Put-In-Bay Weekend Sail, August 6-8
Put-In-Bay Weekend Sail, August 6-8Report Abuse
Put-In-Bay Weekend Sail, August 6-8
Bill Paviol, Nino Forlini, and Warren “Guy” Stewart joined Kelly IV and me for a weekend trip from Sandusky Bay to South Bass Island. The four of us met at Sandusky Harbor Marina before sunset and enjoyed a great grilled dinner of hamburgers and all the fixins. Then we stowed our gear on board and prepared for a great weekend of sailing.
Stowing gear included bending the mainsail on as I had taken it home to repair a small tear in the luff, just below the first reef. Also, the new dinghy had arrived at the marina. I had bought a Portland Pudgy, an 8ft by 4 ft plastic dinghy that can take four adults to and from the mother ship. It also can sail well and double as a life raft. These last two reasons were the primary reasons for replacing the Port-a-Bote with the Portland Pudgy, as the Port-a-Bote also handled four adults. When going on a longer cruise, I felt it would be a good idea to have a serious life raft, but I didn't like the idea of a life raft that (hopefully) just sat in it's container and was never used. Or worse, if used, I suddenly discover something wrong or missing. If I'm using the life raft regularly as my dinghy, I'll also know how best to use it and be able to keep it properly maintained. In addition, the sail means I can have fun sailing the dinghy and even go longer distances without having to row or use a motor. With some help from Pete and Lacey, of SHM, Nino and I launched the new dinghy and we rowed her around the marina to Kelly IV's slip where we tied the dinghy securely to Kelly's stern.
Saturday dawned as a beautiful, bright sunny day, but without any wind, so it was a motoring day. We set off from the marina, but there was almost no wind at all, so the new Yanmar got a full day's work. We kept the Marblehead Lighthouse to port and took the South Passage below Kelleys Island and turned north once we cleared the southwest corner of South Bass Island. As we forged northward along the west coast of South Bass Island, we had a terrific view of the Ship-turned-House hanging on the edge of the stone cliff. Apparently, someone took the entire forward section, including the bow and bridge, of an old freighter and planted it on the western shore of South Bass Island overlooking the sunset facing cliffs. Upon arrival in the anchorage at Put-In-Bay, we rigged the new dinghy with mast, boom, sail, leeboards, rudder and tiller. With the dinghy rigged for sailing, it becomes a one or two-man vessel, as the boom sweeps very low across the boat. It is necessary to sit on the bottom, instead of the seats/thwarts. As typical men, we didn't read the instructions, certain we could figure out how to rig the traveler, mainsheet, and sail on our own. The traveler was a little tricky until I actually sat in the boat to sail it. Sitting on the boat's bottom, I finally saw the two small holes in the transom that were the basis for the traveler's rig. Bill and I took turns sailing the bright yellow dinghy back and forth across the anchorage, just for fun. We got several compliments and a few fun jibes from our neighboring vessels as we wove back and forth through the wavelets below the towering Perry's Monument.
Nino and Guy had more interest in visiting Put-In-Bay, as neither had done so before, so we took down the sailing rig and stowed it all inside the hull of the dinghy (pretty slick!). The dinghy rows very well and the oars are designed with “easy on the hands” grips, and long, light blades that propel the bright little craft nicely through the water. We played tourist on shore, visiting the museum at the national park and saw the well-done video. It includes several shots of the brig “Niagara”, the tall ship working replica of the ship that Commodore Perry used to defeat the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. We also walked through the small town with almost as many bars as people, and after imbibing a bit ourselves, we returned to Kelly IV for an excellent dinner prepared by Nino (a former executive chef) and Bill (executive chef on Kelly IV and Relentless). In preparation for the forecasted breeze and waves coming on Sunday, Guy and I rigged the whisker pole as a crane and hauled the new dinghy onto the foredeck. Once lashed down over the cabintop and forward hatch, there was still plenty of room to work on the foredeck and walk the side decks. Since the new dinghy is 4 feet shorter than the Port-a-Bote, it fits forward of the boom. The longer Port-a-Bote had plenty of room when rowing four adults, but had to be disassembled to lash it on deck. A nice advantage of the Port-a-Boat is that, once disassembled, it took up almost no space on deck when it was lashed to the lifelines. The new dinghy does prevent use of the forward hatch when it is on deck. We are considering installing dinghy davits to keep the dinghy while underway.
The crew was up and enjoying the morning breeze on Sunday and the forecast filled in as predicted. Guy and Bill pulled up the anchor, we did a “drive-by” pick up for ice at the Put-In-Bay fuel dock, then set sail. Running wing-and-wing before the wind Kelly IV sailed northeast between Middle Bass Island and Ballast Island. We jibed the main to turn east pas the north shore of Ballast, and tried to sail south-southeast keeping west of Kelleys Island. Unfortunately, we couldn’t point that close to the wind, so we changed course to sail southeast across the north coast of Kelleys. It was a terrific sail with a single reef in the main and jib as we barreled along at 6 knots. With the wheel locked in place, Kelly IV just settled into her groove and would bound along for 15 – 20 minutes without needing any touch on the wheel. We continued past Kelleys Triangle, the northeast corner of Kelleys Island and turned the bow as close to the wind as we could, sailing almost due south, with just a bit of easting to it. It wasn't enough to make the entrance to Sandusky bay, but the sailing was so good that we decided to let the Yanmar rest and we tacked into the bay entrance. As we drew closer the wind lightened up, so we fired up the motor for the short run through the bay back to the marina.
It was another terrific weekend of great friends and terrific sailing.