Sunday, June 27, 2004

Global Positioning

June 27 - Arrived late Sunday around 4:30. Weather clear, warm with light winds. Motored out the channel, then sailed down to about P.J. Hoffmaster State Park to the south. We had just gotten a hand held GPS tracker the previous week, and it seems to be a good investment. Terri seems to enjoy tracking our position, and speed, and it may come in handy on our upcoming trip to South Haven over the Fourth of July Weekend. Our Slip's Global Coordinates are: N 43 13.077' WO 86 19.192'. We can either set it for MPH or Nautical Miles. Had a nice pleasant sail this afternoon, the waves were much calmer, wind light but steady. Also did a nice job pulling in and pulling out of the slip this time. Perhaps we are getting the hang of this after all. Best of all, no fights broke out.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Destination: Whitehall

June 19 - Father's Day Weekend - Our plan is to take our boat up to White Lake, and then cross White Lake to the towns of Whitehall & Montague, our first 'destination' cruise with Fandango. We arrived Saturday afternoon, the weather was a bit on the cold and blustery side, so we decided to not go sailing quite yet, and went on a long walk to the new Ferry Dock and 'Harborfront Shopping District' that had popped up like mushrooms since the Ferry Service was opened. When we got back, it was starting to look quite a bit nicer, but we decided to wait until Sunday to go out. Took a drive up to the lake for a sunset. Thinking to the future, and how we may have to get up the nerve to sail out to see the sunset and return after dark using our nav. lights.

June 20 - Headed for White Lake around 10 am. Lake Michigan was pretty bouncy, but with very light, flukey winds. Took 2 & 1/2 hours to get to white lake, then an additional hour to cross White Lake to Whitehall, we sailed across White Lake just using our headsail, and circled past our friends the 'Kroes's camp compound to see if we could see them out in the yard (we thought we saw the boys, but they didn't notice us.
Pulled up in Whitehall to top off the diesel & pump out the holding tank. Asked if we could tie up to their courtesy dock to venture into town for lunch. Had lunch at a nearby bowling alley/restaurant called 'Pin Pals' - very slow service, and then when we returned to the dock, an additional boat had tied up behind us, and we had an undignified exit from the marina to a big audience, which probably put us all in a tense mood for the return trip. Tim & Terri had some 'words' while trying to sail in an increasingly crowded White Lake (the second time we blew up at each other on this trip, the first of which is chronicled below), in which we were forced to tack back and forth due to the wind direction, without making any apparent forward motion, until we huffed and puffed, doused the sails, gave up on sailing the lake and motored out to Lake Michigan. Going back to Muskegon was almost head-to-wind, so after another abortive attempt at sailing with both sails, we gave in and flipped on the motor for the return trip. Got in around 7, a long day on the boat, frazzled nerves, a somewhat seasick Keenan (from trying to spend the return trip down below - we would later learn that this is the WORST place to try and ride out a bouncy boat ride). Crew seems ready to mutiny, perhaps a frosty cove ice cream cone will chill their fiery tempers and sooth Keenan's heaving stomach.

(photo above) a map showing the route of our first 'destination cruise'

We had a few communication breakdowns on this trip, which added to the stress. I really need to work on stowing my tendency towards biting sarcasm when underway, it really hurts morale and makes sailing less of a peaceful, fun family activity, and more of a living hell for everyone involved. And in most cases, these 'blow ups' are usually over the silliest mis-communications, an example of which from our 'sailing diary' to follow:

(from the diary) On the way north to White Lake on Lake Michigan, we attempted to sail for the first portion of the trip. The waves and the wind were at crossed purposes, however, and we found ourselves wallowing up and down the side of some rather uncomfortable choppy swells, while the wind merely served to fill and spill from the sails to the point where we were feeling like we were on a poorly designed carnival ride. The decision came to take down the sails and tie them down, made all the more exciting by the wallowing boat motions. Terri was put at the tiller, and Tim and Keenan worked their way forward to tie down the mainsail.

Now, the boom on our sailboat, where it attaches to the mast, is adjustable up and down, in order to adjust the sail shape. You tie it down to a cleat near the bottom of the mast. It's adjustable, it moves a certain amount up and down. Terri had never noticed this particular aspect of our boat until right in the middle of our attempt to tie down the mainsail on the wildly bouncing boat. I'm trying to tie down the sail as quickly as possible, and also secretly worried about Keenan holding on sufficiently, when Terri starts yelling.

"What??!!?" (Not comprehending, I mean, I'm holding on to the boom, aren't I?)

I'm bouncing around on the deck, holding on with one hand, tying knots with the other, and Terri is yelling what seems complete jibberish to me. When I finally figured out what she was so desperately trying to tell me, I slipped up and make some smart-ass comment. I don't remember what I said, it more than likely wasn't very nice, but the effect was instantaneous. The Silent Treatment Until Further Notice.

Another interesting incident occurred when Terri was backing us out of the slip and I was at the bow and was giving her a 'thumbs up' as a sign she was doing well, when she became confused by my 'hand signals' and started panicking and yelling "AAAAH - I DON'T UNDERSTAND! what do you want me to DO??!!" (would have been interesting to see what sort of maneuver she came up with as a way of interpreting my 'upward directions')

I really need to watch my mouth. I really want to share this adventure with my family, but I wouldn't blame them if they hate to get aboard the boat with 'Captain Sarcasm' in the future. The biggest problems seem to be heightened nerves and fear, with unfortunate ways of expressing them. We both need to understand that we are both learning as we go, and our fear is a good thing, because it keeps us alert and careful, and find some other way of letting off steam without snapping each other's heads off. The funny part of all this is, Terri is afraid of sinking and drowning, while Tim seems to be mostly afraid of doing something stupid in front of other boaters. Don't know if Keenan is fearful at all, he doesn't seem to be, and seems to handle all of our little emergencies with a cool clear head (blame it on his youth).