Sail to Atlantic Ocean


The following is the accounting of our shakedown cruise to the Atlantic in 2006, be sure to read our blog entry for 2009 of our 3 day 2 night cruise coming home from Cape Cod

2006, august, we sailed to the Atlantic Ocean.  Yes, you heard me right, the Atlantic Ocean.  When we headed out, we were going to go to Halifax, on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, which would have been several hundred miles in the open Atlantic.  While we did not get that far, we did spend a night in the Ocean, (well, in a little gunkhole open to the Atlantic), we then had to turn and go back, as gale force winds were being called for, so we wouldn’t have the time to wait it out there.



This was a fun trip, mostly spent enjoying the areas, and enjoying the changes made to our boat, and our new dodger.  Well, almost. There was this one day………..

We started out in Summerside, and sailed under the Confederation Bridge, and into Victoria by the Sea, which is very close to our home, so we had taken our new (to us) dinghy with the new electric motor, and left it there.  We spent the night in Victoria, hauled up our dinghy, and sailed to Woods Island, again dodging around the 18 knot ferry, which is much larger than we are.

We sailed (yes, we sailed most of the way this week) to Ballantyne’s Cove, a protected little harbor past the strait, and before St. Georges Bay which can be rough, and is before the Canso Canal (yep, if you read the trip to the Bras D’or Lakes, this is the same starting route.


We then crossed St. Georges Bay, and motored up the Canso Canal, (haha, we knew how to use the lock this year, no “Spiderwoman” was necessary!  All went very well (the motor was starting to sound a little rough though).  We then motored to Port Hawksbury (motor was sounding very, very rough now), docked ok, then I started looking at the motor.  The fuel filter was plugged solid with crud.  I changed it, and discovered that our fridge had stopped working, and all the meat had gone bad.  Upon investigation, I discovered a bad ground.  While I was repairing the ground, I burnt out a wire on the bilge pump.  (Hey, I just rewired this whole thing!)


When it was repaired, we then took a cab into town for supplies, groceries, another fuel filter, and a fuse holder and wire for the bilge pump.

We continued motoring past Lennox passage (the cut off to the Bras D’ors) then hoisted sails in Chedabucto Bay (which opens to the Atlantic Ocean) and sailed into the Ocean.


I dipped my hand in the Atlantic Ocean, woo hoo!


The weather has been grand, although sailing across St. Georges Bay had been a little rough, but the sun was out, it was cool on the water, then hot ashore daily.  The weather stations were calling for higher winds, with gale force for at least a day.  We made the decision we were not going to make Halifax, as we didn’t want to be rushed, and wanted to enjoy the trip, we had accomplished our main goal, which was to put our boat in the Atlantic!

We now turned around, and sailed (and motored, motor was sounding real rough again, how is this possible?) to a small protected area we had marked on the chart, shallow and out of the wind.



Time to anchor!!  Haha, I get to use my new windlass, with the new chain I bought.  I hadn’t put it all together yet, figured I would do so when I used it first, no sense in doing it all twice.  The anchor (danforth) was on the bow rail on a holder, so I push the chain up through the deck pipe, then connect the anchor.  I was going to connect the anchor line to the 30′ of chain, but the loop wouldn’t fit through the deck pipe, so I said to myself, no problem, the windless has a clutch, I will let it out slowly, then tie the line topsides.

I worked the windless, and MB handled the boat.  We almost stopped, I dropped the anchor, then released the clutch.  “Back up slowly”, says I, the Captain.  She does, the windlass whirrs, chain goes out, fast, no problem, I’ll tighten the clutch.  Woops, the handle went the wrong way,  “ONO” I say as I watch my danforth anchor, my new 30′ of chain, and my pride disappear into the water.  I almost dove in after it, but caught myself in time and did not.  “Why not”??  says my first mate.  Back to the anchor locker I go, get my spare anchor, spare short piece of chain that is too large to go through the deck pipe, and carry all topside, tie on the line, and over it goes.  Tied to the boat this time.  The water is calm, the sun is warm, we are anchored, and we have a Rum Punch poured.   Life is good.  I change the fuel filter again, it is plugged almost solid again!  My first mate wants me to go swimming and find our anchor and chain.  I refuse.  I figure its a cheap lesson, as I need to get a 100′ chain and Bruce style anchor anyway, for our trip.

