Whitby, Cobourg, Belleville, Ram Island, Kingston, Ontario, June 6 – 10, 2011
I spent the evening at Port Whitby typing up the last Trip Log, then was up about 6:30am for a shower and quick departure. While preparing Kelly for her next leg, a neighbor stopped by to admire the Portland Pudgy and we chatted a bit. It turns out he has plans to sail his 36 footer to Portugal in a few years. He helped me with my lines as I pulled away from the dock and I told him I'd be interested in crewing to Portugal with him. I hope he emails me, as I didn't get his name or info.
Tuesday was much clearer, but still only a light tickle of breeze, not enough to push Kelly IV without the aid of the motor. I did raise the mainsail as there was a regular swell pushing through the otherwise calm waters of Lake Ontario. The mainsail sometimes provides a little extra lift or drive, reducing the fuel consumption, or other times it just keeps the boat from rocking as much as it might without the sail raised. Tuesday's light wind was mostly from the south, so the mainsail provided both drive and stability. For an hour in the early afternoon the breeze picked up to about 7 knots and we were able to sail with full main and jib at over 4 and a half knots! It was great while it lasted, but the breeze disappeared and we were soon back to motorsailing with the main.
I also learned from my brief talk with my neighbor headed to Portugal that I could tie up for free along the Cobourg seawall, so that's what I did. The pier was a good 6-7 feet above the water, which meant that my cabin-top was still a couple feet below the pier. It was a big step up/down when leaving /boarding, but hey! It was free! :-) Being tied up also made it simple for me to go to the local grocery and pick up some cereal bars for a quick breakfast. I find I like getting away as soon as I can in the morning and eating my breakfast while underway. The cereal bars make that very easy to do.
Planning my waypoints and route for the next day is an important activity. Currently, this involves a number of relatively easy, but somewhat tedious tasks, including checking the weather, reviewing the paper charts (easier to see the overall course vs the eCharts), loading new waypoints on the chartplotter, copying the waypoints to the computer, connecting the waypoints into a route (or routes, if I need options), copying the route(s) back to the chartplotter, then copying waypoints and routes to the handheld GPS's for backup to the chartplotter. It is necessary to do all this because the Garmin software I currently own is unable to load the charts, while the chartplotter seems unable to create routes (this may be user-error). I need to buy a different planning software from Garmin (TripManager) that should be able to use my charts. If that works, then I'll be able to do all my planning (I'll still use the paper charts for the overall view) on the laptop, then just copy it all once when I'm done. Once I spend a couple days in port with a fast WiFi, then I'll download the software and make the switch.
The course to Belleville, Ontario included half the trip through tight channels surrounded by rocks or shoals so I made an early start to enable the piloting to be done in the clearest weather. The wind was forecast to pick up so I had hopes of sailing, but it didn't work out. In the morning, while I was in the open lake between Cobourg and Presqu'ile, the breeze was too light to move Kelly along. The wind increased to 10-15 knots when I got to Presqu'ile, but that is where the tight channels began. I felt it was safer to negotiate the twists and turns, especially through the Presqu'ile Bay shallows and the tight confines of the Murray Canal.
The Murray Canal was a very interesting step along the way. I entered from the southwest with the breeze behind me. Even at slow idle, Kelly IV was making 3 and a half knots. It was easy to make 5.5 knots with little fuel. The canal seemed only a few boat lengths wide, so it was important for me to stay focused on the wheel. If I let my attention wander for even a few seconds, I'd find myself headed into the sides of the skinny canal. There are no locks on this canal, but two swing bridges. The bridge tenders are very skilled and had me maintain my speed as I approached their bridges. When it seemed like I was certain to plow into the unmoving bridge, it would swing smoothly out of the way, blocking traffic for well under a minute as I passed through, then the tender immediately closed it again. The toll ($4.90) for the canal was collected at the southeastern corner of the southwestern bridge by the tender. He had a telescoping pole with a brass cup on the end of it. He extended it to me as I passed by and I dropped in the appropriate coins. All communication was via VHF channel 14.
Upon exiting the Murray Canal, I found myself on the Bay of Quinte, south of the Trenton Aerodrome. The chart identifies it as an airport, but I didn't have any other info on the place. I did, however, see some dramatic aircraft displays while I was underway across the bay. The first thing that appeared and caught my eye was a large yellow and red helicopter. I saw them fly over the northeastern end of the bay, then hover just a few feet over the water. Later I saw that there was a bright orange liferaft in the water and the helicopter was practicing picking up the people from the water. I also noticed a very large, grey, four-engine cargo plane that was landing, only to see the same plane just minutes later landing again. It finally dawned on me that the pilots must be practicing their “touch & go” landings. I suspect that the Aerodrome is a military facility.
The depths were now very different from the open lake, since I had entered Presqu'ile Bay. While the depths in Lake Ontario (only 3 miles offshore) were about 200 feet (Lake Ontario exceeds 600 feet in places), the Murray Canal presented the deepest water at about 20 feet (it did vary some) while most of the depths were closer to 15 feet. While it was blowing pretty good at 15 knots, I never did raise the sails due to my concern about staying in the channels. In hindsight, I probably should have gone ahead, at least with the mainsail. With the piloting all line-of-sight, the bouys easily visible, and lots of points on shore to keep a steady helm, raising the sails would not have been a problem.
