Friday, September 3, 2010

Motoring in the Apostle Islands - Day 4

So I failed to mention in my last post about day 3 that we figured out quite the nice run for us to make to our anchorage. The pic is of Rob, his wife Shayla, Parry (in the glasses), and myself figuring that all out. It's about 17 miles or so for us to sail to the north end of Oak Island, winds were from the south west. Our course was to head south east for a bit leaving the marina, then head north east up the North Channel between Madeline Island and Basswood Island. Turn north west between Hermit Island and Basswood, then sail between the mainland and Oak Island. Sailing around back north east and then east around Oak Island to our anchorage in a nice bay area at the north end of Oak Island. Open the map link in the previous post to have a look at it.

So from the title of this post you mat be wondering what I mean. Well, we all got up nice and early to head out to our great anchoarge. I downed a can of V8 and a couple Nutri-Grain bars, the other folks did about the same. We check the weather and it is blowing pretty good and supposed to build but, we have 2 reefs in from the day before so we figure we should be good to go.

We get out of the marina, past the sea wall and we see lots of white caps on the waves. The seas are at about 2 - 3 feet and the boat is moving up and down quite nicely...... I am at the helm and we decide that maybe we should put in a third reef, as low as this can go. So Rob, Perry, and our instructor Vicki head up to the mast to take care of this. Luckily I was at the helm so I didn't make 3 for 3 but Rob did. So as the sail bunches up at the gooseneck it gets more difficult to get the hook for the reef in to the grommet on the sail, so they decide that to do the third reef they are going to use some spare line to tie it instead.

Reefing is a blast!! Especially in 20-24 knot winds and 2-3 foot seas, especially if you have never been in it before. Shayla is with me in the cockpit and seeing as we are getting spray over the bow and the boat is moving a bit, I ask her to go below and grab my PFD. As I am putting it on I see Vicki come back and go below. She comes up with her PFD on, and 3 others for the rest of the crew. She also has thethers in her hands and Rob digs out the jacklines.

So a jackline, that is a line that runs the length of the boat on each side so you can attach your tether to it. I have a PFD withn a built in harness just for this purpose. Vicki does too and so do 2 of the three PFDs she brought up from below. So Shayla does not have a harness on her PFD, I do and am at the helm. Guess what hapens.... I know go forward to help with the reefing. Guess I am 3 for 3 then. That was interesting. Moving with the tether, having to unclip to get around the shrouds.and then up to the mast. We got the reef in about 5-10 minutes later and we all headed back to the cockpit.

Rob took over the helm and we were all watching the seas build and the wind get stronger. A few minutes later Rob recorded a 31kt gust, we were steady at about 25kts. Remember the math I talked about in the last post? It works out to about 29mph steady and the gust was about 36 mph. Now we had not even raised the sails yet, we were just motoring. So we exchanged glances and our instructor "suggested" that maybe we should head back. Now of course she has the experience for this stuff but none of us had been in it before so erroring on the side of caution, we headed back in.

I think Rob docked Aerie and it went without a hitch. We decided to do our written testing up at the clubhouse so at least something was done on Saturday. The first test was our Basic Coastal Cruising exam. ASA 103. We had some good review sessions but it had been a while since I was able to read the material so I was cautiously optimistic. Vicki scores the exam, not bragging at all as I doubt I could do this again but, I got 98 out of 100 correct and the two I got wrong, I wrote down one answer wrong and the other one I misread the question.... ooops.... Oh well.

So then after a review of the systems on the boat and other things for our our next exam, Bareboat Charter, ASA 104, we sit down to take the test. This one has 117 questions on it and is more difficult. I was really nervous on this one as some of the questions I had no idea what they were saying so I kind of guessed. Well at least I got all the navigation questions right. Guess I should have seeing as I got my ASA 105 Coastal Navigation cert. last winter. Anyway, I got 90% on this one so thankfully I passed that one too. So nice to have the written exams out of the way finaly.

So after testing Parry and I went down to the boat to put the sail cover on, hook up the shore power and what not. We did happen to grab a 6-pack of Killians at the clubhouse to take with us. I think we earned it to be honest. So we had that while getting the boat buttoned up. We returned with the chicken and cous-cous we were going to have out on the hook that night. Oh yeah and the 2 bottles of wine too. So we grilled up the chicken, made up the cous-cous and had a nice dinner together.

We polished off the first bottle of wine with dinner and then after cleaning up we all headed back to the boat for a few more cocktails. I opened up the bottle of Jameson, Rob had his rum. I think the gals had more wine and Parry had some more beers. We talked for a while and Vicki had checked the weather too. All the blustery stuff had stopped about 7pm, just like the night before. Really wish we could have spent at least one night out at anchor but, maybe next time. So after a couple of drinks we all head to bed hoping the wind is good for Sunday as we need to practice anchoring and be back to the marina by 2:30pm or so, so we can all get home before dark.

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