May 23, 2019

Pitoraq Sailing Out of Sansum NarrowsR2AK 2019 starts June 3rd from Port Townsend so, Team Pioraq decided that it would be a good practice run for them to go from their home base in Esqimalt to Thetis Island without using their engine.

sailing out of Sansum Narrows, past Maple Bay

Team Pitoraq's practice run for the Race to Alaska is now complete. After some last minute "scissor clipping " up the mast, the rig was ready to go for the Thursday noon start of our Race to Thetis Island.  

We left our berth at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association docks in Esquimalt under oars and rowed out of the harbour to set sail for the Thetis Island Regatta, fully committed to completing the 51 miles under sail and oars alone.

Last Minute Adjustments
Last Minute Adjustments

Light but sailable winds and favourable tides allowed us to get past the Victoria waterfront and Oak Bay, up to Haro Strait by early evening.  As the day faded, the little breezes evaporated and we were on to the oars with about 25 of the 50 mile trip still ahead. Through the night we alternated between short bursts of sailing and long periods of rowing. We were working hard to make sure we got through Sansum Narrows before 8am when the start of a big ebb would close that gate.

As the sun came up, the sound of heavy rain on the water surrounded us, without a cloud in the sky.  Closer focus, and we found we were in the middle of a school of herring moving through the narrows and breaking the surface in the upwelling currents. The nature show was completed by a pair of orcas showing their tall dorsal fins as they leisurely passed us while munching on their own breakfasts, I imagine. 

We managed to sail out of Sansum Narrows, past Maple Bay opening into bright sunshine and glassy calm in Stuart Channel. We had beaten the tidal gate but it was time to work the oars steadily to avoid getting sucked back. 

The final 7 miles was mostly rowing, perfecting technique while bewildering the Saltspring Island Ferry. 

Team Pitoraq JT Graham Serjei

Team Pitoraq – JT, Graham and Serjei

Team Pitoraq arrived alongside at the Thetis Island Marina at 14:07 in time to clean up, go for a Burger and beer at the Pub and start preparing for the Thetis Island Regatta the next day. 

So, we will call our R2TI a success, but what were the stats? To complete the 51nm R2TI we travelled 61.2nm in 26 hours 7 min for an average speed of 2.3 knots. Ouch, I hope we see a little breeze on the way to Alaska. 

What did Team Pitoraq learn in this training run?

1) 750nm to Alaska in no wind would be a long trip.

2) PB&J is good for morale.

3) Using your best light air sailing tricks can keep you off the oars so you have more time for PB&J.

4) The transition from sailing to rowing is painful but can be mitigated by keeping the rowing rig set up and oars shipped until the wind gets steady.

5) As Serjei said, "It's harder than I thought. "

Yes, it is, but we are going anyway!

Related Articles
  • 25 March 2020
  • By Ethan

Do It Yourself Deck Repairs

After a successful R2Ak and regatta season in 2019, I felt that Pitoraq was due for a major maintenance catch-up. I decided to forgoe winter racing and take advantage of an extended haul -out from...

Cobourg Yacht Club - 2015 Sailing instructorsKatherine Stone

Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used to be heard from kids piled into a toboggan on wheels that went hurtling down a wooden slide into the harbour. Above it all was the bustling din from the waterfront of ship’s whistles, train engines, foghorns and thundering coal cars. It is now a rather serene place for the locals and visitors to enjoy various watercraft. Fortunately, the beautiful beach that lines the waterfront is still a star attraction for the town.

Located 95 kilometres east of Toronto and 62 kilometres east of Oshawa on the north edge of Lake Ontario, United Empire Loyalists first starting arriving in the area as early as the 1780s. The first settlement in 1798 was called Buckville, later renamed Amherst, then called Hamilton (after the township) and also nicknamed Hardscrabble. It wasn’t until 1819 that they finally settled on the name of Cobourg, which was incorporated as a town in 1837. In the late 1820s large schooners with passengers and cargo had to anchor well off shore, as there was only a landing wharf. A group of Toronto businessmen formed the Cobourg Harbour Company which built the wooden Eastern Pier from tolls charged for the use of the harbour.

Read more: Cobourg Yacht Club...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. Our Virtual Show will continue to grow so visit frequently and check it out. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.


Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................


Beneteau Oceanis 30.1As boat builders clamber to create ever-bigger platforms for ever-more generous budgets, the entry-level cruiser has become an elusive animal. Sure, if you want to daysail, there are plenty of small open boats from which to choose, but if you want a freshly built pocket cruiser, you’re in for a long search. Enter French builder Groupe Beneteau, which identified this gap in the market and set about creating the Oceanis 30.1, an adorable little cruiser that resembles her larger siblings in all but length and price. With all she offers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her a mini yacht.

Read More about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1..................

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston...........