I sailed a Mirage 27 from Brockville to Port Credit (delivery on Lake Ontario) about a week before your story. I took the outside route
, leaving Kingston early Thursday morning. This meant sailing overnight. The day was glorious, but the weather
were getting worse. Before darkness, I put a double reef in the main, and we proceeded under double reef, engine
, and no jib
. The owner thought I was either crazy, lazy, or over cautious. The jib
had been pulling well, and he wanted the sail up. I asked him if he were willing to go on the bow during the night when the wind
picked up, and he relented (hank on jib, no furling). By midnight the wind
and seas had grown. It was blowing 30 (at least), but with enough south in the SW wind for us to point our course without the main luffing. The seas built to maybe 3 metres, the bow was submerging after some of the bigger waves, which was about every 5th one. Having that little bit of main up gave us a lot of power and kept the boat steady, without excessive heel...it was just right. And if the engine
failed, we would still be in control.
The owner popped up during the night and suggested we head
into cobourg. I explained that cobourg, or any other port, would be at least 5 hours away, and likely add an extra day to the delivery
, at least. In fact, with a terrible weekend forecast
, the boat could be stuck for several days. Until that moment, he thought the lake was like the 401 (highway) where you just pull over if you get tired or scared. The owner then wanted to hug the shore, for safety
. I had to explain how a lee shore would be the worst place to be...the shore is our enemy, and shallow water
would mean bigger waves. We pushed on. The bad conditions lasted several hours, but by dawn, the wind and seas were dying down enough that I woke the owner to take a watch while I finally slept. The autohelm
was doing all the real work, keeping watch was really just keeping watch for ships or changes in the weather
The wind remained strong, with the double reef pulling well, for the rest of the trip. Just a few miles from Port Credit we were hit with a squall of blinding rain and big gusts. Again, the main steadied us, and we were fine. But the rain pellets seemed really hard, and painful on our faces.
When we finally arrived, the weather was fine. The marina had good lee, so it seemed very calm after such a rough night. I said goodbye, and took a train home. The next morning, a really severe storm front moved through, causing some real damage in the Toronto area (ashore). We were all glad we had hurried through, and not out in that mess.
FYI, Brockville to Kingston, 12 hours (upwind, upcurrent, with stops).
Kingston to Port Credit, 29 hours, non-stop, outside route
We likely could have gone faster, but I didn't want to push the 40 year old yanmar
YSB. It probobly would have been fine, but I really did not want it to quit. It smoked (white) a bit during the worst of the seas, but burnt clean when not so rough. I was glad it was not an atomic 4, since adding gas to the fuel tank
would have been a nightmare/impossible during those conditions.