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.

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