I still like Mazurka. Phew.

I had all sorts of feelings of dread driving back to Kingston NY. I had left Mazurka in the water at a small marina in May, and they had hauled it and stored it ashore. I figured this was safer and less expensive, but wasn’t there to make sure it was level, properly supported, etc. And I’d forgotten to ask them to pull the drain plug. Touring dozens of derelict boats at Crowley’s this summer didn’t help.

I also wondered how I’d like the boat after playing on Tin Lizzie all summer. That was a blast.

As it turned out the boat was fine. Pretty grimy outside but dry and just as I left it inside.

And the big diesel? It started instantly, and as soon as I climbed up on the flybridge and backed out of the travelift well I was smiling.

The boat’s running well. I washed the outside from the deck up this evening.

The only minor annoyance is that the VHF radio no longer works. And to compound the problem I lost my handheld earlier this summer on Tin Lizzie. Think I’ll pick up a new handheld before heading up the locks. I wanted one with DSC anyway.

Anyway, I still like the look of the boat, and it suits me.

Waterford, NY

I’m reminded again of why I like upstate NY so much. This is the transient dock, free for visitors, with washrooms and showers. Restaurants in the old downtown a few blocks away.

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent cleaning and waxing the topsides and getting groceries and supplies. There was a lot of brown staining from the rivers, but it came out pretty nicely. I also found a big hunk of rope wrapped in the shaft and prop. I had dragged a crab pot in SC and had some driveline vibration after. Guess that explains that!We launched Thursday, and headed north on the Hudson River. I anchored here and continued on this morning.

We’re above lock 1 in Troy here, at the fork in the waterway. North to Lake Champlaign and then to the St Lawrence, or west on the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes. Im going west.

Hello Mazurka

I’m back aboard Mazurka, ashore in Kingston NY. I had left the boat in May and haven’t been back since. All appears to be in good order.

Launch is scheduled for Thursday, which gives me time to do some work on the boat. Then it’s north on the Hudson.

I love visiting all these different regions, towns and yards. Each has their own rhythm. I was reminded of my cousin Herman Schwenk when I drove in on Schwenk Dr. I remember as a kid listening to him telling stories about growing up in Kingston.

Ashore for the Season

Tin Lizzie is parked at the sailing club in the ‘field of shame.’ She’ll escape in the spring.

It’s been a busy few days. After retrieving my car from LaSalle Monday I drove to Chicago Tuesday in the Rondo. My intent was to tow Tin Lizzie’s trailer back to Port Dover. I had made arrangements for a haulout early Thursday morning.

This was a stupid thing to do. And as usual I was slow to recognize that. The trailer carries a lot of tongue weight empty and requires a much higher hitch than I could configure with the Rondo. At the yard Brian was helping me with burning loose the old hitch bar and we had a good audience at one point. Tim came up a little later and offered to lend me his truck.

A couple of hours later I called Tim and took him up on the offer. Drove down to Portage, took his old pickup back to Crowley’s, jury rigged a wiring harness and drove to Port Dover. The only point where I started to feel discouraged was at the border, where I was told in no uncertain terms that I couldn’t just drive Tim’s truck in without proof that I was in legal possession of it. It was about 0530 at this point and I’d been driving all night. So I laid out the whole sordid story at the booth, and the officer allowed me through.

I got in to the marina at 0758 Thursday, just in time for the crew that was due to arrive at 0800. Met with them, made a plan, and by noon Lizzie was in the yard on the trailer with the mast on deck. I was ready for a long nap and headed back to Guelph.

We had been considering various winter storage options for Tin Lizzie. Outside in a field is not ideal, but it’s local and cheap. I rented a truck from Enterprise in Guelph, drove down to Port Dover, and returned with the boat. Got a brand new Dodge 2500 Super Duty. Beast of a truck.

Here’s the trip in to the sailing club.

Sarah and Leo joined me there and did spotting and branch clearing.

Leo even mowed a patch for us to set down.

We’ve got most of the sails and gear home now, and will get things properly put away in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow I drive Tim’s truck back to Portage and return with the Rondo. Then it’s off to Kingston NY Sunday to see Mazurka and get ready for the trip north.

