Position: 47 34.010 N 052 42.132 W.
Yesterday afternoon we were approaching the Narrows
into St John’s.
The wind was gusting to 30 knots and it seemed likely that the wind would
funnel out the entrance to the harbor so I took the precaution of putting in a
second reef to the mainsail and rolling the jib to about 50%. Just as
well, for sure enough as we approached the entrance the wind headed us and soon
we were short tacking up the Narrows (very
aptly named) giving Paul and me a thorough work out on the jib sheets. It
took 14 tacks to get into the harbor and, at the very end and the narrowest
part - only 150 meters wide, a fishing vessel decided it needed to leave.
It was an anxious moment as we converged, the fishing vessel slowed and stopped
as we sailed across her bows, and I was going to have to tack again in front of
its bows, either that or run into the rocks. Approaching the end of the
board I luffed* a little, he took the hint, gunned his engines and motored past
us allowing us to tack behind him. Once into the harbor the wind followed
the contours of the land and we had to continue tacking up the harbor. I
had previously spoken with the harbour master who had indicated there was no
traffic in the harbor apart from a couple of small vessels and that we could
come alongside a small dock near the pilot berth. We sailed up to the
dock to assess whether it was feasible to sail alongside; it looked good, a
small floating dock with some tyres on the windward side. We continued up
the harbour to give us some room to manoeuvre, dropped the mainsail, reduced
the jib then sailed downwind to the berth, furling the jib several boat lengths
before the dock. Paul positioned himself at the shrouds ready to jump
ashore with a dock line as we touched. I am pleased to say that all went
without a hitch despite the gusty conditions. In fact one gust had the gunwale
well under and water streaming over the cockpit coaming and into the cockpit
– quite exciting! I was very gratified to be given a gruff
“good job” from the harbour master when we called in on VHF radio to
say we were alongside, apparently he was in a position to view all of our
Now our visit here is focused on obtaining engine
parts, repairing the engine and getting underway as soon as possible; at this
stage Tuesday is looking good.
* Board is one leg of a tack, and to luff is to bring
the bows of a sailboat into the wind, allowing the sails to flap a little, lose
some of their wind and thus slow the boat down.