Saturday, August 24, 2002

Log 01 - Moving & Predeparture Preparations

Hi there. We are  Chris and Sheila Richards.  In mid-1997, we mused over a very simple goal: "Sail away, April 2002". And we did it! Welcome to our blog.


Late May 2002, Sheila packing up the house.
Prior to departure, we lived in Calgary, Alberta, located on the eastern foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I spent 12 years as a natural gas marketer and prior to that I was a land surveyor. I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree (marketing) from the University of Calgary and a technical diploma (honors) in Survey Engineering from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Since the birth of our first son, Joel in 1994, Sheila has kept our home and done a wonderful job raising our two sons. She too has a technical diploma (honors) in Survey Engineering from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and worked in that industry prior to kids. Our second son Gerrit was born in 1996.

Joel and Gerrit are both fantastic and outgoing boys who are very enthusiastic about the trip. On boat, they are home-schooled, though (as Sheila is fond of saying) we don't intend to let school interfere with their education. Prior to our trip, both Joel and Gerrit attended a French immersion elementary school, École St. Luke.

In September 1999, at the age of 3, our youngest son Gerrit was diagnosed with Type-1 (juvenile) diabetes: he is insulin dependent.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 Moving Date has arrived.

Why are we going sailing for 5 years?

There were a number of reasons why we chose to go on a multi-year sailing trip. First, there was the lure of adventure. In the mid-80s, Sheila and I had toured Europe for almost a year in a VW campervan and still vividly remember those good times as if they had happened yesterday. Second, we love camping and exploring and kids have only added to the experience. In the years leading up to our departure we often camped out 30 to 40 nights a year. Finally, there's more to life then getting up, going to work, coming home to your family dead tired, and repeating that day after day. Before the kids become teenagers, we want to spend prime time as a family and to give our kids life skills and experiences they will never forget.

Monday, June 3, 2002

We cram our earthly possessions into a crawl space 10' x 15' by 30", we still needed a 2nd U-haul to get our remaining items out to the west coast, where we keep our sailboat



Tuesday, June 4th, 2002

After an all-night drive from Alberta to Vancouver Island we arrive at Tioga, our 1979 Fast Passage 39 and our home for the next 5 years, if all goes according to plan!



Time to unpack - Yikes was all this stuff really necessary?

June & July 2002

A tremendous amount of work is involved in getting a sailboat and your affairs ready for cruising and off-shore passage making. Here Chris is working on a wind-activated automatic steering system (a CapeHorn Windvane).


Chris installing our wind steering.

The boys adjust well to their new life on the water.


Joel and Gerrit like to swing in the rigging.

July 2002

In between all the preparations, we still managed to get a weekend off here and there. This is a beautiful Gulf Islands' sunset.



Wednesday July 3rd, 2002


John G. with backup insulin pump.
We had a number of visitors over the summer, including John G. from Auto Control Medical and his family, who dropped by to deliver a back-up insulin pump for Gerrit and peace-of-mind for our family.

















August 2002

Pretty much ready to go. We are exhausted. We are told you if you wait until your boat is completely ready to go, you'll never go anywhere. Next, up to Barkley Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island, from where we will depart for San Francisco on August 24th or so.


Tioga, ready to go
S/V TIOGA...our beautiful boat and home. She is a sturdy ocean going vessel we feel confident putting our trust in.

In Log 2 we take the jump off Vancouver Island and head south after months of preparation.