Madcap Sailing

31 December 2018 | Gold River Marina, Nova Scotia, Canada
06 August 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
26 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
18 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
24 March 2018 | boat in Gold River, NS and crew in Halifax
22 May 2017 | Whittaker Creek, Oriental, NC
15 May 2017 | Boat in Oriental, crew in New Orleans and Nova Scotia
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
20 April 2017 | Ocean Isle Marina, Ocean Beach, NC at Mile 335.6
17 April 2017 | Dewees Creek, near Charleston, NC
14 April 2017 | St Simons Island
12 April 2017 | Fernandina Beach, FL
11 April 2017 | St Augustine, FL
07 April 2017 | Vero Beach, Florida
03 April 2017 | Ft Pierce, FL
30 March 2017 | Ft Pierce, Florida

The Madcap Circle is Complete

31 December 2018 | Gold River Marina, Nova Scotia, Canada
Beth / chilly on the outside, warm on the inside
Our 15 Madcap years have been filled with a wonderful variety of experiences - some ups, some downs, and for the most part, they have been ups. Our decisions have always been organic - evolving naturally from purchase to local sailing to adventuring off shore, circling back to local sailing in different waters, and then to the decision to sell. When that time came, the selling part happened in the very best way too.

During the summer, we listed with John Suederick at Sunnybrook Yachts and he showed her to a number of people - mostly all of whom made "nice" comments but no offers. And then one day in early December he called to say he had shown the boat to someone who loved her. And he had an offer.

As it happens with buying and selling, there were some negotiations but they were smooth and reasonable, and within a week the deed was done. Fortunately, when we hauled out and put the winter cover on, we had taken off everything we wanted to keep, with the expectation that we would be selling before the spring and had no desire to be lugging things over the lifelines, under the winter cover, and down the ladder in the dead of winter. The buyers accepted our recent survey and felt no need for a sea trial before confirming the sale, so we visited her one last time to say goodbye, and the papers were signed. They came by the house to pick up the sails and life raft and all the bags and boxes of things that were to go with the boat, and we felt satisfied that our beloved boat was going to new owners who would love her as we did.

They are getting close to retirement and plan to go exploring after they spend a few seasons getting to know her in the waters around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

We understand that she is to have a new name, and our feelings around that are interesting. Jim feels that the boat IS Madcap - as the nameplate in the cockpit declares - and is a bit sad that this will change. I feel that, although she is a registered Canadian boat, the name belongs to John Killick - the first owner (for 15 years) who had a great story about it, and to Jim and me - after I begged John to let us keep it. This boat has been "our Madcap" for 15 years and I am just as happy that the 1988 Bayfield 36 once known as Madcap will be sailing around with a new identity. I just hope they do a proper ceremony so no misfortune accompanies the name change, and they can chalk up another 15 years!

So that's our story, and the end of our Madcap sailing era. I doubt it is the end of our sailing experiences forever. It will certainly not be the end of the madcap Lusby/Bissell adventures! I expect this blog will morph into something else so there will continue to be a record of our journey for our own enjoyment about this fabulous time in our lives, and for the enjoyment of people who like to read about these things. We have countless pictures and memories and stories to reminisce over and to use as springboards for whatever comes next.

It's been a grand journey. Thanks for travelling with us. See you on the next one!

Coming Full Circle

06 August 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Beth/ hot and humid /28C in Halifax for two weeks now!

Way back in 2003, we owned a pretty, red CS27 named Noroua. We had been sailing it for a couple of years, but we wanted something bigger to accommodate our then-teenagers and friends for weekends in the 1000 islands. Jim and I admired a Bayfield 32 owned by some friends at Trident Yacht Club and we started looking for one of those. But one day in the dead of winter our friend, Ralph, called us to say, “I want you to see a boat. It’s the perfect one for you.”

It was a Bayfield 36 – a whole 9 feet longer than Noroua – even longer when you count the bowsprit. More than we wanted. But we went to the boatyard, climbed up a ladder, crawled under a tarp and shone a flashlight around … and fell in love. That was indeed the boat for us. Her name was Madcap and she was beautiful.

