice boat. They were here for a couple of days getting their rig down and secure on deck.

There is always an interesting and changing assortment of boats in the staging area. I never get tired of looking at different designs. Interesting juxtaposition here with a 1d35 next to a Westsail 32.

And when I don’t have one of my boats here I take up residence on one of the boats ashore. There are always lots of choices. The Bristol 39 I’m staying on this week is very comfortable.

That boat on the left is a Pearson Countess motorsailer. I’ve always liked the look of the boat, and keep thinking it would be fun to restore and rehab this boat. But what then? Deep draft vs power boat is a big disadvantage. Not sure what I’d do with it…

Tin Lizzie – Season 1

This whole thing was highly speculative. We bought a very cool boat, sort of within budget and sort of fitting my flimsy use case.

So, how was the summer? In a word, spectacular. Tin Lizzie is a keeper.

Sure, there were setbacks. There always will be. I’m having a new rudder built this winter at non-trivial expense, and it was disappointing not to complete a GLSS event.

I joked about the bare bones interior until I spent a very cold and rainy few weeks living aboard in the spring. Then I started cursing it. I had the J/29 as sort of a low-end standard going in. TL falls well below that.

But wow, the sailing. I’m not sure if it came through in the blog, but I had a blast. The boat was better than I had dared to hope it would be. Fast, easy to handle, and comfortable to sail. I had endless fun playing with the instrumentation and electronics. The autopilot exceeded my high expectations. The weather was near perfect after I left Chicago, and I had a string of gorgeous overnight passages.

It’s been more than a month since we hauled TL, and it’s been fun roaming the waterfronts of Halifax and Toronto this month. I never tire of looking at sailboats, and now that I’m a semi-committed stinkpotter I pay attention to power boats too. But I have to say I don’t suffer any boat envy these days. Here’s TL next to an Olson 911 and a J/33.

Cool boat! I’m already plotting and scheming about season two. And rationalizing the ongoing expenses of keeping the fleet. Gulp. I’m going to blog about the economics of recreational boating some time. It’s an interesting topic.