Hello again from the waters of Lake Erie!
After Lynx and her crew breezed through the Welland Canal in one of the easiest passages this captain can remember, the vessel headed southwest into the waters of Lake Erie.
We opted to drop the anchor off of Erie, PA to give the crew some much-needed and hard-earned rest after our midnight departure from Rochester and day-long activities in the Welland Canal. Thankfully, Erie’s Presque Isle peninsula offers excellent holding ground off its eastern end, and Lynx was secure there for several hours on Tuesday while the crew took turns keeping an eye on the vessel and keeping their eyes closed.
Our anchorage was within a quarter-mile of where Lynx sat in September while awaiting the parade of sail at the start of Tall Ships Erie. It was a bit odd to be anchored so close to the spot where we had sat with many of the other tall ships and have the place all to ourselves! Luckily, a local sightseeing vessel, the “Lady Kate” came out to visit several times during the day and even gave us a “Great Lakes Salute” — one long and two short blasts on the ship’s horn. We returned the salute on the ship’s horn, of course!
After a hearty meal of hamburgers and sweet potato fries on Tuesday night, the crew and ship got underway for Toledo. We set the stays’l and sailed off the hook, adding the fores’l and main shortly afterwards. For a short time, we were able to carry the jib but the offshore breeze soon proved too strong for that. With westerly winds in the forecast, we tried to take a leg north toward the Canadian border but were thwarted in our efforts by winds that had come out of the Northwest. Lynx was making ground to the north, but much further to the east than we would have liked. Having just passed through Lake Ontario, we were in no hurry to get back!
Shortly before midnight we tacked and turned back towards the southern shore. The lights of Erie were still visible, including a very distinct strobe light off the General Electric locomotive plant there. Unfortunately for the crew on the midnight to 4am watch, that strobe remained in sight for most of their watch, as we struggled to claw our way to the west. A westerly sea had built up, which made steering our desired course a bit difficult, so we fired up the main engine to assist in laying a course that kept us off the beach.
During the early morning hours, we made as much ground to the west as we could, finally closing within 3 mines of the southern shore off Conneaut, Ohio, where we tacked and again made a run for the Canadian border.
Lynx gave up little ground to leeward this time, and we headed offshore for about 3 hours before tacking again and laying a course down the middle of the lake.
The noon to 4pm watch is currently on deck, enjoying a change of scenery as Erie is nowhere in sight. The strong northwesterly breezes have started to lie down, as well as the seas and we are making good ground towards Toledo. Hopefully we’ll have a quiet night underway before heading through the Lake Erie Islands around dawn tomorrow.
Until next time!
LeeAnne Gordon and the crew of Lynx