Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Off to Nfld.

Two boats going by us on the last leg of the Race the Cape from Ingonish to our home yacht club in Sydney.  We finished the race but at times it was very challenging due to the light winds.  We kind of decided we would never race Cat's-Paw IV again unless we divested her off a lot of our "stuff" before the start.  
We are off to circumnavigate Nfld. in a few hours.  There is a good weather window with winds about 15 to 20 knots on the beam.  We should really fly. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Race the Cape - Part II

Due to technical difficulties the post will be in two parts, the second part seems to be lost in cyber space?!? 
The next morning we had a sail past at St. Peter's to start off the festivities. 
The first leg of the race was from St. Peter's to Ben Eoin, about 26nm which can be forever in sailboat mileage when there is no wind.  We started the race at 1100 hours and the first Mark was approx. 5nm away.  We rounded that mark at 1700 hours which if you do the math is less than 1nm an hour which can be very frustrating.  We watched the spinnakers hanging from the masts like a bunch of deflated balloons, they called the race at the end of the 5 nam.  Miracles of miracles we managed to finish in third place in our division and got a lovely prize from North Sails, yippee!!
The second day of racing started off very slowly once again, but the wind switched and picked up at noon.  We raced from Ben Eoin to Baddeck.  The unique part of this leg was we had to stop, take our sails down go through a bridge which had be opened up for us and then put our sails up and restart the race.  Here we are preparing to go through the bridge. 
We had a curling buddy of mine on board for this leg.  Joanne is one the board of directors for Race the Cape and a dedicted volunteer, co-ordinating the volunteers who are driving the competitors around.  It was great to have her on board she was a great helmsman.  Here we are in Baddeck at the end of the race. 
We are having a layover day in Baddeck today.  Joanne and I went hiking to Usige Ban Falls, it was about 2.5 km enough to shake my muscles loose after the vigorous Celtic step I was attempting on the dance floor last night. Here are most of the yachts squished onto the Baddeck Yacht Club docks. 

Race the Cape

We are participating in Race the Cape, a 5 leg race around the Bras D'Or Lakes in Cape Breton, each leg is 25 - 35 mm long.  That can be a lifetime in sailing time.  The first day they called the race the at the first mark which was 5nm from the start. We started at 1100 hours and rounded the mark about 1700 hours which makes our speed less than 1nm an hour, quite painful at times.  We watched spinnakers deflate and just hang from the top of the mast like deflated balloons.  Unbelievably we managed to finish in third place in our division and get a prize, will wonders never cease!
The second evening we were in St. Peter's we went ashore to join a dock party and a Ceilah broke out.  The fiddler and the piper were pure Cape Breton, marvellous.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Back in Nova Scotia

We had a lovely day our last day in PEI.  We motored up the river to a town called Montague and lucked into Montague days.  There was free music, raft races, kids games and wonderful strawberry shortcake to be had.  
This is the view of the marina, with the stage with the free music off to the right. The next shot is of one of the homemade rafts that raced down the river, rather a unique design. 
The day after we had a great 50 nm crossing of the Northumberland Strait, which is between, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  The wind was aft of beam at about 10 -15 knots, just about perfect.  
Here I am cleaning the stainless steel on the way from PEI to Nova Scotia, I hadn't done it yet this year and I wanted to boat to look it's best for when we go in Race the Cape, a six day race around the Bras  D'Or Lakes. 
We passed through the Canso Canal, between the Nova Scotia mainland and Cape Breton the next day and headed to Guysborough to visit our friend Kate from Yellowknife. Here we are just through the foggy locks and the bridge is swinging shut.  All traffic too and from Cape Breton had to pause for little old us, I always find that an unusual fact.  Why not make us wait until there is another boat to go through, pretty cool !! Kate is involved with the recreation department and has got a grant to run a sailing school there.  She needed some help with the light on her mast and in short order I was hanging off the top, unscrewing the light and rewiring it, putting butts on electrical wires and shrink wrapping them with a propane torch. Lucky I didn't burn myself up or drop the darn thing and brain someone down below.
We are now in St. Peter's just in the Bras D'Or Lakes after spending the night in Arichat on Isle Madame.  There we had a lovely walk down a rocky beach, just us the rocks and the waves.  Almost at the end of the beach Barry found a message in a bottle.  Someone in PEI had put it in the there in April, 2014 and asked that whoever found it let her know where and when they found it.  It was quite the coincidence the next day when I checked my e-mail to find a message from a fellow in Somalia that found the bottle I tossed in the water when we crossed the equator near the Maldives in 2011.  Who would think that the two incidences would happen so close together.   There is one more bottle I tossed in, in 2008 when we crossed the equator going to the Galapagos, I wonder if anyone will ever find it!! 
This is our passage through the St. Peter's Canal, the entrance from the Atlantic side, exiting the locks and the swing bridge still opened up after our passage. The canal was blasted out of the rock in 1869 to provide a route into the Bras D'Or Lakes from the Atlantic. Before that they used to pull boats along a portage over a road of logs to get them from one side to the other. There is a very nice Marina here with showers, laundry and acces to St. Peter's.  I just visited the German bakery and bought some yummy sunflower bread.  The festivities start tomorrow so we have some chores up our own mast to try and get done this afternoon. 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

That is me being outstanding in a field of PEI potatoes on Canada Day 2015. We landed in PEI at sundown on June 30 so here we are trying to find a place to meet up with some old friends from Yellowknife, Janet and Kieth Sanderes.  This was not the lace to do it.  We got back in the dinghy and went another 500m. down the shoreline and found a spot that had a road down to the shore.  We went exploring and discovered and old church that was a very good landmark where we arranged t meet the next day.  There was also a museum close by and we learned the history d Malpeque Bay which is famous for it's oysters.  
We had a great visit with our buddies the next day, saw there big 7 bedroom house, had a lovely lunch at a local pub.  We manage to fit in some laundry and some grocery shopping.  On our way back to the boat the dinghy motor, which has refused to get better despite Mark working very hard on her, decided to quit.  It was very windy and we were about a mile and a half from the boat and there was no way we would be able to row there.  Luckily with great fore site Barry had put a spare spark plug in his backpack so while I threw out the dinghy anchor to save the hard earned distance we had already made Barry changed the spark plug.  Bless her the motor started first pull and we putted slowly to th boat,  whew!!  We will remember the hand held radio the next time we have to go any distance.  We have both agreed that our car is going to turn into a new motor.  We plan to sell said car in the middle of July, I think a reliable dinghy motor is essential !
Guess what landed in our cockpit??  When we were sailing out of Malpeque Bay a fishing boat passed fairly close by going full speed, rocking the boat quite a bit.  I didn't mind they are working folks, if it had been a pleasure boater I would have been up in arms.  Anyway, another boat up pulls up beside us and apologizes, saying those guys aren't from this harbour and they were really rude.  We thank him for saying so and he asks if we would like a lobster?  Well I tell you, you would never catch Barry or I turning them down, so he threw two f them into the cockpit.  Were they ever good, we have them with a glass of white wine for lunch as we sailed down the north Shore of PEI.  We are now in a harbour called Georgetown on the Southeast shore, it is nice and warm, almost hot and we just finished an ice cream, life is good.  We will spend another day or two on the island then head back over to Cape Breton and go through the Canso Causeway, making our way int the Bra D'Or Lakes.