Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rigging Inspection

We ordered a 'rigging inspection' from Torreson this year when we had our boat hauled. Wanted to get ahead of potential problems before they became 'problems while underway'. They recommended the following repairs:

The wooden spreaders were showing signs of age, and they suggested either replacing them with new wooden ones or new aluminum spreaders, and while we were at it, replace the spreader lights and check the wiring up the mast. We'd noticed that the port spreader light looked like it was damaged, sometime over the past winter (likely when the marina took the mast down to do last winter's repairs) and none of the mast lights worked this past summer (although it wasn't a pressing issue, since we didn't use them at all). We decided this would be one of the first of the repairs we would address over the winter.

Winches need to be serviced. We knew this was an issue, as we'd noticed that the starboard one would scream loudly under certain conditions, this will probably also get addressed this winter.

Lifelines were inspected and the lower ones seem to be ok, but they recommend larger diameter lifelines on the upper position. Maybe. Maybe next year.

Halyards need to be replaced, as they are showing their age. Was hoping to put this off another year if possible, but if we can afford it, perhaps we'll do this over the winter as well. I think we are also going to need to replace the docking lines and a few jib sheets this coming year. All are starting to show signs of wear, and I get nervous every time a stiff breeze blows up, wondering if the boat has snapped her dock lines.

We haven't got a bill yet for putting the canvas cover on the boat. I'm a bit anxious, wondering when they plan on doing this, as snow keeps getting predicted. We called to ask about it, and they assured us that we are still scheduled to have that done. To be honest I feel a lot better doing these things ourselves, but free time keeps coming at a premium these days.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

End of the Season 2007

Drove out to Muskegon today to take the sails down, deliver the canvas cover skeleton, and generally get the boat ready for winter. Thought about possibly taking her out one more time, but the weather looked a little chilly out on the lake, and with the boat being thoroughly stuck in her slip, we decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Matt gave us a hand with flaking the sails, and I got a lesson in the proper way to do it (hell, we just wadded them or rolled them up in a ball before, not knowing any better). Much easier than last year, where we had trouble getting the headsail down due to a twisted halyard. But one surprise when we did get the headsail down, it was discovered that the shackle was unscrewed and barely hanging on to the top of the sail (that would have been a mess had it fallen off sometime in the summer, or on a trip).

Overall, a rather disappointing year. Not much use of the boat, other than an occasional daysail. Keenan only visited the boat twice all year, and both in the same week. We never ventured out of sight of the Muskegon channel this year, no extended trips, and only a single overnight stay. The one week we had planned for a trip, it ended up raining (about the only rain this summer, oddly enough). On the plus side, I got Alex out on the boat, took Candy for a few rides, and brought along her coworker Fred for a fun afternoon. We sailed completely down the channel for the first time this year, not once, not twice, but three times. We used the engine very rarely all year, mainly just for going in and out of the slip, and got a lot of close quarters practice out on Muskegon Lake. A lot more quiet 'me 'n the wife' sails this year, perhaps getting us ready for when the boy flies from the nest.

The boat will be hauled out sometime in the next few weeks, and we opted to let them install the cover this time. Not that it was all that difficult to do, but we neglected to ever collect the canvas cover from them after the boat repair work this spring, and they've been hanging on to it all summer (I'm sure we are going to see a storage fee for that one...). Probably won't need the oil changed, since we barely used the engine this year. Only filled up the diesel tank once near the end of the season, and it is still pretty full. I don't think we even used the head all summer. Will probably take another trip out there to inspect the haul out and winterizing job, but am hoping next year offers more chances to get out on the lake.

October 16 -- Got a call from the marina, our boat has been pulled from the season. Just in time, as a big windstorm swept through the area a few days later. Will need to take a drive out there to inspect the canvas cover installation.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bonus Daysail

Getting near the end of the available season for sailing, but still managed to squeeze another short daysail in on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Just Terri and I today, leaving the dog home for a change (it's not so much the sailing that is the problem, but she can be so annoying on the drive over to Muskegon). The wind was predicted to be 10-15 knots (perhaps it was when we started, but it seemed to slack off a bit by the time we came in), and the water was fairly calm, especially on the little lake, but there were a few rollers out on the big lake (but not as big as last weekend). We got stuck in the slip, and our friendly and helpful neighbor Matt gave us some help in extracting her from the bottom by rocking us back and forth via the halyard. Speaking of the halyard, he came over to tell us that he tied up our halyard for us, because it was chaffing on some hardware on the spreaders, and I gave it a looksee, and yes it looks as if the line now has a bit of wear on one particular spot in the middle (yet another line to be replaced, looking forward to that bill.... not!).

