Rivière au Renard, Quebec, Canada

24 May Rivière au Renard, Quebec, Canada

If you have been watching the tracker, you may wonder whatever happened to the sanity of the crew of Areté – our track looks like the angry scrawls of a seriously disturbed five-year-old. Angry is right, but it is the weather that is angry.When we finally passed the ice-covered eastern shore of New Brunswick, the wind turned directly on the nose at windspeeds of up to 38+ knots.  We battened things down, reefed to the third reef, rolled out the J3 (our smallest jib) and headed into the storm. The boat slammed, pounded, bucked and plunged into current-, tide- and wind-driven waves.

The experience was far from pleasant. Tacking the boat was incredibly difficult – one of those angry scrawls came when the boat went into irons half-way through the tack. This is the seemingly inexplicable ability for a boat in huge seas and winds to literally get stuck head-to-wind – the boat will refuse to go either way. We got through that, and later the J2 came partially unfurled, meaning that the attention of three of us was taken up for one difficult, slamming hour getting it unfurled and safely re-furled.

Sleeping and eating became impossible. After a quick weather update and a group consult, the decision was made to seek shelter. As luck would have it, we were just ten miles – off the wind – from the fishing harbor of Rivière au Renard. We contacted the local Coast Guard to make certain there was room for us in the harbor. There was, and the great local Coasties – clearly bored out of their minds – came out to escort us into the harbor.

The escort was unneeded.  Matt and the crew did a superb job of gently laying Areté alongside a floating dock that was in the process of being installed for the summer (we are informed that summer here starts sometime mid-June). Matt walked over to thank the Coast Guard, we buttoned up the boat and walked a mile to a small hotel, where we have showered and are headed for the in-house restaurant.

The weather looks brutal for the next day or two, then will back off and let us continue on our way.  At that point, our track should evolve again from angry scrawl to elegant lines.

We’ll update you as we make our next move!Tim