Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wednesday, 15June2011: Frankfort to Charlevoix

Weather:  Sunny and nice.  Winds:  E-SE 10-15 gusts to 20.  Seas:  Flat

71nm, 9hrs dock to dock!  Rocket ride with off shore winds!

Intended destination was Leland, but made Leland in 3hrs.  Pressed on to Charlevoix.

After fueling, departed Frankfort early in company with a Catalina 42.  They attempted to keep up initially, but rounding Point Betsie, the winds hit a sweet spot, HR got dialed in and we were off to the races.  Averaged 8-9kts.  Around Sleeping Bear Dunes, made 11kts and saw 13-14kts consistently peaking at 15.1kts!  Left the Catalina in the spray!

Once past Leland, slowed a bit to 7-8kts.  Slowed to 5-7kts around Cat Head Point.  Crossed Grand Traverse Bay at a pleasant, flat sea rate of 8.5kts and made Charlevoix in time for the 1730 drawbridge.

The marina staff was great and really curious about HR.  Harbor master is a school teacher moonlighting during the summer.  Most of the staff are college students.  The marina was recently renovated and the shore side is a heavily used park.  Charlevoix is one of my favorite towns, complete with a Kilwins!  Just a pleasant, bustling summer community.

We were tied next to a smaller boat which allowed us to extend one of the amas.  The docks are not restricted to the crews, but are open to the public, which takes advantage by strolling the docks, looking at the boats while eating their ice creams!  Overheard one woman walking by HR from the extended ama side, "That is the ugliest catamaran I've ever seen!"  Then, as she got to the bow, "Oh, its a folding trimaran!  How cool is that!"

For some reason, I had left the VHF radio on.  About 2000, a call came over the radio, trying to get the marina's attention.  There was no response as the marina closed around 1800.  I responded, letting them know the marina closed, to just pick an open slip and catch up with the harbor master in the morning.  Turns out, it was the Catalina 42!  I have no idea when they finally arrived.

Lesson Learned:  What the Dragonfly 1000 can do.  10-15kts of wind from a broad reach direction, in the sense of the true wind direction.  With the speeds involved, it was more of a beam reach relative winds.  Full main and screecher.  Clipping along at 10-11kts, gust would hit and the boat wanted to go to weather.  Initially, I let it, keeping the boat slow and under control.  After the third gust, I got a feel for it, started to trust the boat, fought the weather helm and we took off!  Once at speed, the weather helm went away.  This is when we saw 13-14 and then the 15.1.

Lesson Learned:  The screecher adds at least a knot and more often 2.

Tuesday, 14June2011: Frankfort

Weather:  Nice and sunny!  Winds:  Variable.  Seas:  Flat

With Shelby aboard, needed to stay in the vicinity, so a day sail to Point Betsie Lighthouse and back.  Very pleasant day!

Was great to spend these days with Shelby.

Monday, 13June2011: Arcadia to Frankfort

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  S @10.  Waves: <1ft.

12nm.  Short day.

Judy/Sammy departed after Judy's daughter Shelby arrived and some car positioning.  Departed early afternoon.  Pleasant sail to Frankfort.

Neat town!  Kilwins!  Took Shelby to dinner.  Saw a bold mink working the rocks in front of boat!  Library in front of the marina had WiFi.  Walk to downtown was a few blocks and was nice, through the big park along the waterfront.  Good size grocery within walking distance.

Tried to teach Shelby to fly cast...she was getting the hang of it but apparently got bored.

Sunday, 12June2011: Portage Lake to Arcadia

Weather:  Sunny and cool.  Winds N-NW @10-15.  Waves 2-4ft.

With tacking, 14nm, 2hrs @7.5kts.

Not a pleasant leg.  Beat and bash all the way back.  Sammy got green.  Judy was feeling it, more of a chartreuse.  Endured.

Arrival in the Arcadia channel was a pleasant change.  Time to get Judy and Sammy out of the funk and told them to go the bow.  Judy hopped to it, but Sammy stayed put in the cockpit.  Told him again, Judy objected.  I told Judy to trust me and she got Sammy up to the bow and wonder of wonders, the sickness passed quickly!

Toured the lake a little and had a pleasant day in Arcadia!

Found HR capable of handling a couple extra people for a short time.  Naturally, the Ice Cream Shoppe was visited again.

Saturday, 11June2011: Arcadia to Portage Lake

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds N @10.  Waves 2ft.

8nm 1.5 hrs wing on wing sled ride.  Nice!