We exited fairly smoothly, despite being stuck, and exiting crooked and backwards to a big audience, and raised the sails shortly after we cleared the mooring ball area. A nice little beam reach trip northward across Lake Muskegon, and then a couple tacks towards the channel (I had hopes of sailing partially out the channel, but the wind wasn't cooperating), and we motored the channel to Lake Michigan. Headed southward along the shore, and had a pleasant, but rolly sail out on the big lake south to the entrance to Mona Lake, then turned around for a leisurely close reach back to the channel against the waves (by this time, the wind seemed to be slacking a bit). We flaked the main on the return trip down the channel, and managed to sail the entire thing on a run with just the headsail (our third time doing this in 2007, after not being able to for the previous three years).

We took a slow crawl with just the headsail back towards the marina, hugging the western shore, and didn't realize it until too late, that we had inadvertently joined a sailing reggatta, and we sailed V.E.R.Y. S.L.O.W.L.Y. past the buoy between the tacking racing sailboats and the judge sitting at the corner watching the turns (he didn't look too happy with us, but I don't think we interfered with the boats in the race, at least I hope not). But it was very cool to see the crews scrambling around on decks, quickly dousing sails and raising others to shouted instructions from the helmsman, and all at very close quarters "Trim! Trim! Trim!" - - We continued slowly on our way back to our slip, and I nearly sailed clear into the marina before turning the engine back on (and in hindsight, we might've been able to sail right back into our slip, considering how the water level was so low, that we weren't really in danger of running into the dock with our bow, because we hit bottom before that could happen). A little help from Matt when we returned and tied up, and there were a family of prospective buyers looking at Capt. Jim's boat next door. A beautiful day, and hopefully we can get out one more time for the fall colors before she's pulled in late October. (battery #1)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sailor Fred

The rest of the crew working at the Civic today, so I invited Candy out to the boat on Sunday afternoon, should the weather be cooperative, and she asked a couple people if they wanted to tag along, and her coworker Fred took her up on the offer. It was a blast of an afternoon, the sun was shining, it was a little cool, but not unbearable. The wind was about 10-15 knots from the SSW, and there were plenty of sailboats out on Lake Muskegon, a reggata going on out in the middle of the lake, running from SE to NW. We quickly prepped the boat and sails, everyone took a potty break, and we were off around 2pm. A smooth exit from the slip with no mishaps, and we took a quick tour of the boats at their mooring balls, showing Fred the beautiful old wooden boat that had previously been for sale all summer, but it looks as if the sign had been taken down, so it must've sold. We started out nice and easy with just the headsail, puttering around Lake Muskegon on either a broad reach or beam reach, going about 2-3 knots, with Fred at the helm for most of the time, while Candy shouted encouragements from amidships. We did a gybe and headed towards the channel to check out the big lake, where waves were predicted to be 1-3 ft (we had driven by the beach, and they looked a little bigger, maybe 2-4 ft, with quite a few whitecaps out on the lake).

We managed to sail about halfway down the channel until the wind switched around to our bow and got a little flukey, so we switched on the engine, and rode the rest of the way out. The waves were a bit more than we expected and aside from a few brave souls far out on the lake, there wasn't much other traffic out there, and it was a bit bouncy, so we turned around and headed back into the channel. Raised the headsail again for the return trip down the channel, and got about halfway again before we resorted the engine. Once back on the little lake, I put us into the wind, put Fred back on the helm and I raised the mailsail, and we sailed a short while with just that, and then I raised the jib as well, and we really started flying. Fred seemed to be really having a blast, we were mostly on either a beam reach or close reach, heeling over from time to time, and making some pretty decent speed, 5, 6 knots or so. We went back and forth across the lake a few times, avoiding the reggata still in progress, and got a little better at our tacking maneuvers with each repitition. We saw the Lake Express Ferry come in, and we zig zagged on a close reach back towards the marina, until we eventually put away the sails and headed for home. A lot of fun, Fred was an enthusiastic crewmember, and a big help, and Candy seemed to have a good time as usual (the boat seems to really like to put on a big show for her every time she comes out). We ran into Matt after our docking and putting everything away, and I asked him about the 'wooden boat' (which we had passed going out of the channel, with presumably the new owners), and he informed us that the hull was a 'blank' (which I didn't understand what he was talking about until later - apparently, it is the plywood 'mold' that they use to make the fiberglass).

