Adventures with Trickster

Records from the Ships Log

June 29 2008
Maiden Voyage on Trickster

Left Shelter Island late morning. Crossed the straight with a delightful wind and glorious sunshine. Our maiden voyage. We were giddy with excitement – practically cheering our way across. [note: we had purchased Trickster in April 2006 and spent over 40 hours a week restoring her until we relaunched in October 2008.] With no precise destination we decided to pay a visit to the family and headed to Silva Bay. It was packed. How we managed to anchor I haven’t a clue. Our first three attempts to anchor were, I’m sure, amusing. Trickster spinning in tight ballerina circles and a confused crew in deck. She won’t be winning any maneuvering prizes anytime soon [note: the boat was retrofitted for an engine and as a result the propellor exited the hull at an angle behind the rudder, making steering in reverse exceedingly difficult.] On our fourth attempt we stuck – or at least we think we did. Hard to say for certain when we have never anchored before. We have been equipped with Dad’s instructions, but the real thing was a little trickier than one would think. Turns out we had managed to stick her good. Beginners luck no doubt. A good northerly picked up late that night. I was up regularly, paranoid we were drifting. Just as a watched pot never boils a watched anchors doesn’t drag!? We stuck true all night.

June 30 2008
The day started off out of a picture book. We were so pleased with ourselves. We left Silva Bay early (too nervous to even so much as leave her alone for a minute we decided to move on) and headed north to LeBouef Bay. Pulled in waving to the folks, dropped the anchor and rowed ashore. The family crew had been busy yesterday digging up gardens and installing water systems in preparation for our fast approaching wedding (only 6 weeks to go!). We convinced Ken, Tia and Grandma (ok so it didn’t take much convincing – everyone was more that willing) to go for a sail. The wind behaved perfectly and Grandma exclaimed “why I think this is my first true sail, every other time I’ve gone out the wind has died and we have done nothing but drift”. Everyone took a turn as skipper. Tia got nervous and passed the tiller off quickly. Ken did well. We dropped our passengers back on shore and headed back south through Gabriola Passage. Hit the reef on the way to Pirates Cove and had to be rescued [we were pulled off the reef with our halyard and a helpful man and his dinghy]. It was a humbling experience and we learnt our lesson the hard way. Trickster was fine, no harm done. Spent the rest of our afternoon bailing out our bilges – fresh water…. A ball valve had cracked and we had emptied our freshwater tanks into our bilge- glorious. [apparently our bilge pump wasn’t working either ?!] we had a stream of visitors to console us with stories of when they (or their buddies) hit the reef. One nice guy even gave us 2 large dungeons crabs. When we went to cook them Kolby says to me ‘I’ve got some bad news. We are almost out of propane.’ I sort of lost it at that point and cried (mostly likely over losing my morning cup of coffee- priorities are a funny thing indeed). After I was consoled we enjoyed our crab and quiet anchorage stern tied. Exhausted, we both slept well.

June 30 2008
Putts over to Clam Bay. Almost chewed my fingers off leaving Pirates Cove (how many times did it take those first guys to get in there?). Anchored in Clam Bay, chosen for its proximity to Porier Pass our exit for the home crossing. The day was scalding hot and more than once we fulfilled our urges to roll in and swim. Kolby cleaned the hull and dove the keel again. No damage done. Luckily it wasn’t a direct hit- Kolby had turned the tiller over hard at the screams from buddy on shore ” YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THE REEF!” And we sort of skitted onto it. The engine sucked up seaweed on the way home and overheated again (or was this the remnant of the same seaweed that had us adrift for an hour yesterday?) Kolby pulled it out and she has been behaving well since. When they say boating is relaxing, which part are they referring to? Guess we are still waiting to find out.

Monday July 1
Canada Day. A tired, humbled (exhausted may be more applicable) crew heads home, following a carefully plotted route (no more reefs for us, thank you very much) home. We arrived in out slip around 4pm and were greeted by our fellow dockmates. More than happy to be safe in our slip, we hopped in Tia’s convertible (which of course broke down) and headed to good od A&W for some soul nourishing food. I think we earned it.

Aug 2 -Saturday
Left the docks at 06:30. A damp and drizzly wind pushed us straight across to Porlier and lifted us up Valdes just as the sun came out. Played tunes on the stereo as we tacked across to Silva Bay. With our wedding only 2 weeks away, time is dwindling to get all the last ducks in a row! Pulled into Silva Bay on a low tide. Paikea Mist ( was already at anchor. The folks were thrilled to see us and Dad was snapping away with his new camera. As we headed to our slip at Paiges they hopped in the dinghy to help us dock. No need. Kolby put her in like an expert.

