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Thread: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

  1. #36
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Those two items you mentioned are critical - Centerboard up, keep sailing straight through gusts. The third thing to remember (for non-catboats at least) is to not let the sail go forward of the mast -- otherwise it can be Death Roll City...

    Really agree with the reef early option! Not enough small boats have reefing systems these days, as many folks are just fair-weather (and wind) sailors -- but if you go far enough out, you'll need to reef.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    More pictures please! I missed my last summer's trip & I'm living vicariously.

    Dan

  3. #38
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    About the centerboard -- back when I had a sprit rig, I used mine as a brake. Board up, and we'd be flying along, but when things started to get gusty, I'd drop the board and slow down. I felt like I had more control. Maybe it was all in my head.

    Most of these control issues have been handled with the balance lug and its "boom of death," as perhaps the Admiral might describe it.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Thanks for all the responses about downwind sailing; you've pretty much confirmed my own conclusions:

    1) If it's windy enough to be called "windy," don't run dead downwind unless you have to.

    2) More reef points wouldn't hurt.

    3) Chicken gybe as necessary (actually, I found this psychologically comforting but more difficult in practice than just gybing carefully; my flat-bottomed hull doesn't always make it around to the new tack in any kind of waves--and if you're paying attention, gybing with the balance lug is a fairly calm maneuver. I think if it was too windy to gybe, I'd be rowing or I'd be safe ashore.)

    4) Conditions may not seem as risky as they are, especially when sailing downwind.

    5) Accidental gybes don't seem like a problem with a balance lug rig. Yes, I gybed (once) when I wasn't expecting it, but I was moving around the boat taking pictures, shifting my weight, not really looking where I was steering, so that one was my fault. The lugsail really makes it easy to just head straight downwind without much fear.

    6) Which I've come to realize is probably a bad idea--see #1 above.

    7) And #4.

    Anyway, I'll have some more pictures this evening. Back to work for now,

    Tom

  5. #40
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Great thread. And although I need a boat big enough to live on in case the wife throws me out, you S & O guys sure seem to have a lot of fun...

  6. #41
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Tacking downwind can be safer and faster than running. Certainly less stressful.....less worry of jibing or broaching. It applies to most sailing craft from Sunfish to cruising boat.

    Thanks for the story!

  7. #42
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    So, two days in the Turnbulls. Could easily have spent a week, but I needed to make it back to my car sometime--meaning westward, against the prevailing wind. I wasn't sure if that would be practical, actually. Maybe I'd end up pulling out at Spanish marina and taking a Greyhound back to the UP. Maybe I should just keep sailing eastward right off my chart, into Georgian Bay, and worry about getting home when the time came.

    But the loop, for some reason, offered a more satisfactory solution, a journey completely by sail and oar, more self-sufficient. That's what I wanted to do if I could pull it off. So, off we went to the Whalesback Channel, about a 6-mile hop (though only 1-2 miles off the mainland):



    We're reefed here, in 15 knots or so, once again heading almost dead downwind (ALMOST--I've learned something by now). I'm not sure it offeres any advantage to roll the reef around the boom, but that's how I did it.

    A brief lull almost suckered me into taking out my reef halfway across, but I decided to wait 10 minutes. Sure enough, 9 minutes later we had even more wind than before. I came screaming into the Whalesback Channel, looking for shelter, and ended up finding a little island in Beardrop Harbour to camp on:



    I ran into the harbor in more wind than I felt I needed(), and tried the chicken gybe maneuver Yeadon described in an earlier post. Nope. Didn't quite make it around on the new tack, almost ran ashore on some rocks, and had to gybe instead. Turned out to be easy. (A LOT easier than with the original lateen rig! We'd have capsized for sure.)

    The day got windier and windier; before long, Beardrop Harbour looked like this as more and more cruisers ducked in for shelter (the photo was taken from the cliffs to the east, where I'd gone on a picture-taking and blueberry-eating expedition after setting up my tent):



    My campsite is on the island near the center of the picture; just BARELY enough room to set up a tiny backpacking tent under a few pines. Somehow there was just BARELY enough room for my tent every night, it seems.

