Contest Gallery test page

Contest Gallery test page



Brakspear Blog Update

It has been a while since I have posted anything. I must improve this.


During 2015 we had many things happening, which I neglected to post on the website. I will try to capture as many of these as I can.


We hauled the boat in the spring to service the hull. This includes inspection of the hull for damage and/or blisters in the fiberglass, changing the sacrificial anodes (Zincs) and painting the bottom with an anti-fouling paint to keep the marine growth from adhering to the boat.

Overall, the bottom was in good shape with no changes since the last haul out.

I spent quite a bit of time servicing the props and rudders to clean and remove the barnacles for them. Once complete, I painted them with a special paint that is supposed to keep the metal parts clean until the paint wears off. I heard mixed reviews on this type of paint but decided to use it anyway. If it works, GREAT, less work next haul out, if it does not work, then the growth and build up would be the same a not using it. No loss either way.

I did a video of us putting the boat back into the water. Please keep in mind, I did this for our (then) 5 year old grandson, so my comments and narration are directed towards him.  The videos might take a few minutes to load and play, please be patient.


Brakspear on the way back to the water Part 1 (5.23 minutes)

Brakspear on the way back to the water Part 2 (3.01 minutes)


Once we were back in the water, we returned to our slip and continued some maintenance work. Here is a short, (not complete) list of some of these tasks:

Wired in a new battery switch array. This replaced the original 1-2-ALL battery switch. The new array has manual disconnects to shut of each battery bank, It has an automatic charging switch that will allow the engines to charge any or all of the battery banks, starting with the engine batteries. Once they are up to sniff, the house bank receives a charge.

Added 2 new deep cycle batteries to the house battery bank. This should allow us to run our 12 VDC systems longer.

We have 3 separate battery banks, Starboard Engine Start Battery, Port Engine Start Battery and a house battery bank, consisting of 3 deep cycle batteries.



Cleaned and repaired the head (toilet). This type of toilet is a manual pumping unit that plugs up. Our issue was the valve that stopped back flow was leaking and allowed dirty water from the line to leak back into the bowl. Long story short, I had to replace the Joker Valve. I also replaced the pump plunger and barrel at the same time. This chore sounds bad, but overall, it went easy and was not too messy.


Cleaned the bilge. When we had the battery banks apart and the batteries out, I noticed quite a buildup of grunge under the battery mounts. I elected to clean this up. WOW, What a chore! For those of you with bilge cleaning experience, I am sure you will understand the scope of the project. For the rest of you, well, consider standing on your head in an area where your head does not quite fit, working with your arms over and around your head, all in a dark, not pleasant smelling place. Add to this the need to scrape, scrub and wash stuff you can’t see, only feel, and you get the start of the task. Overall time was about 8-10 hours, I took out about a 3 gal pail of sand, dirt and oily grunge. What a mess it was, now, it is pretty clean.


We added a Bimini top to the fly bridge. A Bimini in a box! Most Biminis are custom made to fit each boat. This is often quite expensive and the quotes we received were around $3-$4K. This is quite a lot of money to invest into a 30 year old boat. We did some shopping online and found a company in Quebec that sells a semi-custom Bimini. We gave them our measurements, chose the color and 4 weeks later, we had the top in front of us as we read the install instructions. We asked my Brother Erick to help us with the install and although it took us a bit of time, it went pretty smoothly. All in, our cost came just over $1100.00. A far cry from $3000.00.


There were lots of other small tasks that took time, but that is the joy of owning a boat (or Motor Home, RV, Cottage, etc.)


One of the more fun tasks was installing the downriggers. These units are electric and we mounted them on the railing around the Aft Deck. We use a stand-alone battery to operate them so we did not have to cut into the fiberglass. We wanted to test the location and ease of use, before we made any permanent changes. So far, the mounting seems good and the downriggers work fine. We even caught some fish with them! We are looking forward to more fish in the new season.




We did several club cruises to other marinas, we did a few cruises to some of the marine parks in the area, all were great and we really enjoyed our time.


We had some company throughout the summer, including our Daughter Zepporah and her husband Len, Shirley’s bother Dennis, and his wife Cheryl as well as Shirley’s Niece, her significant other and their children. We also had my Brother Erick, and some of his family as well as friends from Edmonton, Bill and Sue. Overall, it was a great summer.

I will stop this post here and hopefully be more diligent in the New Year with blog entries.


Feel free to send us an e-mail, using the contact us form on the website, we love to hear from others, old friends and new friends are all welcome.



MV Brakspear

Electronic Boat

We have been challenged with Internet access in the marina as the network is pretty flakey. This issue has been managed by bringing in SHAW OPEN to set up a network. After several weeks of installation, including at least 4 new mini towers, the network finally came online 2 days ago.


We were connected as soon as I powered up my iPad and iPhone. GREAT News! We can now receive e-mail as well as surf the internet.


This, of course is not enough for an old geek like me, so I added some components to create a boat network. Working with my brother Mike, we came up with a boat network that consists of a radio to connect to SHAW OPEN, then to a wireless router that connects all of our devices which include 2 computers, a WD Live TV box, and believe it or not, a VoIP phone.


Thanks to Mike’s expert guidance and support, everything installed smoothly and all on the first try! Things can not get easier than this! What a pleasure to set up and easy to use! Thanks Mike!


Now we can surf the net, check email, do all of our computer business, talk on the phone and watch Netflix, all at the same time.


