Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Afternoon Getaway


(battery 1) The wife and I played hookey from work this afternoon for an afternoon sailing getaway. Arrived in Muskegon around 1:30ish, and while we were prepping the boat, a sailboat was attempting to enter its slip nearby, and it looked as if they were having problems with steering or something, so I quick hustled down to give a hand. It appeared to be a dad and his three daughters out for a sail, and they seemed to be having a lot of trouble maneuvering. I offered a hand, but the dad backed up and left the marina for what looked like another pass. Well a few more passes later, and I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing. Every time I would hustle down to lend a hand, they would abort and head back out into the mooring area. Eventually I gave up and tried to time our exit in such a way that we could avoid one of their frequent 'fly bys'.

The wind was a bit gusty when we headed out, so we started out with just the headsail, and rode around on the western side of Lake Muskegon. We did fairly well with just the one sail, frequently getting up to 5 knots. Hard to tell if we were being way too cautious, or just sensible. Other boats had full sail up, and others seemed to have less up than we. Decided not to bother with the big lake today, since sailing down the channel would be problematic considering the wind direction, and instead stayed in Lake Muskegon, since there was minimal traffic this afternoon, and the wind was fairly steady and predictable.

There was a coast guard warning on the VHF when we arrived, that I overheard from another boat's radio, about an abandoned pontoon boat out on Lake Muskegon. While we were sailing about, a coast guard helicopter was circling the lake overhead, and we thought perhaps it was looking for the pontoon boat. Later in the afternoon, we spotted the sherrif's boat towing an empty pontoon boat from somewhere on the southwestern corner of the lake.

Later in the afternoon, when the winds subsided a bit, we opened up full sail for one trip across the lake (getting up around 6 knots at one point), but when we tried to put the headsail away again, the gusting winds interfered with the furler, and we ended up being unable to put the whole sail away, so on our next trip across the lake, we stopped and drifted awhile and took care of a few technical issues (the furler, and a reefing line that got away from us). The rest of the way back to the marina, we used just the headsail, and had a pleasant set of tacks back and forth before calling it a day around 4:30. Dinner at the beachside restaurant to watch volleyball on the beach and have a few beers to end the day.

Just what the doctor ordered. I don't even remember the job I was working on this morning that was causing me so much stress.


(photos) (top) Lady and Terri at the helm on Lake Muskegon (bottom) the coast guard helicopter makes another pass, perhaps looking for that wayward abandoned pontoon boat?

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