Posts from the ‘sailing’ Category

cruising Lake Ontario 2012

Soon we will be off on a 2 plus week cruise of Lake Ontario on our sailboat Watercolors. Just trying to batten down the hatches here at home before we hoist sail. Our salty dog Ernie is sitting this trip out at the Greece Stone Ridge Tal Mahal pet center. He will soon be 11 and he says he’d be just as happy snoozing stateside and passing up the anxiety ridden crossing of the lake.

Today I have been cleaning and stowing the birdbath, cleaning and emptying the fountain, and making sure that most of the gardens are watered well one last time for who knows how long.

The pie garden and the oval bed in the front yard will be receiving timed watering but the rest of the plants on this sandbar are gonna be relying on mother-nature for rain. So far this summer she’s been really stingy.

I’ll try to post updates as we visit some of our favorite haunts around the lake.Image


Back from vacation

We went cruising again this summer on Lake Ontario. We decided to follow the wind this year and sail the line of least resistance and most under sail time. The ten days turned out to be mostly motor sailing due to rough seas or little wind. And in fact we headed home early with reports of sweltering temps and little or no wind. We did most of our sailing between  CFB Trenton Yacht Club and Bay of Quinte Yacht Club.  Going east we patiently traveled at 2.5-3.5 knots.  Returning we tacked all 9 miles.  Neither trip had any frets or worries.  We were just traveling under sail.

At each of the two yacht clubs they have a very active junior sailors learning to sail program. CFB Trenton Yacht Club also hosts a program for the physically challenged of any age to learn to sail.  The young people who conduct the programs are impressive.  They have loads of patience and upbeat attitudes. Here’s a kid on his 2nd day of sailing finally coming into shore.

end of day 2

After they’ve been out on the course sailing there’s a shuffle to get each boat secured and then a chance to cool off before lunch.

securing the rig

cooling off at BOQYC

Leap into summer

Docked at BOQYC

At first we were planning to head east thru the Bay of Quinte but as time passed we began to hear forecasts of thunderstorms further east and decided that we had gone there done that last year; so we went west thru the Murray Canal and Presqu’lle Bay to Coburg. The trip after going thru the bay was excellent. It was our third opportunity to actually SAIL.  Coburg offers lots of opportunities for meals off ship, so we had lunch at Oasis. Had cold cucumber and strawberry soup with a pizzerella. Yummy. Returning to the slip we met up with the crew of Marimba. It seems we were playing tag thru the Bay of Quinte with no notion of each other’s whereabouts.

Both Marimba and Watercolors left Canada the next day.  We ended up going toward Brockport while Whitey went direct  Rochester.  NO joy, no wind That day nor on the following day for Watercolors returning to Roc cha cha.





spring review

The summer solstice is a couple of days away so I kinda want to review the hits and misses (mostly the misses) of the past few weeks. The biggest disappointment is the pie wedge that I chose for seeding veggies into. I put in harrier beets,(twice)  sugar snap peas, a lettuce blend, arugula, onions sets, a radish blend (twice), and swiss chard (twice). The only harvest has been the green onions and the lettuce. The rest? FAIL.  Even the reliable dill self-seeded everyplace else in the garden except that wedge.  Now that I think of it, there were few weeds even.

Meanwhile  seeds I planted in other wedges are doing OK.  There are basil varieties, cilantro, cukes and amaranth. The amaranth is slow but may yet produce a show. I ended up pulling out all the losers from that original veggie bed and planted Kentucky Wonders, Scarlet Runners  and bush beans. I guess I’m not really ready to blame the garden bed.  I suspect instead the deluge of May rains had more impact on this years crop.

The front yard is always kind of a mess between mid May to Mid June while the early daffs and grape hyacinths drop their blossoms and I wait for the leaves to decay to the point where they can be easily pulled out. I know I should just plant day lilies among them to hide the browning bulb leaves but I don’t like the lilies well enough to give them a spot in the front garden.

zinnia profusion

This year I ended up going to a local nursery on the 16th of June (I rarely ever shop plants this late) and found the bargain of the century.  They had marked down their annuals AND were selling all of them buy one get one free. OMG.  I bought Zinnia profusion in three different color lines.  They were $2.49 for six-inch pots with 2 plants each AND another of the same value for free.  Plus the plants are healthy and gorgeous and way bigger than plastic flats seen in the big box stores. I put the zinnia in the front yard oval bed and plan to go back to the market for more.

