TWO QUACKS TO THE DUCKS By Gerry Bauder
It is July 3, 1996, the date my brother, Don, and I have agreed to meet at the Glenora Ferry on PrinceEdwardCounty. This is the date that kept me working on the refurbishment of Sadie Eves, my Nordica 16. After much sanding, new two-part epoxy topsides, a new boot stripe, and VC17 antifouling, she is ready, the day before. As I pull off the ferry to meet family, the trailered boat, named after our grandmother, looks Bristol.
The Waupoos Marina is a short drive past Lake on the Mountain. It is located on the north shore of Prince Edward Bay in a somewhat sheltered spot behind WaupoosIsland. After making arrangements to launch the boat and leave my Sidekick and trailer for three days at reasonable cost, we prepare for launch. Upon parking beside the ramp, Don noticed that the aft starboard support pad for the boat had gone missing from the trailer. Some place between Carleton Place and Waupoos, a support pad with bracket must lay along the road, yet I'm sure I would have noticed if it was gone when I did a walk around inspection of the boat while crossing on the ferry. Maybe it only disappeared in the last few miles, but it was gone.
Let me digress here to put in a pitch for properly tying down a trailerable boat. The elderly gentleman that I had purchased the boat from a year earlier did not bother to tie it down, claiming that its weight kept it from bouncing. Although probably close to half his age, I have towed many different kinds of trailers with various cargoes and I am a firm believer in tying down the load, whatever it may be. Had I not done so on this occasion, the vertical steel support post for the pad would have gone up through my newly refinished hull as it bounced on the trailer. Since I had the boat well tied down, there was only a minimal 1/2" long surface scratch that rubbed out of the paint; the boat had been restrained from bouncing a lot, coming down hard on the post and being impaled. This resulted in us being able to continue with the planned trip and my only worry being how to support the stern for the trip home in three days' time.
After stepping the mast, a one-person operation, we carefully launched the boat with a close eye on the unprotected trailer support post, and proceeded to load way too much gear on board. Even after more than 100,000 miles of motorcycle riding and living out of saddlebags, I still find it impossible to travel light. My wife is just the opposite, but then she won't go sailing, and that's another story. I digress again.
Our plan, which surprisingly, we were able to stick to, was to sail from Waupoos the first afternoon to Long Point Harbour on the south-east end of Prince Edward Bay, then to Schoolhouse Bay on Main Duck Island the second day, and directly back to Waupoos the third day. I had chosen this route based on a prior trip to Main Duck from Kingston four years earlier. Although my preference was to sail directly from Kingston to Main Duck, the prevailing winds are normally from the south-west. Getting to Main Duck from there can be a straight uphill run into the teeth of the wind. After consulting with my very experienced sailing mentor, Brian Rogers, I theorised that my planned route from Waupoos would allow me to reach across the wind on the trip to Main Duck and the reverse on the return trip. In practice, we were able to reach to Long Point and then Main Duck the first two days, but it was with a north-east, not a south-west wind that allowed us to do that.
Since it was July after all, we started out from Waupoos wearing shorts and T-shirts, but soon donned the rain gear because of clouds, the cool north-east wind, and rain showers. We went around the west side of WaupoosIsland and headed across PrinceEdwardBay in metre high waves. Although at that time, he had only had a little experience with a dinghy many years before, Don handled the tiller well. As skipper, I concentrated on course, sail trim, and periodic advice to the helmsman.
LongPointHarbour was a big disappointment. We were the only sailboat, mind you it was mid-week, in company with two unoccupied commercial fishing boats at the wharf. From four years earlier, I had remembered a picturesque little bay with tended lawns and clean outdoor toilets. This time around, not only was it cold and windy with rain showers, but the toilets were so filthy as to be totally unusable, and the hay had grown up around everything, including the garbage. As a federal government employee, I had endured the cutbacks we had been experiencing for several years as an employee, but now I saw the impact of the provincial government cutbacks on the public. It was disgusting! (Not as bad as the cutbacks to health care and education, but again I digress.) A sign requested boaters to mail in a fee for overnight docking, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what we were being asked to pay for. It certainly wasn't for the services of a caretaker.
Notwithstanding, I erected a canopy over the boom to fend off the rain showers, and we were able to prepare supper and breakfast