Snipe Racing Day 2

As expected the front came through this morning. The rain had stopped and the wind was westerly pretty solidly 10-15 knots when we went out.

We were fast upwind in this stuff. We were the heaviest crew and that became an advantage. We sailed three short races and went in for lunch. Lots of close racing, and decent 2-3-3 finishes.

At this point we were in third place overall by a very small margin with 11 races in. Not too shabby.

As we were on shore the wind shifted towards the northwest and started to pipe up. The RC reset the course and we went at it again.

One of the other heavier crews that had struggled on Saturday was now in the front row, and the some of the lighter crews were having trouble. In the next race we had some exciting sailing. Sarah and I agreed going into the race that our main goal was to get around the course cleanly, not break anything, and sail conservatively. We rounded the last windward mark in third place, well ahead of our competition for series third. Big puffs rolling through. Ahead of us one of the top crews capsized. That should have been a warning. But we were now in a race for second place with another boat that had rounded on our stern and was now on our beam. We were broad reaching with our jibs to leeward. Our downwind speed wasn’t as impressive as our upwind speed.

We hit a bit of a lull, and decided to pole out the jib to windward. That’s the fast way to sail a Snipe in pretty much all conditions. Then another puff rolled down on us, and we lost control and capsized to windward. Watched the rest of the fleet sail by, then righted the boat (twice!) and finished the race. At that point the racing ended and we finished fourth overall.

I’m suffering a myriad of muscle soreness and cramping, but can’t think of a more fun sailing event I’ve done recently. Neither of us have spent much time in two-person boats, and it’s been fun to figure some of that out. The boat, the venue, and the level of competition is just right for me, and it was fun sailing with Sarah. We both felt the marked improvement in communication and teamwork over the two weekends.

Thanks to Julian Inglis for your dedication to the class, and congratulations on getting your name on the trophy!

Sorry no pics. If I come across any I’ll add them here.

Edit Sept 14: Julian has some boat can footage of Sunday morning. See

I don’t know where we were in this. Must have been ahead!

Snipe Racing

Cheddar and Snipes

Samantha, Sarah and I have a Snipe that we keep on Guelph Lake. There is a boating club there that has an active fleet. I went looking for one when we knew we were moving here and found a decent boat that was pretty turn key. I love small lake sailing. My Laser is there too, but I’m going to get back to Water Rats with it one of these years.

Sarah and I were out today racing in the Canadian Championships. That’s a picture Samantha took from the beach with our dog Cheddar in the foreground. Like last weekend, great racing. The Snipe is a fun boat. Easy to sail to 90% then endlessly tweakable. We’re at that fun stage in the learning curve where we’re seeing steady improvement in boat handling, mark groundings, etc. Boat speed isn’t awful. We were pretty smooth today, relative to last weekend, and I was more deliberate and successful in starting after a less than stellar first race.

Back at it tomorrow. We got eight races in today. Front coming through tomorrow morning but looks like we’ll get more racing in.

Edit Sept 14: Julian captured one of the starts Sarurday on his Go Pro. That’s us on his hip coming off the line.

Speed Trials

One of the key features of Escapade for me is the motor. I’ve been getting to know it and running at high outputs periodically over the last week or so. See

I got down to Barrie yesterday, and spent this afternoon cruising up and down the bay doing performance tests. Beautiful day.

The motor and drivetrain seem to be well set up and in good running order. I’m very pleased with the fuel usage numbers.

Fuel Consumption

For comparison purposes, on my 6,000 mile Great Loop trip on Mazurka I got a little better than 4.5 usmpg with an average speed of ~6.8 knots. I can do much better than that with Escapade.


Tied up for the night on the blue line

Guess I have some catching up to do. Yesterday I had a nice cruise across the bottom of Georgian Bay and down the Severn Sound. Stopped in Honey Harbour and got take out pizza from a machine. I’ve had worse. Last night I anchored in a sandy patch off the marked channel close to Port Severn. Benign conditions.

Today was more cool grey weather. Went through Port Severn Lock and after a brief futile plea for a discount from my Mazurka season pass bought a one way lockage pass.

Big Chute was routine – it’s far more dramatic going down. Severn Falls is a huge lock in the middle of nowhere. Now I’m at the bottom of Lock 42.

It was a lovely day. This is the second time I’ve gone through in this direction. I had a few flashbacks to the same segment in Mazurka in July 2016.

I was enjoying the narrow cottage-lined segment of the Trent River near here and missed the cutoff to the lock. There is a distracting set of classic boats on the opposite bank, and I knew I had gone by them earlier this summer.

Anyway, I soon reached a fixed bridge that looked to be about 15 feet. Hmm. Didn’t remember that, but maybe could have cleared it with the bimini on Mazurka. I dropped my mast and as soon as I got through there was another big solid highway bridge with about ten feet of clearance. WTF? As soon as I looked at my plotter I saw what had happened, but I was up top going under the bridge, and spent a brief moment puzzling as I got turned around.

