After just arriving in the Thousand Islands, we had to head home early.

The weather forecast was showing a storm brewing across Lake Ontario and heading towards us. We were confident we could weather the storm on a mooring ball but were worried about how little time we had left to get back to Cobourg. We didn’t want to spend our last few days pushing through some unknown weather. So we reluctantly decided to start heading back early to give some flexibility in choosing what days to travel.

We decided to head back towards Kingston, but with the wind now coming from the South it would have left us exposed in Navy Bay so we decided on paying to stay in Confederation Basin and also decided to not take the Northern route like we did last time. We’re glad we did, there was some nice sailing and it was much faster. It was only 15.3 nautical miles.

We started up under motor and had a 6 knot tailwind, which made the air feel like it was at a standstill on the boat, and it was muggy. As we rounded the island and turned North West we pulled out the Genoa. Wind speeds started to pick up so we pulled in the Genoa about 1/8th and put up the main with the second reef. We were moving fast now, with top speed bursts hitting 7.8 knots.

July 23 back to Kingston

As we approached Kingston we had a strange large steel power boat pull up behind us and started following about 40 feet off our stern. It was making me a bit nervous as I was expecting it to pass but it just met our speed and after following us for 5 minutes it veered off. I’m guessing it was just checking us out for some reason.

Up ahead, we saw a sight that always makes our nerves tingle and stress levels elevate. There were 40-60 little white sails zipping back and forth near the harbour. I never know how to navigate around these little boats.

July 23 Kingston boats

I probably could have safely gone through them, but I don’t feel confident enough so we altered course and took the long way into Confederation Basin.

We called ahead to Confederation Basin on the radio and they guided us in with some complex instructions that I promptly forgot the moment I put down the radio.

July 23 Confederation Basin sign

It didn’t go that well. Originally we were thinking this could be an alternative spot for our boat but after this adventure we’re not so sure. The spot is beautiful and conveniently close to the Thousand Islands. The marina is close to a lot of services and some really nice pubs (yes, that is a major point for deciding where to put your boat). However, it’s packed tight and it’s a maze of docks that are difficult to navigate. Coming around the large hotel you get wind gusts going in different directions.

July 23 Confederation Basin 1

The staff working Confederation Basin are amazing. Their radio etiquette must be one of the best I’ve heard, way better than mine. As we first came in, they hailed me on the radio to let me know I was going the wrong way. I had to stop the boat and then back out. The marina is a maze, I grabbed a copy of this for next time. We originally turned right and were heading to EB dock when they hailed us.

Confederation Marina

We then figured out the right direction, but had to again stop the boat as a large power boat was trying to get out of H dock. Both myself and another boat were turned to the wind at an SW angle just pulsing the engine to keep in one spot. As that cleared up I went in around the hotel and kept a bit of speed so I would have a little more control.

July 23 Confederation Basin 2

Then they asked for me to go into the slip stern first. I like the idea of docking stern in so it would be easier to just step off the back of the boat. But quickly realized I haven’t really practiced going backwards in our boat. I later discovered that it doesn’t like to turn… at all… until you have a few knots of speed going over the rudder in reverse. This made my attempt to dock a complete failure, I wasn’t even close backing up. The staff were awesome, they shouted out to take the slip on the other side and go bow first. I gratefully accepted this and was able to spin the boat around and dock without issue. This sounds a lot easier and less stressful than it really was. It involved me narrowly missing a few boats and trying to figure out how to go sideways against the wind at one point. By the time we tied up on the dock, we were more than ready for a beer! Fortunately there are a lot of good choices for beer in Kingston.

July 23 Kingston Brewery

Troubleshooting our holding tank

We discovered this when we were at Leek Island. We still didn’t have a toilet, the holding tank was reading half full but it was puffed full of air. It was pushing the board up and I was worried something would pop.

July 23 Bloated holding tank

This was the start of a lengthy lesson on the plumbing on our boat. It took a while but we did finally get it fixed, much later. I documented this in a separate post, Bloated Holding Tank. This meant we couldn’t use the toilet at all for the rest of this trip.