It was a late night last night; as it was Canada Day and we attempted to stay up and watch the fireworks. We started the evening in the cockpit with the intentions of watching the show from there. As night fell, the mosquitoes set in and we were forced to go below. I don’t know how the people who collected on the docks to watch stood the onslaught. It was bad.
We rose a little later than usual and wandered into town for breakfast. Based on a recommendation from another sailer, we chose B&J’s. After a good cup of coffee and a bite to eat, we were back to the boat to prep for departure.
Conditions were very calm in the marina at around 9am EST when we left the dock. The wind was on our nose out of the slip and she backed out without any issues. As we got out into the bay, the winds looked promising at around 10-12 knots out of the NE. So, we set the sails and got on a good point of sail towards our destination, Eagle Island.
Leaving the protection of the bay, things got a little snarly. The winds were consistently over 20 knots and gusting to 25 knots. Predicting that the conditions would not improve, we made the decision early on to furl in the 135% genoa. It’s a hell of a big sail to contend with when winds are anywhere over 20 knots. Plus, sailing with the main would allow for better control and easier furling later; or so we thought… more on that later!
The wave action also picked up substantially out of the bay. We saw a little chop while still inside. But once outside, we saw constant 4-5 foot swells. Our initial point of sail to clear the bay had us taking the waves almost on the beam. Fortunately, we made an adjustment once free of the bay that allowed a little relief as we surfed at a slight angle to the waves. You can’t really tell from the video below just how sizable the swells are until you watch the dinghy disappear, reappear, and then rise higher than the stern stanchions. It was quite amusing!
Even amidst the high winds and relatively sizable swells (for the North Channel), the boat performed beautifully. We made 6-7 knots SOG with just the main and handles even some larger breaking waves with ease. My dad wasn’t happy with the weather again, but I loved every second of it!
The entire day on the water and we only saw two other boats. One was a commercial fishing boat out of Gore Bay and another was a decent size sport fishing boat (pleasure craft kind). At first I thought that the sport fishing boat was a rock in the distance that waves were crashing over. It wasn’t until it got closer that I realized that it was a boat pounding their way through the swells.
Coming into Eagle Island, we were hoping for a little relief; as we were on the lee-side of the island. Unfortunately, we were not spared such luxury. The wind and waves continued to build. We struggled hugely trying to furl in the mail coming into our anchorage. We didn’t have much space to maneuver, and the wind kept blowing us off our course. Every time we would lose our course, the sail would unfurl again. We must must have taken 15 minutes to furl in that god forsaken sail. By the end of it, my wrists were swollen and past the point of fatigue. It was still a beautiful sail though 🙂
It was not until we were into a deep recess of a little cove on the backside of Eagle Island that we found a little relief. The winds continued at around 25 knots, but the waves were gone. After being slung around all day, it felt like a little bit of paradise. Even though it was cold!
After setting the anchor, my dad and I both collapsed. We probably took close to a 2 hour nap. It just felt so good! We had a good hold on the anchor, and our new Mantus bridle was working fantastic. Although, we would probably sleep a little more sound tonight with one of their 65lb anchors out front… However, our 55lb Lewmar hasn’t let us down yet. *Knock on wood*
Tomorrow we head for the Benjamin Islands or Little Current, ON depending on the weather. I just listened to the 9pm EST forecast for tomorrow, and it’s calling for a lot of the same. High wind advisory in effect (20+ knots sustained) with waves at 1.4M (4.5 ft). Should be an interesting day!