Pelee Island, Canada!
Pelee Island, Canada!Report Abuse
September 4-7, 2009
Keith Otto and Jack vanArsdale sailed with me this Labor Day Weekend and we took advantage of the easterly breeze to sail north. The winds were forecast to be quite light all weekend, so Keith offered to bring the gennaker from Windwalker, his O'Day 25. On Lake Arthur, we've had many very successful light air sails on Windwalker even though the breeze might be only 3 - 6 knots. Even though the big blue nylon puffer was a little small for Kelly IV, we figured it was worth trying out the half ounce nylon headsail.
On Saturday morning we left Sandusky Bay after topping off our diesel fuel, since we expected the light air might bring extended use of the iron genny. We motored north out of the Bay and ran parallel to the east coast of Kelley's Island. Of course, this meant that Kelly IV would cross through the notorious Kelley's Triangle, the waters off the northeastern corner of Kelley's Island. These are the same waters where Kelly has required a tow on 3 other occasions. Unfortunately, this was no exception. The good news is that we were already discussing whether to try out Keith's light air sail when the motor began to struggle. She quit with a puff of white smoke just a couple minutes later.
We decided to continue underway with the gennaker and rigged a tack line off the bow pulpit and connected the sail on the, until now unused, spinnaker halyard. We stretched the luff of the sail tight, as there were no hanks or other means to connect the sail to a forestay. We ran the long sheets outside of all the shrouds and lines back to the cockpit, raised the spinnaker halyard, and enjoyed the sudden blossoming of the bright blue sail off the port bow as we made our way further north.
The wispy breeze would shift from NE to East so we struggled to make north, given that Kelly IV has trouble pointing close to the wind. In light air, pointing is even trickier. The good news is that in the very minimal wind the benefit of the gennaker was most evident. Kelly's roller furled genoa, with its heavy UV protective cover, would have hung limp under it's own weight. The translucent, paper thin gennaker weighs almost nothing so it stayed full and powered the boat with even the slightest of breezes. Without the motor we were concerned about arriving after dark, but we already knew we were anchoring in a full moon, so that wasn't really any sort of problem. As the morning worked into the afternoon, the breeze gradually built to a mild but stronger breeze. Finally about midafternoon we deemed the wind to be strong enough to keep the genoa full and drawing, so we lowered the successful gennaker and sailed onward with the unrolled genoa pulling us further north.
It proved to be a very beautiful red and orange sunset as we ghosted into the anchorage just west of the Scudder Marina. We joined about 5 other boats, mostly sail, in the glassy anchorage. We dropped the CQR for our anchor for the first time since I've owned Kelly IV. We read in the Harbor Report from the Great Lakes Cruising Club that the ground below the waters around Pelee Island is mostly limestone. The CQR anchor (vs the Danforth) seemed the better choice for holding in the limestone rocks. It weighs 35 pounds, so it is more difficult to lower and raise, but in certain bottoms it can hold much better than the Danforth.
As is always the case when sailing with Keith and Jack, our meals were terrific! Since we arrived in the evening just at last light, we enjoyed our stylishly late dinner and slept without going ashore. Once awake in the morning, the weather report confirmed the very light air forecast. Since we were without our motor (we tried on several occasions the entire weekend, but no go) we decided to raise anchor and head back to Kelley's Island so the sail on Monday to Sandusky Harbor Marina would be short and achievable even in light air.
We had another fun sail employing Windwalker's gennaker as we were passed by the Kingsville Ferry as it pulled into the West Dock. Again the breezes increased in the afternoon so we sailed into the anchorage west and south of the old quarry pier on the west side of Kelley's Island using the unfurled genoa. Compared to the Saturday sail of 35 miles, the 15 miles was a short sail, but just as fun. The shorter sail made for an afternoon arrival about 4pm, so we had plenty of time to assemble the port-a-bote and dinghy ashore. After a couple drinks we took a cab into the small town a couple miles away to pick up ice for Kelly's coolers of food and drink.
With a very light breeze things were a little tricky sailing off the anchor, so we raised the trusty gennaker before the foredeck was clear of the anchor. Thankfully the breeze caught, filled and pulled Kelly IV away from the rocks just 20 yards away, as the waves threatened to push us into shore. The big blue sail pulled us out of the anchorage, then we tacked to work our way south into the South passage, then east towards Sandusky Bay. Unfortunately, after 3 hours we covered about 3 miles, but only 1 mile to the good and found ourselves keeping the company of the red buoy, just west of Carpenter Point. It is also the turning point for all the boat and ferry traffic as it flows between Put-in-Bay and Kelley's Island. The breeze gave up so we just rocked-and-rolled for a couple of hours. Even though we were southwest of Kelley's Island, instead of the notorious "Kelley's Triangle", we decided to call TowBoatUS so we could return to the marina in time to head home for work on Tuesday.
We ate very well and enjoyed working Windwalker's nylon gennaker, so the weekend still proved to be a fun time, but the towing is becoming frustrating. After the tow from Leamington in June, Mia gave me the OK to repower Kelly IV. This winter we're planning to have the service team at Sandusky Harbor Marina rework the electrical system and replace the diesel with a brand new engine (assuming their quote is reasonable). I'm afraid the cost will be huge, but we've decided that Kelly IV is the boat we're going to stick with for the next several years and we need a reliable motor, so we're making the investment. I've thought about overhauling the motor, but it would still be a 30 year old motor requiring 30 year old parts, not always available, let alone a mechanic who knows the old motors.
If the cost to repair the motor is not too much, we'll still sail our last two scheduled sails. If the cost proves too much, we may have to cancel the last scheduled sails and wait for the new motor. Regardless, we have plans for many new improvements for Kelly IV next spring! Just a few things we're thinking of: new commode, new bimini, new 30amp charger, new AC/DC power panel and breakers, and a new diesel engine! That should keep the wallet smokin'! :-)