    Again, handling the boat was simple. Drag it up on some rocks, tie it to a tree just in case. Done. Beardrop Harbour was great, tall cliffs, blueberries, and views down the Whalesback Channel like this:



    I also met the builder/skipper of this handsome Reuel Parker sharpie (modified to include a 3' ballast keel):



    Other than his tender (a Shellback Dinghy), this sharpie was the only other wooden boat I saw on the entire trip. A neat boat, and way more soulful than the 'glass sloops that were everywhere.

    Still, I don't think I'll ever go back to big boats. They're so complicated. Standing rigging. Jibs. Decks that you actually need to climb around on to do stuff. I'm too lazy for all that. A good small boat? Reach over from your comfy sitting position (with a cushion against the side deck for a back rest) and you can:

    1) raise the sail.

    2) drop the sail.

    3) adjust the downhaul.

    4) tend the sheet and tiller.

    5) reach your handheld VHF, compass, and Ziploc-bagged chart.

    6) adjust the ultra-simple tied-on leeboards.

    Really, I've become far too lazy for a bigger boat. Lots of people see the extra comforts a big boat seems to offer. Nowadays I tend to see the extra inconveniences more.

    Later,

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-10-2010 at 11:16 PM.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Now a camping trip like that is what a sail and oar boat is all about. Must have been fun.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Fun? You betcha!

    (Thought most of the people I know in real life would be puzzled at best about what's fun about it.)

    I spent a night at Beardrop Harbour, much of the time hanging out with a young lad named Caleb and his two large dogs. One of them was not only a smelly fish head enthusiast, but living proof that not all labs are good swimmers...

    Next day I set out early to sail the Whalesback Channel. Turns out there's a sneaky back way out of Beardrop Harbour:



    In this photo you can see how I rigged my yard: halyard runs through a dumb sheave from starboard to port, then tied with a constrictor hitch to the yard, back around the mast (taking the place of a parrel) and tied again with another constrictor hitch to the yard a little further forward. This was a little inconvenient in the sense of having to tie two knots, but gave me infinite adjustability for the hoisting point of the yard. It worked, anyway, and was dead cheap and simple.

    As I rowed through the narrow channel, a family of minks swam across single file; they were pretty curious about my boat, but declined all invitations to come aboard. Something you'd never see with a motor running--sail and oar all the way!

    Beardrop Harbour and the Whalesback Channel were probably my favorite part of the trip; it felt remote and undeveloped, lots of islands. I could have happily spent a couple of weeks here, though I ended up just passing through this time.

    I wasn't sure where I was going next, but I thought a resupply stop at the marina in Spanish might be advantageous. You can just see my boat tied up at the visitor dock at the left side of this photo:




    The wind was perfect--I came zipping into the marina at a fast run, sailed right through the entrance channel, past the fuel dock (small building with the red roof), and came up smartly into the wind at the visitors dock (perfect maneuvering for a change!) to find my friends from the Reuel Parker sharpie waiting to take my bow line. They were even nice enough to act surprised at how quickly I arrived, telling me again and again that my boat was "fast." First time it's ever been called that, I can assure you...

    Canadian marinas are hassle-free (especially on a Sunday night when no one's around), so after a 4-mile (round trip) hike to a grocery store with my new cruising friends, I camped here:



    The next day saw me heading southward toward a narrow passage called Little Detroit:



    Once through Little Detroit, I was headed for the famous Benjamin Islands. But again, blustery winds and a course dead downwind started to feel risky, so I dropped the sail (no crisis this time) and rowed to nearby Crooks Island to explore:



    I walked around the whole island, found a nice cliff to jump off and swim from, and arrived back at the boat still burned out and not ready to face 15 knots +. So:



    I camped. Again, just one tiny flat sandy spot big enough for the tent. This was one of my favorite places to camp; Crooks Island is at the edge of the big open water, so it felt like I was way out there one my own, living my own version of Castaway.

