Sunday, September 25, 2011
We had grand plans for taking the boat out for an extended weekend, but we both came down with colds on Thursday, and the weatherman didn't cooperate with us and doled out a rather wet cold series of days. Nevertheless, we decided to take advantage of a brief window of sunshine on Saturday and headed out for an afternoon sail. The wind didn't look promising, but there was a slight breeze, and we thought we might be able to pick up a little better breeze out on the big lake, so we quickly untied and headed out. We motored all the way out, stopping for a fuel up at harbortown, and once we got out on Lake Michigan headed north on a close reach (wind was out of the Northwest). We only went a short distance north because the tack was so uncomfortable, and we seemed to be heading closer and closer to shore, so I headed due west on a close reach instead, where we stayed for most of the afternoon. The weather was very strange, drizzling rain one minute, sunshine the next, with fog to the north, and dark storm clouds and rain to the south. After a while, I began to think to myself that it would be good conditions to see a rainbow somewhere out here, and sure enough, looking back at the channel we could see a double bow arching over the channel, with one end of it hitting the lighthouse. Terri was a bit disappointed, because she had opted to leave the good camera at home, so we had to make due with the cell phone for the shot above.
We got pretty good speed on a minimum of wind that afternoon, and eventually turned to the south on a run so we could prepare for a comfortable beam reach back to the channel, but by the time we made the turn back for home, the storm clouds to the south were intensifying, and occasional peals of thunder were making us a little nervous, so we turned on the engine and motorsailed back, eventually dousing the headsail as the winds picked up.
By the time we were in the channel, the rain had started in earnest, and Terri and Lady spent a great deal of the time down below keeping dry while I put on the rain slicker that we got from the Kroes' two years previous. Once back in Lake Muskegon, we shut down the engine and drifted so we could put away the main sail (raining pretty hard at this point, and we got soaked to the skin), and with the lightning flashing more and more often, it was a little nerve wracking. Back to the marina, tied up in a hurry and scurried to our car for a damp ride home (after a quick dinner at Russ' with some hot coffee). The rest of the weekend is looking pretty nasty, maybe we can get out one more time in October, before haul out.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Well it's a day like today that makes all the headaches from the rest of the year worth it. Got a call on Friday that our diesel was repaired, so we planned on going out on Sunday, weather permitting. Woke up Sunday morning with the radio telling us that wind gusts were up to 30 mph and the waves were 5-8 ft, which put a damper on our enthusiasm, but when I went out to check the weather.com site and the noa near shore forcast, there was nothing of the sort posted at either site. Just looking out the window made me wonder if there was any wind at all out there, dead calm and sunny. We decided to take a chance and headed out after our sunday morning rituals (newspaper and coffee and sitting around the front porch).
We got there around 1ish, and swung by the big lake to check the conditions before heading to the marina. Lake Michigan was covered in a dense fog (you couldn't even see the shoreline from the road), and there seemed to be a brisk wind (though not 30 mph gusts by any stretch of the imagination). Once we were over the dunes, and back to the marina, there was clear blue skies, a light but steady breeze, and many many boats out on Lake Muskegon. We decided to join them.
Did a little maintenance and straightening up below before leaving (the engine kill switch has still been giving us troubles this year and I wanted to address the problem before we left). We exited the slip in a rather undignified manner, but turned ourselves around and headed out to the lake, where we raised both sails and spent the next two hours tacking back and forth across Lake Muskegon with what we counted as 52 other sailboats that afternoon. Some good speed (never bothered to break out the GPS today, but I'm guessing we were probably doing a steady 5 or 6 knots most of the day based on the heel and the bow waves we were kicking up). It was Lady's first trip out all year, and she got a little whiney, but mostly just rested on the cushions all afternoon, looking for shade. Originally, I planned on sailing to the far end of Lake Muskegon, so we headed east past the Great Lakes Marina to about the point of the 'green marker island', but then decided to stay in the main part of the lake instead, because it was becoming clear that a sail downtown would require a 'run' down there and an uncomfortable series of 'beats' and short tacks to get back. We ended up tacking back and forth on Lake Muskegon about 3 times before dousing the sails and heading back to our slip. A beautiful day, and not a single mechanical mishap (a first for the year). Hoping to still get out for at least one overnight sail this year (Terri's going to take off a couple of Mondays this month and next so we can take an extended weekend).
Friday, September 9, 2011
Got a call today from Torresen Marine's Repair shop and the diesel has been fixed. We might try to get out this weekend. Turns out that the screw that normally resides in the 'fuel line bleed point' worked itself loose and came out, resulting in the problems we had on our aborted sunset cruise last month. And we've been waiting for 'parts on order' (this would be the screw and washer) for almost but not quite a month.