Overnight Swinging at Anchor in Pinhey Point (First of the Season)


The onset of the sailing season in the Ottawa river had been delayed this Spring due to high water levels. The waters have since subsided, but weather and many family reasons have further hindered Sassy’s outings upriver.  Finally, it was agreed that both Woodpecker (Kirill and Nanatlya’s unique Paceship PY 23) and Sassy Gaffer would depart for Pinhey Point in the morning of Thursday, August 15m 2019.

The forecast was for good weather with winds at 4-8 Kts from the East (E, ESE, ENE). Undocking was at 10:30am.  Here is a transcript of Sassy’s log:

10:34: Undocking on the engine
10:55: Head to wind. Hoisting sail
10:59: Engine off. Sailing (Running in port tack)
11:05: First gybe
11:30: Second gybe
12:21: Third gybe
12:38: Fourth gybe
12:48: Fifth gybe
13:08: Engine on
13:11:  Head to wind. Dousing sail
13:15: Heading to Pinhey on engine power.
13:42: Exploring anchorage
13:46: Anchored in 6ft of water, inside the cove at Pinhey Pt.

Both boats gybed all the way almost side by side arriving together to the anchorage.



Woodpecker anchored on sail, approaching the anchorage on reduced sail aided by its unique and very functional junk rig:


Here is the summary of the trip as per Sassy’s Garmin GPS:

Wind: E-ENE-ESE 4.0 – 7.0 Kts.
Total time: 3:40
Total distance: 8.7 NM
Sailing time: 02:12 (10:59->13:11)
Sailing distance: 5.5 NM
Average sailing speed: 2.5 Kts.

It was a rare occasion to be able to sail all the way to Pinhey Point almost in a straight line with a minimal number of gybes.

GPS track.jpeg

Once at Pinhey the crews of both boats prepared their tenders and went ashore for a stroll in the meadows and a philosophical chat overlooking the point and the cove.

IMG_4151 2.jpg

Transferring to “QRP” (Sassy’s Sportyak II dinghy) took some time, and beaching the tender was not feasible given the low waters (which would have caused the dinghy to come aground on rocks). Hence, the landing of the Sportyak was via the public aluminium floating docks.

The cove at Pinhey Point does not offer much shelter for easterly winds and waves. Fortunately, the wind was not strong enough to cause much discomfort: the boat swung and rocked just gently enough to remind her shipper of her floating condition.

Friday morning, after finding a fully finished mud-wasp nest (likely of a black and yellow Sceliphron caementarium that a couple of days before had to be chased away twice from the boat hatch). The nest was finished and well hidden behind the port-a-potty.

Coffee was brewed in the Bialetti, beagles were toasted over the butane stove. Then it was time for both boats to separate: Woodpecker had a rendez-vous upriver while Sassy had to return on a relatively tight schedule. The anchor was weighted shortly after 8:00am. Sassy’s return trip was on the Tohatsu (aka the “iron spinnaker”), due to headwinds still blowing from the East, similar to those of the day before. At half engine speed, it took her 3 hrs. to cover the approx. 8NM between Pinhey Pt. and the marina.

Overall, a great sail and a very successful first overnight at the anchor.