First Post of 2016

Where to start. Not much has happened on Akupara over the last little while with the holiday season going on but hopefully we can get back to being focused again. The galley has been on my mind as I really cannot start anything until we have a plan as to how it is going to be completed. What I mean by that is we want to have everything in the galley sealed in Tupperware containers for a couple of reasons. Firstly is just general organization, I hate not being able to find what I am looking for, and secondly, is with the eventual plan, having everything sealed is a good anti cockroach prevention approach. So to that end we made a trip to Walmart and bought a few items to get started.

Whitby 42 storageI think in total we purchased somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 containers of different sizes and shapes. I am calling them “Tupperware” as I think that is the clearest description but they are a different brand. We purchased a bunch of smaller ones for the pantry which means that I can now complete that area as I know how big to make each individual shelf, and we purchased enough to line each side of the vberth and the aft cabin upper shelves. I am a huge advocate of dry socks and underwear, and by storing all of these items in nice organized containers, with a packet or two of desiccant inside, I can be assured of dry undies no matter what. At least that is the plan. And of course it will keep little critters from nesting in our clothes, hopefully. As for the galley itself, I think we have about 10-15, I do not really remember. The plan is to bring all of them down to Akupara, dry fit, and decide where we want the shelving, how we want it divided, and what makes the best use the available space, before we start building it in permanently.

We also went down to the local marine store and purchased a few needed fittings and hose for the watermaker, I have laminated the face of the new electrical panel area, and we took down all of the Christmas decorations, thank heavens. It is nice to have them up each year, but it is always nicer to put them away again, everything seems so organized without all of the clutter.

And as you have probably noticed, I have updated the theme on the website. The comments section was not previously working, hopefully it is now.


Boy Scout Beach – approx 46.099341, -82.022195

Well for those of you following along you may have noticed that I have been pretty quiet in updating this site. It all started with a planned R&R session in Mexico. The Admiral and I decided we needed to thaw out before winter set in, okay, to be honest she forced me to go away 😉 so off to Bucerias, Mexico we went. This is our 7th time visiting this area and we absolutely love it however in the last 5 years or so we have definitely noticed a trend of “progression” and it is starting to lose it’s appeal as a result. So we rented a Jeep, put the top down and drove up to the Marina Riviera Nayarit at La Cruz to check out a possible future stopping place, continued on to Punta De Mita, Sayulita and Rincon De Guayabitos. Driving in Mexico is an interesting experience to say the least but we managed to survive and had a fantastic trip.

During our trip my father was in hospital for surgery so Wednesday and Thursday were spent very quietly at the pool. I was one of those guys who was on holidays and checking the cell phone every 3 minutes. I hate those guys, but I kind of feel like I had a reason that sets me apart. Perhaps I will not be so quick to judge next time.

To make a long story short, we returned from Mexico, spent a day doing laundry etc, and the next day I flew to Ontario, to be with my father, where I am now.

Over the last 10 years I have been back to see him 3 times. And now I will probably be here once a month if possible for the next while trying futily to make up for lost time.

The purpose of Akupara is to keep our family together and to continue to create those special memories for absolutely as long as possible and yet I know that sooner, rather than later, our family will go our separate ways as the kids grow up and move on. And then one day the Admiral and I will find ourselves wondering why we are all alone. And eventually our children will be in the same situation and wonder why they never made the most of all of the “extra” time. And so the cycle will will repeat itself over and over.

My father said to me today, I would much rather be at Boy Scout Beach than laying here in the hospital. He has said it many times before but today there was a different tone to it. A finality of sorts. I only had the privilege of bringing my girls there once, but I can remember being there as a child with him many times. I hope when the time comes, my girls will remember as well, and that they will understand, and that they will have their own Boy Scout Beach.

Cherish every second and stop letting “life” get in the way. Sometimes we learn these things too late.

Campbell Standards

We had a surprise inspection on Monday. We were totally not prepared for it and were completely caught off guard. To make matters worse we were actually caught loafing. We were not even on or around Akupara, we had decided to take it easy and had went for a walk down to the “other end” of the marina.

As we rounded the corner on our way back, there they were. Damnit we are busted! A frantic WTF glance was exchanged between the admiral and myself as if to say I would blame this all on you, but there simply isn’t enough time to make it sound believable, you bastard, because it is ultimately your fault. Or at least that’s what the Admiral thought, I on the other hand was ready to step up and blame the kids. I know better than to blame her. She may forgive but man she does not forget….

