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Gotcha
Information on the Sail Vessel Gotcha and its journeys.
Welcome to the north
Chad / Clear and warm
06/30/2009, 54 00.82 N 125 17.36 W

Well the first sail of the year did not go as well as hoped. Let`s see if the first trip of the year goes better. After a short say over a Paul`s place in Prince George we are now out at the cabin. Well actually we are starting out by putting in the boat at Birchbay. It is the only place in the area that has a boat launch that I can use that will work for launching the sailboat. It took some work to get Gotcha set up but we got there and had her wet about 1.5 hrs after we arrived. Birchbay cabins are a nice little place. I don`t know about the cabins as I have not stayed there. But thy only charged me for the boat launch and not for the week that I left the van and the trailer parked in their lot.

Once we had everything loaded into the boat we motored over to the cabin (54 00.33 N 125 16.03 W) as there was no wind to make use of at that time. Once we made port there it was time to unload and get settled in. took the kids no time to scatter on the beach and in the tree`s. They had been cooped up a little too long in the travel and boat prep. Paul`s family cabin is a nice little place with a guest cabin and private beach. There is no other cabin in the bay area and it has been there for a very long time which lends to the name 1 Cabin Bay.

The wind kicked up in the late afternoon so I took Paul and Ryan out for a run on the lake. After nice trip down lake to the island (53 59.02 N 125 13.22 W ) the wind started to really kick up. The island and the bay sheltered behind it are very beautiful. There is an abandoned cabin on the island and from what Paul was telling me the island and cabin is owned by a couple in the states and they have been trying to sell it for awhile now. Must be wanting too much if it hasn`t sold yet.

After checking over the island from the south side we slipped between it an a smaller one a little further east and back out into the main lake. The wind was really starting to work for us now and Paul spotted a buoy out near the middle of the lake (53 59.34 N 125 13.02 W). Out of curiosity we made a heading out to it found as we passed by it was one of his friends ling lines that had drifted. After a brief discussion we decided we would retrieve it for him. Boy did that turn out interesting.

To keep it entertaining we decided to stay on sail power and see if we could successfully retrieve it. Well, after 3 passes and a fishing net that is now broken, we snagged it and while trying to keep us just off the wind so that we were moving a little as possible under sail Paul brought in the weight line for it and secured it in the bottom of the boat. That was a feet, 120` of line that is, so glad I was on the tiller and not the one trying to wind that in with a weight of 15 pounds on the end and the current pulling on it. ;)

After that we beat our way back to 1 Cabin Bay and secured Gotcha for the night to the dock. All in all it was a great trip and Paul seemed to really enjoy the outing. Let`s hope the rest of the time up here has equal blow ups for fun. :) As an additional highlight we sailed right to the dock for the first time.

Francois Lake BC CAN
First of the new season
Chad / Heavy Cloud / Strong Easterly
06/16/2009, 51 13.17 N 114 42.91 W

Well it`s time to hit the water with the first sail of the 2009 season. Ryan and a couple of his friends are going to come out with me as we head for Ghost Lake. The weather at home was not bad but at the lake it was a little much when we first got there. A storm was just passing so we would have to wait a bit before launching and then catching the trailing winds.

Unfortunately, or I guess fortunately we ended up with a flat tire on the the trailer. The fortunate part was it didn`t go flat on the highway but instead waited until we were parked and surveying the lake that it decided to become less then a perfect circle. That meant that while we waited for the weather to lift a bit, it was a trip into Cochrane (51 11.11 N 114 28.02 W) for a new tire. It took longer then what I wanted but Fountain tire was able to help us out. One new tire mounted, a second new one in the back for later and $400.00 dollars lighter we were back on the road and heading back to the lake.

When we finally got back to the lake the worst of the storm was gone, that`s good, but the wind was waining badly as well, that was not. Well after spending $400.00 dollars on tires plus the gas and time to travel out to the lake I was not about to go home without getting Gotcha wet. The rain rinsed her off but I wanted her afloat. So we quickly got her rigged and ready and then off the hard and on to the water. After quickly parking the van we pushed off from the launch dock and headed past the point and out into the lake. We did good for the first part and got a not bad run to the community (51 12.25 N 114 45.72 W) toward the west end of the lake. But then it failed completely and we were left with glass. There was the occasional puff and I tried to work with them they were to few and far between for the boys so it was down with the sails and on with the motor.

The benefit was once we reached the dock again Gotcha was ready to be loaded on her trailer and the mast un-stepped and stowed for travel. So we were off for home in relatively short time once we made it to the launch point. Will have to see if I can take the guys out for a better sail later in the year.

