Friday, April 6, 2012

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.

March 2010. This is the day I met Lizzy Belle. Even then I couldn't have imagined how she would change my life and how far we would go together.

HAUL OUT DAY: As we packed Lizzy Belle up Evan and I didn't say much. I'm not sure if we were both upset to leave, worried about leaving LB alone for 7 months or just exhausted from the intense heat. Either way we packed her up slowly while taking turns hitting the cold showers at the marina.
Lizzy Belle slowly began looking like a skeleton as we stripped away her sails, running rigging, solar panel and all the essentials that make her sea worthy. Sorry LB.

We took all of Ol'Beltzie's blocks in so they wouldn't "disappear" in the boat yard over the summer.
"Winterized" the outboard engine.

All the chemicals that make Lizzy Belle float.

Evan scrubbed the BBQ to keep the critters from being tempted to make LB their new home.

Deflating the zodiac. We rolled her up and stored her inside Lizzy Belle.

Folding the sails and storing them in the V-Berth.

Evan put a quick coat of paint on the exposed epoxy on the deck.

One last night of watching movies and sleeping on deck under the stars.

LB from the top of her mast without any sails.

I spread some roach killer tablets around LB. I'm not sure it will matter in 7 months but I figured I might as well try.

LB getting ready to be lifted out.

We stopped them to make sure the straps were in the right position on LB's keel.

She still looks sharp out of the water.

They power wash her hull to get all the growth off. She actually looked pretty good. I was surprised.

Lb from the inside once everything was packed up. I swear there is organization here.

They use sand screws and strap LB down in case there are really bad storms.

The Travel Lift is a cool machine. It took her right out of the water to her resting place.

I was super sick on the day of the haul out. I had a bad cold and somewhat of a fever. Evan carried my bags for me. Thanks bud.

At least LB will not be alone. Easy Listening is right around the corner. I figure they will watch the stars and wait with anticipation for our arrival back to the sun.

The last job was to take down the Canadian Flag.

Lizzy Belle in her spot for the summer. Apparently it rains a lot in August and September. We will see her again around the middle of October.

We are both home safely in Nova Scotia, hanging out with our family's and telling stories about our adventure's on the sea. I asked Evan on the plane which moment was his favourite part of the trip? He spoke about multiple different times especially in Culebra, he spoke about sailing to Anegada and about the great friends at the Beachcomber. After reflecting on it myself I couldn't choose just one because for me the entire journey was an experience that kept me on my toes. Riley joining the crew was up there, crossing the Mona Passage with Kelly, Gracie and my old man was a huge part for me and I think was the biggest confidence builder. One moment that stands out and I think I'll remember in detail for the rest of my life was sailing 4 miles off the coastline of Puerto Rico solo at 3am in the pouring rain on a race to meet Evan and Dascia. This is when all hell broke loose for LB and I. The broken/burnout exhaust pipe was pumping raw water into the boat and the alternator couldn't keep up with the amount of power the autopilot was drawing from the batteries. I was jumping back and forth from the engine room to the tiller while constantly checking the GPS for a safe harbour to anchor in. There wasn't one for twenty five miles and absolutely no one around to help me. This was the perfect challenge. These are the moments I was looking for when I set out on this journey. These are the moments that were truly testing my ability and all the knowledge I picked up over the last two years while asking friends questions or listening to old men tell stories at the bar. I believe these are the incredible moments that build character and help define who we are going to be for the rest of our lives. I want more memories like this one. I can't wait to get back out there!

The sailing is over for now my friends but the blog will still continue. There is much planning and a large amount of preparation for what is ahead. What's next you ask? That is the beauty of sailing, the open ocean does not have a dead end.

Thanks for your support,
Captain Dave Welsford

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Not all who wander are lost...

A solid shot of myself sailing Lizzy Belle solo heading towards Charlotte Amelia Harbour.

Yes Sir! With only two weeks left on this leg of the journey Evan and I decided to hang out in St Thomas with our friends at the Island Beachcomber for a couple extra days. We figured that we had spent a lot of time in and out of the anchorages in the BVI's and we were not in any hurry to head back up that way. So we combed the beaches and Evan who had been volunteering around the hotel for the weeks my folks were on LB introduced me to practically the entire island. Everywhere I went people were waving to him and asking how he was today. He showed me where all the locals hang out and how they eat and drink away from the tourist destinations. After speaking with Evan about his time away from LB he said he was thankful for the experience and the relationships he had created. Nice work brother!