We were the second owners of this 1988 cutter that had been meticulously maintained and sailed in the fresh waters of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River. I begged to keep the name because it seemed to fit us, and the owner graciously agreed. We sailed Madcap for 3 years in those same waters, until one day, Mary and Blair (Strathspey) said, “We are taking a year off and sailing to the Bahamas. Why don’t you come too?” And so we did.

We left Trident Yacht Club on Father’s Day, June 17, 2007 and that year we sailed Madcap through the locks of the St Lawrence Seaway, down the great river to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, then on down the Atlantic coast to Florida and across the Bahama Banks to the Abacos and Exumas. We were hooked!

In the years since then, we have spent months at a time sailing southern waters – two more trips to the Bahamas, to Cuba, then farther south to the Western Caribbean, spending several seasons exploring Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and the Bay Islands of Honduras. If you have been reading this blog over the years, you will know what wonderful experiences we had and how we fell in love with the Belize and Rio Dulce areas.

Just before Christmas, 2015 we had a conversation over coffee in the cockpit as we sat in Placencia, Belize, and by the time lunchtime arrived, we had decided to head north to Canada instead of south to Panama. It seemed an abrupt decision – we hadn’t even said a proper goodbye to our friends in the Rio – and while we felt a little odd about making that 180 degree turn without much conversation or planning, we knew it was right for us.

So here we are in 2018, back in Canada , back in Nova Scotia, back on the South Shore where our plan was to spend a few years doing coastal sailing in our own local waters. We felt good about getting Madcap all polished and varnished and systems up and running this spring at Gold River Marina. We were happy to be back on our mooring ball in Mahone Bay, watching seals spy-hopping, scanning the harbour for new or familiar boats, strolling the pretty little town. But then … we started to feel less satisfied.

It seemed hard to fit in “boat time” among “Halifax time” and “family time”. We drove the hour from Halifax to Mahone Bay on several occasions only to find that conditions weren’t right or something needed fixing. We have lots of stories about sailing in exactly those situations; sometimes it was challenging, sometimes tedious, and mostly we were content with it because we accomplished something. Now it was more like, “What’s the point?”
There came a day when we had a déjà vu feeling as we sat in the cockpit with our coffees – very similar to that morning of December 24, 2015. “Maybe it is time for something different – very different!” Many of you will say you saw this coming, but truly, we surprised ourselves yet again with a madcap moment. (As we look back over our lives together, we’ve discovered more than a few of those seemingly impulsive decisions that are more like nudges from the universe!)

While we aren’t feeling the malaise we felt then, it is not just the coffee that has been percolating. We enjoy spending time at the family cottage on the Northumberland Strait. We bought “Rosie” the camper van in the spring and are feeling an itch to get on the road with her. We have an upcoming trip to New Zealand this winter to visit the family there and, as always, we need time to visit family and friends in Ottawa and Newfoundland. We don’t have any significant physical issues and we just barely fall into the “senior” category but the joints are a little creakier than they used to be. Although we loved weekend sailing in Ontario and casual sailing in Belize without having to “get somewhere”, it just doesn’t hold the same appeal now. This surprised us actually - we had thought we would really enjoy revisiting these home waters we passed through on our way south.

To paraphrase words from that Jan 4, 2016 blogpost, “An hour or so after that coffee conversation, we had a new plan and new light in our eyes. We knew - right down to the depths of our hearts – that putting Madcap on the market was exactly the right decision.” We put in a call to John Suederick at Sunnybrook Yachts and the next week Madcap was for sale.

We certainly have had pangs of the heart – when we joined Debbie and John in the cockpit of Mahayana in Sambro Harbour for dinner one night and knew we would miss many of those gatherings, when we see postings from friends who are still enjoying Central America and those sailing the waters of the west coast. Acknowledging the great joy and satisfaction we have had in our identities as “cruisers” – people who sailed off to new places and explored new cultures and learned to navigate well and take care of our boat – people who have adventures – has given us pause too. These past years have been times of immense growth for us and we don’t want to settle for less. But life teaches us that things do not ever stay the same, and a change in the course of our lives is not anywhere close to “settling”.

We have places to go that don’t all mesh with boat travel. We have already discovered that waking up in a provincial or national parks campsite, has much the same feel as an anchorage. Our hunger for adventure will still be fed, our family time will not be squeezed in amidst sailing time, and our beloved Madcap will pass to new owners.

