Monday, July 20, 2009

Just because we're close to home, doesn't mean there isn't adventure July 18- 20

Planning the route west on Lake Ontario.

After we said goodbye to Kim we had a another look at the weather forecast. We would be heading into brisk winds right on our nose and the waves would be high. Tomorrow's forecast looked more promising, the winds and waves would be diminishing during the day. We decided to rest up in Sodus Bay and make Sunday a longer travel day. We walked over to the marina where we had first 'met' Tiffany Rose and generally had a walk down memory lane remembering what it was like when we thought that maybe just maybe we could do a trip like this.

Sunday morning we headed out bright and early thinking it might be a bit of a slog early on but expecting the wind and waves to subside as the forecast promised. It had not been unusual on this trip for us to put in the occasional day where we'd go between 50 and 60 miles, so that's what we had in mind with Oak Orchard being our destination. When a good portion of the morning had passed and we had still not reached Pultneyville, which is only 10 miles from Sodus, we began to revise our plan. Rochester at half the distance would be enough of a challenge. Not really making progress motoring into the wind, we shut off the engine and sailed back and forth through the wind. It didn't move us that much faster toward our destination but at least it felt fast! The waves kept getting bigger and bigger and we were feeling quite weather beaten by the time we saw the entrance to the Rochester harbour. We radioed the Rochester Yacht club and they said they had a slip for us. The slip we were directed into was too narrow for Tiffany Rose and we got stuck between the dock and the piling. Another slip was found and we wiggled out of the tight spot and settled in the wider slip. A few hours later, the boat Wing It arrived. (We had met them as we finished the canal. It is a new boat that they bought in NYC and they had their mast stepped the same day we did.) We went to help with their lines but the slip they were assigned was too tight for them, as was the next one. If at first you don't succeed, try try again. The third one fit.

Tow Boat US taking Tiffany Rose to Wilson, NY

Monday's forecast was a good one and we hoped that this time it was right. But we were conservative and just planned to go to Oak Orchard. It was a beautiful day. The lake was calm and the wind was light. As it was right on our nose we motored into it with the main sail up, where it could help any time we veered off the wind. After a while the wind shifted enough for us to unfurl the genoa. The wind was too light to make much progress by sail alone but it boosted the engine speed up nicely. The next thing you know is it's near noon and we're right by Oak Orchard. Why stop now? Such a nice day. On to Olcott.
Christopher enjoyed his turns at the helm. (video below)Most of the time there has always been one of us holding the wheel but today the wind was just right for him to go it alone with just a "Go a little to starboard" (or to port) suggestion from us every now then .

We were about 8 miles from Olcott when we heard and felt a thud, thud, thud. Even though we were in deep water, it appeared we had hit a log. Usually this is a bad thing. It turned out to be one of those"what a good thing that happened then" things. Dave went below to check that everything was ok around where the propeller shaft enters the boat. (A bad hit could lead to taking on water or other perils.) Turned out everything was fine in that regard, but totally unrelated, all of the engine coolant was in the engine bilge. The engine hadn't started to overheat yet, but if that thud hadn't had him look below then we may not have realized that we had no coolant until it was too late. So, we turned off the engine and sailed along while Dave started looking for the leak. Still a beautiful day, but the wind was quite light and we were only going about 2 1/2 knots. Now, Olcott seemed far away.
Dave couldn't find the leak and it seemed too risky to turn the engine on. We knew we could keep sailing to Olcott, but with the wind this light out on the lake we knew there would be none in the sheltered harbour. We have the Tow Boat US insurance, so we thought we'd call them. Down south there was one in every port it seemed. We were surprised to find out it would have to come out from Rochester. So we kept sailing, waiting for them to call us back. Dave started researching repair places and found one in Wilson which is 5 miles past Olcott. He called them and found out where we could dock if we ever got there. Finally we got a call back from Tow Boat US, they would be there in 2-3 hours. So, we did what we could do, kept sailing along at 2 1/2 knots. We were in good company. There is a big race on right now called the Lake Ontario 300 where boats race around the whole lake without stopping. A few were near by us and they weren't moving quickly either.
After we ate supper we noticed that very faintly in the distance we could see the CN tower. It was very exciting! By the time the Tow Boat got to us we had actually sailed past Olcott. It was an interesting experience for us to be towed to a dock. An interesting one for the Tow Boat man and his family as well. They had never been to Wilson. Between us we found the marina and the spot we were to dock in, we think. (By this time the marina was closed).

So here we are only 41 nautical miles from the Burlington Bridge. So close! We'll have to see tomorrow what needs to be done and when we can move on. We'll be home soon......just not sure how soon.

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