It’s been too long for a post here! Winter is finally over, Covid lockdown is ending, things are looking up. Finally able to get out to the boat to remove the winter cover and found a surprise. Warning, this article contains images that may disturb some readers (joking).

Ontario was still in lockdown, but we were able to go to the boat yard to make some spring preparations for our boat in the yard at Loyalist Cove. There were a few limitations:

  • Only members from the same household can work on a boat together
  • Need to book and reserve specific times in the yard
  • Need to call at the gate so they can confirm your appointment before letting you in
  • The electrical project has been delayed so there is no electricity at our boat
  • Water is available at main building only

We were anticipating an easier launch with access to a hose and not having to run a 150 foot cord for electricity but looks like we are using buckets again and not using our electric buffer. Tempted to load an inverter on the boat to see if the solar can power it for us.

Arrival at the yard

We had to make the most of our limited time so we were up uncomfortably early for the two hour drive and arrived at the gate at 9am. Seeing all the boats boosted our spirits.

Security gate at Loyalist Cove.

As a side note, there’s a beautiful Ranger Tug for sale right at the gate. I’m trying to convince my dad that it’s the right boat for him.

The boat looked exactly as we left her and the cover held up well over the winter. Lori’s re-stitching of the zippers stuck. The cover is starting to show some age but we couldn’t find anything that needed to be repaired.

Winter cover on the bow.

We did find one issue that I’m concerned about. The front of our rudder is showing signs of splitting. While poking and pulling at this crack felt solid and didn’t budge, I want to get this fixed before she goes in the water. Looking for advice!

Rudder splitting.

Removing the winter cover

We quickly removed the cover. It always feels like unwrapping a present, one that we’ve already sneaked a look at but still super excited to open up.

I really appreciate the simplicity of our cover frame setup. I guess there’s a possibility of more snow build up on our bow and some mildew as the cover mostly sits directly on the fiberglass but I haven’t noticed any issues. I like that everything can easily fit back into our car after we take it down.

Foggy was looking a bit dirty but couldn’t find any additional issues. We set up the ladder and jumped on board!

Dirty Stern.

The disturbing image (video)

OK I’ll share the disturbing image now. This was a bit of a surprise for us; we’ve had issues with birds before. When we first purchased Foggy there was a nest in the back end of our boom. You can see the mess here: Isomat Boom Maintenance – taking it apart

I noticed a bunch of bird poop on the bow and didn’t think much of it until I saw a bird show up with a mouth full of worms, sitting there, staring at me from the pushpit. This is when I just started to realize something was wrong. After a bit of a stare off, the bird jumped down and disappeared into the anchor locker. Ahh crap. Oh well, we will just lift the nest out and move it to the edge of the yard. At least that’s what we thought until we opened up the anchor locker.

Video 20 seconds

I had no idea that a bird could collect this much wood! I’m a little worried about the acidity of the poop but hope it will clean up easily after we dig it all out. We want gloves, mask and goggles before digging through this so it will be a project for our next visit out to the boat. We weren’t planning to return for two weeks, so hoped the baby birds would be gone by then.

QUICK UPDATE: We went back two weeks later to remove the birds nest and were happy to find that the birds, and babies, had all vacated the nest. It was still one large yard waste bag full of twigs and at least an hour scraping and scrubbing with a respirator and goggles to remove all the caked on poop. The fiberglass survived and our anchor locker is probably cleaner than it has ever been.

A few projects

We had a few projects to complete in our short time on the boat:

  • Remove cover
  • Check for winter damage
  • Reconnect batteries and solar
  • Replace engine controls (this was a winter project that I still need to share)
  • Replace stern navigation light
  • Replace battery on GPS receiver
  • Clean and apply teak oil to interior
  • Gather measurements for a few other projects (engine blower vents, cockpit storage)

We added a few new projects to our list:

  • Replace Jabsco head seal, we could see a stain from the antifreeze in toilet around the base of the toilet. Looks like there’s a leak. I’m fed up with dealing with this crap (literally). We are looking at alternatives now, possibly a Raritan electric head with macerator. It will be so much easier for our guests and we now have enough power.
  • Rudder repair
  • Seacock lose under sink

A familiar neighbour

With all the boats in the yard it was funny how both Lori and I were drawn to a boat at the exact same time. It was a beautiful dark hulled boat that seemed familiar to us.

As we inspected her more closely we see the name on the back, Wynsum, exactly the same as what our friends named their boat when we started sailing several years back. But we had no idea where their boat had gone. They sold her a few years ago when they upgraded from a 26 foot (C&C) to a 40 foot boat (CS40). My first thoughts were that someone else used the same name. We took a closer look and realized it was her, it’s been a long time! It’s easy for us to anthropomorphize our boats and fun to imagine the stories they could have possibly shared as they hung out next to each other over the winter. Having a good laugh at their owners and all the silly mistakes made over the years.

The joy our boat brings us

With the growing list of repairs and bills our boat constantly presents us, it’s amazing how little we worry about it. We are not rich. We try to keep all our other expenses low. I always joke that our boat has probably delayed our retirement by ten years. But the joy we get in return far outweigh the time and costs. I admit, and all of our friends will tell you, it consumes us. It’s all we think about. It’s our dream we go to whenever we are in a dark and stormy place. Even in the middle of winter, covered with a foot of snow, miles away from us, Foggy brings light to our lives. It’s the adventures we have experienced and the future ones we are planning. The last year and half has been difficult, especially for Lori, it was filled with a lot of terrible events. Not sure how we could have gotten through it without Foggy.

After a day of hard work, we reminisce of the best times and sit in the cockpit of Foggy. Opening a cold beer, in the middle of a dusty boat yard, thinking there is no place we’d rather be.

Sorry Lori, didn’t really capture the moment above. But only picture I have. 🙁

Until next time. We still have a few hurdles to get over before Foggy is back in the water.