Afterwards Fred bought me lunch at G&L (mmmm Flint Style Coneys), and I bid them adeiu at Candy's house, and I got home just ahead of the rest of the family, after which I headed down to Riverside for a round of disc golf (and was sore by the end of the night). A nice day. Maybe we can squeeze one more trip in either this month or next.. I'd still like to sail with the fall colors. (battery #2)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekend End of Summer Visit

(photo) Lady's body language doesn't give the impression that she enjoys these boat rides

We got here in the afternoon on Saturday with the idea of taking a sail north to White Lake and mooring at the Whitehall marina for the night and heading home on Sunday. The wind looked promising, from the northwest 10-15 knots and the weatherman predicted 0-1 ft waves. We loaded up the provisions and prepared the boat for the journey and ended up leaving the slip around 3:15 or so. The wind was favorable on Lake Muskegon, and the waves were as predicted, but once we got out into the big lake, the wind shifted to almost dead north, and the waves were bigger than we anticipated, and what little progress we could make forward was cancelled out by the waves, and, so after about an hour of floundering around just outside the channel, we decided to head back to our home anchorage, figuring that 'hey, this mooring is already paid for', and we can just drive north to Whitehall if we want to eat dinner at 'Dog'n'Suds'. Our return trip down the channel was much more pleasant once we got past the breakwater, and the wind was just right, that we were able to sail completely down the channel for the second time this year, this time with just the mainsail, and made pretty decent speed of it too.

Once back in Lake Muskegon, we raised both sails again, and make a few spirited hops across the lake, getting the boat up to 7 knots a few times, mostly on a beam reach, doing a couple 'controlled gybe' maneuvers to turn around. So we ended up having a pretty decent sail after all, even if we didn't make it to our planned destination. I think being a bit more open minded about schedules seems to make this a bit more enjoyable for everyone. Otherwise, if we had wanted to slog north via sail to Whitehall, it would've taken about 3-4 hours, tacking back and forth all the way, fighting the waves, and our other option, sailing with the wind south to Grand Haven, would have involved sailing on the more dangerous 'run' tack, or even possibly rigging the sails for 'wing on wing' which would have been rather dull sailing, or the third and least enjoyable option, putting on the engine and simply motoring north or south to either destination, bucking the waves and listening that engine drone for 2 hours. As it was, we opted to spend the night in Muskegon, walk the beach at sunset with the dog, drive north to Whitehall for dinner, and then tried out the Whitehall Disc Golf Course, a game of cribbage (Keenan won), and then spend the night on the boat.

(photo, above) What the big lake looked like when we left the channel in Muskegon, shortly to make a u-turn back. There were a few boats out on the horizon, heeling over and bobbing around on the waves, but by the time we gave up and headed back, most of the rest of the sailboats around us had done the same. (photo, below) much more enjoyable sailing conditions back on Lake Muskegon

In the morning, I took the dog out for a 2 hour walk down by the lakeshore, the lighthouse pier and the submarine, and we headed home around 11ish.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Abbreviated Day Sail

(photos) (above & below left) Boy, do we look like we're having fun, or what? (below right) the rock and green marker that we need to be aware of while traveling the east end of Muskegon Lake, the wind never seems to want to make this passage easy (bottom) a large flock of swans that were camped out in the shallow middle section of Muskegon Lake

Well, the best laid plans, blah blah blah . . . Our original plan was to take an extended trip on the boat, possibly north to Ludington again, or even further north if we could manage it. But when we got home from Wisconsin on Saturday, the weather reports for the coming week didn't look promising. It has been wet and rainy all week, and so we thought we'd sneak in a day sail or overnight sail on Wednesday/Thursday, but when Wednesday morning rolled around, we awoke to thunderstorms, and the reports were 'scattered thunderstorms, some of them severe' for the Muskegon area. I kept watching the skies and the weather channel, and around noon, the sun was shining, with nary a cloud in the sky, so we took a gamble and headed west.

