Monday, September 12, 2011
Lake Muskegon September Sail
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).