Friday, November 30, 2012

Ready for Winter

Well, I forgot to make this entry. We got hauled sometime in early November, and put the cover on the boat on a Saturday shortly thereafter. Small world, saw that Doc from the Chupacobras was doing some winterizing on his boat just across the driveway from us (just met him this summer, and learned he had a sailboat on the same lake). She's tucked away for the winter. Hopefully next year I can make some more progress on the brightwork. I think I like this new marina a little better than the old 'home'. Feels much more secure.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Becalmed

Well, got quite sidetracked for the last two months, and didn't have a chance to get back out to the lake. Dad's health issues kept us quite busy, and we finally got a chance to schedule our haul out for the year (going to switch over to Great Lakes Marina this year after the previous 7 or 8 years down at Torreson), and on Thursday last week, we managed to get out to take the sails down. A beautiful sunny and warm day, but the wind was nearing 30-40 miles an hour which made folding sails a challenge. Took them home this year, hoping we can make some minor repairs and clean them up a bit. One more trip out this year to put the boat cover on and then she'll be tucked away until spring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beautiful September Sail

Terri and I (and Lady) headed out to Muskegon on Sunday afternoon. The weatherman promised party cloudy and warm with 13-15 mph winds over the weekend, but it was looking kind of overcast when we left home. The wind wasn't quite that strong, but the sun eventually came out and when we got to the lake, it looked like every available sailboat on the lake was out in the water (with several out on Lake Michigan as well, despite what looked like 3-4 foot waves). We untied and headed out into Lake Muskegon and raised the sails just past the Milwaukee Clipper. We could see that a regatta was going on and were trying to figure out the race course, so we could maneuver around it. We crept around the south end of Lake Muskegon, with one back and forth tack to avoid the boats that seemed to be streaming towards us, and eventually made our way to the channel to head out to the big lake. (it was quite impressive seeing all those boats making their turns and then raising their spinnakers to head back to the far side of the lake on a run -- we counted about 60 boats total on Lake Muskegon Sunday afternoon).

The channel had wind coming right at us, so we had to turn on the engine briefly for the passage, and once out on the lake, we were able to get pretty decent speeds on a beam reach, despite being bounced around by the big waves. We headed out a ways, and decided that the bouncing was getting a little too much and headed back behind the Lake Express Ferry, which was returning. Our best speeds of the day were achieved on this return trip to the channel, sailing down the waves and getting up to about 5.6 knots. We managed to sail completely down the channel on the return trip, and once we got back on Lake Muskegon, the winds picked back up and we had a nice close reach trip back to the marina at about 4-5 knots. A beautiful day. Starting to think about haul-out time, but hoping to get a few more trips out on the lake this season.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day, End of Summer

Managed to get out one final time before summer officially closed its doors this Labor Day weekend. A busy month for work and weekends have kept us away from the boat for most of August, and we are already talking about where we're planning on hauling Fanny out for the winter. But I still hope to get out several times in September and October.

The winds weren't promising as we checked the weather channel in the morning, 5-6 mph predicted, but decided to go anyways (and bring swim suits should our plans get foiled). As we neared the Lake however, the flags were fluttering a bit, so we went for it, and took the boat out hoping to catch what little wind we could (the fact that we could see several other sailboats out on the big lake was also a good selling point). Despite the light winds, we still managed to do around 3-4 knots on a close reach most of the way across Lake Muskegon, and might have been able to sail out the channel had we more patience, but we turned on the engine and doused the headsail for the fluky part of the channel between the dunes, and once out on the big lake, had a beautiful 5 knot sail on a beam reach for an hour or so before heading back. Our trip today was bookended by encounters with the Lake Express Ferry. She was just coming in as we were raising sails by the Milwaukee Clipper, and then while we were about to traverse the channel to go out to Lake Michigan we heard a 'securite' announcement on the VHF that the Ferry would be leaving her dock in 15 minutes (which caused us to worry a bit that we'd be stuck in the channel with her, which probably added to our decision to turn on the engine at that point), and then, once out on Lake Michigan, we made our decision to turn around and head back once we saw the Ferry heading across the lake towards Wisconsin (at which point we were one of the furthest boats from shore, aside from some way way way out on the horizon). We had a brisk sail back toward the channel, and then managed to sail down the channel at about 4-5 knots (at times passing powerboats, woo hoo!). Once on Lake Muskegon, however, the wind ended up being at our backs for the return trip, and we drifted along slowly home under headsail, until we finally gave up and doused it and reverted to the engine for our trip back to the slip. Beautiful afternoon. Been too quick a summer, like most of them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Speed Demons



