Below are details of the voyages that Captain Murph has undertaken. There are five entries per page, just scroll down (maybe a LOT) or enter a search word(s) to the right. These Trip Logs are in reverse chronological order.
Kelly IV is in her Current Location.
Click Here to follow the track of Kelly IV's 2011 cruise of 2,500 nautical miles from Erie, PA to Warwick, RI. Click each image to get the next one. For a review of various facts or notes on Kelly IV's 2011 Cruise click here.
For the action packed Delivery of 2010 through 8 foot waves and 30 knot winds across 140 nm of Lake Erie, click here.
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Departing Sorel, we were excited as we had high hopes for a full day of sailing. The forecast called for a westerly breeze so with our northeasterly course we planned to be sailing a broad reach. Our initial course wound through some islands at the southwestern end of Lac St. Pierre until we burst out of the river onto a lake setting with the far end of the lake beyond the horizon. It felt as though we really were at sea.
In actual fact, we had to follow a channel because the depths in many places beyond the channel were much too shallow for Kelly IV's 5 feet 3inch draft. Regardless, the channel was mostly over a quarter mile wide and often much more than that. The wide channel was easy to negotiate in our small vessel, even under sail. We raised the main and jib and sailed the entire length of Lac St. Pierre, about 17 nautical miles. The breeze actually proved to be out of the northwest and even a little NNW, so we sailed a beam reach and sometimes close hauled, but with the flat water and 12 – 15 knot breeze, we had a blast!
Ray and I split the helm duties pretty evenly, I had the helm when we first raised our sails, then Ray finished our sailing. As we approached the very tall fixed bridge at Trois Rivieres, the breeze seemed to be shifting to the north, so we had to drop our sails and motor the last couple hours into the anchorage at the mouth the Batiscan River where it empties into the St. Lawrence.
Although there was probably some current when we were anchored at Long Sault Island, it was small enough to ignore it. The wind was really the only factor we had to consider at Long Sault. And anchoring with only the wind to take into account is how I have almost always anchored. Now at Batiscan, we had to consider river currents for both the Batiscan and St. Lawrence Rivers, as well as the tidal currents of the St. Lawrence River. According to the guide book, “the current at the mouth of the Batiscan River always sets easterly”. This meant that the Batiscan River flow was strong enough to overpower the flow of the high tide as it flooded upstream.
As we pulled into the river mouth to select a spot to lower our anchor, a fellow sailor called to us. He let us know that the Batiscan River does, in fact, reverse its flow at high tide. On his way back home he rowed his dinghy by Kelly and stopped to chat. We learned that Gerald was departing in a week or so, taking his boat “Gallop” across the North Atlantic to the Azores, then on to Senegal in Africa. Suddenly my little adventure seemed pretty tame. Of course, that is my plan, to keep things pretty tame. Regardless, it is very exciting to be rubbing elbows with sailors like Gerald.
I decided to stay up a little late and make sure our anchor was OK since the change in the direction of the flow would take place at midnight. Sure enough, about 11:30pm or so, Kelly IV stopped facing upstream and gradually began to turn until she was facing the St. Lawrence River where the high tide was flowing into the mouth of the Batiscan River.
We saw the same turning at each high tide while we were anchored there. Since we were making good time, mostly due to good weather and currents running in our favor, we decided to stay two nights at Batiscan. Our anchorage was right next to a small marina which had a small but very nice restaurant. Ray and I dinghied in to sample a French Canadian delicacy, “Poutine”. It is a hot dish of french fires and cheese curds, drowned in beef gravy. It actually was quite good and that was my dinner for the night. The owner, Sophie, was very kind. We were her only customers when her last customer left the restaurant soon after we were served. She let us stay as long as we wanted to and even practiced her English with us, as our French was certainly nowhere near as good as her English. We laughed and told stories and shared boating dreams and experiences.
The next day, we took our breakfast at Sophie's restaurant and met her waitress, Stephanie. Once again the food, service and company were all quite excellent. With our breakfast complete, Ray and I walked the kilometer into the small town of Batiscan and bought some groceries. As we were paying, a friendly gentleman asked if were were going to the marina and would we like a ride. We were even more surprised when he told us he owned the marina and was Sophie's husband. Apparently, she had told him about us and when he saw us in the store, he realized we must be the characters his wife had told him about. So we didn't have to carry our groceries, but got a ride right back to our dinghy.
