Leg 2-39

In 18 days I have had 3 sets of crew and together we have traveled 902.69 nautical miles, averaging 64 miles a day at 6.1 knots.

14 of those days were traveling, 4 of them down days for weather and maintenance.

A fraction of Lake Michigan, and the whole of Huron, Erie, Welland Canal and Ontario are complete. I am pleased to say they are behind us now.

We have made it to the gateway of the St. Lawrence seaway ahead of schedule. I repeat – ahead of schedule. Unheard of.

 

We arrived in Kingston, Ontario at 7 am after 128 mile overnight from Whitby, Ontario. That day, I couldn’t even muster up the energy to stand up, to eat, to drink water, until 5pm. It had all caught up to me. The Lakes. The wind. The rain. The unbearable temperatures. The tight quarters. The change of diet. The lack of sleep. The sense of responsibility. The maintenance. The heightened awareness. The constant anxiety of making the right decision. The friends. And maybe some of the beers. All of it caught up with me. I was defeated.

This was however, exactly what I wanted. This was what I signed up for. I paid money for this. And when I was hit with total exhaustion I thought – Hell yes. Just let me sleep for a second. I’ll be ready again. I promise. Just let me rest.

This is only the beginning.

The perfect person showed up that evening. My mother.

Leg 2-16

My co-captain and celebrity guest Katie Smith, AKA Katie Girl, flew all the back from California to help me sail through Lake Erie and the Welland Canal. Two of my other closest friends signed up to be cold, wet and miserable with us. One whom I’ve known since kindergarten Olivia, AKA O- Dawg, found herself as a very creative chef, a galley genius to say the least. One of my other bestest from college Erica, AKA E-Money, researched and delivered the history of each landmark we passed and expressed genuine interest in life aboard.

Leg 2-14

We wove through hundreds of fisherman and a handful of ships southbound on the Detroit River. I do guarantee we were the only sailboat with a chock-full of women in the cockpit listening to the Spice Girls. I was bound for England after all, figured if I knew some classic English pop by the time I got there the locals would accept me. We spiced our way to the mouth of Lake Erie.

O-dawg and E$ both got sea-sick on day one. Bless their little hearts they toughed it out and learned how to avoid it there-after.

We sailed into Put-In Bay and docked in an empty marina where there was no one to greet us, or charge us any fees. What is known as one of the hottest party spots in Ohio,  was shut down aside from one bar. I considered it my bachelorette party.

A lovely gentlemen by the name of Jake Byers welcomed us into his local yacht club in Cleveland, with a slip and cold beers waiting. Thank you so much Jake, for your hospitality.

Our first overnight sail was 138 miles to the entrance of the Welland Canal. The girls did awesome while I hid my nerves, which I tend to do well. Katie and I helmed through the night. For hours we had a consistent 35 knots of apparent wind at our back, gusting to 40, in the pitch black. Wooo baby.  Focused. On a mission. I was so tense I could barely move my neck and shoulders the next morning.

Waited a day and half in Port Colborne to lock through the Welland Canal. At 17:30 we hear a knock on the hull – it was time to go. Canal traffic called for us and two other pleasure craft to lock through together. The canal is 28 miles long, with 8 locks that drop you 326 feet into Lake Ontario. It was almost a perfect night time operation. Until we waited for 2 hours for an unbound ship to pass, when of course, I couldn’t start the engine. There was a problem with the starter. Traffic control requested we get towed through the last lock and to a safe place to tie for the night. The sailboat in front of us kindly towed us through, and released us near a cement wall to tie up. It was not the most graceful pass off – but it worked. The following day we sorted out the problem. The starter was dangling from it’s bolts. One of which was stripped.

My Spice Girls hopped off in St. Catharines. But not Katie. Katie booked a later flight so she could stay on for 5 more days. When we sailed overnight and found ourselves keeled over laughing and exhausted at sunrise, I realized I needed her. Who else could make me laugh that hard when I am cold, tired, and nervous? God we laughed so hard. About absolutely nothing. My abs hurt.

Leg 2-18

In 18 days I’ve begun to learn most everything I was hoping.

I’ve learned and am still learning the boat. How 18,000 pounds moves through the water. How to get her perfectly balanced. How to maneuver in small spaces (still scared of reverse) I am learning to adjust my course depending on where she wants to go not where I want to go. I am learning her systems, from plumbing, to electrical, to mechanics. I have been forced to dabble in each subject.

I am falling deeply in love with Desirée. I feel proud of her.

I am feeling self sufficient. Feeling self reliant. Feeling resourceful. Feeling well prepared.

