Friday, August 5, 2005

First Overnight Sail to South Haven

August 2 - The day of our proposed 'overnight adventure', we came early to replace a few 'iffy' lines and fill up with diesel & check on all systems. Battery #1 is dead again, started up with #2 and switched over to idle for a while and hopefully charge it back up. Replaced the topping lift line & the furling line & Terri is checking on the 'traveller stop' that also broke once again on our last trip out. Weather permitting, we will be leaving Muskegon tonight around 10ish. Filled the diesel & pumped out the holding tank in the afternoon.

Cast off lines at 10:40 pm. Very light wind and hazy. Tried to sail when we got out on the big lake, but the wind was right in our faces for the direction we wanted to travel. Ended up motoring all the way to Saugatuck. Sunrise just before we got to the Saugatuck channel at around 7:30 am. The night was mostly overcast and hazy, with occassional breaks to see stars. Tim at the helm most of the way with Terri taking over for potty breaks, caused by drinking a lot of cold coffee beverages to try and stay awake. Lady didn't like having to sleep on the boat. Beautiful seeing the sunrise on the boat, barely saw another boat all the way from Muskegon to Holland.

We pulled into Saugatuck channel at dawn. Wasn't really worth the long upriver trip. Expensive chachi shops, litte to no courtesy docking, so we tied up to a fuel dock, walked the dog around and then skipped town before they could put the squeeze on us for docking fees. Lady only did a few tinkles, hopefully she can hold off the rest of her business until we get to South Haven.

August 3 - Pulled into South Haven around 1 pm and docked at the Municipal Marina on the South side of the channel. While docking, Lady tried out her life vest when she slipped off the dock, 6 feet down to the water below. KERPLOOSH! The handles on the back of the 'fido float' came in quite handy as Tim pulled her back aboard, much to the delight of a growing crowd of 'doggie dive enthusiasts', Tim getting soaked in the process. I don't think Lady likes swimming. Grandpa met us down at the docks with his bike and we walked up to the South Haven house for an afternoon nap. TIRED TIRED TIRED. Long night. Later int he afternoon went swimming and had some ice creams. Saw the 'Friendship Goodwill' sailing down the channel, quite the impressive old boat.

August 4 - Big swells on the lake, rainy, poor weather, and hot. Spent the day running errands with Grandpa & tried out our wireless connection with the 'Marina-web'. First time using the computer aboard the boat for internet connections. Sent first sketch to a client aboard the boat & emailed to Tom at US Catholic. Lady spent the day around town being Pit Bull Awareness Puppy and Goodwill Ambassador. A lot of curious and apprehensive folks wondering 'what kind of dog is she?' ... oh. Long day for Lady, lots of walks and adoring fans. Tim washed the deck in the early morning, much nicer looking now without the spider guts and debris. Tried another sketch in the afternoon, but the wi-fi is being a bit finicky.

August 5 - Heading home - cast off at 10am, The 'Friendship Goodwill' miles ahead of us heading for the GH Coast Guard Festival. Our exit was only slightly comical. Wind from the north today ... so .. once again at cross purposes with the weather and our desired direction... motoring again.

We got out the autohelm which has been sitting idle in our belowdecks cupboards since we bought the boat, and tried to see if we couldn't figure out how it works. WOW - very easy to figure, it turns out. Why didn't we ever use this before? We have dubbed the device 'Robo-Sailer', and while it is not the sleekest looking bit of hardware, it does get the job done with a minimum of fuss. Much easier on the crew and captain and more efficient for long borign motoring treks. Still a few bugs to work out while sailing though. Tried sailing twice today, but had a hard time of it. Very light wind, with big slow swells. Pretty day though, hoping to stop in Holland for the night.

Made Holland and Lake Mackatawa by 3:15, called Bayshore Marine (on the north side of the lake this time) for a slip. Got a bit confused with our chart directions and ended up running the boat aground in the shallows, which was quite the jolt, but with clear heads, we managed to reverse back out of trouble and figure out where we went wrong in reading the buoys. Huge Marina, swimming pool, party store nearby, easy walk to the state park and beach down the road (and a disc golf course within walking distance we would discover the next year). Battery 1 still causing problems, dead after having run on it all day long. Have it on the charger and am not using #2 in order to keep it in reserve for emergency starts. Will have to have it checked by Torreson when we get back. Took a nap in the afternoon, then took a walk to the beach. Loud neighbors here at the 'Sprawl Marina' - music blaring from outdoor loudspeakers, lots of powerboats and drinking and dockside get-togethers.

August 6 - Quiet nights sleep surprisingly enough, once it got dark the parties started winding down. A little chilly, walked to the beach last night and watched boats coming and going in the channel, saw a real cute little boat that looked as if it were handmade, with a gaff rig sail. For some reason we didn't record much else of the return trip north to Muskegon. I'm assuming we made it home alright. If memory serves, it was a beautiful sunny ride home, with a stop for swimming near Grand Haven when the winds died down mid-day. The water was flat and calm, the sun was hot and the swim was quite refreshing. Terri once again declined, but we thought we'd try an experiment with the dog, thinking she might like swimming better when it was planned rather than 'falling in', so Terri dropped her over the side with me while I was paddling around, and she nearly drowned me trying to climb on top of me to get out of that accursed water. We managed to struggle her back aboard, and she seemed to forgive us after a brief sulking period. Then we continued on our way north. This was the last 'multiple night' trip of the year for us, although there would be one more overnight in Grand Haven and a few daytime excursions before the end of the season.

Lots of major steps forward on this trip. Lady's first multiple night trip, wi-fi connection with a bit of illustration work completed onboard, first time 'night sailing' (kind of strange, scary, sometimes confusing), first time using the Autohelm, first time running aground and getting ourselves out of trouble again, and tried out a new Marina in Holland. Still problems with the battery which is very vexing, still not happy with the traveller stop that we repaired ourselves.

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