    In fact, though, it was proving to be a pretty tame trip (not a bad thing if you ask me!) I'd gone into it not really knowing how stupid it was to do such a long trip in my relatively unseaworthy Pirate Racer, but it was turning out to be plenty capable of handling whatever we found--with a somewhat cautious approach. Plenty of shelter and spots to duck out of rough conditions for most of the way.

    More later,

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  10. #45
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Thanks for the photos and keep 'em coming!

    Dan

  11. #46
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    No adventure???!! You need to take up climbing, that's all. Are you anywhere near the Wind River Mountains? Maybe one of my three favorite places.
    I worked for the Pinedale Ranger District in the Winds backcountry for 14 years. Loved it. There is sailing on the big glacial lakes on the west slope, especially Fremont Lake, but they lie along the prevailing winds with the landings at the far windward end, so the typical sail is a wild twenty-minute run and a 90-minute beat back to the ramp. The water is shockingly cold. I learned to boardsail there, so I know.

    But back to the chase, I really admire your adventurous spirit and ability, sailing a small craft in that sort of open water with difficult shorelines. 5.4 on wet rock with no protection is pretty serious (I'm a former climber).

    I just finished rebuilding a Bolger Gypsy, and am planning to build an alternate balance-lug rig for it this winter.



    So, if you're enroute to the Winds and would like a day or two on the water, or have a Bolger Skiff Inland Raid in mind, drop me a PM. We also run the local whitewater, if you'd like to give that a go.

    Chip

  12. #47
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Something you'd never see with a motor running--sail and oar all the way!
    That is just so true, as I notice whenever I've been out in the outboard skiff. Not only do the animals flee your commotion, but you also drown out the subtle clues that tell you where to look with the incessant drone. You always see a lot more wildlife when you're quiet.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    I really admire your adventurous spirit and ability, sailing a small craft in that sort of open water with difficult shorelines. 5.4 on wet rock with no protection is pretty serious (I'm a former climber).
    Ah, well, what really surprised me was how easy it ended up being. I went into the trip thinking it might be a little over my head, but found it was well within my (and my boat's) capabilities. (A Bolger Gypsy might be pushing it, though...) A light boat helps a lot, knowing I could pretty much drive up unto a beach anywhere (in fact, I've been wondering if my Alaska will turn out to be more boat than I actually want!), and never more than 2-3 miles offshore (usually much less). An open schedule helps even more--no need to rush.

    As fo the climbing bit:

    1) I would gladly have come down, but it was too late by then (you know how that goes), and

    2) the rock was dry, with good friction. Still plenty scary, as no one ever has (or ever will) mistaken me for Peter Croft.

    As for the invite for some Wyoming sailing, I'll keep it in mind. I've thought about taking a boat west one of these days (Salt Lake? Lake Powell? The Inside Passage?) and you'd be right on the way.

    Tom
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  14. #49
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    So, after my night on Crooks Island, I knew I'd reach the Benjamins today. I'd been looking forward to them for a long time. I knew they might be crowded, but I was pretty sure that in my little boat I'd be able to find a quiet corner or two. And so it proved. Landfall just off Fox Island found a private slip waiting:



    I watched a few big 'glass sloops motor through this area, sails furled with covers tied on, threading their way through narrow channels between rocks. There were places where my rudder cleared the rocky bottom by just a few inches! I guess some people really really trust their engines. And their GPS.

    Next a bunch of kayakers invited me to breakfast at a little cove just north of North Benjamin:



    I have to admit, I think kayaks are, overall, a more practical method of traveling by water than a small sailboat. In the long run, I think they're faster, and can handle more conditions than my boat.

    But somehow, they just ain't as cool to me:



    And sailboats do offer some advantages: room to move around, forward progress with zero effort, etc.

    I spend the day sailing down the east side of the Benjamin Island group:



    Paused here and there to explore:



    And ended up in an idyllic cove off the southern tip of South Benjamin (you can just see my boat about dead center of the photo, no sail up), where a few other boats were anchored to huge steel bolts driven into the granite:



    The left-most boat in this photo is Raggedy Annie, Anne Westlund's cruiser. I first heard about the North Channel by reading Anne's articles (http://www.wwpotterowners.com/SailingStories.html ), and I'd tried to look her up on Drummond Island before beginning my trip, but she was already gone on her summer cruise. Now I got to meet her here instead; the North Channel is a small world.

