|the 2006 North American Wayfarer
Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence River,
Cedar Point State Park, Clayton, NY * July 28 - August 5, 2006
an illustrated report
by Kit Wallace
Impressions of the 2006 Wayfarer Rally at Cedar Point
Patsy and I kicked off the rally by picking up Ralph Roberts from Toronto airport on Friday and were entertained all the way to Cedar Point with his great stories of Wayfarer cruising in Europe and Nova Scotia. We stayed for five of the seven days and managed to get in four wonderful days of sailing with conditions varying from a drifter to a reefed down stiff blow. We had a fantastic time at this year's rally. Many thanks to Dick and Margie, and Tom and Nell for all the preparation that went into it, and of course to all our friends who we so enjoy meeting every summer at these events.
Here is our modest collection of photos, which I hope will supplement the large volume expected from Al.
By the time we crossed the St. Lawrence River shipping channel and slipped down the south shore of Wolfe Island past Hickory Island on the Canadian side, our first day of sailing had turned into a drifter under baking hot sun.
<<02 Tony - Mary drifting.jpg>>
<<01 drifter with the fleet in the distance.jpg>>
The planned destination of a beach at Potter’s Bay on the west shore of Grindstone Island seemed impossible to achieve. The fleet had separated, we weren’t going to catch up to the leaders and Tom Erickson was turning back. A little rocky island (later discovered to be Canadian) close to Arabella Island looked like an inviting place to swim, so we hailed Tony Krauss and Mary who were sailing with Lori Beehler, put down anchor and had a wonderfully refreshing dip in the warm waters of the St. Lawrence. We were joined a bit later by Bill Harkins and Margie. Concerns about landing on Canadian soil without contacting Customs, proved unfounded!
<<03 Patsy - Arabella Island backdrop.JPG>>
<<04 our swimming place.JPG>>
The destination for today was downstream from the Cedar Point to the town of Clayton for lunch. The group all kept in sight of each other making for an impressive fleet of small boats led by André and Monique. En route, passing a Great Lakes freighter heading upstream made for an astonishing sense of scale of the craft using this waterway. These big boats travel surprisingly fast. (for short video clip, click here)
<<07 Clayton Harbour.JPG>>
<<06 Blue Mist approaching Clayton.jpg>>
We quickly ran downwind with the current into Clayton, all 11 boats tying up at the public dock, to the amusement of the locals. Clayton has an interesting 19th century main street, where the backs of the buildings overlook the river. Some, like Bella's, where we re-grouped for lunch have taken advantage of this relationship. Later, walking around town we discovered the Antique Boat Museum, which hosts the annual boat show - Clayton's main claim to fame these days.
<<08 Clayton mainstreet.JPG>>
<<10 at Bella's.JPG>>
<<11 at Bella's.JPG>>
The day was looking ominously blustery with the wind building from the west off Lake Ontario. Today was the day to head upstream to Cape Vincent. Not only were we battling the current, but also beating into the strongest winds of the week. I had to promise Patsy that "it wasn't a race", before she tentatively agreed to head out onto the water. As usual once sailing, one feels more confident and Patsy handled the conditions with aplomb, sheltering the helm from most of the spray. After an exhilarating sail of about five miles up river, we hove to in the lee of Carleton Island to put in a reef as we were getting overwhelmed by the effort of trying to keep the boat level. This was an interesting sail, because despite the wind, the fleet maintained close contact, frequently crossing on alternating tacks. Another mile or so further on, we noticed André and Ralph putting into a sheltered cove and along with all the others (except Dick Harrington who sailed on to Cape Vincent with Chuck Jordan), we discovered a perfect little harbour, for six Wayfarers. Our hosts were amazed by this surprise visit, but were delighted to meet us, and tell us about the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the ecological damage done by invading species (not us!) brought in by ocean-going ships. We set off back to Cedar Point under jib alone, for a fast ride home.
<<13 Safe Haven.JPG>>
<<16 Julia-Al with refreshments.JPG>>
A threat of thunderstorms was in the forecast (this was the day several tornados touched down in Central Ontario, creating havoc), so a brief outing was proposed to Potter's Beach on Grindstone Island. The wind was calmer than the previous day, though still made for an exciting sail.
In the afternoon Patsy and I drove to Clayton to visit the Antique Boat Museum. This is well worth a visit - especially the extensive exhibit on the development of the St. Lawrence skiff. We could have even gone sailing again (included in the general admission), if we had had the energy, in two beautifully restored catboats belonging to the museum.
<<17 Two Catboats.JPG>>
<<18 Rushton Catboat Rebecca.jpg>>
<<20 Rebecca 2.jpg>>
<<21 Rebecca 3.JPG>>
<<23 Beetlecat 2.jpg>>
<<24 St. Lawrence sailing.JPG>>
<<25 St. Lawrence sailing 2.JPG>>