The boat was happy to see Terri, and gave her a good big love bite on the shin right away as she was boarding, and slipped and nearly fell in the drink. Lots of spiders and spider webs all over, and the interior was a mess, and the bilge was sort of stinky. I washed the floor with lysol and poured a bit in the bilge to try and sweeten it up. The sky looked a little iffy, and I was a little leery to taking her out, but Terri said 'lets go for it', so we took her out on Lake Muskegon for a little joy ride (battery #2). Made a stop at Harbortown for a diesel fill up (our first of the year), and made the troops a little nervous doing a u-turn between a couple of big cats in the channel. We decided instead of the usual 'channel and sail on the big lake', we'd try sailing around on Lake Muskegon, perhaps ride to the other side of the lake towards town (Keenan never having taken this ride before). Once again, it was smooth sailing in one direction, but when we tried turning around and heading back, the wind was just in the wrong direction, and we had to do a few tacks upwind to return (noisy with the sails flapping, and very slow for some reason). Made Terri a little nervous a couple times with some extreme heels, which frustrated Keenan because this is the only part of sailing that he likes (I'm kind of in the middle, I can take a little heel, but they still make me a bit nervous - I guess the feeling of 'control' almost slipping out of your grasp).

A two hour ride, weather was quite nice (almost too sunny at times), and we all got a bit burned. Ice creams at Frosty Cove, and then home (the severe storms finally hit around 8). Thinking of perhaps an overnight to White Lake this weekend, but now of course, the 'pleasant saturday weather' is turned to 'possible showers' - UG. And next week is out because of conflicts. Then the grandmas are visiting, and then school starts, and another show at the civic starting up in Sept/Oct... Maybe I need to call Alex again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rain Rain Rain

Well, it is finally raining, after a prolonged dry spell, but unfortunately it looks as if it will continue through the only week we have available for an extended boat trip this summer. We might possibly squeeze one in the last week in August, weather permitting, schedule permitting, and I might try and squeeze a daysail in during the week, between squalls, if I can. Kind of bummed out when I think how much money is spent on the boat slip and launching and hauling out, when we barely have the free time to go out and enjoy the use of the boat. And this year it has been money that we can ill afford to waste. On the plus side, we haven't spent a penny on diesel for the boat this year. I ought to at least go over and visit her and brush the cobwebs off and give her deck a wash.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Evening Sail

We managed to squeeze in a short sunset cruise on Saturday between Civic days. Terri had 'paper tech' in the afternoon, but was home by 4:30, and we got out to the lake around 6ish. Beautiful sailing weather, some slight chop to the waves on the big lake, but not real uncomfortable, a northerly breeze which gave us a nice brisk beam reach heading due west out and almost due east coming back in, hitting over 6 knots in speed on occassion but mostly sticking around 5 with a moderate heel. Very chilly out on the big lake, though, everybody ended up in hooded sweatshirts by the end (or covered in blankets). Managed to avoid using the diesel most of the trip, and the wind was such that I was tempted to sail both in and out of the channel today, although we had to resort to the engine for part of it both ways (and had to share the channel with the Lake Express Ferry both coming in and going out). On the return trip, we managed to sail just about to the submarine dock with fairly decent speed, and were in a three way 'snail race' with two other sailors with similar hopes, until we all three ended up dead in the water. The boat to our port was the first to give in and raise the 'iron genny', and the boat to starboard yelled over at me to 'give them back their wind', since I was passing them to windward - "sorry, I don't have it either' (and we were second to turn on the diesel), but then turned it back off for the trip back to the marina, with a nice slow lazy run with the headsail, as the crew flaked the main.

