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 Nahant to Nova Scotia

A couple of photos of our crew on the way from Nahant to Shelburne and then via Lunenburg to Halifax, where we stayed at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

Doug Frauenholz
John Fulghum
Peter Barba
Philip Kersten

To many more of these trips!
Life is good.


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


Lunenburg – Lights – Camera – Action

Our overnight sail had a few challenges, mostly Peter twisting the Gennaker up, not once but twice. His excuse was he was testing it to make sure it wouldn’t blow out at an inopportune time. The winds were too light so the motor came on.

At about 4-4:30am Captain Philip and John dropped the anchor just outside of Lunenburg Harbor and headed to their berths for much needed sleep.

We woke about 9 and before pulling up the anchor we made our video to send to Channel 5 for the Eye Opener Wake Up Call. There were several out-takes, and a surprise visit from Sydney the 97 year old dory builder. The blooper reel kept us laughing through diner. We motored into Lunenburg Harbor. We rounded a bend with a lighthouse to starboard to see a beautiful old town laid out along the shore. Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site chosen as a prime example of a British planned colony in North America.

We tied up at a town pier and headed to find some breakfast, which turned to lunch of local mussels, salad, fish cakes and chowder. We dropped off the the blown out Gennaker at the sail loft which will be repaired and driven to meet us in Halifax.

Our first stop on the site-

seeing tour was the Lunenburg Academy – a historical castle looking building that sits atop a hill overlooking the graveyard and the harbor below. The local faculty and students were practicing for a concert so music filled the air. We headed back into town stopping in a few shops and artists lofts along the way. We found a local distillery and a few of us tasted pear and dark rum. A local ice cream shop was a welcome stop since the outside temps were quite warm.

After our little tour we hunkered down in Tioga for an afternoon nap. Doug re-tied the King Spoke, a small woven band on the wheel to indicate the rudder is centered. We woke to rain so Doug and John prepared our dinner in the galley instead of on the grill as originally planned. We dined on pork with apples, veggies, and stuffed mushrooms – we do eat well on Tioga.

We prepared Tioga for a 10 hour sail to Halifax and left the dock with no Hafenkino.

We are now motoring out, leaving Lunenburg to our stern. Next stop Halifax!

Here we go again and a bit of history

We awoke at Cathy and Ron’s version of the Ritz Carlton to one of Cathy’s sumptuous meals of fruit, muesli, greek yogurt, eggs, bacon, and local sausage (did we miss anything ?). Pax and Bellum their perpetually hungry Bernese Mountain dogs were always circling for any scraps. Very large and gentle dogs with Latin names that represent their personalities – Pax, meaning peace, is very calm and quiet, Bellum, meaning war, is more rambunctious and noisy.

We said our good-byes to Cathy and Ron drove us through old town back to Tioga- where we thanked Ron and said good-bye. We packed the original Gennaker into the sleeve to prepare for our next legs – the torn one will hopefully be repaired in Lunenburg, our next stop. We loaded our overnight bags onto Tioga and walked to old town to see the historic buildings and visit the Dory museum. The town of Shelburne became the 2nd largest town in North America due in part to British loyalists fleeing the American Colonies.

The Dory Museum was an original boat building factory from the early 1800’s, making many 10s of thousands of the small wooden fishing row boats. These boats were also used as life boats on sailing and cruise ships, as late as the 1970’s. When the Canadian government required lifeboats be inflatable or fiberglass type, this factory and many others went out of business. It was later converted to a museum. The attraction for us was the original late 1800s Swampscott Dory and the fact that all four of us are members of the Nahant Dory Club. There was a master Dory builder with a wild head of white hair who personally made over 10,000 dorys in his 75 years working at the factory. He rowed a dory across the harbor to work every day, 6 days a week, and then home again at night. Only when the harbor froze could he not row to work – then he ice skated.

Peter presented a Dory Club Burgee to the Shelbourne Harbor Yacht Club to replace the burgee that was burned up in a recent fire. Unfortunately all of their burgee collection was lost. Lori at the yacht club was very excited to receive this, their first visiting burgee since the fire and asked the dock boy to display it so that their members could see it.

The crew boarded Tioga and pushed off for our next leg. We motored a bit to clear the mooring field and launched Moby for some aerial photos. As we were launching, the captain saw a small deer swimming ahead. The poor creature was attempting to cross the sound to McNutt Island. The deer eventually thought better and turned back from where he came from. We managed to capture some of the swim, and safely retrieved Moby and steamed toward the mouth of the sound. We slowed again and launched Moby a second time to check out the salmon farm in the middle of the sound. Once clearing the sound we raised sails and headed north in the bright warm sun. It was a bit cooler in the open ocean, with fog lurking on the horizon, and once again we went from t-shirts to fleece. With course and wind changes we again raised the Gennaker. This is the original sail that has covered more miles than the Captain can count and at least 3 repairs from blow outs. We dined on ravioli with pesto and tomatoes. The sun went down and the rain began. We set a spinnaker pole to help stablize the sail. We are ready for another night of cool and now wet watches.

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.