Aug 4 – Monday
A great weekend of work. LaBouef is looking beautiful. A quiet weekend except for Tink escaping to the dock (she was easily retrieved) and Paikea breaking her windlass. A lovely nor’wester carried us into the Fraser. Chugging up the Fraser I thought we were going to be done for when a huge car freighter passed us.

Aug 9 Saturday
The adventure begins (again in the rain) at 06:30. Made 9.5 knots down the river to sandheads. Southerly wind blew us right to Silva By. We are getting very familiar with this crossing! The clouds burned off and we sailed in clear, high vis glory all the way there. Made quick time – about 4hrs and beat Paikea. Dropped the hook and 45 minutes later Paikea arrived. The wind picked up and we dragged…. blow to our anchoring confidence [we might never drag again]. Another try and we decided to raft with Paikea. A fun choice in the end. Oma and Opa arrived late in the afternoon.

Aug 10 Sunday
Scrubbed the grime off the cockpit in the morning. Hours later and slightly whiter we abandoned ship and headed up to LaBouef to do some yard work before Kolby caught his ferry. I said goodbye to my soon to be husband and we headed back to the boats. With Dad as crew, I pulle up the anchor and skippered her into her home for the week in the Silva Bay Marina. Drove like a pro. What can I say?
Aug 11-15
Week of keeping the cats inside (or taking Tink out on a leash), sanding teak and wedding business!

Aug 17- Sunday [note this begins our week long sailing honeymoon] Arrive home to Trickster as a married couple to a ‘Just Married’ sign on the windows. Friends had hung empty cans and streamers streamers from the rigging. Horns were blowing on all the boats in the marina and a few friends and family who were still around dropped by for final well wishes. With food from mom and a quick stop at the gas dock we were off- off for our week of freedom. It took a good hours to get her back into shipshape and stow all the wedding loot. With a successful entrance into Pirates Cove (and a second successful anchorage) we hunkered down for the night.

Aug 18 – Monday
Pirates Cove – Telegraph Harbour. Decided to try Telegraph Harbour fro some supplies as the random assortment of food from mom was missing most anything to make a meal. Telegraph had little more to offer- some milk, hotdogs, break, cheese and pasta sauce, a can of tuna, some bad coffee and a can of beans, all for a whopping $40! Ouch! Spent the night nestled among the derelicts and their personal mooring bouts. No showers or garbage drop off, but the cafe makes a great cup of coffee. BBX wireless internet.

August 19 – Tuesday
Telegraph Harbour – Conover Cove. What started out as a leisurely beam reach sail turned quickly into 15 plus knots on our bow with four foot waves. I was down below finishing making lunch when Kolby rounded the point to find the wind funnelling down Housten Passage. We gave it a valient attempt; tacking every other minute and make reasonable progress, but in the name of mac and cheese (lunch) we dropped the sails and motored into Conover Cover. Lovely anchorage, on a stern tie to the beach, beside the dock. Spent the afternoon sanding the teak. Kolby went for a swim off the rope swing. Rain started up so we headed inside for the night.

August 20 – Wednesday
Conover Cove – Montague Harbour
Woke up to Kolby yelling “Kristine, get up here now!”; he sounded quite frantic. Our stern tie had come undone (my faulty knot) and we were spinning in the wind, frighteningly close to our neighbour. Kolby retrieved our lines and tied a sound knot. Me, being sick, fell back asleep instantly. Can’t say the same for Kolby. Went for a morning walk to Princess Cove (even more protected from the Southerlies). We raced a cutter rig up Trincomali Channel in the afternoon. We lost, but did ok. Sailed past Montague then jibed back for a downwind drift into the harbour. Parked it on a mooring bout, then went for a wet row across the bay for a medicare burger and coffee and the marina. Bought more ice.

August 21- Thursday
Montague. After the best sleep since we’ve left, we decided to stay a second night. Got a tour of a Tayana 37 from Alan and Mitsi (small world = Kolby sold Alan a generator off ebay)… and not Kolby is hooked on buying a new boat. Me – well I’m almost all for it. I will always keep a spot for Trickster in my heart – she has taught us a lot. Walked from the park to the marina for an ice cream cone, munching blackberries to our hearts content along the way.

