Winter

Snow and east winds today, and more due overnight.

All is good aboard. I have a much bigger electrical service this year, and had 9000 watts of electric heat running today. Very comfortable. My plan is to use mostly electric for heat over the winter.

Next week I’ll get the shrink wrap on.

Loop Two – Costs

I mentioned earlier that I had crossed my wake in Wiarton. That was technically true, in that I could lay claim to a platinum burgee.  But really the trip that just ended started here in late May 2021, 17 months ago. 

Some numbers:

Distance Traveled: 10,007 NM / 18,500 km

Engine hours: 1,537 @ 1.4 gph 5.5 l/hr

Furnace hours: 958 @ 1.7 l/hr

Generator hours: 0

Total fuel used: 10,050 l

For propulsion that’s an average of 0.84 l/NM or 4.5 NM/gal.

Fuel price varied, but total was about CDN$15.500.

Other costs, largely from memory:

lock passes: $1,100

Dockage and mooring: $1,100

Equipment additions and upgrades: $9,500

     – this includes LiFePo house bank, inverter/charger, spare prop & line cutter

Repairs and maintenance: $17,000

    – this includes shaft replacement, engine shimming, prop repairs (X2), hauling, paint, oil changes, etc.  Also $6,500 in motor repair costs – injectors, injection pump and ECM.

Travel to and from boat: $2,500

Insurance: $2,300

Total: C$49,000

I should note that I had about $15k allocated for initial boat improvements that were still pending when I left. That was planned spending commissioning my new-to-me boat, rather than ongoing costs.

So, $34k for 17 months travel. I can live with that.

Interestingly sitting still doesn’t save much money. Winter dockage costs here are about $10k for six months, including power & heat.

Toronto!

I made it. Got in here Thursday night.

I’m happy to be tied up. It’s been 17 months since I left here to head east. Six months in one spot will be nice, and I’m making plans for shore time.

The trip down the Welland was easy. No big delays, and a nice day. Motor has run perfectly since leaving Chatham.

I’ve got a couple of summary posts to do. Will get caught up some time. Right now I’m focused on retrieving vehicles – got my motorcycle from Chatham today and will get down to Chicago to retrieve my van in the next few days. And I have a milestone birthday to celebrate.

Port Colborne

That was a smooth trip. I’m now at the top of the Welland Canal, and am booked for a downbound trip on Thursday morning. Looks like I’m going to make it to Toronto. As it turned out I’ve had increasingly nice weather since I got underway on Friday.

I had a bit more anxiety when the new computer didn’t arrive Thursday. But on Friday Clayton arrived about noon with the new unit. I left Chatham pretty much as soon as he was done.

Friday night I anchored across from Windsor Yacht Club. Fueled up Saturday morning, and spent the next night anchored off the north end of Pelee Island. First time there, and I walked a couple of km and had dinner out.

Sunday was a long run to Port Stanley. Nice stop. Monday was an easy trip to the tip of Long Point, where I anchored for the night. Today was an easy run with a side trip up the Grand River to Dunnville. Interesting area. It’s been five years since I was last through this area.

I’ve never been through the Welland. Samantha and Sarah are joining me tomorrow night and going through with me on Thursday.

Lake Erie in October

Engine repairs are well in hand. Mechanic will be back Thursday with a new ECU and some OEM fuel filters, and I’ll be cleared to carry on.

I’ll do a full post on the engine – history, symptoms, diagnostics and resolution – once I’m settled for the winter in Toronto. There is some small chance that the issue still exists, but I think it’s very small.

I hadn’t really had any concerns about making my way down the north shore of Lake Erie. It’s about 200 miles down the lake to the top of the Welland Canal. But I checked the operating season, and it closes on Nov 1.

Now I’m having concerns about making the Welland. It’s been shitty weather the last couple of days – I don’t think I’d be on Lake Erie if the boat was fixed. Hopefully I’ll get a weather window on the weekend to blast straight down the lake, but that’s looking pretty iffy. Strong southerlies forecast for early next week, not good…

I’m going to be thankful when I reach Lake Ontario, and ready for a break from boat travel. It’s not always roses and sunshine!

Chatham

I started having motor troubles shortly after I left Sarnia. When it ran it ran perfectly. But computer was turning off and I’d anchor and wait for it to come back on. I stayed on the Canadian side. Eventually made it to the mouth of the Thames River that evening, then up to Chatham the next day. I left Escapade for a few days, retrieved my motorcycle from Orillia, and today went to the local Deere dealer seeking assistance.

Success, I think. There is a tech coming tomorrow to run a full diagnostic, and there is a new ECU available if we need it. I’m 95% certain we will.

I like it here. Free public docking in the middle of town. Weather looks bad for the next week or so on Lake Erie, so I’m happy staying here this week and excited at the prospect of having a properly running motor.

