Penetangushine to Kincardine

So after the purchase, we kept the boat over the winter in Penetangushine at the Dutchman Marina, where the boat wintered well.

I had commissioned some work to be done on the boat; the keel repair, rudder repair, some tabbing under the sole; and the stern where there was a crack in the gel coat. Most of this was completed in the fall, however, some minor work needed to be completed in the spring.

We went up a few times to get other things ready for the boat.  Taking of the covering, bottom painting, and changing the gasket on the engine valve cover. In addition giving the engine a once over and learning more about the boat as well.

When the stern was complete we put on her new name that I found rather difficult as there were many different angles to consider, but I think it turned out great!

Then the big day came, it was early May, when the boat was to go into the water. An exciting time tempered by nervousness.    As the boat is moved over land and set into the water, myself and the mechanic went aboard to see if there were any leaks.  We listened for and water flowing and found a cracked strainer and a bad seal on the main strainer.  Both were easily fixed or replaced.  Then with a number of peoples help we got her to the temporary slip, relatively unscathed.

Since we changed her name, we had to do a de-naming ceremony followed by a naming ceremony.  I had Gerry K. officiate as he is one of the saltiest sailors I knew. Thanks Gerry! We used a ceremony from an online source and it was quite expensive with the amount of alcohol required in the recipe for de-naming and naming. That being said, it was fun and exciting.  Mizz Fitz has now crossed the portal into reality.  The name is a double entendre, the first is that she is now part of the family, and carries part of the family name.  The second part is that, she represents a place, for me, to truly be myself and no one is an out caste on board her.  Moreover, the name is a reminder to do so, to be myself, do what pleases me, as long as it doesn’t infringe on others.

So with the name changed, the time came for the big move.  Paul W. joined Gerry and me for the trip, and our shore support was my wife Sonia and daughter Alanna.  We filled with gas and water, provisioned, put the sails on and got ready to go. Ugh! Here is where a mistake was made.  The marina did not have a gas dock, so we filled jerry cans and filled the tanks manually.  While we were waiting for a refill of jerry cans I thought I would fill the water tanks too.  The problem an over site on my part was that the diesel fill cap was not replaced, and the water tank over filled and started to go into the diesel. UGH!!  We weren’t sure how much water we had in the tank, we didn’t think much.  With two tanks we decided to go on our way the next morning.  We disembarked and went on our way.  That morning there was no wind, the water was flat as a pancake, and we had to motor. About 3 hours out of Penetanushine just to the South West part of the island Giants Tomb, the engine stopped.  We had current against us and very very light wind.

I found water in the fuel, drained it, changed the filter and tried to re-prime the engine.  I have done this a number of times on the farm with the tractor diesels, but nothing would work, after about an hour or so I asked if up on deck if we were in any danger, running aground, high traffic areas etc?  The answer was no. So Gerry suggested that we hoist sail and see where we can get to under sail power, to see if we could stop moving backwards.  This made me kind of chuckle a bit as that was a requirement for the name change according to the online ceremony. Well I could check that off the list!

After about 3 hours I need a rest from leaning over the engine.  Being a bigger person, okay heavier then I should be, a little beyond pleasantly plump; it was hard to gain access to parts of the engine. We started tacking our way North West to get around the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. We actually planned on stopping in an anchorage suggested to us by Shaun and Julia Sailing, another YouTube channel I follow.  It is called Wingfield Basin, and in the email, from Shaun and Julia, it sounded like a must.  However, as things turned out with no motor and winds building, we were going to sail straight through.

If you were to see the topography of the part where Georgian Bay and Lake Huron meet, you’ll know that there is a lot of rocks, island and shoals.  To complicate things, the wind was coming from the West, and we wanted to go to the West.  That meant we had to tack through the island, rocks, and shoals, oh did I say this was at night, and did I forget to mention that the wind was building and we were reaching 6 – 7 knots of boat speed with just the reefed genoa and mizzen flying. Taking turns on watch, and closely monitoring the navigation computer, it turned out well for us.  It was still a little stressful, but by the time morning broke, we were on our last tack to clear the northern point of the peninsula.

However, the motor still not running and the wind dropping off dramatically, we found ourselves a few miles off of the Port Elgin coast in the early evening.  Here I received a text from my father in-law.  I gave him our position and we all thought we’d be in Kincardine by late night.  My father in-law suggested that I give him a call when I get in that night.  After all, Port Elgin to Kincardine, is about a 30 minute drive or so.  Well at 7 am the next day we made it into the Harbour of Kincardine.  As we approached the opening we lowered the dinghy and motor and lashed it to the side of Mizz Fitz, and used it to propel us slowly to the dock.  All went well, and we decided to walk up to downtown Kincardine and have breakfast.

After breakfast, we talked with the Harbour manager, and asked him if he could recommend a mechanic to help us with our engine problems. Going with his recommendations, I contacted the mechanic, and asked him to look at the engine.  I explained that I had water in the diesel, and we cleared the water separator and changed the filters.  I also suggested that I think the fuel pump is suspect.  I went on further to say that I needed the boat running for Sunday, as that is the time I had the second crew coming to complete our trek.

That was Thursday, I got a call Saturday evening saying it couldn’t be done and that all the fuel lines had to be replaced.  The mechanic told me that he changed a rubber fuel line and installed an electric fuel pump, and went  on to say that he cut the arm that rides on the cam; off the mechanical fuel pump.  To me this didn’t make sense, the Whitby 42 has 3 tanks, although we didn’t use the center tank, the notion that all the fuel lines were bad and unusable didn’t jive.  I found this very frustrating as his bill was quite expensive and he didn’t fix anything.  To add more stress, Kenny and I booked vacation time off work. The mechanic said that maybe Thursday or so the following week he might be able to fix it.  This was not a real option for me, as the marina, although reasonable as far as marinas go, still very expensive. So my first action was to cancel my vacation and tell Kenny to do the same.

Then talking with my wife, I made a comment, that if the mechanic piped in the pressure side of the the new electric fuel pump into the existing old fuel pump; I would know what the problem is.  She said then why don’t you go and fix it.  At that we went for a drive, to the boat.  I checked and sure enough that is exactly what he did.

My thinking was that the mechanical pump had a vacuum leak.  I went to Canadian Tire, and picked up some small stainless bolts and nuts, as well as a shop sealant, and headed back to the boat. I removed the mechanical fuel pump and took it apart and removed the springs, drilled out the flange holes so that new bolts would fit, and sealed the diaphragm, and bolted it back together and re installed it and connected the electric fuel pump back on and tried it out.  With that she flashed up and ran purrrfectly!

Now it was time to see if I could get the crew back for an early Monday departure, this was Sunday morning.  Luck was shining on me and lucky Mizz Fitz, and everyone was able to go.  On this trip, Gerry K would be back, as well as Kenny and my oldest son John.  Monday morning we set out for Sarnia, after filling up with fuel, water and provisions.

But that is another story for next week.

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Patrick Braszak

Tumultuous starts make for good reads – kudos on making it through such a tough situation. Looking forward to more posts, particularly one covering the trip to Kingston and back.