There appears to be a new neighbor to our south. A cute young couple who just purchased a 'fixer upper', and were scurrying all over the place messing around with their new boat. They had a breakdown during the day today, their port spreader broke from the mast and is hanging forlornly as they discuss how to fix it, and whether or not to call the marina fix-it boys. They sounded like they had a slight Eastern European accent, but other than that, we didn't catch their names. They have a nice dinghy, very similar to what Terri has in mind for our boat. Ice creams on the way home at 'Sally Bananas' (formerly Capt Jacks). (Battery #2 today)

Photos: (top) Terri takes a licking and keeps on ticking, as the sun quickly sets over harbortown . ... (bottom) Keenan on deck as we slowly make our run home towards the marina, after flaking the sail for us . ... .

As a curious aside, was doing the crossword puzzle on Thursday while manning the 'scrip table' and one of the clues was "a lively spanish dance" - must've been an omen of good sailing this weekend.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sailing the Channel!

After visiting a small open house for one of Keenan's band classmates in the early afternoon, and a round of morning disc golf, we headed out to the boat for the continuation of my evil plan to 'completely wear Terri out'. We got to the boat around 4ish, and prepared the boat for the water, stowing tools and misc crap below, PUT ON THE LICENSE STICKERS so we are now bona-fide and legal, put her on battery number one, and exited the slip with nary a mishap. I was a little worried about the wind, which looked a little gustier than I was expecting, which interfered a little bit with our exit (she wouldn't reverse to starboard because of the contrary winds today, but I was able to turn adequately in forward to maneuver us out of the marina with little fuss and bother). We sailed around Muskegon Lake with just the headsail in a similar manner that we did last time we were out here, and it gave us enough power to sail around the little lake and get into position to exit the channel before we had to resort to turning on the engine. We wanted to check out the conditions on the big lake before committing to raising the main (which involves a bit more work in putting away once you've opened it up).

As we were traversing the channel, we noticed that a few of the boats returning were doing so under sail, the wind being in a favorable direction for a change for it to be possible. I mentally jotted this fact down for our return trip, seeing as how this is something I've tried for a number of times, but have not been successful in doing (the last time, a kayaker passed me on the starboard side and asked me if I "wanted a tow", we were moving so slowly). Once out on the big lake, we were a little leery of raising both sails, but after moving so slowly with just the headsail up, I put Terri at the helm and raised the main while underway (not the smartest way to do it, but we lucked out and didn't have too much trouble). Once we got both sails up, we started making some good speed on a beam reach, nearly 45 degrees from shore heading out to open water. We got a comfortable routine going and opened up our picnic basket for a light snack/dinner (bread, cheese, pickled bologna, cherries, mango & nectarines). We got quite a long ways out into the lake before we decided to turn around and head back.

We couldn't quite steer directly back to the channel on a beam reach, so had to do a couple tacks on a close reach in order to maneuver ourselves in position to hit the channel opening dead on. Once we reached the channel, we switched back to a beam and managed to keep quite a head of steam under sail until we reached the submarine dock, at which time the wind began to get a little light and flukey and started moving to our stern. Terri played with the headsail for the last little bit, and we were reduced to a crawl that we had to measure by our shadow moving along the breakwater wall in order to convince ourselves that 'yes, we really are still moving'. And eventually we actually did it. All the way down the channel without having to break down and resort to the motor. And to put the icing on the cake, a fellow sailor was watching us from the breakwater on shore and yelled out to us "Every Sailor's Dream! Sailing the Entire Channel!" and explained that he had been out earlier in the day and tried it himself and only made it 90% of the way. So... triumph and witnesses to boot. Not to mention that just about this time, we heard a hoot and a holler from our port side, and saw Matt and 'Starry Night' passing us going the other way. Eventually, we found the wind again, and picked up speed, taking a leisurely cruise the long way around Lake Muskegon back to the marina. A four hour cruise. Nice long enjoyable ride tonight. Didn't quite make it to sunset, but we did enjoy a few 'sundowners' on the deck once we got Fanny squared away in her slip. A long day. We're both pooped.

