There’s No Crying in Sailing!

Friday August 6, 2010

I woke up early today with the sun shining, no clouds, and fully expecting to lie on the boat and get a tan.  Although once at the boat I felt the quick drop in temperature as 18 knot winds rolled across the lake, and my fleece was quickly on.  We headed over to Habour Towne Marina just a mile up the shore for us, to do our first emptying of the holding tank.  Matt was quite nervous as this was only his second time docking, so as he carefully steered us through the narrow channel I was on starboard deck ready to throw over fenders, throw dockline, or throw myself against any boat we might collide with.  Luckily the dock was on a straight course with our boat, and besides hitting the attendant in the face with our docklines (it was my first time!!), everything went smoothly and we were out in 15 minutes.

Feeling good about ourselves and Matt’s wonderful docking skills we headed out the channel to Lake Michigan to cruise around for the day.  Winds were still around 15-18 knots out of the northwest, so we had the option to sail west out into the middle of nowhere, or south along the coast.  I remembered that Coast Guard Festival was still going on in Grand Haven about 12 miles south of us, so we set a course for there.  We started out with just the headsail doing a steady 5-6 knot, but when the wind died to 10-13 knots we decided it would be a great time to pull out the spinnaker again.  This required attaching the spinnaker to the hailyard and raising it with the jib still unfurled, then running lines for the spinnaker to the cockpit while furling the jib.  At least that’s how I think it went, and the confusion on my behalf probably caused the following argument between Matt and I where I wasn’t pulling the right lines at the right time, or when my lack of strenght made it appear that nothing was happening on Matt’s end (and yes, I was using a winch).  So after a few frustrating minutes with the lack of communication and lack of my muscles I did something which I have not done in over 2 years, and that was to start crying.  I felt so embarrassed at my girly response to a tough situation, but through my tears and hiccups while winching and Matt’s calmer instructions, we were able to get the spinnaker up and the jib neatly furled.

We were now racing forward at 7-8 knots, which is the fastest we’d gotten our boat to yet.  Matt went below to check on Mazzii, who we stowed in the cabin just before the jib/spinnaker situation because she kept sliding around the cockpit in the choppy 4-5 ft waves.  Standing in the companionway he asked me to look at the cushion below because he thought she peed on it during the commotion of sloshing back and forth.  Expecting a little dribble at most, I was surprised to see a wet spot half the size of her.  Not only that, it had soaked through all 4 inches of the cushion and onto the wood.  We weren’t really sure how to go about cleaning it since all of our cleaning supplies were boat related.  Taking it into the cockpit we doused it with buckets of water, promising to bring a sanitizer on our next trip out.

The good news is that after we had a moment to sit and relax we noticed the Grand Haven Lighthouse had come into view.  This was our fastest journey there by far (ok, so we had only done it once before), and I was just excited to get out of these waves that kept trying to put my boat at a 25 degree heel.  Throwing the engine on and pulling down the spinnaker, Serendipity bobbed through the opening of the channel and into the land of the beautiful people.  Or tanned, fit, and barely clothed teens and twenty-somethings as they’re otherwise known.  There were people over-running the boardwalk, and powerboats and jet skis crowding the channel.  We managed to make it half way down when we noticed about 10 boats anchored in the center and no good way around them unless you were in a 15 ft powerboat.  So after all the hassle we’d been through, we had to turn back and head home just after we arrived.  But at least we can say we went.  Maybe next year we’ll be able to stay.


The Canadian Coast Guard boat

Focused on the wrong part, but you can see all the boats anchored in the channel

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