One more problem.  There is a groundhog living under our shed.  I’ve seen him twice and I suspect him of digging out all of my beets last summer.  So far I haven’t seen any damage except when I spotted him yesterday munching down on the Baptisia.  Maybe Ernie is a fairly good deterrent. His favorite thing to do is to have a barkfest with the neighbor dogs to our west just five feet from the entrance to the woodchuck’s  path to underneath the shed.

groundhog damaged canna

All of this soap opera is happening around our preliminary plans to cruise on watercolors this summer. I don’t think I mentioned our Sunday cruise in the fog just beyond the Genesee River inlet.  The fog closed down on us when we about three-quarters of a mile beyond the pier and we had to use the GPS to navigate back to the river. Today we went out again in rather hazy conditions and were able to sail out to the 200ft depth mark before we tacked to return to our slip.  Of course the wind died.  While we attempted to take in the sails the furler on the genny balked and we ended up pulling it down instead of in to get back home.  It took 2 hours to batten down everything at the dock..

garlic with curly scape

Back to the garden—-last night we went out for dinner at a local restaurant and each ordered a pasta dish with chicken, brocoli, black olives and mozzarella cheese. There was lots of it and it was exceeding bland. We brought home two large plates of it as a doggie bag. So after our afternoon on the boat I decided to doctor up the pasta dish for supper. I gathered garlic and onion scapes plus snips of rosemary from the garden  and sautéed them with minced jalapeno peppers. Then I heated the pasta dish, added  the veggies and herbs from home plus a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil and red wine vinegar and topped it all with parmesan cheese.——not fail—-excellent in fact.  Sometimes it’s all in the herbs and spices.

our lady of Guadeloupe rose with Roseanne perennial geranium

Tuscan Sun

Unknown from GYC cutting

Sedum, hens and chicks


The Sailing season has officially begun

We just had a four-day holiday weekend to celebrate an early start (for us) to this year on the boat.  Friday was nasty cold and wet but Saturday started out pretty good so we headed on out to the dock for our first cruise.

After we neatened up the boat we went out on the lake in fairly light breezes, put the sails up without a hitch and went for a short sail.  It was rather foggy and chilly so we didn’t stay out long.

Then Sunday we took Jay and Karen and Steven and Vince and Bryan Jones with us to participate in the GYC s Fleet review. After the parade of boats we motored back out to do a little sailing but by the time we got there the wind had petered out:(

We plan to do a little racing this year to make up for the fact that we’ll not be cruising  much because of Ken’s job. There won’t be many chances to anchor out like we did in 2005.

ON the hook in the St. Lawrence September 2005

First a bulletin

at anchor in the st Lawrence 2005

It’s true—Watercolors has been launched for the season.  It’s been touch and go this spring due to the unrelenting rain and chill.  However Ken has been able to prepare the boat for launch and today the marina had a chance to splash Watercolors for the  2011 season.  There is lots more to do to prepare for the first sail.  Maybe we should put the sails on the boat–Duh– and stock the galley with the essentials.

Meanwhile back at the garden: a first —–Harvest!  I needed an herb to sprinkle  on my mashed potatoes. So out I went to the garden to harvest the first herb of the season chives  Sweet.



smashed potatoes ready to go.



there ought to be a law


Watercolors in Toronto

Here we go again—-cold, wet, and windy weather just when we need a break from mother nature in order to get the boat launched this spring.  April has been unrelentingly chill and blustery.  This has not been ideal conditions to clean the bottom, paint it with anti fouling paint and in addition clean the hull and apply the poly glow that protects the gel coat.  So——we need these laws to insure a smooth ‘sail’ from land to water.
Since KP is back in the work force there should be at least 2 consecutive weekends with temps in the 50’s -60’s with no wind in order to ge t the paint and poly glow applied.
There should be no need to mow the grass until after the boat is launched.
All home or work projects must be delayed until after Water Colors is at the dock.
Why are there so many overlapping “must do’s” in April and May? It really doesn’t seem to matter whether we are retired or gainfully employed.  We are always behind the power curve.

cruise redux Wolfe Island wind turbines

This was our view of Wolfe Island from the south and west as we approached Kingston on our recent cruise.  It would be interesting to read the sentiments of the surrounding population to their new visual panoramas. Completed in 2009 there are 86 wind turbines on the island.

cruising addendum

There are two issues I didn’t explore during our cruise.  The first is keeping fresh veggies fresh in an icebox.  Over the past 10 years or so I have yet to find a way to keep fresh lettuce or scallions or celery or fruit viable over more than 2 days of cruising. The axillary is that during a time of abundance ashore we are saddled with canned veggies.  What a bummer. So if anyone has some hints please post.  Tonight on our second evening meal here at home we had an all veggie meal to catch up with the bounty available.

The other issue is about females at the helm. Since we began sailing I’ve been plagued with various and sundry orthopedic problems that makes it difficult if not impossible for me to go forward on the boat to handle lines or raise the mainsail.

So Ken and I have reversed roles a bit.  I am at the helm coming in or going out of port;  and coming into a slip backward and forward. Meanwhile he handles the lines, sets the sails and places the fenders.  We have worked on my skills at backing the boat in or out of the slip and  being helmsperson while Ken deals with the tasks forward.

Thank goodness for this.  Otherwise we would have had to stop sailing altogether long ago.. So for those who would judge Ken as caving to whatever they believe is  whipped….PHFFT!!!!

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.