Thousand Islands – Heading home

Time to head back home. We were nearing the end of our trip and decided to sail back, seems like winds typically blow in from the East so we had a good tailwind most of the way.

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Stopped in at Andress in Rockport again to fill up with gas and get some supplies. We saw a cool little Hunter 260 trailerable boat “Gypsea Kids”. We spoke with them for a while and Lori went on board to check it out. The boat was dazzling clean and very well maintained. Layout inside great for a couple but we prefer our layout better for our family.

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Surfing in a Macgregor

We started out with our motor to get away from the traffic and to go under the bridge. The Thousand Islands ferry just passed us and I saw the large wake it was throwing. Instead of being sensible, my old experiences of surfing in kayaks kicked in. As I felt the boat raise up with the wake I gave it a bit of gas to keep the boat on the front of the wake and sure enough, we caught the wave! We were surfing!

Sailing wing on wing

After playing in the wake a few more times we decided to take a more relaxing pace and put the sails back up. A number of large powerboats passed us, we swear we saw Ken and Barbie in one of them. We were heading downwind and the jib kept flapping behind main. I decided to try and use a docking pole to push jib out and go wing on wing. I thought it was great.

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Lori thought it (I) was ridiculous.

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Sugar Island

We anchored for the night on the North side of Sugar Island again. It was much quieter this time, everyone we saw before were gone.

It was a beautiful night but we spent the night dreading going back into Gananoque harbour and started looking for alternatives. We found a few options, we had to call the next morning when they were open. The dragon flies had made a home on our lines. I think it was a sign we were going to have a good day.

We were able to get a hold of the owner of Clarke’s marina on his cell phone and he said there’s a spot waiting for us. This is a small marina just outside of Gananoque, it was close enough that I could take a short run into town to go grab the car. We were set!

Clarke’s Marina

There is a long narrow channel into the marina and it’s a popular place for houseboats. As we are arriving, one trying to dock but owner accidentally floors it and grounds the boat into the weeds shooting up a spray of mud. We give it a wide berth and find a spot in the dock way up in front. After tying up, we find out we needed to be on the other side of the harbour.

Lori says walk all around, it’s not a long walk, I’m feeling confident (never a good sign) and decide to pilot the boat over. As I approach the guy at gas pump just, he just stands and stares at us as we try to get close to the dock. Maybe he thought we knew what we were doing. It was going OK until a gust wind comes from the shore and sends us sideways towards some boats docked on the other side. We are in a narrow channel and they are only 15 feet away.  I’m still not sure what to do when the boat goes sideways. I popped it into reverse and tried to turn the stern away, but it caused the bow to swing in towards the boats. Lori quickly fended them off with our feet, and our dinghy is now tied off to the side like it should be when we are trying to dock did a perfect job working as a bumper. Although I was waiting for it to pop.

We arrive back at the pump, a second time and the guy at pump said the owner I spoke to is away and he didn’t know we were going to be there. He ended up finding a powered slip for us to dock at for the night. Not willing to take any more chances, I walked over to check it out first and found another boat in that spot. A nice couple said they also talked to the owner and said they could dock there for the night. Walked back to the guy at the pump he gave us a non-powered spot this time. Not a big deal, we planned to go into town for dinner.

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Another nicely cared for Macgregor 26x, “Our Cottage”, with a nice tall, but open Bimini. Had to check how they had their jib attached, and yes, it looks like I’m doing it right. They had a solar fan attached to front hatch. That would make a nice addition but I would be worried about stepping on it.

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Put on my running shoes and jogged into Gananoque. It was a crazy hot day, had to stop at corner store for some Gatorade, could have easily drank two! Grabbed the vehicle, drove back, took a much needed shower. And we all then drove back into town to our favourite spot in Gananoque, The Socialist Pig, for Fish Tacos. Oh… and cold beers too.

It was a beautiful and relaxing night to finish off our trip.

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The next day, packed up the boat, made a second trip into that scary spot by the gas pump and put the boat up onto the trailer. Thought I went in perfectly but Lori said I hit one of the guide poles a bit hard, sure enough a small chip on the side of the hull. I definitely need more practice maneuvering in tight spaces. The drive home was uneventful with one stop at a gas station for snacks and put the boat back in the water at Lakefield.

What we will remember the most about the Thousand Islands

For me, finally seeing the islands from below the Thousand Islands bridge. After seeing the islands from above, always wanted to get a closer look! Also loved being able to jump off the back of the boat at any time into amazingly clear, and warm waters! What I missed the most: even though this is not the answer Lori will like… running out of power for our electronics. Even though we barely used them, it made me uncomfortable seeing the battery go below 15%.

For Lori, she loved being on, in and by the water 7 days straight. Oh, and running out of battery for electronics. What Lori missed the most: Bathtub.

Things to fix:

  • Water pump – the water pump in the kitchen sink doesn’t prime properly making it difficult to get water. Need to get a new one, prefer manual. Don’t want to bother with an electric one.
  • Battery – doesn’t need fixing, but would be nice to figure out a way to charge phones from one of them.
  • Rudder – need to find a fiberglass patch. Even though the duct tape is doing an amazing job so far. I’m hoping the same stuff can be used to patch up the scratch on the side of the hull when I put the boat back on the trailer.
  • Trailer bearings – looks like I blew a bearing on the way home. One of the rims were sprayed with grease from the hub.

Lessons learned

  • Checklist for when you are getting ready to dock. Are you getting the sense of a pattern here? Maybe I should write it out, my mental checklist keeps failing me.
  • Keep one rudder in and the swing keel down 25% for more control. Wish I did this, the boat would have slipped sideways a lot less!
  • Having the rubber dinghy on the side makes an excellent bumper in emergencies.
  • Wing on wing can be achieved with a boat hook, even if your wife thinks you are ridiculous.
  • A Macgregor sailboat can surf big waves. Be careful though, I’m sure you could get yourself into trouble if you turned at the wrong moment.

For more pics, and many of the same, see our Google Photo Album – Thousand Islands 2016

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