Please have a look at the listing at Sunnybrook Yachts ( Madcap is the 1988 Bayfield 36 cutter with the picture of Madcap and the Bluenose in Lunenburg Harbour. She is ready and waiting for folks who want a journey, and those who want a comfortable boat for local sailing.

And as for us? We are plotting new courses, on the road and at home, reflecting on what we have experienced in our lives so far, and making new “plans in the sand”. We look forward to the closing of this circle and the beginning of a new one. And when the itch hits us again to go snorkelling in warm waters, or to take grandchildren sailing, or just to go exploring on a boat, I do believe there are boats for charter and friends to visit!

Launch Day, Gold River Marina, NS

15 June 2018
The day finally came when we had to declare the “on the hard” work done – at least as much as it was going to get done.We stayed in “Rosie” the campervan the night before so we would be ready to catch the high tide bright and early on Wednesday morning. Darrin, Alex and Carl showed up as we drained our first cups of coffee, and the process began. Unplug the power cord, make sure there are bow and stern lines ready, remove the ladder, get out of the way!

I always like to watch launches and haul outs, but I missed most of this one. The truck hauled Madcap over to the railway slip and the boat was lifted into the sling, but the water wasn’t quite high enough so we paused for what I thought would be an hour or so. When I saw movement across the yard as we finished bowls of granola and another round of coffees, I raced over to find the lift moving slowly back up along the rails, the guys walking up the ramp – and Madcap securely tied to a dock. It was a most uneventful launch!

Jim checked the through hulls, started the engine, got a little scare when there was water seeping in around the through hull under our berth, (it stopped within minutes – apparently the seal just needed to swell a little after being dried out for the winter) and we spent the day working through the list of “starting the season jobs”.

While it was too windy during the day to bend on the sails, the wind died enough in the evening for us to enjoy a glass of bubbly and dinner of pasta with asparagus and red peppers sprinkled with freshly shredded Parmesan as we sat in the cockpit. It was SO good to feel the gentle rock of the boat and listen to lapping of tiny waves on the hull.

By Friday, the wind dropped to a reasonable level (although it was on the nose) so we motored out of the river and down the shore a few nautical miles to our mooring in Mahone Bay. In typical Nova Scotia fashion, the wind was nippy but the sun was bright, so we wore long pants and jackets as we travelled, and quickly shed them once we were tied up.

Before we left the marina, we enjoyed an evening aboard Shearwater with John and Debbie (Mahayana) and host, Mike. It was the first Happy Hour of the season and a good start to the social side of the cruising season. We also spent Father’s Day on the boat and toasted the last 11 years of our cruising life. It was on Father’s Day in 2007 that we pulled away from the dock at Trident Yacht Club near Gananoque, ON to head off on our journey down the St Lawrence River to the salt water of the Eastern Seaboard. That night we sat with Mary and Blair (Strathspey) and toasted the beginning of our adventure together. This year, we raised our glasses alone as we contemplated what shape this season of sailing in Nova Scotia waters would take, and remembered the wonderful encounters we enjoyed with folks from all over the world during our 11 years of cruising from Lake Ontario all the way down to Guatemala and back to Nova Scotia.
Vessel Name: Madcap
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 36
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: James D Bissell (Jim) and Elizabeth Lusby (Beth)
About: Beth and Jim have spent several winters sailing southern waters on s/v Madcap. They love Halifax in the summer, but loved to spend the winters exploring warmer places - the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras.
The Madcap crew left Ottawa in 2007 to go sailing in the Bahamas. After a highly successful year, they returned to Canada, settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in the fall of 2009 they left to do it again! Journey #3 (2010/11) took them back to the Bahamas and then on to Cuba for several weeks [...]
Madcap's Photos - Autumn in Nova Scotia, 2015
Photos 1 to 12 of 12 | Mad Cap Sailing (Main)
trees, rocks, water
Hospice sign unveiling
Our back porch
closed shops on the waterfront
empty chairs on the waterfront
an empty "wave"
empty docks and lifted ramps
Hiking the Bluff Trail
tree and rock
rock left by glacier
red bushes and granite