Sideways Sally took to sailing in about three minutes after landing on the West Coast from the prairies in 2003. Well, maybe three days… what’s a little exaggeration when it’s about a crazy passion for boats and anything to do with boats.
Starting with NOMAD, SS fell ass over tea kettle in love with all 27′ of fibreglass that made this 1979 Coronado. She was bullet proof, meaning the fibreglass was thicker than newer boats. Plus she had a Honda 9.9 outboard that just wouldn’t quit. SS became the proud owner of Nomad through a kind friend of a friend with some very interesting back channels (not the water kind). More on that later…
Home port was an inherited mooring in Long Harbor on Salt Spring Island. She’d been sitting for a few years and needed some lovin’. The birds had made NOMAD their landing pad for seashells and piles of goopy poop. The local sailors suggested breaking their habit with an old fishing net. Nomad was draped in the net when on the mooring and the birds hightailed it to another vessel.
Between work which was in Victoria, and boating courses, SS learned as much from Nomad’s previous owner, Orville as they had time for. Travels back and forth on the ferry led to a connection with Salt Springers, who like SS, loved sailboats and motorbikes.
The sailing community grew in time and Sideways jumped onboard ER – Elizabeth Rose, a 36 Islander. ER belonged to Kelly and Jen, whom SS had met on the ferry. They’d rebuilt her after a fire onboard and many a hour was spent with them in their garden getting her ready for launch.
It was fascinating wandering around a boat yard looking at all the shapes of hulls, keels, rudders and some big OOPS under repair. SS couldn’t wait to help friends with haul outs and get her hands dirty, filthy, her hair disgustingly dusty and colorfully painted.
Ocean sailing is a big learning curve for someone who's played on lakes and rivers all her life. With help from my new sailing buddies, and a Power and Sail Squadron Course, some of the basics started falling into place.
The day SS felt sailing in her bones was the first day she took NOMAD across the Strait of Georgia, now called the Salish Sea. The wind beat up to 25 knots and the seas were 1-2 meters. Nomad could handle it and SS stayed on the tiller riding the troughs and crests of waves like a bucking bronco. YEEHAWWWW, that was a damn good ride. Getting to shelter between Jedediah and Lasquetie Island was exillerating, and exhausting. SS took Nomad toward BOHO BAY to anchor, managing to hit Avery reef at a slow 2 knots, freaking her out but doing no damage to boat or crew. That was a great wake up call to have before heading to Desolation Sound the next day.
With training on charting and conning her way, and a depth sounder for extra insurance, SS explored Squirrel Cove, stern tied in Laura Cove and made new friends with some kayakers caught out in a storm in Malaspina Inlet. Taking the trio of drenched, hungry and tired kayakers on board while we hunkered down in a cove, the fire lit and the soup hot on the stove, made for some great memory making about that trip.
Chemicals, bottom paint, cleaners, tools and some knowledge are necessary for success. SS knew NOTHING. She stood gasping at the pounds of muscles and sea life that was pressure washed off Nomad during the next haul out. Getting some lessons from an ‘ol salt, I scrubbed the hull with sandpaper over blocks of wood, working to rid the tenacious barnacles, then washed it down with acetone. Prepared with bottom paint, trays, paint rollers and brushes, everything beneath the water line got two coats of paint and extra layers on the leading edges of the bow, keel and rudder. Old clothes, gloves, hats, facemasks, or painting suits tries it’s best to keep the paint off the skin.
SS claims her first love was a sailboat, and she keeps forgetting there are other kinds of boats.
A glance over at my page while I’m finishing the draft for this first chapter, Hershey comments, “that’s Nomad, from almost 20 years ago! ” TWENTY YEARS AGO??