Throw back Thursday ..North Atlantic

"It's colder then a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg out here this morning " Coast Guard Sheldon says to me as I stare into my cup of coffee. That was one way of putting it. The winter winds had just started to pick up the last few days. Touque and pants were becoming all day garments and the evening sun set brought on freezing puddles.

Today was our departure day and I was racking my brain to make sure I had everything taken care of from my list. I had checked the weather and it wasn't the best of a forcast but one can't be picky this time of year.

Joana's crew consisted of my mother Nancy, my dad Harold, and friends Dustin Phil and Jenny. Jenny was a friend who flew in from Germany to help with the leg and enjoy the good old North Atlantic. We were definitely not lacking on skills or people.

Our friends and family were gathering on the peer. All those folks who had come to stare at the crazy girls when we first dropped into town had now become good friends and had helped many times. I was happy to get underway but still had my heart on shore.

I looked at Sheldon gave him a smile. He said "I will be seeing ya kid. Best of luck out there.

We will be watching." I didn't know how true those words were till later.

I made the leap on to Joana and asked her if she was ready. The urge to go was my answer.

We got our lines tossed and we were on our way. We had to make it though the Canso Pass first, which is a small lock between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, but we wouldn't hit that till about 1 am.

The boys from the coast guard station took their fast boat out to escort us and have some fun doing loops around us. We waved our final good byes and then settled into watches.

So far so good. Everything was running smoothly. As we approached the lock the winds had dropped to nothing. It was a cold still night, not a breath of wind.

Phil had to be down below shifting the transmit in (we had an old crash box transmission and had to shift it by hand) while I yelled what engine commands we needed. If that wasn't a pain, the hydrolic stearing was in need of some work. I had gotten use to the 22 turns from lock to lock but it took a bit of concentration to find mid ships at times.

We made it through without a hitch. The lock master said the boys from Siri coast guard send their hellos and are still watching. Now I understood they had called ahead to track our progress, keeping themselves in the loop.

Well, this was it. Just on the other side, around the bend was the deep blue Atlantic. We took some time to lash a few more things down and move the dingy from aft to mid ships deck. It was bogging the stern down too much and at times filling with water.

Joana's nose started to lift and come down with a bit more force now as we came around the rocky point. There still was not much wind, which was a bit strange for these shores. But we all stood and watched the light house fade away. We made our course a little farther from shore so as not to get to much return chop.

Some crew were already feeling the effects of the sea. Phill came up to take his watch. I left him with clear skies and about 3 meter seas.

I made a ship check and all seamed well.

I was tired but couldn't do much more then stare at the overhead, listening to every little sound, getting use to things that are suppose to be there and ones I didn't really know what they were yet.

I felt a small course change Joana as was rolling a bit more. I wasn't concern as I had told the crew to do small changes to avoid lobster traps. As the next watch came on, we started to get some of that Atlantic winter weather. The seas had grown and were foaming with anger now. With more tossing and turning, the tanks had become stirred up and we were having to change the Racor filters quite a bit. Once or twice we weren't able to swap them in time and went dead in the water with 4-5 meter seas tossing us at will. The winds were way too much to set the large mainsail and it was right on the nose if we even wanted to. We did had the cutter set to help with some of the rolling.

I could tell our bow was feeling pretty heavy as she wasn't coming out of the waves as fast as before. Throughout the night we were slowly finding the leeks in her decks and for some, in their bunks. I opened the galley bilge to find water flowing over the ballast plates and the pump trying to keep up. I noticed the water seemed to be coming from the forward cabin and found water pouring in from behind some wood frames through the forward coalition bulkhead.

We got extra pumps going and I started prepping what I needed to fix whatever needed fixing. In the meantime, my mom had already gathered the six cold weather survival suits we had on board. The glimpses of those only made me move faster.


Throw back Thursday's ..Back where she belongs

Like Cath said last week, the gang is all here, except for her of course, and hard at work. The engine had been looked over and a new cutlass bearing put in. It took the whole gang, a two inch solid stainless shaft and all our force behind it to shove it in. But, we were triumphant. The sails and rigging look good and we changed out a thru hull that looked suspect. We felt ready, but we still needed to make it the hundred yards to the water.

So, the company Irving had been in town trying to put some wind turbines up just down the road. These turbines were being delivered onto the pier and off-loaded with a nice big crane, just the right size to lift Joana. I sent dad in to investigate. He got the scoop. It would take two lifts for her (basically they wanted to lift us, set us down, then pick us back up again and then into the water). They would have to split it between jobs of unloading the turbines. And it would cost a few thousand each lift. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do. Understandably, we weren't ready to say OK just yet.

