You are hereProject Retirement, ep 3

Project Retirement, ep 3


By Q-Bert - Posted on 24 January 2021

The one where I admit to lying.

In the previous episode, I've listed a huge-mongous amount of skills I will have to gain inside a short amount of time. At first blush, it may seem impossible (probably at second blush too...)

I've been lying...

... well, by omission.

I didn't start this project last month, I started in Summer 2019. That's when my wife and I discussed the possibility of sailing in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. That's when I started watching sailing Youtube channels to see what I was signing up for. Most of these channels are smiles and bikinis, but some are honest enough to show the "cruising is doing boat maintenance in exotic locations" aspects too. Some are even honest enough to show the pure fear of being stuck in a nasty storm because of mis-read weather data.

In October 2019, I signed up for a sailing course for summer 2020. In March 2020, Covid-19 lockdowns arrived. Everything got cancelled. But by the end of June 2020, the sailing course was re-enabled (with some Covid restrictions) and we completed it by the end of July 2020. We then registered to a Sail-Share program and spent about 12 days of the rest of the summer sailing a 24-foot sailboat from the Britannia marina. In August 2020, I passed my VHF certification (marine radio).

During the Covid lockdown, I needed a new hobby so as to not go too crazy. I always wanted to get my Ham license (amateur radio) since I was 13. My uncle was a Ham operator and his hobby had him tinker with Commodore Business Machine "home computers" at the time. At 12 years of age, I would spend summers at his house and would sneak out of bed in the middle of the night and play with the Ham equipment (without turning it on), and later was permitted to touch the CBM computer when it was clear that I would not simply destroy it. I coded my first BASIC program at that age and that ignited my interest in computers. I'm in IT now. As for Ham radio, I took a course at the age of 13, and passed my written exam, but failed my morse-code exam. Morse-code was mandatory at that time; It no longer is. So, in May 2020, I started a self-study, and at the end of summer 2020 I passed my exam and received my Amateur Radio license.

As for some of the other skill blocks listed in the previous episode, some of them are already partially covered. I've been a slumlord back in the day and having to keep a 3-apartment, asbestos-covered, centennial house up and running has given some skills in the electrical and plumbing fields. Some of that translates into the marine world, but I wasn't kidding when I said I have to learn how to deal with marine toilets. Those are a whole different world. Another past hobby, remote control cars and drones, have given me enough knowledge of DC electrical handling to wire a boat on 12-volt DC (the standard, in fact).

My biggest blind-spot is engines. I have no experience in repairing diesel engines, nor outboard motors. That's a skill I have to acquire ASAP. My father may be able to help as he's retired and was a professional truck driver and a diesel mechanic. He's also a sailor. I've fixed MANY computers for him in the past, so I may be pulling some favours...

There's still a lot left, and not a lot of time. In January 2021 I will be doing my Costal Navigation certification and in the summer of 2021 I will be studying for my Intermediate sailing certificate. That will open the way for me to join a flotilla (where many boats spend a few weeks sailing together) in September 2021.

Some of the possible future scenarios are for me to do a crossing of the Atlantic as crew in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, spend a season in Florida doing boat deliveries, and convincing my cousin to go up the St-Lawrence with me on his sailboat.

I can't wait.

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