Looking ahead to the very high bridge over Route 62 at Belleville did give me pause as the gaps between the pylons didn't seem that big from a few miles away. When I got closer, I realized it would have been pretty cool to blast under the bridge while under sail. Especially as I made a turn into Belleville Harbour very soon after passing the bridge.
I dropped the new aluminum Guardian/Fortress anchor with its 35 feet of 5/16” chain and about 150 feet of rope rode once inside the harbor. I wasn't aware that thunderstorms were on the way, so I opened up the hatches and portlights for the cooling breeze. While I was on the phone with my wife, the black boiled over the water and the rigging began whistling as the 40 knot blast burst though the anchorage. The anchor held well, then the wind veered 180*, popping the anchor out of the bottom. I had some room, so I waited a couple minutes to let the anchor reset, but it never happened. As we ran out of room, I fired up the diesel and motored to a new point where I could reset the anchor. When I pulled up the anchor to reset it, I discovered that 3 sticks, each about 1 inch in diameter, had jammed into the flukes of the anchor. As you know, those sticks were the reason the new anchor couldn't reset. As a backup, I decided to also set the CQR anchor on 200 feet of rode. Another storm blew through a few hours later and both anchors held just fine, no dragging.
The forecast for Thursday was for some rain and possible thunderstorms so my plan was to just settle in, maybe visit Belleville. When I got up in the morning, the forecast was less certain about both the rain and the thunderstorms. Also, the forecast for the weekend was looking worse, so I decided to keep moving towards Kingston, where I pick up my next crew.
Raising anchor took a little more time since I had two to bring up and secure, but the breeze in the anchorage was pretty light, so I had no troubles. Once in the main bay off Belleville (just east of “Big Bay” if you're following on the charts) the breeze seemed about 12 knots from the stern (west), so I raised the mainsail for a run down the bay. The breeze wasn't enough by itself to keep our speed up, so I motorsailed, but we were sailing!
The passage through the Bay of Quinte took us through the Telegraph Narrows, a skinny body of water, in both width and depth. There are a number of shallow rocks, so boaters follow the well-marked channel, staying between the red and green bouys. Another large bridge (Route 49) raises itself 93 feet above the water, so there was plenty of room for Kelly IV to pass beneath, this time under sail!
The wind stayed mostly out of the west so when we turned southwest into the Long Reach, we killed the motor, raised the jib and sailed close-hauled the entire length of Long Reach, about 5 miles or 1 hour of sailing. There were some hills so there were a few spots where the wind was blocked, but we also got some nice puffs when the valleys let the air through. It was a very nice sail, heeled about 15-20 degrees, so we really knew we were a sailboat!
Our course took us to the northeast up Hay Bay and the wind dropped while a very light rain began spitting a bit. The very light wind negated continuing the sail, so we furled the sails, fired up the iron genny and proceeded to the east of Ram Island in the middle of Hay Bay for our anchorage for the night.
The wind was supposed to change to the northwest, but as of early evening, we didn't see it. I sat in the sun updating this missive while the cool breeze made the anchorage a very comfortable setting. North of Kelly IV I could see huge thunder storm clouds, but they seemed to be many miles away. It wasn't until twilight, an hour or so later that the darker clouds found our anchorage, but they were pretty thin and still let the setting sunlight pierce through for a beautiful end to the evening. When I turned on the anchor light, I noticed that another sailboat had joined me in the anchorage, a couple hundred yards away.
In the morning I raised anchor and motored away, eating my breakfast bars along the way. I saw a freighter leaving the town of Picton, and I passed a ferry whose track criss-crossed the waters of Aldophus Reach, just east of Picton. The wind was light and the day was sunny so it was another day of motoring, but there were also a number of boats on the water so I got more practice with the radar, learning just what sort of target the various sailboats and trawlers light up on the radar screen. I am pleasantly surprised that within about 2 miles the sailboats give a pretty good signal. I suppose it is due to their aluminum masts. My mast is an elliptical shaped extrusion with a round shape on the forward and aft ends, while the two sides are long and flat, between the rounded edges. It seems to me that those flat aluminum sides would reflect a pretty strong radar signal.
The beautiful day of travel ended with an early arrival at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Marina in Kingston, Ontario. The reason for the Olympic part of the name is that this was the host harbor for the sailing events in the1976 Montreal summer Olympics. It is also the home harbor for my next crew who keeps his boat here. He is planning his own trip around the world on his Corbin 39, but is a newer sailor (3 years since he began sailing), so he has joined me for the St. Lawrence River leg of my cruise as a learning opportunity for him. It is a complementary fit as he is very good working with his hands and immediately was helping me with some boat projects, like replacing the cam cleats for the traveler and solving the leak in the forward overhead hatch. Also, I am required to have myself and at least one more crew for the locks on the St. Lawrence, so he is a welcome addition for the locks as well. In addition he and I seem to get along very well. We've already solved many of the world's problems and expect to wrap up the details for a permanent world peace very soon. :-)
So far our trip has covered 377.8 nautical miles including the overnight crossing of Lake Erie and the traverse of the length of Lake Ontario with some great experiences like traversing the Welland, visiting the islands and downtown of Toronto, and singlehanding across nearly the entire length of Lake Ontario to the beginning of the St. Lawrence River.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 October 2011 23:53 )