There had been an older fisherman stoping by quite often to watch the Joana show and to chit chat. We would pass traditional marlin spike seamanship tips back and forth. That particular day I happened to be wire splicing. While he was giving me some insight on other quick ways of doing the splices, I explained our circumstances with the crane.

Now, you must understand that on the east coast of Canada, not alot of the locals are fans of the Irving company. I noticed that each time I would mention who would be doing the possible lifting, the person I was talking to would have a small, not so nice comment.

I also mentioned to the fisherman that the travel lift didn't want to try and take us again due to her weight issues and that she almost broke the lift. I also said the co-op who owns the lift said it was a no-go as well. So I told him my only option right now is the big bad wolf.

He gave me a smirk and said he would catch up with me tomorrow.

The very next morning Michael, the lift driver, walks up to me. He told me his father called him last night and that we needed to talk about getting you in the water.

"Well, that's great" I replied, "but who is your father?"

"He's the old fisherman who loves to talk your ear off around the docks."

"Oh. Well, what about the co-op who owns the lift?"

"Just so happens that he is the president of the co-op and says what the rest don't know won't hurt them for a day."

I wasn't about to argue so I asked "Well then, what do we need to do to make this happen."

The short answer was to make the boat as light as we could. So, the whole day we pulled off anything that wasn't bolted or welded to the ship and emptied the water tank.
Joana in the lift and Irving's crane in the background
Early the next morning we were hanging in the slings, barely. He lifted us only far enough to clear the stones in the gravel. We were pushing our luck, for sure. I had a gut wrenching feeling watching my boat hang freely like a small kid on a swing. Time seemed to crawl by as Joana was making her way closer to her natural home.

She truly scraped her way over the top of the final cement to be placed ever so lightly into the water. Joana was back home where she belonged. We quickly did a run though and had no signs of water.
We had to maneuver her from the lift area to the Fisherman's warf. I was so happy to feel Joana for the first time in the water. She was solid and confident in her motions and felt like everything we had hoped for. Once her belly hit the water, it was as if she spoke to me and said lets get moving! I knew I needed to boogie as it was already October. Winter was coming and the North Atlantic takes no prisoners when it comes to that season of sailing. The breath taking winds were already blowing. But, as any salty sailor would do, we pushed aside the urge to leave for a night to have a splashing party. The grog was poured and the stories were told with new friends and old.

Throw back Thursday's ...Reinforcements have arrived

Sorry we didn't post the last two Throw Back Thursdays. We were out...gasp, SAILING! Had a great time seeing western Panama and the coast between Bocas Del Toro and Colon. Check out our Facebook page at Sail Joana to see the pictures.

Now, we will go back in time, many many years ago to resume the saga of getting Joana ready...

So much work, so little time. We were working Maria and her dad to death so it was time to call in the troops! Sailing around the world on a tall ship with 30 other people has its advantages...lots of cool people without conventional jobs to call on when you need free labor for a month or two! We reached out to our old engineer, Phil and a jack of all trades, Dustin (nicknamed D Bo). I called them up, enticed them with all kinds of promises of all the mac n cheese they can eat and maybe a beer or two and of course Maria's charming personality. They were suckered, I mean sold and in PEI within a week.

The motley crew

Productivity went through the roof. Wires were spliced, electronics were up and running, engine was serviced, sails were bent on, food and spares were loaded. Within about a month Joana was almost ready to set sail for New York. Never mind that she hadn't been in the water for 8 years. Never mind that it was late October in the North Atlantic where the wind and seas can be a bit nasty that time of year. The most important the heck to get her back in the water! The man who ran the travel lift and who had hauled her many moons earlier swore he would never lift her again as she almost broke his lift. The only other option was a crane half way across the island with a hefty price tag of $10,000. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do. Well, we will tell you what we did next week...

Maria bending on sails
Harold working on less body parts


Throw back Thursday- Mr Sandman

There's an indescribable feeling that a boat owner gets when you find a hole in the hull. Obviously it is better to find it when you are on the hard, but that horrible pit in your stomach is still there.

Worse yet is that feeling wasn't letting me enjoy my lunch. It wasn't just the hole that was causing my despair. First, I hadn't called Cath yet and I thought it would be best to do some research first (ok, it may also have been a procrastination technique). Second, we were on an island and a fairly large one at that. There was one sand blaster who was all the way on the other side of PEI and another on the main land of Nova Scotia, which was actually closer but still a ferry ride away. Either way, I was looking at a hefty fee for the long distance transport cost.

I had decided to only sandblast from the water line to the bottom of the keel in order to keep the cost down. We weren't looking for a perfectly smooth finish on the topsides so I thought we would leave those alone for now and concentrate on the most important part...not sinking when we finally splash!

