Delivery trip home
Just over 6 months ago Rebecca and I participated in a 10-day Fast Track to Cruising course in St. Petersburg, Florida. This was the first major step in what would be our transformation into live-aboard cruisers. Before this course our sailing experience had been limited to the odd excursion on a dinghy or as a passenger on a tour boat. Those 10 days were eye openers for us and we learned a ton. Since the completion of that course though we have not had even one day of sailing experience. Sure we have read a lot, and done a bunch of other miscellaneous preparation for our departure from land, but no time on the water. If we were to try to hire instructors who could design a course, and somehow control the weather to give us every imaginable experience to prepare us for cruising, in essence Chapter Two of our sailing training, this past weekend’s delivery trip was it! There is no way it could have been improved.
When we requested that Katana’s previous owners (we can say previous now as we have in our possession a signed bill of sale) help us deliver the boat to Kingston they really took the task seriously. They planned a route that would not only get us to Kingston but would give us a whole range of experiences. David, (not Anthony, the alias he had previously tricked me into calling him) was extremely thorough in his instruction and ever so patient with us newbies. In addition to the awesome sailing experience we can honestly say we had a blast. What a super-cool couple. I know David and Jackie will be reading this but we aren’t blowing smoke up their @sses. We really felt like the two of us were on some high-priced adventure vacation with friends.
I could write volumes on what went on over the weekend but I think it might be easier to try to summarize some of the highlights with pictures and captions.
- Thursday night – took the train to Toronto
- We made our way to the harbour and took a water-taxi to Toronto Island to meet David, Jackie and Katana
- Spent Thursday night onboard the boat, tied up on the wall at Hanlon’s Point
- Left early Friday morning with light winds
- Because winds were light we opted to raise the spinnaker. David taught us how to rig, raise and lower the sail
- Winds picked up and so did our speed. We pretended to be racing some of the other boats on the water. Of course we were winning until…
- Snap shackle on one of the spinnaker sheets gave way! Quickly doused the sail and decided to put it away for another light-air day.
- Winds continued to build and along with it the following waves.
- The skies behind us darkened menacingly and it was obvious we were running in front of a big storm.
- With 150% Genoa and full main we broke Katana’s previous speed record: 13.3 knots was the max speed recorded!
- Being just a tad over powered we reefed and then double reefed the main. That was fun! Not!
- With a double reefed main and a significantly furled headsail we were still doing over 10 knots at times, surfing down the waves.
- We ultimately made our way to Coburg where we planned to tie up at their marina
- No one informed us that is was their waterfront festival that weekend, complete with noisy midway rides. More fun!
- Dinner: Barbequed Filet Mignon, Baked Potatoes and Champagne. Awesome end to an awesome day!
- Morning weather report: winds 20-25
- With large following seas we again began running.
- Winds were lighter than forecast so we shook out the reefs
- Of course, winds then jumped!
- David taught us how to sail an “S” course, building up speed and then running off into the direction that we ultimately wanted to go.
- Once we rounded Presqu’ile Point we were able to get the sails down in the shelter of the bay
- It was a challenge even getting into the bay though because of the high winds
- We motored through the channel markers to the Murray Canal
- The very shallow waters made accurately following the markers vital, even though out cat only draws 3 feet
- We needed to clear through two bridges in the canal, one swinging and one that lifts
- The Bridge master collects the toll by sticking a tin cup on a stick out towards the boat as we motored past
- We decided to tie up on the bridge wall for lunch. Another challenge with the winds blowing us quickly towards the concrete!
- Once through the canal we could once again raise the sails even though the winds had died considerably
- Ultimately we made it to our planned anchoring spot near Picton
- David taught me how to anchor and rig a bridle on the two hulls. Rebecca controlled the engines as we did so.
- The picturesque anchorage was only improved by the gourmet dinner: Barbequed Salmon. MMMmmmm
- We still had a long way to go and now the winds have almost died
- We short tacked our way up through a narrow area. Not too easy to do with the large Genoa
- Did I say the winds had died? Haha. Once we hit an open area they were right back up to 18-20 knots!
- Lots of quick tacks kept us on course.
- We had plenty of entertainment from the air force… we got to see mid-air refueling practice and takeoff/landing work by fighter jets.
- Lots of ground to cover and the winds continued to be strong, and variable in direction. This made for some fun sailing.
- By the time we made it to Collin’s Bay we were once again faced with the challenge of getting our sails down in the strong winds
- We again used the shelter of the bay to lesten their effects. This will be fun once it is only Rebecca and I are on the boat!
- The fun wasn’t over yet as we still needed to get the boat into our narrow slip(s).
- I turned the helm over to David and let him bring the boat in. Not even a nudge on the dock. Nice!
- Once in the slip we needed to figure out how to securely tie the boat up as she sticks way out beyond the short docks.
- Still not done… we needed to secure both the dinghy and have David teach us how to change our head sail
- Katana’s primary head sail is a smallish self-tacking job. We decided we should leave the boat with that sail on and hide the big Genoa away until next season!
- Sadly we bid farewell to our friends David and Jackie.
- Right into the cruising lifestyle though we invited our neighbours, Jennifer and Al over to share some wine with us
- As they knew it was our wedding anniversary that day they cut the evening short, leaving Rebecca and I to enjoy the first night alone in our new home!