August 22 Friday
Montague to Glenthorne Passage (on Prevost Island)
Motored over. Is everything about 5 knots away? Beautiful anchorage. We got a coat of varnish on the teak before going for a row around Secret Island. Little to no wind made for a quiet night. I lost our wonderful collapsable bucket overboard. A sad moment. It was a good bucket.

Aug 23 Saturday
Glenthorne Passage to Ganges to Otter Bay. Visited the colorful market at Ganges on Saltspring Island and bought some fresh bread. The day is sunny and hot. Pulled into Ganges early, which was a good idea as the market went from busy to packed. Motored over to Otter Bay and anchored. Snooty marine asked for $5 to tie our flippin’ dinghy to the dock. Managed to get a reservation at the quint restaurant The Islander. Our first fancy (read expensive) dinner out as a married couple. Trickster got rocked intensely when broadside to the ferry waves, which seemed to roll in continuously. A second coat of varnish on the teak and she is starting to look real pretty.

Aug 24 Sunday
Otter Bay to Shelter Island via Active Pass
Waiting in Otter Bay for the tide to change at noon in Active Pass. Starting to feel annoyed with the constant rocking. The stove is rattling. Very annoying. Nervous about our up coming crossing. Winds are forecasted to be 20-30 knots. Did I mention it is raining? Practised putting a reef in the main, just to be prepared.
The BIG wind never materialized. After taking the sail up and down then up again then down again we gave up on it completely. Kolby is driving. I’, huddles below. With only one pair or rain pants between the two of us, I’m going on deck in shorts and my gumboots. Which is cold, especially when the little rivers start to run down my jacket, over my shorts and into my boots. Solved the boot issue by ducktaping the tops closed. Active Pass was full of fog. One ferry disappeared into it, another appeared from the other direction. Very eery. We stuck to the edges and motored across the Straight and up the river. 7 hours later we were home. Without an autopilot, one of us has the drive the entire time. Without an enclosure, we are guaranteed to get wet. Boating at it’s finest.

Nov 17, 2009 Home in Shelter Island

Tonight was a quiet night. The water line did not burst and flood the bilges – there were no wires to short out and melt the bilge pump switch – cats did not fall in the river (to my knowledge) – boiling hot heater hoses did not explode, and I was not covered with hot sticky antifreeze – no light panels mysteriously came unglued upon my head. The boat is actually warm.  I haven’t seen a snake in here tonight – I have propane to cook with –  no dead, half eaten mice are lying around. Yep, things are looking up. Funny to know that all the above mentioned items have happened, and probably since the start of November. Funny for you that is. But don’t get me wrong – boat life isn’t all bad.

Nov 18

Spoke too soon. Far too soon. It’s a Thursday. I am supposed to be meeting  Becca – we have been trying to get together for months. At this point I think we may be jinxed. My spidey senses most have been tingling tonight though… instead of going straight to Becca I left a bit early to come home first, you know, check up on the cats. I open the hatch – that’s funny – I think. The moon is reflecting off the floors.   It is very bright moon- hmmm, I didn’t think the floors could be that shiny. But there is no way there could be that much water in there – or could there be? Lights on … shit… stumbling for rainboots – floating in water. Pull on boats… swish through water… taste it… definetly fresh (although that isn’t the best test when living on a river)… shaking… water coming over top of boots… running out to turn off the tap.. call Kolby “Come home now”… buckets buckets buckets.. is the water going down? It’s not river water is it? No,no its going down.  Bend, scoop, dump. Bend, scoop, dump… bend scoop dump… repeat about 100x.

Everything below knee level was wet. All the food. Everything in lockers had to be removed, dried and returned. Somehow our beautiful new floors are ok. 4 hours later we finish. Exhausted and wet we needed to run away, so off to DQ for some soul warming calories.

Tuesday, June 30
Decided last minute yesterday to cut loose and make sail for an extended 5 day long weekend. Made a quick ‘To Do’ list, a longer ‘To Bring’ list and a somewhat randomly thought out Grocery List. Ran round like a mad woman before work, collecting the necessary supplies. Determined not to be required to stop for anything, I did my best to calculate what I would need. 4 dinners, 5 lunches, some breakfast stuff (pancakes!) and a few snacks. Kolby came home late – we almost never left, he was concerned about work. Stern faced he decided that bing a work wouldn’t solve the problem, so we stowed everything and prepared to head off. I was giddy as we went to bed. Ready for the next sailing adventure!

