No. 26 - April 1977


CRUISING GEORGIAN BAY

Stuart Zahniser

 

Georgian Bay, the giant thumb to the mitten of Lake Huron, is one of the world's great cruising areas. While my memories of it include high wind, rain and a little fog, they are mostly of smells of pine trees baking on granite islands, of water so clear you can see the anchor in 20 feet, of good winds with few waves, of constantly changing scenery, and of challenging navigation without real danger.

 

But for such idyllic environment, cruise these waters in July and August. The bay can be wild and cruel in early spring or in the fall. Scrubby, distorted trees, limbs all to the east, testify to the cold and force of the West winds in the off season.

 

One charm of the Bay is that it absorbs the trends of change without itself changing much. My first visits were by canoe more than thirty years ago. My latest was last August.

 

There are more boats than there used to be. More fibreglass and fewer plumb bowed mahogany inboards. The harbours have shifted their orienta­tion from fish, coal and commerce to tourists, but the Bay absorbs these changes, and wise government policy has restricted indiscriminate develop­ment. Georgian Bay is one of the few places in my experience that look just as good after three decades.

 

Our boat is the keel centreboard model and is carried on a trailer equipped with light winch, a detachable third wheel, and rollers to lift the bow on retrieval, all as described in the Tanzer Newsletter. We tow with a big International Harvester Travel-all, which makes light work of the nearly 5000 lbs. of boat trailer and equipment. Canadian small craft chart 2202 lists marinas in the southern part of the bay, some of which have lifting arrangements.

 

Two years ago we launched at Honey Harbour Boat Works. They have the best ramp at Honey Harbour, and a safe place to leave your car, for a reasonable rate, while you cruise. I don't recommend this ramp for a keel model, unless the trailer has a third wheel, because the present high water makes the upper part of the (gravel) ramp too shallow.

 

The Honey Harbour Boat Works people are pleasant. They make you welcome, I then leave you alone with a reassuring: "Tell us if you need anything ­and don't worry, we can get you out if you need us." They have a tractor and some sturdy young men standing by, just in case.

 

If, once the mast is stepped, boat launched, car and trailer stored, the evening calm has settled, a half hour at half throttle will take you by motor to the several little coves of Honeymoon Bay. This is a Canadian National Park Campground on the north shore of Beauselieul Island. The main campground is in the central part of the island. There is a quick change as one goes north through the narrow channel from the busy waters of Honey Harbour to the wildness of Honeymoon Bay.

 

A sunny morning and a good breeze offer so many choices that one can hardly decide. Chart 2202 offers several routes north, both sheltered from the waves of the main bay, but one more open than the other. The third choice is the open bay, outside the islands. This is the steamer route. For it one needs Canadian charts 2239, 2289 and 2224 to go north to Parry Sound. Chart 2202 very neatly takes one through the well marked inner routes, but it does not provide the necessary infor­mation for safe passages from the outer to the inner routes. One must change routes at the right spots, and they are not frequent. Where they exist, they are well marked by lights, beacons and giant range markers. But don't try to find, them without a chart!

 

Incidentally, the 'round trip from Honey Harbour to Parry Sound is about right for one week. That assumes making sail at 10 AM, lunch and swimming on a sweet smelling granite island, and anchoring at 4 or 5 PM. It also assumes an assortment of light and fresh winds, favourable and heading.

 

Navigation can appear deceptively simple when one studies the inside routes on his dining room table. The problem is that the markers were apparently placed by young men with excellent vision. Their idea of how far one can see a spar buoy in less than perfect light is flat­tering. So, unless you are lucky and have some sharp eyed young folks aboard, carry binoculars. Four or six power will do nicely.

 

Another little trick is getting used to the excellent Canadian small craft charts (2202, 2203, 2204) where each is 3 or 4 sheets that permit transition in an interesting fashion, but where NORTH IS NOT NECESSARILY AT THE TOP.

