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.

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