Day 2 of our trip to Toronto Island, we leave Port Whitby Marina and head into the inside harbour for the first time. Yes, we were nervous.
It was a lazy start, we only have around 27 nautical miles to go today. After breakfast, showers and some browsing of the other boats on the docks we headed out at 11:45am. I had to make a call for work so I left Lori on her own at the helm. She’s becoming a lot more confident, and was successful at avoiding two other boats on Lake Ontario while I was below.
Waves had picked up overnight and the boat was slapping and rolling over them. There was a decent wind, but coming straight from where we wanted to go, but we decided to hoist the sails anyways to try and settle the boats over the waves. It was smoother and we were making good speed but not in the right direction. We would have to beat upwind for a while.
Getting close to a fishing boat
We caught a brief glimpse of a fishing boat that was hidden by the waves behind our Genoa. We quickly realized that they were heading right at us. I hit the +10 on the autohelm five times to change our course to go right behind them. It wasn’t a super close call but too close on a lake with no boats in sight for miles. We technically had the right of way but not worth a risking a collision over.
During one of our tacks the the port block on our traveler pulled right off (OK, I need to lookup what this thing is really called). It was still firmly attached to the rope but now dangling a foot off the deck. Winds were picking up and we also wanted to reef. Decided to start up the engine so we could tack, reef and fix the traveler. It was a simple fix, one of the allen keys had worked loose and when it popped out it made a small bend in the aluminum rail. Used some small pliers and a metal file to clean it up and it easily slid back into the traveler. Made a note that we should take this apart this winter and clean it all up.
At that point we were feeling all proud that we fixed everything while bouncing in the waves and wind we prepared to tack. But that feeling was short lived when we came about and the Genoa stayed on the starboard side and we were hove to. Yes, I think that’s the right term for it. Heaving to is having the main sail tight and the foresail back filled. That’s exactly what we did but only because when we were fixing everything up I opened up the forward hatch to let some air in and when I closed it I pinched the genoa sheet in the hatch. I’m glad we didn’t damage anything!
Toronto Inner Harbour (East entrance)
This was the most stressful part of the trip. We had done all sorts of research on the practices and procedures within the harbour and pictured this being somewhat like driving in downtown Toronto except it’s full of boats and no lines to guide you where you are supposed to be.
Here are some resources you may find useful:
- Toronto Port and Harbour Practices and Procedures
- Powered Vessel Operators Permit – you need both a PCOC and a PVOP to operate a recreational vessel within the Toronto Inner Harbour
We arrive at the opening to eastern entrance under motor. Notice a large Beneteau under full sail pointing toward the same red bilateral buoy on our port side. Crap. We were pinned. There was a chance that I could have rounded the curve before but didn’t want to take the chance of getting in their way. Cut the motor and then turned 90 degrees port and aimed at their stern to wait for them to pass. Sounds scary and impressive but this was all done while they were over 500 feet away.
Toronto Island Marina
Once in the harbour, it was busy but not as bad as we thought it was going to be. We safely arrived at the fuel dock at Toronto Island Marina and get further instructions where to go.
28 nautical miles in 5 1/2 hours. We had the wind directly at us, diverted off course by 20 degrees to put the sails up for one tack. But worried about time so ended up motoring most of the way.
Paid for the two nights we reserved earlier in the week and then went to our slip. The blue dot is the fuel dock. Later on we will discover that path cutting through the park at the bottom center.
We were right next to a Catalina 34 mk II, Encore. This is what Lori really wanted. We looked at a few but nothing really fit what we were looking for. This one is in immaculate shape. They were all sitting down in the cockpit as we came in and I shouted out sorry to make them nervous about my docking, I was still learning. They smiled and waved but this was the most we engaged them all night. I guess they like their solitude.
The marina is a funky gypsy village. Everything on the dock is solid and clean but once you step on land there are bicycles, BBQs, weather worn picnic tables, decks and even little beach like bars with sinks, fridges, etc. And lots of whimsical patio lanterns and string lights everywhere. There is no regimented order here, it’s artistic chaos. And Lori loved it!
We found a baby Macgregor sailboat that looked exactly like our 26X. But this one was only 19 feet long. I thought it was a replica, but it’s an official Macgregor 19, see https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/macgregor-19.
Dinner and birthday cake
For dinner, we had Salmon, asparagus, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms on the BBQ. As we were having dinner our other neighbor surprised us in an old 40-44 foot sailboat, without mast or rigging, chugging in at a fast speed. We all jumped out to grab lines. Skipper was charismatic and cheerful and thanked us all and then told us they just spent the day at the nude beach and explored the channels close by. He then said the other owner, Skip, a cantankerous 82 year old will show up later. We met Skip later, and also liked him.
It was Gavin’s birthday so we had our first boat made birthday cake using the boat’s oven. It didn’t really turn out like we wanted but it still tasted good!
As we sang happy birthday, our new neighbours popped up and sang happy birthday along with us. We appreciated it, their voices are way better than ours!
Toronto skyline at night
After dinner we took a short walk to the northern edge of the marina to enjoy a view of downtown Toronto. It was strange being in a calm quiet area that was so close to the craziness of downtown Toronto.