Kelly Sails into the Slip
Kelly Sails into the SlipReport Abuse
Kelly Sails into the Slip, June 18 - 21
This past weekend, June 18 - 21, Mia and I sailed to our first Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) event in Leamington, Ontario. It was a terrific time! The forecast called for light winds on Thursday and Sunday, with lots of storms of Friday and Saturday. As a result, we hurried to Sandusky Thursday morning and prepped Kelly IV so we could leave on Thursday afternoon and still make Leamington in the daylight. We just barely made it arriving in Leamington about 8pm. It was a minor adventure though since we needed the engine to motor through the calm and make our destination before dark. As a sailor's take on Murphy's Law would dictate, since the engine was needed, it would fail. The good news is rampant though! Just moments before the engine failed, Mia and I were saying we should consider sailing as the breeze seemed to be picking up a little. Thankfully there was some breeze, so we sailed the last few miles into Leamington doing about 4 knots. As we contemplated sailing Kelly IV into the slip, the wonderful sail at 4 knots gradually began to worry us as we pictured the possibility of a hot landing and frightening crash into a marina dock! Four knots is way too fast for trying to dock a boat! As luck would have it, the breeze dropped so much as we entered the marina, that my new concern was to keep on going, rather than going too fast. We had to tack Kelly IV to turn her into her slip, but I was concerned that with the now very light wisp of wind, that we'd stall in irons, then drift onto the rocks at the edge of the marina. To avert this calamity, Mia turned on the non-functioning motor, I engaged the starter motor with the gearshift in forward to turn the prop with the batteries, and pushed our way through the tack and glided cleanly into the slip. The marina staff had given us the endmost slip with no other boats around, so the landing was easy and uneventful. Later a GLCC member, who had watched our entrance from a distant dock, commented that when he saw Mia toss the dock line so professionally, he knew that Kelly IV would land neatly into her slip.
Mia and I had a great time meeting our new friends in the Great Lakes Cruising Club. Many have cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron, an activity we plan to do more of upon our retirement. It turns out that a Director of the Club and Port Captain keeps his boat at Sandusky Harbor Marina, just a few slips down from ours on "B" dock! Chuck and Joann Mead of Cincinnati, Ohio, keep their Tartan 37, Blue Horizon, in Sandusky Harbor Marina when they are not cruising the North Channel or some other portion of the Great Lakes. Their boat also has a beautiful deep blue hull, so she looks like Kelly IV's big sister!
We also had some time between meals and club functions, to walk about Leamington, eat at a couple fun restaurants, and just relax on board and read our books. In addition, I installed the port and starboard leecloths, so we are prepared to sail overnight!
We found an excellent mechanic who tracked down a new fuel pump to install, but Murphy's Law still prevailed. The only pump he could find was for a newer engine. Of course, this meant it almost, but not quite, fit our engine. The mechanic had to disassemble both pumps and build a pump from the parts to make it fit our engine. This jury rig did work for a few hours, but I believe the older diaphragm, still in the jury-rigged pump, must have failed as the engine died in the lioght winds just south of Pelee Passage. We thought we saw Blue Horizon motoring southward behind us, so we hailed and reached them via VHF. They offered their assistance and towed us all the way (roughly 15 miles) to northeast of Kelleys Island where we connected with the Boat/US Towboat. I saw Joann tie our towline off on their stern cleat, so I know she's every bit a sailor herself. The towboat returned us to our slip in plenty of time to get home and get ready for work on Monday. Chuck even kept watch for us as the towboat brought us into the marina. He ran down the pier to Kelly IV's slip to help guide us into the slip without mishap. Chuck and Joann were absolutely terrific and most kind to us as they exemplified the best of sailors helping each other.