 

These charts also show a list of marinas and their facilities. The chart face shows National Park land in color and locates the few but excellently maintained picnic spots along the route. These have wharves, toilets, refuse containers, fireplaces and tables. There are signs banning overnight camping, but one could anchor in their little coves: and I doubt that a well behaved crew docked overnight would be dealt with too severely.

 

The most common question asked by friends, partly envious, partly glad they weren't along, is, "What do you do at night?"

 

Night time brings a variety of activity. One swims ashore and explores the nearby islands. Supper takes awhile. We cook and eat in the cock­pit and make it a leisurely affair. And one washes dishes and gets everything properly stowed for the night. We always assume an "all hands" weather emergency during the night. It seldom happens, but it is a mess if it does and there are loose sails, or cooking gear in the cockpit.

 

The boat must be made mosquito proof. Do this before you relax on deck to enjoy the twilight stillness. Georgian Bay mosquitoes are of the "one desperate assault" type. Suddenly they are there. In numbers. And don't think that even a few hundred yards offshore, or an evening breeze will prevent the invasion. They don't stay long. I've never been bothered on midnight anchor inspections or in the early morning.

 

I would guess that roughly one half of the islands have buildings; but they are often not occupied and are usually unobtrusive. We like to be out of sight and sound of civilization at night, and it is not hard to manage. In two weeks of cruising we have only twice had a distant boat in view. And never a cottage.

 

Almost anywhere, a Tanzer can be brought to land so the crew can dis­embark over the bow; but I am uneasy about such close proximity to granite at night, so we have never relied on shore lines with outlying anchors except for picnics.

 

Some of the coves have a firm bottom of mud in IS to 30 feet of water, and we look for these. An anchor buries well. A less reliable situation is where the anchor must wedge between rocks. If the wind shifts, it may pull out and the next grip may be in deeper water, with relatively less scope.

 

Other boatmen are amused by our anchors, but for what wisdom it con­tains, here is our experience. We used to carry a 20 lb. Navy with 100 feet of 7/16 Nylon in the anchor well, and a 22 lb. Danforth with 5 feet of chain and 200 feet of 7/16 Nylon in the cockpit locker. The Navy anchor has served well, wedging in rocks and burying in mud. Once, in an inland lake, it held two Tanzer 22s in a 20 knot wind when the other's 8 lb. Danforth repeatedly broke out. I think those postage stamp weight anchors have to be given a lot of scope. But the Navy anchor has been so maligned as a small boat anchor that in spite of its good performance for us, I don't trust it at night. So now it serves for swim and lunch stops and the big Danforth, when we are cruising, is lashed to the bow pulpit, crown up, shank firmly hauled against the rub rail. It goes over every night.

 

Good overnight anchorages are not hard to find, although what is good depends on the direction of the wind. A few notable ones from our log are these: Honeymoon Bay, with its campers, canoe tripping boys and girls with guitars, and blueberries for breakfast; National Park land on the eastern side of Bone Island; Indian Bay, which is on the alternate eastern route going on north toward Parry Sound. Farther north, choose between a cove northwest of Dunroe Island in Five Mile Bay and a more sheltered spot at the picnic ground in Canoe Bay. Around Parry Sound, avoid the promising look of Rose Island Channel. It's the only over-built, unsightly place I've seen in the bay. But the indentation between Rose Island and Pell Island gave us a beautiful, lonely shelter.

 

Last summer, after dark, we felt our way into a surprisingly comfortable anchorage just west of Killbear Point (chart 2203). Go all the way in to where the “C” for the campground shows on the chart. The camp ground is out of sight.

 

At mile 22 1/2 on sheet 1 of 2203, a course north of northeast will let you work into the deep protected water between mainland and two small islets slightly southwest of where the chart shows an overhead power line running east-west.

 

Just north of the beacon at mile 45 (sheet 3 of 2203) is a cove. We lay close to the west shore. There are good rocks for swimming and sunning. An otter watched us from the shore, and two beaver investi­gated the boat in the early morning. There is a beaver dam in the blue tinted cove within the island, just to the west.

 

The picnic spot at Bayfield Harbour on Gibraltar Island is pretty, but a little too public for our liking. And some thoughtless fisherman had left fish entrails by the neat dockside, so flies and gulls had gathered, adding their noise to the smell.

