We are a middle aged married couple with 2 dogs. This is not our first stab at rebuilding a boat, but it is definitely our biggest attempt.
The very first boat we had was a 14 foot fiberglass runabout with a 25 hp Johnson motor.We moved up to a 15.5 runabout with a 40hp Johnson, then a 16 foot sailboat which we never did finish, and a 23 foot Halcyon sloop,
and a 36′ steel Tahiti Ketch, and then an Alberg 30 sloop, and a Vindo 50, which is a 36′ ketch and finally Akupara, a 42 foot sailboat. (This picture was taken by the previous owner in Mexico.) Each and every one of these boats were projects that we learnt something on. We have made lots of mistakes, but we have also had lots of successes. We have learnt about fiberglass, electrical, plumbing, rigging, sail repair, painting, sanding, woodworking, canvas making, mechanics, including installing our own diesel engine on one of the boats.
This process took over 14 years and did not happen overnight. It has been a long road, and our family has grown with the size of our boats. Or should that be vice versa?
We commonly tell people that our girls were potty trained on boats, which is actually true, we have done everything from Pirate themed birthday parties on small islands to, learning how to bake bread in a pan on a 2 burner stove,
and although they are now gone off to start their new adult lives, they are true boaters themselves, each in their own way, and if we have given them nothing else, we have still succeeded.Everything that we have learnt, has given us the exaggerated optimism to tackle Akupara. Hopefully, we have gained enough knowledge and are not too delusional. We have had a lot of advice and a lot of help from a lot of people over the years, and some of it was actually solicited ;-). We have boated and sailed in little lakes in Northern Ontario, the Great Lakes, including delivering our Tahiti Ketch from Southern Ontario up to Northern Ontario a 450 nautical mile trip, which we nicknamed the “Chicken Wire and Duct Tape Cruise” which should tell you a lot! We have run aground in the pitch black of night the first time we tried night navigation, we have been adrift in a 14′ power boat without a functioning engine in a storm, which led to sailing in the first place, and a rescue from the Ontario Provincial Police. We have been beaten up by Great Lakes gales, including a knockdown. I have been beaten up in gales on a 1450 nautical mile offshore delivery from Vancouver to Southern California on a friends boat, and if it wasn’t for rum, all of these incidents could have potentially put a stop to boating forever! But alas, every time we sell a boat and tell ourselves we are taking some time off, we inevitably, very shortly thereafter, are on to our next project. The call of the sea (or the Rum) is just too strong!
I’m Andrea otherwise known as The Admiral. I had no boating experience until I met my husband. Boats and traveling on water is in his soul and for the past sixteen years I have been a partner on that path. I originally come from a small city in Northern Ontario and have lived in Vancouver BC for the past eight years.
When I am not supervising the work on our boat, I work as a case manager with people who have neurobehaviourial challenges, as well as people that have concurrent disorders.
We have two teen adult daughters, a German Shepherd and I will admit a purse dog–who walks on all fours and is never carried around (well, almost never)
I’m an avid reader and I will binge watch popular TV series.
Boating has become an important part of my life as it allows me to spend time with my family, enjoy the water and meet people I may never have crossed paths with.
I suggested that the admiral and I write each others intro, but after reading her first entry on the admirals page, I quickly changed my mind! My name is Derrick and I am in my early 50’s. I have been boating as far back as I can remember thanks to my father being enthralled with the Great Lakes. We spent a lot of time on Georgian Bay as kids and learned a lot from him. When I was about 5, my father brought me for a ride across town and we pulled into a driveway. Sitting there was an old wooden sailboat, she was gigantic, at least to me. My father started talking about selling everything off and sailing into the sunset and all of the adventures we would have. We used to make plans and talk about where we would go, I would put myself to sleep at night pretending to sleep in a hammock, everyone sleeps in hammocks on sailboats ya know! Well life got in the way and we never did sell off to sail off, but the seed had been planted. I thought about it on and off most of my youth and occasionally we would talk about it, but for the most part it became a distant memory. Fast forward several years and the Admiral and I were married, we had our first daughter who was just an infant and I decided the time was right to get a boat. Of course being young and struggling we could only afford an old used boat, but the learning began. After we caught fire in Georgian Bay and drifted all night in a storm, I said to myself as we lay in the bottom of the boat so that we did not get tossed overboard, that 1) never again would I be caught without an alternate method of propulsion, 2) never again will I be caught without bathroom facilities, 3) never again would I be caught without the ability to make hot coffee. I was still hesitant at the entire concept but I devoted myself to learning as much as I could. I spent hours upon hours reading and researching and then I was offered an opportunity from my cousin to help him deliver his Spencer 35. This was my chance to see if sailing was actually for me. We spent 3 glorious days, frozen to the bone, surrounded by the thickest fog I have ever seen and yet I knew that thanks to Martin for offering me the opportunity, my fate was now sealed. And so it began. From 23′ to 42′. Two years ago I had the opportunity to experience my first offshore trip thanks to another incredible guy, Jimmy. We barely knew each other but as he puts it, the fire was in my eyes. I signed up for potentially the worst part of the trip and quietly hoped we would be beaten up so that I could experience the other side. Sure enough, the stars aligned and we had a rough go of it, but even though I struggled with missing my family, I pulled through and it further entrenched my resolve. Once we are finished restoring Akupara, we will have 2 washrooms, 2 large beds, and while the admiral is yelling at me for getting her caught in another storm, I can drink hot coffee while I bake an apple pie, and we can each sleep in our own cabin. At least until the storm eases up, and the weather gets better 😉
My real job for the time being is managing a software quality assurance team for a small financial technology company here in Vancouver.