Our plan at the beginning of the year was to enter the LO300 race as a test sail. This went as far as paying the entry fee but reality had another idea. At the time,we had assumed that we would have been sailing for a few weeks, that moving onto the boat was a few weeks away and that work was under control.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
Our delayed start to the season and moving on to the boat a month early meant that the 2 week trip to Toronto and a full on race of about 200NM was not going to happen. The boat wasready and we had crew, Lisa and Paul, who are planning to join us for the Caribbean 1500 rally in the fall.
Plan B – head out to Lake Ontario, sail for 125 NM and then sail back.
Lisa and Paul arrived on Friday night, we had a quiet dinner at KYC and an early night. The planned 6:00am start was a little after 7:00am into the early morning calms. before long the winds came up and we were off. Seas past Main Duck were lumpy and about 1/2 metre, by mid afternoon we were beating into 15kts, with one reef and 1 metre seas. The waves were very close together and Kinship hobby-horsed and bounced about quite a bit. These are just the conditions that have produced major seasickness in me, but careful planning to make sure we were all rested, well hydrated and dosed up on Stugeron. This worked, Lisa and I had some issues, but nothing developed past feeling a bit off.
The overnight watches went smoothly, the wind had dropped in the afternoon and we were motoring for the rest of the trip. Lake Ontario is a surprisingly empty bit of water, a few lakers and a handful of LO300 boats were all we saw. We turned back towards Kingston off Oshawa with Toronto visible in the distance.
The forecast was for high winds overnight Sunday into Monday, we made good speed to get back to Kingston before the worst was due to hit. We had a forecast for 10kts from the south by 2:00pm but the wind in the middle of the lake was very light.
As we approached Main Duck, we spotted a number of boats on the long LO300 course. They must have found wind on the south shore of Lake Ontario. We saw Spitfire pass Oh Canada just after making the turn to head back up the lake.
Another boat passed close to us as Paul and I stood on the foredeck
We arrived back at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour at about midnight, just as the winds picked up. We docked at the fuel dock as the wind was up and we don’t have enough experience getting in and out of our somewhat odd dock at PoH to attempt it at night.
Next morning I woke to the sounds of sails flapping quite close to the boat. I peeked out the hatch to see another boat trying to dock with a spinnaker stuck at the masthead and one corner free, By the time I had thrown on some clothes and headed out the companion way, the boat was docked. We found out they were in the LO300 and had a problem with the spin getting stuck. We helped them get a crew member up the mast to free the halyard and all was well in a few minutes.
The Cape Hearne Canadian Coast Guard vessel also landed on the fuel dock as we were helping the sailboat. They had been out since 3:00am helping LO300 boats. From the flat calm seas of the afternoon, 12 hours brought strong winds big waves and confused seas that seem to have caused all sorts of problems to the fleet.
We were happy to be safely on the dock for that part of the weekend.
36 hours motoring
Average speed 6kts