Archive for July, 2010

Day 14 End of the cruise

Yesterday we did something we’ve never attempted before. We sailed directly home from the eastern Canadian shore.  It seemed like the best decision we could make in light of the fact that there appeared to be only an hour and a half difference between sailing to Rochester and sailing to Sodus Bay.  However, this morning I rechecked the chart and saw that there is a  3 hours difference between the two. AND the total time from Collins Bay is 15 hrs. at 5 knots/hr. So I guess we were lucky to make it in only 14 hr.  Coming into the river at 10pm is no picnic either.  We never sail at night so really didn’t know what the moonscape would look like.

We were so tired that we spent last night aboard Water Colors and got up  fresh to disembark completely even to the point of sweeping up and washing the galley floor. (Sounds impressive, right?  The galley floor is 2 X 3 and I wiped it down with a paper towel.) Ken will go back to wash down the outside of the boat and then we’ll be ready for our next cruise.

This trip was remarkable in many respects. First and foremost was the weather and the sailing. Except for the last sail to Rochester we did way more sailing than motoring.  The weather was so nice that neither of us wore anything other than shorts and a tee-shirt.  But by far THE most distinguishing feature of this cruise WAS that there were NO ‘FLY’ DAYS!!!!!!!! Where were those maddening pests?  I don’t know and I don’t care.  May every sail be blessed with their absence. Next up is a club weekend cruise to the East I think.  Until then ‘Fair winds and calm seas’.

Reversing directions

We talked it up and down and out- i.e. how to proceed from Belleville.  Going west our choices are limited to long hauls from the Bay of Quinte out into Lake Ontario proper and home; or west along the Canadian shore to Cobourg and THEN the long trip home. To do either requires making a decision with no way of observing the lake conditions until after we are committed.

SO we opted to turn around and retrace our steps.  We’ll spend a little more time on the water all the while hoping for an uneventful sail home.  Tuesday was the trip from Belleville to Picton. The winds were light until we were in sight of the cement plant just outside Picton Harbor.  Then they whipped up to 22 knots on the nose………Sailors start your engines………

Wednesday, yesterday, we went along Adolphus Reach planning to turn south at the Upper Gap and run on into Wapoos around Creesy Point.

Brother!  When we hit that gap there were winds 12-20 knots  and waves 3-4 ft. both on the nose………..No thank you……We turned our wimpy selves around and continued our downwind  run to Collins Bay.  Which, by the way,  was great !!!! We hit an all time speed record for Water Colors, sliding along the crest of a wave at 8.5 knots!

We no sooner got settled here in Collins Bay and a huge thunderstorm passed through. Thank goodness we were tied snuggly up to this dock eating our wimpy burgers.

The rough seas will continue out on the lake today so we’ll layover here and head back to the states tomorrow.

cruise 2010 days 9 and 10

Sunday we made the trip from Picton to Belleville along Long Reach, around  Foresters Island, down Telegraph Narrows, into Big Bay and on into Belleville. This leg of our trip is another of our favs.  This year was no exception. We sailed from the get go. Long Reach is a tacking frenzy. going around the island we just have to make sure we don’t end up stuck in the weeds. Sunday I ended up sailing Water Colors through the Narrows single-handed while Ken made an emergency repair to a hose in the bilge.

On Monday we took the time to do some housekeeping type chores. I scrubbed the floors and mopped the cockpit, we did laundry, reprovisioned, and had dinner out to celebrate my birthday.  Up next-reversing direction.

2010 cruise day 8 Bath to Picton

The sailing in the Bay of Quinte is usually superb. The winds are brisk and waves nearly nonexistent.  This is by far our favorite sailing grounds.

We set off from Bath to Picton along Aldolfus Reach with the winds ‘on our nose’ (blowing right straight toward us.) This is not usually a problem because we can sail a zigzag pattern and still get to where we are going……..

except when the wind blows so hard that it will take us forever to reach our destination.  Can you guess?  Of course we started  the engine. We had plenty of excuses.  We were tired, we wanted to get where we were going before dark and others snagged the docks we wanted.  So we were delivering the boat…but then again the boat was delivering us.

cruise 2010 Delivering the boat?

