Sunday, July 4, 2010

Montague to Charlottetown

It's been a but frustrating, sailing-wise, so far this summer. Our store, The Turret Bell (check it out at has taken up much more time than we had planned, and our sailing has been pretty limited since we got back to Canada from the BVI. But yesterday, we were joined by some friends for the first leg of our first cruise of the summer.

We had planned to make a trip to Shediac last summer, but that voyage was scuttled when we had some engine problems. We haven't yet made it farther west than Charlottetown with Obsession, so that trip was a priority this year.

We left Montague at 6:15, trying to time our trip with the tides. Low tide was to come at 8:44 in Murray Harbour, so we wanted to be running with the rising tide as we traversed the southern coast. After our usual motor out of the river, we raised our sails shortly after we passed Panmure Island. The wind was out of the south-west at about 10 kts, and we had a great sail for a couple of hours. Only problem was, the wind was coming from the direction in which we wanted to travel, and we were now bearing for Nova Scotia. So, we reluctantly furled in the jib (leaving the main up for now) and motored into the wind to get around Cape Bear and the south-eastern tip of PEI.

We took advantage of the motoring time to make some lunch, but now it was late morning and the wind decided to die down to almost nothing, as it often seems to do in this area. The water was quite steady with just a small roll, so it was a very comfortable cruise. We had on board with us an exchange student from Vienna, Austria. Being from a land-locked country, she had never been sailing before, and spent her time looking for marine life. We spotted a few seals, but no whales or porpoises.

Finally, by mid-afternoon we were well past Wood Islands, and the wind was picking up. We killed the engine and put the jib back out, and slowly moved along for a short while. It wasn't long before the wind had picked up again, and we were sailing on a beam reach around Point Prim and into Charlottetown at over 6 kts.

Coming into Charlottetown, the wind was strong enough that we furled our jib partway, but we contined sailing all the way through to the end of the harbour and to the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

We had called for a spot at the CYC, and when we arrived, they came out to help us tie down. The CYC has pretty good and complete facilities (although they are showing their age somewhat) for about $45 per night. However, we were a bit surprised that they no longer provide diesel fuel, and I wasn't clear whether or not this is a permanant situation. There is diesel available around the corner at Quartermaster. The biggest frustration I have with them is that they lock down everything at night, and don't have keys for visiting boats. They say that the night watchman can let you in, but more often than not, finding him is more trouble than it is worth.

We will probably leave the boat here until Wednesday, although we will be back and forth back home to take care of the store. On Tuesday night, Ellen MacPhail of Waveskills Sailing School has organized a Ladies Night sailing - Michelle will be joining in onboard Obsession.

Our next planned stop once we leave here is Summerside, and I'm looking forward to passing under the Confederation Bridge.

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