 

We sailed from Parry Sound to Byng Inlet and back in 5 days last summer. We launched at Rose Point Marina. The gravel ramp took care 9f us nicely, although we added 600 lbs. of people to our tail gate to get traction to haul out. The men at the marina are helpful and competent. They have supplies and a good place to leave the trailer.

 

There are a number of ramps at Parry Sound, but apparently few which can accommodate a boat of our weight. Stop at the good Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Office as you come into town and make inquiry. They phoned half a dozen places for us, to locate Rose Point Marina as the best. Apparently the government concrete ramp is usually available, at least on request, but it was under repair.

 

We have sailed each year with a crew of four. One person sails, and one navigates, and we change "watches" every hour. Navigation is a full time job. The real challenge is when wind direction dictates a course outside the buoyed channel. Then, one must watch the chart and compass and also keep a sharp look-out.

 

I don't fear rocks as much as I used to. On our first trip with the Tanzer, I got careless in the last half hour of the last day, and with the launching ramp in sight, hit a rock, coming to a dead stop from 4 or 5 knots. It's a scary experience, but we took the blow on the keel and suffered absolutely no damage.

 

 

BILGE PUMPS: GEARTEST gives the highest ratings to Whale Gusher 10 MK II. Also getting high marks is the Whale Gusher 8 MK III, though it is not as rugged as the 10. PATAY pumps, especially the DD70A, were also given highest ratings. Tanzer Industries quite often install the Gussler 400 and you can write to them for drawings of the system they use. A two way valve is fitted so that the pump may be used to empty either the cockpit lockers or the main bilge.

 

 

HURRICANE BELLE

Al & Marge Ballman, no. 487

 

Hurricane Belle went through the New Jersey coast on the evening of August 9, 1976. The storm was well publicized, and we had ample warning of its approach. Our boat, MACUSHLA II, was in her slip. We had P/S bow lines of 3/8” nylon, P/S stern lines of the same size, and a 3/8" nylon spring line. The lines were tied to pilings at the bow, and to cleats on the floating dock at the stern. I removed the furling jib and the main, and made sure nothing in lockers or cabin was free to jar loose. I tied the tiller amidships and made sure the outboard was tight on its bracket.

 

The storm arrived as predicted. Our area experienced particularly heavy damage due to a combination of the hurricane winds and an accompanying high tide - about 8' above normal. With the additional 8' of tide, there was no play left in the mooring lines and the boat really slammed around in the strong wind and wave action.

 

Many pilings were snapped like twigs, and in one area an entire floating dock with twenty-five boats on it broke free. As you might expect, on the day after the storm our marina was bedlam. There were sunken boats, and all kinds of hull damage to the survivors.

 

Most boats suffered at least some hull damage as a result of rubbing against pilings, or against each other. Broken or lost rudders were common. Especially common were lost outboards which sheared at the brackets (in most cases) and fell overboard. There were several boats in which the motor did not break at the brackets, but simply ripped out the entire transom! (These were thin transoms, and definitely NOT Tanzer 22s!

 

In our case, the motor sheared at the bracket, but was held on for some time by the battery cables. In this condition, the sharp edges of the bracket chopped through the port gunwale and down almost to the water line. Eventually the cable chafed through the insulation and then fused (dead short to the battery), and the motor then dropped in. Luckily, no electrical fire occurred.

 

We were lucky to find an expert fibreglass man in our area who repaired the boat. He used layers of matting to build up and mold the gunwale, along with fibreglass filler. After much grinding and sanding, he applied the gel coat, which we got from Tanzer Industries. He had a heavy work schedule and was much in demand, so the work was only com­pleted two months later. He was highly skilled, and the boat looks as good as new. We have purchased a new Honda 7.5 ($570) for the next season.

 

Some observations, after seeing many broken and torn hulls after the storm:

1) The Tanzer 22 is far superior in strength and hull thick­ness to most boats. This opinion was frequently expressed by on­lookers and repairmen.