So, all said and done, we were looking at a possible few thousand in sandblasting fees, definitely a reason for my stomach ache and cold feet calling Cathy.

Well, it was now or never. I took a deep breath, dialed the phone and waited. "Hey Cath. You may want to get a big glass of wine for this one..."

As I am trying to explain what was going on, I hear a commotion behind me. Here comes Dad with an excited look on his face.

"Hey! Hey Buddy" he calls out. "Ssshhhhh" I reply, pointing widely to the phone.

I continue to try and talk to Cath but he is jumping about like the little bull dog in the cartons that seems to be saying "Hey boss! Hey boss, what we doing,where we going.." I knew he wasn't going to stop so I told Cath I'd call her back in a bit. She very reluctantly hung up the phone.

My dad wasted no time in explaining there was a guy down the way sandblasting one of the fishing boats. Dad did what he does best and chatted him up. His name was Glen from Glen's Place - Large Style Autobody. Hey, it'll do.

So Glen (who will now be renamed Sandman) had been blasting all day and the last thing he wanted to do was discuss another job, let alone a massive job like ours. He was starting to pack up his gear and I knew I had to kick that Nova Scotian charm in over drive for this deal. I had learned from the best so I gave it a go.

First, weather talk. "Ahhh, the weather has been something, now hasn't it?"

Then some work talk, followed by where abouts are you from talk and you know so and so. And then the closer, "You must be getting hungry. How about a good meal and some cold beers?"

Well, that did the trick and he said he'd do it. All we had to do was secure some Nippe Ceramo, which is a primer we sprayed on the hull just after he sandblasted it so she wouldn't flash rust.

A day or two later the sandblaster was ready to go. We parked our trusty old truck by the boat, lashed a tarp to it and to Joana and we were off.


Sandman started blasting, showed me how it was done and I took over for awhile.





Finally, after two days we had enough grey sand to make a nice little beach but she was done.


Now it was bill time. Don't worry, I had called Cathy back to let her know we found someone but no one was really sure of the cost. It was the end of the day and we were all tired. We couldn't be bothered to climb up the ladder for some paper so Dad found an old pen in the trash and a take out box. Sandman did some high level math and viola! Joana's sandblasting and spray painting bill was served.

Mr. Sandman delivered.

Time to poor a glass of rum and call Cath.

For more info on Joana check out our web sight at. You can find photos of our current adventures on Facebook , sailjoana















Throw back Thursday -Playing in the Tanks

Ah, nothing like the fresh smell of old diesel in the morning. I was able to get all 25 annoyingly placed bolts off of the two by two man hole for the fuel tank. After hand cranking about 50 gallons out that had been sitting in there for five years or so, I was ready to go in.
You can imagine what was waiting for me inside .
Definitely a bio breeding ground. Diesel sludge stalagmite type things. I first scraped off most of the small rust build up that the condensation had caused. Then I started the long bucket brigade. Four hours later and a decent high even though I was wearing a mask, I felt it was looking pretty good. At least clean enough for the two in-line Racors to handle.
Since I was already dressed for the occasion, I moved on to the fresh water tank. More scraping, sanding, vacuuming and then finally painting. We used a product called Brew Coat. It was one of few paints we could find that were specifically for potable water. Actually, as the name implies, it is used by breweries for their tanks, but we figured if it was good enough for beer, it must be ok for water.
About half way into the work day, I figured it would be best to take a break as I heard my Dad (who has asthma) hacking away on deck. Poor bugger, I had him breathing in fumes most of the morning . It is always nice to have good crew members who don't complain, but I have to make sure I don't go kill them off right away. So, I figured we'd get some air and start prepping the bottom. Nothing like some dust in the wind to cure a breathing problem.
As I was going around the hull, I noticed some weeping and a little rust bubble. I thought maybe some water got under the paint so I used my pocket knife and started to poke. Darn...not just paint I removed and that small weeping became a little hole.
You can imagine my annoyance.
As I decided to end the day there I looked over at my neighborly peanut gallery: My dad and two jolly Coasties. I could tell they were about to give me "words of wisdom" so I just raised my hand and said "save it boys".
I guess I better start looking around for a sand blaster. Cath (who is off working to make some money) isn't going to like this!
For more info on Joana check out our web sight at. You can find photos of our current adventures on Facebook , sailjoana