Anyway back to my story. Here was the admiral and myself and the crew in our best boatyard dress. Ripped jeans that didn’t really fit, old t-shirts, and grungy shoes. Covered in boatyard chemicals and dried paint. The admiral had a fine layer of reddish sawdust covering her face that highlighted her cheekbones in just the right light. The crew looked worse. Perhaps they will take pity on us due to our current appearance. I had my fingers crossed that all of them, the admiral and the crew, would play the downtrodden abused worker as if to say, he drives us to work our fingers to the bone, we never get any rest and he feeds us once a day from a slop bucket but we love our lives. Well all of the little traitors did something similar but they didn’t get it quite right. There were hugs and smiles and the filthy mutinous crew actually were happy for the surprise inspection as it meant they could get out of work I am sure, and as they stood beside the inspectors, they would glance at me as if to say, “if they take us we are going. No more will we have to sand, paint, scrape, and all of the other nasty things you make us do. We will jump ship right now and make a new life the Campbell Standard way.”

Try as we might, we could not keep the inspectors at bay. We made small talk, we talked about how rickety the ladder up to the extreme height of the decks was. We tried to make them forget the reason for the visit and ultimately we failed. With a deep sigh of resignation, I slowly led the way up the ladder, secretly hoping that it would collapse on me so that they would have to rush me to the hospital thereby possibly forgetting yet again. No luck. With each step my heart sunk as my mind drew a blank as to what excuse I could possibly give to account for the current state of absolute shame.

Let me tell you a little bit about the inspectors. They are former sailors who eventually went to the darkside, albeit at least it is a trawler and not a full blown stinkpot – and they still have mast and a riding sail so I will give them that. They can usually be found high atop the upper helm on their trawler surveying all of the goings on. As you near their boat I will advise you now to wear your sunglasses, if not to shield your eyes from the gleam, then to hide your tears of shame for the condition of your own “yacht”. Every piece of brightwork aboard their boat glistens in the sun and can usually be used as a mirror to shave with. You can eat off the floor, or the deck, or the bilge for that matter. Everything is spotless, everything is in pristine condition and the craziest thing of all is that never, and I mean never, are they themselves dirty. They must have invisible slaves who work non stop to keep their boat in the condition she is in. The engine room is immaculate. Oh my god, let me tell you about the engine room. Being a trawler, the engine of course is below the main salon sole and is accessed by a large hatch in the sole. Have you ever had a holy experience? You know, the kind that the movies have managed to perfect. When they begin to open the hatch to the engine room, time slows down. Motion itself seems to stand still. The birds flying over head appear to be ready to drop out of the sky. The dog barking down the street becomes muffled and the sun comes out from behind the clouds only to compete with the beauty that is the engine room. As the hatch slowly opens a beam of light blinds you and a heavenly chorus of angels descends to pay reverence with their sweet voices to the beauty that is unfolding in front of you. I hope you are still wearing your sunglasses although a welding visor would probably be safer. You come out of the trance typically way to fast. It is like something in the back of your mind snaps and you are hit in the chest with a cannonball all at the same time. It physically hurts to return and your entire being fights it. If only to hold on to the memory, let alone be allowed to stay. You were at peace. You would willingly die there. But alas it is not meant to be. As the hatch closes you return to your current body, and the sun slips away behind a cloud. The birds do not fall and continue on their way, the dog that was barking actually turns out to be the Admirals laughing about something that truly is unimportant to the knowledge that you have just been entrusted to care for. You are now a holder of the secret. As you are trying to impart what you have experienced later with the admiral it turns out that while all of this was happening, while your life was being changed forever by this holy experience, the admiral made a quick glance and said, “oh nice, an engine room.” WTF? I mean really. “Oh nice an engine room!” What does that even mean? How can you be so oblivious to things? I have had a religious experience and all you can say is “Oh nice, an engine room!” Did you not see the light? Did you not hear the angels? “Oh nice, an engine room”, I’ll “oh nice an engine room” you. You have to go back and ask to see it again. Maybe you didn’t actually look.

I had to step away from the keyboard for a few minutes, sorry folks, I was getting too riled up.

Now, where was I, right, the inspection. Well, we gave the inspectors the tour and used our bodies as much as possible to try to hide the worst of things. It was futile though. There was simply too much to hide and our efforts were obvious I am sure. The inspection lasted way too long and with each passing second we could see the line on the graph plunging to the bottom, kind of like my last stock investment, anyway, we made our way back down to the hard and made a little more small talk. The admiral had a moment of genius and suggested we go for a beer. Ah ha, Liquor! Brilliant idea! If we can’t impress them or at least get a passing grade, we can get them drunk and hope that they forget everything they saw.

