Weekend with the Niagara
Weekend with the NiagaraReport Abuse
Weekend with the Niagara, Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 – 31
Keith Otto, Val Schwarzmueller and I sailed and visited with our "friend" from Erie, PA, the tall ship, Niagara (http://flagshipniagara.org/flagship_niagara/index.htm).
We arrived at the slip Friday evening, May 28 and completed repairs on the new shower/faucet. Despite some minor scrapes from the tight space below the head sink, the repairs succeeded and the new shower in the head delivers hot showers! Stowing of gear and catching up with each other over a few cold ones completed the evening’s activities.
Saturday morning Val took on the cook duties and prepared a terrific breakfast of eggs, toast, donuts, bacon, sausage and juice. With this excellent fortification, we motored out of the bay on course for Put-in-Bay, Ohio, on South bass Island. It would be Val's first time to visit so it was important to include PIB on our itinerary. The light winds were so much that it proved a grand excuse to break in the new motor as we powered our way through the South Passage past Kelleys, Mouse, Starve, and Green Islands and finally into the anchorage at the base of the Perry Victory and Peace Memorial.
We found that the US Niagara was tied to the dock at Put-in-Bay only a hundred yards from our anchoring spot! Keith and I regaled Val with our stories of sailing and watching Niagara while based on Kelly III in Erie, PA. These stories included the dramatic and LOUD mock cannon battle on Presque Isle Bay between the Pride of Baltimore and Niagara. It was like seeing an old friend as we looked upon the raked masts and voluminous rigging raised tall over the 110 foot wooden hull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Niagara_(1813)).
Val and I assembled the port-a-bote dinghy on the bow while Keith prepared the life jackets and other dinghy gear for going ashore. We visited the excellent museum and learned more about the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie (http://www.nps.gov/pevi/index.htm). We met new friends from an Ohio Ski Club through our bon vivant single, Mr. Otto, and enjoyed a dinner with them in town while enjoying the views of both the Niagara and Kelly IV from our table.
The next morning we showered ashore then sailed west past Rattlesnake Island using the new (to us) drifter, a very light nylon sail which pushed us through the water at about 3 knots in only 5 - 8 knots of wind. While Val piloted Kelly IV, Keith and I mounted the new mast ring and tested the new (to us) whisker pole with the drifter. With all the "new" goodies added this winter, we're having a wonderful time testing and practicing with the new gear. We had to turn into the wind to sail through the gap between North Bass and Middle Bass Islands so we doused the drifter and fired up the new engine. Once again the Yanmar purred and putted as we made way towards the anchorage on the north shore of Kelleys Island, just off the state park campground.
It was the first time we've anchored here in the 3 seasons we've been sailing Kelly IV in the Erie Islands. We anchored next to a beautiful 50 foot ketch with an admiral's burgee flying from the spreader. Soon the anchorage included the Niagara as she sailed in and join us just a couple hundred yards away! It seems our two boats hailing from Erie, PA just had to hang together this weekend!
We rowed into the launch ramp and docks behind the breakwater at the park and introduced the Glacial Grooves to Val, as Keith and I recalled enjoyable times from previous visits. After a short walk about the campground we rejoined Kelly IV for a sundowner.
Keith & Val prepared a magnificent dinner featuring Mahi Mahi and Steaks, a surf and turf dinner to beat the best anywhere!
We lounged around the cockpit in the evening and speculated about the Niagara's sailing plans as we made our own for the next day. Given the forecast of wind and weather coming from the southwest, we decided to sail back to Sandusky Harbor Marina by raising the Genoa and Mainsail to press the boat through the infamous "Kelleys Triangle", the northeast corner of Kelleys Island where Kelly IV has picked up 4 different tows! Of course, all these tows were prior to Kelly getting her brand new motor. Maybe we were a little shy about testing the curse of "Kelleys Triangle" because we sailed through the "KT" without the motor running! :-)
As we sailed south towards Sandusky Bay, the breeze remained lighter than forecast, about 10 - 12 knots, but plenty to keep us moving under Genny and Main. Given Kelly IV's rather poor ability to point into the breeze, our heading was more to the southeast than following our course to the south. As we had plenty of time this was no problem, until we noticed the clouds building into ominous thunderheads directly over the city of Sandusky. That was enough encouragement for us to strike the jib and fire up the now-dependable motor. She took us quickly into the bay and our slip to conclude a terrific weekend with an excellent crew!