Full club operation restarted in August and already plans are being formulated for a flotilla to visit the French River starting August 12th. Darin Mendoza is working up an itinerary and plans to sail between the 12th and the 15th. Photos and stories to follow. Of course, what happens in the French stays in the French!

Below the four boats that cursed to the French River in August.


Cruising in 2020

2020 could be a great year for cruising. We plan to repeat the trip up South River to DJ’s place, we want to explore the Sturgeon river and continue with trips to the French. Last year we had increasing interest in cruising both for day cruises and overnight and it is something we want to keep building.

At the bottom are details of anchorages that members have used.

September 20/21 , Last Chance Excursion up the South River

Three boats and ten people set off Saturday morning to sail to DJ’s cottage on the South River for dinner and an overnight stay. There was reasonable wind at 9 as Blaze  and Artemis left a little after that. Oncidium left a little later and followed them on a course of 207 degrees  magnetic to find Greening Bay as a lunchtime anchorage. The wind tailed off during the morning.

Blaze arrived first with Bob, Theresa and Seamus,  anchored and Seamus took a plunge to enjoy a swim and see the other boats arrive.

By now the wind was light and after DJ, Arley and Jan had also had a swim the flotilla moved on slowly less than 2 kts, towards the entrance to South River.

Once at the river mouth, Blaze and Oncidium followed Artemis as it is the shallowest draft, has a depth finder and the benefit of DJ’s local knowledge. The trip up river was tense because the depth was uncertain and at one point cables strung across were the same height as Oncidium’s mast … or maybe a fraction higher. After 3  miles of river work the boats docked at DJ’s cottage by leaving an anchor out and nosing into the soft mud at the end of the dock.

What a great place and what a great evening. Heather and Ryan found a skeleton by the water and amazed everyone by re-assembling it right on the deck, we ate good food, had a glass or two of favourite beverage, Jessica and family came to visit, sat around the fire pit and enjoyed one of the last days of summer.

The return trip on Sunday morning was more relaxing as we knew the river was deep enough and there was plenty of wind to move the boats well. The boats were on a broad reach or running with plenty of waves to surf down. Artemis stole a lead by cutting off early from South River channel and was sailing well. She pulled a way from Blaze and Oncidium and took a course on a reach to go to the West of the Manitous and tack over to a reach through the islands. Blaze then made up some distance by cutting to the west go Rankin island and running downwind wing on wing.

The weather was forecast to turn to rain and the flotilla was pleased to be on the dock and safely moored before a very wet afternoon.

Without exception, all the participants thanked DJ for sharing his family’s very special cottage and would like to make the South River Excursion and annual event. Thanks DJ.

September 7th, Day Excursion to Explore Masdow (M190907 meadow bay overvieweadow) Bay

Bob Carpenter, Seamus Kennedy and Karen Mann-Sullivan set off at 10 am in Blaze to explore Masdow (Meadow) Bay as it is marked on the charts. (Navionics says Masdow and Google maps say Meadow).  Jan Luthe and Lyn Vuorimaki made up the flotilla but were uncertain whether they would do the whole exploration.

There was a good wind from the north west that made for good speed and the boats headed to the south of the Manitous at 5 or 6 kts. The day became increasingly stormy and even though Jan bore off towards Lonely Island and a different part of the lake, both boats were deluged with tropical type rain and their crews soaked.

Jan and Lyn decided to turn back to the Manitous and lunch there while the crew in Blaze decided to continue on. The sun came out for a while and the sailing was good. Steady wind but plenty of waves. Blaze arrived in Meadow Bay for a late lunch and found it to be well sheltered and a good anchorage. (It has been added to the cruising anchorages section on this website.)

190907 Meadow bay

After lunch Blaze headed out into open waters and shot across from Meadow Bay to the Manitous at an average speed greater than 5kts.

North Bay was in sight the whole way and the trip was a breeze until the thunder came. Thunder and lightning that was closing in on the Manitous. It was decided that we would get to shelter in the Manitou and used the motor and sails to high tail it to the shelter close to some very tall trees that might look more attractive to lightning than the mast. Seamus saw a crack of lightning that was very close as he was on the foredeck and the sky opened up.

15 minutes later the sun came out again and the anchor was raised for the cruise back to the marina. All in all, Meadow Bay was a good find, the days sailing was great and some good decisions avoided the worst of the storm.

August 26 Cruise to the French River …. “Blazing” a trail

Bob Carpenter, Theresa MacRory and DJ Houston took Blaze on a two night cruise to explore the French River. It was great wind blowing from the south east so that the boat flew and was entering the French River in a little over three hours. The first night was spent in a secluded cove which we think is called Hunter’s Bay.

190827 moored for the night in Hunters Bay, French

Moored for the night in Hunter’s Bay.

In the morning light there were major problems. The primary issue was the Skipper failing to have packed the coffee he had ground and put carefully in the fridge at home. There was nothing for it but to head to the nearest purveyor of caffeine. Online research showed that Chaudiere Lodge was the most likely place, so ,at 7 am , up-anchor, start the motor and head to the tight exit of the bay.  The motor stopped. Sails raised, with the genoa reefed, so that it was easier to tack. the team made about ten tacks to get back to the main river. Awake. Edgey. Coffee about two hours away at the Chaudiere Lodge.

After receiving coffee for the next day from the generous manager of Chaudiere, eating a hasty lunch on board and getting Blaze shipshape, the journey continued with a rainy sail in gusty winds all the way up the Cambell’s Bay. Arriving early at Cambell’s Bay and with waves on Lake Nipissing looking manageable, the team decided to go on and explore Iron Island. It turns out that Iron Island has a wide easily approachable bay where Blaze was anchored for the night.

The next morning , after a cooked breakfast and coffee the wind was up andBlaze made the 17 nM reach to North Bay in really good time. The whole trip is illustrated below.

190827 route

Cruising with overnight stays…

Both Artemis and Blaze have good headroom and a head (aka toilet) that enable  members to rent a boat to cruise further afield than we do on social sails and explore other parts of the lake.

Here are some pictures of a recent trip to the mouth of the French River.

So far Artemis has been most popular sailboat for cruising because she can approach a sandy beach to allow members to step off into a few feet of water. By raising the centreboard and rudder and using great care the stern of the boat can be brought within 10 or 20 feet of the shore.

There is a kit of non perishable supplies boxed on the boat but members are responsible for all other needed gear and fuels. They are also responsible for cleaning the boat and having the black water pumped out.

In 2019 the club, thanks to the generosity of Brian Stepaniak, has acquired an inflatable dinghy that can be used with Blaze to reach shore from anchorages.

Anchorages around Lake Nipissing

Members and non members are invited to provide information about anchorages they have used so that others can find and use them safely. The following is a number of links to details of anchorages:

  1. Manitou Islands – anchorage manitou beach
  2. Goose Islands – anchorage south goose bay, north side
  3. Campbells Bay – anchorage campbells bay, small cove
  4. Hunters Bay – anchorage Hunters Bay, French
  5. Iron Island – anchorage Iron Island
  6. Meadow Bay – anchorage meadow bay