Before we got back to Kelly, we stopped at a two masted schooner anchored just west of us. The owner invited us aboard and we got to talk with him and look around his schooner. He and his girlfriend with another crew are planning an August departure for the Azores, then on to Africa! Four boats were in this anchorage and two were world travelers!
Once back on board, we began to tackle a few minor projects. Ray secured the small 175 watt inverter so we wouldn't keep knocking it on the floor, while I completed my splicing of the new 75 feet long dock lines. Ray climbed the mast and took some great photos. We also spent some time getting more familiar with the guide book, the sailing directions, tide and current tables and the charts. Gerald stopped by again to share some of his anchorages that he uses along the St. Lawrence, further downstream.
As the afternoon wore on a very smart looking Southern Cross 28 pulled into the anchorage and dropped their hook just behind (west) of us. They were the first US boat I had seen since leaving Port Dalhousie. I called out to them and they invited us over. Once they got settled, Ray and I took some drinks, climbed into the Pudgy and motored over to visit “Oh My!”. We discovered that Lee, the owner from Grosse Point, Michigan, had sold the boat to Malcolm, a Newfoundlander. They and a friend, Jim, were delivering the boat to St. John's, Newfoundland, and had left Michigan on June 2nd.
According to the guide book, we needed to depart Batiscan about 7 hours before low tide at Quebec City, for the best trip avoiding contrary currents. That meant leaving about 11am, so after a final cup of coffee with Sophie and Stephanie, we returned to the dinghy and Kelly IV. We waved our goodbyes to our schooner friend and Gerald on “Gallop” and were on our way.
When pulling up the anchor we discovered that the Guardian was wrapped in the chain. It seems that as Kelly turned in the tide she just kept wrapping her chain around the anchor. We were lucky we didn't drag the anchor, as the chain was blocking the flukes from digging in just as the branches did in Belleville. Soon after we got underway, I went forward and replaced the Guardian making the CQR our primary anchor again. I felt that the CQR was much more likely to reset if it pulled out. Also, when we anchor in Quebec and further downstream, we'll be facing similar challenging anchor settings with opposing wind and current. If the Guardian got fouled on its own chain as wind and current changed, then I felt I couldn't trust it under those circumstances.
The breeze was light most of the day so we were motoring once again. Our entertainment included several freighters both upbound and down. The channel in this part of the St.Lawrence is rather slender. The river appeared quite wide, but we were traveling at high tide. From our reading we learned that at low tide along some sections, the entire river width disappears except for the main channel. In one spot where we saw only two small islands, the chart showed a very large expanse of dry land, during low tide. At another stretch called the Richelieu Rapids, both sides of the channel are strewn with numerous large boulders, all of which were underwater and unseen as we motored by at high tide.
The currents along this stretch of the river are pretty strong and we saw some significant push since they were favorable for us. The photo shows our speed through the water was 5.4 knots, while our speed over the ground was 9.6 knots!
Approaching Quebec City just before low tide, we passed a few more freighters, but one decided we needed a bit more excitement. Our typical passing maneuver is to keep to the far right side of the channel. That way the freighter sees that we are well out of their way and we are as far from their large wakes as we can safely be. We keep right for freighters passing both upbound and downbound. You'll recall we are downbound on this trip. The particular freighter in question was upbound and at first seemed to follow the same as his predecessors by keeping to his right so we'd pass each other “port-to-port”, or just like cars do on a two-way, two lane road. Then with only a half mile between us he kept steering to his port which put us at risk for a head-on collision! Ray was at the wheel and quickly turned Kelly to port so we passed safely starboard-to-starboard, as if we were on a European highway. This was the only occasion where the freighter seemed a serious challenge to us. All other passings have been fun and exciting to watch, but uneventful from a safety perspective.
