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2016-10-12

Tour du jour, or how to do reciprocity right

How odd she looks having visibly moved to a different dock
Due to a combination of unexpected work, dubious weather, prolonged refitting and other banana peels left beneath life's rich pageant, we did not get off the dock this summer, nor did we get away for a camping weekend or other brief, cheap aways from home. Mrs. Alchemy, who typically works not only prolonged hours saving critters at a wildlife rehabbing facility, but who also works every second weekend with few consecutive days off, was understandably peeved at this failure to vacay, and so was a great help in cleaning out the boat, readying sleeping arrangements, stocking the now-functional reefer and making an October weekend on board possible.
Cabin Boy contemplating the metropolis from the north shore of the embracing Toronto Islands.

We didn't go far; the diesel is, after all, still aged if evidently properly filtered, and the motor is still well within the break-in period, but the nav lights leads were cobbled together and the boat, while basic, allowed the usual range of civilized functions. We even had heat. We needed it, as it turned out.
Moon over the foredeck at a marina.
In case an actual purposeful run should reveal issues, we stopped for Night One at the nearby Toronto Island Marina. We had a free berth coupon, and they gave us a good one right by the restaurant. Beverages were had. Cold beverages.After years of pioneer boating, having kettles, fridges and even a working microwave is a treat. The oven may work, but I have to check the propane lines before I try it, and, more to the point, I need to purchase a propane detector before I fire up the Force Ten. It worked fine in 2008, but hasn't run since. Also, the tank could be better secured...somewhere other than beside the companionway.
I am growing to like the Yankee.
The next day was windy from the WSW and we were headed ENE. I decided to keep the main sheathed as we do not have reefing rigged, and it was a single-reef kind of day. I was glad of it when the leisurely 4.8 knots under jib-as-spinnaker turned to 7.1 knots in the gusts. Adding 350 kilos of lead in the batteries plus another 100 kilos in charger, lengths of heavy-gauge wire and assorted electrical gear hasn't slowed the boat much. She charged properly.
Warm day, too, but it got very fall-like in the hours that followed.
The waves were blocked by the large and lengthy spit or headland on the east side of Toronto Harbour. Mostly artificial in nature, it has changed the dynamic of erosion and island-building in our closest cruising grounds and requires a fairly significant detour to get into the Eastern Gap, one where we've been plastered by squalls more than once. This day brought 14 knots blowing 28 on a rather irregular basis, but a few hours decent sailing was had, which we enjoyed.
Not very imposing cliffs are to the right, but the wind drops off 'em readily enough
 Of course, the benefit to essentially visiting one's nautical backyard is that you need not sail all day: two or three hours gets you to someplace different yet not requiring long-distance service. We went to Fairport YC, a very well appointed, if overly secured, appendage to a condo development in Pickering's Frenchman's Bay. And yes, it was a reciprocal visit, so we ended up spending very litte this weekend, which was nice if you don't count the grand or so I spent wiring up the batteries.
Nantuck-ink?
It's the sort of faux-New England planned development we normally would avoid, but the adjacent marina had our new friends Jay German and Rob Lamb on their steel Roberts ketch Goshawk. Once we had docked in pretty brisk wind involving some aggressive throttle work to bounce the stern in snugly, they were very hospitable in the fine old tradition and much boat chat was had to our mutual amusement. Both Jay and Rob are video gamers, so even the Cabin Boy felt rare feelings of respect and admiration.

The next day, we didn't force the issue of leaving, but a strong front had passed in the cool night and the same wind that had plastered up obligingly on an end-finger slip had clocked to just about due North and was pushing merrily on our stern. Having been warned to turn tightly to avoid a sand bank, we left under more power than usual. Alas, the wind was pushing the water out of the relatively confined bay, and it had been many month since the last dredging. We ran aground.

It was yet another paint removing learning experience. I was concerned about it as we had turned into the wind, because I suspected that a season's worth of channel churn combined with the water leaving the bay would make things tricky. I made the first set of buoys but had to do a chock-to-chock turn at speed (necessary due to the friggin' wind on my nose) to make the turn and we went wide. The boat hit sand at about three knots (good) and plowed about, I estimate, a foot or 30 cm. down. We draw five foot ten inches or around 175 cm. The boat heeled about 15 degrees to port, right in front of Pickering's rescue boat.

Having contacted them to assure them that we appeared to be well and undamaged (not an item fell in the galley, such was the leisure with which we took the ground), we attempted to power off. We succeeded in rotating the boat 120 degrees to face our putative rescuers....and also the channel. Further attempts to aid the motor, which performed very gratifyingly well given the circumstance, involved tows, a Zodiac on the hip, and the use of the staysail to provide thrust. Eventually, running a spare halyard to a man sitting in the Zodiac as it backed up did the trick: we heeled over another five degrees, I gave her full throttle and we slid into the channel with a slight bump.

All that time (and it took nearly one hour) we were just 3/4 of a boat length from the channel. The journey back was blissedly uneventful, save for the spray over the deck as that wind persisted until we got into the lee of the spit. Please convey to Rob our thanks, and to our nameless helpers in the Zodiac. The halyard trick was the one that worked. Our keel is "bevelled" somewhat either side of the chunky weld line, and once that went parallel to the bottom, we slid easily off. I'm glad for the skeg. And the four blades. I think I dug Fairport YC a new mooring.


Yeah, it was breezy coming back, too.
 


We had a great weekend getaway, and save the practicum on freeing the boat from surprise dirt, everything worked well and we were comfortable. It bodes well. Next Monday, out comes the mast and next Friday, Alchemy follows and a new phase of carpentry and plumbing commences.