2) The position and size of the rub rail was really helpful in preventing side-to-side damage.

3) Outboards should be removed.

4) Also, remove the tiller and rudder

5) Teak is beautiful, but relatively soft and lines cut through it easily.

6) Some of the more experienced sailors had their boats hauled out before the storm, at a round trip cost of $50. This was probably the wisest choice.

 

 

NEVER LOSE A SAIL STOP AGAIN

Rudi Harbauer

 

After losing two overboard, I took the following: a few minutes time, a 6" 1/8" rope, a 1/8" drill and a 1/16" drill, 1 self tapping screw and washer.

 

METHOD:

1) Drill 1/16 hole through inner part of sailstop, 1/4" from bottom.

2) Enlarge hole facing sail track to 1/8" – 1/4" deep.

3) Pull 1/16" braided string through hole, tie knot in one end and let rest in enlarged hole.

4) Secure other end conveniently on mast about 3" below sail track opening with self tapping screw. Hold string with S.S. washer.




SOME IDEAS

Harry Parker

 

TOE RAIL: The better to stay aboard a gyrating foredeck - get yourself some teak and make higher toe rails.

 

MUGGY CABINS: During August with humid weather and changing tempera­tures, I was getting a lot of moisture in the cabin during the nights. And others found in boats of similar size that if shut up for a week or more, they would even find mold.

 

I bought an aluminum louvre, about 8 x 16 with a screen on the inside, and rabitted it in on a new upper drop board, made of teak. The result is much better ventilation, and a much more comfortable cabin.

 

 

LIE AHULL

John Charters

 

"My boat won't lie nicely head-to-wind. What's wrong? I go forward to drop the jib, and she falls off."

 

I have yet to see a sailboat that will lie head to wind if left to her own devices. In fact, they don't want to even with a storm anchor streamed off the bow.

 

A Tanzer 22 will nicely "lie a hull". Traditionally, lying a hull is done with no sail up; but in our case, we are going to cheat a bit and lie ahull with both main and jib still hoisted. Here's how:

 

1) Put your boat close-hauled on starboard tack (so you have right-of­-way).

 

2) Gradually pinch up to weather, and at the same time allow both sails to luff by easing the sheets. Eventually the boat will come to a stop in the water, with the sails flogging like mad.

3) When all forward motion is stopped, lash the helm down. That is, tie the tiller down to the leeward side of the boat. Your boat at this point should be about 45 degrees to the wind.

 

4) You may have to wait a minute or so while you make sure that the boat will stay more or less at that position - drifting slowly downwind. If necessary, adjust the tiller to accomplish this. The boat will alternately head up and bear off slightly, but should otherwise not move about very much.

 

5) Now you can go forward and lower the jib. AFTER that you can lower the main, if you wish. On no account can you lower the main first, or you'll start sailing off again. Likewise, when you are under bare poles, lying a hull, you must raise the main before raising the jib. It's a good idea to practise all this in light winds to get the feel of it.

 

CRUISING WITH KIDS

Axel and Gloria Waschke, no. 1016

 

When sailing, the junior crew members seem to get restless and seek activities with some ACTION. I made two wooden boats of the simplest design for my two sailors, 3 and 4 years old. All you need is two pieces of 2x4, 12" long, 2 pieces of 1x1, 5" long, 2 eye-bolts and two lengths of strong cord.

 

The youngsters will be able to tow these in your wake and make them plane and race. If you are able to make the boats flip over, they can be made to dive, due to the wedged bow shape.

Once you've tried them, you'll find even the "big kids" wanting turns! Be sure to tie one end of the line securely aboard - or you'll be practising "boat-overboard" drill.

 

 

GAS LINE

 

For those who are worried about pinching the gas line with the out­board bracket release, purchase a 5" length of black plastic hosing l 1/2" diameter (cost- 2cents per foot) which normally is used for drainage.

 

Fasten this short tube with two brass woodscrews to the top edge of the teak wedge fastened to your transom. Pass the gas line through this conduit and to your motor. The tube will also accommodate your electrical cable.

 

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