Ghost Lake AB CAN
At the Home Port
Chad / Clear with light westerly
08/30/2008, 51 13.17 N 114 42.91 W

Here we are,

First sail on the home port of Ghost Lake. It`s a nice little lake with some really nice east to west winds (at least today they are). It started at almost a dead calm at 13:30 when we got Gotcha wet. But it started to puff after we rounded the point out of the harbor area and into the main lake. By 13:45 it was sheets up and the wind steadily grew to a fun filled afternoon with some really great runs up the lake past the cottage community (51 12.25 N 114 45.72 W). We circled through the bay there on the first trip up the lake. Some nice homes in there. After that it was straight (well, straight is a relative term, we are talking about traveling on a sailboat here ;) ) trip back and forth up the lake to the narrows ( 51 11.08 N 114 47.02 W) and the island ( 51 12.55 N 114 42.97 W).

The island has a long shallow shoal on the north side and a narrow passage around the back. We never got to try a turn around the island as it was too busy with power boats at the time. Perhaps next time out. Kelly met us out there and helped get Gotcha`s mast stepped before he took Blue Charm out on the lake to wait for us. There was 3 or 4 boats from the Ghost Lake Sailing Club out there so when th wind kicked up they separated from us and started racing around the markers while we cruised the lake. Might have to try a turn or two around there markers another time and see how Gotcha does.

At the end of the day as we got ready to head in a thunder storm started to pop up over the north hillside. It was moving fast and by the time we had the sheets down and had motored into the harbor and the launch dock we were under the rain. Talk about incentive to get the boat out of the water and packaged for traveling again. The crew worked admirably to get Gotcha ready for the trip home and we where under the cover of the van and rolling home before the heavy rain started.

On a side note. As we headed in under full sail at the end of the day, Kelly was impressed how well Gotcha was able to stay relatively close to Blue Charm. That is a great pat on the back.

Ghost Lake AB CAN
The fun is over
Chad / Clear and hot
08/11/2008, 49 11.87N 115 14.19W

Well unfortunately the weather this morning is not cooperating for sailing and we are leaving today so I didn`t get a chance for one last sail. Will just have to come back again another year and see if we can have more fun.

Den and the crew helped get Gotcha out of the water and back on the trailer. Once on the hard it was time to collapse her and get ready for travelling. After doing this again I really think I need to come up with a better mast crutch for her. This is really time consuming with the temp I rigged up. But it did get us here so that should count for something.

It`s really hot and just after high noon so it`s going to be a long hot trip home.

Koocanusa Lake BC CAN
Family time
Chad / Clear with gusty Northerly
08/10/2008, 49 11.87N 115 14.19W

Family time sailing. Sharayah has gotten enough courage up that she manned the tiller for the first part while we headed out and then transfered from motor power to main sail. But once the jib went up she was done and I took over. Kyle did a great job working with Yvonne to get the main up and Ryan worked with Yvonne to get the jib up. They are all getting more fluent at those tasks.

We passed a 25`McGregor under full sail that had come up from somewhere down lake beyond Elk point. It`s the first time we have seen her in these waters. Might have to see if they set anchor anywhere in our vicinity so we can slip over and say hi.

Grant and Barb came by from fishing south of Elk point and paused long enough to take a few pictures and say hi before they headed back to Ostrich. We had a great couple of hours of zipping back and forth between Ostrich and Elk point (49 10.68N 115 13.38W) before the wind died down. The kids really had fun which was the over all goal. Ryan manned the tiller for the trip into the harbor at Ostrich under motor power and did very well at it.

Ryan wanted to go out again as the wind picked up around 17:45 MST, so the two of us headed out to see what kind of fun we could fine. Unfortunately the trip was very very very short and involved sails and paddles to get back in as the motor stopped drawing water and started to over heat. I was hoping that it would just be an air lock and not the end of our sailing as there was no outboard repair place within a reasonable drive from the lake.

Checked it at 21:30 MST and the outboard is operating correctly once more. Was very happy to see the water circulating and running at a normal operating temperature. We should be able to get one more run out tomorrow morning before we have to pack up and head back home.

Here`s hoping. :)

Koocanusa Lake BC CAN
Play time with the others
Chad / Clear with gusty Northerly
08/09/2008, 49 11.87N 115 14.19W

Playtime!!!

The wind just came up and the San Juan and the McGregor are both out there playing just off the island (49 12.07N 115 13.16W) we made short time of the prep and slipped out to play with them. out of the three of us the San Juan definitely turned out to be the one to try to keep up with. We zipped back and forth diagonally across the south western side of the island as we played chase.

Still haven't met the crew of the McGregor, hope to before we leave. Had an interesting conversation with the San Juan captain, as he closed and then slipped past us close on the port side. He certainly has a very good feel for his ship.

Unfortunately the wind died down to soon for my crews liking and we tried to chase it around the lake a little before giving up and heading in once more. It may not have been as long as we all wanted it to be. But it was a whole lot of fun while it lasted and everyone aboard had a great time.

Koocanusa Lake BC CAN

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Port: Ghost Lake, Alberta, Canada
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