TIDES and VECTORS

TIDES and VECTORS

This year’s trip aboard R.E.D. has been every bit the adventure we had hoped it would be and so much more.  Adventure, in the sense that it has taken us out of our comfort zone in so many ways but as François’ brother  said our  ‘good planning, training, discipline and courage’ got us through.

The discipline has always been there (almost 40 years of military service for François and my finicky cat nature has seen to that).  The courage part is a curious thing.  Each time we think, OK , I don’t want to go through THAT again we come out the other side thinking OK, maybe that wasn’t such a big deal.  I still remember our first outing four years ago, full sail and heeling at 20 °  and Captain says: ” I’m not comfortable with this!” Or our first ‘severe’ storm this year when I was more than ready to call the Coast Guard.  Since then we’ve been at anchor in worse wind conditions rocking and rolling port and starboard at  30 ° and yes, Captain wasn’t comfortable but no, I didn’t make an emergency call.  That’s to say, it gets easier.

All of this brings me to the training part.  We both have taken courses through Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons and without exception each course has proven valuable but this year because of the nature of the Saint Lawrence environment we felt much better prepared.  We credit our instructors, George (Seamanship), Grant (Boat and Engine Maintenance, ROCM),  Ed (Fundamentals of Weather) and Richard (Advanced Piloting) for pounding the important stuff into our heads.  And probably one of our most valuable assets has been our friend Beth who taught a most excellent women-only course on boating electrical systems in Rhode Isalnd.  And her advice on helping us remedy so many of our electrical issues has allowed us to sail along this year off grid stress-free.

One of the most curious situations arose yesterday when our plan after hearing the weather report was to leave the feisty north shore to head to a quieter south shore using the low to high tide for the best push.

La Malbaie

La Malbaie

So here’s your mental image: this section of the Saint Lawrence runs approximately east/west.  We wanted to head almost due south to reach the opposite shore near Kamouraska. East/west river and us heading north to south. Got it?

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Kamourska, South Shore

This is how it played out.  Our heading was pretty much due west at about  5 knots.  After two hours we reached almost the exact point opposite our north shore starting point on the south shore.

Set! Drift! Vectors!  It’s just mathematics!

Le Pilier de Pierre Light House

Le Pilier de Pierre Light House

The rest of our day was using the tidal currents to our advantage, at times through one channel the seven knot current gave us a 10 knot push.  We were flying!

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Set and Drift

Another challenge has been to find suitable anchorages because we wanted to spend as much time off grid as possible, but the following chart shows some of the limitations so frequently found along our route.  The example below is an area about 4 nautical miles from shore.  The red underlined depths are negative charted depths (above water line, folks)

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Chart Depths

Today was no exception to challenges on the water. Good weather, not so good weather, rolling swells, a little sailing and a whole lot of motoring and at the end a rainbow.

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Rainbow over La Pocatiére

…and after 60 nautical miles and 11 hours we tied the lines for the night, poured a rum and watched the full moon rise.

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Full ‘Buck’ Moon

ADVENTURE 2016 – The ROUTE

ADVENTURE 2016 – The ROUTE

It’s almost time for us to depart on yet another adventure.  This time we’ll be travelling virgin territory  since buying R.E.D. almost four years ago.  It will also mean not only new geographic ground covered but new skills required.  We will be entering areas where weather will be a challenge, tides and currents will need to be calculated, fog will be a factor.  We are confident with our knowledge of weather, navigation and tides and currents learned from Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons courses.  We have added a new-to-us-yet-to-be-named dinghy to our little fleet (story here).  We have fixed a lot of the electrical issues (new battery, improved wiring etc.).  For greater autonomy we now have solar (story here, here and here) and a generator (story here).  Because of conditions we will face, a radar will be necessary.  Finishing touches for its installation are almost complete.  Will post that story soon.

So here you have it, our wish list.  If we get to complete the list, we will be very happy and very proud of ourselves.  If we get to complete only one, then it will be forever a part of our treasured memories…

1. To see the Norwegian tall ship, Draken Harald as she makes her way along the Saint-Lawrence for the 2016 Tall Ship Challenge

2. To reach Quebec City for the start of the Transat Quebec/Saint Malo

3. To experience the magnificent Fijords of the Saguenay,

4. To catch site of whales.

5. To visit the sea sculptures of Sainte-Flavie.

6.Maybe visit the  Tiny House Eco Lodge, near Rimouski. Friends have already mentioned considering joining us there.  Wouldn’t that be a great reunion?

7. A photo op of R.E.D. in front of Percé Rock.

8. And finally to reach the Baie-des Chaleur.  On a recent train adventure with my son (story here) we passed by its beautiful waters.  We have GPS and paper charts up to that point so would like to give it a try.

Chaleur Bay

Chaleur Bay

It’s a fairly ambitious voyage but we are both up for the adventure.  One of the great things about our little boat is that whenever we feel we have had enough, whenever we feel we don’t want to battle the tides, currents and prevailing winds back up the Saint-Lawrence, we can find a safe harbour, take train, bus or air back, collect our tow beast and the trailer and bring R.E.D. back home.

REFLECTIONS on a SIMPLER LIFE

REFLECTIONS on a SIMPLER LIFE

 

Hi all.  Several months ago we were asked to submit an article for the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons Spring 2016 edition of The Port Hole.  The piece entitled “Reflections on a Simpler Life”, highlights our adventure aboard R.E.D. last summer.

We are proud to finally be able to share it with you in its entirety in both French and English as it appeared in the April 2016 edition of Canadian Yachting and L’Escale

We hope you enjoy.

 

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L’Escale

avril 2016

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