Pretty morning!  Kelly was fascinated by the visiting swan family, cygnets riding on one of the parent's back.  Kelly found out how demanding the swans can be.  Dogs watched, but were not sure about this.

Sister Judy and her son Sammy joined us around 1000.  Prior to arrival, she asked how she would know our boat?  I told her she just would.  Upon arrival, she scanned the marina and saw the big M flag flying.  Sam asked, "Which boat?"  She pointed, "That one."  "How do you know?" he asked.  She smiled and said, "I just know."

After stowing their gear, we departed for Portage Lake and had a wonderful sail.  Very easy sled ride!  Encountered our marina neighbor one last time, beating their way north.  We had the weather gage and attacked!  Ok, not really, but we did change course, swung by and said good morning!  I'm guessing they had spent the night in Manistee.  Like the ragtag couple bringing the boat around to Muskegon, I sometimes I wonder how they fared.

Arrival in Portage Lake was all too soon, but did not want to go further and risk not getting Judy back to Arcadia the next day.  Portage Lake is also peaceful.  The western shore boasts The Portage Point Inn, a resort dating from 1903.  The owners were restoring the Inn, including a marina.  We were the only boat there and got another end tie so no folding required again!

Spent the day relaxing, doing some fishing off the dock.  Sammy caught a few small bluegills.  Dinner was had at the PPI.  Naturally, I had the walleye.

Friday, 10June2011: Ludington to Arcadia

Weather:  Cold rain initially, sunny later.  Winds N-NW 15 with 1-2ft waves.

40nm 7hrs.  Spent part of the day standing in front of the binnacle, steering behind my back, tucked under the dodger keeping dry.  The sail was straight forward.

Our marina neighbor departed about 2hrs ahead of us.  We passed them about 2hrs after we departed.  I don't know if they were being conservative or just didn't understand the systems, but main and genoa were fully out, but not trimmed, spilling wind.  While it kept the boat depowered and at a more comfortable heal, it was noisy!  The genoa was banging away.  I tried to talk to them as we passed close aboard, our starboard to their port.  Tried to slow down, spilling HR's main and genoa, but was still too fast for more than a brief attempt.  We sailed on....

Arrival in Arcadia was different.  Arcadia is a recreational port, not a capable of handing large transport vessels like Muskegon or Ludington.  Even compared to New Buffalo, Arcadia is quaint.  Entry through the breakwater was surprisingly narrow, after the above ports.  Seemed there was only a few feet on either side of HR.  Centerboard touched the sand bottom at one point.

Arcadia Lake is shallow so we only took a short tour around, looking at the geese and swans.  The marina was expecting us and we had an end tie, no folding required!  Further, it was a floating dock and we did not have to climb 4ft up like we did in Ludington!  Very friendly staff and marina residents, many of whom were retired military.  Did not get a chance to talk with them, but there was a Canadian catamaran anchored in the bay.  First multihull we had seen.

A sleepy little town, quiet, peaceful with some beautiful homes.  We got to see a lot of it while walking the dogs.  Our first encounter with M22, the major road following the north Lake Michigan shoreline, was getting to the Arcadia Ice House Ice Cream Shoppe.  Good ice cream.

Thursday, 9June2011: Ludington

Weather:  Changing.  Winds:  N, 10-15.  Waves 4-5 feet.

Fuggly IMHO.  Watched the marina neighbors depart only to return within an hour with a jumped steering cable.  They reported tough conditions outside the breakwater.    Valor.

I spent part of the day assisting in the repair.  Turns out, the couple had recently purchased the sailboat in Muskegon (I think) and were bringing her around to Port Huron area.  He was a power boater, she was the one who took the sailing lessons.  Interesting dynamic as he seemed in charge...more encounters with them over the next couple days.

Spent the day touring more of the town, including Jameport Brewing.  Went into the basement and met the brewmaster and complemented him on his beers.  We talked for a bit and he gave me a short tour!

Weather broke and it became sunny in the afternoon.  Took Kelly on a stroll to the Lake Michigan beach.  Lots of people playing in the water and jumping off the north breakwater.  School must be out!

A band was playing in the park that evening.  Listened while walking the dogs.  Other people had there dogs and all the dogs wanted to do was bark, so we hung out at a distance.  The band played various things then broke into The Victors.  We perked up!  Then they ruined the moment with The MSU Fight Song.  The made us laugh next when they played On Wisconsin.  Incredulous at first, we listened to them:

On Wisconsin
On Wisconsin
We don't know the words....

OK, ok, they won us over.