Once past this challenge we were under the “Pont Laporte” (Laporte Bridge) we were in Quebec Harbour. We turned out of the current, through the anchorage just east of the yacht Club of Quebec and “dropped the hook”, our trusty 35 pound CQR anchor. We are now 691 nautical miles from Erie, PA.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 February 2012 15:08 )
Ray, my new crew, and I set sail from Portsmouth Olympic Harbour on Sunday afternoon for a short sail into the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River. We had a great sail, with full main and genoa, sometimes wing and wing, other times still running but with both sails to port or starboard. Regardless, we had the wind nearly directly behind us and blowing a steady 15 knots. The bright sun and striking blue sky provided a glorious backdrop for our terrific day. As we wound our way along the Canadian Middle Channel, we were treated to a wonderful panorama of great green flora framing gorgeous homes on the many small rocky islets. This area has been a summer playground for the wealthy families of Ontario, Quebec and New York for a century and a half. Parks Canada has made many of the islands accessible to boaters by building docks, mooring fields, outhouses on a number of the islands they own. For a small fee we picked up a mooring at Endymion Island. We learned about the moorings at Endymion Island from Cedric and Carol, owners of our neighboring boat in Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Marina.
Once we got Kelly settled, we took the dinghy ashore and met the very friendly crews of a sailboat and powerboat. The sailboat, an Endeavour 37, is a big sister to Kelly IV, an Endeavour 32. I didn't recognize her as an Endeavour, but something struck me about her, so I asked the owners what the make of their boat was. The couple were the second owners, buying her about 20 years ago. They keep her in beautiful shape and were tied up at the newest dock on the east end of Endymion Island.
Just south of the Endeavour 37 was a 36 foot trawler owned by young pilot living in Toronto. He and three friends invited us to sit and chat so we swilled free drinks and talked about sailing. When he was graduated high school the pilot crewed on a tall ship sailing thousands of miles in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He still plans to sail his own boat around the world on a sailboat of his own. He currently owns the trawler as his live-aboard home. The other gentleman on board captains and teaches sailing on boats in the Caribbean, so I was eager to hear about his experiences in hopes of doing that myself someday, maybe sooner than later!
Ray and I planned a short trip to Brockville for our next stop, so we only had to leave early enough to beat the rain forecasted for Monday afternoon. Although the breeze continued from the west and southwest, it was much too light to sail the boat, so we motored the entire way. In fact, we would not have sailed much of the trip anyway, as we were winding through some very tricky narrows, eddying currents and wave-washed rocky islets, many topped with beautiful homes, including the Singer Castle, built a hundred years ago by the family of sewing machine fame. In the tightest, most narrow fjord of only 140 feet wide, we passed a large tourist boat coming towards us. Our combined beams were over 50 feet so there didn't seem to be much water left between us as we passed each other, port to port.
After leaving the small town of Rockport, Ontario along our port side, we joined the main channel, so we began seeing the large commercial vessels the St. Lawrence Seaway is known for. As we approached Jorstadt Island, home of the Singer Castle, we passed a very large upbound (we are headed “downbound”) commercial tug which beat us with a 3 feet tall wake that washed green water over Kelly's bow. Of course she can handle it, but I always hope there is some way the large power vessels can pass us without creating a large, disruptive wake.
A couple of smaller tugs headed upbound also waked us, but their wakes were much smaller and no real bother. We continued into the Brockville Narrows which accurately describes the three and a half mile channel where the 1000 feet long behemoth freighters have to fit themselves into a channel only 400 feet wide. Thankfully, none came through while we were piloting the channel, so we merely ogled the small beautiful islands that lined the channel and were scattered across the expanse of the river.
Just as we pulled into our slip along the seawall in Brockville, the rain caught us and drenched us in bucket after bucket of soaking cold. Of course, we only needed to step below into our snug cabin and we were dry and comfortable. We were quite thankful we didn't have to deal with the rain out in the current and river traffic.
While drying out in Kelly's cabin, we listened to the forecast to learn that Tuesday would bring us a northeast wind of 15 to 20 knots. Since we were heading northeast and the river flows the same direction, we knew we'd face the strong breeze along with the waves created by the current challenging the wind. Since we are focused on making progress yet avoiding the rougher conditions, we decided to stay put in Brockville on Tuesday.
