[Public-List] Canada Day Weekend...

Gordon Laco via Public-List public-list at lists.alberg30.org
Tue Jul 4 11:33:41 PDT 2017

Hello gang – 


I haven’t written for ages, so here I am back with a report on various topics.


SURPRISE got into the water relatively early this year, as previously reported… but this past weekend was the first that we got away up the coast.  I didn’t go to do my display at the WoodenBoat Mag Festival at Mystic this year; and I have to say that it was good to be home on the big weekend for a change.  I complained to Matt Murphy at WB a while ago about the show ALWAYS being on the Canada Day weekend… and asked for relief.   He laughed and said ‘well Gord, we’re not going to put it on OUR national holiday!’   Ha ha ha.  Very funny, Matt…


So, having decided to put pleasure ahead of business, which is my new mantra this year, we stocked SURPRISE up with ice, beer, wine, gin, rum, and some food.  The Girl and I cast off Saturday morning and motor sailed away at 0900.   Our destination was the old Royal Naval Dockyard at Discovery Harbour.


We motored in, just as a large party of yachts belonging to the local Polish sailing association was leaving.  We’ve encountered these folks before, and as always they were having a terrific party.  There must have been more than two dozen yachts, all flying the Polish flag, all full of laughing people, all leaving at once.  Just to make things more lively one of them, in a 27’ Edel sloop was circling and weaving round and round while talking on his cell phone and his girl/foredeck shouted at yachts in the way…sometimes shouted back at him to get out of their way.   Eventually the whole herd was in motion at once and as they swept past us (trawler yachts, speed boats, a majestic steel yawl, small sloops and everything in between) a green hulled Pearson Triton we see often closed with us and shouted ‘We’re going to Giants Tomb Island – come with us!’   We would have, and would have had a great time but we had our hearts set on staying put and watching the fireworks that night.


Peace returned to the anchorage.  I gazed wistfully at HMS BEE, the historic schooner I was captain of back in the 90’s, which has not sailed since ’02 when the government in a fit of risk avoidance killed the marine programmes at the site…  oh well.  She was a sweet little 30 ton schooner at I’d have sailed her anywhere in the world there was water to float her keel.  She’s still pretty,


Nightfall came, and the fireworks began.  What a spectacular show… Happy 150th birthday, Canada.


Sunday morning we had our coffee and breakfast, then hoisted anchor and set out for Wreck Island… about 30 miles north up the coast.  We got there painlessly but for the fact that we had to motor the whole way.   We found our favourite anchorage empty, especially empty of the very boorish black hulled very large and noisy cabin cruiser we’d had the misfortune to share the anchorage with on two occasions last year.  The first time, we were the only yacht there, but still they chose to moor themselves head and stern right beside us only a boat length or so away.  Immedeatly their generator came on, they launched their seadoo, and the television set (turned up loud) came on.   There’s more, but suffice to say we were glad they weren’t there Sunday night.


At dusk, right on schedule, the beavers that live in the huge lodge at the SW corner of the bay came out to start work… how great to see them swimming past our stern as if they knew exactly where they were going.  We rowed about in the dinghy, then retired to the cockpit for drinks while I read aloud to Caroline from Patrick O’Brian’s ‘Far Side of the World’ for the 100th or so time.


During the night the wind came up but with two hooks down and well dug in, we stayed put.  


In the morning we hove up our gear, and sailed out of the anchorage and down to O’Donnell Point.  There we had to make a decision… go down the inside passages, mostly motoring, or outside for the North Sea experience… we chose the later.


Away we galloped feeling vastly adventurous compared to the riff raff who chose to stay inside…  the seas grew larger and their crests spread out, and SURPRISE found her stride galloping SW on a close reach averaging about 6.5 knots.  At tiny speck on the horizon ahead turned out to be a yacht going our way.   As we overhauled her (hand over fist, which you may imagine swelled my head largely) we discerned she was a huge new Catalina 45 footer (or something like that) with a full oxygen tent over her cockpit, solar collectors all over the place, and her main hauled in amidships while her genny ragged and flogged due to its sheet block being way to far aft.  They were wandering all over the water with up to 90 degree course changes… occasionally sailing fast when the main drew properly, but all over.   Three times they appeared to take runs at us despite avoiding action (including tacking to get away)…  I think they were just out of control.  They didn’t appear perturbed at all, just had no idea.  The last time, they came up from to leeward as if offering to stage a luffing match when racing.  But we weren’t racing, and there was no reason, with nothing about for many miles but open water, for them to be contesting the bit of water we were contesting.    We tacked to get away… and in attempting to follow us, they ended up hove to, then falling off, gyped accidentally.  While they were sorting themselves out of that, we got past and they were never near us again.   Were they intoxicated?  I don’t know.


So by the time all this was in the past, we had run our westing down and could bear away for Bennet Rock off the southern tip of Giants Tomb Island.  Our close reach became a bounding reach and we sailed fast on a southerly course with the dinghy dancing in our wake and occasionally surfing on her own wave… sort of like the colt following it’s mother pulling the carriage in the film ‘Dr Zhivago’.


That pin at Bennet is one of those we swear moves, because it’s never where it’s expected and is hard to see against the trees of Awenda Park behind it….  We called it ‘That bastard Bennet…’   Evenually we saw it, closer than we thought it would be of course, gybed and galloped down to the mouth of Severn Sound and so home.


What a great mini-cruise.   The boat performed really well… and at last at last at last, I seem to have found a caulking compound which stuck to the exotic plastic our holding tank top is made of, well enough that it didn’t leak when the boat is heeled over.  Fantastic.


Today, I left the office at lunch to have the tank pumped out and the fuel tank refilled… the later was a matter of great interest because of two things.   One is that that factory installed tank under the cockpit, has a non-functioning fuel gauge sending unit (I’d resolved that by installing a second tank which does have a sender, and using that first)  We have been experimenting with propellors and were not happy with an apparent loss of range with the prop we had on last season.


This seaon we have a new Campbell Sailor prop, one inch larger in diameter and with slightly cupped, slightly wider blades.  


So, there we were about 45 minutes ago at the marina, and the gasoline was flowing in.  We knew we’d run the engine for 7 hours over the three days, at 5.5 knots, towing our rather heavy Boston Whaler Squall dinghy.  How much fuel went in?  (Roll the drums)  26 litres.   26 litres… converting to US gallons, that means that despite towing the dinghy, we were getting BETTER than one gallon per hour at 5.5 knots.  





#426 Surprise





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