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Ahoy from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia!
Yesterday was a long, tiring day, but we made the 72 mile jump from Shelburne to Yarmouth. Normally 72 miles wouldn't be that much of an issue, but in this case we needed to time our arrival at Cape Sable (which is at the tip of Nova Scotia) to match slack low tide due to the extreme currents that flow past it. You can also go off-shore to avoid those currents, but it adds 15 miles onto the trip.
We were fairly lucky with the timing of low tide at Cape Sable, as it occurred at 2 PM. The Down East Circle Guide gives a bogus suggestion as to when to leave Shelburne, and had I followed that, we would have arrived 2.5 hours before slack tide. Instead I simply divided the 31 mile distance by (our normal cruising speed - 1 kt for current against us) and came up with a departure time of 8:30 as opposed to 6:30 by the guide. As it was, I should have just divided by our normal cruising speed, as we arrived at Cape Sable 40 minutes early. This wasn't a bad thing, as we had up to 2 kts of current with us, but there are tidal rips (which occur when the current flows over shallow shoals/ledges) throughout the entire area which can become very rough. Considering that we were there very near slack tide, I would hate to see them at maximum current!
The next problem that we had to worry about was that we were at Cape Sable at 1:20 in the afternoon. We still had 41 miles to go and the sun set at 7:37 PM. I'm not a big fan of pulling into a busy harbor and trying to find a dock that I've never seen before in the dark. The good news was that once we rounded the turn at Cape Sable, we had 15 kts of wind on a beam reach and we were flying, averaging about 7.5 kts through the water and getting up to 8.8 kts. That may not sound like much to non-sailors, but on a 40' boat, those are good numbers. Plus we had 1 to 2+ kts of current with us, so we flew along the coast.
At one location there are extensive tidal rips which you want to avoid. Luckily there's a passage called the "Old Schooner Passage" which as the name implies, used to be used by schooners. It winds though a series of islands, but is well marked by buoys. According to the guide book, the current rips through here at up to 4 kts. At one point we were becalmed by an island and it was absolutely silent, but we were still doing over 7 kts with the current!
At 6:30 we arrived in heavy clouds at what we thought were the docks where we had a reservation. The docks were brand new and there was a gentleman waiting to help us with our lines. After we got tied up, we found out that we were supposed to be at the docks next door at the Rudder Restaurant, which were much shorter and no where near as nice. Since there was no competition for dock space, we stayed where we were.
While we were underway yesterday, we were in contact with 2 power boats which were making the same passage...except that they left at 11:30 instead of 8:30. They missed slack tide at Cape Sable by 1.5 hours and at one point were doing 15 kts to get in before dark. I wonder how much fuel those boats use at 15 kts? I'd guess about 2 gallons per mile! We used about 4 gallons total.
I can't tell you much about Yarmouth as we arrived near dark and only ventured off of the boat to eat the Rudder. This is supposed to be a very industrial-fishing community without a lot to see. The waterside where we are is very nice and there's an air show this weekend.
Today we're going to make the 100 mile jump to Bar Harbor, Maine. This looks like the only weather window that we'll have for days, so we'll depart at 3 PM and should be in tomorrow morning. The winds are going light this afternoon, which will allow the seas to die down and then we'll get SW winds, which is perfect for a WNW trip.
-- Geoff & Sue
For the cruiser:
We pulled into the Killam Brothers docks, where dockage was $32 for a boat 40' or less. These docks were just installed 3 weeks ago and a wonderful. They can accommodate up to a 200' boat and have power for that too! These are the nicest docks we've been on this entire trip.