    I spent a while climbing around on the rocks and swimming. Anne and her friends invited me to a potluck supper, but I was hearing a 30 knot westerly wind forecast for tomorrow; I knew if I stayed, I'd be staying for at least two days. Instead, I decided to head south and camp somewhere on Clapperton Island.

    As I headed out, Anne said something like, "Good on ya, for sailing your little boat so far. That's something you'll get a lot of satisfaction from." Made me feel like a real sailor.

    Then, as I was leaving, I hoisted my balance lug backwards, barely avoided getting pushed into someone else's boat, finally got turned around and headed out...

    More later,

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-17-2010 at 03:52 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  15. #50
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Tom, I want to come out and do a trip out there. The scenery there is so very different from my own little batch of islands. All those exposed rocks without a banana slug or a barnacle to be found--it's fascinating!

  16. #51
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Tom, I want to come out and do a trip out there. The scenery there is so very different from my own little batch of islands. All those exposed rocks without a banana slug or a barnacle to be found--it's fascinating!
    Yep, I know what you mean. In 1999-2000 I lived in Brigantine Beach, New Jersey, right on the back bay/salt marsh. It was the first time (only time so far) I'd been around the ocean much. Gets pretty smelly and slimy with all them tides and critters everywhere. (Horseshoe crabs, THOSE were the worst!) Fresh water, not much of that.

    In fact, it seems like I'm dodging half of the challenges of small boat cruising by sticking to the Great Lakes: no tides, no tidal currents (that seems to be a big part of every trip for you guys), no slimy critters, no need to carry drinking water. You can park a boat somewhere and when you wake up it's still there, right where you left it, and as far in or out of the water as it was when you left it there. (Though there can be wind-driven tides/seiches up to a foot or so, they tell me).

    Anyway, by all means come here for a trip. I'm hoping to go again in mid-July of 2011 if I can get my Alaska built by then (I better, since I have an Oregonian friend planning to join me...) I also plan to take my Bolger boat to Isle Royale next summer (they'll put any boat under 18' long on the ferry for the hop over). Shoot me a PM anytime you're thinking of coming to the Great Lakes (any of them) and I'd love to sail with you.

    Later,

    Tom

    By the way, my wife was reading over my shoulder, and she knew you must be from the PNW as soon as she read "banana slug." They must be famous or something? I admit to not knowing what they are, though they sound... disturbing?
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    I would love love love to take Big Food on the Texas 200. I was just in Lubbock last weekend for a wedding, and was thinking, man, Texas is a long ways away from home, how would I pull this off?
    And you'd think Lubbock is close to the start of the Texas 200, wouldn't you, seeing as it's in the same state and everything...

    I've done the Texas 200 twice now, and the 26-hour drive () is probably the hardest part. It'd probably be 36 hours for you! (72 hours if you count the round trip. That starts to break the rule of thumb I used to use on my climbing trips: if I can't spend at least as many hours climbing as I did driving, I don't go).

    But it's a great bunch of people, so it's well worth doing once. I'm usually more a solo traveler, so it's interesting to hang out with so many people interested in sailing small boats. It's also a good way to get started in cruising a small boat--you know there will probably be people close enough to offer some help if you need it. It was the first big trip I did, and it made me feel like I knew enough about what I was doing to keep doing it (especially since I finished it without much help even though I ended up dismasted and with a broken tiller).

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  18. #53
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Banana slug: a terrestrial mollusk of the genus Ariolimax. . . . .the Official State Pulmonate Gastropod of Washington. The name is of course quite misleading as it is not recommended that you try to peel them before eating.



    It is of course merely a runner-up contestant in the class of Slimy Things you'd Prefer Not to Find in your Sleeping Bag, trailing those other great PNW molluscs, the Giant Pacific Octopus



    And the contemptible and obscene Geoduck Clam


  19. #54
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen;2769052And the contemptible and obscene Geoduck Clam

    [IMG
    http://www.geoduckrecipes.com/images/geoduck-size.jpg[/IMG]
    Didn't I see a few of these in Return of the Jedi?

