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15, 11, 9, 5, 4, 3, 2… !!!!

If that was the countdown to some good event, such as a party, or our departure, we would be anxiously awaiting the arrival of zero. When, however, it is our digital depth recorder and we are sailing along at 5 or so knots, panic is a better description of how we were feeling!

Yesterday was another day full of firsts for us. We headed out for a sail with our daughter Cass and her boyfriend to an area we had never sailed before. We also had our big Genoa up and that is the first time Rebecca and I had used it on our own. The area we were cruising to has numerous very shallow areas that we needed to navigate through and around. This is very different from where we had been sailing all last season.

Originally intending to anchor off the western end of Simcoe Island, when we arrived we found the wind direction made that unsuitable. A quick check of the charts and we made the decision to move around to the other side and anchor in Sand Bay on Wolfe Island. What is it about Murphy’s Law… by the time we arrived there the wind had clocked 180?! Oh well… it would have to do. We weren’t planning on spending the night there anyway.

The anchorage is very cool and has a big wind farm towering over us. The water was shallow and clear and we could see the bottom. Our friends on Pirate Jenny arrived a short time later and rafted up to us (another first). We were happy to help celebrate their son’s engagement with some Champagne (two days in a row) on our tramp! Thanks for including us guys.

With the sun getting lower in the sky we all decided to head back. That is when we experienced the above mentioned depth issues. A quick tack saved us from any damage but it was definitely not pleasant. The day ended well with us arriving back at the dock just before nightfall. We’re looking forward to having several more day trips with our friends and relatives before we take off.


  1. Yes, that’s not the kind of countdown we want to see. Glad everything turned out okay. Sounds like ya’ll are really getting to enjoy Katana now.

  2. You never told me you had a daughter my age…..You guys look too young…Here is a question for ya…..How will you deal with being away from your daughter for so long….Looks like another great day aboard __________. Is the name official yet?

    • Too funny!

      Of course we will miss her, just as we do now because she lives in a city a few hours away. Hopefully we will be able to have her visit semi-frequently.
      As for the name, no, we have not yet “registered” her (documented for you Americans) as Katana. Completing the paperwork is on our list for today. Fun stuff.

  3. With all the time you are going to spend on the intracoastal and in the Chesapeake, you will certainly “sniff the bottom” before long. I’ve found the PDQ easy to get off of mud, but read-up on getting off, because if you don’t touch mud occasionally, you just aren’t trying!

    Coral, of course, is different.

    On a different note, there are 2 things you should really do:
    * Measure your mast height with a tape measure. There are a lot of bridges. Add for the antennas. And don’t believe all of the posted numbers; I have seen bridges that were clearly 1-2 feet lower than stated.
    * Calibrate your depth sounder. Clearly, you were not in 2 feet of water, since you draw ~ 3.7 feet. I don’t mean electronically calibrate it – simple anchor in shallow water and then measure the distance from the keel to the ground. On our boat, at 3.5 feet we still have ~ 3 inches – what is important is knowing the smallest number you can live with. We try to saty to 4.5+. So far, with soft bottoms, that has been a good safety margin.

    • I have not personally verified this but the previous owner, who I trust, told me that the depth sounder was calibrated so that when it reaches zero we are on bottom. The height of our mast is 49′ although that might not take into account the antenna. I guess it would be prudent to verify both of these things ourselves!

  4. Escellent point about the depth sounder! It measures from where it is located, and as it is calibrated. You have to know what the real depth is at each reading. Sort of like swinging the compass.

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