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.