We leave early, headed for Ballanytyne’s Cove, as the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse soon.  Motoring close to the lock (the lever for the motor keeps sliding back, we have to hold it on with our foot), I realize I need to take the blade off the wind generator, as it is on the starboard side, the water is low, so there is a chance the blade could hit the wall.  I have a line on the wind generator to turn it when the blade is spinning, the blade then stops, the nut is removed, and presto, its off.  It didn’t work that way today (ohno, this is gonna be the day)  I reached up for the line, and all of a sudden I was on my knees looking at a large cut in my hand, and it wasn’t bleeding.  I didn’t feel very well.  I suggested my first mate take the helm, and I went below.  All of a sudden blood started gushing out of my hand, and I felt like I was going to pass out.  I told MB to drive around in circles (“but the green light is on”, I ignored her and wrapped up my hand from the first aid kit).  I took a deep breath, and tried the wind generator again.


This time I got it, and we went on into the lock.  The lockmaster caught our lines, and when we told him why we were late, he held out his hand, minus 3 fingers, and says “been there, done that!”.  We motored out of the lock (motor sounds real sick) into some very rough water.  Hoist the sails and on to Ballantyne’s Cove.  The boat was heeled over 30 degrees at one point (our limit is 12, my first mate continued to remind me).



Now, about our dinghy, it is tied bow and stern by lines, through a block at each end, I then just tied the lines to whatever I could find (stern rail) for our first trip, I would then decide how to permanently attach it.  I felt it was high enough out of the water that it wouldn’t be a problem.  I was wrong.  A following sea (high) started swamping the dinghy.  I again gave the helm to the first mate, and tried to tie the dinghy up higher, and to remove the plug to let the water out.  I succeeded at both.  I started the motor to help keep control of the boat.  It was sounding sicker, then died.  I went below to adjust the carberator, thinking a nut must have vibrated loose.  It was a little better, but we were still heeled way over, and the motor started chugging again.  Back I went to adjust the carberator again, and MB suggested I check the dinghy, quickly.  It was full of water, and about to cause serious issues.  I took my sailor’s knife and cut the stern line, crossing my fingers the bow line would hold the dinghy, and not really caring if I had to cut it loose.  I pulled the bow line as tight as I could, hoping the water would all drain from the dinghy.



I had purchased a nice new tension meter for my shrouds and stays this year, and when I stepped the mast, I tightened the rigging to the minimum settings, then adjust them later.  I had forgotten to adjust, so I guess now is later.  OHOH.  The Morgan 30 is a beautiful boat, and is easy to rig.  The shrouds fit into a groove in the spreaders, which makes it very easy to rig, and always works very well.  Except when the boat is heeled over 30 degrees, and the rigging is not as tight as it should be.  I now know the minimum settings are not quite right.  One shroud slipped out of place.  Down come all the sails (hey, my hand hurts, remember?), and the other shroud then falls out too of course.  No sails, sick motor, trailing (sinking) dinghy, and mad first mate.  Guess this is gonna be the day!

The motor was sounding bad still, and since its all we now have, I go below again and try to make more adjustments to keep it running.  My first mate is talking to herself.  When I finish the adjustments, I hear “Oh s%&#”, and the motor goes to an idle.  I look in the cockpit and the lever for the motor speed was lying on the floor of the cockpit, it had come right out, and wouldn’t go back in.  I go back into the motor locker, push the lever manually to speed the motor, then dig out my toolbox.  To get at that area, the fridge, all my toolboxes, sails and other stuff need to come out, and the wall needs to be screwed out with several small screws.  While I do this, I keep having to go back to the motor to manually speed it up.  Once I got the wall out it was easier, as I could manually speed it up from that side.  I got it put back together temporarily, looked at the galley (what a disaster!), then sat down and poured a drink.  I know, I know, not the best idea, but I was feeling naseous, having been in the motor locker, and that little storage area the whole trip, with the boat rocking and dinghy sinking and shrouds coming undone, I was a mess.  And my hand still hurt and was throbbing.