We actually got a few projects completed, including the addition of a 50 feet long rope section between two lengths of chain on the anchor rode. This gives the anchor better holding, but without requiring us to lift too much weight off the bottom. In addition, Ray suggested an improvement for stowing our two main anchors. Since we only expect to use the CQR on rare occasion, we moved it to a space forward of and at the base of the mast and tied it down securely. Then we moved the primary anchor, our new Guardian, to the anchor roller. It makes for a neater foredeck and easier launching and retrieval of the primary anchor. While we were at it . . . (famous last words) . . . we also redrilled, rebedded and rebolted the port chock and anchor brackets so the anchor wouldn't come loose even when clobbered with big waves. Of course, this requires that someone scrunch their right arm and their forehead and eyes into the small space at the forward end of the v-berth so they can see and work the nuts and washers on/off the appropriate bolts. Sean knows what I'm talking about, as he did a similar job in the same space a couple years ago. Tuesday was our day to tighten the other bolts that finally worked their way loose.
On Wednesday, we found the weather to be beautiful, if calm. We motored the entire day and saw two larger freighters in our first stretch of the day. Fortunately, this was in a wider spot in the river, just south of the Prescott-Ogdensburg Bridge. The first freighter was upbound and pushing a large bow wave, but his wake rocked us very gently and minimally. The second freighter was downbound and although catching us, it seemed he would not reach us until we were both under the same small space under the bridge. To avoid squeezing into the bridge with the fast moving freighter, we decided to turn 180*, motoring southwest in the wider part of the river for a few minutes until the freighter was past us. Then we turned back to the northeast and followed him under the bridge.
He led us all the way to our first lock since clearing the Welland Canal from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.. The Iroquois Lock is the first of seven we'll encounter as we transit the St. Lawrence River. Since this first lock is merely to check the current of the river, we only dropped about a foot and were on our way. We shared the lock with a couple moving their boat to its home mooring further downstream. It turns out that they bought their boat in Vermilion, Ohio, the same town where we bought Kelly IV. Small world.
From the Iroquois Lock, we continued downstream following the main shipping channel. While we did keep an eye on the chartplotter and radar, that was mostly for practice. Our primary means of piloting was to follow from one bouy to the next, using the binoculars to confirm that we were in fact at a given bouy. Since each is numbered, it is easy to compare the number on the bouy with the same detail on the chart, confirming our location.
Upon reaching bouy number “51” we turned north into a series of islands behind the dams that serve the American Locks, that we were to transit the next day. Our first choice for an anchorage was a deep indentation to the north between two islets, but we discovered that the depth was much deeper than the charts indicated, almost 40 feet, which was more than we wanted to deal with. It would have required a very long anchor rode (line) and there was another very good anchorage only 8/10ths of a mile due south. In fact, the anchorage was at the same GPS waypoint that Bluejacket shared on the internet about their same trip in 2008.
The next morning we set off for the Eisenhower and Snell locks as they were less than 4 miles away. We locked through both locks behind a Catalina 30 that showed its home port as Saguenay. Since we expect to visit the fjord at Saguenay in a couple weeks, I was very curious about them. But except for a few friendly waves, we didn't get to talk with them. They motored ahead when we left the Snell lock and within an hour they were out of sight.
We continued across Lac St. Francois, the lake created for the St. Lawrence Seaway to serve the last four locks before reaching Montreal. At the northeast corner of Lac St. Francois we tied up in the small park in the town of Coteau, our first stop in French speaking Quebec. When we tied up on the seawall, a friendly gent who was camping in one of the nearby trailers, stopped by to chat. Although English wasn't his primary language, he was very good and even helped us communicate with the park official who stopped by in his golf cart to collect the fee for our stay in their park.
We had a nice little walk to the main road and visited a couple shops looking for a few odds and ends, but mostly we were just interested in walking around and chatting with a few locals. Fortunately their English was better than our French. Ray had claimed no knowledge of French, but his pidgin French is really pretty good, so we get along pretty well.
Our first “adventure” or challenge of the trip came overnight in the wee hours when the wind picked up and began pushing Kelly IV against the seawall. Of course, we had our fenders out and there wasn't any danger of damaging the boat, but we had rigged our fender boards to reduce the chafe and possible early demise of the fenders. Ray had noticed that the lines holding the fender boards in place were chafing against the wall, so we promised ourselves to fix them so they wouldn't chafe when we returned from our walk. Of course I forgot all about them until we were long asleep and I woke up hearing the sounds of a board splashing in the water. Yes, it was the first fender board to chafe it's line and it was no longer protecting the fenders or Kelly. I pulled out some tools, pulled myself and the fender boards onto the seawall and created 4 loops made from steel cable. I then tied the fender board lines to the cable loops and returned the fender boards to the proper place and function. Once done, I crawled back into my sleeping bag and slept comfortably the rest of the night.
