Monday, June 1, 2009

Surfing into Kingston

31 May 2009, 2030 hours, Confederation Basin, Kingston

Our first two days on the water ended in boisterous conditions. On both days, we started out with a wind out of the west at 10-15 knots. Which was just fine as the wind and resulting waves were behind us, pushing At Last! along.

As the day progressed, the wind increased in strength to 20 knots, even 25. The waves that were 1 to 2 feet grew to 3 to 4 feet. As we approached Presqu’isle Bay on Saturday, we were surfing down 5 to 6-footers. On the approach to Kingston earlier today, confused 3 to 5-footers chased us in.

Nothing dangerous, but definitely not a smooth ride in a boat as small and light as ours. We were delighted to see how well the TomCat handled the conditions, and sure glad we were not pounding into such wind and waves, that is, heading to weather.

The Cetrek Pilot 730 autopilot kept the TomCat on course, and didn’t seem overwhelmed at all. The Captain did take the helm in his own hands at the end of both days, mainly because it made him feel useful, and in control.

We ran at 20 knots through most of the stuff, but when we began to take off from wave tops--and land with a crash and lots of spray--we throttled back the Yamahas to 15 knots.

Somehow, it was fitting to arrive in Kingston in a hail shower, completing our 145-mile run from Frenchman’s Bay with Mother Nature playing a fanfare.

Undaunted, we wasted no time in heading for our favorite shops, all within an easy walk of the marina:

Oldest farmer’s market in Ontario -- late in the day so we only picked up local tomatoes;

Block & Cleaver Meat Market -- a nicely marbled rib-eye steak, about 1.5 inches thick, for tomorrow night or the next day;

Pan Chancho Bakery & Cafe -- where we went over budget with purchases of an extraordinary pate maison, Baluchon raw milk cheese, smoked mackerel pate, double-smoked bacon, Red Fife organic whole wheat loaf, croissants that could use more butter, oatmeal raisin muffins, and, for dessert, creme brulee and caramel pecan tart.

What a bistro night we had aboard At Last! With an excellent Italian organic sangiovese from the wine cellar in the powercat’s port hull.

With our song playing on the iPod Nano.

You can track our progress as we start up the Rideau today and see our whereabouts with SPOT. For the best look, select "satellite" or "hybrid" view.

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