Greetings from SV Lynx,
Good afternoon- at 1500, Lynx is at 46-15.6N, 061-50.0W, or about 12 miles SSE of East Point, Prince Edward Island. Cape Breton Island is just visible off to port in the remnants of this morning’s thick fog, and we’re motorsailing for the Straits of Canso, which pass between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia and will afford us passage into the Atlantic.
All is well aboard. We’ve had an eventful and enjoyable interval from the time we left Clayton, and there’s much catching up to do and many people to thank. I have been remiss in failing to mention John Miller of Clayton, who carves and paints scale versions of the traditional Thousand Islands canoe paddle. He presented a finely crafted and painted paddle depicting the ship upon her return to Clayton, and I neglected to mention him in my previous post. The paddle is displayed in a place of prominence in the main salon, where many have seen it as we decide where to permanently mount it.
On to the passage- we said our farewells to Clayton after another terrific visit, and sailed off the dock on a fine late summer day down the St. Lawrence Seaway, anchoring in Brockville for the night. Early in the morning we steamed onward toward the American Locks, partially downrigging the ship so that the yards would have less chance of scraping a lock wall as we descended. The weather worsened throughout the day as a cold front approached, and as we held station approaching the Eisenhower Lock, the breeze had reached a gusty and cold 25 knots. Once the upbound ship had locked through, we made our way toward the lock entrance in 2 knots of following current and that same breeze behind us, sailing at times under bare poles at up to five knots. These were not quite ideal conditions for bringing a boat alongside any dock, let alone one with two walls and no escape route! To top it off, we’d seen a squall approaching on the radar, and managed to get the ship stopped and lines across just moments before the squall hit, bringing an interval or torrential rain and yet more wind.
Fortunately, the weather improved for the rest of the afternoon, making the next locks a little less stressful, but as we approached the entrance to the Beauharnois Canal, more severe weather arrived, with lightning in spades. The only prudent choice was to stop and let the weather pass, and Lynx anchored just to the West of the Valleyfield Bridge, about half an hour before a lightning strike knocked out the power on shore. At first light the following morning, we brought the anchor aboard and proceeded in haste to make our appointment for the Parade of Sail for the Montreal Tall Ships Festival at 1500 that afternoon. The locking through proceed smoothly and swiftly until near the end, when slow traffic ahead up us began to bog things down.
We still looked to be on time for the parade, though, but with one significant hitch. In order to bring the ship below the 35 meter length threshold for mandatory pilotage and its significant fees, we had shortened her overall length by bringing the main boom down to deck for the transit through the locks. While we had an exemption from compliance for the brief interval of the parade, we couldn’t put things back together until we were clear of the last lock at St. Lambert. As the day began to drag on, concern began to mount about the time required to put things back together for the grand entrance, as it had taken the better part of two hours to get the boom down on deck in the first place.
At 1424, we cleared the St. Lambert lock at last, and raced to the parade muster point, arriving on time but under bare poles at 1500, and fell in parade order with the rest of the ships. The crew mustered and turned to with a furious effort, hoisting the boom back into place, bending on the mainsail, and attending to the manifold details such a project requires. Within an hour and five minutes, Lynx approached the Pont Jacques Cartier and the crowds beyond with not only the mainsail rigged and set, but the rest of the suit of sails as well. The crew was determined to have their ship look her proudest for the parade, and did outstanding work, led by two excellent Mates, and assisted by Guest Crew John, Peter, and Jim I have rarely been as proud of any crew. The crowds which greeted our arrival were none the wiser, but some shipmates will have a tale to tell for the ages.
Next…Les Grands Voiliers de Montreal 2011