A lot of chatter on the VHF this afternoon, a maritime warning about a 25 ft log floating out in the lake, a boat fire on Mona Lake, a disabled floating vessel down by Grand Haven. Saw a smallish freighter leaving the channel behind us (presumably heading northwesterly), and the Lake Express Ferry ahead of us leaving the channel.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Finally got out to the boat to actually take her out for a spin this weekend. Just as we arrived, though, Terri remembered that we once again, left the registration stickers for our license renewal on the refrigerator back home. Last time we came out (Memorial weekend), we lucked out and didn't get pulled over for not having the proper sticker displayed, so thought we'd try and sneak under the wire again. We got the boat shipshape in no time, put her on battery one, fired her up, and pulled out of the slip with only a few minor snafus (the spring line got away from Terri and fell into the water, and then my starboard stern line had pulled so taught that I couldn't get it off the cleat without going below for a screwdriver to pry it off...), and then opened up the headsail once we got out past the mooring balls, and slowly made a big circle around Muskegon Lake on our way to the channel, mostly on a beam reach/run with a single 'jibe ho' as we neared the shallows on the north shore of the lake.

As we got into the channel, we noticed a sheriff's boat circling around checking the boats entering and leaving the channel, and we started to sweat a little. We relaxed a bit when he singled out a power boat behind us and pulled up along side them. We got just outside the channel entrance, when the sheriff caught back up with us (we figured he noticed us earlier, but figured we probably wouldn't get away from him all that quickly). Our first time getting pulled over, it was a little nerve wracking, but we were in the wrong and we knew it. The young men on the sheriff's boat were quite nice about it, but I was wrong in assuming we'd just get a citation and we could go on about our business, they made us turn around and head back to our slip. Dang. At least we got a little bit of sailing in today, even though we never opened up the mainsail. Too bad, too, because it looked like a beautiful day, with light to variable winds and waves that weren't too big.

When we got back to the slip, we ate our lunch that we had packed, and I did a bit of work on the brightwork, scuffing the areas I've been working on, and giving them a coat of varnish. While I was varnishing, Terri went and took a nap over in the 'picnic area' with the dog. As we were leaving, I noticed one of the largest freighters I've yet seen pulling into the lake, and took the above snapshot from shore just before we headed down to McGraft Park for a round of disc golf.

ADDENDUM: About a month later, we finally got the grand total from the Muskegon Sheriffs Office: $110 for our citation. Dang! And the license itself was only 160 bucks for the three years. Don't forget to put them on again, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


June 10, Sunday -- Tim went out on Sunday to spend the afternoon working on the brightwork. Beautiful weekend both Saturday and Sunday, and probably should have gone out there and spent the weekend. Was a bit worried about how she fared after the gusting winds of Wednesday and Thursday, but she appeared to be in good shape. Mostly worked on the starbord cockpit interior wall and the cabin door frame, taking them down to bare wood as best I could and then treating them with two coats of 50/50 boat varnish. I should make a trip out there sometime this week and do a bit more. Came home sunburned, tired, with sore fingers, but happy to have spent some time out there feeling the rock of the boat, smelling the diesel fumes and listening to the 'wind chimes' of the snapping halyards on the masts. The boat 4 slips to the south left when I was just getting there, and had engine trouble and had to be hauled out onto the lake (it looked as if they had a few boat guests aboard who I overheard mentioning "um... how are we going to get back in the slip?" to which the captain replied "we'll figure that out later"). Later in the afternoon they returned (again towed by a motorboat), and I and a few other neighboring sailors helped them back into their slip. Talked to Captain Jim next door for a while, mostly about the weather, and how he likes to point out our boat to students as one of the rare 'Chris Craft' sailboats. Should've brought the camera today, so I could take some photos of my progress. Next time for sure. I'm not sure, but I think I left the lid of the 'power plug' open when I left. Another reason to get back soon.