Wednesday, 8June2011: Ludington

Weather:  Thunderstorms threatened most of the day.  Winds S 15-25 gusts 30.  Understood Lake Michigan waves 3-5 feet.


Did not intend to stay here today.  Weather dictated playing it smart.  Made the most of it, touring the town, finding the grocery and ice cream shop.  Jameport Brewing was visited again.  I liked the Cottage Pie and Scottish Strong Ale.

Got to see SS Badger firing up its boilers, black smoke and all, prepping for a trip across the lake.  She was the first ship I'd been on.  In the late 60s, mom and dad took us on a family vacation to Wisconsin Dells using the ferry across to get us there.  I remember standing on the bow, leaning over the white painted rail with dad pointing out various things on the dock.  It was a warm, sunny day, unlike today....

Tuesday, 7June2011: Muskegon to Ludington

Weather:  Changing, fog intermittent.  Winds:  Moderate S.

50 miles to Ludington.  8hrs average 6.25kts.  Motored then motor/sailed then sailed as the winds increased.  Made 8-10kts around Little Sable Point, headsail wing on wing.

Nice, inexpensive marina with beautiful, waterside park nearby.  Downtown is a couple blocks away to the north.  A couple blocks east is the Jameport Brewing Company.  Nice brew-pub.

Monday, 6June2011: Muskegon

Weather:  Hot and sunny.  Winds:  None in this marina.

R&R in the Lakeside district of Muskegon.  It is a small area with a few shops, including a store stocked with Oberon mini-kegs.  Bell's Oberon is one of my favorite summer elixirs.

My brother Tim works in a marina in Muskegon and he is the primary reason for stopping there.  After work, he came to the boat for dinner and stayed until 2330.  Very nice visit!  It was nice to sit and talk with him.  Usually we only see each other during family events and opportunities to talk are few and with constant interruptions.  Kelly got hit with a few of his zingers :)!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday, 5June2011: Douglas to Muskegon

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds light S.  Seas calm.

40 miles to Muskegon, about 7hrs.  Combination motor/motor-sailing and sailing.  Engine at 2100 rpm pushes the HR around 5 kts but sips less than .5 gph.

After wetting the fishing hook with no success in Douglas, we departed around 1000.  Late sunsets allow for no hurry departures.  Departure down river was just as neat as the arrival, but being Sunday, there was much more boat traffic.  The club/pubs in Saugatuck were quiet as we passed though their music the night before was audible across the water in Douglas.

Upon arrival at Muskegon's outer breakwater, we motored through the channel and I pointed out some old stomping grounds, the Muskegon State Park on the north side, to Kelly.  Motored across Muskegon Lake to the Great Lakes Marina on the south side based on a recommendation from by brother Tim.  Slip was waiting for us upon arrival and it looked like there had not been much use at this point of the season, lots of goose poo on the dock.  I hosed the dock off.  The dogs kept the geese off the dock during our visit.

Inside the marina was hot and the dogs were not taking it well.  The benefit of being around fresh water is I could dip the dogs and not worry about salt.  I picked them up by their harnesses, placed them in the water, let them swim around on their leashes for a moment and brought them out.  Their shake off was refreshing!

Low usage was a theme throughout our trip.  Most of the marinas had plenty of transient moorage.  The boating season at this point had been cool, kids were still in school and people did not want to buy fuel.  Many of the power boaters were using their boats as cottages with grills/tables on the dock, flower boxes and name plates like "Welcome to the Smith's"

Lesson learned:  Engine at 2100 rpm pushes the HR around 5 kts but sips less than .5 gph.

Saturday, 4June2011: Saugatuck/Douglas

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds...too far inland to tell, pretty calm on Kalamazoo Lake.

R&R.  After breakfast and dog walking, more grocery and sodas mostly!  The afternoon was spent in Saugatuck, exploring and satisfying the shopping gene.  Dinner at the waterfront Mermaid Bar and Grill.  Pecan Crusted Fresh Walleye in case you were wondering.

Bought a fishing license.  Kilwins for ice cream!

Pleasant walk back over the bridge and it was time to crash...after a dog walk.

Friday, 3June2011: South Haven to Saugatuck/Douglas

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds brisk S.

South Haven to Saugatuck/Douglas, 22 miles, 3 hrs.  Wing on wing with the two headsails again.  Wonderful sled ride.