    Tom
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  20. #55
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Great pics Tom.
    We spent a few days at Fox,during the second week of August.Aside from us,it was empty for the first two nights.
    That was a first,kind of eerie,too.
    I don't suppose that you saw the bald eagles fishing at the northern end of N.Benjamin?
    That was a first as well,but not eerie at all.
    We've always wanted to poke around in the big boat between the rocks at the SW corner,but after going through in the dinghy,my bravery evaporates.
    Then I see locals flying through all these places at full throttle,and I always feel a bit silly for being so cautious.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    James, where did you find that baby slug? I've never seen one that small...

    And one of life's suprise pleasures is a geoduck burger, ground geoduck neck made into a fritter with lotsa garlic. Mmmm...

    Tom, thanks for all the great pictures and stories. Boat camping trips are the kind of fun we used to have as boy scouts, and that (sadly) most of us grow up and forget how truly fun and humbling it is to be that close to nature. Just read a book in which Northwest Company fur traders traveling around the upper great lakes did so by canoe and camping - your pictures bring it all to life. Thanks again - Chris

  22. #57
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    For me the T200 was a fun way to hang out with some like minded individuals. After all, there aren't too many small sailboat enthusiasts out there. I've done plenty of kayak cruises, but have really gotten into the fun of camp cruising under sail.

    Dan

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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    ie was the only other wooden boat I saw on the entire trip. A neat boat, and way more soulful than the 'glass sloops that were everywhere.

    Still, I don't think I'll ever go back to big boats. They're so complicated. Standing rigging. Jibs. Decks that you actually need to climb around on to do stuff. I'm too lazy for all that. A good small boat? Reach over from your comfy sitting position (with a cushion against the side deck for a back rest) and you can:

    1) raise the sail.

    2) drop the sail.

    3) adjust the downhaul.

    4) tend the sheet and tiller.

    5) reach your handheld VHF, compass, and Ziploc-bagged chart.

    6) adjust the ultra-simple tied-on leeboards.

    Really, I've become far too lazy for a bigger boat. Lots of people see the extra comforts a big boat seems to offer. Nowadays I tend to see the extra inconveniences more.

    Later,

    Tom
    This is a great unspoken truth. Another great thing about little boats ... when you're done, you bring it home and park it next to the house. No moorage fees, no worrying about fraying docklines or anchor rodes, and when you've got a few minutes you can walk outside pull off the cover and daydream a bit. The daydreaming part is my favorite.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  24. #59
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    What a great thread. I lived in Sault St. Marie during high school, and sailed bits of the North Channel back then, though I did more time in those waters in canoes. Beautiful country - thanks for bringing back memories.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    That's some great-looking country—wonderful for small boat cruising!

    I've had my own experiences with 25- to 30-knot breezes in my 18-footer. With three reefs in the main lugsail and one reef in the sprit mizzen (and towing a dory), I've found it very difficult to tack, but at the same time I'm reluctant to wear and give up hard-won progress to weather. I've learned that I have to keep my mizzen, to help kick the stern around. For next year, I plan to make a storm sail, which I can keep rolled up on a short boom under the thwarts and haul out when necessary. The strategy will be to douse the lugsail and hoist the storm sail on the same mast, with the same halyard. For openers, this will get me down to a single sheet on the mainsail—much easier for solo sailing. Also, not having the long spar aloft will greatly simplify jibes.

    Every boat is different, but whatever your boat is, having a heavy-weather strategy is important. I'm taking a cue from the "storm trysail" that racing yachts carry, and I'm expecting the sailing to be something like sailing a ketch with jib-and-jigger.

  26. #61
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    great thread! this reminds me of the book "swallows and amazons"

  27. #62
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Thanks for all the interest in my journeys. I'll post a little more.

