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The Spinnaker Sheet Blog

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Boundless Atlantic Crossing

Boundless Atlantic Crossing 2018/2019

After our navigational adventure aka the grounding it’s a day of trying to sort out navigational electronics. I have an Android tablet and an Ipad. Both can connect to the Raymarine chartplotter over wifi and both can control the chartplotter remotely. However neither of them is capable of uploading waypoint or route data to the plotter. In the end the solution is a “sneaker net”: I have to save the route info onto a microSD card and walk it over to the chart plotter pop the card in the plotter and upload it. Not very elegant but it works.

Ann and I spend the rest of the day cleaning the boat, packing away the dinghy, and packing stuff that doesn’t need to be on the boat, in preparation for Ann’s return home by car.


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Arriving at Eisenhower Lock we discover that there is a one and a half hour wait for an upbound ship to pass. The dock for pleasure craft is too shallow so we motor up and down the channel.

The cause of our 1.5 hour delay: an upbound freighter. Pleasure craft are a low priority on the seaway especially at the end of the season.

The American locks use a floating bollard, you attach your lines to it and enjoy the ride down. Our first attempt at tying up to one is a little ugly: we're trying to use a bow and stern line, and it turns out the trick is just to use one line midship. We eventually get it sorted and motor on to the next lock.


The Snell lock is American and like the Eisenhower there are no formal check in procedures. The friendly lockmaster just wants 30 dollars (US or CDN) cash and then you are on your way, no passports required. This time we are better with our lines. We exit Snell and head for Cornwall.

 At this point it's as if we've sailed off the edge of the world: our trusty Lake Ontario Cruising Guide doesn't include Cornwall or points further east. Not sure whether to go clockwise or counter clockwise around Cornwall Island. In the end the 6+ knot current makes the decision for us and we head downriver on the American side and come back upriver on the Canadian side to get to the marina at Cornwall. It turns out we couldn't have gone the other way anyway as there's a fixed bridge we wouldn't have been able to get under. That would have been an exciting error to escape from since it would have involved going back against that 6 knot current.

Navigating with a chart plotter proves eventful. While zooming in and out to check depths while under way we have a “gentle” grounding, just as we were making the turn to come back upriver.

It's a bit of a slog going upriver against the current but we arrive at the marina by mid afternoon. The marina is a little disconcerting as it's full of power boats and there isn't a single sailboat to be seen, but the marina manager assures me there's enough water depth for our draft and we do make it safely to a dock.

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We depart Brockville in the morning and sail most of the day as the wind is from behind and the current is in our favour. The first lock of the journey is the Iroquois. Fortunately it’s one of the smaller ones on the seaway as our passage through is a little rough: the bow pulpit bangs into the wall and the starboard running light’s bracket gets bent. We survive the two foot descent, bend the bracket back into position, and continue on down the river. We aren't going to make the Eisenhower lock before it closes so we make our way over to the Canadian side and anchor for the night. 

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It’s haulout day at Trident – time to leave! Another boisterous sail with the roller furling jamming just as we enter a narrow section of waterway just past Gananoque. Fortunately I’m able to untangle the furling line and we are able to reduce sail.

This is supposed to be a vacation so we decide to do some sightseeing. Boldt castle is on the American side of the St. Lawrence and we’re ready to go through the hassles of checking in but when we arrive the wind is still howling and while we could get onto a dock getting off would be a chore so we decide to carry on.

Boldt castle.jpg
Boldt Castle

Arriving at the Brockville Yacht Club at the end of the day we proceed down a channel to the east of the club only to realize that it’s getting really shallow. Turns out the club entrance is to the west of us and we are heading for a boat launch. A gentle bump on the bottom and it’s full speed in reverse to get us to safer water.

I head for the actual entrance but there’s no room at the Inn for a 38ft boat. It’s time to head upriver and anchor for the night. The following morning we head for the Tall Ships Landing Marina to get fuel and decide to stay for a night (it’s supposed to be a vacation right?). We spend the day walking about town sightseeing.

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We hop down the lake to Belleville and overnight at the yacht club. The next day the wind is out of the east and we motor for most of the morning until we make the turn at Desoronto. Once we are around the corner we can sail arriving in Collins Bay by early evening.

Quinte Skyway
Approaching the Quinte Skyway at Deseronto
Sunset at Collins Bay

The next morning's departue from Collins Bay is memorable with 30+ knot winds out of the South East. With the motor running and the staysail up we motor sail out into large swells. With the pounding waves I’m just hoping that the crud in the bottom of the diesel tank doesn’t clog a filter and starve the engine. With that in mind I take a more indirect route and head for the lee of Wolfe island. Ann as always is an absolute trooper: the wind is howling, it’s raining but not a peep of complaint.

Once we are out of the swells it’s a robust sail down the Bateau channel with threatening skies. After consulting the club’s reciprocal list we decide to stop at Trident Yacht Club. The club is deserted but fortunately the clubhouse is open: Showers! Laundry!

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