Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sailing Holiday!

An auspicious start

A little prequel to the South Shore the weekend before our sailing holiday seemed like a good idea, so the last weekend in July we headed over to Wilson New York for an overnite. 

Mostly a motorsail, because we were eager to reach our destination before the coming storm.  Just made it, the wind and rain bringing us to dock at Tuscarora. The cooling effects of the rain didn’t last very long. Soon we were sweltering in the shade at Wilson Yacht Club, chatting with Mike and Kaarina and borrowing their ice hats to keep cool. Air conditioning at the Sunset Grill brought our core temperatures back to normal, the fish tacos and Bloody Caesars an added bonus. 

Heading out the next morning, the engine refused to start. The grinding noise the last time we started the engine may have been a clue. Or the horrible smell once we turned the motor off, reminiscent of stale cigarettes in beer bottles.  We figured the odour was a neighbouring boat, but in hindsight it was our starter.

M&K  had already headed for home, but luckily for us, returned to help us out of the Wilson Harbour and actually ended up towing us home. Ten hours across the lake, 3.5 knots.  We stopped for a swim and played our ukuleles along the way, and ended up tasting a few martinis at BPYC, with Yondering tied to the visitors dock.

Our time off work and planned cruising was to start in only 6 nights. Thankfully, the mechanic was available and the right parts found and installed.

… And we’re off on our ‘official’ holiday
Toronto to Cobourg – Day One

Starter fixed, engine running.  We provisioned the boat under the Blue Moon that actually appeared pink in the sky. Big and beautiful rising.

Ready to go, and out the gap. Let out the sails. The furling on the head sail seemed a bit sticky, so we tried bringing it in but it stuck. Tried again, and then again, and it furled closed. So we’re off to Cobourg.

Met Lyn and Mike at the docks and enjoyed a nice Italian meal. 

Around 10:30 pm, fireworks surprised us in the sky. We sat in the cockpit on Yondering and thought the timing couldn’t have been better planned.

Mast crane needed
Cobourg to Trenton – Day Two

The next morning, Rob fiddled a bit with the headsail. This time the jib wasn’t furling despite coaxing, so it was a manual roll and tie. No mast crane at Cobourg, so we figured we’d wrap the jib tight and head to CFB Trenton where we could rent one for a closer look - and hopefully fix - the problem.

The forecast scrawled in the board at the yacht club promised flat water, manageable winds at 10 knots, with chance of a thunderstorm in the evening. We motored away, trusting we would beat the storm.

Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening me. 
Mama mia! Mama mia!  Figaro
Day Two
We were literally just outside of CFB Trenton when all hell broke loose. The skies darkened and the wind picked up, blasting into the folds of the tied headsail and puffing the upper third like a big balloon, pushing us in a whole different direction. Lightning  was striking the hills in front of us and Yondering was heeled right over. Can keel boats tip right over? I thought we were about to find out.

I wondered whether I should go up on deck and try to tie the jib but another lightning strike kept me by the hold. Winds came up even stronger and I realized this was one of those moments when you are powerless to influence the outcome. Surrender to the moment and hope for the best. I was hearing parts of the Bohemian Rhapsody play. Scaramouche, Scaramouche will you do the Fandango?  It was surreal and exhilarating.

That's when the sail started to shred itself, tearing  a little and then a lot more. Probably the best thing that could have happened, because Yondering recovered enough for Rob to steer us into the club with the dock master catching us at the slip. When we were secured on shore, my legs and arms felt like I’d run a marathon. Adrenalin!

We still weren’t able to tie the jib, and the sail kept slapping and shredding all night. I felt I was in a tin can that was shaking back and forth, wondering if the wind was strong enough to pull down the mast. At the worst of the storm, we got out of the boat and headed to the clubhouse to watch lightning strikes on the horizon.

The mast stayed in place and in the early morning Rob was able to wind the remains of the jib back into place.

A Day at the Docks
Trenton – Days 2 and 3

We wandered down to the Galley in the Barracks for breakfast and Rob figured he would head back to Toronto and pick up the replacement sail in our basement via car rental. I opted to hang out on the boat and enjoy the scenery. I ended up reading, nodding off, reading, nodding off.

A thoroughly enjoyable day to catch up on reading and sleeping. 

We haven’t been to CFB Trenton Yacht club in years and I was happy to spend a second, much calmer night, enjoying the view. A wonderful spot on the Bay of Quinte.

Sandy Cove
Day 4

Having spent so much time at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club last year, we motored right past.

Motored because although conditions were great, the new sail  didn’t quite work on the furling, or vice versa. We chose not to tempt fate and motored straight to Sandy Cove. Just three hours later we dropped our hook, the only boats there. By nightfall, there were nine.

More rain, and distant thunder. And one of the most impressive rainbows I've ever seen, glowing from one end to the other. Tall, perfect arches over the water, so massive we couldn't get the whole thing in one photo.

Prince Edward Yacht Club
Day 5

After about 5.5 hours motoring we nipped into the last available slip here, sitting in the cockpit to wait out a light summer rain.

Then a walk into Picton to replenish supplies. 

Picked up some MacFuddy Pepper Elixer, "infused with luck."  Tasty soda!

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