My First Anchor Beer!

After a little instruction and encouragement from my friends. I start to think about another adventure. My eldest son John (Johnny to us) suggested a sailing trip around the Labour Day weekend in September. I thought that, “hey that is a good idea”, so I started planning for this adventure.

I talked with Kenny K, about his multiple trips to the Kingston and 1000 Island area. Taking into account his recommendations, suggestions, and of course his encouragement. I laid out a course to follow, started thinking about provisioning, and a slip in a marina close to Kingston where public transportation and such were available if needed.

I also contacted my cousin, Bernard (Bernie or Bill as I use to call him when we were younger), who lives and works in Kingston with his family. I asked him if he was going to be around, and if he would be interested in a visit. I also inquired if his neighbour was going to be around. His neighbour Phil K, was a long time union representative at my place of employment. I asked if he could let him know that I was going to be heading that way and I would like to see him.

So I now have a plan, and a list of provisions, I just need to ‘shanghai’ some crew. I already had my son Johnny, but a couple more would be great. I made an enquiry as to what my youngest daughter was doing for the weekend. She said that she had to work the Friday, but would be free the rest of the long weekend. So that is 2 down, one more would be great. So I asked my best friend, and the ‘wife’ (Sonia) said yes to my surprise. Although when I get to the end of this adventure, I am not sure she will come again.
Well that is 4, and that will do. We provisioned for the 4 people enough fresh food, for a couple of days, as we knew that we would be able to provision when we got to Kingston. The marina we stayed at was Confederation Basin Marina, which we knew due to proper research that was close to all amenities. We packed and made ready the boat for departure. We planned to leave in the early evening of the Friday of the Labour Day weekend. Planning to be home Monday afternoon.

The day finally came and we readied Mizz Fitz for departure, clearing the deck, disconnecting her umbilical cords, and powering her up to leave Hamilton, for our trip. The estimated time from Hamilton to Kingston would be between 28 -30 hours, at an estimated 5.0 knots. We motored out of the bay timing our arrival to the Burlington Lift Bridge, so that we wouldn’t have to hang around for a half-hour. We were very successful, a small victory! We exited Hamilton Bay in to Lake Ontario, and with no wind we set course and the auto pilot and ventured forth on our adventure to Kingston.

As it got dark, I switched on the steaming lights, or so I thought. Motoring I realized that there was a big Laker ship off to my starboard with a search light on. When I looked to the bow, where normally I can see the reflection of the steaming lights I realized that they were not on. I went to the control panel and switched them on, noting that I inadvertently switched the wrong switch initially. One close call averted!

We motor sailed through the night, flying the genoa, and mizzen, averaging between 5 and 6 knots. All was well then the sun came up and we got a bit of wind.

We hoisted the main and had all three sails up and were moving pretty good. We were passing Port Hope, Colburn and Brighton to the north of us. We had a nice breakfast with coffee, and enjoyed the sun and the light breeze, while keeping an eye out for ships and hazards. Alanna spent most of her time at the bow, reading and pondering, I suspect, her career choice and thinking about her next step in the process. Johnny, sat with me and was a great help with taking watch. The wife kept us fed and watered. It was a pleasant sail thus far.

We were now going around Prince Edward, it is an island that we had to go around to get to Kingston. It was sunny and beautiful.  We did talk about going through the canal near Brighton, but I did not do much in the way of research, and with going through the Welland Canal, kind of had my fill of canal excitement…. Thank you very much.

As we rounded Prince Edward, Amherst Island came into view. We knew we were close to Kingston now. As we got closer I texted Bernie, to let him know. However it is getting later in the day, and the sun is going down. Some anxieties started to creep up on me. I am going into a harbour / marina that I have never even seen in person; it is dark and I cannot see the lay of the land; and when I get into the marina it will be packed with boats. This will be a concern for maneuvering Mizz Fitz to get into the slip, the full Keel makes this not so easy.

The cruising guide is out and we are looking at the layout of the marina, and I zoomed in the chart plotter, and followed it very closely. We wove our way between the channel markers, and found the entrance to the marina, I was a little surprised at how small the entrance was. Seeing rocks on both sides we stayed in the middle and got through it unscathed.  Now to find our slip in the dark.

The crew were at the bow of the boat looking at slip numbers, which made it easy to find, with the help of the cruising guide. That wasn’t so bad but we were crammed into a slip with boats in close proximity, which made it difficult to swing Mizz Fitz’s 42 foot voluptuous structure into a slip with maybe a little more than a boat length of room to swing in. To top it off since it was later at night there was no one around to help with lines.

That begin said, the crew was ready and lines were made ready. We were making the turn into the slip, using prop walk to swing her around. I got the nose pointed in, and the boat was almost in. The wind pushing us away from our finger dock, however, we were good to go as I was compensation for that. Then things go to hell in a hand basket! At the most in opportune time the engine stalls, and leaves us with not control over the steering of the boat.

The bow is blown to port, and we are in the double slip, on a diagonal. We got a stern line on. I am concerned that we may hit the dock, power pulpit, or even another boat. I sprang into action, well okay maybe that is a little embellishment. I sprang into action as fast as a 330 pound person could. I jumped off the boat onto the dock and ran (okay, ran might be an exaggeration too) around to the port side of the boat, where Johnny threw me a line and I was able to pull the bow around to its proper location and tie it off. We finished up with the other lines and power cables and had the boat secure before long. The crew did a great job! Way to go crew!

All was good, I had my first anchor beer while at the marina in Kingston. The crew took a well-deserved rest. I was happy with the sail, and that we got into the dock safely. In the morning I would see how tight we are in, my mind would be simmering on how to get the young lady out of her slip when it was time to leave. All in all it was a good sail, and we would look to meet up with friends, family, as well as do a few touristy things in Kingston. I will save that for next week, as well as some of the challenges before we head home.

Please feel free to comment, or ask questions, and please share!  Just scroll down to the bottom of these posts and start a conversation.  Stay tuned for the YouTube channel coming early in the new year.

slàinte mhaith
(Good Health!)
(pronounced “slancha vah”)

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Daniel Morland

I don’t know if you’re hooked up with Mike on F B , but he got all excited when he seen pictures of the boat . He is part of the crew for his employer’s sailboat. They go into races . If he could coordinate time off and one of your trips , I’m sure he would appreciate the time. One wrinkle though , the baby is due in February .