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)