Picture Perfect Sailing, June 19 – 20, 2010
Picture Perfect Sailing, June 19 – 20, 2010Report Abuse
Picture Perfect Sailing, June 19 – 20, 2010
Jack VanArsdale and Keith Otto joined me for a terrific weekend of sailing, June 19 and 20. The forecast was for south and southwest winds of 10 – 20 knots for Saturday and west to northwest breezes of 5 – 15 knots for Sunday. This meant we could sail northward on the Saturday breeze and back south to the marina on the Sunday zephyrs.
Although scattered thunderstorms were also forecast, we saw nothing close but instead saw beautiful blue skies, clear water, small waves and pleasant breezes. After motoring out of the marina and into the channel of Sandusky Bay, we set full genoa and mainsail for a wonderful sail bounding out of the bay and northward along the eastern coast of Kelleys Island. We approached the northeast corner of Kelleys, now fondly remembered as “Kelleys Triangle” as this is the location of most of our engine troubles or tows. Keith and Jack and I joked about turning on the motor just to prove that the devil of “Kelleys Triangle” was truly defeated by the new engine. Superstition and great sailing won out and we merely tucked in a reef as we knew the 15+ knot breeze might be a bit stiff once we turned northwest and took the air on our port beam.
Gradually over the next hour, the breeze slowed and clocked toward the southwest which forced us to turn more to the northwest. We briefly crossed the international border into Canadian waters, but were soon back in the US of A and tacking into the anchorage in the northeastern “armpit” of Middle Bass Island. Having temporarily forgotten some local advice we had received last year, we tried anchoring in the 10 feet of water close in to the shore, well north of the airport runway. As we tried to set the anchor, it became clear that it was not setting and was in fact dragging across the bottom. It was at this point that I recalled the advice from a year ago. That shallow, inshore spot has flat smooth rock under a thin coating of mud. In other words, the anchor just has nothing to dig into. We moved the boat into 13 – 15 feet of depth and easily set the anchor for a peaceful evening.
Jack and Keith had little sleep as they had gotten an early start to the day and driven the 3 hours to Sandusky to arrive before 9am. They justifiably took an afternoon nap as I fiddled about with the dinghy and the new block and tackle I had prepared some days earlier. For the first time I assembled the dinghy and successfully launched and retrieved it on the foredeck by myself in a totally solo operation. This is very important, as I'll need to do this regularly on my own when I begin my full time cruising in the future.
Once Keith and Jack were rejuvenated, we rowed to shore and walked to Walleyes, the pub and restaurant at the southern end of Middle Bass Island. Rather than rush back, impossible to do given the 2 mile walk back to Kelly's anchorage, we had a very cosmopolitan dinner as we ate a Greek dinner in an American restaurant, served by a pretty, smiling Russian waitress. We needed to restock our ice, so we stopped at Hazard's the closest place to our anchorage that sells ice on Middle Bass. Unfortunately, it is still a mile and a half walk from Hazard's to our anchorage, so we were very pleased to learn that the little resort would happily drive us in the van to our anchorage. Although we misled the driver who had never driven anyone north from Hazard's, we did get him on track and we returned to Kelly IV.
Sunday proved to be a lazy day as we slowly woke and puttered about the boat, getting our coffee, breakfast and finally preparing the boat for our sail back to Sandusky Harbor Marina. The breeze was from the WNW, so we sailed up to the anchor, then as Keith raised the anchor, Jack turned the boat due East and we sailed under mainsail alone until Keith had the foredeck clear. Then we raised the Genoa and sailed downwind on a run until we were east of Ballast Island. Then jack steered Kelly IV to the South and we had a wonderful sail due South with the wind off the starboard quarter. We made excellent time as we sailed faster than several boats our size and larger. In fact, Jack sailed us all the way into Sandusky Bay and through the channel past the coal pier until we finally doused the sails and I took the boat into her slip. We tried Allen IV's suggestion from a couple weeks earlier and put three dock lines on Kelly IV, a bow and stern line, as well as a spring line. This meant that not only could Jack keep the boat under control with the spring line, but Keith was able to take his bow line onto the pier and help control the boat. Even though the breeze was trying to blow us off the pier and into our neighbor's slip, Jack and Keith were easily able to keep things under control. I think we'll use three lines in the future, as this worked so well.
Since we had our steaks and other goodies from our Saturday night dinner still with us, we decided to celebrate the great sailing with a grilled dinner using the first class grills in the marina. It proved to be a great way to wrap up a wonderful weekend of excellent sailing.