Cool motor up the Kalamazoo River to Kalamazoo Lake.  Felt like heading into the unknown, what heading up the Amazon must be like with the trees overhanging the river and no houses visible.  What is around the next bend?  Further in, watch out for the channel markers and avoid the dredging equipment.  Hey, look at that house!  Boat traffic as we approached the lake.  Centerboard thunked into something, but did not kick up.  The town of Saugatuck appeared to port with lots of lakeside businesses, restaurants, bars, piers and moored boats.  We headed to the south shore and Tower Marina in Douglas figuring with the dogs, quieter is better.  It was a good choice with nice facilities and friendly people on the docks.  It was expensive though at $1.80 per foot.

Dinner at was very nice.  Get there early or it might be a long wait.

Thursday, 2June2011: South Haven

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds S.

After a lazy morning, after having a relaxing cafe', after walking the dogs along the seawall and watching ducklings in the waterway, we ran errands.  Grocery stores are within walking distance and South Haven is a nice walking town.

Kilwins was visited once again!  Found a wonderful blueberry/chocolate fudge.  Turns out, this was the only Kilwins selling it...and we looked.  Perhaps it is because of all the blueberry fields in the area.  Favorite ice cream?  A combo of a scoop of Traverse City Cherry and a scoop of dark chocolate.  Kelly's is the Blueberry Waffle Cone.

Wednesday, 1June2011: New Buffalo to South Haven

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds brisk, steady S.

55 miles to South Haven.  Did not raise the main.  But with no spinnaker, I used the two head sails, screecher and genoa in a wing and wing configuration.  This technique I'd read about from another blog, allows for quick furling enabling fast depowering if required.  Wonderful 7 hour sled ride over doing 7-8 kts.

Late departure from New Buffalo as I was intimidated by the cross current at the marina.  Watched another boat depart and then figured out a better way from what they did.  Used a single line, from stem to stern, hooked over a piling as a sliding yoke holding HR on the dock.  Kelly at the helm and me on the pier with an additional line just in case, we backed out with little effort, releasing the yoke once safely past the pilings.

Arrival in South Haven was painless and we moored in the Municipal Marina on the south side of the river.  Beautiful facilities, on par with Waukegan.  After walking the dogs, we started looking for a restaurant.  Arrived just before Venezia Pizza closed.  While Kelly continued to walk the dogs, I chatted with the staff and learned a new phrase as two girls there described themselves as "cool, like the underside of a pillow."

After the pizza, ice cream was required and we soon discovered Kilwins, a chain with original recipe ice cream and locally made fudge shops!  Awesome!  And conveniently, their locations are printed on their napkins.  Future ports of call:  Saugatuk, Ludington, Frankfort, Mackinaw etc!

Arriving back at the marina, we met a bedraggled couple, clearly on a budget, on the dock.  Following the coast route, they were attempting to bring a 24' sloop to Muskegon from Milwaukee (I think).  The were in their second week.  Found out they were having problems with a shaft seal and the bilge pump wasn't reliable.  We gave them our left over pizza.

Tuesday, 31May2011: New Buffalo

Weather:  Sunny and hot.  Winds SE.

R&R day with dad and his wife Shirley who made the drive from White Pigeon.  Drove to Michigan City and picked up a FRP propane tank and got it filled.  Now I should not have to worry about the tiny, disposable canisters.

Dad was a Michigan State Police Officer living in New Buffalo when I was born.  We left when I was 3 or 4 and I did not remember much of the town.  He showed us our house, the house my brother Tim was born in (didn't make it to the hospital).  Two, tiny maple saplings he had planted in the front yard were now 52 years old and majestic, shading the house nicely.  He also showed us the State Police Post and pointed out the second floor was the barracks he lived in.  He also pointed out the former garage door he helped brick over, hauled the bricks and mixed the mortar.

Dad also told stories of moonlighting at a local marina as a boat mechanic and how there used to be an adult drinking establishment on the beach with a big neon sign visible for miles out on the lake.  He said boating at night was easy since between the sign and the glow from Chicago, you always knew where you were.

He also took us to Redamak's Tavern, home of "The Hamburger that made New Buffalo, MI Famous."  The place has been there for seemingly ever and has a certain...old fashion charm.  Not gourmet, just a basic burger with Velveeta cheese and good onion rings.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Monday, 30May2011: Waukegan to New Buffalo, MI

Weather varied as the day progressed.  At start, sunny and pleasant with winds W 10-15 predicted to shift S.  Seas calm.

65 miles rhum line.  Should be able to run the rhum with predicted winds.

