Our Renewed Sense of Direction

finishing the hole
finishing the hole

Years of wilderness canoeing and backpacking have taught us not to fully rely on electronics. Even though we have a lovely GPS, one of us always carries a map and compass. The same goes for Azura—there will always be charts and old-school navigation means on board. With that in mind, we bought a beautiful new compass.

To say that I’m a little apprehensive when Bryan breaks out the saw and starts cutting holes in the sailboat might be an understatement. I was also concerned about the other wiring behind but Bryan, who once worked in the electrical field, had tidied all of that up.

The compass came with a template that he taped on. We both stood back and looked at the alignment to be sure that it was properly placed. He plugged in the shore power, donned his tools and set to work.

shiny new compass

The first step, was to drill the holes. Then he began to cut. The depth sensor was in the way of the jigsaw guide so he had to carefully lift above it. After a few minutes, he had the perfect hole for our shiny new compass. Timing was perfect as clouds were moving in and the forecast was for a deluge.

Another lesson learned… neither of us thought to cover things up in the galley or close the companionway until after the sawing was complete. What a mess! There was fibreglass and wood in practically every crevice and even in the icebox. I cleaned up while he put the new bit of gear in place.

I think this might just be the shiniest thing on Azura at least for the moment.  We chose this particular style of compass because it has a light for night sailing. It may also be viewed from both the cockpit and inside the cabin.

PS The weatherperson was wrong and the rain held off.

Finding Moyie

her original name

Before Azura was transported, Bryan brought home her bell which I don’t think had been cleaned in years. It sat on the windowsill until I finally decided to break out the Brasso. I chose a warm day so I could have the windows open because Brasso can be stinky.

After a good hour of elbow grease, I made a discovery. Moyie! The day we bought Azura her owner at the time told us that the sailboat was originally named Moyie. It was quite faint but I could still see the letters engraved in the bell. I adore tradition and history so this was a neat find.

When we put the bell back in place on Azura we had visitor come to inspect.

More photos (click to enlarge)…

tarnished rags
back home
inspector Swan






Our First Spring Launch — Part 2

You may want to read Part 1 of our spring launch adventure to get up to speed if you haven’t been following along. The launch has gone well despite a few hiccups. One of those hiccups has been water coming into the sailboat. When our daughter nicknamed Azura “the leaky beak” after a boat in Jake and the Neverland Pirates we thought it cute. That was, until Azura actually lived up to the moniker.

valve core removed

Bryan headed out to the marina very early on Sunday. I stayed home to prepare for my son’s 16th birthday party and a house full of teenagers. Bryan would join the festivities later in the day. Later that morning he would meet with Yunior, the mechanic. Bryan organized his tools and did a few other jobs on the sailboat until the mechanic was available. Then they set to work on Azura’s issues.

Water was dripping into the sailboat because of corrosion on the core of the blackwater discharge valve. When Azura was first put into the water on Saturday the leak was more significant. Dripping had slowed to once every five seconds by the time they were ready to deal with it. There was a problem because the nut was difficult to access. The mechanic mentioned on Saturday that he would create a tool to make it easier to loosen the nut but on Sunday he chose a different plan of attack. Yunior heated the valve with a blowtorch so he could remove it easily.  He cleaned the valve core and put it back in position. Issue resolved.

The stuffing box leak was the next problem. This is a cylinder that houses a shaft that travels from the inboard motor to the propeller. Its purpose is to keep sea water from coming into the hull. The mechanic put some heat to the locking rings with a blowtorch because they refused to budge. It is not an easy spot to get into so Yunior had to be a bit of a contortionist. He got the rings moving, tightened everything up, and stopped the leak.

Bryan and Yunior started Azura’s engine for the first time since she had been taken out of the water in 2015. When we were inspecting the sailboat we didn’t check the engine. Instead, we spoke to the mechanic who had maintained it. We also went over the maintenance and service log that was on Azura. I suppose in hindsight, it was a bit of a risk. We didn’t expect any issues because it appeared to have been well maintained and properly winterized. Thankfully, the engine started up beautifully. The water pump gasket was leaking while the engine was running but would be an easy fix.

new home on dock D

Moving Azura over to her temporary slip on D dock was the next order of business. Yunior asked Bryan how long he has been sailing and the reply was, “once I move the sailboat over to that dock, ten minutes.” I don’t think the mechanic knew if Bryan was pulling his leg or not, at least not at first. The sailboat was moved and Yunior helped Bryan secure the mooring lines to the dock cleats. Azura was home!

It was then that I heard my smartphone. I was expecting the news that Azura’s launch was complete but that isn’t what I saw. Bryan had sent a picture of the toilet paper holder in the head. He put a roll on… the wrong way!! This is a constant debate in our house—I’ve always felt that toilet paper should go over and he felt strongly for it being under. His photo came with the comment “and it’s going to be like that for an entire week!” Brat!