Saturday, August 21, 2004

North to Pentwater

(photo, left) a map showing our route for this multiple day destination cruise, showing where we picked up Keenan in Whitehall for the first night and our trip north to Pentwater.

Our second multi-day 'destination cruise' of 2004, and probably our last major trip of the season. Dad's girlfriend Sheila kindly agreed to watch over him for a short spell, and we would be keeping in contact with our cell phone throughout the trip. Our plan is to pick up Keenan in Whitehall, who is staying with his friend Burton at their family cabin compound, and head north from there to Pentwater, uncharted territory for us.

August 18 - Tim and Terri fueled up in Harbortown Marina and left at 11:25, beautiful sailing, a little foggy and hazy at first, but eventually cleared up. Was able to make good speed on a beam reach almost all the way north, sailing all the way for once. Once we arrived at the White Lake entrance channel did a series of 'goofs' take place (and just in time for an audience, as the Kroes' powerboat came out to meet us). For some reason we had taken the 'stopper knot' out of the main sheet and with our boom all the way out to the starboard side, the main sheet ran out and ended up dragging in the water, which we finally managed to retrieve, but then while feeding it back through the tackle, we mistakenly wrapped it around one of the stanchions, then while wrestling with fixing that, the roller furling got fouled, so by the time the Kroes boat shows up to escort us to their cabin, we have Tim wrestling and cursing with the main sheet, and Terri wrestling and cursing with the furling line and the boat spinning this way and that, barely under control. 'Doh!' -- the only time on the entire northward trip where we look like complete boobs.

We doused the sails, flipped on the engine, entered the channel, and then when we reached White Lake, put up the sails again for the trip to the cabins. We anchored in front of their cabin compound for an afternoon repast of wine and conversation - our first time anchoring the boat, and leaving it unattended. Tim kept one eye on the boat the entire time, worried that it was drifting away (did I put out enough anchor rode? has the wind shifted?). We then motored to Whitehall/Montague with Keenan and got a slip in the Municipal Marina for the night. We walked to a little restaurant/bar in Montague where we were waited on by a waitress with a plunging neckline and a huge tattoo on her ample chest ("what are you staring at, bub?") - checked out the town of Montague, a little bookstore downtown, ice cream stand where we ate dessert. Got some rain overnight, but not the big thunderstorms that were predicted. We ended up losing our anchor overboard yet again today, need to secure that better, plus we still seem to be taking on water in the bilge - where in the heck is it coming from??

August 19 - Cast off at 11:30, spent an hour crossing White Lake - nearly running aground in the shallows when Tim missed a red buoy and wandered where we weren't supposed to be. Lots of tacks back and forth across the lake, waved goodbye to Jason Kroes as he followed us in his dinghy. Then out the channel and we headed north for Pentwater. Light wind from the North/NE, tried sailing for an hour and a half, making very little headway and eventually switched to motor sailing on a close reach before we ended up getting lapped by a motoring schooner/ketch twosome also heading north.
Long trip, eventually took us about 6 hours to get up to Pentwater. Interesting lakefront homes on the way. The Little Sable Point Lighthouse was quite scenic as were the dunes at Silver Lake with all the little dune buggies buzzing up and down them. The waves increased in size as we rounded the point, and Keenan ended up getting kind of woozy. The wind was very confused and we couldn't find a decent point of sail all day. Got into Pentwater around 7:00. The Municipal Marina was full up, so we ended up at Snug Harbor for the night, sharing a dock stern to stern with another sailboat. Going to hang around Pentwater the following day. Lots of Chicago/Wisconsin boats here. Kind of expensive and crowded here at this Marina. Nearby shops and laundromat though, convenient to downtown.

August 20 - Spent the day exploring Pentwater & shopping and playing mini golf, eating ice cream and hiking to the beach. Came back to the boat to find we were surrounded by huge powerboats coming in for the weekend. Feels like we are in the bottom of a deep canyon. Tim did a little investigating on the bilge leak again, and found a substantial leakage from the galley sink drain and tightened up the fittings to stop it. The bilge stayed dry for quite a while after that, so that I thought I had finally found the problem. Not sure I like how much they pack-em-in here at Snug Harbor, a little too Snug, feels like being at a crowded trailer campground. Everybody standing around admiring each others big boats. "how much fuel do you hold?" "how fast did you make the trip across the lake?" etc etc.

August 21 - Interesting exit from the dock this morning. Surrounded on 3 sides by huge powerboats, and they didn't want to have to move, so they helped us squeeze between them (about a foot and half clearance to either side of us - yikes, like I really wanted my old beater scratching up their multi hundred thousand dollar boats) - Left Pentwater around 9:30 am, planning on making the trip south to Muskegon in one long haul. Wind was again quite capricious so we ended up motoring most of the way with both sails up. Sailing experimentally off and on throughout the day. Beautiful day however. Waves less than a foot, wind 5-15 from the west/nw. Came into Muskegon around 5ish to a huge sailboat regatta going on out in the big lake, with plenty of colorful spinnakers flying.

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