Labor Day weekend sail.  

Sailor376 63M
953 posts
9/5/2006 11:45 am

Last Read:
3/17/2008 5:55 pm

Labor Day weekend sail.

I normally avoid the blow by blow ringside commentary of a sailing weekend, but this one had so many superlatives. Please forgive, I'll try not to make a habit of it.

Saturday morning at the boat early and off to a breakfast in Port Edward. Forecasts ranged from a low of 20 knots to a high of 45 knots winds and gusts. Myself and friend Bud U. untied and left the dock at about 9:45 hoping for Bayfield to the northeast. As wind is wont, nearly twenty five knots coming from almost dead northeast. lol

We ran close hauled to the north to gain ground on a expected wind shift that of course did not materialize.

This where we pause for a moment to explain that Earnesto had been blowing down the lake for almost 30 hours at this point. Long fetch plus steady hours and direction breeds big seas. Small by salty standards, but fresh water close and steep. As the waves struck the bow of a passing freighter, 900 plus feet and bow 3 or 4 stories in the air, the larger waves would dash against the vertical prow, explode upward, and shower the first 50 to 100 feet of the deck.

Bud and I were riding into and over 2 and 3 meter seas in my thirty foot, slightly modified Pearson. Mostly just up and over, but little spray back in the cockpit.

Up and out onto the lake for some five plus hours and then the weather reports began to sound like things were going to get interesting. lol We chose a fairly near port, 15 plus miles, where we knew there to be good chili and beer. Double reef in the main and a small jib on the fore stay, surfing waves in a boat never intended to surf.

Rained like hell Saturday night and blew so hard I was glad to be in port. Waves were breaking over the sea wall, making it a little bumpy just tied to the dock.

Breakfast at Mary's of Port Sanilac. Too much to finish but so good. So much for that waist line. Untie and head east and north to Bayfield. Rain squalls marching down the lake. Clouds low and swift and the sun making 10 second appearances. Twenty knots, two meters and just damn heaven.
So real to be out and out of sight of land in this mix of water, waves, wind, sky, clouds, rain, and we squeezed between the two elements being squirted along at spray flying pace. If there be definitions of heaven, here is one. And the two of us knowing such. Epiphany

Flew. Just flew. Seven total hours to Bayfield. Now Bayfield is one of those adult vacation spots. Money, bistros, art gift shops, outdoor beer with a very talented guitarist. Flo, he got into one number just like you were into T the other night. He forgot his audience and made real music for one number. I think most were unaware, but so so obvious to Bud and I. Tipped him well and he came over to chat after. Hey, musicians have to stick together! That one number was worth the trip alone. Epiphany two.

Dinner, that cost far too much. Forty dollar entrees and unremarkable flavor. A four dollar burger at Mary's would have been far more flavor. But lust will out and the waitress was a treat. Throw out the food and keep the girl.

Now Bud wanted to see part of the baseball game. On for beers at the biker bar/ breakfast/ lunch/ pizza take out/ lets close the place. We did.

Now the high point of the weekend for Bud.

We returned to the boat and I stepped aboard just in time to see a raccoon in the cockpit scamper and hide below. Damn! A what? A damn raccoon! Now firmly ensconced and hidden below. I leapt below and only succeeded in chasing him into the head/ V-berth. NO exit. NO way to pass him to chase him out. NO way to get to the fore hatch so tightly sealed against the day's spray.

I retreated and Bud and I sat ashore at the picnic table laughing and saying, "Okay, now what?"

Well, before calling the fire department, exterminator, sheriff, I went slowly below this time and located the little 'darling'. Holed up behind the head door wedged up tight in the corner. Shown my flash light through the gap and from a foot away I started talking to the little dickens. Nice basso soothing patter of who owned this boat and that tired and 'ahem' I wanted it back so I could sleep. I just kept talking and slowly walked right by our friend and climbed into the V-berth beyond. First I unbolted the hatch and, still talking, I asked our visitor if maybe now was a good time for him to go home.

I opened the head door about half way exposing the raccoon and just quietly said 'Okay, go on.' Damn he did! Out through the main cabin and up the companion way. I followed and up on deck there he stood toward the bow. Back and forth trying to gauge the leap to the dock. I just assisted. I shown the light on the dock so he could better see and then reminded him we had a deal and he should go home now. He did! Leapt the space and off he went and my friend Bud laughing, waking the midnight harbor, and now he calls me the 'Raccoon whisperer'. I think it shall be a long time living down that name.

Sunday early and headed to the southwest and home port. Gentle winds, spinnaker reach and them run. Most of it at a stately 4 or 5 miles per hour. LOTS of reading time. Some very few butterflies and two small greenish birds as hitchhikers. Fly catchers of some sort but no flies for them today. They just rode along with us until we were in sight of Kettle point. Once they could see shore, off they went. Sun glinting on shores and clouds, peeking through covers and forming skies full of God rays, A gentleman's sail, as Bud so aptly put it. Stately and lovely. Lots of paperback time and finally the engine for the last ten miles.

We talked of who, and were we crazy or merely everyone else. Michigan with 6 plus million people, Ontario with similar numbers and we did not see but ten boats out in the middle all weekend and not forty total under sail near the various ports. We were blessed with a boat that can deal with the weather we saw. Most boats are pretty with excellent accommodations, but are they comfortable and built for 30 knots? No. So it must be that of six million people..... I am so lucky that they stay home and watch it on TV.

I promise not to do this too often. But I do so love it and am glad to share.


florallei 99F

9/5/2006 3:48 pm

Wow, the sailing, the coons, the biker bar, the weather...sounded like a movie, am happy you had an awesome time!!!


Sailor376 replies on 9/5/2006 8:33 pm:
Glad you caught the post,pretty lady. I knew that you would understand the depth of the musicians spell for that one song. After all, that is art, emotion enfused media transferring that emotion to another. Fill the envelope with feelings and they go out with and come back redoubled. Nice equation. You always get back more in change than the bills tendered. (Kind of like the exchange rate for US dollars a few years ago. lol)


ShyWhisper2006 53F
15175 posts
9/5/2006 3:55 pm

You share this as often as anytime you wish to...I give you a wonderful escape in my mind...sounded awesome...You can almost feel the spray of water...thank you sailer...that was wonderful

Sailor376 replies on 9/5/2006 8:40 pm:
Thank you, Shy. Always so good to have you visit. For you, anything. The season is ending soon. There will be a few more good days. I will make a point of telling you of the better ones. I've been taking some photos and some brief videos. I will try and get some of them on here. Oh dear, something new and tech to learn, again.



alisa_d 37F

9/5/2006 9:19 pm

I heard you had an awesome weekend. Share and share away. I'll always enjoy it. Love, Lis

Sailor376 replies on 9/5/2006 9:53 pm:
Remarkable! Apparently you here, while I was leaving foot prints at your door. I am ever glad for your visit.


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