1000hrs pulled away from the slip.  Stopped at pump out and diesel.  Underway 1030hrs.  Initially got a great push from the westerlies.  About 3 miles off the coast, dead calm.  Motored SE for about 15 minutes and the winds picked up...SE, directly from New Buffalo.  So much for the S wind prediction.  Chose the East tack and averaged 7.5 kts w/23 kts apparent wind.  Tried to point up, but jib shuttered so worked 45 apparent wind on the instruments.  Could not flatten/tight up the sail.  Realized main halyard was twisted and the sail was not up all the way.  But we were making 8-9 kts.  Thought about things.

Got foggy and cold.  Fog was only about 100 feet high.  Above, the sun was shining.  Seas stayed calm.  Was like being all alone in a ghostly world.  The only evidence of our passage was the wake and the vortex off the main leaving a clear path angling off at our 7 o'clock.  This was a really cool effect.

But 7 o'clock?  Wind indicator showed 45 degrees apparent.  Shouldn't it be around 8:30?  I thought about things as I donned a ski mask and mittens.  Kelly remained snug down below but kept me well supplied with food!

Wind shear.  The wind down low was more on the nose but the wind up near the top of the mast was more southerly.  So, the gauge was showing 45 degrees apparent wind.  The fog was doing interesting things.  Just go with it...for now.

Fog and wind shear dissipated as we arrived off St Joseph, MI around 1900.  I did not want to lower the main to fix the halyard so I used the 1st reef to tighten the luff.  Worked!  Could get 30 degrees apparent and maintain 7.5 kts!

Fed the dogs underway.

The sun got low and Kelly asked if we were going to be sailing at night.  I lied and said no.  The sun set and stars came out.  Nav lights came on.  "How long are we not going to sail at night?" Kelly asked.  Busted.

The SE wind was warm coming directly off the Michigan peninsula without any lake to cool it off.  Very pleasant sailing in these conditions.  City lights on the Michigan coast and the glow of Gary to the S and Chicago to the SW.  And stars!

Tacked east off New Buffalo but ended up motoring for an hour as the winds became swirly.  Around 0030 and at the breakwater, Kelly took the helm and navigated the entrance as I retracted the amas.  Took a while to find the slip, we had never been here and the guide book was vague.  New Buffalo has several marinas and condos with slips on the Galien River.  Which was the Municipal Marina and our reserved slip?  Motored towards where we thought it was and ran aground.  River's current pushed us out of the mud.  Kept searching back in the other direction.  Turned around again and headed up river, this time centered in what we hoped was mid-channel.  Made it past were we ran aground and there were a few tall docks on the bank, perpendicular to the current.  Fortunately, it was 0130.  Fortunately there was no one around to see the goat rope mooring turned into.  Kelly sat on an ama, fending us off a piling while I muscled the boat in.  It was now 0230.  Walked the dogs and went to bed around 0340.

Success and a big confidence boost!  About a 105 nm/15 hour trip, crossed Lake Michigan and 1st night sail.  Saw 9.4 kts and 419 feet depth.  A cold transit with the fog, but the sail's vortex/disturbance in the fog was a treat.  Entered an unknown marina at night and managed to get into the slip.  Found the New Buffalo Municipal Marina ok, but Waukegan set a high standard.

Lesson learned:  Ensure the main halyard is clean prior to hoisting.

Lesson learned since:  Use the mooring lines in conjunction with the engine to get the boat in and out of slips with perpendicular currents or unfavorable winds.

Hindsight.  Probably should have chosen the coast route past Chicago and Gary instead of the cross Lake Michigan route.  Would have been longer vs rhum line, but the dead calm encountered just off shore should have been a clue of some sort.  Further, the rhum line route went away as soon as the SE winds picked up.  Still, I wanted to do something I'd never done, to cross Lake Michigan.  During the crossing, the winds were fair and consistent.  The crossing was made without any sail adjustments or heading changes.  I don't regret choosing the crossing as it was very rewarding.  This is just an exercise.
HR had no radar reflectors.  Turns out, HR has very little radar signature.  Very lucky there were no encounters in the fog.

Sunday, 29May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  More thunderstorms, this time severe.

Have car will travel and escape the confines of a...what?  Vaka?  Prison?  Unpleasant shell?  No need to hang around around the boat in severe weather.  Off to the mall and take in a movie:  Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides.

Saturday, 28May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Same as Friday and Thursday:  Thunderstorms in area.  Seas less than 1 foot.

Could not stand hiding out avoiding the rain and storms any longer and made an evening motor-sail.  Attempted the screacher, but winds were very light.