The boat is marvelous. The pilot house is marvelous. I’ve got a list of custom exterior railings sketched out and am looking for a fabricator. Boat slides along at 10 km/hr without a ripple. Locking is an absolute delight. Blah blah blah. I did had a toilet clog, but resolved it. Probably a bit more mess than necessary, but I now have a complete understanding of how the system works.

I have a long list of things to do ashore. Realized I have a cracked dental bridge today. Then heard a dentist on CBC a few house later talking about this. Guess I can’t escape the crowds on this one. Will likely stop for a while in Orillia or Barrie. Lots to do. Hope the weather gets better before it gets worse. I’m sure it will.

I’ve started a couple on threads on Trawler Forum on the motor and stabilization. I’m Jeff F. I generally don’t do a lot of cross posting, but there are some Escapade specific threads there. Some of my pictures were taken in specific contexts. Thought I’d just throw them in here each day.

Outside Railings

I can see how this boat scared off a lot of people. Going out the pilothouse door requires nerve and balance. I think I’ve arrived at a solution. Here’s what we’ve got now.

When I started thinking about absolute must haves, it started inside. I can’t be afraid of the open door, and I want to be able to extend my head and torso out the door with complete confidence and security when underway in any conditions.

Next is ease of entry and exit to the dock. I’ll be living aboard in the frozen north. The cockpit is a lot like Mazurka’s, but deeper and smaller. There really isn’t an elegant way in and out. I’m fine with that. So again, we’re back to the pilothouse doors as the front entrance.

Working on deck aft of the pilothouse is reserved for special occasions. I’ll wear a harness. Working on deck forward of the pilothouse is unavoidable, but the more I think about it, the more I favour an overhead lifeline that I’ll always clip on to.

So, final solution. I’m going to have a pair of stainless rails fabricated for each side that extent outward from the top of the deck house outboard then vertically down to the deck. There will be one on either side of the door as far outboard as possible and providing an opening maybe 8-12″ bigger than the door. Bracing at the top, and appropriate hand holds and lashing points to accommodate heavy straps or coverings. Then I’ll rig permanent lifelines extending from the top of the new rail to the bow. Can keep them taut above the deck. Good roost for birds 😦

I’m going to keep the option of a solid outboard rail forward, but it’s going pretty far down the list for now.

Anyone know a good fabricator on the Trent Severn? I’m ready to roll on this. Will also work nicely with shrink wrapping to frame the entrance.

Cape Croker

I’m anchored here on the south side of Cape Croker. The sun has just come out and the blustery NW winds are calming. This is the view from my pilot berth. Very nice. I’m going to be here a lot.

I like this area. Very little shore side development, several nice quiet anchorages. I was tucked in under the bluffs last night at the marina when a violent front went through and there was no drama. Seems like a great place to keep a cruising boat if you live in SW Ontario. Can get to Parry Sound or Tobermory in a day.

I felt very comfortable getting out of the slip and in to the pump out dock. Deliberately put myself in a box about 100 * 100 feet and turned around 180 degrees. I used the thrusters but did enough without them to feel confident that I could have done it the old fashioned way. Finding the corners from the flybridge is actually easier than it was on Mazurka. Less flare in the hull forward. Anchoring is smooth and easy. Any concerns I had with the boat being too big to handle are rapidly fading away. The only downside so far is the $100/night bill for transient docking. Ouch. It’s in the budget, but it still stings. I’m sure it’s a good value for many, and I’d hate to see them go out of business. I’m trying to think of it as a contribution to a community that I’m only peripherally involved with, but want to support. I won’t mention it again.

I’m very much easing into things now. There is nothing red on my list. I’ve started a few threads on Trawler Forum and am defining various boat projects. Will start ordering supplies within a week. I’m not concerned about any serious breakdowns between here and Toronto and weather looks benign for the next few days. Let the dance continue!

Here are some pics of my stern chock. The only one on the boat! I have to add more deck hardware to properly handle mooring and anchoring. Had dock line chafe issues last winter that I want to avoid this winter.

Fall Cruising Plans

Mile 250*. I’m back aboard Escapade.

Snipe racing on Guelph Lake

Had a lovely shore leave in Guelph. Samantha and Sarah delivered me both ways. Nothing like in-person family contact, hot baths, good cooking, and meandering dog walks to reset things a bit. It’s essential for even diehard liveaboard nomads.

Sarah and I sailed our Snipe in the Palm D’Or regatta. Seven short races day one, day two called for lack of wind. It’s my kind of racing. We came fourth. Won one race, which felt good. Got noticeably smoother and more comfortable in the boat as the day wore on. Next weekend we’ll be back at it for the Canadian championships. Same venue. Can’t wait. Here are more pictures of the regatta.

The racing showed up my lack of physical conditioning. It wasn’t a hiking day, but I’m pretty stiff and sore today. I’m going to get back into my Laser when I get to Toronto. Hopefully there will be good racing well into the fall at Water Rats. I may stay at anchor for a few weeks in the Outer Harbour when I get there and just sail.