Wednesday July 1
07:22 – and we are already off and heading down the river. he sun is out and it actually feels warm
09:00 – it is getting cold and windy. Both in full foul weather gear.
09:10 – Sandheads. Giant waves. Trickster clamouring up them then skidding down. THe waves are getting bigger and we start to loose steering as we try to climb. The wind catches the bow and she tries to spin. I’m at the trottle, ramping it up to try and push us over the top. Progress is brutal and we are both scared. A few more attempts and we decide to turn around, feeling defeated. Then we decided to make one more go of it, as our only other option was to slog up the river and go home. This time we stayed close to the breakwater. Low and behold – it worked! The water ran deeper and the waves stayed smaller. The breakwater offered a small relief from the wind as well. We didn’t know it then, but Sandheads was only the first squirmish. The battle was yet to come.
Just past the breakwater we were faced with 8 foot plus standing waves. We watched a 50′ power boat admits defeat and turn back. For us, we thought we saw the end in sight sure the waves were smaller in the Straight? With the prop rolling out of the water and making a deafening roar; we hoisted the main and reefed it. At least that was the goal. A comedy of errors and lack of experience is not really what we’re going for in 25 knot winds, but it’s what we got. With the main sail reefed (lesson learned: have the reef in before hoisting the sail) we cut the motor which was starting to overheat from it’s excursion and set sail. I watched one of the battons shake itself out of the sail and caught myself thinking how serene it looked, drifting calmly away withe the wind. On board things were less calm. We were taking the waves a lot more smoothly, with the handkercheif main, but it was still rough. Waves were washing across the bow frequently. Ever so often one would hit the windows with enough force that I was pleased they didn’t break.
we made between 3.5-4.5 knots for the 16 nm it took to reach the northerly winds of Howe Sounds. I drove while Kolby was sea sick. UP and then DOWN we then FORWARD we went. Every once and awhile a wave would hit the back of the boat broadside and completely soak the both of us. Trickster handled like a dream; so smooth. And for the most part the interior held it together for the whole port tack. Guess we did a better job than I thought. THe winds dies slightly once we reached the shadow of Bowen. Unfortunetly the wind decided to point us to the very bottom of Bowen, forcing us to beat up wind. We shook out the main, but didn’t attempt the genoa. It wasn’t long before the cars started breaking at the clew of the main. Quickly we put a half reef in and continued on. At some point we lost the 2nd batton. As we entered Howe Sound, the NW wind of the Straight crashed into the Northerly of Howe Sound and we found ourselves in a lull. With the main sheet pulled in tight we started the engine. Absolutely shocking. Turn the point and what do we see? Flipping wake boarders blissfully unaware of the gale just around the corner. We peel off our wet, salt encrusted gear then shed our layer. IT is a warm day after all. It is also near 4 pm. With one goof up on the new anchoring gear (65′ of chain and a new roller) which results in a nimwit snagging our spot, we settle into spot number two. Shortly after a crazy decides to anchor right off our stern. “We’re anchoring here” I call to him, afraid we may collide as we set our anchor. “I know” came his reply as he continued to drop anchor. There were some spins when we were 30′ apart. Luckily it was a calm night. Spaghetti for dinner then fast asleep, bone weary. Watched fireworks through half closed eyes.