    After leaving the little rocky cove just off the southern tip of South Benjamin Island, I sailed pretty much due south, heading for Clapperton Island, passing by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the North Channel:



    I would've particularly liked a stop at this rocky island just west of Croker Island:



    but again, I was thinking of the next day's forecast of 25-knot winds out of the west, so I kept going. I could just point high enough to bash my way through the waves in a generally southerly direction. I thought about running down the east side of Clapperton, but couldn't make myself give up any westing at all, so I went down the west side instead.

    Very windy, and wet thumping along closehauled--once again, I was really glad to have my drysuit. With a mixture of beating and rowing along the shore of Clapperton, I finally found my way (but that makes it sound too easy; really, what I did was row for a LONG time into strong winds) into a tiny bay just north of Vankoughnet Island. There I raised sail again for an exhilirating run--must've been about 20 knots, but in sheltered water (very shallow, 2-3' at most), to my campsite at a narrow passage between Vankoughnet Island and Clapperton Island (marked Indian Pass on my chart). A bigger boat couldn't sneak through here, but I found a sandy-ish beach:



    This is exactly how my boat spent the entire next day, too, since the promised strong westerlies arrived, shutting down both the northern and southern approaches to Indian Pass with breaking waves.

    But I had a pleasant spot for the tent tucked in among the abundant poison ivy, and a couple of books to read. I also swam over to Clapperton to explore. Got down to the southern tip, out of Vankoughnet Island's shelter, and realized what a smart decision I'd made to stay put--the entire shallow channel between Clapperton and Manitoulin Islands was a chaotic mess of breaking waves and boulders.

    And so, maybe having a flexible schedule (and the ability to just stay ashore whenever you have to) is the most important safety measure in a small boat... what do you think? If there's anything better than a storm sail, this might be it.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-08-2010 at 08:42 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  28. #63
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    After spending 2 nights at Indian Pass, I was up early the next day. Cold and windy, but southerly enough that I thought I might be able to work westward pretty well. This was my test, really; if I couldn't make some progress to westward, I'd have to start thinking about other ways to get back to my car.

    Heading SW toward Gore Bay, I found myself beating to windward on a day where even the big boats looked like they had to work at it:



    My flat-bottomed Bolger boat had a hard time tacking in these waves; I had to time each tack just right between waves, and even then it sometimes took more than one try to get around. Will that get easier with my new round-bottomed Alaska? Darroch? Alex? What have you found?

    Still, once we rounded the corner into Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island's north side, it was a perfect run to the marina, surfing down waves but pleasantly in control. I landed at a public park just outside the marina entrance, then got permission (from the teenage marina staff, who clearly didn't care) to leave my boat here:



    while I wrangled up a room at Martha's Inn, a hilltop B&B nearby (O luxury!) and ate in a restaraunt (O luxury!) and found the public library (O luxury!) with free internet AND a used book sale (O glorious luxury--bought half a dozen books) before ordering a take-out pizza from Buoy's at the marina (O luxury!) and crashed early.

    You know, a restaraunt meal, some used books at $.50 each, and a take-out pizza only seem this good after going through so much to get them. Drive there by car and who cares? But make it a stop on a VOYAGE and it all suddenly becomes much, much cooler.

    A nice moment to reflect on my progress; the image below shows the North Channel with all of my campsites marked. Gore Bay was night 13:

    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  29. #64
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    You're gonna love that Kurylko design. Just wait. You're moving from Clampett Country to Big Cadillac. (And I mean that with a TON of respect for that little boat of yours.)

    What a fun trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    You're gonna love that Kurylko design. Just wait. You're moving from Clampett Country to Big Cadillac. (And I mean that with a TON of respect for that little boat of yours.)
    Clampett Country--that sounds about right. (Especially if you had the chance to examine the workmanship closely...) Yeah, I think I'll like the new boat.

    Am I right in guessing that it'll go to windward a lot better than my Pirate Racer, with its shallow, tied-on leeboards and flat bottom?

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  31. #66
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    I couldn't believe my luck--a SE wind in the forecast! Exactly what I needed, and enough to get me out of my cozy B&B without even waiting around for the second B at 8:00 a.m.