Thwarted for a sunset cruise on Wednesday when the wind dropped to nothing just as Terri got out of work, and then again on Thursday when it rained all day, and a small craft advisory was called for in the evening hours, we managed to sneak out on Saturday morning for a sail. The wind was light and variable in the morning but we decided to risk it anyway and headed out to the marina. Once we hit the water, the winds were already beginning to pick up and it was probably about 10-15 mph on Lake Muskegon when we took a quick spin across and back, and then, since the wind was from the south, decided to try riding out to the east side of the Lake, which we haven't tried since probably 2008 or so. We were doing really good speed on a beam reach (no gps since the batteries were still dead, but the physical knotmeter, which isn't real reliable, kept reading in the 5-6 knot range, so we figured we were probably doing about 6 knots most of the time out there), and even got the same speed on a run as we headed toward downtown Muskegon, and had fun playing chicken with a big freighter (pictures to come). Once we turned around to head back to the marina, however, we had trouble keeping up the speed on a close reach, and ended up giving up and turning on the engine for the return trip. Terri did the honors today putting us in the slip, and we also managed to pump out the holding tank and top off the diesel at the marina fuel dock before we headed out for the day. Beautiful sail, hope we get back to do it again before the end of the month is out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Repairs and Renovations

Came out on Sunday to take a look at the engine to see if we could figure out why it overheated the last time we were out. Easy enough. Both ends of the coolant hose were broken, so we replaced the hose and clamps and it seems to be running smooth once again. Not enough available time to go sailing (although the weather looked nice), so we headed down to PJ Hoffmaster for a quick swim in the lake (something we have been neglecting these past 8 years since buying the boat), and then home to meet Candy for dinner.

The following day, Tim came down in the afternoon alone to work on the woodwork, and got the rest of the toe-rail sanded down, and got started on the cockpit brightwork. Next time out we can start varnishing the toe-rail, and perhaps get some stripper to aid in getting the old varnish off the rest of the cockpit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Sail


Sunday afternoon, we took the Jonkers (Bev and Nate) and Bud out for a sunset cruise. Winds were a little brisker than they were on our GH trip, and both lakes were fairly choppy, but the boat did quite well with little sail flying. We tacked back and forth for a while on Lake Muskegon and then worked our way out to the big lake where we got out a picnic snack while rolling on the 2-3 ft swells, then turned back around 7:30 or so, and managed to sail most of the way down the channel before the wind died in the usual spot. We turned on the engine and were contemplating motoring all the way back, when the engine overheated, and we had to sail back on a run while Terri went below to check the engine intake filter and cooling system. The wind was quite cooperative however and we never did switch the engine back on, but was able to sail into our slip at the marina (twice now the Jonkers have witnessed this feat, and only twice that we've done it), and watched the sun go down as we polished off two bottles of wine and a small bag of chocolates. A beautiful evening sail, despite the technical difficulties. A good sign, that we've managed to sail more often in the past three to four weeks, than we managed to do all last summer. Hopefully this trend continues.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grand Haven Overnight

We headed out on Thursday around noon for an overnight trip to Grand Haven. Winds were light from the southwest, and we managed to get two hours of sailing in, tacking back and forth and getting up to 3.5 knots at times, but after those two hours we found ourselves still within sight of the Muskegon light house and just north of the Mona Lake channel (not even halfway there), so we gave up on the sails and turned on the engine to head south. We motorsailed with the main up for a portion of the way, until it began to be a problem with the wind direction, and we flaked the sail and simply motored the rest of the trip. We both got way too much sunshine, and ended up with burns (me on the tops of my feet and neck, and Terri on her arms and chest and face and places on her legs and feet where we weren't as cautious as we should have been with the sunscreen). We managed to find our slip in Grand Haven on our own, and tied up without help in a fairly competent manner. Al drove down and picked us up and we spend the majority of the rest of the evening over at my mom's place eating dinner and playing cribbage. They dropped us off around 10 where we caught the 'musical fountain', had a few sundowners and tucked into the vee berth for a peaceful night's sleep.

The next morning Tim was up by 5am with an idea that if the wind were in the same direction and just as light that we might be able to figure out the spinnaker on our own, but after monkeying around with the sail and the sock, and trying to read sketchy instructions out of our sailing book, he gave up on the scheme. Tim took a long walk down to the pier and back, then up to the coffee shop for a bagel when they opened at 6:30. We realized that Tim's sunglasses and hat were left at Mom's place, so we called them in the morning and they met us down at the DeeLite for a small breakfast on the patio, with Lady whining all the time because she had to stay outside the 'fenced in area'.