The trip into Montreal proved to be the longest day on the water so far this trip, except for the overnight from Erie. The mileage was actually quite typical of our daily trips, about 48 nautical miles. The longer day was due to several delays at lift bridges and locks. We had two lift bridges and we arrived at the first within a half hour after we departed the Coteau seawall. We radioed the Valleyfield Bridge over four different channels, then called the Canada Coast Guard to get specific instructions on how to reach the bridge tender. It turned out that we had already done what was suggested by the CG, but we repeated the efforts another couple times. In the meantime, we were dealing with a 2 knot current that was trying to push Kelly IV under the bridge deck which was almost high enough to scrape her mast off the cabin top. Our solution was to motor in continuing ovals with the long part of the oval being our motoring up current then being swept down current when we turned back towards the bridge. Finally after about 40 minutes, the bridge tender called us on the first channel we had tried (VHF 68) to let us know he would raise the bridge in about five minutes. We certainly understand that the bridge tender has a responsibility to road traffic as well as us, but it would also be nice if they would just take a moment to let us know they are aware we are there. We never knew if they were aware of us until their call just five minutes before we went through.
When safely under the lift bridge, we were following the Beauharnois Canal which ends with 2 locks. Once again we shared these locks with our friends from Saguenay, but this time the lock tender had us raft up to the Catalina. In other words, the Catalina held the lines holding us onto the lack walls, while we held lines that tied us to the Catalina. Then both boats were lowered together as the lock was drained. And that made it easy to talk with them and learn about their adventures.
Helene and Rejean of “L'interrompue”, their Catalina 30, have their home in Baie Ha! Ha! on the Saguenay Fjord and were returning from a year away in the Bahamas. Exactly the same trip I am taking! They were on their last few miles while I am just embarking on my first few miles. While waiting for one of the locks to take us, Rejean wrote down a number of GPS waypoints for us. They were anchorages, marinas and a mooring field we could use while we are in Saguenay. They proved to be very friendly and helpful as we rafted to them through all four locks of the day. French was their primary language but they were also very good with their English and they helped in the locks by translating for us with the lock tenders.
Also while enroute through the day, I called Ron of the Beneteau 28, “Old Hand”, out of Grimsby, Ontario. We had met at the Toronto Boat Show as we were both going to sail down the St. Lawrence. His trip had him leaving in May, a few weeks before me, so we kept in touch as he was progressing along the river. While in Toronto, I heard from him that he had completed his sail through Saguenay and he was ready to return home so was now headed back upstream. Ron and I had hopes of running into each other, so we had kept in touch. I called him while Ray had the helm and discovered that Ron was staying in the same marina that Ray and I were planning to visit for the night.
Upon clearing the last lock, we turned the corner and pulled into the Longueuil Marina for the night. It was very easy to do as Ron has secured a slip for us and we just followed his directions to find him waiting for us. Once we were all settled, we spent an hour or two catching up with Ron and discovering the details of his experience and his suggestions for our travel going downstream on the St. Lawrence, especially as we would soon face the tides and related currents a couple days after leaving Montreal.
In the morning, we topped off our fuel and headed to Sorel, Quebec another 40 miles downstream. Except for passing a few freighters and a brief rain shower, it was another uneventful day in cruising paradise! :-) Well, we did have a little excitement as I struggled a bit when we pulled into our slip in Sorel. The winds had finally picked up to about 18 knots and were trying to blow Kelly away from the finger pier I was assigned for the night. After bumping the bow we got her into the slip and all is well., except for my pride.
Tomorrow we head for Trois Rivieres, only a few days from Quebec City. So far we are 593 nautical miles into our adventure.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 October 2011 23:57 )
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 )
Our original plan was to anchor for free in the Toronto Islands, being a good way to avoid the cost of expensive marinas in the big city. At first we anchored in a wide spot where we thought the various boats, including several tourist boats, could easily have room to get around us as they motored to and fro. Within minutes of setting the anchor, the skipper of one glass covered boat motored within hailing distance to suggest we anchor at the end of the Long Pond, in front of the grandstand. He said that was a better place to anchor, as we'd be out of the way of all the boats.