We took sailing lessons at  Annapolis Sailing School in Tampa Bay after we bought our first boat.  We had a couple of different instructors and one of them was quite emphatic about not falling into habit of just ‘delivering the boat’.

Over the years we’ve pondered about what the heck that means.  We wonder how we can cruise without delivering this boat.  Isn’t that what cruising is all about?  We choose a destination, figure out how the heck to get there and set off.

For the most part we tend to sail rather than motor when we travel.  But there are plenty of times when the winds are nonexistent or from the wrong direction.  It’s then that we douse the sails, start the motor and continue on our way. Do we like to do that?  Please–we motor at  5-6  knots per hour. The noise from the engine cancels out all the sounds of the wind in the sails, the water rushing by and the waves slapping the hull.

Believe me there is no greater pleasure than turning off that motor and hearing the sweet sound of the water  moving along the hull of the boat.  It may be two knots or seven knots–it’s just wonderful!

What do other sailors do?  Do they even think about this question? I wish I knew.

On to Canada

We left the USA today for the Canadian Shore of Lake Ontario.  It was to be the longest leg of our cruise so far. I truly love to make our way across this expanse of the lake.  The winds are usually brisk and unfortunately the waves can knock us on our butts. Today we encountered both the good and bad.

It took us almost 2 hours to get out of Chaumont Bay. The winds were very flukey and early in the day we tend to have more patience with just ghosting along the shore and soaking up the peace and beauty. As I say that lasted about 2 hrs.  Then as we turned to cross the upper reaches of the lake,  the wind and waves conspired against us; so we started the ‘iron genny’ (the engine) and began to make our way toward Kingston, Ont. It was the same roly ride we’ve had for most of this trip and Ernie was miserable. However, within an hour the wind shifted and we were able to sail  in a direction that was more smooth. So we shut engine down.

From then on we could sail to our heart’s content…..except….we had to dodge the shoals in that particular section of the lake and still hold to our course of sail.  Actually this is the part I love the best.  It’s like trying to figure out a giant puzzle. we look at the surrounding lake and consult the charts.  Ken tends to rely on the GPS but it doesn’t give the full picture. I must have been up and down the companion-way 2 dozen times looking at the chart. And we had  heated ‘discussions’ about what was the best path to follow.  Luckily the sailing itself was spectacular so we could indulge in some fun bickering.

And so we are here at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor. I can finally step off the boat independently.  Ken reports that a walk will take us on an interesting path through a fenced park and a covered walkway to observe the harbor in all its glory…….Tomorrow…for sure.

Cruise 2010 day 5

We decided on a short hop over to Chaumont Bay and Crescent Yacht Club.  this club is perported to be one of the oldest in the USA. The trip over took us about 4 hours. We sailed with just the  foresail. the winds were steady out of the south and at our backs at 12-15 knots the entire trip.  So too were those pesky waves. We had to steer a very steady course in order not to roll around too much.

Once here the winds continued and picked up velocity and dark clouds built up to our north and west and then within a minute the winds ceased and it began to rain. Eventually it turned into a regular summer thunder storm and lasted a couple of hours. then as quickly as the south winds had died they returned. ………

So that’s what we sailors do. We watch the weather.  We read the land weather predictions and listen to NOOA for marine forecasts.  It is NOT any fun at all to get caught on the lake in a storm!  However it’s not enough to rely on all the predictions or even rely on what’s happening in your own backyard.  The only way to know is to go….and if its too gnarly, return to the dock.

We are off to Kingston tomorrow and hope to try out a different marina called Portsmouth Olympic Harbor. It’s kind of on the outskirts of Kingston proper and if we really want to spend any time in the city we can take a taxi.  Here’s hoping too that CORC regatta races aren’t going on this week.

finally we’ll be in Canada.


