Friday, 28 June 2013

Lake Erie Interclub - return to Port Dover

We had spent Tuesday in Sugar Loaf Marina, Port Colborne, due to Paul, Sharon and Bob's family commitment. The rest of the fleet sailed to Buffalo on Tuesday and did a round the buoy race, out of Buffalo on Wednesday. I gather both had really strong winds and wave action.
We left at about 10:30am on Wednesday. The wind had been strong most of the night but was forecast to decrease and then diminish through the day. Kestrel and Powder Hound left earlier.
Leaving Sugar Loaf on a grey day.
Between the marina and the Welland Canal are these old, ugly silos. They look ready to fall down but, as
we saw "a laker " drawn up beside one when we arrived, they are obviously still in use.
Out past the lighthouse that marks the entrance to the canal.
There were no "lakers" in evidence as we left. When we arrived we had felt like a Zatarra sandwich, with a "laker" coming into the canal behind us and a tug pushing a huge barge coming out of the canal in front of us.
The wind was higher and the Lake choppier than we had anticipated but we closed all the hatches and zipped down the plastic front of the bimini.
We were motor sailing upwind and when we crashed into the waves a wall of water would
hit the "windscreen" that we were so thankful to have.
It was very hazy and often we couldn't see land. Easy to believe that we were way out to sea rather than on a lake. The wind never diminished and actually peaked at a minimum of 15 knots.

Usually the chimneys of Nanticoke can be seen from way down the Lake but due to
the haze, this shot meant we were nearly home.
We got into Port Dover at about 6:30pm celebrated our return and enjoyment of the race with chicken and shrimp stir fry and a bottle of red.
Bob (crew), Sharon (Admiral and Galley Wench) and Paul (Captain)
Kestrel got home earlier than us. George on Goldfingers returned the next day. Port Dover's boats will be returning in dribs and drabs, nursing their bruises (boat bites as Sharon calls them) and their equipment damage and breakage. But they will have stories to tell and as this Interclub certainly had no shortage of wind, exhilaration and close calls.
And next year we will all be excited to do it again.

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