July 2 Plumper Cove- Skinny Cove
Spoke to a few sailors in the morning who were impressed with our crossing. They said it showed character. I replied that it builds character, thinking what it really shows is inexperience. I can’t say for certain if we would have known the conditions at Sandheads, or that the winds were gusting over 30 knots. We probably would have regardless, knowing us. I’m proud that we did it. It is good to know what Trickster can handle, and how smooth she was in a storm. We joked about imagining an offshore passage on her.
After much deliberation we decided to head to South Thornamby. Again the wind was blowing strong NW, but only 15-20 knots. We first headed into Gibsons for fuel and I filled up the solar shower. Kolby asked if I wanted to fill the main water tank too ad I said no, certain we would have enough, now I’m nervous we won’t!!
Poor girl, forced to motor straight upwind. More big waves but not as big as yesterday. The cats are in the kennel again, don’t need to speak cat to know they are less than thrilled. We didn’t even contemplate raising the sail. With the wind on our nose it would take forever to make any headway. Instead we hugged the shoreline where the winds were less and the waves smaller.
Tucked into the adorable Skinny Cove (rightly named) and we had the bay to ourselves. Second day of not eating until we were anchored and we were starving. Opted for hotdogs on the BBQ. Went ashore where we were surprised to no park signs – this was after all Simpson Park. We hiked out on the rocky point and watched a comedy of anchoring unfold. We had no idea what those guys were doing (obviously, neither did they), but they actually made us look good! We headed back on board for drinks then set of to find a trail. After bushwacking a bit we found an old logging road that lead to a freshwater lagoon with a huge beaver lodge. With the help of a beaver dam we crossed to the other side and found a BC Parks sign so old we could hardly read it. Picked up the trail that led to Miss Piggies Cove and saw a very young foal bounce away from us. Beautiful flowers were growing everywhere. I wish a knew what they were called. On the way back we saw a huge owl – a first for both of us. It sat on it’s perch eyeing us wisely and we stared much less dignified back, before it swooped off. We had a delicious dinner of foil wrapped potatoes, salami, cheese, broccoli and basil before heading off to bed on our mattress on the bow, under the stars. We had a decent sleep despite being eaten alive by mosquitoes. A wind picked up but we didn’t budge. Very reassuring.

July 3 Friday
Skinny Cove – Home Bay
Tasty Pancake in our bow bed. Pulled up the anchor (well Kolby did) [NOTE: Trickster did not have a windlass, and when we bought her she also did not have an anchor locker or bow roller. Initially we stored the anchoring gear in the back lazarette and lugged it up to the bow each time. We installed the anchor locker and bow roller, which made a huge difference.] The extra weight of the chain is a bit much for me. As today was the shortest distance of all, we had fun with an upwind sail before motoring the last stretch into Home Bay. We weren’t so keen coming in – there are quite a few rocks. We didn’t like our first route but nailed the 2nd.

“The engine just started making a bad noise,” Kolby says. At it was – a sort of death grind that made me wonder if the thing was eating itself from the inside out. And then it wasn’t running. “I guess we are anchoring here” and we tossed the anchor overboard. First time we have ever not set our anchor! Then we started troubleshooting – fuel, air, compression spark. All seemed in working order. We guessed the grinding may be from the transmission – not a good thing, but figured if that was the case the thing should turn over.

Went to shore for a break and a ponder. Investigated the remnants of the farmhouse and a workshop. Saw the first wild sheep. One sheep had so much shit hanging off him it clanked as he walked…

Decided the only remaining option on the engine was timing.

It was indeed the timing but far worse then we could have guessed. A hair away from complete disaster. We managed to somehow save the day with a cotter pin. Yes, we are using a cotter pin in our engine. Can only hope it holds. Talking about what we will do if it doesn’t run…decided to stick to the plan of going to Gabriola tomorrow. Jumped into the ocean, which was much warmer than Skinny. Took me forever to get in. Looked like a fool with my butt in the air. Washed our hair and rinsed in the solar shower. Teased Kolby for soaping in the ocean.  For it seemed liked a funny thing to do.

I wanted to return the name of “antichrist 4”to our engine. Kolby shrugs – it’s just an engine he says. So it is.

Later that night we went for a row. Saw a huge male goat and discussed spare engine parts. Also lamented about not bringing the camera with us (again). Liked the look of Codfish Bay better than Home Bay.

Saturday July 4 2009: Home Bay to Pilot Bay, Gabriola

Another glorious day, waking up in the sunshine. Kolby brought me coffee which I drank in bed while reading and taking in the calm of the morning.

Went to shore and hiked both trails to White Rock Bay, Deep Bay and to Long Bay. Amused ourselves by taking photos of wild goats and sheep. Found the “grave” site of Will the horse. Confused about claims of an old growth forest. Looked more like the old growth forest was cut down 100 years ago (read: old growth stumps). Back to the dinghy and found the tide was out. Lugged the thing across the mud.

Back on board we cross our fingers and hope the engine starts. She does and we race across the straight on a beam reach hitting 8.9 knots. Best sail ever. We anchor in Pilot Bay. I practiced my open water swimming then go for a trip to the store for ice cream. Bought some delicious liquorice taffy as well. Completely crashed and was out for an hour. Exhausted, again. Maybe boating on Trickster just isn’t a relaxing vacation. Endeavour comes to mind. At least there is a guaranteed adventure.

Trickster sold May 2010