June 14, Thursday -- Came back later in the week to do some additional work on the boat. Scraped and sanded the two decorative rails along the cabin top, the remainder of the hatchway framing, the back side of the traveller support and touched up some of the port side rails, then gave each of them a couple coats of 50/50 turp/varnish mixture. Need to go back and give them a few coats each of 100% varnish, and continue working on revamping the side rails. I also purchased a can of white latex paint and gave the cowl vents a fresh coat of paint, and WOW what a difference that made, they look fantastic! Would be nice to clean up the interior of the boat and give the inside a fresh coat of paint. Also thinking of taking home some of the interior woodwork over the next winter to refinish, especially the stairs. Talked a while with Jim next door about this'n'that, about private tutoring on your own boat, about the spinnaker (which his advice seems to be "just keep in the bag, its not worth the grief"), and about wooden boats (there is a nice salty looking wooden boat that just got launched that day with a family crawling all over her). Stayed from about 2-6, got a lot done, fixed the side rail with the stainless screws I purchased at Lowes, gave the deck a thorough washing, and pretty much just puttered around all day. Thinking maybe I could talk the crew into taking her out on Friday if schedules permit. This upcoming weekend is once again, booked solid.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Daysail

Terri, Tim, Candy & Lady arrived out in Muskegon on Monday morning around 11ish, and after making the usual preparations, exited the slip without mishap and hit the lake by noon. Not too many boats out, considering the beautiful weather and Memorial Day weekend, but the crowds picked up later in the afternoon. We motored across Lake Muskegon towards the channel, stopping for a 'rescue mission' when we spotted a stray boat fender floating in the lake, which Terri retreived with our fishing net (should make a nice extra protection on the dock). We were a bit nervous about whether there would be enough wind to sail, Lake Muskegon didn't look very promising, but out on the big lake we found some nice pleasant sailing winds, and we headed north by northwest doing around 4 knots most of the way. Candy had packed a nice little picnic lunch which we ate on our northward leg of the daysail (Tim keeping an eye on a sailboat on our starboard aft side which we seemed to be in a race with for most of the sail). We got probably about halfway to White Lake when we eventually turned back around and headed for home, sails up most of the way, until the wind died about the time we reached the Muskegon channel, so we switched back on the motor and headed back around 2-3 in the afternoon.

We ended up sharing the channel with a rather large freighter on the way out to Lake Michigan, and we saw lots of wildlife today, a large group of swans being fed in the channel, plus a flock of canadian geese out on the big lake taking off from a swimming position when we got within 100 feet of them. Lady got a lot of laughs from the pedestrians on the pier with her yellow boat coat, and got to pose for a holiday snap or two.

A beautiful afternoon's sail, a nice lunch, a bit of sun and fresh air. Thinking I may need to come out sometime soon to do a dedicated job of sprucing up the brightwork. I brought my sander and left it on the boat, perhaps I can find some upcoming weekend or not too busy weekday evening to come out alone and do some work on her, some of the woodwork is starting to look a bit shabby.

(photo, top) 'Sausage Dog' in her yellow 'Fido Float' boat coat resting on top of the cabin

(photo, middle) Tim at the helm, with the freighter passing behind us, presumably for the Coal Plant at the end of Lake Muskegon

(photo, bottom) Candy and Lady on deck just as we were noticing who we were going to be sharing the channel with.

(used battery #2 - a little over half a tank of diesel when we left the slip)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

First Sail of the Season

I gave brother-in-law Alex a call yesterday to see if he could drive up to Muskegon and give me a hand with hanking on the sails on Sunday, since Terri was going to be busy with Civic duties and Keenan was off in Forensic land, and he graciously accepted my invitation (little did he know what he was in for).

I arrived around 2, drove out to the big lake to check out the situation out there (big waves, with whitecaps), and gusty winds. Back on Lake Muskegon, the wind was much more spirited than I had anticipated, and I was starting to feel that Alex perhaps was going to be wasting a trip, and we wouldn't be able to put the sails up in this weather. I spent the next hour or so arranging my tool box, and installed the two 'anchor brackets' to the new bow pulpit. I had lost the plastic 'grippers' that were originally part of the bracket installation (they had broke on removal), but made some nifty replacements out of some cork gasket material I had left over from a repair last year. After a lot of wrestling and cursing, I eventually got them both installed and the anchor back in its proper position on the pulpit (need to remember to rig up a safety line to secure it better, next time I go out there).

