May, 2010

May 10

Lake Ontario night sailing

I experienced my first night sail this week. It was a pretty gusty night and the winds were hitting over 20 knots, that’s around 40 km/h. The whole night was a rush and the air was crisp and cold. I was really thankful for my many layers of clothing. I had long johns, jeans, long sleeved shirt, fleece, winter jacket, life jacket and gloves which kept me relatively warm for most of the night, although I did duck down into the cabin once. Four of us (Clive, Pamela, Birgit and myself) had sailed together only a few months ago in the Caribbean.

Leaving the marina

Leaving the marina, SkyDome in the background, also known by the uglier name, Rogers Centre.

The Niagara

This was my second time on the Niagara 35 and this is a fine boat, although admittedly the range of boats I’ve tried so far is small, this one is ranking near the top. The boat handles extremely well and feels really safe even when a strong gust of wind kicks in and the boat starts to heel.

I was helping crew while another member of the club was finishing up his advanced practical test. This included crew overboard drills in the day and at night, docking while under sail, and anchoring while under sail at night. I got to be the windless (apparatus for lifting heavy things like an anchor) since this boat didn’t have one, but it was good exercise, the whole night was. I managed to snap a couple of videos while out, both are available in HD. These videos were shot in the harbour during crew overboard drills.

Toronto skyline

The Toronto skyline at sunset. (Birgit, Clive, Evgueni, Pamela and Cybele)

In the evening almost everyone was cold and heading down into the cabin so I got a chance to take the helm and steer us back into the harbour. This was unlink any helming I had done in the day. Everything looks entirely different at night and the buoy lights were difficult to see mixed in with the Toronto skyline. You have to really stare and look for the flashing lights. The Toronto island has a small airport and all boats must make their way around a ring of buoys before entering the channel into the harbour. In the day it’s easy because you can see the large white buoys as plain as day, but at night it’s a different story.

In the end it was another fantastic four hours of sailing. Sometimes you forget that you are actually just outside of Toronto and got off work only hours before. Sailing is an amazing escape, and I’m lucky that it’s right at my doorstep.

Big ship

A big ship docked at the eastern end of the Toronto Harbour.

Toronto skyline dusk

The Toronto skyline dusk at dusk.

Night sailing lake Ontario

Heading out into lake Ontario a nightfall.

Night sailing

Night sailing, taken with flash.

Night sailing lake on ontario

Night sailing on lake on Ontario.