Monday, May 9, 2011


Having only recently found our sailboat we have learned a lot in the past 6 months but we still have lots to learn about the whole “cruising thing”. We have read a lot of material in books, on the internet, and on many excellent blogs but we have experienced very little.

One of the tougher aspects of cruising that we have read about on several blog sites is the transient aspect of cruising. The life of a cruiser was described as “meeting new people, becoming good friends… and then saying good bye”.

Even though we are not the ones leaving we had a taste of that bitter feeling this morning as we waved good bye to the wonderful crew of Bella Star. We first met them through their blog, as they are fellow Hans Christian owners, and when we shipped Syrah from California it was their recommendation that we had our boat launched at Shilshole Marina in Seattle, their former home. We had the pleasure of actually meeting them while at the marina and seeing their beautiful boat home! We crossed paths again in Sidney BC a few days ago and when they cruised into our current home town of Nanaimo we rolled out the red carpet.

Be sure to keep up your blog and take lots of pictures and videos. We look forward to following in your wake (one day) but for now we will be living our dreams through your adventures. Good sailing!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yes, we have been pretty quiet for a long while... almost two months; Yikes!! This great absence has been mostly due to a cruisers worst nightmare… WORK! We have both been working like crazy the past couple of months and in our limited free time we have started on several boat projects that are now nearing completion. As the summer months approach we will have more interesting things to share (we promise!).

In the meantime…

Every mid-island boater eager anticipated the Annual “Pirates Day” Sale at the Harbour Chandler in Nanaimo. They already have great prices (and for the last month they have offered 15% off to promote the sale) but on this one day they offer 20%, 30% or up to 70% off everything in the store. We have been waiting for this sale to grab items on our “Syrah Shopping List” that will help complete a few of our ongoing projects, as well as a couple of wish list items too!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



As mentioned yesterday we attended the Vancouver Boat Show back in February. While we didn’t get lost in the Nikka Marine / Steveston Marine shopping aisle, we did successfully navigate our way through and come out the other end with less cash and more toys.


All those rumors about Boat Shows being great places to shop are true!!! There are great deals and even steals to be had at the Boat Show. We purchased several fenders, a VHF radio, an inflatable life jacket, life ring, throw bag, air horn, and oil extraction pump.


Total spent: $980.00

Total savings (based on vendors website listed prices a week after the show): $516.00!

The real steal was on the lifejacket. Regularly priced by Nikka Fishing Marine at $370 we thought had hit pay dirt when the price tag said $259. Fighting the crowd of shoppers we  quickly grabbed one from the rack, but as soon as we did a lady grabbed it out of our hands! We didn’t mind though as there were lots of them… and we really didn’t mind when she stuck a new price on it of $229 and handed it back to us!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011


In the spring of 2010 when we were not boat owners, we wandered the docks of the Victoria and Nanaimo Boat Shows more out of curiosity than anything else. Now that we have Syrah… things are a little different. The tales of incredible saving and once a year deals were too good to resist; we had to find out what all the hype was about! Sadly, we could not make the Seattle show but we managed to get over to Vancouver and attend our first BIG Boat Show along with just over 30,000 others!

Last year’s Olympics caused the cancellation of the Vancouver Boat Show. This year it was in the new Trade and Convention Center. Next year the show will be returning the BC Place and it promises to be a big one in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the show!

We enjoyed seeing and touching all the products we have read about and researched on the Internet. Several dealers gave us some excellent information and advice about: sails, LED lights, Yanmar engines, water makers, and electronics and we even managed to not get lost in the Nikka/Steveston shopping aisle.

Here are the dates for 2011 Boat Shows. We would love to attend them all as the information and shopping opportunities are amazing but we’ll have to wait and see what our jobs will allow!!

Jan 21 to Jan 30 - Seattle Boat Show

Feb 9 to Feb 13 - Vancouver International Boat Show

Mar 18 to Mar 20 - Anacortes Spring Boat Show

Apr 14 to Apr 17 - Strictly Sail Pacific (Oakland CA)

Apr 28 to May 1 - Victoria Harbour Floating Boat Show

June 3 to June 5 - Nanaimo Floating Boat and Marine Trade Show

End of September - Anacortes Fall Boat Show

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The list of projects to bring our boat up to where we want her is extensive. It includes: tanks, electrical panel, plumbing, LED’s, electronics, safety equipment and a little custom stainless steel work. Today, however, moving one step closer to understanding the wiring puzzle was on the agenda.

Syrah has wires running in the bilge, through the bottom (and top) of cabinets and lockers, hidden behind strips of finishing, and all over the place in the lazarette (see photo). After 30 years and, no doubt countless modifications, we have found wires leading to dead ends, terminal bars and bus blocks with wires leading to nowhere, and a general maze of wiring throughout the boat. We like things to be simple and organized as it makes it much easier to understand, troubleshoot and repair.

An Example: One little red wire took two hours and a pulled shoulder muscle before it was completely removed. The end was hanging in the lazarette just behind the larger wires on the left of the photo. To remove it required stretching two inches more than humanly possible into the above maze and cutting several zap straps (a.k.a. cable-ties or tie-wraps) then crawling into the aft cabin (behind the grey ‘bulkhead’ or wall) where several panels had previously been removed to expose the wiring. Next was the pull test… you take one of the two identical red wires and pull. If you have the right one then it *should* come easily since the other end is not attached! When that is done another dozen zap straps have to be snipped, and then several meters of 30 year old, sticky, red electrical tape must be  removed. Finally when you have finished following and removing the red wire from the aft cabin you reach the main electrical panel only to… wait for it… find that the last two hours were spent following a wire to another dead end (cut wire) that was zap strapped to some other wires on the back of the panel.

