Dragonflights

The Cruises of the sailing vessel Dragonfly out of Toronto and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

14 July 2018 | Port Huron Michigan
11 July 2018 | St. Clair River
08 July 2018 | Detroit Yacht Club
05 July 2018 | Fort Malden
04 July 2018 | Detroit River Light
03 July 2018 | Put In Bay, Ohio
30 June 2018 | Scudder, North Dock, Pelee Island
29 June 2018 | Put In Bay, Ohio
26 June 2018 | Scudder, Pelee Island, ON
24 June 2018 | Erieau, ON
22 June 2018 | Erie, PA
20 June 2018 | Erie, PA
17 June 2018 | Port Dover, ON
14 June 2018 | Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo NY
13 June 2018 | Sugar Loaf Marina, Port Colborne ON
09 June 2018 | Fifty Point Yacht Club
08 June 2018 | Royal Hamilton Yacht Club
05 June 2018 | Port Dalhousie
03 June 2018 | Port Dalhousie
14 September 2013

Bayview-Mack, wasn't that a party!

14 July 2018 | Port Huron Michigan
So everybody got themselves to Sarnia and we got stowed, provisioned and ready. Friday morning we cleared in using the CBP ROAM App (really easy, a great improvement over the old clearance procedures). We got an assigned tie-up on the outside of a four-boat raft right next to the main stage with all the live entertainment.

The Bayview-Mackinac Race is the culmination of a week of parties, midways and events that involves the whole town of Port Huron. We had some good beer, some great food and had a fine time.

Saturday morning dawned bright and windless and a couple of us headed off to the pre-race weather briefing while the rest got some breakie. We broke up the raft about 9:15 and headed out for the course.... picture almost 200 boats all trying to get down a narrow river through 2 lift bridges at the same time, total chaos! The banks of both sides were lined with people cheering, one group of older women were holding up mark cards like diving judges, on the other bank was a full pipe band.... As we made the slow trip up under the Bluewater Bridge (there's at least a 3-4 knot current against us) we passed close to the Canadian shore, again lined with people and we received hearty cheers for our large Canadian, Ontarian and Manitoban ensigns flying from the backstay.

We reached the start are and there was no wind.
At all.

We went through several postponements before finally starting about an hour after our scheduled time... The whole fleet had that problem. We endured two days of little to know wind where our boat speed averaged 2 knots.

I'll let the rest of the story be told by watch captain Steve Masson in an article published in the Highland Yacht Club newsletter:

Bayview Mackinaw - 2018

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to do some longer distance racing on a boat out of QCYC (Queen City). This included some Susan Hood races in early June (Brrrrr) and Lake Ontario 300's - Scotch Bonnet. It is nice to learn the longer distance stuff from friends who have the added safety equipment and experience, before I try it on my own boat and crew.

The boat is Dragonfly -- an Ericson 30 Mark 2. As the owner has moved to Winnipeg, he has decided to sail the boat up to Thunder Bay to keep the boat close (relatively) for summer cruising, and while transiting to Superior, take in the Bayview Mack.

He left QCYC on May 22nd and cruised up the Welland, Lake Erie and Detroit river to arrive at Bayview Yacht Club in Port Huron. This was a race that my dad, Peter Masson, did with his older brother ... back in the day. So it was a great opportunity for me share a little in that experience 60 years later.

The race started on July 14th, 194 boats, with 15 in our fleet. The start was largely a drift-fest that was delayed by numerous postponements. The low speed, and fluky winds continued on and off for 2 days. We did have one crazy squall on Monday morning. We made it to Presque Isle Point (at the north east corner of Michigan) by Monday evening. That was when things became very interesting.

The beautiful sunset (red sky?) turned rather nasty within about 40 min. The wind really began to pick up (40km) and we found ourselves in in 5 - 6 ft waves. We shortened sail, putting up a very small jib, and furling it in 1⁄2 way, reefed the main down about 4ft. We were really pounding into it, with the forecast indicating that this was on for
the next 48 hrs. This is not the way one would want to spend the next 36 hrs (estimated) to get to Mack Island. It was then that we heard on VHF 16 about a 41 ft boat sinking, another dismasted, and the boat we were chasing had lost their steering cables. We looked at each other, and decided that it would be better to help the nearby boat, and live to race another day. It didn't go quite the way we would have wanted, but a great adventure all the same.
--- Stephen Masson

Up the River

11 July 2018 | St. Clair River
I've spent the last two days climbing up-hill, so to speak. Lake Huron is six feet higher in elevation than Lake St. Clair, and that results in a fair amount of current! There was little wind either day and what there was was blowing from dead ahead, so it was motor the whole way.

I left Windsor on Tuesday around 10:00 and motored across Lake St. Clair and up through the delta of the river, stopping for the night in Chenal Ecarte at a basically deserted marina with a very reasonable price. After a dinner of curried eggs and noodles and a couple of beers I went for a walk.... The water levels are very high everywhere, only a few inches below the docks at this marina.... The resulting flooding of the March lands in the delta produced an awesome cloud of mosquitos which descended at dusk, so I hurriedly closed up and headed to bed.

Wednesday morning was all river.... I covered the 21 miles to Sarnia in seven hours... that's right, an average of 3 knots. I probably could have walked it as fast. There was a regular procession of large lake-boats and tugs and a surprise, the American Coast Guard Ice-Breaker Mackinac. This constant parade did help to break up the monotony, as did the steady stream of sail boats heading to the same place we are, Port Huron... Most of them slowly passed us as we only have a 12 hp engine. About 5:00 pm I pulled into Sarnia Bay Marina, directly across the river from Port Huron's Black River where the fleet is gathering for the race.

