Sunday, 29 June 2014

Lake Erie Interclub Race and Rally - Erie to Dover Race

For this race we had to get up at 4am, leave the dock by 4:30, for a 5:30 race start. Neither Sharon or I function very well in the morning and usually consume multiple cups of coffee before attempting anything, let alone a race start with 50 other boats milling around. You have to feel sorry for Paul, the only morning person aboard. Anyway we successfully started the race with about 12 knots of wind which allowed us an exciting bit of sailing through the channel with the 3 other competitors in our fleet. Once out on to the Lake and heading for the Point the wind gradually disappeared.
Here they come. The other fleets are started at 5 minute intervals with the largest
boats starting last.
And there they go.
Zatarra is a heavy cruising boat, we even have a dingy with an outboard motor strapped to the back. Hardly a race boat accessory. She sails very well in 12 knots plus. She wallows about sadly in the 4, then 3, then 2 knots. Even though we had the Asymetrical sail up, it didn't help much. Finally after 4 hours we realized we were not going anywhere and certainly not going to get to Port Dover in time, so we turned on the motor (allowed in the rally or cruising division) and motored home.
We past a lot of boats, bobbing, with sad droopy spinnakers, while their crews baked in the sun.

Back past the Long Point Lighthouse again with the water looking like glass.

One of our rally fleet competitors, Barefoot, trying to find some little puff of wind so they could sail across the finish line. We motored across. We had the dubious honour of being the first boat across the line and dutifully reported our 4hr and 25min motoring time.
We were greeted first by Jeff, Jacqui, Dianne and Alan (our Monday night committee boat team) on Unison. They were the backup committee boat if the official one was unable to get to the finish line on time.

We were also greeted by Brian, who escorted us in to the customs dock. Our passports where checked and we were free to head back to our dock in the Harbour Marina.
We were all exhausted. Up too early and a long, hot day on the water. I went home, swam, bathed, did a load of laundry, ate supper and fell into bed.
We learned later that only 16 of the racing boats finished the race. Some retired from the race when they realized they couldn't make it in time and others kept on racing but did not cross the finish line by the designated time (7pm), how discouraging.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Lake Erie Interclub Race and Rally - Registration Day

Coming in to Erie a day early allows us to relax before the start of the race. Sharon and Paul rented a car and went shopping. I relaxed on the boat and walked the docks.
It was nice to see familiar boats, from previous Interclubs.

Boats are here from the Eastern end of Lake Erie. From the registration list there are 13 boats from Port Dover Yacht Club. Zatarra 1 is entered in the the Rally Division which is for cruising boats and has a different set of rules; no PHRF rating required, motoring is allowed but has to be reported. We will be started before the rest of the fleets and they will gradually sail past us and leave us behind.
The Erie Yacht Club clubhouse has a large, airy porch on 2 sides. This will see the skippers meeting
followed by a party with live music and free marguaritas. We have to be careful though as it is a very
early start to the race tomorrow.
Shaibu and Sequence have front row seats, docked right in front of the clubhouse.

Some boats fly their race colours, especially if they are visitors. I am ending with a shot of Tenacity as I rarely get the opportunity to get a picture of her as she is not a member of the race division but usually enters the Interclub.

Tomorrow the gun goes off at "the crack of dawn" (before actually) and there is not much wind in the forecast so it could be a very long day. Hopefully I will be able to blog tomorrow evening - we'll see.

Lake Erie Interclub Race and Rally - Port Dover to Erie

Thursday, Paul, Sharon and I, left Port Dover for Erie, on Zatarra 1, at about 9:30 am. There was no wind and we motored with Sharon crocheting, Paul tinkering and me sunbathing and taking pictures. However there was no action shots in this weather.
My seat at the bow
The sky reflected in the still water looks like an abstract painting.
Just North of Long Point Lighthouse ripples started appearing on the water,
signalling the wind.

After passing "the Point" we raised the main sail and shortly after, unfurled the head sail. We ended up sailing faster than we had been motoring and it was a lovely trip over. We had the lake pretty much to ourselves; West Wind ahead in the distance, a large sail boat heading for Port Dover, a police boat bombing around the Point and this monster moving up the lake ......

The GPS and "Otto" steered us well and we made landfall at the landmark before the entrance into Presque Isle Bay

The entrance into the bay is quite narrow, with a lighthouse on the North side and an industrial area on the South side.

Once inside the bay , both sails down, we pulled into a marina and called U.S. customs on the video phone. The woman who answered was able to see us as we each took the phone and to see our passports as well. We continued to motor up the bay to the Erie Yacht Club, filled up at the gas dock, pumped out and got our dock assignment. We overheard that about 10 boats had "come in early" for the Interclub.
We were snug at our dock by about 6:30pm. We had snacks, visits from other Port Dover racers, supper, watched a heron fish off a nearby dock and then bed.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

June 21 - George's birthday and the longest day of the year.

George liked the idea that the longest day of the year fell on his birthday (not the other way around) and this year would have been his 60th. He was not pleased about being 60 even though we have been to many friends 60th birthdays so he was not alone at this milestone. He was not happy about feeling 60 either; stiff and sore (waiting for another hip replacement) and more tired than he thought he should be (we now know why).
We would have had a big party though especially with it falling on a weekend. He would have been in his element; talking, bar tending, playing bocce, bar-b-quing, flitting from group to group. It would have probably been very similar to the Canada Day parties we used to hold with friends from work, Paris, Long Point, sailing, family and no clear start and end. Probably would have moved into a gathering around the fire pit at night.
It truly has been the longest day of the year for me to get through. I wanted to spend it alone, to grieve, cry, as much as I needed to. I went to his grave briefly. I spent some time this evening watering the trees, something he did every night in the summer.
June is a tough month - last weekend Fathers Day, this his birthday and next our anniversary. July should not have the special days to deal with.