What’s next? . . . why the white wire hanging loose in the electrical panel cabinet of course!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


By now everyone the world over has heard about the 8.9 ‘shaker’ in Japan a few days ago, as well as the resulting Tsunami that swept the Pacific. However, unlike the recent events in New Zealand, the most graphic damage in this case was from the wave. Northern Japan was devastated by a 10m (30ft) wall of water, while all the way across the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz, CA a harbour full of boats and docks were sent crashing together causing some to sink and many others to be severely damaged. Our thoughts are with a broker friend of ours from San Francisco (who assisted us with our own boat purchase back in Oct 2010) who currently has a Hans Christian 33 listed for sale. The boat is in Santa Cruz.

After looking at the above images we come to the real point of this commentary. Twenty years ago we would hear about Japan’s misfortune on the radio then see videos of the aftermath on the evening TV news. The next day we would read stories while looking at a select photo or two in the daily newspaper… the same select photos seen in hundreds of newspapers around the world. Our hearts would go out to the Japanese, especially the faces of victims we would see in the photos or interviewed for the TV news.

Fast forward to 2011.

Here in the ‘Digital Age’ we are still treated to the same imagery as we were twenty years ago, but it is now enhanced by the Internet, Youtube, cellphones and pocket sized video cameras. Thanks to the availability of these new mediums we get to see video of the event happening, not just the aftermath. We share in the horror as we get to watch the wave crashing ashore and racing inland with a destructive purpose. We watch ships and boats tossed about like toys in a bathtub. We view with stunned expression as cars and homes and dreams are smashed into a million pieces right before our eyes. And, on occasion, we will even see people falling victim to the tragedy itself; never to be interviewed for the evening news or photographed for tomorrows newspaper.

Twenty years ago the world’s disasters, although emotional, were always kept at a distance. Now, with our ability to watch and share in the event and to re-live it as it happened, we are exposed to a significantly greater emotional experience. Like most things in life that we experience over and over comes our natural ability to lose our fears, or to be desensitized. While this may be a good thing when getting to the top of Syrah’s mast, it is not something we should welcome when we watch some disaster wreaking havoc on another part of the world.

The ‘Digital Age’ has brought us the ability to see unimaginable devastation first hand, and the victims of such disasters deserve our emotional response, even if they are not able to be aware of it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It was a year ago that we decided to buy a sailboat and begin to work towards our dream. After looking at many different boats on Yachtworld and reading online forums about what boats are good “bluewater” boats we decided that we wanted a Hans Christian. On the HCOA (Hans Christian Owners Association) website we found a partial list of HC33 boats and hull numbers, and that list became our inspiration to try and get info about ALL the Hans Christians out there sailing about.
Putting together the list did not seem like it would be all that difficult as there were not nearly as many built compared to some of the other Taiwan boats; like the Tayana 37 of which there were over 600 built! After a lot of work the lists are finally complete. At this time the finishing touches are being put on the HC History page, in which we try to tie together the history of all the boats into one neat little document.
We hope you enjoy the lists but even more importantly, if you have any information that can add to them please email us ASAP with the details! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


After taking possession of the boat we spent some time really getting to know her inside and out. During the pre-purchase survey and inspection we noted several wires with no ends, and made a mental note to explore these at a later date.

After tracing the path of numerous of these “dead end” wires to both ends (wouldn’t want to rip out something that had just come loose!) we started the removal process. The photo shows the result… 345 ft of wiring removed!!! (yes, we measured it all)

Holding all these wires in place… zap straps (or tie-wraps as they are sometimes called). As new wiring was added to the boat a new zap strap was added to hold it in place, but none of the old ones were removed. In the end we removed an astounding 252 zap straps (it’s sad, but yes we counted them) of various sizes and we have not had any impact the security of the remaining wiring!!! 

Our project / wish list has ballooned to a whopping 146 items ranging from the critical (get a dodger, fix the 2 major deck leaks) to the dreamy (get towels with Syrah embroidered on them). Stay tuned for further BOAT PROJECT updates…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Last night Lance was able to get off work early enough to beat the insane Victoria traffic. Getting home at 4:30pm instead of the initially scheduled 10pm meant that a nice dinner out was suddenly a reality instead of a dream. When the question of what to eat for dinner was brought up the immediate answer from the birthday girl… STEAK!

As for what Birthday (year) she is celebrating... we’ll leave that up to the imagination.  Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Having to work until late last night really sucked. We got home around 11:00 pm and stayed up long enough to ring in the New Year to the serenade of numerous whistles from various ships and smaller boats in the harbour.

Heading our for a walk this morning to try and absorb a few rays of sunshine we stopped by Syrah only to discover the inner harbour covered in a thin layer of ICE!!!

This year we have a long list of boat projects (who doesn’t!) and a real desire to get out there and be a part of the cruising world. Keep checking back as we share our adventures throughout the year!

Happy New Year!