And so that is the story of  our surprise inspection, and now you know why in certain places in the blog, we have referred to Campbell Standards. It is our code for not being good enough, “it is not up to Campbell Standards”. It is our code for shortcuts, “will it pass Campbell Standards?” and so on and so forth.

Okay, all joking aside. Their boat is pristine and it is kept that way. They do not have to wipe away years of crud on the engine just to get to a bolt. They have obviously invested countless hours of hard work and not only is it evident, it is also safe. In my opinion, if it is spotless and everything is in its place, it is safe. There is never a moment of where the hell did I leave that because everything is where it should be. I can’t tell you how many boats I have looked at that claim to be in mint condition and yet the engine is a giant ball of rust. I guess it is too easy to just forget about it, and yet these are the boats that are the first ones away from the dock in the spring after not doing any maintenance all winter. A lot can be learnt from Campbell Standards. Pick your name, call it what you will, and choose your level of perfection and then do everything you can to surpass it. The last thing I want to do is crawl down into some godforsaken place wondering if I am ever going to come out again, just to make a 5 minute repair and you know that murphy’s law says that it will happen at the most inconvenient time. Never mind polishing your fancy knob if the core systems are a bloody mess. The fancy knob isn’t going to do you any good when the shit hits the fan.

BTW, I think we failed the inspection, oh well, there is always next time. And when the day comes, I will have a brass plaque made that will hang in a place of honor that reads something like what follows:

All who enter within, be it known that on this day, you are being entrusted with the knowledge of Campbell Standards, for this yacht has met and been awarded a passing grade, now please put on your eye protection and bow your head. 🙂

Miss you guys and all of the fun we had, fingers crossed we will be back at the dock next year!!

The Pantry

I have mentioned before that there really is not a lot of room on the Whitby 42. I know that sounds crazy but to those who have owned one, I think you might agree. We ran into Denis and Rosario from Counting Stars a week ago and this subject came up as well. I mean there is tons of “room” but not a lot of storage. I guess that would be a better description.

In an effort to help reclaim some of that room and turn it into actual storage, so began the process of building the pantry. On our last boat Kismet III, the starboard settee back was hinged and you had full access to the space behind. This was a great idea and one I promised to incorporate and improve with Akupara.

On another site that I have visited many times, I also came across the identical idea and decided for sure that we would do this, and so began the custom fitting of many odd shaped pieces.


IMG_1094As you can see, I still have more pieces to cut but we will get there. Each section will be approximately 10″ wide and 7″ tall. This will allow for either several cans or perhaps a few smaller Rubbermaid containers.

The admiral has always complained that there was not enough galley storage so this should help big time. And if she does not like it, I can always use it to store tools or spare parts 😉

Updated Costs Page and Nail Polish?

I finally got around to updating the costs page. I will try to keep it current from now on. We are starting to make a dent into that 80-100k budget. Hmmm need to start moving a little faster, the storage costs are ridiculous.

The Vancouver Boat Show is scheduled for January 20-24th. That is going to be an expensive trip for us as we are going to be shopping for the new engine plus installation, new mattresses and cushions and possibly a complete paintjob of the hull sides. I mean how can we have a beautiful new 1976 Whitby 42 with 40 year old gelcoat on the hull?

The Admiral wants something that looks like this kind of paint.

Nail Polish Coloured Paint?
Nail Polish Coloured Paint?

I am not too sure yet how I feel about using Nail Polish Brands to describe the colour of paint on our boat…



Well it may sound a little strange to anyone who knows the Whitby 42 but in my opinion there really is not a lot of room for storage. I guess for the weekender or the occasional week long traveller there is ample storage but for the liveaboard, there does not seem to be a heck of a lot. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of nooks and crannies, cupboards and drawers but when you really start thinking about all of the spare parts, clothes etc that a liveaboard needs, it starts to get small real fast. So, one of the things that we are going to try to do as we refit Akupara is to find plastic storage boxes that fit in all of the spaces in order to remain somewhat organized.  The ultimate solution would be to have some kind of custom made containers that fit to the curve of the hull in the lockers as an example but I would not know where to get such a thing and I do not know how to weld plastic so that will not happen unfortunately. We like the Rubbermaid type containers.  They keep clothes dry, and spare parts organized but we have also used those vacuum bags for larger soft items like blankets and they work great if you have a vacuum handy.

It is strange tackling a project this big as your mind is all over the place at times, especially after being away from it for a while. Back down today to start getting back into the swing of things.