We chugged into Ballantyne’s Cove,



there were a few people helped us tie up, and we underwent repairs.  It was a race to get the dinghy after we were tied up, as the plug was out to let the water out, but when we stopped, the water was coming in, of course.  We got it in time, pulled it up on the dock, and put the shrouds back on, setting the tension to the maximum.  Tied the dinghy back up, cleaned up the galley, then poured a large drink.  We then went for a walk and enjoyed the evening.  Gale force winds were due tomorrow night.  We still had the strait to cross, if we waited the seas would be rough (rougher) for another couple days.  First mate wants to stay put.  We’ll have to see.

While we are there we walk through a hand built wooden boat.  Incredible work has gone into it, the man who built it was there and gave me a tour.  Some people have so much skill!



I convince my first mate that we need to head out early, we’ll head for Woods Island, then be back on PEI before the gale hits.  She realizes that is the smart thing to do, but is not impressed.  I tell her how proud I am of the job she did yesterday.  We are beating directly into the wind and waves and tide.  Our headway is very poor, with some very large waves, but we keep at it.  I unfurl the jib to help stabilize, but it does no good at all, unless I tack some, and if we tack, the waves are rolling us.  Everything is a compromise.  After several hours, I come to the realization we are not going to make Woods Island, we are going to be lucky to make PEI.  I look at the charts, and decide we will head to the eastern shore of PEI (on a tack) so the sail will help, and we can probably make it.  I then realize I did not upload any charts of eastern PEI into my chartplotter, so once again, my first mate needs to take the helm while I go below and upload them.  She does great!  We make it to Murray Harbor, and pull into a fishing harbor.


I remembered hearing there was a new marina there, and this sure wasn’t it.  When I asked someone, he jumped in a small motor boat, and said “follow me” and led me a couple miles upriver to another fishing area, with a private floating dock that was perfect.  We were right in town, had washrooms at the end of the dock, a nice resteraunt just a short walk away, gas station and auto parts across the road, and stores n’ stuff.



We spend the night there, as well as the next day, during the gale force winds.  Never felt a thing.  The next day, I got up early and spoke to a fishing boat that was coming back in (early) and asked him about the seas.  He said there was still 10′ waves.  We were ahead of schedule, due to returning early, so we decided to spend another day here.  Murray Harbor is a wonderful small town, they have completely redone their railway station into a walking museum.  I can’t say enough nice things about it.



I changed the fuel filter again (and bought a couple more).  The rough water really stirred things up, I will have to clean out the fuel tank this year.  Other than that, the motor ran great.

The next day we departed early, and had a great trip.  We sailed past Woods Island straight through to Victoria.  The water was calm, the winds were good, I wanted to night sail straight through, but wanted to keep my first mate happy, and after 12 hours sailing, she wanted to be around a tree!  So we stopped at Victoria,


dropped off our dinghy, called my father in law to deliver more booze (naw, not out, but running low!) and had a relaxing night on the boat.

The next morning the wind was up, naturally, and it was a rough trip beating into the wind back under the bridge and home to Summerside.

HA!!   We made it.  The Atlantic Ocean.

Items learned & equipment needed now:

A fuel filter for the motor that can be easily unscrewed and replaced quickly from the galley hole.

The fuel tank needs to be flushed and cleaned.

The wiring on the port side of the boat needs to be replaced (nothing on that side works now, bears investigation).

We need more storage (there is a lot of wasted space, cabinets along the full length of the boat both sides will suffice).

We need a new forehatch.  I neglected to mention that with the waves pouring over the boat, everything got soaked.  NOT US!  The new ‘Natty Dodger’ did its job well!

Need a new anchor and chain.

A better way to connect the dinghy.  The solar panel, windgenerator, dinghy rail is fine, just need to mount the dinghy to the holder more solid.


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