** We’ve been sorting through a big box of photos which had been stored under the bed in Illusion for quite a few years. It’s been quite a surprise to find out which photos survived and which were damp and stuck together – we haven’t got through them all yet, but so far there are some great ones from various adventures, including travels in Mexico, South Pacific tropics, and New Zealand. Over the next few weeks we’ll scan some and post them here on the blog to give a bit of Illusion‘s back story. **
I was living in an apartment in Tiburon (near San Francisco), California, failing to find a used boat to buy. I almost gave up after a boat deal in Germany fell through. Then the MacGregor video of their 65 foot sailboat at a local boat show sparked my interest in taking a closer look; a factory visit to meet Roger MacGregor; and a downpayment to get on the waiting list. A year and a half later, in late 1994, I went back to the factory in Costa Mesa, California to see her being built. Surprisingly, the photos of her in pieces, with the hull partly assembled, survived in good shape!
There were numerous moments over the last three years when we wondered whether we should just give up on trying to get Illusion to Vancouver. It was so complicated and expensive and time-consuming. And then on top of that wanting to visit our families for weddings and births and funerals, the addition to our own family-crew, the ongoing pressure of trying to complete my PhD, Doug’s surgery and recovery from his shoulder injury, and all the other ups and downs of life…. Yawn, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about all the bad stuff. Every few months we would have a serious talk about whether we should give up on trying to get the boat here. Maybe sell her. Maybe sail her back to the Marquesas. Maybe go and live on her in Hawaii. But none of it quite made sense and each time we re-evaluated, our conclusion was to keep pushing on. We couldn’t easily sell her without a working engine, but if she had a working engine, we could get her here and in that case we didn’t want to sell her. So we just stuck at it and waited for all the circumstances to make sense and come together and…. eventually, they did!
As you might have noticed, things have been pretty quiet round here – mainly because Doug had surgery on his shoulder after injuring himself during the (so-horrible-we-try-not-to-talk-about-it) day-we-finally-gave-up-on-the-engine, back in August. Here’s a link if you don’t know what that’s referring to. I still feel sick every time I think about it – that and the moment I nearly killed him with an accidental gybe, but that’s another story…
Doug’s speedy jump down into the engine room resulted, we later discovered, in three torn rotator cuff muscles (two of them almost 100% ripped) and a 90% torn bicep. We should have guessed it was serious when his whole upper arm turned a particularly disgusting shade of purple. Looking back it is kind of unbelievable that he then continued the voyage from Raivavae up to Hawaii, including a 15 day solo sail, mostly without use of the autopilot, and two trips up the mast while alone on the boat. Anyway, in about November, realizing the pain wasn’t going away, he finally figured he should get it seen to by a doctor and within weeks he was having scans and appointments and surgery was booked for mid-February. Continue reading “Boat building and shoulder healing”
I am still surprised by the confusion that emanates from others when I mention that we’ll be departing their island soon. Of course, they know that Illusion‘s main engine is not functional, so that helps to explain it – I tell them that we’ll sail to the next island. It is a sailboat… Continue reading “Engineless”
After three flights (Vancouver to LA, LA to Tahiti, Tahiti to Raivavae) it was pretty amazing to arrive at the tiny airport and see Doug, complete with an amusing amount of hair, waiting for me. Henriette, whom Doug had met a couple of days earlier, sorted us out with a ride to the other side of the island where Illusion was moored, and I was glad I’d made time for a practise French session with my friend Cristina the day before leaving Vancouver. Our hour of chatting had slightly prepared me for the first significant French-speaking experience since finishing my A-levels, seventeen years ago. (Aaaaack! I can’t believe that was 17 years ago!). Then we were alone, at the quay, and there was the dinghy waiting to take us out to the boat. I guess I hadn’t really thought about how we’d get there – that was a pretty cool moment. So we headed off onto the water, for my first meeting with Illusion and my first experience of living on board a sailboat. Continue reading “Ḿeeting Illusion”
We had a great time at the Vancouver Boat Show over the Family Day weekend. We wandered round talking to various people about insurance, local marinas (for when Doug and Illusion return to Vancouver) and options for heating and lighting on the boat. I was excited to meet the lovely people staffing the Bluewater Cruising Association stand – they were very reassuring about the fact I don’t have a clue about sailing and I look forward to heading to some of their events while Doug is away. Continue reading “At the Vancouver Boat Show”