We have been rather quiet lately due to a family situation that is taking up a lot of our time. One of the things that we have learnt through our boating lives is that a big part of it comes down to how important family is and in this case, Akupara will have to simply wait until we have a little more time. Stay tuned as we should start getting back on track in a week or so.

Everyone needs a little time away…

Well after pulling my back pretty good almost three weeks ago, spending a week working from home on the couch, and spending a boy’s week in Mexico catching up with an old friend, it is time to get back to work on Akupara. I am looking forward to getting going again and the arrival of some new parts while I was away, has inspired me a little more. Come on Saturday!

New rode
New rode
Lots of New lights
Lots of New lights



New versus old

We are leaning more and more towards replacing critical components with all new systems. Originally we considered keeping the engine and having it overhauled but as we get farther and farther down this path, we are leaning farther and farther towards a new one. This same thought process is happening with everything on Akupara.

Some would argue why spend all the extra money when you can save a bunch by fixing and reusing what is already there. I agree with this thought process completely but, the last thing I want to do is to be in a nice tropical anchorage and be worrying about my 45 year old engine, or the 45 year old wiring that is behind the walls and that I can’t see.

This is going to be our last big boat and we plan on keeping it for a very long time and we would like to have as many years as possible without having to worry about old systems.

The other side of this is that yes we could keep the existing engine and have it rebuilt, but how long will it take to spend $5000? I would guess that the starting price at rebuilding is close to that, and it wouldn’t take long to be creeping up to the $10000 price range. One or two major problems after that and we have just spent the cost of a new engine, on a 45 year old engine.

This of course opens up a whole other can of worms as now we are going to have to start thinking about fuel tanks as well. If the engine comes out, we might as well replace the 3 tanks while we have the access rather than discover a problem a year down the road.

We are still trying to feel our way through this decision process, but all of the indicator lights are currently pushing us towards going all new. And hey, in the end we will have a brand new 1976 Whitby 42, how many people can say that? 😉

Now, I need to start offsetting the cost of the new engine so who needs parts for a 60hp Ford Lehman ?? I will even consider selling the engine whole for $800, if you pay the costs associated with removing it!


For as long as I can remember the Captain has always taken great care with his belongings. He will inspect them, he will gaze at them thoughtfully and once satisfied with all, he will allow himself to relax–all is well.

Let’s focus on the “he will inspect them” part of my last sentence. For as long as we have owned a boat and kept that boat in a marina the final inspection must take place prior to leaving for the work week. I completely understand that all systems must be checked before leaving, items gathered that may have been forgotten and perishables collected to come home or donate to other boaters that have more time on their vessels than we do.

My time estimation–15 minutes. You’re in you’re out. I have yet to understand how it takes the Captain an hour to be on his way.

I have developed a time ratio, if the captain says a task will take one hour I multiply by three, it’s a 1:3 ratio and I am usually bang on. Our youngest daughter Paige has caught on to this and we share a not so secret look between us when the Captain announces it’s time to go.

Akupara is sitting on the hard, all systems are down for the time being, we do not need to check bilge pumps, freezers or lockers. We need to put our tools away, lock up and climb down a ladder to our car and be on our way.

The Captain, always so thorough, must do a final walk through  of Akupara. If he has a flashlight in hand Paige and I inwardly groan. We have spent six hours on board what could he possibly be looking at now?

Yesterday was a great work day with an extra set of hands! Everyone worked hard and the Captain announced earlier than any of us expected that it was time to call it a day.

Paige and I exchanged a look.

To our amazement the Captain packed up, locked up and climbed down the ladder. As he loaded up the car with more treasures from Akupara I strolled over to a patch of sunshine at the bow of Akupara.  Car loaded, the Captain came to retrieve me, as he walked toward me his eyes slid away from mine to the pile of anchor chain piled beside me. In that moment I knew I had sealed the fate of all of us, I felt Paige’s eyes seeking mine, a look of disbelief in them, accusingly conveying “What were you thinking?”

Oblivious, the Captain inspected the chain at my feet with a critical eye. He decided it should be laid out in neat rows and measured. (which is practical–I know this). 45 minutes later he was satisfied, one last walk around Akupara and we were on our way.

I am uncertain if this is a male phenomenon or something unique to my beloved Captain. When you care about something and work so hard on such a project I can understand wanting to linger, to inspect, to set yourself right inside.

On the other hand, when the Admiral says “Vamanos” that means “Everybody let’s go!”

Pages Updated!

Hi everyone,

Finally made a bit of progress on the blog, a lot of updates were made to a lot of pages, and we have added a lot of pictures to the gallery. They are in no particular order right now. Take a look around and enjoy!