Riviere Au Renard to Souris

We take the day off, nasty winds. There's not a lot to do in Riviere au Renard. Patrick fixes his return plans and I fail to find a grocery store. Patrick will leave in the morning. I take the time in the afternoon to fix my plans. The weather sucks, its cold and raining, raining very hard at times.

And I have enough of mast steps sticking out and catching the halyards. I suck up all the courage I can muster and climb the mast. Patrick works the halyard and we get it done. Now all the mast steps are closed at last. And I head to the cabin  to change my underpants.

Riviere au Renard is one of the biggest fishing fleets in the Gaspe peninsula so we decide we'll go with what they have here and we decided on lobster. (I can justify that). At 4:30 we present ourselves at the fish monger's. "Bonjour! Parlez vous Anglaise" - "Non". Shit! Luckily 2 women leaving the store hear this and come over, the one lady's english was really good. We explain that we'd like lobster but would prefer if they could cook it, since there's nothing on the boat to hold 2 lobsters. We were too late for them to do that. The concensus was however that the other store at the processing plant would have cooked lobsters. So we head off to the processing plant. The lady from the store comes by and tells us to get in the car, we're going the wrong way. Doh! So then she heads in and explains to the shop guys what we want, and gives a ride back to the marina. That was just SOOOOOO nice of her and really is just an indication of just how nice the Quebecois have been to us. On the way back the lady explains her son runs the bar close to the marina. So we have to go there, right?

So there's just 1 guy and the barmaid and us. Turns out the guy is a boxing instructor, was bantum weight (le coq?) champion of canada and now he trains people. He has over a dozen people coming and the town is only 3000 people. His english was poor but a really nice guy. He leaves and we're joined by another character,another "Patrick". He came in on his father's boat (an Arlberg 37 - nice!) that he hasn't been on in 17 years. Anyway, much beer was drunk. We played pool and Toronto Patrick is picking up the tab.

Patrick's bus leaves at 9:30 and we wake up after 8. Its a bit of a fiasco but Maggie May comes to the rescue and drives us to the bus stop. Its the same place we ate at the first night. Its a shame to see Patrick leave, but it was great to get to spend time with hime away from work.
So, now its just me. The weather sucks, Patrick in the Arlberg and one other boat come back to the marina after setting out at 8:00. Its 30 mph winds and it was right on the nose for them (North-west). My plan, no more marina hopping, time to get some serious miles in. I'm missing my sweetheart, and my kids and my grandkids. The weather forecast says the winds will drop to 20 mph in the afternoon. So I aim to leave late and head straight to Prince Edward Island, and stop at a marina there on the east coast. I'm not going through the Northumberland Straits. It looks gorgeous but I also hear its littered with crab pots and probably not the easiest to navigate by yourself, which means day time only sailing. The only question was go via the Magdelaine Islands or head down the coast, I choose down the coast, since there are strong south easterlies forecast for tomorrow afternoon and evening. The coast should give me some protection.

So leaving the marina was interesting. I wanted help leaving because right next to me (and downwind of the howling gale) was a really nice and large boat (registered in Port Isabel, Texas funningly enough). I could see no way to stop the front end swinging into that boat. But as luck should have it the owner shows up and is working on it. No english of course, but by pantomime, we figure it out and he held the front to the dock as I pull out and releases the lines. Merci beacoup!

Next up - get the bumpers and lines in. Winds howling, but there is an outer harbor where I pull donuts for 20 minutes whiile I get it all taken care of. Then the waters leaving the harbor are horrendous. I have a beer tragedy as the fridge door flies open and coughs out beers everywhere before slamming shut again. I just wasn't expecting winds this bad, but sure enough, as promised they fall off 15 minutes after being underway. Then its take out the reefs and run.

Dolphins! There were dolphins just like Alberg Patrick promised. Man they fly past the boat likes its just flotsam.


I sailed all night, setting the egg timer to wake me up every hour. The wind was good and the speed was also, the wind was right on the beam. Trouble was every now and then the wind just dissappeared and I'd be sitting there for 20 minutes, just bobbing. I didn't reef at night, since I saw no boats at all. And I wanted to get as many miles in before things got nasty the next afeternoon. Turned everything off but the Auto-pilot. My batteries have fallen quicker than expected. Seams the VHF Radio (which I recently set to enable AIS alarms) uses more than I expected. And sure enough the weatherman was right. Winds shifted early afternoon to the South-west and picked up to 30 mph. I have seen just one boat since I left port. Right now I see no land either and haven't for hours, but still there's seagulls just sitting in the waves. Are they lost? I'm expecting PEI to give me some protection this evening.


Wow! nasty night. Chose to take on those headwinds. That was a mistake. Those were some really big seas and I made Trude take them full on. She paid me back by having the hatch leak which sent water all through the boat. Eventually PEI gave me some cover from that wind but it wasn't untill 5 miles out that I got any. Tough night, I lost a shackle holding the gib to the furler, now the first foot of the luff is out of the foil. I'll have to wait for no winds to work on that one. I got absolutely soaked by a wave while looking at that. Then changed to my wet eather gear and almost immediately ripped the arse right of them. Should have got a bigger size. They must have been sized for those little chinese butts.
And now the reward for that night long fight. Winds almost on the beam as I follow the North PEI coast. Averaging 6 mph with just a little of the rollers left. Drying out the bunks and my clothes now. Shaved, brushed my teeth ate some food and had one of those fancy instant coffees that Mike left behind. And I have my shirt off. The only fly in the ointment is that I'm probably not going to make make Montague by night fall. I'm still fully reefed on the main and flying the staysail gib. Well another shitty night. As soon as I rounded the East Point on PEI the wind picked up as expected. Started my tacking in nsty winds but this was what I expected. What I didn't expect was the discovery that I couldn't come through the wind on th port tack after like my 5th tack. It seems that once again the deep reef has trapped a batten and is dragging the slugs out of the sail track. This then causes a large pocket under the boom and won't let the boat go faster than 2 knots. Couldn't tack with staysail gib alone, so I powered up the iron spinnaker. What a night the seas were hammering Trude and whenever they caught her beam rolled her pretty hard. I got into Souris - the nearest port on the east coast at dawn. I was knackered. Another nght without sleep.


In Souris I look for marina staff, a coffee shop, anything. There's a nice lighthouse real close to the marina so I ended up there. And fell asleep on a park bench just like a bum. I go back to the boat for a sleep. Eric the local marina guy wakes me up at 1:00-ish. We agree to meet in the morning tomorrow. I do my jobs, fix the gib, with its broken shackle, and shower. The showers were palacial and spotlessly clean. Bright pine finish with its own suite, toilet, shower sink and huge wooden chair. Nice! I do laundry, it continues to rain. I head to the restaruant that Eric pointed out and its nice. I get the chowder, seafood curry and bread pudding. Even the beer was great. But get this, the people here speak english - yes! They wear t-shirts and jeans and baseball hats. They're all very, very new england in appearance and accents. It continues to rain.