Tomorrow the race crew arrives on VIA Rail and I will do the provisioning for the next 4 days and we will shoe-horn in everything on the boat....

Detroit

08 July 2018 | Detroit Yacht Club
Up and at it in good time on Friday morning we started the long, SLOW trip up the Detroit River, it took us around 8 hours to make it just over 21 miles to Detroit Yacht Club. The current in the river is quite incredible, in the order of 2-4 knots... At timeout speed-over-ground was less than 2 knots. It's good thing there was lots to look at! We saw quite a few freighters, some pretty awe-inspiring industrial complexes and some sweet little waterside communities.

Around 5:00 we pulled in to Detroit Yacht Club where we had a reciprocal slip reserved. Reciprocal in this part of the world means that they let you stay in their slip and pay for the privilege, as opposed to the Lake Ontario tradition of free reciprocals. No matter, at $1.50/foot it was worth it.... The kids lived in the pool and we enjoyed the grounds, the clubhouse and the company of some amazing sailors over in the lagoon including the skipper of Apache, a gorgeous New York 32 race by the same family for over 70 years.

On Saturday we hiked across Belle Isle to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Belle Isle Aquarium, it was well worth the trip.The museum was very kid-friendly and had tons of stuff for us Boatnerds. The Island has fallen on very hard times since the bankruptcy of the City of Detroit, many of the former amenities like the zoo, the stables and several of the rides are derelict and overgrown, the grass is unkempt and there is trash everywhere... however the State of Michigan has taken over and has instead millions in the refurbishment of the park, there is hope that this great park will be saved.

Sunday morning we got up and had a great breakfast and started the short trip (3 miles) to Windsor Yacht Club. We docked around 10:30 and Tay and Dave dove into the task packing their stuff. The four of them headed for the Via Station around noon and the boat was suddenly quiet and empty....

I spent the afternoon working on stuff for the Bayview-Mackinac Race next weekend and getting the boat straightened away... did laundry and then had a burger nd a few beers at the Club Bar.... tonight I shall sleep til I wake...

Amherstburg and Bob-Lo

05 July 2018 | Fort Malden
Sunny, hot.... no wind....
The evening of July 4th we relaxed, swam at the beach on Bob-Lo Island and had a good feed of spaghetti. Bob-Lo is famous as an amusement park for 70 years that served day-trippers from Detroit and Windsor who came on the famous Bob-Lo boats Ste. Clare and Columbia. The park closed in 1991 and apart from the marina it's a private community served by a ferry from Amherstburg. There are still structures around slowly fading... the huge dance-hall and pavilion is there as is the iconic tower. It's wonderfully Erie at dusk with the fireflies.

Next day we had a good breakie and walked to the ferry and took it to Amherstburg. The town was the site of the British naval and military base prior to 1813 and there are some great old buildings.We walked up to Fort Malden and and then the various museums and buildings around the Navy Yard. While the boys exhausted themselves at the playground I did a quick retrovision run to the local Sobey's and then we all walked back to the ferry (with a quick stop at the Beer Store!).

On arrival back at the marina we swam, relaxed, had few cold ones and then went to the marina restaurant for a great dinner. Next day we tackle the Detroit River.

Good Bye Lake Erie

04 July 2018 | Detroit River Light
We left Put In Bay on Wednesday, July 4th. We needed to cross about 25 miles open water on Lake Erie to the mouth of the Detroit River.
There was no wind....
The lake was dead flat calm....
It was stinkin' hot....
There were millions of flies....
We motored the whole damned way....

When we reached the Detroit River Light we altered course and began to get a breeze across the deck and the flies went away and life was good.

We then had to deal with the current, there is a LOT of water coming down the river, the entire upper Great Lakes drain down it, so the flow can be as much as 3 or 4 knots, and we needed to go upstream. The diesel chugged away faithfully and we slowly motored up the Livuingstone Channel to Bob-Lo Island. The marina was just fine and we settled in for a couple of days.

Two days in cruiser-land

03 July 2018 | Put In Bay, Ohio
Sailed from Pelee Island on Monday morning bright and early with Tay and his son Henry and Dave and his son Lukas. Bit of a rough passage that tested the younger stomachs but we made it to Put In Bay, centre of the Erie Islands by lunch time...

After securing to a mooring we headed to the Perry Victory and Peace Memorial, a great museum with a fairly balanced presentation of the carnage that was the Battle of Lake Erie. We then ascended 310 feet to the top of the memorial for a spectacular view of western Lake Erie.

It has been stinking hot so we opted for happy hour on the boat and then dinner at a local (air conditioned) pub. We retired to the mooring for night-caps and bed....

Tuesday morning (Tay's birthday!) we got up and had a feast of bacon and French toast followed by a lazy walk around South Bass Island including a tour of the cool local history museum, a rousing game of mini-golf and a refreshing swim in a very warm Lake Erie.... A quick stop for snacks and some beer at the local store and we adjourned to Dragonfly for a prolonged happy hour of snacks and cold drinks followed by a great chilli with fresh italian bread.

Tomorrow we head for Amherstburg for the other side of the Battle of Lake Erie story... Looks like great weather.
Vessel Name: Dragonfly
Vessel Make/Model: Ericson 30-2
Hailing Port: QCYC, Toronto, ON, and Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Crew: Dave Robinson, Heather McCance, Cara Robinson, Spinnaker (Ship's Cat) & Leia the RookieShip's Collie
Home Page: http://www.mccance-robinson.ca/
Social:
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