Towboat Chinook – 7/8/16

First of All -

  • First time providing a tow for a disabled boat

Namely Speaking-

  • Dows Lake

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 4; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,568
  • Hours Underway: 1
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.67
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: E
  • Daily High Temperature: 80
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF5123This will be our final day in Ottawa. We walk back toward Parliament Hill so we can secure a good place along the fence which surrounds the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings. At 9:45am we hear the sounds of bagpipes from a contingent of marching guards, approaching from behind East Block. About 30 troops march by us in tight formation, wearing their brilliant crimson uniforms and tall, black furry hats. They’re accompanied by another group playing bagpipe marching music. Once they reach their designated position on theDSCF5107 lawn, they await the arrival of their replacements, who come marching up Elgin Street, accompanied by a brass band. The pageantry is a treat to see. Ritualized inspections of uniforms and weapons are conducted by stern sergeants, the colors are solemnly paraded around the grounds, and after around 40 minutes, they all march off again. It’s a uniquely Canadian experience.

We stop by the Post Office to ship a small parcel back home before returning to the boat. We meet up with Kevin and Selena, owners of the disabled Sea Ray which is tied up in front of us, around 11:30, and we prepare to take them under tow for the short run up to Dows Lake, where they’ve arranged to have their boat hauled out. I decide the best way to tow will be rafted up, instead of by using a tow line. This will avoid the risk of being bumped into if I have to abruptly slow down, and it should also simplify the process of docking. We each place fenders on the side where the two boats will be rafted, then secure bow and stern lines, and finish off with fore and aft running spring lines. This should minimize movement of the boats against each other. When I’m ready, Kevin releases his dock lines and I attempt to back away from the wall. I quickly discover that our boat handles much differently when rafted up to another boat. Instead of backing out into the channel, the bow tries to swing out. This will serve just as DSCF5131well, so I go into forward and try steering out into the canal. The boat doesn’t want to turn, and keeps pulling toward the side where we’re rafted up. Not until I increase the throttle does the boat begin turning to port. I have to keep the wheel turned to port in order to counter the drag on our starboard side. After a short while I get the feel of things and we’re able to maintain a straight heading up the center of the canal. About a mile above our starting point we near the Pretoria Lift Bridge, which has just 8 feet of clearance. I radio the bridge, requesting an opening, and am pleased to receive a prompt call back. The bridge tender raises his bridge as weDSCF5148 approach, avoiding any need for loitering, which I’m grateful for, since I’m not that confident about our ability to maneuver in tight places. After we enter Dows Lake we head across toward the marina. Kevin radios them that we’re coming in, confirming where we will dock. We’ll head for the fuel dock, but must hang out in the lake a short while, since a boat is being fueled. When it’s our turn I swing in, calculating the port side drag and effect of side wind. I must keep enough throttle to maintain steerage, but will have to cut speed quickly once we’re close to the dock. For a moment it looks like we’ll swing the stern of Kevin’s boat into a nearby docked trawler, however, we come around with a couple feet to spare and slide into the fuel dock, slick as can be. Kevin and Selena are most grateful for the assistance, and I tell them we’re glad we could be of help. We’ve been helped by so many people in the course of our trip, it really feels good to be able to do the same for someone.

With Kevin’s boat secure, we untie and head over to a slip. We’ll stay here for the night, and freshen up with showers and laundry. This place is quiet and relaxing, and a nice contrast to the bustle of down Ottawa. After dinner we go for a walk along the lakeside paved path which leads back toward the canal. It’s a beautiful trail, well used by bicycles and folks out for an evening stroll, and makes for a nice way to finish off the day.

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