SAILING COVID-STYLE DURING the 2020 SUMMER
In spite of the pandemic and restrictions in place, the TwoCanXL became a welcome distraction from all of it. Prairie Girl and husband would provision the boat and sail away from their marina for 2-3 weeks at a time, without having the constant barrage of news updates invading their space each day. Don’t take this the wrong way, they were still concerned with the progression of the Covid stats and read about it on their Globe and Mail downloads, but it just seemed easier to ignore the crisis from the deck of the TwoCanXL. They weren’t alone in this, most boat owners made substantial use of their vessels last summer, as no one was venturing far from home and certainly NOT boarding planes. The boat sales of 2020 were a testament of this.
How was boating different in the summer of 2020 from other years? The first thing they noticed was the assured spaces when docking in Canadian waters. Other summers, one was forced to book well in advance for berths, due to the high volume of US boats. That was the upside, even if at certain marinas it felt somewhat eerie to have all of that free space. Some of the Marina owners confessed that their moorage business was down 70% and it was touch and go for them to keep their facilities open. This was the downside, fretting for the businesses that relied on US boaters. It truly felt unusual to make a reservation and find out that there were only a half dozen others registered in the visitors slips. The Canadian boaters enjoyed not being jammed into those difficult to access slips, being towered over by massive yachts running their generators 24/7, and the overall quiet and relaxation in the anchorages was blissful.
Were they respectful of all rules and regulations while on land and water? Of course, and they were genuinely happy to spend more for their amenities while tied to a dock. They ensured they always wore their masks and used hand sanitizer. If they ate off the boat, it was only at outdoor establishments, markets, or take-out. Mostly they prepared meals onboard, using the barbecue. Prairie Girl loved this, as husband always participates in the dinner prep by doing the barbecuing.
Check out the photos to see what socializing with friends looked like on the water during Covid. It actually was fun to meet up with members from their yacht club and ensure that Happy Hour visits happened, regardless. (Prairie Girl did find it somewhat of a strain on one’s neck from a dinghy, while looking up above at friends sitting on their 40+ foot sailboats.)
They did rendezvous with other friends and family who were in their home bubble. It was fine to swim in the ocean together, hike the Islands, shop, and eat out with one another. Everyone was cautious and ensured that they were using hand sanitizer constantly and as much as possible, all the playing together happened outside. When we met up with family members, it was in the boat cockpit and a restaurant patio that was following strict Covid rules. Did it dampen their visits at that point, not really, because as long as the friends and family were part of their bubble, it worked.
Summer was not difficult. But as Sept. arrived, being caught in fog, California smoke, and damp, cool weather, this became a little more challenging. The TwoCan XL is equipped with radar (which had never been used before by husband) and inboard heat. Their friends (and next door neighbours) never wanted to return to their own boat at anchor, as they’d become toasty warm and dry during Happy Hour. Let’s just say, they were super reluctant to climb into their cold,wet dinghy to board their frigid, damp, dark sailboat. (Prairie Girl almost felt sorry enough for them, that she considered setting up a sleeping bag in the v-berth. Husband didn’t seem to think that was a good idea.)
That wasn’t all of it. Travelling home from Otter Bay, and crossing freight and ferry channels, in thick fog and smoke was not exactly Prairie Girl’s idea of a lovely, relaxing sail. As you will recall from a former blog, husband had purchased an AIS system at the Miami Boat Show in Feb. of 2020. This handy piece of equipment had eventually been installed on the TwoCan XL (use your imagination, you know the kinds of difficulties husband encounters when what he buys doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to). Regardless, it was installed (with some adjustments and attached equipment), and operated properly…THANK GOD! As well, the TwoCan XL came equipped with radar. Husband had previously gone to an introductory radar workshop, but hadn’t actually tried it out. Unfortunately, their neighbours that were sailing with then, had neither devices to help them wend their way home through the murky muck! But fortunately for them, their friend is a retired Air Traffic Controller, and had radar expertise. So husband, with the installed equipment, had the help of a radar expert to play with the radar system before leaving the dock. As both boats ventured out into the dense gloom, they had to stay close behind one another, in order to stay safe. Prairie Girl must have found the voyage a tad tense, as she noticed her jaw was sore from clenching when she finally tucked herself safely in her land bed that first night home.
You may be asking yourself WHY would they have left Otter Bay to venture out in the smoke and fog? The simple explanation is that the marina was booked solid, as many Canadian boaters from Point Roberts had relocated their boats to this marina when the border closed. They had no choice, but to continue on to anchorages and took 2 days to get back to Schooner Cove.
It is February now and husband has made his Covid project…TA DA… the TwoCan XL!!! That’s right! It doesn’t matter if it rains or snows, husband finds a reason to visit the boat and work at making his boat BRAND SPANKING NEW, again! He is also planning a two day trip down to Sidney for an in depth look at the motor. It is 4 degrees outside and you’ve probably guessed- Prairie Girl hasn’t volunteered to accompany him on this particular excursion. BRRRRR
Prairie Girl knows you have had some interesting COVID SAILING EXPERIENCES in 2020, and she would love to hear your stories. Please share them with us in the COMMENTS section below.