Mar 2, 2016

Young Sailors


The plan has always been to go sailing again. But I can tell it's going to be a lot harder this time around.

We own a house now, and we very quickly filled it with stuff. Very "important" stuff that I have a hard time thinking about parting with. I don't know how this happened, but it did.

That damn camping gear we never use but we might some day so I hang on to it.

We will need to do something with the house itself. We don't want to sell it, so will end up renting it.

I have my job. When I was younger, it was easy to quit whatever shitty job I had because I could always get a new shitty job. Now I have a really great job. I really like my job.

It feels reckless to throw that away, but in the end I will, because I don't want to look back on my life and say "well I'm dying, but it's okay because I had a really great job."


Taking kids sailing is more complicated than I thought it would be. I always thought it was a given that my kids would love sailing.

Well, Hobie is a really energetic kid. And sailing involves a lot of extended periods of being trapped on a boat. Like when traveling to a far away place. Or when it rains for several days in a row. Fortunately Hobie also really likes reading, and of course TV. So I think it will work out just fine.

None of these challenges are insurmountable. It's just harder than I thought it would be. If I didn't have the previous experience of living on a boat, I can see how we would be too scared to do it. I can see why people wait until they retire, and I understand a lot better now why people said we were "smart for going while you're young".

Sep 1, 2015

Summer Sailing

I don't get out on the boat enough by myself. Today the stars aligned, and I was able to enjoy some much needed alone time on the water. We spent a lot of time taking people out on the boat this summer, which is a lot of fun, but it doesn't allow much time for me to learn how this (still new to us) boat sails.

So today I practiced singled handed tacking. I almost always single hand the boat, even when we have guests, but I wanted to perfect it into a clean, dependable tack.

Unlike a monohull, it's a pretty good walk to the other side of the cat to release or haul in a line (about 20 feet). Today I found that I can put the wheel hard over, release the jib sheet, reset it on the opposite side, and make it back to the helm to steer into whatever point of sail I'm after. By the end of the day I could do this casually with time to spare, and I added unjamming the boom traveler as part of the process (it almost always gets hung up).



I was feeling pretty good as I made my way back towards the marina, then the water temp alarm went off on the port engine. I cut the engine and considered my options: docking with the one remaining engine, going to a temporary dock, anchoring in the channel. I decided to be salty by letting out a bit of the jib and sailing my way back out to more open water.

I was hoping the wind would catch the jib and help spin the boat around. Unfortunately the wind had already blown me towards the left side of the channel, and I would need to turn to port to come about, this would put me even further out of the channel. I considered a 3-point back up maneuver, turning the wheel to starboard to assist bringing the bow around, but a channel marker prevented any attempt at that. By the time I had avoided the marker, I was even further out of the channel.

With no time to check the charts for depth outside the channel, I decided to play it safe and drop the anchor. Fortunately I had flipped on the anchor windless before leaving the dock, in preparation of this exact kind of worst case scenario. 

The anchor didn't set well, but it set enough to give me time to check out the problem. It was a broken drive belt. It took about 5 minutes to fix and I was back on my way again. I've never had a marine engine with any kind of belt before, changing them before failure is obviously preferable. I was lucky it failed when it did, rather than fail in the middle of docking or in a place I couldn't have dropped the anchor (like inside the marina).

I also started to learn to balance the sails so the boat would maintain a heading without the autopilot. This worked best on a close reach or close haul.




Jan 12, 2015

Sailing Lake Huron



Sailing from Lake St. Clair to Mackinaw Island in Lake Huron. With no wind we ended up motoring to Port Sanilac, then picked up a nice breeze and sailed to Alpena. We waited out a week of bad weather in Alpena then rode a following wind overnight to Mackinaw Island.

Aug 28, 2014

Buffalo and Crossing Lake Erie

Apparently NY State just wasn’t ready to let us go. When we made it to Buffalo at the end of the Erie Canal, we were hit with a thunderstorm, followed by several days of strong winds out of the West.




Aug 20, 2014

Chocolate Chip Rum Cookies

We've spent several yucky, windy, rainy days in Buffalo, NY. During these times I end up baking cookies. I like fluffy cookies, and I have a pretty awesome Chocolate Chip Rum Cookie Recipe here:

Aug 16, 2014

The Erie Canal

On 8/1/14 we started our trip on the Erie Canal. It was fun to see the canal again, and to compare the reality of the canal to my memories of it.

Aug 13, 2014

The Hudson River

We left New York City and headed up the Hudson River. We had to time our exit from the marina with the tide, so we left around mid day. The main objective was just to get off the expensive ($130 per night) NYC dock. Where we got to didn’t matter so much. So we put up the sails and progressed lazily up the river at about 3 knots.

Jul 31, 2014

New York City

Our exit through the Cape May inlet was much more calm and pleasant than our entrance. We even spotted a few bottle nose dolphins on our way out.

Instead of day hopping up to NYC, we decided to go from Cape May to NYC in one jump.