Our longest sail so far: 46 hours.
Of course, we could have stopped at a few places along the way; but two reasons influenced our decision to sail non-stop: we want to go through the Welland Canal on Tuesday, June 14;
and we want to practice multiple-day sails for our ocean trips. Frank found out on the internet that Northbound traffic for pleasure crafts could go through the canal on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. I'll give you more details once we get through.
But let me start at the beginning of this leg. We left at 06:30 Friday morning, Southbound the St. Clair River. This river is about 1 to 1.5 miles wide, 32 nm long, to Lake St. Clair. It had about 3-knot current in our favor. The water in this part of the river is dirty: there's a lot of freight and motor traffic, petrochemical refineries, etc. I didn't want to kayak in Sarnia for this reason. The water cleared up as we sailed South. Many houses on US and Canadian shores are big and beautiful. I wouldn't want to pay their tax bill though! Again, many fishermen to zigzag through. I took advantage of this leisurely sail to bake some yummy and healthy cookies. They beat store-bought granola bars any day! I can be modest too. LOL!
Lake St. Clair is very shallow: 12-22 feet, 22 nm long (fishermen everywhere). Therefore, we needed to follow a marked channel across it. As it was a beautiful day with light Westerlies, we encountered a few sail and motor boats. The water was light blue. Such a delightful day. Surprisingly, we didn't encounter a lot of freighters all the way to Lake Erie. The rivers and channels are large and well marked, no worries.
Exiting Lake St. Clair, we continued our Southbound route on Detroit River. It is much the same as St. Clair River, but shorter, 20 nm. Near its delta, Frank and I saw 2 new structures, one on each shore. It looks like to huge legs connected at the top. They are the support structure for an upcoming 6-lane, 2.5 km bridge: the Gordie-Howe International Bridge, connecting Windsor and Detroit.
Lake Erie. To get to Port Colborne, we needed to sail it across its length, 187 nm. We had planned some stops if the weather and wind forecasts were not correct. There was no need; we sail through. The winds were mostly from the South-Southeast 5 to 10 nm (a lot of motoring for us). The last third of the way, we had no wind, no wave.
One interesting aspect of night cruising among freighters is distance/physical perception. Having AIS on board - Automatic Identification System, we were notified in advance of other AIS vessels around us with the help of our radar. AIS tells us the name of the vessel, its bearings, its speed, its distance from our boat and the time/distance it will be closest to us. It is used to avoid collison. A freighter, at night, usually has lots of lights astern (at the back where living space is) and one light at the bow. From afar these 2 boat ends (lights) look like they are side by side, not moving, like shore light. It's only when the freighter is very close that I could distinguish its length, parallel to our boat. It's really weird, what looks like side by side is really front to back as it gets closer. In general, the distance perception at night is way off. Only instruments can exactly provide the facts.
We arrived at Port Colborne at 05:00.
We were tired and happy/proud to have accomplished this 46-hour in fair weather/winds, without mishaps. We celebrated with a good breakfast of eggs/hashbrowns and Bailey's in our coffees. In future multi-day sail trips, we'll consider adding an exercise routine (reduce muscle stiffness) and ways of resting (reduce tiredness). As for meals, high waves make cooking difficult and sometimes painful (bumping into counters, stairs, etc.). During those times, I've simplified the meals with pre-cooked proteins and raw veggies/dip or MEC's dehydrated meals (they're healthy, delicious and varied) with raw veggies/dip.
Frank and I got along very well. We plan our itinerary and departure times together; each listening and respecting the other's opinion. We implement the version that makes most sense to both of us. During calm periods, we read a lot and discuss upcoming challenges, events. TTUL