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Leaving Great Bras D'Or

06 July 2017
We spent longer than planned in Baddeck. Ron came aboard there, and after we left anchor, I realized the 12volt alternator was not charging. While I had a spare alternator, and other means of charging the batteries (generator, battery charger, or booster cables from house bank) it was best to return to the safe port and fix it at anchor.

Issuma has two alternators (one 12 volt for the engine controls and starter motor, one 24 volt for the house system), very close together in a tight space. I removed the 12 volt alternator and, after many attempts, realized that the new, spare alternator that I'd carried since Vancouver, didn't actually fit! Fortunately, Ron took the back cover off the faulty alternator and saw that a wire had broken inside, so fixed that, and the original alternator was reinstalled and operational.

Leaving Bras D'Or Lake at the northern end (to Cabot Strait), involves going through a narrows (Great Bras D'Or) with fast tidal currents. It is best to time the passage so the current is with you approaching the narrows, then slack as you pass through the narrows.

As the alternator problems caused us to miss the time of slack current at the narrows during the day, we anchored closer to the narrows for the night. We got up the following morning at 0100 to get underway so we would reach the narrows at slack, about 0450.

In the picture, we are leaving the entrance buoys to the narrows, heading into Cabot Strait, as the sun rises.
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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Survey pictures taken of Shekin V
14 Photos
Created 29 April 2008