Moving to Vancouver Island meant finding a location that was handy to the marina, so that husband and Prairie Girl could get to the boat easily for maintenance and quick decision day sails and get-aways. Looking back on the last 6 years, it didn’t quite work out as perfectly as planned. It’s true the boat was within walking distance of their new home, but with husband still working, Prairie Girl writing and publishing books, and extensive travel (both work and pleasure related), the TwoCan hasn’t always had the usage one anticipated with the move.

Shortly after moving, husband was approached by SCYC (YACHT CLUB) members to see if they’d be interested in being sponsored to join. Husband was pumped at the idea of becoming members of the local yacht club! What a great way to meet like-minded people and enjoy other sailor’s stories and expertise.

Prairie Girl, on the other hand, was somewhat apprehensive. After all, each spring she still needed refresher tutorials re: remembering names of the equipment and how to operate them (wrapping lines around winches, opening and closing seacocks, operating the VHF radio, changing power from battery to battery, positioning boat into irons, docking and fastening lines, anchoring procedures….). Notice she doesn’t even mention navigation and helming…. PANIC!

How could she possibly join a YACHT CLUB, being the novice cruiser that she was? After all, they might expect her to know what she was actually doing aboard the TwoCan!

Oh yeah, Prairie Girl felt intimidated when considering becoming a yacht club member! She had just gotten used to planning cruises with other couples in the last few summers (well…just one particular couple, actually). They had a good partnership going and enjoyed exploring the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, and Desolation Sound together. Their boat was moored on the mainland so they always met up at a designated marina and the two boats went from there. Now, who knew what the expectation would be with all these competent sailors going out cruising together.

Regardless of Prairie Girl’s apprehension, husband quickly agreed to the sponsorship and without any waiting period, whatsoever, they were deemed members of the club!

And didn’t plans for cruising together start to happen quickly. A spring and summer cruise were advertised. Now husband, being in the minority class of the membership (being a working stiff and all), had to curb his enthusiasm, somewhat, and choose one or the other- but not both. Because they had already agreed to Desolation Sound that summer with their friends from the mainland, they registered for the Spring Pub Crawl Cruise. It was an 8-day trip stopping at various marinas and marine parks in the Gulf Islands. Did they know anyone well? A couple of neighbors (who have become close friends), but that was about it! Did the YC members all know each other? Absolutely! The first day of the cruise, meant that Prairie Girl and husband’s 28 foot Catalina was one of the last boats to reach the marina destination. It was shocking to have a welcoming crowd at the dock guiding them into their lateral tie. Prairie Girl wasn’t used to having anyone on the dock offering to have the lines thrown to them. In her panic, she threw both the stern and bow lines together – missing the outreached hands of the welcoming club…. This didn’t bode well for their maiden cruise with the Yacht Club!…


Whatever happens on Yacht Club Cruises stays on Yacht Club Cruises… or does it?

Each year a Spring Cruise is planned with motivated members of their Yacht Club. This spring, as first time participants, husband and Prairie Girl signed up for the great adventure. The CAPTAIN of their sailboat was particularly keen to embark with twenty other boats and make enduring relationships with his fellow yachtsmen/women.

Before leaving the home dock, the members spent hours on their vessels, preparing them for the week at sea.  Boats were pressure washed, waxed and polished to perfection.  (To say nothing of the costly extravagances that become a must before setting sail- like generators for making that perfect morning cup of Starbucks or commissioning canvas enclosures around cockpits to keep sailors OUT of the wind.) No one leaves the home dock before their boat is outfitted to show at it’s best.

The ultimate is the sailor who purchases a bigger boat just before the cruise. Of course, the new vessel may not have even had a weekend shakedown cruise, but the CAPTAIN is always confident behind the wheel. The new boat owner of this particular cruise was no exception.  Unfortunately, he kissed a barnacled pile as he left a dock with his significantly beamier vessel. His spanking new sailboat returned with a starboard gel coat blemish.

In the anticipation of the comradeship and togetherness of a cruise, husband became overly anxious to make contact with members. In fact, he was so wound-up on that first day; he started responding to hails intended for other sailors in the group-not him! Of course, a hearing test was booked immediately upon their return.