    I had to row most of the way out of Gore Bay, but once around the corner the winds kicked in. Ten miles of easy sailin'. Then:



    So my boat keeps moving in very little wind--just not fast enough to do any good. After 6-8 miles of rowing, I did finally make it to Cape Roberts for the night:



    but that was a loooooooooong day.

    Later,

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-08-2010 at 09:34 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  32. #67
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    I'm sure you'll find your Alaska pretty exciting, even if you can't drag her up the rocks! No worries, though; a good anchor and mooring system let you sleep ashore in peace if you can't find a hidey-hole and stay on the boat.

    As far as tacking in a chop, I've found that fresh water (a) kicks up a lot sooner than salt water and (b) the waves seems closer and bigger than on salt water for a given strength of wind. It just seems easier to sail in the chuck. Having the right sail(s) up also helps. I've found that even in moderate wind she moves nicely with the mizzen stepped in the middle position. I've also stepped the main in the middle step with success, though
    it's hard to see under the sail in that situation.

    Edit to add: "moderate wind" being somewhere around 15 kts. Out here a Strong Wind Warning is issued above 20 kts. (20 - 33)
    Last edited by darroch; 11-09-2010 at 12:34 AM.

  33. #68
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    [QUOTE=WI-Tom;2769979]
    My flat-bottomed Bolger boat had a hard time tacking in these waves; I had to time each tack just right between waves, and even then it sometimes took more than one try to get around. Will that get easier with my new round-bottomed Alaska? Darroch? Alex? What have you found?


    Tom,

    I've found that the Alaska, with it's long straight keel, needs to be sailed through a tack - it won't snap around like a fin-keeled boat with lots of momentum.

    My experience sailing to windward is much the same as Darroch. Anything above 12-14 kts you need to step the mizzen in the centre step. If the water is flat, you can make progress to windward, but if you add too much of a chop on top of it, it gets difficult. At 20 kts to windward for sure it's down sail and take to the oars and even then it's questionable with a singlehander. Might be different with 2 people on the oars but I haven't tried that yet.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  34. #69
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Day 15, the start of my third week, and with it another strong SE wind! It was looking like I'd make it back to the car without too much trouble after all. And now that the end seemed close, I was looking forward to finishing the trip, sailing my little boat back into the harbor I'd started from.

    It was maybe our best day of sailing, over 20 miles at good speed; my drysuit, despite its Star Fleet styling, was just enough to keep me warm, dry, and comfy on a cool and windy day:



    We made the hop from Manitoulin Island to Cockburn (pronounced Coburn) Island that evening:



    and camped at the place with the coolest name on the whole trip: the dreaded Devil's Horn! In fact, I realized I'd been sailing through the Roaring Forties (or is that the southern hemisphere? I never remember; either way, it was in the 40-ish latitudes...) and was now about to round the Horn! All in a fourteen-foot Bolger boat.

    The Horn proved to be more picturesque than threatening:



    With, once again, room for my tent at the edge of a cedar-and-spruce forest:



    And I enjoyed a peaceful night of solitude, with just one big 'glass sloop anchored across the bay.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  35. #70
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    Default Re: The North Channel by Sail and Oar

    Well, it wouldn't be one of my trips if I didn't forget stuff. Actually, I hadn't forgotten anything except a pair of sunglasses on day 1. Today I stopped in at the NW tip of Cockburn Island to pull on my drysuit (another cool windy day) and forgot my wristwatch on shore. Big deal; I'd stopped caring what time it was.

    Since it's illegal to land in the U.S. without clearing Customs, this must be someone else's Pirate Racer ashore on the eastern edge of Drummond Island:



    Meanwhile, I was rowing my boat southward through False Detour Passage:



    bypassing this campsite:



    which must have offered trails through the mossy forest kind of like this:



    And certainly didn't come ashore as I rowed past an island where a familiar-looking wooden sharpie was moored:



    even though I'm sure my cruising friends would've been glad to let me pitch a tent on their land and feed me supper--and breakfast!

    I didn't come ashore to camp here, either:

    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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