Friday, 27May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Same as Thursday.

This sucks.  Oh yeah, and walking the dogs in the rain is not pleasant either.

Thursday, 26May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Thunderstorms.

Maintenance...ok, nosing around the boat, looking in all the spaces, but calling it maintenance.

Wednesday, 25May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Thunderstorms all day.

These t-storms were of the pleasant sort, around, but not threatening.  No sailing.

Tuesday, 24May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Brisk, cold northerlies all day.  Seas in excess of 4 feet.

Performed maintenance and installed a 6" inspection plate on galley deck.

Monday, 23May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Cracking westerlies 20-30.  Flat seas!

Sailed with Sharon, Hunter with Kelly at the helm for most of the day.  Kept sails underpowered.  Experimented with reefing.  Dropped the boom when the lazy jacks released.  I was focused forward then heard Kelly ask, "Is this thing supposed to be down here?"  Looked back and found the boom down and off to port.  Fortunately, the boom did not hit Kelly.  Lucky.  Got everything back together and motored in.

Winds died down and a very pleasant evening ensued.  Ate hot dogs grilled on our new grill in our cockpit!

Sunday, 22May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Sunny and breezy initially.  Severe thunderstorms in the PM.

Sister in law Sharon and nephew Hunter arrived to crew.  Per arrangement, Fred came by again and this time we sailed for the first time!  HR is nimble!  Flew a hull at 7.5 kts.  Waves were a bit rough on a beat, but she points well to 30 degrees apparent.  Can go to 25 degrees, but speed falls way off.

Ceili got seasick down below.

Stormy night, doubled up the lines.  HR weathered well except for small leaks at the mast base.  Pumped the holding tank for the first time.

Saturday, 21May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Sunny and pleasant.  Winds calm, little waves.

Kelly is new to sailing/boating so introducing her slowly.  Took Kelly and the dogs out for an afternoon motor outside the harbor on Lake Michigan.  Practiced a man overboard with a fender.  Initially, the dogs were below but one away from the harbor, we killed the engine and allowed them up.  They seemed to have little problem with being on the water.  Initially, Kelly did not care for them going out on the amas, but relaxed.

After a bit, fired up the engine and motored around, yanking and banking, getting used to the handling then headed back in.  Stowed the dogs prior to harbor entry.  Starboard side ama is more difficult to extend or retract than port.

Friday, 20May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Cool, in the 50s and fog, visibility is less than 1/4 mile.  Zero wind.

Canine constitutions settled into AM/PM walks.

Per arrangement, the previous owner Fred came by to take us out for a shakedown cruise.  Fog prevented anything truly fun, but we motored around the marina, practicing slip entries and exits along with tight maneuvering.  HR, I assume being so light, responds well to helm and throttle.  Prop walks to port in reverse, but rudder able to compensate.  Centerboard down makes a huge difference providing a pivot point.

Thursday, 19May2011: Waukegan

Weather:  Mild, overcast 65 degrees.  Winds south 5-10

Spent the morning cleaning and stowing.  How can so much hair collect on the bulkheads?

Qatar still has not pooped.  Cieli did not eat this morning.

Wednesday, 18May2011: Waukegan, IL

Weather:  50 degrees F, cloudy with drizzle.  Water temp 50 degrees.

Arrived in Waukegan, IL on the 4th day of the cross country trek from Sedro-Woolley, WA around 1200.  Took possession and spent the day moving aboard.  Linens, clothes, dishes, kayak, dogs and food.

Waukegan Harbor is nice, clean with new facilities.  Friendly people around the dock.
Irish terrier Qatar seems a natural.  Cieli is cautious but game.  A good sign:  Both chowed down!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Corsair/Farrier vs Dragonfly

I've sailed and toured multiple Corsair/Farriers and own a Dragonfly 1000.  The following is opinion, not intended to offend advocates of either.

In car terms:
To me, the Farrier is like a Lotus:  Fast, nimble, light, spartan and tight, as in not much space.  The Dragonfly is more like a BMW:  Heavier, but still fast, maneuverable, roomy with creature comforts.

In camper terms:
To me, the Farrier is like a Coleman pop-up, minimalist with carpet on the bulkheads and overheads.  The DF is like an Airstream, solid, with teak, sometimes leather and accommodations.

I'm 6'2" and my wife is 5'11":
While I alone could fit into the V-berth and aft cabin of a F32AX.  Both of us together however, could not.  While I could sit in the V-berth of the same AX, I could not sit in the aft cabin.  I cannot stand but have to crouch down in the AX.  The 31, 28 and 27 are even smaller; narrower and shorter.  I could conceivably do a weekend, maybe stretch it out to a week aboard a Farrier, but then I'd be crazed.