We took a break yesterday and stayed an extra day at Henderson Harbor Yacht Club. The spot is truly tranquil. Most of the private land seems to be vacation homes and maybe some parks.  The club itself is well maintained and members are welcoming. Tuesday evening there is a potluck dinner that visitors are invited to attend.

Most of morning Ken worked on various electrical problems he wanted to update, change or fix. I worked a bit in the galley getting the ice-melt out of the fridge. Then I caught up on some of that reading.

Our original dock here was such that the first step off was way too high for me to negotiate. So I was stuck on-board the boat most of the morning. We finally moved over to their fixed dock  so I could stroll around.

So what to do? It’s always a pleasure to watch the junior sailors at yacht clubs around the lake.  The kids have such confidence in their skills. Even the youngest in the Optis can handle some complicated maneuvers single-handedly. Two of my grandsons gave lessons a try but decided fairly quickly that sailing was not for them. Darn, we were counting on them for crew!

So tomorrow (Wednesday) we continue on our journey; destination yet to be determined.

Day three 2010 cruise

Today we turned north from the south shore of Lake Ontario and made our way to the great sailing waters around Henderson and Sachets Harbors.  Sailing here is usually a challenge and best approached from the south and proceeding counter-clockwise along the east and northern shores to a port from which to sail the last stretch home to Rochester.

I’ll admit that sailing the open waters of Lake Ontario can range from tedious to exhilarating to terrifying. The tedium can be relieved by noting the minutest details along the way.  Yesterday our sail from Sodus Bay to Oswego was relieved by spotting some of the 200 vessels competing in the Lake Ontario 300 race.

These racing enthusiasts sail from Port Credit Yacht Club west of Toronto to Oswego at the east end of the lake and back again. We probably encountered 2-3 dozen of these guys sloughing their way on the upwind leg in 3-5 foot seas. Many of them would have arrived in the mid morning of day 2.  Some did not finish at all.  Even though we were in the same waters, we were headed in the opposite direction and supported by canvas over our heads and the option of firing up the engine if things got too rough.

Back to today’s sail.  It’s a Monday, so not much happening on this weekday particularly after the two rough days at sea over the weekend. So sailing along far from land we had little to relieve the tedium except spotting other boaters doing whatever.  There are fishermen off the shore of 9 mile point nuclear power plant, a couple of power boaters boot scooting along toward Canadian waters and a yellow rubber ducky lost at sea. (Too bad we don’t have a net to get that thing yet). Plus we have the ever-changing seascape; from flat waters,to rain speckled, to chaotic wave action and back again.  It may seem like tedium to others but truth is it’s the majesty of the lake that keeps us returning again and again.

cruising Lake Ontario Days 1 and 2

we are two days into our annual cruise around Lake Ontario. this year we elected to sail to the east end of the lake and then north to the Canadian shore. We’ll visit some old haunts and maybe some new Yacht clubs and marinas along the way.

So the last two days have been fairly easy sailing with  rolling waves on our port quarter and decent winds.  However today those waves were 3-5 footers and we needed to head in a direction that them breaking under us as we slipped down in the troughs.

poor Ernie was a mess. He gets seasick and panicky at the same time. He literally spent nearly four hours panting and shivering. I gave him Benadryl with some lunch meat and that stabilized him for a while but then a wave sent a shower over our port beam and he was off again-panting and shaking and shivering to beat the band.

Last night we docked at Sodus Bay Yacht Club. This berth is notorious far and wide across the lake for a rock and roll experience dockside.  the boat bobs up and down and side to side.  meanwhile the floating docks bob side to side and up and down. all this movement is rarely coordinated and its easy to be seasick on the dock.  The upside is that it’s a free nite due to reciprocal agreements between yacht clubs.  SBYC has made several improvements to their club grounds and junior sailing facilities since we last visited and the effect is delightful.  Now if only they would install a breakwall to lessen the chop dockside. 

Tonight and perhaps tomorrow night we’ll stay here at Oswego International Marina.  all sailing plans depend on the weather and increasingly on whether Ken and I need respite before we continue on our way.