So I took another trip to the North Channel this summer--this time aboard my brother's newly-built Phoenix III (designed by Australian designer Ross Lillistone http://www.baysidewoodenboats.com.au/).
Last year I sailed a big loop (about 240 miles in 20 days) of the North Channel in my Bolger Pirate Racer (see THIS THREAD), but this year my brother was able to join me, and we only had a week. We planned to drive to a launch point in Ontario, and sail around the Benjamin Islands and the Whalesback Channel together. One problem: there was no way my Bolger skiff would keep up with my brother's Phoenix III, and my new boat wasn't even close to being done as planned. Didn't matter--turns out the Phoenix III is perfect for cruising two. Here we are ready to launch from the municipal marina in Spanish, Ontario:
We planned to start heading east the first evening (easy to do in a region with prevailing westerlies) toward the Benjamin Islands (I only got to spend a day there last year and wanted to return; beautiful rocky islands, perfect for small boat cruising). But, rowing out of the marina, I managed to break an oar before even hoisting the sail--phooey. While I spent an hour driving around Ontario looking for oars, my brother managed to epoxy the oar and wind the break tightly with 1/4" line soaked in more epoxy (you can just see the repair on the starboard oar in the photo below--a great trick that worked flawlessly, though I was skeptical at first). We camped ashore at the marina to let the epoxy set, then headed out the next day, finding a beach outside Shoepack Bay to swim at:
Ross has designed a great boat: almost neutral helm, fast, good looking. Instead of the rig Ross designed, my brother used the mast and sail from his self-designed skiff--that's about a 60 sq. ft. standing lug, boomless. Worked perfectly in the Phoenix III.
Kept heading east, tacking (even in a region with prevailing westerlies, we found headwinds) up the narrow channels behind Hotham Island; found a campsite for the first night in a tiny cove:
The cove, as all good Canadian coves ought, came with its own resident beaver, who spent the night eyeing up the Baltic birch plywood on the Phoenix's decks, and slapping his tail on the water in hungry anticipation:
More to come...