Sarnia

I’m anchored in Sarnia Bay. Got in here mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Sunday morning I fueled up in Orillia at 0800 and set out. Made it to Port Severn that day, and traveled up Georgian Bay to Wingfield Basin, where I slept for about 8 hours, then continued on. Total distance 297 NM with 40 hours underway. I was dead tired when I arrived here, and had a good sleep last night.

Today it’s blowing hard from the south, and I’m staying put. There is a gale warning for Southern Lake Huron, which is why I wanted to get off the lake yesterday.

The motor is running well, better than it ever has for me. The new injector pump was a good call.

From here it’s a leisurely trip down the river to Lake Erie, then I can choose a weather window to get down the lake to the Welland Canal. Should be smooth sailing, and I’m not in any great rush as my winter slip is available in two weeks.

I took some pics coming down the Big Chute railway as well as Monday evening on Lake Huron. Easy trip, apart from having to steer the whole way. I still haven’t fixed or replaced the autopilot.

Orillia

I’ve been in Orillia on the public dock since I got towed in Sunday from the top of the lake.

I haven’t posted recently because I wasn’t moving. Escapade lived quite happily at anchor in Wiarton while I roared around the countryside on my scooter and caught up a bit with friends and family.

I wanted to solve my engine problem, and thought I had a Deere tech lined up to visit from the local ag dealer. The sudden shut down had returned, and I had pretty much done everything I could on my own to try to solve the problem.

My original plan had been to have a relaxed September cruise down the Trent Severn, hang around in eastern Lake Ontario for a week or two, then either winter in Toronto or head south via the Erie Canal. I confirmed that there was dockage available in Toronto.

That plan became tenuous when there was a major failure at Kirkfield Lift Lock in early September. It looked like the waterway would be closed to through traffic for the rest of the season. But I was happy to hang in Wiarton, waiting for service and the off chance that they’d reopen the waterway. I was assuming at that point that I’d leave Georgian Bay in October and head for Toronto via Lake Erie, or maybe Chicago and south.

Service was elusive. I didn’t hear back from the ag dealer. I was reading up on the engine technology and troubleshooting and considering my options.

Then on Monday Sept 26, Parks Canada announced limited locking for through traffic available by arrangement. That was 14 days before the last day of the season.

The next day a tech called from the road, but I wasn’t at the boat, so missed that opportunity.

It was blowing hard from the north, but the forecast looked great for Thursday to cross over to Port Severn. I made arrangements to go through Kirkfield Monday morning. The waterway closes the following Monday. Nice relaxed pace.

I stocked up with food and supplies and went through more items on my diagnostic check list. Installed clear lines on fuel return and ran a feed straight from one tank through a single filter. I was still getting air through the return. Discovered that the replacement on-engine filters that I’d bought and installed in Toronto were not seating correctly, and fixed that.

By Thursday morning I’d been poking and prodding and testing and roaring around Colpoy Bay for a few hours. Weather was perfect as forecast, so I set off across the lake.

All went well. Got to Port Severn Thursday night, and was above Big Chute Friday early afternoon when the motor stopped. I anchored, started again in ten minutes, carried on another 30 minutes, and it stopped again. After a few hours it still wouldn’t go. I put a fuel pump in line, as I was still getting some bubbles.

The ECM finally came alive again Saturday morning, and I tentatively carried on with the fuel pump running. The motor stopped just above the Couchiching railroad bridge early Saturday afternoon. When it didn’t start Sunday morning I was towed here.

Whew! All caught up. I had another extremely unpleasant encounter with the bridge tender at the railroad bridge, but that deserves its own post.

It’s now Friday night. I had a local marine mechanic aboard on Monday, thanks to Trevor at Bridge Port Marina. They towed me in. Motor wasn’t running.

Tuesday the motor decided to run. Mechanic came back Wednesday, and with motor running determined the fuel pump was bad. I concurred.

It’s now Friday night. I arrived back here earlier today with a new fuel pump. Was really hoping the mechanic could swap it out, but that’s not going to happen in the next few days.

The Trent Severn closes Monday. My only way out is down to Georgian Bay, and to make that I need to leave Sunday. Otherwise Escapade will stay ashore here for the winter.

I’ve been disassembling and am ready to remove the old pump, but don’t have a puller aboard. I think I have everything else I need, and have reviewed the process carefully and even watched some YouTube videos.

Saturday morning I’ll get a puller, and the rest will be easy, it’ll start and run like new, and I’ll be able to hit the lakes in October with confidence and assurance.

Or not. Stay tuned…

Wiarton

Lunch stop on my way back to the boat

I just got back here, and dropped Susan, Miles and Avery off. Now am anchored at the head of Colpoy Bay in front of the public dock. I like this spot. It’s exposed to the NE but good holding. Easy to get in to town via the public launch area.

I drove my scooter up here last Thursday, and Susan joined me that evening and we took off. Meandered up to Tobermory and back. She took hundreds of pics so I’ll ask her for a selection and post them here.

I’ve been giving some thought to winter plans, which will dictate fall travel plans. For now I’m happy to be hanging out in a beautiful area of Ontario. Will be coming and going locally for the next few weeks.