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Boundless Atlantic Crossing

Boundless Atlantic Crossing 2018/2019

0100 I wake up and we are now in Northumberland Strait proper. The wind against the tide is turning the seas into a washing machine with waves coming from every direction. The rain is horizontal. I check the chart plotter and we’re heading for land! I decide to  to drop the main and turn on the engine. I’m trying to go north towards PEI and away from New Brunswick but it’s pitch black and there is nothing on the horizon to steer to. We only have the self tacking stay sail up and after several unsuccessful attempts to head North and the resulting gybes I give up on trying to steer to the compass and turn on the auto pilot. Auto is able to hold a course and we start slowly making our way toward PEI.

 

  Our track during the height of the storm.

 

0400 There’s a loud bang. At first I'm thinking it’s a repeat of the Quebec City incident but there is nothing indicated on the chart so not sure what we hit.

 

0500 Neil is not feeling well and while in the head notices water on the cabin sole. I assume the head has been started syphoning due to the rough conditions. The bilge pump is able to deal with the bulk of the water.

 

0615 Go down below. Floor boards are floating again. The water is back and it’s not the head. Pump out again. Now concerned that whatever caused the loud bang earlier has damaged the hull and we’re taking on water. I radio the Coast Guard and explain our situation: “we are taking on water but the pumps are able to keep up… need to know where the closest travel lift is located”  The Coast Guard radio operator takes down our details and then asks me to standby. Five minutes later she announces a Pan Pan on channel 16: “Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan, hello all stations the sailing vessel Boundless….” The operator then gets back to us and explains that a Coast Guard Cutter the Cap Nord is departing Summerside PEI and will escort us there. About an hour later the Cap Nord shows up on our starboard bow and proceeds to follow us as we head for Summerside. 

 The Coast Guard Cutter Cap Nord
Heading for Summerside PEI with the Coast Guard Cutter Cap Nord standing by.

We are making our own way under staysail and motor and everything is fine until we arrive outside the marina and I try to slow down: the throttle linkage does “splink” when I try to decelerate. Now have to go into neutral to slow down but the engine is racing as I’m taking the engine cover off to try and manually reduce the throttle. In the end I have to kill the engine and then sheepishly get on the radio and ask Cap Nord for a tow to a dock. This they cheerfully do (“that’s what we are here for… we knew you guys were not a bunch of yahoos in a tin boat with a cell phone… when we saw your boat and the equipment you have… happy to help”) and tow us to the Silver Fox Marina. Once we are tied up the captain Troy gives us a tour of the cutter afterwards we’re told that the Coast Guard Station is just across the harbour and if we need anything don’t hesitate to ask.

 
 

 

 

 

Salty oily bilge water has gotten everywhere and the rest of the day is spent cleaning and boat. 

 Later in the afternoon I head to town to try and replace my cell phone. When Gord the marina manager hears that I’ve called a taxi he tells me to cancel the call and hands me the keys to his car. With a smile he says he’s not worried about me taking it as he has my boat.

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The weather forecast is for the wind to build. If we head straight to Canso the wind and waves will be on the nose. We decide to make a slight diversion and to head for PEI. That way the ride will be a bit more comfortable with the wind and waves on our beam.

 During the afternoon the breeze is up and down but a consistent 15-18 knots. We’re on a port tack with full main and stay sail making 6-7 knots over the ground. We pass Yankee Too a beautiful 115 foot schooner heading north. 

 The chart is showing a firing range off the coast of New Brunswick and we are heading for the keep out zone. We radio the Coast Guard and they confirm that the range is not in use and we don’t need to change course. The wind continues to build as we sail on toward Northumberland Strait. By 2200 it’s blowing a consistent 30 knots on the beam and Boundless is making great time.

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Highlights of this passage include more Dolphins swimming in our bow wave and sighting another pod of Beluga whales. The sea at night is also a highlight as we are now getting a phosphorescent glow in our wake.

 My Cousin Neil Hetherington at the wheel

 

Fuel is not easy to come by in this area and in the morning we arrive at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts looking for diesel.

 Sainte-Anne-des-Monts Quebec

The cruising guide talks about a marina but when we get into the basin all the docks have been pulled for the season. Instead we tie off to a massive seawall and Marty and Neil go on a quest for much needed fuel. Neil enlists the help of a young local with a car and for $20 he ferries them to and from the only gas station in town. It takes several trips but we are able to top up with 100 litres of fuel, Sandwiches from a local bakery and Timmy’s coffee!

 

 
Fueling up 1 Jerry Can at a time

We Depart Sainte-Anne-des-Monts by 0900. The wind is from the North West and we can finally sail. By the afternoon the wind is on the beam and were making 7+ knots over the ground. 

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A pod of dolphins come to play in our bow wave

 

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Rimouski Fuel Stop

First thing in the morning we’re at the fuel dock: 160 litres and $250 later we are on our way. We depart Rimouski at 0850. The weather is fair but we are again motor sailing all day and through the night.

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In the morning (after an amazing breakfast at the club) we move Boundless to a different slip so we can take a closer look at the ding on the port side. Paint has been scrapped away but there isn’t a hole. The decision is made that we can still proceed and get the repairs done in Halifax. With the new plan in place Marty and Neil take the rental car into town to get groceries while I stay behind to clean up the boat. We plan to leave around 1600 on a rising tide and we manage to slip our lines by 1630.  The wind is on the nose but we are able to motor sail with the main up. We continue on through the night.

Monday morning motoring toward Rimouski
 A pod of Beluga Whales

The river is much wider now and In the morning we spot a pod of Beluga whales in the distance, then just after lunch we are joined by Dolphins. We motor on through the day and arrive in Rimouski at 1800. We pull into the marina but the staff have all gone home. Thankfully another boater is around and gives us the codes to the gate and the showers. With Boundless safely tied up we head into town to have a “Brewski in Rimouski”.

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Enjoying a “Brewski in Rimouski”
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