We pulled the anchor, moved east to the water in front of the bleachers and settled in there. It took about an hour, but we were hailed by a friendly Toronto Police boat. They let us know that we could not anchor anywhere, but we could tie up along a seawall at the far west end of Long Pond along Blockhouse Bay. The policemen were very cordial and kind which made the pill of moving again quite easy to swallow.
This time we slowly motored west, then north throughout all of Blockhouse Bay, but did not recognize the seawall described by the Police. They did confirm that there was a cost to tying up, so it didn't matter to us whether we tied up along the illusive seawall or at one of the yacht clubs or marinas. We had noticed a sign saying that Island Yacht Club (IYC) on Mugg's Island (the eastern shore of Blockhouse Bay) had slips available, so we maneuvered into an open slip. While Jack & Jim secured Kelly, I went looking for a harbormaster. She happened to be eating her dinner on the clubhouse deck, so Katrina was easy to locate. She confirmed that we could stay for one or several days and that the rate was $1.75 per foot. The rate seemed reasonable, given that we were at a nice private club in a big city and we had no reciprocal privileges. Also, it was only .$25 more than the seawall we finally saw. Katrina pointed across the small bay and we could just make out a wooden seawall. It had seemed to be a mud bank when we sailed by earlier, so we never recognized it.
We had some logistics to resolve, specifically, that Jack, Jim & I all had to connect with various transportation centers at one time or another over the coming weekend. Early Friday morning I had to get to Toronto's Pearson International Airport so I could attend my 35th Wabash College Reunion. Jack had to catch a bus to Erie mid morning on Friday, while Jim was planning to go home via bus to Erie on Monday, June 6. Since the Island Yacht Club is completely isolated on Mugg's Island, the only way ashore is on our dinghy or the club's tender. The tender proved to be a great way to get to and from downtown, but the schedule wouldn't enable any of us to make our travel connections.
IYC proved to be very nice, so we decided to stay put through Wednesday, while we used the club's tender to play tourist in Toronto. We also enjoyed their clean facilities for showers and laundry. Unfortunately their clubhouse wasn't fully open for the season, so we didn't get any meals at IYC.
While playing tourist, we visited a number of interesting venues including the Hockey Hall of Fame, Fort York, Pier 4 (fancy restaurant on the waterfront), the Music Garden, streetcars, and the CN Tower. Since we were taking the water taxi from the IYC to town and back, we felt very nautical! On Thursday afternoon we moved Kelly IV to Marina Quay West, which is downtown on the waterfront. That meant we could all catch cabs right in front of the marina for our various points of departure. And surprisingly, this marina was only $1.50 per foot!
At 4:30am I caught a car to the airport and enjoyed a terrific reunion with 30+ Wabash College classmates from 1976. I even got to stay with a former roommate from the class of '77, since he lives in C'ville. It was all over much too quickly and I found myself checking into my return flight at 7am bound from Indianapolis to Philly and finally back to Toronto. Since I arrived Sunday midday, I was able to take public transportation, including a streetcar, all the way to the marina. While the car on Friday morning was a bit pricey, the public transit was only $3 for the entire trip from the airport, so the cost, on average, was very reasonable.
Jack caught his bus and arrived safely at home in time to email me several photos which I'll share with you as soon as I get a good WiFi/internet connection. Jim stayed through the weekend, so he and I got to share a couple more meals together. Then early Monday morning, Jim caught his cab to the bus station for the return trip to Erie, where he had left his truck. As I write this, I expect Jim is already well on his drive from Erie back to his home.
Meanwhile, I had loaded new waypoints and routes into the GPS/Chartplotter, so I was ready to slip the lines. Since there was no breeze, the trip was a simple motoring along the northern shore of Lake Ontario. While there was some occasional haze, the visibility seemed to be at least a mile and was often over 3 miles, as I could see land most of the trip and the shore was 3 – 5 miles away.
