Friday, 26 June 2009

A great sail to Barrie...

I got to the harbour last night just in time to see the last of our club's racers leave for the start line of the Thursday night series race. One of our members was patching the fibreglass on our sailing school boats. I rigged Iris and headed out past the breakwall. This would be my second passage to Barrie this summer, and I expect there will be at least a few more.

just at the end of the breakwall, I hoisted sail, nosed the boat into the wind and switched off the outboard. The light breeze was just enough to push the boat to a 5° heel, and the water gurgled nicely under the transom. It was going to be a heavenly sail.

I watched the racers start their race, and saw "Blue Sky" and "Tecumseh" head out in front of the pack. Not far behind them Tabasco was leading the rest of the fleet. I was on a course to cross the fleet at the windward mark, and I held my course watching them get closer. It was fun to be in the spectator's seat for the race.

Soon I was close to the pin, so I bore off letting the racers cross ahead of me, and then hardened back up aiming for K-Bay. As I travelled, the wind seemed to die off incrementally so that my speed and distance to K-Bay always worked out to 1-1/2 hours no matter how close I got. 6 miles out I was cruising at 4 knots. 5 miles out I was doing 3-1/2 knots. 4 miles away, I was down to 2.5 knots. I was enjoying myself though so I sat back, enjoyed a cold drink, and watched the ripples move across the lake.

While I was sailing Chuck and SWMBO were out shopping for summer toys. Chuck was getting a new bike, SWMBO was buying bathing suits. Once the stores closed they were going to come and meet me at the municipal marina in Barrie. Of course they didn't care how slow or fast this trip was going, and I didn't care how long they spent shopping. Everyone would have a great night.

As I finished my drink, the sun began to set. It wasn't a magnificent sunset, but it beat work, and I thought it was nice. then it started to cool off. Then I realized the time.

This time of year, the sun sets around 9:30 or 10:00. The stores close at 9:00. It would take SWMBO 1 hour to reach Barrie from the mall. I was still 2 hours from the municipal marina if I was travelling at hull speed. The wind was moving me away from the entrance to K-bay. If I kept sailing, I would get to Barrie around 2:00AM.


I pulled the ripcord and started the engine. The throttle failed (again) but its gotten to be second nature to fix, so I fixed it (again), and even managed to do it while the engine was running. Soon I was in the mouth of K-Bay making my way toward the city of Barrie. The night deepened as I went, and eventually the glow from the setting sun gave way to a sliver of moon and a myriad of stars. The lake is really beautiful on a clear night.

I set the throttle on the outboard at 5.8 knots, just below hull speed, and let the engine push us into Barrie. In short order I had the sails down and the cover on the mainsail. Then I got out the docklines and fenders and got them ready for deployment.

the wind was right on the nose of the boat all the way down the bay, and after I was done readying the boat for docking, I grabbed a blanket from the quarter berth and wrapped my legs in it. Shorts were a bad idea for a night outing.

About 2 hours after firing up the outboard I was in the bottom of K-Bay with the BYC entrance beacon flashing beside me. I continued past it, keeping to the right of the city's lights laid out up ahead. Every now and then I scanned the shore and the water ahead with my spotlight, partly to see if there were any obstructions, and partly in case SWMBO was up there waiting for me. I was just over an hour late.

As I closed in on the harbour, a car on shore started flashing its headlights every now and then. I guessed that must be SWMBO. I guessed right.

Soon I found the beacon for the breakwall, throttled down and eased my way into the harbour. I found an open dock next to a floating condo, docked, tied off, and set straight to work putting everything away. SWMBO was there in no time.

Apparently their shopping trip had gone overtime (Wal-Mart is 24 hours) and she was afraid that I was waiting for her when she arrived. In the end she had only been waiting for me for about 1/2 hour. Lucky.

Now that the boat was tucked in, tied off, and pretty much secured, I climbed into the van and our very sleepy family headed home. 12:30 is too late on a weeknight! Today I spoke with Eric who lives in Barrie, and he will be stopping by through the day to check on Iris and make sure she's OK. Tomorrow morning, we're off to the races...

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