Alex arrived around 3, and we were briefly stymied by an inproper reinstallation of the boom (put on upside down), and after a little monkeying around with it, discovered something new about the 'thingamajiggy' that attaches the boom to the mast (yep, more technical 'boat jargon'). We managed to get the mainsail hanked on with little difficulty after that, and I was just about to call it a day, and give up on the headsail because of the gusting winds, when -- VOILA -- the skies cleared up, the wind ceased, and gave us a magic window in which to raise the jib on the furler and install the jib sheets. The weather remained quite warm and sunny and not too windy when we were finished, so I decided that we might take the boat out for a spin and give Alex a few brief sailing lessons. Other than when I took us out of the slip, and pulled us back in, Alex pretty much remained at the tiller for the remainder of the sail, we crossed Lake Muskegon a few times, practicing our 'coming about' maneuvers (and getting the hang of it eventually), and returned about the time the sky was clouding back up again, the gusting winds returned, and the temps started dropping. A beautiful afternoon, surprisingly enough, and it sure felt good to the feel the wind in my hair and the rasp of lines in my hands again. Thanks to Alex for the helping hands and we'll have to do it again soon.

A couple of distressing repair items to make note of: the spreader lights no longer seem to be working (I didn't try the anchor light - perhaps they just aren't hooked up when they reinstalled the mast?) and one of the spreader lights looks to be loosely attached to its base. There was water in the bilge and under the engine compartment again (check it again next time, at least the bilge pumps were working). Used battery #1 this time. Forgot to leave the sander out there, bring it next time. Also forgot to bring the log book, so I could double check my outhaul & reefing lines installation. Lost a sail tie overboard while flaking the mainsail, may need to pick up another set. The port sheet is looking a little frayed, may need to be replaced, and a few of the dock lines are looking a little sorry, and may need to be replaced as well. Minor stuff mostly, the continuing saga...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spring Preparations

April 22 - Took our first trip out to see Fanny this spring. The repairs have been made to the side and bow pulpit, and the insurance company came through with the coverage. She once again looks mighty pretty (at least on her starboard side), and besides repairing the damage from the storm last fall, they also cleaned up the damage done by the starboard block in '06 and the gouge we put in her side on our very first season. Tim and Terri painted the bottom with two cans of VC-17 (the rust didn't look too bad this year, so we let that go for now), and Tim may have to go back to do a little touch up job on the paint job in a few weeks. Boat is scheduled for launch the week of May 13. The varnish from a couple years ago is starting to show a few signs of age, so we may have to do a little maintenance on that this spring, plus I'd like to continue to work on the rest of the brightwork in the cockpit.

May 6 - Terri and Keenan both working at the Civic for a tech rehearsal all day today, so I went out to Muskegon to finish up the prep work for the boat launch. Finished up the bottom paint, cleaned the topsides, and did a little work on the varnish. I may need to go back down to bare wood again on the rails, I tried just sanding down the rough spots and giving it a new coat of varnish, but I'm not sure how good it looks, or how long it will last with this technique. Did a little scraping on the 'side rails' above the windows, and tried a little varnish on it to see how it looks, but once again, I think I may need to attack it with the 'hand sander'. I also did a little repair work where one of the side rails was peeling away from the side, replacing a screw and tightening it back down so it doesn't stick out and become a 'snagging' hazard. All in all worked on the boat about 3-4 hours and was quite tired when I got done, so headed out to Checkers for a cheap lunch before hitting a few disc golf courses.

Talked for a while to Matt, who had a mishap with his boat on the friendly Torreson rusty iron docks, bending a stanchion and gouging some fiberglass. He seems to have some real issues with the Marina staff, and loves to bend your ear. Talked to Captain Jim for a brief spell as we met over the 'trash bins', the sailing class starts tomorrow, but he's a bit concerned because Pandora isn't in the water yet. Going to be some miffed students in the morning, I'm sure -- we'll see how long he can stall them, and they'll probably get a bonus lesson in installing sails (which I wish we had gotten when we took the class). Ready for launch now, should be sometime in the next few weeks.

May 14 - Got the call today from Torreson, our boat has been launched - thinking I'll take a trip out there sometime this week to make sure the docklines are done correctly, and do a little work on the woodwork, put up the sails if the weather is suitable. Thinking of setting up a 'yolk' like Matt has set up in his slip, as an extra precaution against scraping the sides when we pull into the slip.