My wife and I both fit in the Dragonfly 1000 V-berth, it is almost a queen size bed!  I still have to duck my head a bit in the 6' tall Dragonfly 1000, but it is usually only a minor annoyance.  I have gone weeks aboard.  But I still want the DF32 or 35 with the 6'4" headroom!

While a similar size Dragonfly is more roomy and more comfortable than the Farrier, a similar size mono-hull has still more interior room.  Obviously, the trimaran has more exterior room.  A buddy has a Bavaria 38 and everyone is always crowded into the cockpit.  His family came aboard my boat and immediately scattered to the nets...and stayed there!  I guess the nets are inviting.

I race aboard a buddy's Corsair 27 and cruise aboard my DF 1000.  The two designs sail similarly, the same concepts upwind, reaching and downwind.  The DF has more freeboard and is thereby drier.  I'm always wet in rough waves aboard the Corsair 27 and never aboard my DF.

I like the DF folding system (line, winch and clutches) better than the Farrier (wrench and 4 bolts).  I can winch in the amas while entering port, prior to the slip, while my wife motors us in.  I've only seen the Corsair folded at the slip.  Keep in mind, there is the potential for dropping the wrench or bolts overboard.

Yes, I like the Dragonfly, but there are a few things to make my head itch.  Sometimes the electrical system makes me I wonder what they were thinking.  And the head/waste system make me wonder WTF?  Still, it does have a head and a holding tank, not a port-a-potty.  And yes, the lights usually turn on.

The bottom line for me: The DF for cruising, though I would race it, the Corsair for pure adrenaline.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why a Dragonfly?

Why a Dragonfly?

Simply put, the Dragonfly 1000 met the requirements!  Fast; capable of taking advantage of the light, summertime,PNW winds; comfortable and stable.  Perfect for a couple and their two Irish Terriers!  Read on:

A Brief History

Early Years

I've been on the water for most of my life, raised in Michigan, usually on a lake or, at least, near a lake.  Water fascinated me, above and below.  Jacques Cousteau, Sir Francis Drake, Fletcher Christian and pirates were early influences.  Yes, good guys, bad guys or maybe just normal people with/without good public relations!  Early on, boating was power boats for fishing or water skiing and fast is fun!  Eventually I discovered sailing, Sunfish in particular.  While at the University of Michigan, I found out about big sailboats when a buddy invited me aboard an Ericson 34 for 2 weeks on Lake Michigan delivering the yacht from Harbor Springs, MI to Chicago, IL following a Chicago-Mackinaw Race.  Consistent wind and sunshine.  Idyllic.

Pensacola 1980

After university graduation and awaiting a flight school class, I worked at the US Navy Sailing Facility in Pensacola, FL teaching sailing, making boat repairs etc.  I had use of all the Facilities boats and had a great time zipping around Bayou Grande in the Sunfish and Coronado 15s, especially when there was big wind.  I could not help but notice all the catamarans parked on the beach....

I had to get me one!  I'd rented/sailed a Hobie 14 in San Diego Bay and much to the delight of my midshipmen friends, played chicken with a USN destroyer and showed off for a tour boat.  What isn't often mentioned is getting the boat in irons, drifting into the USN marine mammal pens and causing general chaos....  The Hobie was fun, but not quite right.

Pensacola was home to a large NACRA dealer and a coworker at the Facility pointed me to them.  Being a poor Navy Ensign with a car payment, mom helped with the down payment and I purchased my first boat, a NACRA 5.2 catamaran!  Christened Kira, it sizzled on Pensacola Bay and I had a blast sailing the normally smooth waters with consistent winds.  Great fun was had dodging the summer rain squalls!  I even managed to race it a few times and made an appearance at the NACRA a spectator.  My sailing knowledge expanded exponentially.

San Diego 1983

After earning my wings of gold, I headed to NAS Miramar to complete F-14 Tomcat training.  The NACRA was nearly forgotten.  Training took a lot of time.  And San Diego, while having great sailing conditions, is not a convenient place for a trailered boat.  Bring the boat to a launch site, rig the boat, launch the boat, sail and then undo it all.  I sold it, but got checked out in the boats at a couple of the USN Sailing Facilities.  It was during this time I found I liked little boats and big boats but did not like boats between 20 and 30 feet.  To me, they lacked a sense of speed and just did not have enough accommodation, too much in between.  Sorry.  Though there was an engine-less open Rainbow 24....

