This past weekend, our in house sailing instructor, and operator of the Swans Sailing Club, Ron Hosking, delivered his beautiful Catalina 309 from Whitby to our marina in Pickering, in preparation for another season preparing aspiring sailors to take to the water comfortably and with confidence. Here is a note from Ron about his trip over. The photo is a shot of his 309, Tosca, from a sail last season.
What a fantastic sail for an ‘icebreaker’ for the 2015 season! On Friday, April 17, we launched my Catalina 309, TOSCO, at Swans in Whitby Marina. The next morning (Saturday), in 18 knots of wind from the northwest, we bent on the sails. That was an exhausting exercise, given that the sails were being flogged wildly by the winds, and it felt like we had just completed a steer-wrestling competition in a rodeo.
An hour later, after a sandwich and bottle of water, my friend Bill and I set sail from Whitby to take TOSCO to my home port of Swans Marina in Pickering. As we left Whitby, winds were gusting to over 25 knots. But my Catalina 309 absolutely loved it! Being the first sail of the season, we started out somewhat cautiously with only 50% of the main unfurled. Quickly, TOSCO surged ahead to a speed of 5.5 knots on a beam reach. With an offshore wind, waves were only about 1/2 metre, so it was a smooth ride.
But, hark, I spotted another sail in the distance, coming towards us. Of course, with only 2 boats on Lake Ontario, it makes sense that we would be on a collision course! As we passed each other, the other boat tacked around. The race was on!!
So, since the other boat was not a Catalina, we unfurled about 30% of my genoa, determined to leave the other boat in our wake. Unbelievably, TOSCO surged ahead again like a pedigreed stallion and hit a top speed of 7.6 knots during some of the gusts—this with 30% genoa and 50% main! Even under these conditions, I was able to let go of the wheel for 10 seconds or so and she would track beautifully.
As we approached Pickering, the winds started clocking and we continued to head up until we sailed right to the mouth of the channel entrance—all on a single tack from Whitby. Elapsed time, under 2hours. I was reluctant to head for the dock under such great sailing conditions, but the attraction of cracking open a new bottle of Highland scotch to celebrate was too much to resist. Now, what to do for an encore?