Spring in Goderich

We made our annual spring trek to Goderich, Ontario in mid-April. I’m using the term “spring” loosely as spring had a very late start. The daffodils and crocus were blooming all over town but that was the only sign of spring! Overcast skies and chilly temps dampened the enthusiasm for the sailing season!

spring storm
Spring storm clouds rolling in over Lake Huron and Goderich

Housesitting – Eastbound

Feb 25 And the snow just kept coming!

But before I say more about being in Goderich, it’s time to catch up. It was last February when I posted about our travels to California and we had arrived back in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. The state had a rough winter with exceptional cold and lots of snow. We, however, missed the worst of the cold temperatures and just got the lots of snow part.

Not that I could whine about that. Our housesit in Golden Valley MN (for the second year) overlooked Theodore Wirth park and the house is part of an association that has snow removal service. Very efficient snow removal service at that – they don’t wait till the snow stops, they come through multiple times and at all hours of the night!

New Fender Covers for Gaviidae
Boat fender project done!

Our time spent in Minnesota was lovely, regardless of the weather. We re-connected with friends, cruised our old stomping grounds, and took care of all of our annual check-ups. Okay, a colonoscopy is not lovely – but you have to take the bad along with the good!

My winter project list was on the light side, I only made new fender covers for the boat. With my excess free time, I started a few yarn projects. A little crochet here, a little knitting there. The latter got put down half-way through a project and by the time I picked it back up I couldn’t figure out where I was in the pattern – so I unraveled the entire project!

I was also busy organizing aspects of the Mahalo Sailing Women Who Sail trip to the Sea of Cortez. Always fun to try to get so many moving parts falling into place!

Chicago Housesit

The trip to the Sea of Cortez was in early April and while I was enjoying the sun and water, Dan headed east to Chicago for a housesit in a beautiful Victorian home on the edge of a park. With a young Rhodesian Ridgeback named Sugar and two mystery cats – he had his hands full.

I say mysterious cats because he did not see the two sisters until I returned from my travels. The only evidence of their existence were the open dresser drawers in the homeowner’s bedroom. They apparently figured out how to open the drawers and then climb around from one drawer to the next, occasionally tossing out a sock or two in the process.

Chicago housesit with Sugar
Midnight antics courtesy of the “sisters”

The sisters decided to celebrate my arrival by opening the bathroom cabinet doors and tearing up multiple roles of toilet paper which they dragged out into the living room for more midnight fun. The adventures of housesitting!

Searching for Family History – Clinton Ontario

Back to spring in Goderich – it’s always a rush to get as many boat projects done as possible. But we did take some time to do some exploring. We heard about a Jane’s Walk in nearby Clinton focused on the abandoned RCAF base located there. My father had been stationed in Clinton and my sister Lynne was born there.

My sister and her husband drove from Toronto and we drove from Goderich, meeting at the old base. So much of what was there has fallen into disrepair, it was hard to imagine what it was like in the late 1940’s. But we learned one critical piece of information about my father – Clinton was a top-secret radar training facility and anyone who was there was sworn to secrecy for 50 years! This might explain why my father never spoke of his military career! We deduced that he must have been one of the instructors because he had been using radar in WWII as part of his role as a navigator.

Clinton Radar Base
Lynne and Dan in front of what’s left of the old radome
Clinton RCAF
Clinton RCAF
Clinton RCAF
Clinton RCAF back in the day
My father with my brother Bruce, age 4

Our Goderich Accommodations

Howard stripping a dorade box

In the spring and fall we rent a small apartment that has everything in a nice, tiny package (including a washer and dryer)! It also has beautiful gardens in the back allowing me to have fresh cut flowers.  I’m usually off in my guess for when we will move onto the boat, which means if we are lucky, we simply stay a bit longer in the apartment. This year we were not so lucky and had to move out before the boat was ready for occupancy.

Our very understanding landlords happen to have a cabin on the cliffs above Lake Huron – and we got to move into a charming cottage looking down onto the water. As a special bonus, they also let the owners of Gaviidae the Lesser join us.

And a bigger bonus – we actually got Howard and Kerri-Ann (the owners of Gaviidae 37 aka “the lesser”) to work on boat projects for Gaviidae the Greater! Don’t chastise us for the name, Howard actually decided the two boats should be referred to as Lesser and Greater!

Gaviidae Upgrades

Gaviidae 41 Awlgrip
Gaviidae all shined up!

As always, we had Gozzard Yachts do the big-ticket items on Gaviidae. This past year was no exception as she got her exterior re-coated with Awlgrip. And they refinished the toerail, the last of the brightwork. She is sparkly!

The exterior got more updates with the addition of three large solar panels across the top of the bimini and all the other paraphernalia that had to be installed to make everything play nice.

We replaced the traditional lifelines on either side of the cockpit with stainless-steel tubing that provides a much better handhold when scrambling on the deck.

For my part, I made some side screens for the cockpit enclosure and with Dan’s help, re-stuffed some of the cushions in the interior. Dan kept busy cleaning the grunge off the deck and getting all the major systems ready for the sailing season.

Casting Off

By June 9th we were watching the weather windows closing and trying to figure out our departure plans. We saw a short 24-hour window before another wave of big winds from the north were scheduled to arrive. With a target in site, we went into high gear getting the final items onto the boat.

We opted to leave on the afternoon of June 11th and we left our slip heading for the fuel dock. As it happened, two other Gozzards decided to do the same thing at the exact time. It was round-up of circling Gozzards, each impatiently waiting their turn. While the other two Gozzards returned to their respective slips with departures scheduled the next morning, we said our farewells and set out for a non-stop run to Cheboygan MI.

The image at the top is the sun setting as we headed west across Lake Huron. The 2019 sailing season was officially underway!

June 11, 2019 Lake Huron 44°20.5’N   82°18.03’W

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