We used the zodiac to shoot some photos of LB and the gigantic cruise ships!

Evan had his first solo trip as well. The Captain usually never leaves his ship but I trusted Evan.

Oasis of the Sea, has fifteen decks with four swimming pools. It is five times bigger than the Titanic and also has fog free mirrors! Hahahaha I'll stick with Lizzy Belle. My mirror doesn't fog up either because we don't have a shower...or hot water.

We pulled out "Gracie" our autopilot and relaxed with a Red Stripe. Gracie always takes care of the business.
We also met Jim. Jim has sailed around the world solo. We must have grabbed his attention at the Beachcomber because he was in love with Lizzy Belle. He taught us some new tricks about improving our technique on the the boat and also gave us some gear he had left over. Thanks buddy, it was a pleasure meeting you and thank you for sharing your stories with us.
A whole bunch of stainless steel gear. Perfect!

A hand sail sewing kit!

Some other odds and ends to get us out of a jam at sea. Jim was an awesome dude.

We also spent a lot of time on Tiger Lady with the Mike's from the Beachcomber. We would almost go out daily and cruise up and down the coast.

The inside of Tiger Lady.

We also would hang out off the shore of the airport and watch the planes land right above us.

Mike enjoying the scenery. He taught us all about how the airport works and the politics involved. He had worked their for years in the past.

Evan looking sharp.

Evan and Mike having a time.

Alright here is a cool story. Mike's dad was stationed on a battleship in the Pacific in World War 2. A Kamikaze slammed into the deck of their ship but did not explode, luckily. All the sailors would strip the plane clean and Mike's dad grabbed the Japanese flag that was wrapped around the pilots shoulders. They have the flag mounted on the wall of Tiger Lady. They also had the writing translated and their were various sayings like, "For my family" written all over it. Brave bunch of dudes!

It has been raining a lot since my folks left. Raining and hot are a bad combination for Lizzy Belle. It gets really moist inside her like we are living in a sauna.

Evan enjoying the sauna. hahaha

Meet Don. Don and Rob pulled up to LB on their Zodiac because they are also from Halifax. Don had been golfing in florida and I guess word has gotten around about two Canadians sailing around the BVI's on a small wooden boat. He heard the story and came over to find out if it was us. And of course it was. After a few rum drinks we also learned that Don works for Heffler Inkpen which is where my main man Jeff hooked me up with Insurance for LB.

Anyone need Insurance talk to my man Jeff MacEachern at

He's your insurance guy for sure. He worked hard on getting LB set up for my trip. Thanks again man! You are my insurance hero!

Once Don and Rob were aboard we decided to have a party on LB. We invited every dinghy that went by and ended up with a lot of interesting people. We hung out all night and were treated to a Lobster Dinner by Martin and the two Dave's. Thanks guys! Much Appreciated.

The crew enjoying the party!

Now I'm starting to prepare for this. Lizzy Belle's "Haul Out Card". Unfortunately our time in the caribbean is almost over for this season. We plan on leaving Lizzy Belle at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour in the British Virgin Islands along with Michelle and Al's yacht Easy Listening. The past two years I have left her in Bridgewater and have always had a close eye on her during the winter season. I won't even be able to look at Lizzy Belle until next November which also means I will have no control over her. She has been my home for almost a year now straight time and I have an uneasy feeling every time I think about leaving her behind. I keep telling myself that she will be fine, until someone brings up that one word that makes me tremble, "hurricane".

Now it is time to prepare...

Monday, March 19, 2012

It doesn't matter how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich.