Dwight - Loops, arts and crafts store

A friend from J.J. Ruggers has opened a store in Dwight and Pam and I visited. Marion and her husband lovingly and painstakingly renovated an old house, just steps from the Dwight beach, with a beautiful wrap around porch. The store, Loops, opened in the middle of the summer last year and is off to a roaring start this year. Full of wonderful things that will spill out on to that porch.
Pam and Marion admire the porch that frames 3 sides of the house
Marion has, unfortunately, been unable to post any signs to give directions so is relying on
"word of mouth" to help people find her unusual art and craft gallery.

My rug hooked runner (made from a plaid shirt), Marion's rug hooked loon (framed) and Heather's beaded
brooches. Artists from Paris and the Dwight area are well represented as well as examples of Marion's work.

There is a great mixture of sewing (quilts, bags, baby blankets), photography, jewellery, paintings, stained glass, soft dolls, knitting as well as the rug hooking.

Everything is artfully arranged on some lovely pieces of furniture and there is a plenty of natural light
to see the true colours of the works displayed.

Knitted soap holders

Just down the road, and within sight of the store, Dwight Beach on Lake of Bays

After visiting Loops we had a delicious light lunch at Bush Company on Hwy 35 (they are soon opening a beautifully crafted wine bar that we toured). We are staying overnight at Spring Lake Resort where we also had dinner.
From our balcony in the afternoon...

... and in the evening.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Growing in Sand - winter kill recovery and new plants

I posted earlier on the effects of this harsh winter on the plants on my property. They are slow to grow anyway, except the yuccas, but this winter was a tough one. Surprisingly, all I have lost is George's apple tree (which was a bit of a long shot anyway) and a lupin that I had transferred here in a pot from Paris ( it had survived 4 years).
The High Bush Cranberry, that was eaten to the ground, is looking quite healthy with
new growth.
The oak tree that had been chewed almost all the way around, has fresh leaves and a lot of suckers growing from the base as well (perhaps a reaction to the abuse). After seeing a presentation given by the owner of Eisings Nursery, called "Shades of Green", on some new drought tolerant plants, I had to try them. So Sharon and I went to Eisings, which is a lovely place to visit anyway.
I think this one is called Thunder and Lightning. It has colourful green and yellow foliage and deep
burgundy flowers. It has been in the ground for nearly a month now and is thriving. August will
be the test.
This is a Pincushion flower. Much more subtle in colouring than the previous one but also thriving.
A Mango Poker. The flower is almost done now, a month later, but was impressive. If this
survives there are lots of  colour varieties to choose from.
The vegetable garden is also in full swing, though not "growing in sand". I have Kale and salad greens that are taking over (and I can't keep up with), Swiss chard, green peppers, regular and cherry tomatoes, zucchini, basil, snap peas, pole beans and 2 different kinds of bush beans, all in 2, 4ft by 8ft beds. Its going to be a little crowded.

Rasta has become a "bag cat":
Investigating a bag that Chris gave me, part of my birthday present. It has pictures of a girl
and a cat in yoga poses.

And to end; evening on the beach after a summer storm:

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Port Dover - a beautiful night for pictures (and for racing)

Monday night I was again on the Committee boat for the spinnaker race. It was an absolutely perfect night for taking pictures. The wind was from the North East but strong enough to run a full length race and the sun was out most of the time. The three photographers on the boat had to keep reminding ourselves that we had a job to do as we got caught up in the picture taking in the beautiful light just before sunset.
The night started with very little wind and I thought I would focus on some close ups as we might not be actually having a race.
See? The waters like glass.

The wind co-operated and filled in and we were able to start a race.
Usually the majority of the boats start at the Tetrahedron end of the start line but this night
we could have reached out and touched about 4 boats, from the committee boat.
They were pretty close to each other too. 
I took over a 100 pictures so I will try and just pick the best, or most colourful, or just my favorites ... I don't know its going to be difficult making the choices.
Erie Witch and Special K dowsing their spinnakers and turning around the mark.
Because we ran a full (up and back three times) race the boats, spinnakers flying, came towards us
three times. I think this is Special K,  Kestrel, Cyclone, West Wind, Amazing Grace and Erie Witch.
Sea of Dreams
The boat is called Unbridled. The spinnaker has a tree frog ??????
Neck and neck to the finish.
And the night ended with a beautiful sunset.

Hewson Regatta 2014 continued.

The Saturday race ends at Port Maitland and then we motor up the Grand River to Dunneville, where we stay at the Dunneville Boat Club just below the dam. The Regatta is always held on the weekend of the Mudcat Festival and there are midway rides and a fireworks display.
Its a little strange motoring up the river as it twists and turns and sometimes you can just
see the masts of the boat ahead of you, across the marsh.
The fireworks were magnificent, as usual, all the more fun from sitting on the boat
to watch them, wine glass in hand.

Motoring back down the river the next morning, a mature bald eagle flew across and
perched in a tree as we went by.
There was no wind Sunday morning either so we all motored back up the Lake for a few hours before starting the race at the Tecumseh buoy. We had some light wind, used the Asymetrical again, took it down as it began to build and pulled out the furling jib, then pulled it back in as it got even windier.

Although not forecast, we ended up with a thunderstorm, some high winds and rain.
As we passed Nanticoke a laker came out and went right through the fleet. They have to
follow a channel so it was up to us to avoid him.
It was a mixed bag of weather and therefore a mixed bag of sailing but a good "shake down" cruise for the Interclub Regatta Race at the end of the month. The overnight in Dunneville is always fun and its a hospitable little club who always make us welcome.