Rockin’ and Rollin’
Rockin’ and Rollin’Report Abuse
Rockin’ and Rollin’
May 24 - 25, 2009
Keith Otto and I sailed from Sandusky Harbor Marina on Saturday morning of the Memorial Day weekend and found ourselves motoring directly into the NE breeze to clear Sandusky Bay. Even though we turned to the NW when we left the Bay, the leeway carried us far enough downwind, that we fired up the motor again to be sure we cleared Marblehead Point. Even though the waves were only 1-3 feet, they were choppy enough to test the new dodger! The spray stayed out of the cockpit, so we declared the dodger fully operational!
Once we cleared Marblehead, we shut off the engine and sailed under a single reef past Kelley's Island, Mouse Island, and South Bass Island. We did attempt to point closer to the wind and sail up the west side of South Bass Island, but the wind had too much north in it. Our solution was to continue sailing past Green Island. This means Keith and I have now added a circumnavigation of Green Island to our list of sailing accomplishments! Actually, it is not a major one, but it is now checked off the list! :-)
We still needed to make a couple tacks to achieve the anchorage at the SE of Middle Bass Island. You'll recall that this is the same anchorage described in my earlier article about "Easy Sailing, Tough Rowing". This time Keith steered Kelly IV to a position just of the public area where we landed our dinghy, so our row to/from Kelly IV would be much shorter. We also hoped that the brief distance would make it easier to find Kelly IV on our return trip.
Mr. Otto and I did a small walking tour of southern Middle Bass Island to review the newly reconstructed state park marina, the Middle Bass - Put In Bay ferry landing (passengers only, no cars), and returned to the pub we located for last year's adventure, J. Walleye's. We began our dinner at poolside (J. Walleye's has a beautiful little pool landscaped with rocks and fountains for the kids wading pool), but the cool weather forced us indoors so we could better enjoy our entrees.
Apparently, J. Walleye's still has the same terrific variety of family entertainment, including their version of "Deal/No Deal", Dueling Pianos", DJ Music, and "Lobster Grab". The Lobster Grab was a new activity to us, as we had not noticed it last season. The pub has set up a lobster tank full of the requisite live lobsters. Positioned over the tank is the 3 pronged claw you've seen in the arcade for grabbing a gift out of the glass bin. It turns out that you can (for a $2 fee) attempt to use the remotely controlled claw to grab your lobster for dinner!
After a terrific dinner of sautéed fresh Walleye and juicy grilled burger, Keith & I decided to row our way back to Kelly IV. This time there was no adventure as the wind had calmed and the sun was still setting so Kelly IV was easily seen and identified. The close distance made the rowing routine and successful!
The next day we decided to motor into the wind as we left the anchorage and made our way through the channel between South Bass and Middle Bass Islands. We did this brief push into the wind and waves in hopes that the NE winds would enable us to sail across the northern shore of Kelley's Island, then fall off to the southern course direct into Sandusky Bay. The wind has more Easting in it than we cared for, so while we were able to shut off the motor and enjoy a boisterous sail across Kelley's Island, we were required to tack twice to clear the NE corner of the island. Keith and traded turns at the helm for the easterly sail across northern Kelley's Island, but then Keith took over for a rollicking battle with the 3 - 5 foot rollers pushing Kelly IV around from the NE. Keith had a great time and managed the pushy waves so well that I took a rocking nap with only occasional wake-ups.
I didn't take the helm back until we were ready to dock Kelly IV. With roughly 20 knots of breeze blowing from the ENE, it proved to be both a challenging, yet exhilarating effort to dock Kelly IV. With the mainsail down and the jib entirely furled, we were still making 3-4 knots of boat speed! Were sailing at double my preferred docking/marina speed under bare poles! While Keith prepared the starboard aft spring line to stop Kelly IV (assuming I could get him to the dock) I planned my approach. Instead of the usual method of putting the motor into forward gear, then returning the shift to neutral as a way to maintain steerageway, I actually sailed under bare poles through the marina, with occasional shifts into Reverse to slow us down! Knowing the wind would blow the bow quickly, once I began the turn into our slip, I made the turn, the wind pushed the boat rapidly into the slip, I shifted into reverse and slowed the boat to a crawl, then Keith merely stepped onto the pier and hooked the spring line to secure Kelly IV safely. Given the stiff breeze, we had to spend significant effort to get all the lines tied correctly to Kelly IV, but it was all done very smoothly and professionally! Keith was perfect crew and I actually had a very successful docking in highly challenging circumstances!