As one would expect among yacht club members, the social aspect of being on docks together after a day of sailing is something everyone anticipates.  However, one somewhat industrious, TYPE A Prairie Girl (who will remain anonymous) dragged her CAPTAIN back on board prematurely from the first club-sponsored Happy Hour Event, in order to barbecue thawed chicken breasts for their dinner.  (She swears the party was breaking up by the time she suggested getting back on board.) Let’s just say, BIG, BIG MISTAKE!…

And speaking of socializing, most evenings at dock, members congregated on the back of one another’s boats to share some laughs and crazy boating stories. One such group of revelers in Otter Bay were apparently royally chastised by an irate, half-naked Yankee who needed his beauty sleep for an early morning rise.  After all, it was 9:30! She heard that they wished the killjoy a hearty “good-night” as they reluctantly dispersed for their own beds.

Prairie Girl mentioned that the boats are decked out to the TENS for the Yacht Club cruises, but did she mention that the sailors and crew also come aboard in their nautical wear? Let’s just say, some do… One sailor (in particular) was constantly checked out each morning by the female YC membership to see what trendy new tee-shirt he’d be sporting.  Nice for the women to have a GQ sailor along on the cruise for eye candy, as opposed to the unwashed, unshaven, unchanged lot with whom most were sequestered with throughout the cruise…. (Yikes, did Prairie Girl write that?)

And did she mention the shoe fashionista who wore a different pair of sandals with each new outfit? Everyone oohed and ahhed over each morning’s unveiling of the new flip flop of the day. Obviously the rest of the YC females need to STEP IT UP for the next cruise… Watch out captains, the girls are going shopping!

Nautical Wardrobes!

One sailor developed a mantra whine that could be heard throughout the marinas whenever he hit his head descending below deck. Apparently, the serious divots that he took out of his somewhat ample forehead were accompanied with, “I NEED A BIGGER BOAT!” (Gee, I wonder which sailor that could have been…) Prairie Girl told him to chill. If he waits ten years, she guarantees that the boat will be the perfect fit for him. Cheeky, isn’t she?

And just how intimate does one get with other participants of the Spring Cruise?  Ask the couple stuck in the middle while rafting in Cowichan Bay. They’ll never admit they heard the 3:00 a.m. head flushes, will they? The ball cap curtains on the cabin windows might suggest that a certain degree of privacy was sought. Rafting up to other sailboats was a new experience for Prairie Girl and husband and they have continued to do this on occasion.
















No one will forget the “bakery frenzies”! Why is it that bread becomes the ultimate focus when out on the water?  Well, maybe it wasn’t the breads, but more the scones, cinnamon buns, pies and apple strudels… Do you think a few pounds were put on waistlines during the cruise?

Everyone loves their pets and many sailors bring them along on cruises.  This works fairly well at pet friendly docks, but gets trickier if one is on a mooring buoy in the middle of a bay.  One member took his deaf and aged dog for an early morning walk and lost the poor, defenseless little guy! Calling him certainly wasn’t any help! His owner has since heard of an effective “walk your dog device” – called a leash.  No more fear and anxiety attacks for this dog owner!

Have you noticed the sailors that finally get their sails up and immediately start to hail their avid sailor friends nearby to take pictures? They want a record of this event!  (Prairie Girl is surprised they’re not requesting videos to be uploaded to uTube!)  Members appear to have a need for evidence that they: a) actually know how to raise their sails and b) that they actually do so, at times. Naturally, they’re the ones that hang photos and nautical paraphernalia throughout their homes as further proof that they actually do sail … occasionally. (But that’s our little secret, isn’t it?)

It appears that when boaters travel in groups, they become more adventurous and confident; trying new passages, passes and short cuts. There is a bonding element out on the water that makes one feel a sense of security while boating together on the ocean. This became evident when one of the club boats ended up momentarily on the rocks of a reef, and ultimately lost it’s steering. The speed with which members rallied to the aid of this boat in distress, demonstrated the tie of friendship and caring. Towing the boat and crew to safety became the priority.

Will spring and summer Yacht Club cruises continue to be planned each year?  This crew member certainly hopes so and will be the first to sign up.

Whatever happens on Yacht Club Cruises, really doesn’t have to stay on Yacht Club Cruises, does it?

Have Prairie Girl and husband managed to participate in other Yacht Club cruises? Oh yes, but not nearly as many as they had hoped. Now that husband is retired, cruising with their Yacht Club friends will become a priority for them. Prairie Girl discovered how inclusive, accepting and non-judgemental members are towards novices like herself. And as one becomes familiar with other members who are proficient sailors, it inspires one to further develop one’s skills.

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