We left Grand Haven around 11 and the wind had shifted overnight to be from the northeast, so we were stuck with the same sailing scenario as the day before, except with slightly lighter winds, so we motored most of the way home, using 'robosailor' to keep us on a straight course while we enjoyed the ride under our golf umbrella trying to keep out of the sun and away from the flies (which weren't too bad as long as we were motoring and the apparent wind was up). Near Mona Lake, we gave sailing another try, and it was kind of slow going at first, with speeds of 2.5-3 knots and doing a lot of tacking back and forth, but eventually, we were able to get that up to 3.5-4 knots and started making some real progress towards the Muskegon light, and then Terri took over at the helm, and she managed to get us up to 4.5-5.5 knots on a pretty good heel at times, and we eventually got into the channel around 3, and sailed on a beam reach all the way down the channel, only slowing down once we got past the submarine. The flies and the sun were getting to be real annoyances at that point though, and once on Lake Muskegon, the wind died way down, the heat started climbing, and we tried going on a run back towards the Milwaukee Clipper and our home marina (with the sails wing and wing), but the 2 knot speed felt like torture after 5 minutes, so we doused sail and motored back to the marina, with Terri pulling us into the slip and Tim manning the lines. The deck of the boat was so hot it burnt your feet, and Lady managed to burn her paws on the hot rocks of the parking lot and got scalded with hot hose water at the dog park, so we drove out to the 'dog section' of Lake Michigan beach to try and cool us all down.

Record heat wave today in Grand Rapids, and by the time we got home, the car thermometer was showing 100 degrees, and we were certainly grateful that we were out on the Lake today. Then it was time for Tim to put on his 'Jukejoint Uniform' (all black suit) and head down to Jukes for his gig.

No photos today, but we hope to be back out on the Lake on Sunday with Bud and the Jonkers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Sundays IN A ROW


Two beautiful sailing sundays in a row, and we can't believe our luck. Went out in the afternoon and got in another beautiful 3 hour sail. Winds from the Northwest at about 10-12 mph, waves under a foot (aside from the occasional boat swells) and temps in the moderate 78-85 range. We got to a top speed of 5.5 knots today, averaged about 3 and did about 13 nautical miles on our round trip to Lake Michigan and back.
We started out in Lake Muskegon and did several tacks back and forth across the pond, and the wind was frequently changing in direction and intensity depending on what part of the lake we were on, and the traffic was sometimes a little tight, but we got lots of 'coming about' practice and a few times heeled to the point where we both were getting a little nervous about it. There was a Coast Guard vessel moored to some sort of crane barge on the Southwest end of the lake, and we made a close pass in a loop around it to see if we could figure out what the deal was (earlier we got passed by a Coast Guard dinghy heading to the north side of the lake in a big hurry, which piqued our interest). Eventually we worked our way around to the channel to head out to Lake Michigan and we had grand plans of sailing out the channel, but the wind switched again about 1/3 of the way in and we had to give up and turn on the diesel, but we were able to kill it again once we reached the inner harbor, and spent the rest of the trip on sail alone.
The Big Lake was much more pleasant as far as steady winds, and we headed out in a west/southwest direction on a beam reach until it started looking like some rain clouds were forming on the west horizon, so we headed back after we got about 2-3 miles out. Once again, we passed the Lake Express Ferry both coming in and going out, and we managed to sail the channel going back in (at nearly 5 knots for most of the way, keeping up with many of the power boats who had to slow down in the 'no wake zone'). Once back in Lake Muskegon, we doused the mains'l and headed back for home on a run with just the heads'l (at a seemingly snails pace, although the gps told us that we were going about 3 knots), and sailed partway down the return channel to the marina under a half mains'l before turning on the engine for docking. A smooth return with almost wordless communication between the two of us (I don't think the sailors of 2004 would even recognize these people -- 'where's all the yelling?'). Can we go for three weeks in a row?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Launch, Sail Hank-On & First Sail