I'm going to quote that saying to the Bank of Montreal when I get home from my trip and see what they think! hahaha

The Old Man "feeling" the tiller as we sailed up to The Bitter End, Virgin Gorda

A family vacation to that will not be forgotten! We sailed from one side of the US Virgin Islands all the way to the edges of the British side. We snorkelled, combed the beaches, ate together, drank together, slept right beside each other and most importantly, laughed together. We all agreed it had been over 12 years since we were on our last family vacation with all four family members together. This time we had the pleasure of one more. Now, let me tell you about this little man. For the first few days we set the sails and watched little Riley sitting in Lindsay's arms to see how he was going to react to his new sailing lifestyle. And it was perfect. After pulling anchor Riley would gaze off into the the distance and instantly fall asleep. He would wake up a few hours later at our next anchorage, point to land and say with a broken english baby voice (that only Lindsay really understands) "BEACH". He loved the beach! He ran up and down, in and out of the water, inside the beach bar and out again, up wooden ramps, down wooden ramps, and always followed by Lindsay close behind with a smile on her face and a hand full of toys or anything else Riley dropped along the way. So Riley mostly slept on LB while sailing for the first few days. Then on the last few he decided to stay awake. He watched as I ran up and down the decks pulling ropes and raising sails. to my amazement the little guy began helping out. I would turn around and he would be pulling ropes and giving orders. He would throw both of his hands in the air and yell"UP" as I put the sails up and "DOWN" while I took them down. We would get into port and he would say "DONE" with a huge grin on his face. I'll tell you, I'm not sure what I will do without him for the next few weeks. Just a great little dude with a lot of potential. Much love Riley, you are the man!
Mom hanging out on the main boom as we motored down to Cruz Bay.

Not sure what Riley was pointing at but this shot was taken early one morning in Sopper's Hole as I went in for a coffee run.
This shot is a treasure for sure!

Early morning cookie!

The Old Man getting some "alone time" on his Zodiac.

Riley's mad at the banana because it was not in his mouth! Lindsay would say with a calm voice, "Yes, Riley's mad". The rest of us would try not to laugh in the background and encourage Riley. hehehe

Then he figured it out! hahahaha happy again!

Red Stripe. Jamaican beer.
We have this same shot on our last vacation. We would say "Smile Old Man" and he would reply "I am smiling" with a scowl on his face. Haha

Lindsay being an awesome mother. I must say, great work Lindsay. He's a handful sometimes. But man he is a cute little dude.
We sailed Lizzy Belle right through a pretty serious looking race with some huge sailboats from all over the world. The cool part was that their crew members were pulling cameras out and taking pictures of Lizzy Belle. She really is something special and not just to us.

Riley taking his first turn on the rudder. He would point off in a random direction and say, "that way" with a huge smile on his face.

Mom, happy to have the family together.

Good old Jiffy Pop. It is true. It is as much fun to make as it is to eat!

Riley realizing he can see himself in my camera lens. That kept him busy for a few minutes.

Riley driving the Zodiac looking like a "cool dude", as he would say.

That isn't Riley's Red Stripe on the left hand side.

I admire Riley when I think about how something as simple as pouring water from a watering can can make him laugh so hard.

Good times for sure!

The Old Man found the Pirate Bar on Norman Island. He fit in perfectly!

So did Riley!

Always smiling!

Riley with LB in the background.

I had to get a few shots with Riley and I. To Riley I became "Uncle Dude". I really like that name! Thanks Riley.

Lindsay and Riley taking Lizzy Belle back to the US Virgin Islands.

On our final sail we made Riley Captain of his own vessel. This is the sailing vessel Lindsay Welsford named after and purchased by Lindsay Welsford herself. She's a solid little boat with nice lines and only a draft of about half an inch. She's 5 inches long and made of solid Chinese plastic. It is a sloop designed vessel and made with the intentions of doing some serious offshore sailing. I imagine she will go on many voyages over the next few years, in and out of bath tubs, the kitchen sink, she will probably even get dropped in the toilet and possibly chewed on by Ella the family Black Labrador Retriever. But to Riley and his young super awesome imagination, she'll be crossing oceans and voyaging around the world. Riley and his Lindsay Welsford will discover new lands with interesting and fascinating creatures. Good luck on your adventures my little friend, if you ever need a solid crew member let me know and I'll stand by your side through the roughest seas. Thanks for joining us on Lizzy Belle, it was an honour to have you aboard. It was also an honour to have you pee on my right knee in the Zodiac at the Bitter End! hahahahaha see you soon!

Thank you to my family. I love you!