Sunday, May 30, 2004

Testing the Water

(photo above) a map showing where most of our early day sailing excursions took place. Most sails on Lake Muskegon take place on the western half of the lake, and we frequently travel the channel to sail around on Lake Michigan, usually in sight of the channel.

(still overlapping the 'sailing dairy' and 'ships log', editing and compiling the two accounts into one narrative)

May 28 - Beautiful weather - a stiff breeze around 16 knots, and not a cloud in the sky. We got here around 5ish after a late start due to Terri having some errands to run during the day, and Tim and Keenan sinking the canoe in the Grand River. The river was flooded to a record high this weekend due to all the rain, and the boys decided to explore the flooded backyards with the canoe. We got about 3 houses north, when we got stuck in some trees, the boat tipped and quickly filled with water and sank to the bottom. It was over our heads and we ended up swimming quite a distance to find shallower water (and then having to change clothes, and shower). Not a good omen to sink your canoe just prior to our first 'boating weekend'.

Got to the slip around 5ish, installed the reefing lines, took the boat out for a 'first sail' - headsail only this time, went a little ways into Muskegon Lake, very nervous and tense. Will it ever seem easy and relaxed? Still having trouble backing out of the slip. Upon returning, we misjudged entering the slip and put a gouge about 8 inches by 4 inches into the brand new paint job. Kind of sad, like that first ding you put into a new car.

May 29 - Saturday, the weather was overcast and chilly, still having problems exiting the slip, the tiller just doesn't seem to respond in that particular direction. We motored out to the big lake and raised both the sails. Quite fun, the boat seems to handle so much better under sail than with the motor. We tried setting our first and second reefs just for practice's sake (probably would have gotten much more speed without them, but I'm still feeling a bit tentative about the whole 'speed' thing. Headed quite a ways into the lake, then turned around and headed back to the channel entrance for lunch, Passed a big frieghter entering the channel (the 'Pier Marquette 41'), anchored out, had lunch (sandwiches and potato salad), then practiced 'reverse tiller' for a while, out where we had a little maneuvering space. On our return, we did a nice job tying up, and a nice fellah a few boats down gave us some advice on 'backing up'. Apparently we are experiencing something called 'prop walk', where the propeller is messing with the tiller, and what we need to do is start going straight back until we get some momentum, then put the motor in neutral, and the boat should handle much better.

May 30 - (Terri) Tim up early and walked down to Lake Michigan (about 30 minutes each way), The neighbors had gone out early and returned saying it was quite choppy out there. Tim thinks the big lake looks ok. Not sure if we should go out or not. A couple of the neighbors had the same problem pulling their boat out of the slip this morning, so we don't feel so dumb. Pandora, the school boat went out after tying in a few reefs. Based on the flags it looks as though it is 22-27 knots of wind. Lots of action in the marina. Many boaters here working on their boats. We filled the water tanks and tried to flush out the antifreeze.

The weather stayed crappy the rest of the weekend, so we headed home on Sunday afternoon.

June 4 - Tim & Terri came out to put on her name labels - beautiful day today, but couldn't stay because it was festival weekend and Keenan is due to perform with the Jazz band. Tim filled the hole we had gouged in her with 'repair goo' and sanded it down smooth. Need to look into some sort of awlgrip touch up kit or something to finish it off. Doesn't look too bad, but doesn't look as nice as it once did.

June 11 - Crappy weather continues. Windy, cold, rainy. Hoped to sail today, no such luck. Fixed the railing, sanded the plugs for the swim ladder mount. Terri measured for curtains & glued some knobs for attaching them. Came home rather depressed.

June 12, 13 - Weather looked great, so we just said the heck with it, and headed for Muskegon for an unplanned sailing excursion. Best two sailing days yet. Should have been working, which made it all the sweeter.Pulled out of the slip smoothly with our new 'exit maneuver'. Went out to Lake Michigan for a couple hours, but it was actually much better sailing on Lake Muskegon - got up to about 6 knots on the small lake, but the best we could do on the big lake was 2. We came back to the slip a little rough today, but thankfully there was nobody around to see it. We left a message for Candy to come down the next day for a ride... She showed up around 11ish, and we went out for about 3 hours, Lake Muskegon past the 'buoy', got up to 6 knots again with just the headsail, then out to the big lake where we could only get about 3, but it was still a pleasant ride. Beautiful day today, Tim still seems to get really nervous the faster we go and subsequently the more the boat heels over. Looking forward to possibly trying a 'destination trip' where we head for another port, possibly tie up somewhere, have lunch and then return.

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