Join Date: Apr 2003
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Our trip to the Rock was quite a ride, Mark. I hadn't had Voyageur out more than a couple of times before we took off. Lesson 1 - when buying a used boat, drain and refill the fuel tanks or polish the fuel. We had to be towed into Halifax because of a clogged system.
We had pretty heavy weather going up the eastern shore of Nova Scotia and even worse (Force 5/6) along the south coast of Newfoundland. Along NS, the wind and waves were on the quarter, and Attalia's being so light they get pretty squirrelly in that kind of situation. The autopilot couldn't cope with it - we had to hand steer. Along NL we were beating and it was a cold and uncomfortable trip to St. Pierre - the autopilot worked well though. On both those legs we were under two reefs. When beating she had a tendency to fall off a wave into a trough with a mighty bang that sounded like we'd hit a rock. It was pretty disconcerting at first!
St. Pierre was a welcome stop. The weather wasn't improving, so we spent a couple of days there. Hit every one of the four restaurants, purchased wine, walked around. It's very French and worth the visit, although there's little in the way of tourist attractions. I was surprised to find that my cell phone worked there - turns out we were only 16 miles from the Burin peninsula and and I was getting a signal from Aliant.
Generally Voyageur travels well, but is very tender as you undoubtedly know. We find ourselves putting in a first reef at 15 knots and a second at 20. We can furl the 130% genoa to suit, but if I were still in Newfoundland I'd purchase a 100% jib - we hardly ever had the genny fully deployed. We've also got a very small spitfire jib - hardly more than a hankie - that we've only used once but it drives the boat surprisingly well with 15+ knots.
We're looking at the Airhead composting toilet - it's designed for marine use. Practical Sailor did a trial and gave it a thumbs up. Somebody local also found it to be good. We don't have anything for holding tank now - sailing on the Canadian Atlantic coast doesn't require tanks and even if you had one, you'd never find a pumpout. My wife is not 100% convinced about the Airhead, but she's willing to give it a try (especially given the alternative - we were chartering a few years ago with a holding tank and had some unpleasant experiences).
My engine is the original Volvo MD2002. At 18 hp, it seems to move me quite well. I've got a feathering prop that is very nice - I can back up in a straight line with quite adequate control.
I spent a lot of time in Kingston in the 70s and 80s as a cadet and then a signal officer in the army. It's a beautiful city.