This is my blog of my sailing experiences on DUTCHESS my CSY 44 WO.
Dutchess is a Caribbean Sailing Yacht, Hull #007 and 44' long weighing 38,000 pounds. She has a cutter rig with mainsail, roller furled jib and stay sail on the cutter stay. We also carry 2 storm sails a main and a jib.
Dutchess traveled from Cobourg Municipal Marina to Port Whitby Marina. We had a
nice ride in Lake Ontario, with the wind blowing off the land we had almost no
waves. This made Skipper very happy.
motored to Mimico Cruising Club
Mimico Cruising Club
Toronto Skyline from Lake Ontario
(located in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto)
following the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Mimico C.C. is west of Toronto
proper. We passed Toronto and saw the beautiful and impressive skyline immediately
as we started out. It started out a bit rolly with the waves on the stern, but
quieted down about halfway. Juli walked about a mile to get a mani/pedi/facial
in Etobicoke and Sadie also had a day of beauty at the groomer. We also toured Toronto on a bus – what a
huge, friendly, vibrant city! We
especially enjoyed the St Lawrence Market where food, Juli finally found
Nainamo bars at a huge bakery (a sweet Canadian bar cookie from her childhood).
we sailed across Lake Ontario to St Catherines Marina. We had a good quiet crossing of 4.2 hours
traveling around 22 NM with the wind dropping to zero. This marina is very
tight to maneuver in for a 44’ boat and they put us all the way in. This is the
only marina near the Welland Canal. John found a long black hair in his Mexican
dish that we got at the small food shop in the marina! (other than that, the food was good – lol) We
walked the dogs and then went to bed early because of an early start the next
got up at 0530, started the engine almost immediately, left at 0600 and proceeded
around the breakwater towards the Welland Canal. About a mile in there is a
free wall for recreational vessels to tie up and wait for clearance to enter
the canal. We arrived at the wall at 0645 and our helper, Bob Neff, drove up at
the same time. We had hired Bob to help us thru the canal because they require a
crew of at least three on each boat coming up the canal. The Canal goes from
Lake Ontario to Lake Erie basically to get around Niagara Falls. The canal cost
$200.00 CA if you book on-line and the guide costs $250.00CA or $200.00 US -- a
short cut that costs $450.00CA! Bob called the Canal control and was given no
time of transit. We hung out at the wall with a small racing sailboat until
2000 when we were given permission to enter lock number #1. These are huge
locks for ocean going ships and “Lakers” with about a 40’ rise.
Welland Canal Lock Doors
Welland Canal Lock
Two sailboats were
dwarfed in these dark canyons. Because the lock is so large it takes a while to
fill to the next level and they fill them fast with roiling water and currents
bouncing the boat around. Being on deck was a bit scary for Juli as the boat
rocked back and forth in the dark. Juli handled the line on the bow, Bob was on
the stern line, and John stayed on the engine controls to keep the boat
stationary. It was very dark and difficult to find the lines that were lowered
to us. The locks are close together which
kept Juli on the bow until after Lock 7. After lock 7, around 1400, Bob was
paid and he left the boat to return home. We proceeded to lock 8 which took
about 2 hrs. We were told to tie to the wall and wait for a Laker to come out
of lock 8. We waited for 30 minutes and we got the green light to proceed under
the bridge and into the lock. In lock #8 we did not have to be controlled by
lines and simply drifted around because it is only a 4’ lift. They extended a
basket to us and Juli placed the proof of payment papers and a completed
questionnaire in the basket. We had The Active Captain information showing a
free wall to tie to once out of the Canal. Juli lassoed a bollard to stop the
boat which only gave us one dock line. The wall was 5’ above the deck so John
climbed up to tie the boat and rappelled back down into the boat - working on
pure adrenaline now! We went to bed at 1630 with our clothes on, dead tired and
very cold – but we made it!
morning at 0900 we were awakened by a shout and found a 200’ Canadian Coast
Guard Cutter next to us. We were informed that we were in his spot. We untied
immediately and got away from there – lol.
On 08/01/17 we took a short ride to Sugarloaf Marina in
Port Colborne. They gave us an easy long dock to tie to. Still tired we napped
most of the day. Then got some showers and dinner at the restaurant in the
Marina. We both had Lake Erie Perch and a nice cold beer.
Dutchess reentered the USA at Buffalo NY, an easy trip on Lake Erie. We first
pulled into the Erie Basin Marina to connect to US Immigration and report in.
We saw a green uniformed US Customs officer but he could not help and told us
to use the video phone on the wall. You guessed it – the phone did not
work! We left the marina and proceeded
on to the Buffalo Launch Club where we had reservations to dock. To avoid the
currents in the river, we took the Black Rock Canal and the Lock which
parallels the river. We had a speedy transit under 2 bridges that opened for us
and thru the Black Rock Lock (say that 3 times on the VHF!). At the BLC we tied
to C dock which is a short walk to their beautiful club house complete with dining
room, bar, pool, tennis courts, a dog walk area, and nice outdoor seating areas.
We reached Customs from here via cell phone – quick and easy.