Throw back Thursday -Getting Acquainted

"Man, I got absolutely no sleep last night. Not sure if it was the nor'easter working on blowing Joana over or the strange picture of the previous owner freaking me out in the glow of the flash light when I got up to check on things." My dad gave a chuckle. "No, just the feeling of a fish out of water."
We had found ourselves at the local Timmy HoHo's (Tim Hortons), grabbing a cup of Joe and some Minnis. Just to our left was a a group of die hard Tim Horton groupies. On the East Coast of Canada they will sit from morning till night only leaving to get a pack of smokes. It's better to come here then to listen to the morning news though if you want to catch up on the town gossip.
"Oh, I heard it used to be an old sail training ship."
"No, I heard some guy brought it down here for his wife. They say her soul still walks the decks."
"You don't say! You're all wrong" the oldest looking T Ho groupie says. "One of the Coast Guard fellas told me old Adolf use to own her. She was part of his private fleet in Germany.".
"Oh hush yourself. "You don't know what your talking about" a woman said, obviously the wife.
"I think it's right something them girls are taking that on..."
Like I had mentioned, we were becoming the talk of the town. My dad and I just gave one another a smirk. "You ready to head back Dad? Old Adolf will be getting upset and we don't want that."
I have to admit whenever I drove up to the boat I never had that daunting feeling like "what have we done?" I always felt more like "Wow, ok. Now what."
Just so we're all on the same page, Joana's layout goes something like this: a king size forward birth, one starboard double birth just across from a decent sized galley. She has a proper sized head with a separate shower stall, a large salon with a drop down table birth. A group of useless drawers on the port side in the salon that could be torn out and replaced with a nice seating area / sea bunk. Continuing aft there is another sea bunk on the port side and large aft state room.
There is a nice workshop complete with a drill press in the engine room which opens such that one has access to all sides of the 180hp Cummins engine.
There is also lots of spots to stow useless things such as 20 pounds of rice and a ridiculous amount of President's Choice molasses.

In the head there was at least ten stacks of groove and tongue Laos hardwood and ten more stacks throughout the boat, ready to be laid down.

The forward cabin held an almost new suite of sails. Joana carries three jibs, three square sails, a gaff with gaff topsail and a mizzen .
When needed, a mizzen staysail is also on board. It's hard to beat the old way of sailing out of square rigged sailors so it is nice to have the option of the squares which are great for trade wind sailing. While we aren't totally set up to fly them yet, it is easy enough to build the spars when we want to use the sails. But, for the time being, the fore and aft set are perfect.
Layout of sail plan
Joana was constructed from the plans of Herreshoff's Manana design. Of course his chosen material was wood but Joana's is steel. They also substituted the centerboard with 2.1 meter draft, a cement ballast fitted in a hollow keel.

The entire superstructure is steel as well. She is powered by a 180hp C Series keel cooled Cummings with an old crash box Gray Marine transmission, which is the size of the engine. We had our work cut out for us with that but it makes for a future good story! All of this gave us a 37 ton ocean-going tank .
Her original design was supplemented with a large bow sprit and bumpkin. She is about 55 feet at the waterline, 60 on deck and 72 over all . The government issued registration says LOA is 16.79 meters. That must be a mistake and we will have to look into it one day! The main and mizen are both steel tapered masts. The main mast is 65 feet from the waterline and mizzen about 50 feet. Both are deck stepped. She has the potential of a lot of wind power when needed.

She carries 300 gallons of water and 300 gallons of fuel. Both tanks are built into the hull, with two nice size manholes for access. One of the first things on my to-do list was to empty both out and clean them. I looked through most of the crazy stuff in the sole but found no fuel transfer pump. I decided to wander over to the neighbors to see if they had one. If you don't remember, the neighbors were the Canadian Coast Guard.
I looked in the massive garage where someone was usually working but no one was there this time. I looked around the property and noticed no one was around. I walked to the front desk in the main building but that was empty too. The phone started ringing and I thought for sure someone would come out. Wrong. Then I heard some intense talking and loud shushing coming from the door just to my right. I knocked. No answer. You may be wondering about security at this Coast Guard facility. Don't worry folks, remember, this is Canada. No need for security. You can walk through the Parliament and harass the Prime Minister about your garbage not getting picked up.
Anyway, I opened the door and there were five grown men intensely watching Coronation Street, the longest running English soap opera. Canadians love it .
No movement so I walked in. "Hi."
"Ssshhhhhhh" was all I got in reply
I stood and waited patiently for the lady on TV, Michelle, to go through some crazy drama before a big burly guy with a strong Cape Breton accent stands up and waves his arms at the general area of grown men and TV, clearly disgusted and says "it's just a matter of time before Culom gets what's coming to him. Mark my word."
And then he turns to me. "Hello! My name's Sheldon. What can I do for ya, dear?"
Oh boy. I could tell this was going to be a very entertaining month of yard.

Chart house
Strb birth
Aft cabin
Soon to be a nice work bench
Previous owner picture
Old shot under full sail.