We also set up our satellite TV dish and receiver on the aft deck. This allows us to have the same TV as we have on the farm. We can get all the channels we normally receive and have perfect reception. We can get our TV fix. (I am actually watching Star Gate SG-1 as I type this post)




Of course, this only works when we are in our slip, which is just fine, as when we are out, we have other things to do, such as drive the boat and see the sites. We also have a lot of movies stored for those long days on the “hook”


Isn’t life Great!



Installed the Inverter

I spent quite a bit of time to determine where and how I would install the power inverter.

I finally decided to install it in the main saloon just below the magazine rack at the helm. Unfortunately, it is very visible and not hidden away, but it is the best location for cooling and convenience to operate.



You can see the main power cables coming up through the floor, the positive one runs through an isolator switch, then to a 300 amp fuse before connection to the power inputs on the inverter.

I have to complete the battery bank yet and add 2-4 12vdc deep cycle batteries. This will have to wait until I complete the storage rack in the engine compartment.

Our intent is to power a 110vac freezer/fridge to enable us to store more food on board as well as freeze any fish/prawns we catch, We will also be able to run other 110vac appliances, like an ice machine and a blender for the margaritas…



Our first “Offical” cruise

Our first cruise

After several days working on the boat, primarily replacing the master switch, we decided to take a cruise to Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island.

Bedwell Route 1

The trip was uneventful and we missed all the rocks this time…

I was surprised at the amount of debris floating in the water. The tide movements tend to keep the debris moving in and out from shore. This is a lot different than my experience on fresh water lakes where debris works it’s way to shore and washes up. Here, the stuff takes a long time to get to shore and then it may not stay there when the tide shifts.

We have to keep a vigilant eye as we cruise along to ensure we do not run into any large objects.

Notice the picture below. As Bill said, if you see a line of birds seeming to sit on the water, chances are, there is a log under them.

100_2227 100_2229 100_2223 100_2228

Check the video out, I hope it comes through well.

Bedwell Harbour Cruise (MP4 4mb)

Link to Video (AVI 11MB)



We joined the SNSYC!

We decided to join the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club to help us out with our new adventures. The club host several cruises each year, both flotilla (hosted group tours) and informal cruises where members meet up at different destinations for activities.


Since we are new to cruising and have a new to us boat, we welcome the opportunity to cruise with a group that could help us out if we have trouble along the way.


The club also has a workshop that is free for members to use. The workshop has some large power tools such as a table saw, radial arm saw, drill press and a few other tools. There is a reasonable amount of workspace that will allow for larger projects. I look forward to using the workshop for my re-design of the main 12 VDC electrical panel. I can use the drill press to build the panel that holds the new switches.


The clubhouse has a restaurant, bar and meeting rooms and they host several events monthly. We have booked into a presentation on Jan 29th discussing cruising to Alaska in the off season. We are looking quite forward to it.


LA, Does this mean we can truly be called “pretentious”? (inside Joke)


So far, so good!




Birthday on the boat!

Well, we made it here for my birthday, Jan 18th, WHAT A GREAT PRESENT! Thanks Shirley!

It was a challenging drive on the Coq after a reasonably good drive from Edmonton through Calgary to Kamloops, we booked a motel and had a light supper, then crashed for the night.

The room was very warm and the air conditioning did not work at all. After a few hours of trying to sleep, we decided to hit the road once again.

I grabbed a tank of gas and off we went, leaving Kamloops at about 02:30 am. as we were leaving, a snow storm was moving in, it was quite a blizzard, with rain, ice, snow and slush all falling at the same time. The slush was the worst as it tried to move the van all over the road. It was so heavy that we had to accelerate going down hill as the slush held us back.

Those that have driven the Coq know that there are a lot of dangerous corners and high mountain roads. They will also tell you there are limited places to pull off the road or turn around. Even if I managed to turn around, I would have the same drive back to Kamloops. We decied to continue towards Hope and hang up there if it did not clear up.

It was challenging and quite an adventurous drive. A reasonably short drive to Hope, should have taken about 1 1/2 hours, ended up taking almost 3 1/2 hours.

Ever been excited to drive at 60km/hr? Well, it got real scary after 60…….whew!

After Hope, the drive was wet, but no longer icy or snow covered, just wet and dark.

We managed to catch the 09:00 ferry to Sidney and arrived at the boat shortly before 11:00 am.

Although it was pouring rain, the boat was dry and welcoming. We settled in and opened the boat, unloaded the gear and had supper.

The day ended early and we welcomed a great sleep!




We are Peter and Shirley Hinton, new to retirement and new to the cruising lifestyle.

We have been looking for an adventure to experience in our “Freedom” years and have chosen to buy a boat, cruise up and down the British Columbia coast around the Gulf Islands.

Our boat, Brakspear, is a new to us home on the water with all the features we want and need and she will become our vessel for change.

Join us as we try to blog and share our experiences, adventures and our challenges as we continue our adventure!

Brakspear Pictures


Here are some pictures that friends have requested



At the Dock



Main Saloon






Head, Complete with separate shower



Aft Cabin, 2 double beds




Vee Berth, 2 twin sized beds




Main Helm, complete with Chart Plotter (GPS, Depth/Fish finder)







Jan 25, 2015

We are planning on attending the Seattle Boat show from Jan 25 to Jan 29th. Bill and I went last year, before our annual guys-only ski-week and we really enjoyed the event. This was of course, BEFORE Shirley and I purchased Brakspear.

This year, I expect we will be looking at different things, mostly in the vendor area. Here are some pictures from the Seattle Boat Show website. Seattle Boat Show