There were no freighters observed on this leg, but there were a few sailboats, so I'm still getting good practice understanding the little blips on the radar screen. I radioed the Port Whitby Marina for a transient slip and topped off all my fuel, including the jerry cans. For the first stretch of this trip we have done 100% motoring, which is expensive (diesel in Canada is running about $5.30/gallon). But it also means we've had very smooth rides with no waves. So there is always a silver lining! :-) After doing a little math, it seems we're burning about 4/10ths of a gallon of fuel every hour we're running the engine. With a total of 51 gallons of diesel on board, that means we could motor as much as 127 hours or up to 630 nautical miles! It would be nice to start sailing and using the free breeze, though.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 October 2011 00:01 )
Jim Clark and Jack VanArsdale arrived Friday evening and we stowed our gear, a couple days' provisions, and made sure all was ready for our night sail from Erie, PA to Port Colborne, ON, about 60nm across Lake Erie to the southern end of the Welland Canal. Our eventual destination for the week was Toronto. The weather forecast was for a less than 10 knot breeze from the NE, just the direction we were headed. Fortunately, the waves were forecast to be less than two feet or rather calm. Since Kelly IV is now a full-time cruising sailboat, she is focused on moving on to the next port as much as she is on sailing.
Since we were all eager to get moving, we completed the last minute project of securing the dinghy with two PVC pipes across the forward and after lifting eyes. These two pipes would prevent the lifting eyes from pulling inward towards each other and possibly distorting the inner sidewalls of the dinghy. Once this last project was completed we raised the dinghy into the stern davits, tied off the two small spring lines for the dinghy and took a photo of the crew just before departure.
By this time it was 11pm. What the weather forecast did NOT say was that we'd experience significant fog for the entire trip, especially for the first several miles as we left Presque Isle Bay and pressed forward through the channel. As luck would have it, we had to share the channel with a large dredging vessel headed into the Bay, as we were finding our foggy way out. We swapped single horn blasts to confirm we'd pass port to port, then each of us disappeared his own direction into the inky fog.
Frankly, if we did not have the new radar, we would have delayed our departure. Visibility was well under a quarter mile and the lights on the aids to navigation were the only things visible at that range. Given the fog and darkness, we couldn't even make out the US Coast Guard Station less than 100 yards from us as we passed it by. We departed at night so we'd arrive the next day in full daylight. It is my very strong preference to arrive at our destinations in daylight, especially those that I have not been to recently or never. With the new radar telling us we had nothing except the land behind us, we motored off in to the wind and darkness.
Our watch schedule had me wrapping up my watch at midnight so Jim began his watch at that time. Jack had gone to his bunk soon after we cleared the channel, since he'd have to be up and alert by 2am for his own watch. My preferred watch schedule for a 3 man crew is for 3 hour watches from 6am through midnight, then 2 hour watches from midnight until 6am. This gives the off watch 4 to 6 hours to rest or sleep and only a 2 hour watch during the wee hours of the morning when it is most difficult to remain awake and alert. I had taken a nap during the afternoon while waiting for Jim and Jack to show up, so I found myself wide awake and enjoying Jim's company as he steered us through the small but quite bouncy waves and into the teeth of the northeasterly breeze.
With the fog and dark we couldn't see the stars or even the water very far from Kelly, but the radar assured us there was no one nearby as we gradually ticked off the miles towards Colborne. Jack came on watch at his appointed time and Jim went below to enjoy a well-earned rest. Unfortunately, we discovered that my efforts to seal the forward overhead hatch had failed as water was leaking profusely into the aft end of the v-berth, soaking the small cushion that covered the space between the port and starboard sides of the aft or “head” end of the berth, assuming you would place your feet into the pointy end at the forward end of the berth. Thankfully that seemed the extent of the damage, so we directed the leaking water off the berth and directly into the bilge using a small tarp. The second berth in the main cabin was still open so Jim was able to bunk there.
Instead, Jim decided to keep Jack company and the two stayed in the cockpit while I caught some rest before my watch began at 4am. By the time I woke up, Jim had decided to get some rest himself and was climbing into the port-side main cabin berth for the night. Jack also went below for some well-earned rest and I had the cockpit, fog and darkness to myself. Fortunately, Kelly would hold her course pretty well when I locked the wheel, so I would do that regularly and stand above the bimini and dodger for a 360* look around. Of course, with the very limited visibility, there was nothing to see, so the radar was very important.
Dawn came early, but not the ability to see anything. The dark gradually went away so that by 4:30am an even light gray made the small waves and water around us visible, but only for some small distance from Kelly IV, maybe a couple hundred yards or so. The small breeze was even less by now, so the waves were disappearing to almost nothing. This meant that no more water was forcing its way through the leaky forward hatch and things were already beginning to dry up in the v-berth.
