I’m falling behind on my blog posts. I can’t believe it has been almost 3 weeks since we took the big trip from Wiarton to Lefroy on Lake Simcoe and I haven’t updated my blog. A lot has happened since then so I will break it up into a few posts.
I was both looking forward to the trip and at the same time dreading it. I wasn’t concerned about the weather. It looked like it was going to be a very nice weekend. I wasn’t concerned about the logistics of the trip. Jeff was joining Donald and me on the trip so I knew we had an experienced captain to help us navigate the many different (and all new to us) situations that we would encounter along the way.
So exactly what was I dreading?
When we bought the boat in August of 2019 (really? It’s been almost 2 years????) she had been sitting at the marina south of Ottawa for at least 5 years. I know they had been doing regular maintenance on her over that time because they showed me the work order. Oil had been changed and she was covered every winter. They did quite a bit of work on the generator and also replaced things like parts of the trim tabs, belts, and various hoses. All of this was great but she had not left the marina for those 5 years.
Even before the marina acquired her I had no idea of how long she was just sitting somewhere.
Hence my concern.
The tanks were almost full but I had no idea how old the fuel was. The marina couldn’t tell me either. I pictured us leaving for Lefroy and being stranded out in the middle of Georgian Bay. Maybe she wouldn’t even make it that far.
So a couple of days before we were to leave I bought a membership for this service …
Basically this is CAA (or AAA for our American friends) for the boat. If we were to lose power we would contact them and would get towed to a marina for repairs. Well worth the piece of mind.
Without giving too much away right now … we didn’t need it.
On the morning of June 6th Casey drove us to Wiarton to begin our journey (here is where it gets a bit complicated). He was pretty instrumental to the success of the plan of how we were going to go from point A to point B so we can get to point C without leaving a car at point B. He then picked us up the next day at point C to take us back to point A.
This is like Inception … you will need to stay focused here.
He was just as important a week later when he drove me and Leanne to point C so we could meet up with my new captain, Jason, and his wife Kerrin (and their two boys William and Gerry). They (Leanne and Casey) then went back to point A to wait to come and get us when we reached point B a few days later. More on this second part in the next blog post.
If you are confused don’t worry … I have pictures.
Here is Becky ( and remembering of course that her official name is Family Ties) on the morning of June 6th sitting in our slip (point B). Luckily the weather looked great because we basically tossed most of the old bimini by this point.
From left to right … me … Donald … Casey … and Captain Jeff.
Right out of the gate … $$$$$$ … had to make sure our tanks were full. I took note of how much diesel went into each tank and they each took basically the same amount … only off by 5 litres.
We hadn’t left Colpoy’s Bay when we needed to deal with the dinghy. At 8 knots we weren’t on plane yet and the bottom of the dinghy was catching a lot of the wake. You can see it washing over the platform. We had to angle the port side of the dinghy higher so that it didn’t catch as much water. Once we hit 10 knots everything was fine. I will have to figure out a way to get the dinghy to sit higher on the davit.
Interesting … if you asked me what a davit was 2 years ago I wouldn’t have had a clue.
Once underway Donald found one of his favourite spots.
It is pretty cool sitting at the bow and watching the water rush by beneath you. From there you could hardly hear the engines.
Here was another one of his favourite spots. If you look very closely you will see very clearly that there is no sign of a bottle of sunscreen….
Jeff took on the task of figuring out the chart plotter and laying out our course.
When I designed the new layout for the helm I struggled a bit with where to place all of the instruments. I’m not even going to mention where someone suggested I place it on the dash but now I can say for certainty it is in the perfect place.
The weather was amazing as we crossed Georgian Bay so the biggest challenge for me was staying on course. We haven’t yet invested in an auto pilot (our boat is set up for having one … in fact there was a very old one on the dash but that was tossed since our plan was to replace all wiring and electronic components) so I had to follow those little lines on the chart plotter. It is extremely easy to get off course when you don’t have any navigation aids to go by.
I kept looking to Jeff to see how he thought the engines were doing and he kept reassuring me that they were doing very well. So well in fact that we hit a top speed of 20 knots which we weren’t expecting at all. The funny thing about running this boat at 20 knots is that you can almost see the fuel gauges move. We were on a tight schedule so I kept the speed up. It was also good to put her to the test … and she passed with flying colours.
We arrived in Victoria Harbour where Jeff had booked us a slip. I wanted the challenge of docking in a new marina and this was definitely a challenge. The fact that is was a bit windy and that I didn’t know the layout was one thing. The fact that they had single slips with dock fingers on both sides. I was used to a very wide fairway with a very wide slip.
I was a bit nervous as I approached the slip and had to back away on my first attempt but I did manage to split the uprights on my second. It definitely feels very good when you finally get to shut the engines down once you are tied off.
Here is the slip that I managed to back into successfully …
After supper Donald and I set up the lounge chairs on the bow. I will be bringing these back to the shop in the fall to finish them off. I had to bring them along so that we could get a canopy made in Lefroy (more on that in the next post).
I can’t remember if I showed the cockpit storage photos before but even if I did here they are again.
Eventually the cockpit walls will be covered with panels as will the face of the storage unit. I still have to fit the area around the seats to make a fixed seat cushion.
You might notice the 400 lbs of anchor chain in front of it. Makes me wonder now if that might have contributed wake hitting the dinghy???
The next morning was very windy so I put aside my pride and asked Jeff to take us out of the marina. Sometimes you just have to let experience take over for a bit – Jeff … notice I didn’t say age???
Donald assumed his favourite spot again looking out for icebergs.
We finally arrived at the first lock on the Trent. My next test. I watched enough Youtube videos on boats in the locks and how tight it can be. Luckily it wasn’t that busy so I didn’t feel any pressure. It definitely isn’t as easy as it looks but we made it through in one piece.
It was a slow race getting through the Trent. Watching our wake in no-wake zones was tricky.
Finally we arrived at the Big Chute. If you have never heard of it is a marine railway that carries boats over land. Very … very cool.
This is a view from the low side. We were waiting for these boats to unload.
This is shot is as we were heading up to the other side. We were basically hanging off the end. Really wish I had a shot of the boat from off the carriage.
It was a great slow trip with beautiful scenery along the way.
Donald once again at the bow.
… or port side ….
… or at the bow again …
At lock 43 …
… and then 42 …
… and then finally on Lake Simcoe on our way to Lefroy. It was a bit rough and the wind and waves were in the perfect spot to drench us once in a while.
He said he was only resting his eyes.
We arrived in Lefroy (point C) at around 5 pm and it took me about 10 minutes (or 3 attempts) to get the boat into their shop. Another tight fit but another opportunity to learn. We set up the bow frame so that they could fit the canopy.
I’m hoping I can find enough time to get the next post done this week.
Until then ….