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.