Monday, November 1, 2004

End of the season

September 12 - While Terri spent a week in New York with Candy, Me and Keenan took the boat out for an afternoon cruise. Weather was sunny but very hazy, winds light to variable. Got to the boat around 11:30 & headed out of the Marina with Keenan at the helm, sailed Lake Muskegon for a while, then headed out to Lake Michigan. Beautiful sailing, managed a fairly decent speed & small heel for such light winds. About the time that we lost sight of Muskegon channel (due to the haze), a new boat guest joined us. A small yellow bird, of a species I didn't recognize (this photo I found on the internet seems pretty close, if memory serves, but the blog I borrowed it from didn't seem to know the species either) landed on the cockpit wall and stayed with us, eating bugs & hopping around on deck. Looked kind of tired from flying, and seemed quite relaxed around us. Stuck with us through a tack, riding on the windward headsail sheet as we came about, and then once we got in sight of land again, took off. We named the bird 'Bird-noolie', and wonder how long she would have stayed with us, had we kept on our original heading. We tried sailing down the channel (a frequent goal of Tim's for some reason), and nearly made it, but the wind died, as it usually does, right around the submarine dock. At one point, we were moving so slowly, that a kayaker passed us to starboard and hollered up to us "need a tow?". A smooth docking job, a beautiful last sail of the year, but DAMN there is still water in the bilge - where is it coming from?

November 1 - The boat was pulled out and winterized (bilge pumps, engine & head) - a short summer. A few conclusions - Oiling the teak wasn't the best solution, it quickly turns black and ugly if you don't constantly maintain it. Will try varnish next summer. We have one winch that needs some attention, it sometimes gets very squeaky and noisy when under heavy use - should look into greasing it somehow. Still the persistent bilge water problems - is it from the rain running down the mast? some other source? Perhaps replace some of the dock lines and headsail sheets next year. Around November 15 we returned to put a tarp on the boat. We bought a few plastic tarps from Meijer and tied them down as best we could, and then checked back around December 9 to see how it was holding up - not good, some of the areas of the tarp are becoming quite ripped up from chafe. Perhaps look into a nice canvas tarp next season.

Some closing thoughts on the 2004 season from the 'sailing diary':

It has been a strange summer. Sailing-wise, we did a lot less sailing than we hoped to do, due to unforseen circumstances beyond our control - and even on our planned excursions, we would find the weather didn't conform to our plans, or that the boat's needs superceded our scheduled expectations - we should try and take a lesson from these experiences this year, and strive to better 'go with the flow' instead of always trying to force things.
We took 2 major trips this summer, 100 miles to the south as far as South Haven, and a similar distance north to Pentwater. We faced some extreme weather situations on a few of our excursions, mostly because of having to try and 'be somewhere' at a preordained time, and the hell with the weather. Then the 'Dad' situation arose, putting a big monkey wrench in all of our plans. We did manage to anchor out a few times, once even completely leaving the boat alone at anchor while we spent an afternoon ashore. Tied up to 4 unfamiliar marinas, even backing into one slip with the help of the dockhands. Got some experience approaching fuel docks, filling up our diesel & pumping out our holding tank.
Some goals for the coming year: Try some light air sailing, figure out how to use our Spinnaker. Try to anchor out more and rely less on Marinas. Sail a little further afield, would love to go as far north as the Manitou islands someday. Get more confident and comfortable with higher speeds and more heel (at least, Tim, anyways). Work on the teak a bit more, trying a varnish approach next year. Paint the interior, tackle more repairs, track down the bilge leak. Learn more about the engine.