Back in Canada
I’ve been in Canada about a month now, and been putting off writing this post for a few reasons – I was exhausted for a while and then I was waiting to see how things shook out before I put anything down on paper.
Ottawa is fine, I’ve been working at my job (it does feel nice to get money again) and getting used to living in an apartment with roommates. Everything is locked down and I’ve been socially isolating but I did get a chance to go canoeing, where I saw a bunch of interesting things and managed to grab a turtle (it was not impressed, but I returned him safely). God I need a haircut.
The Canada geese are also having babies, which is also the only time Canada geese are cute
I stupidly left my camera gear on the boat which I regret basically every day but ah well.
Anyway, back to the point:
So, my contract is until September, although it may be extended longer. If it’s not extended, I can either head back to the boat (if able) or stay in Canada and work some more. Come March time, I’ll have to make a decision from the following
- Sail the boat back up to Canada
- Carry on with my original plan and try (for the THIRD time) to cross the pacific
- Sell the boat in Mexico and move back to Victoria
Now a lot of these are very dependant on what the covid situation is by then of course – I may not even be able to get back to the boat.
These are the pros and cons of each
Sail the boat back to Canada
This would involve getting back to the boat at some point, prepping and leaving sometime around May (early enough to avoid the worst of the hurricane season but late enough to avoid any stray lows coming down from Alaska.) Because of the way the winds work, it involves heading WSW out of Mexico, until the winds start shifting more N and then NE and you follow the winds around the high. Some people stop at Hawaii but you don’t need to do that. It would probably take four weeks or so.
The problem is, it’s mostly upwind and there is a fairly decent chance of getting whacked by some nasty weather. The waves also tend to be a lot bigger and from in front of you. It’s not a wildly sailed route, but two people I spoke to who both did it said it was ok. It took one boat 20 days (!) and the other only 28, despite them being a boat with a 24′ waterline. But still – it wouldn’t be a trip I’d be looking forward to, being a lot more challenging than the crossing to the Marquesas would have been.
This would put me back in BC with a boat to live on and a chance to save up some money, while being able to be in a safe place if the virus has more waves. I also really REALLY want to spend more time sailing around BC and the central coast, and maybe even back up to Alaska.
So, the original plan is that I’d get back to the boat at some point, and then basically do what I was going to do this year next year – sail to the Marquesas and onwards across the island nations. I’ll have enough time and money to get my liferaft recertified and also enough extra cash from this summer to spend a few years bobbing around. The boat is fully ready to go – including even a few months canned food! Preparation wise I’ve never been better.
The question is – do I want to? This would be the third attempt to cross, and that means I’m already two years behind where I wanted to be. At some point I want to lay some seeds for the future – trying to get some passive income going etc and it’d be nice to get that started before I was 40.
There is also the other factor of the virus. Right now everything is closed, and my gut is telling me that the island nations will remain closed until a vaccine is available – whenever that is! There also have been a lot of chatter about how the French Polynesian islands are becoming a lot more unfriendly to visiting sailboats, partially due to numbers, partly due to people not respecting their rules and partly due to local politicians stoking up fear and resentment of outsiders to win votes (sound familiar?) In any case, the virus situation has made everything worse and I don’t really feel like going somewhere that doesn’t want visitors.
Sell the boat in Mexico and move back to Victoria
This option may be a bit of a shock – but it’s something I’m thinking about more and more. Why? Well mainly because although I love living on a boat and would like to some more – I think I want a different boat. I bought Gudge when I literally had never been on a boat before and there are a number of things I really want that would be cost-prohibitive or impossible to put on. Things like
- Boom end sheeting
- No headliner
- Cutter rig or solent stay
- inside jib tracks
- better design cockpit
- quarter berths
And so on and so on. Gudge has been an amazing first boat – she does everything pretty well, with no real weaknesses and is very rugged, but I now I know pretty much exactly what I do and don’t want it may be time to move on.
Of course, the disadvantages of that are that selling in Mexico definitely means a price hit to the selling price as well as not being able to take the LifePO4 batteries off and transfer to my next boat, which I would have done if I was selling in Canada. On the plus side, it saves me a month doing a pretty uncomfortable trip North (see above).
So, in conclusion
That’s it. A lot to think about for me, and there are a couple of other options – if I still have this job it actually works out better money-wise to pay someone to get the boat up North, rather than take a month off myself to do it.
I think what I am going to do is list Gudge for sale now, and then see if I get any offers. If not, when it’s time to go back to the boat I will reevaluate my options.
And if anyone knows of someone who may want to buy a 36′ sailboat in ready-to-go configuration (complete with three months of food!) that is in the La Paz area – get them to send me an email!
I’d really like to hear more about your 2nd boat thoughts (even if you don’t end up going that route). The changes you listed are not at all what I would have thought (except for the cutter rig).
If you need someone to come back to the PNW keep me in mind—I keep thinking a PNW->Mexico->->Hawaii->Alaska loop might be my version of the cruising dream
Yeah I’ll probably write a bit more once I’ve mulled it over for a while longer. And yeah, it’s definitely not what I would have though either!
Will let you know if I decide to sail the boat back – it’d probably be a non-stop from mexico to BC though I think. Unless you want to buy a boat in cruise-ready condition in Mexico… :-p
If it’s not the boat you think you want anymore personally I would sell it and move on (since getting a new boat and outfitting it will take a while too). Not sure how hard it is to sell a boat in Mexico, but I’m sure it’s easier than single-handing (or even with crew) back to the PNW!
Also not sure whether French Polynesia will be welcoming of boaters by next year. But you could buy a boat in BC and do some fantastic sailing there. (Or even consider buying in the Caribbean if you prefer to stay tropical)
I really miss sailing in BC! That’s a big part of it. The tropics are nice and all, but I’ve reaaaaally been missing North.
I’ve listed the boat and will see if it sells. If not, then maybe I’ll try sailing it North.
I think your short term plan is sound: list the boat and see if it may sell or at least is there any interest. Obviously not the greatest time to be selling a boat but may be good time to find a bargain.
Thanks Bruce, that’s what my thinking was.