Oh and here’s a picture of the broken rudder shaft. It clearly flexed both ways before snapping.

I’ve made contact with a very well regarded rudder maker near Ottawa. The replacement will be a good winter project.


OK, so I’ve now done about 1/2 of a Great Lakes Challenge. Making progress 🙂

The start was at 1000 and was light air downwind. I had two issues immediately before the start. My autopilot stopped working, and as I was clambering around inside the boat checking connections I somehow turned my phone into some sort of device for the hearing impaired. It kept talking to me instead of letting me unlock the screen so I could get the time. Anyway, I crossed a minute or two late without a working AP.

Downwind is fun and fast in Tin Lizzie. I knew that, but hadn’t paced anyone before this. I had the A1 up, and the racing main.

I didn’t really have a plan at this point. Many went north, Ratso went south, and Schock and All went down the middle. He’s local, and I figured the Schock 35 was the best pace boat for me in those conditions. I sailed by him pretty quickly. Not much wind.

After a few gybes coming off the start it turned into a long starboard tack spinnaker reach to Pelee Island. I had strayed south chasing VMGs and had to throw in a quick gybe to get inside Pelee Island.

Coming by Pelee Schock and All was several miles back, but in from the left came Thunder, and farther inshore was Coconut Telegraph. I crossed close ahead of Thunder before gybing back onto starboard. Thunder is a Peterson 34. He was sailing very well.

As I reached away from Pelee Island I was feeling pretty good. I had paused briefly in a light patch and crawled back to fix my faulty connector (see this earlier post on what that entails), and after much frustration had my phone restored to normal operation. So I made this video.

I had sporadic Canadian cell service at this point and updated my weather information. The wind had picked up a bit and I was making good speed with the A1 in the right direction. The forecasts called for more wind inshore, then going light SW after several hours of S. So I decided to sail VMGs and stay to the left side going down to Long Point. Here’s a sunset shot.

It was a nice ride, but the wind increased as it went south, up to 10-15 knots. As I was getting headed I went from sailing downwind VMGs to sailing as high as I could. But with the big spinnaker I couldn’t reach very high in the breeze. There were thunder cells all around for a couple of hours. Wind was all over.

I kept waiting for the wind to go light and right, which would have allowed me to stay under spinnaker, but it didn’t happen. So when I eventually got up to 50-60 degrees off the rhumb line I dropped the chute and headed up for Long Point. Sailed under main alone for a while then hoisted the genoa. And the wind kept going left. For a while I was sailing close hauled while pointing at Long Point. I got a flash of internet and saw that the whole fleet had been straight lining it down the middle of the lake. Didn’t look like I’d lost a lot, but I hadn’t pulled away either.

A couple of miles off the western end of Long Point the wind finally went aft and freshened a bit, and I was jib reaching parallel to the shore. Feeling a little beat up but good. I ate and tidied up a bit, sun had come out and we were going 8-10 knots in the right direction.

It was sudden and unexpected. About 10:30 there was a sudden cracking sound, and when I looked back I saw the rudder blade pop to the surface. And then we tacked and I got to work getting things sorted. Wind was 10-15 knots with a short chop. Windward ballast tank had been full. Apart from a broken checkstay no harm done to the boat.

Once I had all secure I drifted for a while waiting for cell signal. Tried calling the fleet on the radio without success, and thought about calling the coast guard. But I wasn’t in any immediate danger. Eventually I got through to Canadian Coast Guard in Port Dover on my phone, and they immediately suggested that I anchor if I had the chance, and that they would dispatch assistance within an hour. I was slowly drifting towards shore, so when I got into about 40 feet of water I anchored.

The rescue went off relatively smoothly. They put someone aboard my boat who deployed a large drogue from the stern, and with a long nylon tow line we managed to keep straight, although the motion was violent at time as the stern skidded around.

It was a long ride in at 5-6 knots, but we got into Port Dover around 6:30. Thanks Canadian Coast Guard!

Samantha and Sarah arrived by car shortly after we got tied up, and after a perch dinner I collapsed for 14 hours.