Suddenly, I noticed a radar target NW of us and about 3.5 nautical miles away. Since we were moving along our own course to the NE, it was important to allow for our own movement as we determined our Closest Point of Approach (CPA). At first it seemed as though the target was not moving, then it appeared to be moving very slowly to the SW. It finally dawned on me that the target was probably not moving, but rather we were moving past the target. The radar image of the target seemed large to me, so my assumption was that we were passing a freighter that was at anchor for the night.
Jack prepared a great breakfast of hot tea, coffee, mocha with bananas and hot fruit turnovers of raspberry and cherry. A few hours later we spotted another radar target, when Kelly was just 5 miles from Port Colborne. This radar target was on the screen at a position about 4nm away NNE of Kelly. Like the previous target, this one remained stationary as we passed it by. This target was in the designated anchorage just south of Port Colborne, so it made sense that it was stationary. Our closest approach of this target was 1.5nm, but even then, we never saw it visually.
As we approached the coastline, we first saw it on radar, but soon could make out the larger buildings and trees. The fog was much thinner and easier to see through near the coast, so piloting into the marina at Port Colborne was a very simple matter. We checked into Canada Customs and were legally permitted to raise our Canada Courtesy Flag on our starboard spreader.
Jack and Jim both brought food, so we only needed some eggs & pretzels from the grocery store in Colborne. A phone call to the Seaway Administration told us that if we were at the Colborne dock phone before 5am, then we might have a good chance of moving quickly through the Welland with minimal delays.
We accepted the challenge and were up at 4:15am, slipped our lines from the marina and were on the Seaway phone by 5am. They told us to move to the first lift bridge and lock so we were off! The lift bridge is a girder bridge with two large towers at each end of the bridge. Before 5:30am, the operator rang his sirens to begin our trek through the Welland, and to clear traffic (there wasn't any at this hour on a Sunday morning!) then the entire bridge span rose straight up climbing the two towers until it was well over the height of our mast (about 45 feet), creating a clearance over the water of maybe 75 feet. We weren't permitted to use our sails at all so the sail was under its cover for the entire day.
We motored into the first lock which lowered us about 4 to 5 feet, a leveling lock. The rest of the locks, seven more, would drop us approximately 45 feet at each lock for a total drop of almost 350 feet! It was great to have Jim and Jack to help out as it made it possible for me to steer Kelly into place at each lock, while Jack would get the bow line and Jim the stern line from the lock attendants. Then we'd push on our boat hooks if we drifted to close to the wall, or pull on the lines if we found ourselves drifting to far away from the wall. It was quite the experience and all the personnel at the locks were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We had no trouble at all and cleared through all the locks without a hitch. We did pass a few large freighters as they made their way south and we pressed northward, but there was plenty of room for us to move to the edge of the channel. On a couple occasions, Kelly had to wait a few minutes, but we merely turned lazy circles at the side of the channel until the Seaway radio told us they were ready for us to continue on our way.
Our passage through the Welland may have been one of the quickest for a recreational vessel. We were through the entire canal, all 8 locks, in 6 hours, start to finish.
Once clear of Port Weller at the Lake Ontario end, we steered due west for Port Dalhousie, the nearest Canadian port with depth for a sailboat. Dalhousie proved to be a bit of a tourist town, and they were very boater friendly, with many transient slips along the seawall at the town park. A walking harbormaster came over soon after we tied up and signed us up for the night. He had his entire office in his backpack so the paperwork was all done in a few minutes. We took a short walk through the town, ogled the sailboats and powerboats tied up, and had a drink at a local establishment. We decided to have dinner on board as the menu for a Sunday evening was less enticing than our own provisions.
The forecast for Monday was calm and the trip across Lake Ontario proved to be one of the calmest rides we've ever taken. The waters were “oily” flat without the smallest of ripples for much of the trip. We also had extremely thick fog, so the radar and fog signals were very important for the entire trip. We passed a very large freighter, a small fishing boat and a small sailboat, and saw none of them except for a very brief glimpse of the sailboat when we closed to within ¾ nm.
It wasn't until we were about four miles from Toronto that we could make out the 1800 feet tall CN Tower. Gradually the city skyline came to us through the mist and we made an uneventful landing among the islands of Toronto's Inner Harbour.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:35 )