Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Plan For Rimouski to Quebec

We've made it as far as Rimouski, and today we said farewell to Owen, our shipmate for the past five days.  He came on board to help us sail for a few days, and his limited availability meant that he had to fly back home today.  But while he was here, we took full advantage of the extra hand on board to complete three overnight passages, and put many more miles behind us than would be possible with just the two of us.  Thanks for coming, Owen, and your help is much appreciated.

BTW, note the matching custom shirts in the photo, of which Michelle is very proud.

The next stage of our trip will take us to Quebec City.  Although currents are a concern through all of the St Lawrence, from here on in they are no longer only a curiosity - they actually start to dictate our times of travel.  The St Lawrence flows from west to east, and since we are traveling in the opposite direction, we are going against the principal flow of the river.  However, the currents in this part of the river are also strongly influenced by tides, so for part of the day, the current actually flows up the river as the tide changes.  This is the time of the day we want to be moving.  There is a very helpful publication put out by Fisheries and Oceans called the Atlas of Tidal Currents, which gives typical currents in the vicinity of high and low tide times.  By using this book and the Tide Tables, we are able to plan out our trip.

The weather today is not cooperating for us, so we are staying in Rimouski again tonight, and getting some work done today.  Last night when we arrived, we had the good fortune to tie up next to a couple from Quebec City who are sailing a Beneteau 361, a very close match to My Obsession.  They have traveled this portion of the river numerous times, so I was able to sit down with him last night and pick his brain about the best way to travel upriver.  The rest of this post is a description of how we have to calculate and pick our times for the next few days.

When we do leave here, our first destination is going to be Port de Gros Cacouna.  This is an area in which we can anchor for the night behind a breakwater, and it is about 70 nm from Rimouski.  This will be a trip of 9 hours if we have a favourable wind, and 11 hours if not.  About two hours before arriving in Port de Gros Cacouna, we will pass by the east end of Ile Verte.  According to his information, this is the critical point, and we want to have favourable currents in this area.  This happens about 2 hours before high tide in the area.  So, if we are able to leave tomorrow, the forecast is still calling for winds against us in the morning, then diminishing to light, so we'll cut it in half and budget 10 hours for the trip.  It will take 8 hours to hit the critical area, and we want to be there 2 hours before high tide.  The high tide tomorrow is at 1552, or near 4pm.  So we need to leave 10 hours before that, or at 6am (yuck!).

The next day will be a shorter leg from Port de Gros Cacouna to Cap a l'Aigle, about 35 miles across the river.  For this leg, we want to leave as soon as there is a favourable current, which happens about 3 hours after low water.  If we plan on this for Thursday, the low water is at 1032, so we would depart at 1332, or early afternoon.  This will give us about a five or six hour crossing, and we would arrive early evening.

The next day would bring us to Quebec City, another 70 miles.  The key for this leg of the trip is the timing around Cap aux Oies, where we want to pick up a favourable current.  At Cap aux Oies, the current is favourable 3 hours before high water.  The high water on Friday is at 1706, so we want to be in this area at 1406.  From Cap a l'Aigle, we will be going against a slight current as far as Cap aux Oies for about 8 miles, and it will take probably about 90 minutes.  So, we want to leave somewhere around 1230, just after noon.  From then, we will have a very friendly current to take us most of the way into Quebec City, where we would hope to arrive about 9 hours after leaving, or about 9pm.

So, if all goes well, late Friday we will be hitting Quebec City, and searching out someone who can give us great intelligence about the next leg, from Quebec City to Montreal.

1 comment:

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