• 30th October 2009 - By greg

    PA270124 I’m back from our Vancouver Island sea trials now. Our shake-down cruise was unfortunately abbreviated, but was great while it lasted. We saw seals, dolphins, jelly fish, and were making great speed and everything was going as planned. Then we had a sudden drive leg failure, almost ran into a ferry, dealt with the coast guard, paddled to shore and had to spend the night on an island with one of my best friends where we got invited to a dinner party at a beach-front mansion and we had one of the best times in our lives! Funny how things work out – and don’t work out.

    When you are attempting to do something that hasn’t been done before, everything is a learning experience and you have to learn to roll with the punches. Life is not about the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away. The trick is, you just never know when those breath taking moments will happen. It’s all part of the adventure.PA270134

    I spent the day washing WiTHiN and unpacking a fully loaded Suburban and still have a day’s worth of unpacking / re-organizing to do.

    The focus now is making a list of modifications and other to-do items and do some thinking about the next round of sea trials. My first priority is to thoroughly clean out the garage, dismantle our massive sandwich panel building table, and build a new wall to extend the old shop so that I can store WiTHiN inside over the winter so Ken and I can continue working on her getting her ready for the Pacific crossing. Now that it has started snowing in Calgary, I want to give Helen and Krista their garage back for the vehicles. I’ve asked Ben Eadie to help build a new wall that will extend my 24 foot long shop to 32 feet to fit WiTHiN.

    After Ken fixed the broken gear box, I was able to put in about 8 hours in WiTHiN on Okanagan lake in Penticton and it was great to be able to spend that time plus the 4 hours with Jordan on the straight of Georgia new Denman island. I learned a lot! What items I need easy access to, where I need to keep food, water, safety equipment, seat issues (I need a seat belt), need more gear nets, etc, etc. I’m building a list.

    To test out our gear box fixes, we tied WiTHiN up tight to the dock in the Penticton Marina and I tried my hardest to break the gear box. I hammered out some full-out sprints with sudden back spins. I tried everything I could to break it and it just kept going. I tried stomping on one pedal at a time with all of my might. I even tried kicking the pedal. I was sprinting so hard that the aluminum prop was bending about 1 inch back and striking the keel fairing. All seemed good.

    The plan is to epoxy bond / solid pin the gears and pinions onto all of the shafts in both gear boxes. According to George at MitrPak, the next thing to break would be the 1/2″ shaft itself (assuming a stainless steel prop, not an aluminum one). It that were to happen, then I will just drop in the fully assembled spare drive leg. I am also planning on carrying a set of fully assembled shafts with bearings and gears, ready to be inserted into the gear box if both drive legs broke. Hawaii is a long way away!

    Here is a slide show of the photos from the Vancouver Island sea trials. Click on any of them to see a page of thumbnails and / or to comment.

  • 7 Comments to “Vancouver Island sea trial photos”

    • Gord Weber on October 30, 2009

      It’s almost as if the trial run wasn’t ment to happen…yet.And yet,
      If a trial is ment to test the team and how it handles adversity this was a very successful and team building trip.
      Pedal with Passion

    • Guy Gilbert on October 30, 2009


      I am still completely anxious to see the whole results. Wonderfull approach. Learning one thing at the time is still the best human way of exploring new areas.

      I purchase tonight part of the material for my own Northern project. Can’t wait more for that. The last single thing is a carbon fiber H beam along the centerline (between shell and flat floor. This way, the narrow base will act as a real ski for when I will have to pull/push the boat over floating ice.

    • Theresa on October 31, 2009

      stunning pictures! Any trouble with sea sickness?

    • RoninVancouver on October 31, 2009

      Howdy Greg,
      That was a very good shakedown. And the best place to do it. Might be a good idea to test again Van Isle in early spring to see how she handles the huge Pacific rollers then the tricky currents of inside passage. Bon chance! -Ron

    • Bruce Bolster on October 31, 2009

      Hi Greg:

      If seaweed on the prop continues to be a concern, you might consider a hobie mirage drive as a backup drive unit. These are efficient and weedless.

    • Jeff Hoyt on November 2, 2009

      I agree with Bruce that the Hobie Mirage drive is an excellent backup unit for operation in long term weedy conditions. Having used one for several weeks every day through weed choked ponds and pedaling two miles out to sea off Nantucket, it is a great drive unit. Also stood up very well to being dragged over sandy and pebble/rock strewn beaches.

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