- Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 13 Nov 1954
- Full Text
- Lake Erie's Storms Could Not Stop HerSchooner Days MCXCIII (1193)
by C. H. J. Snider
Manitoulin-Toronto, 1868 - No. 17
AFTER exploring as far past Grand Manitoulin as Bruce Mines, the schooner yacht Ripple is at last in Lake Erie again, homeward bound for Toronto, Capt. Wm. Cooper Campbell's log book goes on:
Thursday, Sept. 3
Weather Wet, Stormy
Distance to Noon 82 Miles
"As evening came on the wind freshened and we drew towards Pigeon Bay in case it should become too heavy. However about midnight we were about off Point Pelee Light and determined to stand on although in a heavy sea. We shaped our course E by N, and by daylight had made good progress. Heavy clouds now began to gather and thunder rolled in the distance. Foreseeing the ugly weather likely to follow, we determined to make for the Rondeau, and at 11 a.m. we anchored inside the old broken down piers.
This is a splendid harbor, large and commodious if a little care were taken to keep the channel dredged out. We had not long to wait for our storm. It came down in right good earnest, rain, thunder, lightning and a furious wind.
Friday, Sept 4
Distance to Midnight 106 Miles
LONG POINT BY MOONLIGHT
Up by daylight anxiously looking out at the weather. To our great joy it was fine and a light air from the SW and West. We soon made sail and shaped our course for Long Point This has been a lovely day, and we have made splendid headway. By degrees, as usual on Lake Erie, with a SW Wind, it gradually freshened and the sea rose at a corresponding rate. At first we pegged along at the rate of 10 miles an hour, wing and wing, but as the sea rose our progress was impeded until we did not do much over 7 or 8. By evening we sighted the Sand Hills above the Point, 30 miles. The sea was now rolling after us very heavily, and thick, dark clouds had gathered to windward just as the sun went down. As his last rays disappeared these black monsters spread themselves over the sky.
It being about full moon, pale Luna rose trying to pierce the clouds, and we could see by her glimmering light the huge waves as they towered up behind us, threatening to swallow us up. We began to be anxious to sight Long Point Light, and Captain Waggoner climbed to the masthead and soon gave us the joyful news that it was visible on our lee bow. By 11 o'clock we were abreast of the Light and now had to double reef our mainsail, and, single reef our foresail, as we prepared to haul by the wind to a good anchorage ground under the lee of the Point.
For an hour and a half we backed off and on, with all hands at work and at last just as the storm was breaking into rain, we dropped our anchor in three fathoms of water.
Saturday, Sept. 5
Weather Dull and Stormy
Distance 18 Miles
We have now despaired of reaching the Canal today, and tomorrow is a closed day, being Sunday. After casting anchor last night quite a fleet of vessels came in and did the same. It was a wild night, and the morning did not promise much improvement, so we determined to run into Port Dover. Under close-reefed canvas we made port, close-hauled, in an hour and a half, and tied up alongside the pier.
FROM ROYAL NAVY
The gunboat Britomart came in and reported an awful sea. She was not able to make more than 2 miles an hour with the wind off one bow. It was very trying to have to waste so much time, but really the bad weather of the whole trip has been condensed into this week. In the evening some friends came down on board, and we had a very pleasant party in spite of wet and storm outside.
Sunday, Sept. 6.
Weather Wet and Stormy.
Wind N E.
Another day like yesterday. No moving about except in Macintoshes and knee boots. Dull, wet and miserable. No comfort even in looking back on it. We had not even the spirit to go to church in the rain, and in fact our clothes are now in such a state that we are ashamed to go into the streets even. Collars have long since disappeared and handkerchiefs are unknown.
Monday, Sept. 7.
Wind N.E. and S.E.
Distance to the Canal 55 Miles.
At last we have reached Port Colborne.
This was to be the day of the yacht race from Toronto and we felt quite put but at not being there to see it. The morning broke dull and heavy but we determined to start even in the rain. Dressed in our oilskin suits we made sail and hauled by the wind with a good breeze from the N.E. It gradually fell away and shifted to east, then again to S.E. and in the afternoon it was almost dead calm. We managed to make the Grand River by evening and went to see whether we could run down the Feeder of the Welland Canal.
Vain hope. There was only 4 1/2 feet of water in it and we draw over 6 1/2.
After supper was duly discussed we watched for the land breeze and slid out of the port just in time, for the wind came out from the S.E. again.
We could now lay our course nicely for the canal and towards morning arrived here safe and sound.
At Port Maitland we saw one vessel ashore, the result of the gale on Saturday and Sunday. At Port Colborne there were a whole lot of vessels, some seven or eight disabled, sails split, jibbooms gone and more or less damaged. We were thankful that we had the sense to make for a safe port rather than try to push ahead too fast."
Soon afterwards the Ripple went through the Welland Canal and again reached Toronto, which she had left July 24th, 1868. But the logbook breaks off abruptly with her again reaching Port Colborne. We have enjoyed reading it ourselves and hope you have.
Next week to fresh fields and pastures new.
- Snider, C. H. J.
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- 13 Nov 1954
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