Getting ready for the Van Isle 360 is a major undertaking, if you have been following the Cheekee Monkee on the web, you will know that we broke off the starboard hull in the Round the County race last year. The repairs were done at Lonestar Multihulls in Brownsville, Texas just in time for us to pick the boat up for a 3,000-mile non-stop drive to Blaine, Washington. Talk about challenges!
Back in Blaine at 10:30 Tuesday morning we finally arrived, the Cheekee Monkee was back home. Wednesday, Shane and I worked from noon until 10:30 at night putting the Monkee back together again. The mast went up in the dark. The next day, I loaded the boat stuff on the boat and cast off for the delivery trip to Victoria for Swiftsure. The entire 7-hour trip was spent rigging and fiddling with the boat. Friday I was still at it at the dock all through the morning. At noon, we headed out for a press promo for Swiftsure and a photo shoot, the next morning we were front page in the local newspaper. Bodes well for Swiftsure.
Swiftsure, we set a record for the Cheekee Monkee, starting just before 11 am, Saturday, we finished at 9:22 PM the same day, the sun was still up, great ride, good race and a first place for the Cheekee Monkee.
10 days to the Van Isle, we were very happy that the wind blew hard at Swiftsure, the Monkee had a good solid work out, only a minor hiccup, when we stuffed the bows on the way back in, we broke 5 high tech Carbon battens in the new mainsail and they poked numerous holes in the sail after breaking. Back in Blaine, the sail gets shipped out for repairs, some of the rigging looked a little tired for the Van Isle so we placed many Internet orders and phone orders for last minute deliveries for the Van Isle. The race starts on Saturday from Nanaimo and the plan is to have boat up there on Thursday so we have a one-day margin for error. The Cheekee Monkee team for the Van Isle 360 features a 20’ utility support trailer towed behind our 1-ton dual axel truck. This trailer has everything that we should need to help us deal with the challenges for the VI360. Stocking the trailer required my wife, Lynda to make far too many trips out to the store for me while I tried to get everything organized. Box after box, went into the trailer, UPS arrived daily, FedEx arrived daily, it all went into the trailer.
Wednesday night, no main sail! Our departure plans are being messed with. Lynda and I drive the trailer up to our daughters and I managed to get our daughter Tracy to fit in a haircut. Our shore crew was expected to pick the trailer up on Thursday in time for the 3:45 pm ferry to Nanaimo – Thursday morning Morgan and I left the dock without a mainsail, it hadn’t arrived. We keep the boat at Sandy Point and we need +2 feet of water to get out. 10am was the deadline for departure, off we went, heading for Semiahmoo to wait for Lynda to bring us the mainsail. Finally, our patience pays off and Lynda shows up with the sail, many thanks honey! We set out for Nanaimo with a flood tide behind us a 3pm. Next challenge is more gas, as we have little to no wind to get us north some 65 miles. Point Roberts it is, we fill up all the tanks and head out at 5pm and make it to Nanaimo at 9:30 PM. At last, we are here, most of the items on the to do list are done, Friday should be ok to get the last of the stuff done.
Morgan and I work through the day getting stuff done, the rest of the crew starts arriving around 5 pm and Morgan and I are engaged in a simple revving of the outhaul and just as I am within inches of completing the job, the messenger line parts and now I have to dismantle the boom and do it the old fashion way to extract the internal 5:1 cascaded outhaul assembly. What should have been a quick job, turned into a 2-hour major project. Mike phones from the airport, no luggage to be seen, Shane and Jason arrive and now the whole crew is here and providing helpful direction for getting our little project finished.
Hours and hours of work have gone into the whole project of getting ready for the VI360, the crew has to book off time and put their lives on hold for the 16 days that becomes the Cadillac Van Isle 360 experience.