Acquiring Ariose part 3: she’s ours!
Our last two posts describe how we discovered not only the Alberg 30, but this particular one, in London, Ontario. A few weeks after finding Ariose, we were back.
It was a beautiful
sunny, spring day and a long drive from home. We started our morning rendez-vous’ing for breakfast with Bill and Chris, the previous owners of the boat who had sold to the person who currently owned her. Hours searching Facebook lead to us connecting with this lovely couple who generously shared everything they could from the more than a decade they had spent enjoying and improving the boat. We felt like adoptive parents learning all about our child’s important milestones.
We then arrived at the current owner’s, and eyed our new love, with a surveyor at our side. He confirmed that nothing daunting seemed to be lurking. We handed over the money – after some creative finagling to work around my bank’s $400/day maximum on automatic withdrawals – and Ariose was ours!
The surveyor did recommend we replace all the trailer tires before taking her on the road. Even if we could find six suitable tires on such short notice, this further expense on the day we just purchased the boat, was a little too much for our budget. We considered the surveyor’s caution, used our best judgement, purchased a single spare tire and gratefully accepted the current owner’s gift of a jack he no longer needed. We then hooked her up to a truck we had rented for this purpose. We cautiously headed north – usually an eight-hour drive at normal highway speeds – toward her new home. We made it in 12 hours, with only one incident …
Tim had more towing experience, so he drove, and I followed in the aforementioned Landcruiser, now equipped with brand new batteries (yes, it has 2) and a tenuous alternator. Have I already mentioned that it is a right-drive vehicle?
My last experience with a right-drive vehicle was 30 years before in Australia. And, to get home, we needed to navigate Canada’s busiest highways, including the maze of overpasses that is the 401-400 junction on the outskirts of Toronto. Surprisingly, it went smoothly, for most of the way, that is. We left early on a Sunday morning to avoid the heaviest traffic. As lanes merged, I would switch first and hold space while Tim made his move out of the diminishing lane. We travelled under the speed limit most of the way, and that was fine, since regular traffic could easily pass us on the multi-lane highway. We stopped almost every opportunity and at least every half hour, wherever there was a safe pull-over, to do a walk around, checking on the trailer and the boat. All was well and our confidence grew accordingly.
Several hours later, a little beyond our mid-point, I noticed that the occasional trailer weave I had observed along the way now turned into a distinctive wobble. Ariose – the boat with the musical name – seemed to be swaying to her music. The winds had picked up considerably, and must be nudging her around, I thought. Our next check was at a truck stop on the outskirts of North Bay. We parked the rig and everything seemed to be okay. Tim completed a walk around. He gave each axle a kick, in the traditional fashion and with the kind of nonchalance that a sailor would check the weather forecast on a string of sunny days. You can imagine his shock when the front axle moved a foot over from its original position! “I don’t think that is supposed to do that”, or a slightly more colourful version of those sentiments, escaped from Tim’s mouth. The U-bolts holding the axle to the trailer frame, no longer living up to their name, had become L-bolts! Thanks to a helpful trucker lending us his tools and a quick trip to the local Canadian Tire, moments before the store closed to get replacement bolts , we managed to sort out the problem. We took this opportunity to refuel our vehicles and our stomachs, and reflect on what we had just accomplished: detecting and taking care of the first problem we had encountered while travelling with Ariose! We were soon on our way again.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful, and uneventful is good. We towed Ariose to her new home, on the outskirts of my hometown of Haileybury. The Legros family generously allowed us to store her on their property. There was a great feeling of relief as Tim pulled that final distance up the gravel yard. Whew!! It had been a long journey, requiring constant attention to the road and the details of every other moving object, and the hyper-awareness of being prepared for anything to happen, not to mention the constant correction I needed to make to prevent the right-hand drive drift to the left. The rental truck and its precious cargo slowed to a stop. Tim stepped out and I could see the tension melt off him.
It was just a matter of pushing her into her new resting place, bow pointing southward. To her port, just beyond some fields and house roofs, glorious Lake Temiskaming beckoned. It’s a beautiful, deep, lake, straddling the claybelt agricultural lands and the rock and pine of the Canadian Shield. (We’ll share more about sailing this wonderful lake in later blog posts.) Lake Temiskaming just happens to be the headwaters of the Ottawa River which leads to the St Lawrence Seaway, a pathway to the rest of the world. That seems fitting. In a way, a great journey had already taken place, albeit at highway speeds, to bring Ariose to her new home. She now strengthened the vision of her two new co-captains’ dream. One day, we will be sailing away on another adventure and into another phase of our lives! We were on our way!
P.S. Keep an eye open in our favourite sailing magazine, Good Old Boat. Shirley’s reflections on how we acquired Ariose, and some of the drama we experienced our first few weekends aboard will be published in the January 2017 issue.