Nova Scotia: Don’t Panic

When things go wrong unexpectedly do you panic or do you take the few split seconds you have to prevent a catastrophe to think rationally? Luckily for Frances she took the second option today as she backed Snow Dragon away from the dock only to find the steering wasn’t functioning properly. Her first thought was that she didn’t have forward gear but that seemed odd as she knew I had tested forward and reverse before we left the dock.

With a shallow rocky bottom in front and two large ships a few meters off on either side there wasn’t room to let Snow Dragon drift or drop anchor. Frances calmly tried again, shifting into forward and turning the helm to the left. Snow Dragon was clearly moving forward but instead of turning left she was going to the right. With the realization that the steering was reversed, Frances pretending she was steering with a tiller, turning the wheel in the opposite direction of where she wanted to go.

Instead of heading out to open water and moving along the coast of Nova Scotia towards Newfoundland as intended, we dropped anchor just inside the channel markers and set about fixing the problem. This involved taking everything out of the lazaret and all the charts out form underneath the aft bunk in order to get to the cable and trace the problem. Sure enough the new steering cable that Frances and Riikka had worked so hard to install needed to be crossed, something that Frances had completely forgotten about in the rush to install it after a major delay in receiving the parts.

After Riikka climbed out of the lazaret and Frances from beneath her bunk and me from the aft bilge, we decided to spend the night at anchor and resume our attempt to get out of Lunenburg in the morning. We have already spent and intensive two weeks getting Snow Dragon ready, changing out the Antal cars on the mainsail, painting the dinghy with paint inside and out and putting Snow Dragon’s new staysail on the furler. In addition to waiting for parts for our steering should have already arrived before we returned from England.

Luckily our friends in Lunenburg have kept us sane and made sure we occasionally did fun things including lunch at La Have Bakery and wine tasting at Petite Rivier, one of the local vineyards.

It won’t be our last visit to Lunenburg, we will be wintering here again next winter.

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