Part Two, Toronto Towards Annapolis, Fall/2000

I intended to leave Whitby, Ontario (30 miles east of Toronto) on the Labor Day weekend. After asking several people, it appeared that I would be going alone, as everyone I asked was busy that weekend.

The plan was to leave on one of the "prevailing westerly" winds, which would quickly take me back to Oswego NY and the Oswego & Erie Canals. Of course, the winds were strong easterlies for almost a week, so, when there finally was a fair wind (NW), I left at 0400, trying to get as far as I could before it changed to the forecast southerly. I didin't really look at the chart much until I was underway, preferring to get sailing towards the south shore (of Lake Ontario) as soon as possible. After leaving the harbor and getting the sails set on a nice broad reach, I spent a long time down below with the chart, figuring out where to go. In the meantime, the wind was picking up and veering east.

I felt very tired, presumably from getting up at 0400, so drank a lot of coffee. This didn't help. After daylight, as I kept reducing sail due to the increasing wind (now 25-30knots, and a close reach), and finally realized that I was feeling exhausted because I had spent so much time below looking at the chart, and had lost my sea legs in the last few months of river and canal motoring. This was the second time this year I've noticed that I no longer seem immune to sea-sickness. Took a Stugeron pill (which makes the drowsiness worse, but at least ensures that the only person on board won't get seasick).

Several minor, teething problems developed, nothing major, but between them and the seasickness, I thought it prudent to head back to somewhere on the northern shore for now. Sadly, since the wind had veered so much, the closest course I could point took me back to Whitby, where I anchored in the early afternoon, slept and did repairs.

The following day had a light headwind, and I sailed and motored 15 miles along the shore to Newcastle.

The next day, I left Newcastle on an easterly forecast to go southerly, heading for the south shore, intending to either anchor off the south shore, or sail all night. I ended up sailing all night, getting sleep in 15-minute intervals. The winds varied from light enough to motor against, to strong enough to just want to sail in. I sailed all the second day, and arrived five miles off Oswego at 0100. Promptly hove-to and slept until 0600, then motored into Oswego and un-stepped the masts.


Fog rising off the Mohawk River early in the morning.

 

 

The canal trip was mostly uneventful. On the trip up I learned and practiced singlehanded locking, which isn't all that difficult, though it can look somewhat intimidating.

The picture to the right is of Orbit crossing Oneida Lake (part of the Erie Canal) with here masts on the cabintop, looking as she did for the whole canal trip.

 

What was intended to be a very short stay in New York City went on longer. On the first attempt to leave, October 3/2000, I motored off the mooring at 79 Street Boat Basin shortly before 0600 (to catch the ebb). There was a light headwind (forecast to be a tailwind).

Drinking my first cup of coffee, I noticed that there was no water coming out the exhaust (seawater used to cool the engine is injected into the exhaust and pumped out with the exhaust). A quick look at the engine confirmed the seawater intake valve was open, but the rubber exhaust hoses were already starting to smoke, so I set the foresail and staysail, and shut the engine down. An opportunity to practice singlehanded mooring under sail.

The wind was about 10 knots, and, on a dead run, we were basically just holding position against the current. Set a single-reefed main and started moving upriver. The wind picked up. Approaching the mooring under sail, I wanted to get rid of the main first, which would take the longest to get down, then pick up the mooring under forestail and staysail. After running the main halyards back to the helm, upon releasing them, the main would not come down. The peak halyard was rove incorrectly, and jammed.

Sheeted in the main tight, causing the boat to head close to the wind (normally, gaff sails can be dropped on any point of sail, one of the advantages of the rig), and then was able to haul the main down. Now at a much slower speed, came towards the mooring area again. With the foresail and staysail only, Orbit was making good about 30 feet per minute against the current, which is a nice speed to approach a mooring at, and the mooring lines were easily picked up.

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