Away Again

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 13 Sep 2007 18:09
Noon Position: 43 32.8 N 064 03.1 W
Course: South Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: West-southwest 10 knots
Distance sailed: 73 miles
Ave Speed: 4.3 knots

Since Erin signed off form the ship to make her way back to Annapolis via
the overland route I have been waiting for Tropical Depression Gabriel to
either pass by or dissipate. It has chosen to do the latter and last night
looked a good opportunity to make a break for sea. During the day I had
strong westerlies, never far away from this part of the world it seems, and
yesterday afternoon I came back to Sylph having been ashore for some last
minute shopping to find her slowly dragging anchor. Seeing as I was planning
on sailing later in the evening I was loathe to go to the trouble of
weighing anchor and resetting it so waited and watched closely, hoping that
it might reset as we dragged through shallower water, as it often does.
This was not to be however and with a sailor's blessing I started the engine
and went on deck to raise the anchor. When the anchor eventually hove into
sight I could see why we were dragging, the flukes of the anchor had half a
ton of kelp entangled in them. I eventually cleared the mess with the aid
of a boat hook and went back to anchor with the intention of getting the
dinghy on deck and stowed, getting Sylph and myself ready for sea, then
weighing again and getting into the open ocean and heading back south. Once
at anchor I found I had chosen a spot in the middle of a yacht race start
line which caused a few good natured comments from the race boats milling
around the start line and now me. Bloody racers! I wondered why all these
boats were sailing around in tiny circles.
Well I soon had Sylph secured, and the anchor once more on deck, and sailing
slowly out the Northwest Arm of Halifax Harbor, and into the oncoming racing
fleet heading back up the harbour. Trying to anticipate the antics of a
racing boat in a narrow channel, dodging between moorings and other boats
kept me on my toes and I was relieved when we were eventually clear of the
harbor approaches and out into the open ocean. Only now we are punching
into a steep sea and swell, but at least we were away. The forecast had
anticipated this and consequently I had set the mainsail with two reefs
while in the shelter of the harbor so Sylph was soon snugged down making
pretty good time despite the lumpy conditions. It was dark by the time I
had cleared Cape Sambro just to the south of Halifax Harbor and crossing the
shallows of the Sambro Ledges just offshore so I could not see the waves
clearly but I certainly heard a few large breakers boiling past close by a
couple of times. Give me deep water.
Overnight, as forecast the wind eased and veered a little, so now we have
full sail set and conditions are much more pleasant; the sky is clear, the
sun is shining, the sea is crystal blue, no land in sight and according to
the chart we have 40 fathoms under the keel.