I write this from the train Monday evening en route to LaSalle (Windsor) to retrieve my car. Then back home to Guelph to borrow Kathleen’s van to drive to Chicago tomorrow to retrieve Tin Lizzie’s trailer. Then hauling Lizzie in Port Dover Thursday morning.

Go Tin Lizzie in 2020! 2019 was a blast. I’ll try to write a season review some time, but the boat is fabulous and I’ve had a great time sailing and racing.

I’ll be heading back to Mazurka this weekend.

Off to the races!

I’m at North Cape Yacht Club, here at the western end of Lake Erie.

I’m racing tomorrow for the first time on Tin Lizzie, a 312 mile solo down to Buffalo then back to finish at Erie. See the race info here.

Got my racing main on today for the first time. Looks nice, especially after that T10 training main.

Weather looks like 5-15 knots windspeed spinnaker reaching to Buffalo, then light upwind to Erie. I can do that. My hope is to finish Sunday evening. We’ll see.

There is a nifty race tracker here. Check it out over the weekend!

For those watching at home, I should note that there are a variety of boats racing, and I owe all of them time. I’m scratch boat. So being ahead is not unexpected. It’ll be fun.


Seems like a long time since I left Tobermory. I better get some notes in.

Tuesday I started to leave Tobermory around 11, but got delayed when a visiting staff handed me the gas hose instead of the diesel hose. We had about 9 l in before flagging the error. The dock master was on hand and got someone in quickly to pump out the tank. No harm done. So I didn’t get underway until mid afternoon. Had a light air jib reach south, and got into Kincardine about 5 am. Beautiful night.

I made this video around sunset. Very nice evening.

I spent Wednesday night in Kincardine. Nice town, and the community flower gardens south of the marina are wonderful. There was a front coming through. Thursday I waited until things had settled down and left in the early afternoon.

It went light pretty quickly. I had originally thought I might get down to Bayfield before nightfall, but that wasn’t going to happen. When the wind eventually boomed in from the north at 10-15 knots I headed for Sarnia. Nice downwind sailing and another spectacularly nice night. Finally put a fleecy on about 3 am.

I sailed past Sarnia and eventually anchored here about 5 am and slept until 11.

Friday was down to Lake St Clair, across the lake, and down the river to LaSalle. I’ve never been through here. No pics because I was busy sailing and piloting and seeing the sights. By late afternoon shortly after I came out of the lake I was ready to quit. I was hand steering with the main only, sailing into the sun and the wind in unfamiliar waters in gusty unsettled conditions. So I took down the sail and motored over to the marinas next to Windsor Yacht Club. One was closed and the other has no transient slips. So I motored south, past Windsor. No places to stop. Eventually I found the LaSalle Mariners Yacht Club, and I pulled in around 8 pm. Marvelous club.

Ratso is a boat that I first met in Halifax when John Hughes was getting ready to race around the world. They are racing next weekend in the Lake Erie Solo Challenge with me.

Im leaving Tin Lizzie here and am going to try to get to Chicago tomorrow to pick up my car and some boat stuff. Then a visit home and back here Thursday or Friday to head for North Cape Yacht Club.

Tobermory, leaving

Since arriving here six days ago I’ve had a couple of days of shore time home in Guelph. Dropped off the spinnaker for repair. Got a new runner made. Not perfect, but I’m sailing.

Samantha, Sarah and I came back up here Friday night. We headed out Saturday afternoon in cruising mode, sailed past the flowerpots then spent the night anchored in Wingfield Basin.

Sunday we sailed down to Lion’s Head for lunch, then Wiarton for dinner. We anchored at the head of the bay. Calm quiet night.


Today started calm, but we had a nice sail once the wind came up. Got in here for supper. Fun few days. We agreed that with a few minor mods we could do more fast cruising on TL. A sunshade is on the list. Sarah’s improvised one this morning was great.

Here I’m checking on the new runner.

Tomorrow I’m heading down Lake Huron. Think I’ll stop everywhere I can, at least stick my nose in. Forecast is for light reaching conditions.