Shake-Down Cruise of the Snow Goose, Part 2

by nonameharbor / Feb 22, 2011 / 0 comments



Kincardine, Canada

Shake-Down Voyage of the Snow Goose

Port Elgin, Lake Huron, Canada to Cleveland, Lake Erie, U.S. 

Part 2




8/4 Port Elgin, Canada to Kincardine, Canada

From Bill’s log:

09:15 wind 12 knots - compass 240 degrees - sea 2 feet - sky fair

We said our good-byes to Sea Breeze. They are going north. We are going south. Later in the morning we heard Ray on the radio saying he was caught in fog and hadn’t seen anything for 45 minutes, then we lost contact. A group of Windsor sailors departed south with us. At 1230 we change course to 198 degrees. We were behind Godin Wind during a storm and could see the full length of her cockpit when we were standing on top of a wave, even their feet. Glad we couldn’t see what we must’ve looked like. We had prepared for the storm with full foul weather gear, our cabin shut tight, we three with safety harnesses on in the cockpit, sails down. All during this we could hear Godin Wind calling on her radio over and over: Princess O’toole, where are you? This is the Godin Vind. Now really black clouds flying toward us. Can’t see Godin Wind anymore. Can’t even see our own compass. Needles of rain. Huron waves are different. Minimum waves 10 feet and broad. Suddenly the rain stopped, but still there is wind and waves. I looked at the shoreline and we are in the same place! The radio had no warning for us of this storm. We spot Kincardine. We’re in and as we are tying up everyone is running to the beach - there’s a water spout out there where we’d just been. We are staying an extra day.



8/6 Kincardine to Bayfield, Canada

From Bill’s log: 

 wind 12 knots - compass 270 -sea 2 feet - sky fair

We are under sail and motor. At 0925 change course to 210 degrees and dropped genny at Point Clark. At 1445 abeam Goderich. 1530, abeam Black Point. Bayfield is a beautiful port on a peaceful river. We rafted off a C&C 27, a boat owned by two men from Toledo, Stosh and friend, who in turn had rafted off a fishing vessel. The fisherman wouldn’t talk to us until he’d finished hauling his nets. Then he directed us up a wooded path to the town, a quaint travel poster town. At the Inn I had my first taste of cream of cauliflower soup. Afterwards, Bill visited with the neighbor boat, while Mike and I dinghy up the river, sightseeing.


8/7 Bayfield to Port Huron

From Bill’s log:

0645 - wind 5 ½ knots - compass 230 - sea calm - sky cirrus clouds

In Lake Huron proper we navigated two sets of fish nets that ran for several miles, north and south, blocking entrance to the river. In desperation we ran through them. At 1600 hours we pass south under the Bluewater Bridge with a fantastic current. First we look at Sarnia’s facilities, then opt for Port Huron again. Happy hour and talk into the night with a captain and crew aboard a Morgan. They’d followed us through two bridges because their horn ran out of gas. Our horn is human-powered. We each toured the other’s boats, both sure we had the better interior. The navigator was from WV.


8/8 Port Huron to Mt. Clemens

From Bill’s log:

0730 - weather fog

We have about 50 feet visibility - an eerie feeling when ships glide past. Bill and Michael sleep 2 hours as I take the first watch. 1230, rain and lightening and we run aground going into a gas dock. The men at the dock made no effort to help us. Back on course it is really raining hard - hot soup for lunch. The St. Clair cutoff is lined with beautiful houses. It appears we are in their moat (fanciful thinking). Now swamp type waters only a ship’s width. One of us at the tiller, one to call off buoys and look for reefs, one of us to read the chart. The sun is finally burning off the fog. Docked at 1330 and Joe at Burr Sailboat in Mt. Clemens gave us his car to use over night, so we drove to visit friends in St. Clair Shores.


8/9 Mt. Clemens to Amhurstburg, Canada

From Bill’s log:

1030 - 5 ½ knots - compass 95 degrees - weather fog

Visibility 50 feet. One on tiller and two on look-out, then it got a bit better when we arrived at the shipping channel of Detroit River. We can see Lake Erie. She looks wild after all that foggy calm. A storm is brewing. Grosse Isle wouldn’t let us stay at their long gas dock until it passed. On to Amhurstburg where the dock boys helped us thread into a berth. To Duffy’s Tavern for a much deserved hot meal. They have a memorial commemorating English and Canadian soldiers fallen from U.S. bullets. That gave us pause. Then another cat tried to follow us back to the boat!

8/10 Amhurstburg to Put In Bay

From Bill’s log:

0745 - River calm - weather fog, hazy

0830, when we entered Lake Erie from Detroit River her waves are sharp and about 8 feet. Our course is almost head-on. At time Snow Goose’ hull left the water. Only masculine hands can handle the tiller today. I was drowsing below and thought Snow Goose had broken in half when one particularly powerful wave hit us. Bill called down to say, You should have been up here!  Finally in the lee of the islands I finished the journey at the tiller. Put In Bay looked so welcoming. We settled down for an evening of sailors’ favorite pastime - critiquing newcomers’ anchoring techniques. We are staying an extra day to rest.


8/12 Put In Bay to Lorain

From Bill’s log:

0730 - sea calm - fog & warm air

We pulled the hook and headed for Ballast Island. At 0800 the visibility is clearing but the seas are confused. We sail wing and wing with the wind dead behind us. Riding the broad back of the sea gave us a great time. 0900 we are abeam Gull Island. 1320, stinky Lorain Basin. But the marina people are nice. We still remember once they baked cookies for us after we’d been up all night in foul weather.


8/13 Lorain to Cleveland

From Bill’s log:

1530 - course 60 degrees - wind 15 knots - seas 4 feet - fair

Abeam Avon Point at 1630. Then, at last, 2100 we are home.  Sailboat Clarence and motorboat Clarence and Walter made us welcome. Somehow they’d heard us calling Sarnia Coast Guard for a weather report…an atmospheric phenomena, so first thing, we had to tell them all about that. Now to unpack our adventure.