I’m going back into relaxed solo cruise mode. The weather is snotty tonight and I’m happy to be well secured in Wiarton. Tomorrow I’m underway until Friday, when I’ll get Sarah’s Country Limousine back to Guelph. I’m assuming I’ll leave the boat somewhere on the Trent Severn close to this end. Don’t have any plan other than that.

I’ll write a post dedicated to this, but friends and followers are always welcome to visit. If you’re in my neighborhood reach out. I’ve got lots of fair weather outdoor space, and am always happy to noodle around on local tours. I’m sure we can apply appropriate social distancing.

Some recent pics from the ER

* I assigned this arbitrarily, having forgotten to set my mileage when I got underway. Close enough. Also set starting engine hours @1640.


Escapade is tied up for a few days at Wiarton. I’m off to the sailboat races.

That’s a Great Harbor 47 on the other side of us. Interesting seeing the two side by side. I’ll take pics from the other side before I leave.

I’m thrilled with the boat. It’s everything I thought it would be and more. I’m completely comfortable moving forward with my list of improvements/enhancements to make it perfect, including stabilization. Did I mention the pilot house?

This morning we took some time to change fuel filters and run at full power for a while. Nothing alarming. There’s crud in the fuel system, but manageable. We woke up with the house battery bank dead, but it didn’t take long to resolve. Just some connections to fix. Big inverter/charger seems to be working, which is good. I’m confident carrying on next week.

Mike and Colin got picked up to get back to Grand Bend/Sarnia. It was great having them, and they really enjoyed the trip. Samantha and Sarah are on the way to get me.

Great maiden voyage!

I realized that I didn’t start the boat odometer when leaving. I’m going to start adding that to each post.

Here are a few of Mike’s pics from this morning.

Georgian Bay

We’re anchored here just north of Wiarton. Did a straight run here from Sarnia, about 24 hours. The only picture I took was this one of the early sunrise. Mike and Colin were asleep and I was alone in the pilot house.

We left Sarnia mid afternoon. Mike’s brother Colin visited in the morning, and decided to join us. So he drove home to Bright’s Grove just up the lake, and swam out to meet us just off the seawall as we came by.

We had seas from the beam for the first 10 hours or so. The boat rolls. I got seasick. Several times. And people and stuff got tossed around a bit. There are big spaces and areas where better hand holds are needed. It gradually lightened as we went north, before filling in from the south as we approached Tobermory.

The forecast was for strong southwest then west winds today, and we got them as we came south into Georgian Bay. So we hugged the Bruce Peninsula and stopped here rather than doing the long open water trip down to Severn Sound with the wind on our beam.

We didn’t have any major issues. The boat is able. Very solid feeling bashing into short steep chop today. The pilot house is marvelous. I spent some time in the berth up top, and it’s great. Secure with good sight lines. The three of us were hanging out there for much of the trip. I remain delighted with the boat.

I’m going to leave Escapade close by tomorrow for a few days. Off to Guelph to race the Snipe.

Here are some pics Mike and Colin took.


It’s thundering and raining hard outside, and I’m sitting at the back of the boat finalizing departure plans.

There’s almost 8 feet of headroom here. It’s going to be sheer luxury this winter compared to last. My bed is 30 feet away.

I got the generator swap done by using a small forklift from the travel lift well. Drove Mazurka over, lifted the generator out, then drove Escapade in and plopped it in the cockpit. I’ll install later. Managed to handle Escapade with some grace. Exiting the slip I had a bit of a cross breeze and an ugly obstacle close to leeward, so I was fully focused we playing with the thrusters and trying to back out, only to realize I still had an outer bow line attached. Duh. A reminder to follow the basic check lists, especially on your first outing!

I had lots of visitors today. Mallory drove up and helped me pick up groceries and a spare fuel filter. Scott came back with celebratory pizza. And old friends Mike and Jane stopped by to see Escapade. Mike is on vacation this week, and was immediately receptive to going for a long boat ride. Perfect timing! So we’re heading out tomorrow late morning for a straight shot to Port Severn. I’m really happy to have him aboard.

The weather is a bit unsettled right now, but it looks like we can catch a window. We’ll see. We agreed that we might put in anywhere en route if we have system or weather challenges. Have shore side support available. I’d say the odds of making it are good and the odds of dying are very low. Off we go.

Stuff is somewhat strewn about, and I still need to install electronics. Will do tonight. I’m far less concerned about being well rested now that Mike’s aboard. He’s a capable companion, and I’ll feel confident sleeping en route.

I haven’t done an accurate plot, but it took me about 23 hours from Christian Island to Grand Bend coming here, and I’m thinking we’ll make slightly better time in Escapade. Whatever. It’s ok if we stop before that, and we’ll arrive in daylight even at 32 hours.

There. Float plan filed. Wish us luck!