We had a couple of hours available after a pre-closing cottage walk-through on Lake Rosseau, and before a cottage showing on Lake Muskoka, so we got out sailing.
Wind was primarily from the north west, gusting to 15 knots + at times; to the extent we had to tie in 2 reefs in the sail.
Lake Muskoka’s south bay was loaded up with whitecaps. Despite the double reef, or thanks to it, we had great control and the 18′ catboat reached the theoretical maximum hullspeed often – exhilarating!
The Segwun was out for a while, then shot back toward the Narrows from Eleanor Island– either the cruise was overdue or the forecast was not good. We were pretty much headed back by then.
Muskoka does need the rain.
Sunday was forecast to be a beautiful day: 18 degrees, sunny and steady winds. And, we had the boat fully ready to go. So, after some preparation – we had to tie the mast hoops to the sail and tie one reef in the sail – Catharine and I, and our son Chris and his dog Kirby were going to take the catboat on its first sail in Muskoka. We headed out into Lake Muskoka and tacked through between Pine and Birch Islands.
You can see the mast hoops in the picture below.
For those who aren’t sailors reefing is a way to shorten the sail somewhat so as to not be overpowered by winds. You’ll see the reefing points tied onto the boom in the picture of Chris below.
Completed a fairly complex (for me) re-rigging of our catboat. Because the sail is gaff-rigged, there is an additional spar, much like the boom that is above the sail. The luff (front edge) of the sail is tied to wooden hoops that ride up the mast when the sail is raised.
We raised the mast on the catboat today. It looks so much more like a sail boat now. Normally this would be something done in May, but hey, this is when we were able to bring it all together. I am hoping for two weeks or so with some really good sailing days.
Next, I have to figure out all this rigging, and what goes where?
We brought a sailboat in need of restoration, back with us from Maine some 5 years ago. Today she was officially launched in Lake Muskoka at the Muskoka Wharf. Previously, and still currently named Dartry, she will be re-named Swell for the 2012 sailing season.
We first discovered these wonderful boats while living in Massachusetts. Known as a catboat in New England, these were the working boats in the 1800’s. Typically using one large gaff-rigged sail, these wide beamed boats – ours is 18 ft. long and almost 9 ft. wide – had lots of room for the work at hand. They were used to unload cargo from much larger sailing vessels, to get good to and from shore. Catboats were also the fishing boats of the time, used for swordfishing, lobster traps, scallops, etc.
As you can see, the mast has not been raised yet so we planned to motor – there is a 4-stroke outboard built into a motor well – from Gravenhurst to Indianhead marina on Lake Muskoka.
Our timing was great and Cath caught a picture of the Segwun just as we both approached the Narrows from opposite directions. We exchanged greetings: two toots from the wonderful steam whistle on the Segwun and two dings from our bronze bell.
Although the weather was mostly overcast, our trip up Lake Muskoka was beautiful. Both the air and the lake were warm and the sun was beginning to dip below the cloud in places.
After five years of on-again, off-again restoration, this was truly a joyful trip. I did not know for sure if there would be leaks somewhere, so I was happy that I had given work on the bilge pump a high priority on the worklist; we made it with a dry bilge.