Friday, July 30, 2004

Sailing Therapy

The summer and fall of 2004 was a tough time for us, emotionally as well as in terms of spare time to devote to sailing. With the onset of my Father's illness and near-incapacitation, I volunteered to be the primary care-giver for the duration of the chemo treatments, which spanned late summer through the end of the year, where I was posted in South Haven. We were able to make occassional escapes, a weekend here and there, and we managed one more 'destination' trip late in the summer, but the days of simply 'shooting over to the boat when the weather looks good' were out of the question for the rest of 2004.

July 25 - Arrived late Saturday night from South Haven, After 2 weeks of 'medical stress', it is a welcome break to relax out on the lake. Sunday is absolutely beautiful. Sirrus clouds, blue sky, calm lake and just enough wind for a relaxing sail. 3-4 knots if we get our mojo straightened out with Mr. Bernoulli. Saw the Lake Express ferry & a big white freighter heading in the channel this morning. A ton of motor boats out on the lake in the early morning. (fishing? or heading out for a peek at the Chi-Mac race schedule for this weekend). Pulling out of the slip was a bit undignified thanks to choppy waves & weird wind from the east. Played Rack-o with Keenan & Terri last night, & Keenan got to sleep in the V-berth for a change of pace. A large sailboat tried to cut us off as we were leaving the channel, but we shortly thereafter left him in our wake thanks to our superior sailing mojo. On our return, a large freighter was coming out of the channel, and Tim got a little nervous and waited in the anchorage area until he cleared the channel, Terri thought I was being a weinie, and I probably was, there was more than likely enough room for both of us. We did a decent job of docking back at the marina with the exception of a pair of 'split crotch cargo pants' that Tim found himself suddenly wearing after doing a stretch for a dock line. The onboard 'knot meter' didn't work the entire time we were under sail today, but seemed to work fine while we were motoring. Very strange (zebra mussel buildup?)

July 30 - Another weekend escape, got here around 11, the weather was a bit overcast, but it improved by later in the day. Nice breeze, 10-20 knots, medium waves 2-4 ft. We did numerous boat chores today, fixed drawer rails in the v berth, replaced the track slider that broke with a new one that didn't quite fit right, cleaned the deck, scrubbed out the interior, dried out the bilge again & fixed a leaky head sink drain (source of bilge water?), tomorrow will do some more teak work. Cate & Brian and kids came by around 3pm in spite of my poor directions. The weather cleared up and the boat seemed tickled to have some company aboard, as she put on a rollicking good show for the guests. Good speed under sail & hopped and frolicked through the waves much to the delight of Cate & Josie, but didn't seem to do much for Brian or Jake. Had a nice 2 or 3 hour sail & finished up with Coronas in the cockpit and a trip down to the beach to eat at 'Sneaky Pete's'. One other exciting aspect of the day: we saw another Chris Craft Cherokee as we were returning down the channel. Couldn't figure out why they were hooting and hollering at us and waving at first, but soon worked it out. First time seeing another boat of our pedigree - named "Sea Hawk" -- Beautiful day.

Unfortunately, Terri dropped the halyard overboard as we were putting away the sails in the channel this afternoon, so it looks like we will be visiting the ship's store. After the visitors left, me and Terri were heading back from the 'imperial procedure hut' when we noticed a sailboat coming into the marina under tow from a powerboat. Asked if they needed help and it turns out their engine died out on the lake and needed help getting pulled towards their slip. We climbed over different boat transoms and around docks trying to help guide them around the marina, until Terri suggested a good idea for them to use their tiller as a 'scupper', moving it back and forth to give them some forward momentum, which worked like a charm, slowly but surely guiding them towards their slip. "Lobo" finally made it back home, thanks to the help of half of the marina. Nice to see everybody pitching in like that, gives you kind of a secure feeling that if something does go wrong, you won't be in want of a helping hand.

August 14 - Maintenance visit from Tim & Terri while Keenan is staying at the Kroes compound in Whitehall. Did some teak work. More bilge water to soak up - where the heck is it coming from?? Replaced the halyard shackle, fixed a hose, and the latch on the engine cover. Planning a final summer 'destination cruise' this coming weekend, will pick up Keenan in White Lake and continue north to Pentwater.

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