Watch schedules

“Whatever you wear, it’s not enough!” was some of the advice we got from the more experienced sailors that had already sailed to Nova Scotia a number of times.

That was certainly good advice and we are quite proud of all our ski-underwear, large collection of hats, gloves etc.

Captain's glove collection
So far, we have been pretty lucky as the weather up here has been much milder than we expected.
However, we still have to cross the Labrador current & Northern Atlantic, so plenty of opportunity to still make good use of our equipment…

The above also had its impact on our watch schedule as it would not have been comfortable or safe for the crew on watch to be out on deck for too long, should conditions have been as cold as we worried about.
The general watch schedule approach is to have a rolling change in watches. There are normally two crew on watch (red) as we always steer manually; so one to steer and one to handle sails etc.
In general we aim for roughly 3 hours on watch (depending on crew size) and then some following time where the still awake crew will be on standby (amber) to help if needed (to prevent waking up others that are deep asleep etc). Where possible, the standby time is scheduled in way that allows the crew to get off watch get settled etc – and to have them wake up their successor. That in turn ensures timely watch changes and deeper sleep for those worried about overhearing their alarm, but also means that we only have one crew on the help for about 30 minutes. That turned out to be a good approach for now.
During the off-time (green) the crew can sleep, relax, cook, repair, clean up or simply enjoy the time on the ocean.
The order of crew members listed is sorted to balance the skillset evenly across all watches (with the captain on stand-by throughout the entire day).
In case the temperatures did drop to as low as we worried about, we would have changed the cold day schedule, where duration of the watch reduces, but the frequency increases.

As quite a few people asked about our watch schedule approach, you can have a look at them yourself below:

Nahant to Halifax:NHT 2 HFX watch schedule

Halifax to Newfoundland:
HFX 2 STJ watch schedule

Newfoundland to Ireland:
STJ 2 IRL watch schedule

The crew from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland

Here are some pictures of our crew that made it from Halifax via St Pierre to Newfoundland.

Dan MacMackin
Lisa Mogan-O’Keefe
Peter Barba
Philip Kersten
Steve Roberts

Crew Change

The crew woke to partly cloudy skies. The slip at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS) proved to be very comfortable with little motion. Doug and Peter made coffee and headed to the club patio to relax. John prepared another great breakfast of fruit salad and french toast.

John, Doug and Peter headed to the pool for a swim. Peter phoned home to wish his mom a happy birthday. At about 2 the new crew arrived – Lisa, Steve and the infamous “ Uncle Dan”.

Tioga was fully loaded with the extra crew and all the extra gear – bags and sails filled the foredeck. The joint crew settled in for a midday meal of rice and tropical chicken curry.

The repaired gennaker arrived and Doug, Lisa, and Steve set to work on replacing the repaired sail with the old one in the sock. Philip, John and Dan were working on the windlass which when tested did not work. After voltage readings, jumper wires, and much discussion, a simple wrap of a hammer, suggested by Peter, brought the windlass back to life.

Jim, a friend of Bob, who gifted the yellow gennaker with the paws to Tioga, stopped by to say hello. He generously offered to take us to the grocery store to pick up a few last minute perishable items for the next leg. We only needed a few items since Dan did an outstanding job supplying Tioga prior to leaving Nahant – including enough fruit cups to supply the 10,000 dorys built by Sydney Mahaney.

Jim joined us for drinks on the patio then departed for home. The crew ordered dinner and enjoyed the peaceful beauty of the Harbor. The outbound crew remembering the great sail and the inbound crew contemplating the the cold, wet, and scary days to come.

Peter was able to obtain a burgee from the RNSYS to be displayed in the Nahant Dory Club. Captain Philip checked the online iceberg reports – it looked like only one iceberg left – hoping to get there just as it shrinks down to a cube to add to a fresh gin and tonic.

The inbound crew began to settle in as the outbound crew packed their gear for the trip home. We were relaxing together telling funny stories.

One of the best things about these crew changes is the relating of past stories and the laughter.

As the blog is written Doug is assembling a voodoo like doll of Sydney which will become a mascot for Tioga, joining the kalachakra seeds and the jar of F@#&$%* olives as good luck charms for Tioga. With this crew we need all the luck we can get.

Leaving Lunenburg — the Royal Treatment — No wasted time

We left picturesque Lunenburg Harbor at 5:30 PM and motored out of the sound to the open ocean. We set sails and headed north to our next stop – Halifax. It was raining hard and the wind was not great, but we were moving.

Peter took the helm and Doug trimmed the sails as the wind clocked around to a good direction as it increased. Tioga moved into freight train mode. John came up to relieve Doug as we approached a difficult channel between the mainland and an island. At 2:30am the decision was made to wake the captain to assist due to the difficulty in determining the channel markers. As the captain came up someone flipped a switch and the wind was gone. We motored though the first section of the channel, then the wind picked up and we were back to sailing. In 10 hours we covered the distance needed and as dawn was breaking picked up a mooring in Halifax harbor.

We awoke sometime later and moved the boat to a slip at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, the 2nd oldest Royal Yacht Squadron in the world. Pretty fancy place with very welcoming staff , a swimming pool for children and another for adults.

It was raining so we set up the fly over the cockpit as John prepared fresh fruit salad, pancakes, and bacon – again, we eat pretty good on Tioga.

We watched the youth sailing program, reminding us of the Nahant sailing program – with happy young sailors, broken dollies, flat tires, and beat up boats. I guess being at a Royal Yacht club doesn’t change that dynamic. What matters are the kids are out on the water learning to sail and having fun.

John and Philip took advantage of the heated pool ant went for a swim. We showered and took a nap to replenish our energy. We called a cab and headed into town. Our taxi driver was a little less than helpful on what sites we should see. The captain suggested a few places and the drivers response showed a lack of appreciation of his hometown attractions. We ended up at the Citadel – unfortunately it was closed for a special event so we headed to the Waterfront Walk. Once there, we found many references to the “ Great Halifax Explosion”! In 1917 a French munitions ship and another ship collided in a narrow section of the harbor. A fire caused the munitions ship to explode creating the largest man made explosion in history until the nuclear bomb. Due to the narrowness of the area it concentrated the blast destroying neighborhoods and killing more than 2000 people on shore. Massachusetts sent help immediately, including a group of Doctors from Harvard. As a thank you, every year Halifax sends a gift of a giant Christmas tree to the city of Boston.

We were hungry and looking for some Nova Scotia oysters and fish. The daily special happened to be a 60oz T-bone steak, we opted for fish – halibut and cod. Our waiter educated us on Canadian oysters – Prince Edward Island clearly had the best tasting. After dinner we stopped in and listened to a little jazz trio before heading back to Tioga for a comfortable night’s sleep


And off we go

We left Nahant at 1pm. The breeze is filling in nicely and we expect to arrive in Shelburne in 2 days.