So sailing and being on the water in boats are things I really, really care about. In fact, I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to have some kind of little watercraft when they live by the sea in Nova Scotia.

My boat, Island Girl, is a 1984 O’Day 34 and my second sailboat. For about 10 years I sailed my little sloop, Duchess, a 1975 Bayfield, 25 ft. LOA, which I acquired in 2004. But Duchess is just one vessel in our family flotilla. My two brothers also own sailboats, a Nash 26 and a Paceship Acadian Yawl, 30 ft.

Sailing came late into our lives but we are making up for lost time.

I am a proud member of Shearwater Yacht Club, on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour. It’s a great place to sail from and to be a member.

Here’s the Island Girl:


Before Island Girl was my first sailing love, the little Duchess. Here’s a piece I wrote about working on the dear little thing.

April 13, 2012

You know what’s really worthwhile? Working on a boat. And it doesn’t have to be an epoxy-drenched mega-project. You’d be amazed what you can achieve with some Spray Nine, a scrub brush, sandpaper and paint. Oh, and some backbreaking efforts at twisting yourself into pretzels to get in those spaces. From what I have experienced, I can suggest as a nautical rule of thumb, the smaller the boat, the more back pain.

I’ve owned the Duchess since 2004 and this the first year I’ve been able to really dig in and clean her up, including the engine compartment and all the interior cabin spaces. They were disgusting. So they all got scrubbed, scraped and sanded where appropriate and two coats of paint applied everywhere. Same goes for the interior teak: at least one fresh coat of Cetol all around.

80 grit sandpaper to get the old paint off, then 120 to smooth it, then two coats of Cetol.

The companionway steps, much improved.










One of the big jobs was to get the interior compartments cleaned and free of mildew (bane of boats everywhere) and to get some fresh paint on them. Makes for a much more civilized marine environment.

For instance:

The quarter berth, before the Spray Nine and paint attack

All cleaned up and a coat or two of paint.














And I had some help, very good help. Nick Rudnicki, The Fixing Geek, did this fine improvement for the head in the forward cabin:









And these are the new cushions that Nick and his very talented friend Jen Mills put together. Nick says Jen, ( did all the work. And she did it well. By the way, there are more images of Nick’s work on my boat on his website.



These replaced some really manky old upholstery

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