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Boundless Atlantic Crossing

Boundless Atlantic Crossing 2018/2019

The voyage begins with a pleasent sail from Whitby to Coburg. My son Alex and his friend Liam Dalquen join me as well as my friend Doug Grey. Once the four of us arrive in Coburg Ann joins me and, Alex Liam and Doug head back to Toronto. It’s now up to Ann and I to get Boundless as far east as we can while on “vacation”.

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Coburg Marina
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To begin this story at the beginning I have to take you back to the late May of this year. Myself, Marty Cameron, my cousin Neil Hetherington, and my friend Alan Dalquen are ready to cross the Atlantic aboard Boundless my 38 foot Aluminium cutter. We are to depart St. John's Newfoundland for the Azores and then on to Portugal. The first step is to move the boat from Whitby to St. Johns and for this portion of the journey the crew consists of myself, my son Alexander and my Father Gordon. There is much excitement as we prepare to leave but our adventure ends no sooner then it has started when about 200 yards outside of Whitby harbour the engine seizes and we are towed rather ignominiously back to Whitby marina.

Three generations of sailors about to head east for St. John's. From l to r: Alexander, Geoffrey and Gordon Fairbank

The engine, and I later find out, the transmission as well, is damaged. During the winter they had both been rebuilt but when they were reinstalled the lines to the oil cooler had been reversed. Engine oil is being pumped from the engine into the transmission and visa versa. Needless to say this doesn't work very well and results in the engine seizure.

The engine is pulled and repaired within a week (I didn't realize that the transmission was a problem at this point) but when I take the boat out for a sea trial with the mechanic the transmission gives up the ghost: no forward no reverse.

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The motor coming out for the second time

Yet another tow back to the marina. What I'm now referring to as the “engine hokey pokey” is on it's third in and out, and it's the transmission's turn to to be pulled out. Another week passes and the rebuilt transmission is installed. This time everything works but we are behind schedule and I'm not 100% confident in the boat given the recent mechanical issues. The decision is made to defer the crossing for another year.

Fast forward to September. A plan is formed to move Boundless closer to the Atlantic in preparation for her ocean crossing in June of 2019. It will be a shakedown cruise and the crew will get a chance to put the boat through its paces.

My crewmates are optimistically planning on a two week passage to Halifax. My guesstimate is closer to a month. But it all starts with Ann and I taking a “vacation” to the Thousand Islands. I put as positive a spin on this as I can: “It will be less crowded”, “the fall colours will be lovely”, “there will be wind”. For those of you who don't know my wife, Ann McCrorie, is an experienced sailor; she just rolls her eyes, as I'm telling her all this as she knows full well that we will have to make tracks if there is any hope of getting to Halifax by the end of October.

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