We continued our journey to the Thousand Islands. Today we learn what a “chicken jibe” is and hide out from the lightning next to the windmills.

Date: Sunday, July 19, 2020
Distance: 20 NM
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Weather: Strong SSW wind turning into thundershowers

Slept in a bit and then sailed toward Kerr Bay. Wind coming from right behind and with the genoa 80% out and the main at the second reef (red) we were skimming along the water and getting lots of jibe practice. We saw two boats coming from Waupoos both with just jibs.

Leaving anchor near Waupoos

We were gaining on a third sailboat heading in the same direction running only a jib. As we got close, we picked up their name with the binoculars and hailed them on Channel 16 and and then switched to 72. I just wanted to make sure we weren’t making them uncomfortable coming up behind and figure out how they wanted us to pass. He was very brief and professional and then said he was about to do a “chicken jibe”. I just answered OK and said I was going to pass to windward giving him lots of space. Lori and I then look at each other confused and said, “what’s a chicken jibe”? A minute later we figured it out as we saw him turn to wind from a broad reach, close hauled, tacked, close hauled on the opposite tack and then kept circling almost doing a 270′ turn and now was doing a broad reach going in the other direction.

This is much easier on your boom in rough and high winds. Hmm, being a chicken is smart.

open Lake Ontario water on way to Kerr Bay

We are both still making silly mistakes as we learn how to sail again.

Us on the other hand, we were shadowing our genoa with our main and causing it to flop about whenever I started to point too far downwind. Then as the wind and the waves started to build we were exceeding hull speed but it wasn’t nice on our rigging. We had a few bad snaps where the genoa would luff and then as I corrected course it would rapidly fill again causing the genoa sheet to snap tight. We had one bad jibe where the mainsheet got caught and we weren’t able to fully pull it to center before we completed our jibe. I should have aborted. The boom swung hard and popped the line right out of our traveller. Lori and I had some bad moments during all this. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage and now that I know how the lines are attached in our traveller and had it working again within a few minutes.

Beautiful anchorage but bad weather coming

severe thunderstorm warning for ontario

Things were starting to darken as we arrived in Kerr Bay and only a few boats were on mooring balls close to shore. The storm was approaching and starting to get dark.

We really enjoyed Kerr Bay. Just watch out for the ferry that runs to the dock to the East. Didn’t see much weeds and it was well protected from the strong SW winds we encountered on our way there.

Our anchor set perfectly on first try. Check it out in the short video below, you can only see just a small part of the hoop on our 35 lb Mantis anchor.

After a quick swim we could hear the thunder in distance and long deep rumbling. Definitely felt safer with the tall windmills close by.

Poopy talk

I apologize if this is too much information. Stop reading now if you easily get grossed out. This will be our first trip where we spend the majority of our time on the hook and not see a dock or a real bathroom. Fear of our toilet not working started to grow. We got desensitized and talked way too much about how to properly poop in marine head. I think an electric, macerating toilet is in our future. They seem like they are way less finicky than a Jabsco pump toilet.

Lessons learned

Three out of three sailboats we saw on the way were just running their genoa downwind. We definitely had more speed with our main up but they all looked way more comfortable and relaxed. I’m going to do this from now in stronger winds.

We’ve learned this lesson with a few other areas of the boat, i.e. hoisting the main. If a line feels stuck, stop, don’t force it. The moment our main sheet stopped pulling our boom to center I should have aborted and turned back to wind. Or follow the other smarter sailors out there and chicken jibe!

Next story from this trip: We Made it to the Thousand Islands!