Hawaii 2010

Skip ahead nearly 30 years, time spent in the US Navy, traveling the world and seven seas and finally settling in the Pacific Northwest.  My wife and I, avoiding the season's rain, went to Maui for Thanksgiving 2010.   We went with my twin brother of a different mother Randy and his wife Meg.  They arranged for a 65' catamaran ride to a snorkel spot and back.  It was sunny and 75 aboard the catamaran, the first humpback whale of the season frolicked, spinner dolphins played on the bow, turtles were seen everywhere and the snorkeling was great.  On the way back to the drop off, the crew set the sails and we had a leisurely down hill run to the drop off.  My wife Kelly was sitting on the bow just taking it all in.  She is from north-central Texas where the water is brown and bluegills are a tiny trash fish.  All of this day's experiences must have been a bit overwhelming because when I came up behind her, she turned, smiled and said, "We are selling the house, buying a boat and moving to the Caribbean."  I smiled back and put a third of the plan in action.

Finding the Right Boat Winter 2010/11

Now, after all these years, I have not understood the mono vs multi hull argument.  I always felt each had its own pros and cons and when used within its design purpose, each has its place.  There is just no need for the us vs them mentality.  One must find a boat meeting requirements vs a specific platform.

My requirements?  First:  After flying jets, speed was still fun, so something fast.  Second:  The summer winds on Puget Sound are light.  Many a time had I seen  sailboats motoring.  So, I wanted something capable of taking advantage of these conditions.  So, something light with a lot of sail.  Third:  Something comfortable.  My twin brother of a different mother's Bavaria 38 Captain's Mast is nice and roomy with a lot of head room, but the aft cabin is an uncomfortable cave.  And lastly:  Something stable.  Kelly, the non-sailing wife, really did not like the idea of a 'leaner'.

A multi-hull seemed logical.  A large catamaran would be great.  But because of their width, dock space could be tough to come by.  And the costs!  I guess we could get one if we sold the house.  Another buddy, Joe, mentioned the Farrier folding trimarans.  What a great idea!  Light, fast and can fit into a normal slip.  So we researched more and visited several and found we just did not fit.  We are too tall and to big for them (see Corsair/Farrier vs Dragonfly entry).

Somehow, I came across the Dragonfly swing-wing, folding trimaran.  Several different models, all of which folded to fit into a normal slip.  Youtube videos showed just how fast they are driven by crazy Danes!  Fast, light, a lot of sail and stable, three of the requirements met!  But would it be comfortable?  After all, the Farriers met the same three requirements.  We needed to see one.

After further internet stalking and we found there is only one Dragonfly in the PNW and it is within a 2 hour drive!  Steve and Janet of the Dragonfly 1000 Flexible Flyer were kind enough to let us visit and inspect...twice!  First impression:  Niiiice.  Logical deck layout with plenty of exterior room with the amas spread.  Interior:  Niiice.  Not spacious, but comfortable.  Further, the interior was what I thought a yacht's interior should be with a good amount of teak: teak and heather sole, teak cabinetry, teak bulkheads.  The six foot tall headroom is not truly compatible with my 6'2" height, but workable.  The V-berth was a bonus with a nearly queen size bed.  Kelly and I can fit!  Lastly, a real head vice port-a-potty.  Comfortable, the last requirement met!

Hull Raiser

Via the web, some Dragonfly 1000s were found for sale.  The few in Europe were out of the question.  There was one on the Chesapeake for a good price.  She appeared to have been road hard and put away wet but had received some TLC by the current owners once she had been sold after completing an Atlantic crossing.  There was another in southern California, but research revealed she had encountered some rocks and the hull had been breached.  The broker claimed it had been properly repaired but still, I wasn't going to take the risk.  Besides, the asking price was outlandish.

Hull Raiser was sitting quietly on her cradle, enduring the Waukegan winter, patiently awaiting relaunching in spring.  Built in 1995, she been a fresh water, Lake Michigan boat since her delivery in 1996.  She had been for sale for a few years.  Apparently, the economic downturn seemed to have kept her in Waukegan.  For a couple of months or so, I corresponded with the owner Fred, discussed with Kelly and finally flew in for a visit in March 2011.  Fortunately, the weather was great and I got to spend the entire day inspecting her, inside and out.  Finding no mold or mildew or obvious hull cracks or repairs while satisfactorily testing the systems (including the heater!), an offer was made and accepted!