Fanny got launched the first week in June (Festival weekend kept us away the first week, and we got out the following week to put on the sails and check on her docking lines), and we finally got out for our first sail of the season on June 17 (latest yet). The morning started out looking really dreary and wet, but by shortly after noon the sun was out and there was a light breeze, so we dropped everything and headed for Muskegon. Beautiful day on the lake, with just enough breeze to fill the sails and keep us moving (our top speed today was 5.7 knots, and we averaged 3.5). A fair amount of traffic on Lake Muskegon when we started out (and we goofed up and didn't check behind us when we backed out of our slip, getting in the way of a pontoon boat that had sneaked up behind us -- we'll have to be a bit more careful at this more crowded marina), and as soon as we got out past the Milwaukee Clipper, we raised the sails and only turned on the engine once we needed to get out the channel (and come back in). According to the gps we did 13 nautical miles, and were out on the water for about 4 hours. We headed out onto Lake Michigan and got about 4.5 miles out (and by the time we turned around, we were about the only boat out there) in a northwesterly direction. The trip back was a little trickier, as the waves and wind kept pushing us north of the channel, so we had to do a few tacks on the return path. We managed to sail about halfway down the channel before the wind gave out, and motored the rest of the way, then sailed back to the marina on just the main (going about 3.5 knots across Lake Muskegon)... got in around 7:30, and got a little help tying up from our new neighbors, first time sailboat owners Dave and Rose. Looking forward to many more days like these this summer, weather and fate permitting. A beautiful father's day.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fanny's getting a little annoyed

Me and the wife went down to install the new chocks and sort out all the dock lines on Thursday evening. The first two went pretty smoothly, and then we moved to the stern and I installed the port one myself, but I needed the wife to go into the sail locker to hold a wrench on the nuts for the one on the starboard side. As she was crawling in, she neglected to tie down the lid on the sail locker, and a gust of wind knocked it onto her head. Ended up requiring 4 stitches at the Med Center (of course, this is after we finished our work, after she managed to staunch the bleeding).

I returned the following afternoon and did a few more minor cosmetic repairs. Started working on the brightwork, the bow toerail just past the nav lights, the wood underneath the traveler, sanding and varnishing. I painted all 4 of the cowl vents inside and out (used some blue paint from Keenan's old bedroom for the inside), fixed the anchor contraption that got bent out of shape last season, reinstalled the ceiling mounts for the 'docking pole'. She's scheduled for launch next week, and we should be able to go sailing by the first full week of June (we figure all the severe 'boat bites' we got were from Fanny being annoyed at still being in her cradle this close to Memorial Day with all her pals already bobbing in their slips and at their mooring balls - hopefully it will make it up to her being in this new comfy marina).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Another Saturday Boat Prep

Got a lot done yesterday. I repaired the bow woodwork that got damaged last year (we are still looking for some replacement chocks), and while I was installing those, Terri got the topsides washed down, plus I installed the new holding tank vent that got also got damaged last season. After a late lunch at G&L's, we worked together on painting the bottom with VC17. Looking pretty good, and almost ready for launch. Still to do: chocks replaced, interior cleaned up, dock lines inventoried and set out for the delivery to our new slip.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cold afternoon at the boat

Me and the wife went out on Saturday afternoon to get started on the boat repairs prior to spring launch (which we are hoping to do later this month, by Memorial Day). We installed the hand rails that I had refinished over the winter, along with the door panels and the tiller. We sanded and primed the rust spots on the keel, and I sawed through the toe rail at the bow and removed the two line chocks that had gotten damaged last season. They came apart in several pieces so I took them home and put them back together jigsaw puzzle style and fashioned some replacement teak parts that I'll be installing next weekend. Next up: Painting the bottom with VC17 (which we haven't done in a couple years), and cleaning out the interior, which seems to have grown a layer of mildew over the winter (probably due to the warm winter and early spring, with the boat covered throughout it). Weather's looking nice and itching to get back out on the water.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let the Spring Workload begin

Went out to uncover the boat this past weekend (April 7), and it went fairly smoothly. We did a rough survey of what work we need to get done before launch (which we are planning on sometime in May, perhaps around the 20th). We've got a new slip in a new marina this year, and hopefully it will be much easier on the boat than last year's rough and tumble location.
Been working on refinishing several pieces of the brightwork at home this spring (the doors, the handrails, the tiller), and we've got to come back out to replace the four rope guides that got damaged last year (and the teak work beneath them). The bottom needs to be sanded in places, painted with primer, and then the bottom needs VC17 applied. Plus the usual topsides cleaning and waxing. We're going to wait until we are in the water before we start tackling the toerail, cockpit and trim brightwork over the course of this summer. Hoping we can get out on the water a lot more often than the past few years, and maybe even get out for a weekend long distance trip.