Saturday, July 27, 2013

Had it not been for the sailboat, we never would have met Rudy.  Rudy has been our friend and Nova Scotia mentor since the beginning.  A Shelburne native and fisherman, welder, gardener, and Jack of All Trades, Jim O’Connor, aka, Rudy is a man of many talents. 

It all started with an  advertisement in the lower front page of Shelburne’s weekly newspaper, The Coast Guard.  There was a small photo and the line Sailboat for Sale.  The ad caught Peter’s eye and so we made a call to meet the owner and go and see the vessel.  It was moored in a quiet pocket of Shelburne Harbour. 

The boat was a centerboard, Mouette 19, designed by G.William McVay,  made in Nova Scotia by Paceship Yachts, LTD.  It had a bright red hull and aluminum mast. For Peter, it was love at first site and it did not take long to strike a deal.  Now, to get the little red boat to Jordan Bay from Shelburne.  The boat came with a trailer so it was suggested we ask someone with a truck to tow it to our neck of the woods.  This is where Rudy comes in.  

We were told to call Jim O’Connor, but please call him Rudy.  It was suggested that he might lend a hand/truck.  We called Rudy and he invited us for a visit.  We all hit it off and under Rudy’s direction we made a plan for the little red boat.  Rudy towed the boat, helped us launch it and he guided us through the somewhat dangerous process of raising  the mast.  All this was done at Lower Jordan Bay, near Locke’s Island.  Not only did Rudy help us tow and launch, but he also helped us create a mooring for the boat just off our low tide only, sandy beach. 

Before we could get the mooring in place, there was a list of items needed.  Many necessary parts Rudy found by rummaging in his barn.  The most important part of the mooring was the largest part.  Amazingly, Rudy had a very large anchor in his front yard.   For the missing pieces I was given a list and  the task of finding the necessary parts.  So began my first Shelburne shopping experience.  Much like trying to find that computer part (and I’m still waiting to hear from Sheldon) I got the grand tour of every possible boat supplier in town.  Shelburne may be a small town, but it is an active fishing and boating community.  There were lots of places to visit.  The tour included Bower’s Machine shop.  My memory is not sharp enough to adequately describe the interior of this active, ancient machine shop.  Suffice it to say, I walked in was immediately in awe. I have never seen anything like Bower’s before or since that day. 

Sadly, Bower’s has since closed with the downturn of the economy.  However, Shelburne Shipyard has several large, new contracts to build Canadian vessels and I can only hope that the shop will reopen.  I understand that when the machine shop closed,  Mr. Bower turned off the lights, waked out, locked the door and left everything in place.  

Not to digress, that day, after visiting Bower’s I also visited Government Wharf and every conceivable supplier of boat parts, even some that were not immediately an obvious place to stop.  That’s what happens when you re guided by the kindness of the Shelburne shopkeepers as to where to go and who to see. You really visit everywhere in and around town.  I was lucky enough to find most of the items on the list including the only two available PFD’s for sale, in town. Go figure, I found them at the Garden Center. 

The next day at low tide, Rudy and Peter set the anchor with the bright bobbing orange buoy.  The only thing left to do was to launch the boat, install the mast and sail away from the Breakwater to our new home base on Jordan Bay. 

Maddy’s Cove, Jordan Bay

The next morning, we walked/ran to the breakwater as there was no way to retrieve the car once we were on board the boat.  We arrived, donned our lifejackets and cast off.  It did not take long for a dingy to pull alongside and tell us we were headed for some unforeseen trouble.  The fisherman in the dingy threw us a line and towed us to open water where we needed to be to get to Jordan Bay.  We were amazed by his kindness and very thankful for his help.  

We quickly learned that this act of kindness is the norm and not the exception for anyone on the water in Nova Scotia.  Once at sea in Nova Scotia you are part of a brotherhood unmatched anywhere else on the water.  Everyone looks out of you even if you do not realize they are there.  Even if you do not realize you may need help!  In all our years sailing and power boating in Florida and Texas we had never experienced anything like the generous nature of the fishermen of Nova Scotia, Canada. 

We raised the main sail and off we went tacking our way to Jordan Bay.  Upon arrival we moored at our buoy and used a toy inflatable boat our realtor, and friend Joyce, had unearthed from her basement and given to us.  The little inflatable was really meant for a swimming pool, but we managed to get ashore.  Wow!  We had a little red sailboat moored just a walk from our cottage. 

After that there were many sailing adventures on Jordan Bay.  The bay winds are variable and most days we reefed the sails and still were almost knocked down.  It was the most fun we have ever had.  Racing around the bay clears your mind for only the task at hand.  No worries about work, children, or anything else, for that matter.  You might describe sailing on Jordan Bay as a true alive moment.  A small, swift sailboat, close to the water racing along at a high rate of speed is an experience hard to match.  We loved our little boat and so we named it:  COURAGE.  

One evening  the wind was blowing out of the Northwest as we sat in our Muskoka Chairs out on the lawn enjoying a glass of chilled Nova Scotia white wine and the bay view.  Peter suggested we walk down and visit the boat.  So we did just that.  It was a sparkling evening with the wind blowing and the sun slowly sinking orange and pink in the Western sky.  We climbed down the rocky embankment and up onto Queen Rock.  We surveyed the water, shoreline and sky.  We drank our wine and smiled at each other.  Then, we realized something was off.  Something was not quite right.  No, it could not be possible.  Where is the sailboat???  It’s missing from the mooring.  No way anyone would steal it.  We scanned the bay and saw something small and red bobbing all the way across almost on Lockeport’s rocky coast.  Courage  had slipped the mooring and was about to slam into the rocky shore on the other side of Jordan Bay.  


To be continued . . . .


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