It seems like only weeks ago that I was motoring out of Halifax Harbour before sunrise, masts lashed to deck, frost on the cabin top, and me dancing a jig despite full winter garb, trying to keep warm.
That was late March, and I was on my way to Lunenburg to begin repairing the extensive rot I discovered last autumn in her bow. I was determined to get this major work out of the way and get an early start on the sailing season. As it turned out, what I had intended to be one month of refit became 3 months, and I didn't get her home to Halifax until the first week of June.
For the work to be done, she had to be hauled out of the water. I had been so anxious to get her to her to Lunenburg to get the work started, I hadn't even considered that the tides might not be full enough to float her onto the cradle. "Hurry up and wait!" Mike G. would say. One week and a dozen attempts later, she was finally up on dry land.
There was always something that could be done while waiting for the tides or waiting for the weather. Inside the neighboring Dory Shop, I was able to carve my name board and refinish my masts and booms on rainy days by the warmth of the wood stove.
I would be harboring some regrets right now had I not had the ambition to get the repairs done sooner rather than later; she would not have been seaworthy for my planned voyage. I learned a great deal about her construction through the process of her deconstruction, as Mike and I hacked away at her rotten stem. Over the following months the restoration ensued; the new stem, composed of oak originally intended for Pictou's tall ship Hector, and 15 planks, cut from a length of Angelique (a very hard wood) imported from South America. Mike has assured me I could t-bone any dock in the harbor and come out relatively unscathed, though I don't think I'll test that theory.
Those days were often long and hard, and sometimes frustrating when things didn't go as planned. I will admit I was sometimes reduced to tears when I looked at her, bow-less and mast-less, and hundreds of hours of hard work ahead of me. But now that I'm sitting here in Lunenburg, the memories of a wonderful summer behind me, and all the hopes and excitement of what is to come, she's been well worth every moment of misery I've endured.