Meet out daughter, Bri. Her first trip on a sailboat was terrifying and she vowed never to go sailing again. Today we attempt to turn her into a sailor.

If you’ve read my post about us taking our Macgregor 26x into a small gusty lake where the boat heeled over several times knocking plates and cutlery all across our galley floor. You would know that Bri’s first experience sailing wasn’t ideal. It got to the point where we joked about renaming the clinometer on the boat. Anything above 5 degrees made her swear.

Clinometer with new label Bri oh shit oh meter

We assured Bri that the new boat handled much better, had a huge heavy keel and was much smoother than our last boat. Four years later she finally agreed to join us for another trip!

The perfect start

Gananoque to Ninette Island in the Navy Group, Thousand Islands
Date: Friday, July 24, 2020
Distance: Approx 16 NM (the long way around)
Total Time: Approx 5 hours
Weather: Clear, light to strong Easterly winds

As we left Gananoque I notice another nice looking CS34 sailboat, OkiName, with teal coloured canvas and stripe. Bri didn’t care, she was nervous about the day.

The wind was light coming from the East. We knew we wouldn’t be going fast but thought it would be best to raise the sails early to get some practice and comfort.

As he headed West, the long way around, we unfurled the Genoa (1). We were barely going two knots with wind whispering mostly from behind. The boat remained flat and calm. Bri liked this and we had some fun trying to get close enough to a buoy that she could reach out to touch it.

As we went around the first bend the wind now coming at us 90 degrees to port we raised the main sail (2). Now going three knots we bobbed along toward the opening to the “100 acres”.

Wind started to pick up and we started to get some practice tacking a few times (3). The first time we heeled over she became uneasy. We gave her the genoa sheets to manage to distract her. She was nervous at first, but after a few tacks and a few minor mistakes she was taking it serious and was having fun.

The wind now shifts and we are heading into the wind behind Leek Island (4). Wind speeds increase, the boat starts to heel a bit more. Bri looks a bit nervous but still not showing any signs like she wants to jump off the boat. We are now doing close to seven knots.

We had a few options for anchorage but never made a final decision. With wind picking up and boat heeling over more we thought that was enough for Bri and we started the engine, turned to wind and dropped the sails (5). Floated in neutral for a bit while we went over our options again and made the decision to motor to an anchorage East of Stave Island. It was a good choice!

Close to the border

We had one funny event happen during this sail. As we were heading behind Leek Island, it’s very close to the Canada-USA boarder, we noticed a line up of four power boats and about four jet ski’s coming straight for us at full speed. They were heading directly South. We watch the first few pass our bow and continue South towards the US. Suddenly one of the trailing jet ski’s slows right down and waves frantically back to his buddies behind him to stop. Then I see the flashing blue lights to the South. Couldn’t tell who it was but guessing some sort of border control stopping the lead boats as they had crossed into the US.

Stopped at the Border

Wish I had a zoom lens on my phone camera. It’s hard to see in the picture above, the boat on the far right is the boat with blue flashing lights. The four powerboats and one jet ski all immediately stopped when the lights started flashing. They pause for a few minutes for a discussion and then I see the pack turn around and then head back into Canadian waters.

Busy anchorage in the Navy Islands

We had a few options, in the Navy Islands Group. One near Ninette Island (anchor symbol), or just east of Hickey Island (B). We decided on the first option.

There were a number of power boats, a few sailboats and lots of traffic flowing through this area. It’s a popular route so don’t expect a quiet day at anchorage here. Most were respectful but a few boats blasted right through without slowing down.

Of course we did the usual, dive down on the anchor and go for a few swims to cool off. It’s weedy here and the water wasn’t as clear. Our friends in the CS40 also stopped by for a swim.

I took the opportunity to scrub the hull. It wasn’t really all that bad but I find if I catch it early it stays cleaner longer.

VIDEO – Scrubbing the Hull (32 seconds)

Live music at anchorage

After dinner we heard someone’s music blasting but quickly noticed it sounded too good to be a stereo. I pulled out the binoculars and could see one of the cottages had a live band on their deck!

And they were playing good music! We pulled out the hammock, sit back and enjoy the live show!

VIDEO – Live Music (18 seconds)

Later that night the band packed it up, jumped on a boat and motored off. Many of the boats pulled anchor and left leaving us to a quiet beautiful sunset. And I saw another CS34 sailboat, Chardonnay, in the harbour. I wonder if it knew our boat’s prior name, Dionysus.

As we all get tucked in for bed. We check in on our new sailor, Bri, to see how things are going. She asks, is this what sailing is always like? Yes Bri, yes it is.


Next story from this trip: Anchored at Sugar Island