I toggle between thoughts ” I’ve come a long way. I think I actually know some shit.” and  “Who in the world do I think I am? This is not wise.”  It’s constant. I sit right in the middle. Which could be a good place to be sitting. On the edge of my seat at all times, even in my sleep.

I’ve needed to build confidence before Luke is on board. I’ve needed to know that this is something I can handle on my own if anything were to happen to him. I’ve needed to feel like a captain, not a passenger. I’ve needed the time to be scared and not able to ask for help. I’ve needed the time to make tough calls. I’ve needed to be so cold that 50 degrees felt like summer. It’s working. I have a long way to go. But it’s working.

My mother and I will cruise the next leg. 163 miles, 7 locks and a favoring current. Montreal here I come.

See you soon Luke : )

We are looking to have 6 sails shipped to a reliable address and contact in Montreal, if anyone has any suggestions or could help us with this please contact Luke or I ! Jesszevalkink@gmail.com // luke.yeates@hydesails.co.uk

Leg 2-9

Leg 2-20

Leg 2-4

Leg 2-5Leg 2-7

Leg 2-21Leg 2-24

Leg 2-31

Leg 2-26

Leg 2-25

Leg 2-29

Leg 2-32Leg 2-35Leg 2-37Leg 2-40Leg 2-41Leg 2-42Leg 2-46Leg 2-47Leg 2-49Leg 2-53Leg 2-55Leg 2-57Leg 2-60Leg 2-62

17 thoughts on “Spice Girls

  1. Glad to see you made it to St Lawrence. When do you anticipate coming thru the rest of the river? I am still in Iroquois (sold my Co26 so getting it ready for new owners after it sat last summer) and getting the new
    Boat ready as well.

    I am not in Montreal but 1.5 hrs away if you need sails shipped and I can help out in any way.

    Water levels are thru the roof here…[image1.JPG]

  2. We hadn’t lunch with my uncle Bill an Aunt Chris today in Northport. He showed me how he can track you on his phone app. Pretty Amazing! Gods speed and safe sailings!

  3. Downwind in 40 gusts. Confidence builder but always be afraid, that’s your edge !! Living life large, what an inspiration !!

  4. I just finished 14 straight hours of slinging drinks to drunken boaters, your writing is the only thing keeping me from sticking my head in a blender. Keep writing, keep living and keep us all in mind while we live vicariously through your lens and keyboard. 🙂

  5. You did it! Building confidence is so nessesary and that’s how you do it. Thanks for updating the blog quickly, i was waiting for it!

  6. I love following you guys. I lived in cedar key,fl until i had a nasty divorce. I now live in dudley, ga. Lets just say its like sending you guys to nebraska. Lol. Enjoy this time in your life because nebraska gets old.

    John hadden

    On May 6, 2017 2:06 PM, “KATIE AND JESSIE ON A BOAT” wrote:

    > katieandjessieonaboat posted: ” In 18 days I have had 3 sets of crew and > together we have traveled 902.69 nautical miles, averaging 64 miles a day > at 6.1 knots. 14 of those days were traveling, 4 of them down days for > weather and maintenance. A fraction of Lake Michigan, and the whole” >

  7. So glad to read an update! I’ve been thinking about you all week & wondering how things were going on your ‘lake’. Love reading your posts! Keep them coming!

  8. Great pictures, and a nice smile keep them coming, you will do alright, tom the trailer sailor.

    On Sat, May 6, 2017 at 11:05 AM, KATIE AND JESSIE ON A BOAT wrote:

    > katieandjessieonaboat posted: ” In 18 days I have had 3 sets of crew and > together we have traveled 902.69 nautical miles, averaging 64 miles a day > at 6.1 knots. 14 of those days were traveling, 4 of them down days for > weather and maintenance. A fraction of Lake Michigan, and the whole” >

  9. I love this. From one salty sister to another, if I was to embark on an all-woman voyage, I’d want to crew with YOU. Sail on. Thank you for sharing the nitty gritty. It’s gorgeous. ~Jessie, s/v The Red Thread (currently detoxing in Australia post-transpacific voyage…itching to get back to sea already)

  10. go girl! you are amazing!

    On Sat, May 6, 2017 at 2:05 PM, KATIE AND JESSIE ON A BOAT wrote:

    > katieandjessieonaboat posted: ” In 18 days I have had 3 sets of crew and > together we have traveled 902.69 nautical miles, averaging 64 miles a day > at 6.1 knots. 14 of those days were traveling, 4 of them down days for > weather and maintenance. A fraction of Lake Michigan, and the whole” >

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