Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sailing (finally) the Apostle Islands - Day 3

We arose at the usual 6:30ish in the am and headed up the hill to the clubhouse to shower. Sleeping on the boat is really not that big of a deal. Especially when tied to a dock in a nice protected harbor. After we all were showered and back at the boat we headed to Northern Edge, it's where all the locals go in the evenings to get away from all us invaders. Food was pretty decent and the price wasn't bad. Had the lodge feel to it. Seemed like a place I could go lift a few with good friends and talk all night.

After we got back we checked the weather. As I said before, we are planning on spending two nights out in the islands at anchor. Well the weather had a different plan. Nice temps but, the winds are supposed to build throughout the day and in to the night. Starting at a nice comfy 10-12kts and then building in the afternoon to 20-25kts with higher gusts. Seas are to be 2-4 feet over night. Not very comfortable for sleeping. So we decide to just sail today and see about anchoring out tomorrow, Saturday, night. Click for Map of the Apostles.

We leave the dock under good conditions, get out in to the North Channel, and off we go. A beautiful late morning for sailing. We practice some tacks, a few jibes, and of course the fun filled man over board drill. Everyone gets a couple of chances as we sail up the channel between Madeline Island and Basswood Island.

We also get to do a nice little thing called "putting in a reef" while sailing, which we should have done at the dock, that is the best place to do it. We got to do this twice. Reefing for those that do not know shortens the main sail so that it does not have as much power, as the winds were building. We also rolled in our jib some as we had a roller furling jib. So as we are doing the first reef, I am standing on the deck at the mast holding the main halyard winch handle. I am holding the handle so I can slowly lower the sail so my crewmate, Rob, can put in the first reef point. All goes quite well, oh and we didn't have our PFD's on either. Another thing you always do when scampering about in higher winds and seas. So a little while later the winds are building more, probably around 15kts or so sustained. Multiply by 1.15 to get mph, save that math for a little later in regards to Saturday... So back up to the mast I go with Rob, why us two again I am not sure.


I have the winch and Rob is putting in the second reef point. Now when doing stuff like this you want to point the boat "head to wind" so the sails lose their power and the boat is more comfortable. Read "no heeling". Our helmsman, Parry lets her drift a bit from head to wind to close hauled and she starts to power up and heel to about 15. I, apparently Perry tells me later I said this with "urgency" in my voice, say "Can you get her back pointed head to wind please!". Just didn't want to fall in to 50 degree water from a boat doing 6kts without my PFD. When she started to heel, it got my attention.

So we get back to the cockpit and all is good. Just stuff you have to do sometimes when sailing. Perry was laughing about how I asked him to head'er back in  to the wind and all was OK, we got it done and all still in the boat. At around 2pm I think, no I did not keep a detailed log as this is all by memory now, we figure we should head back to the marina as things are still building and we are about 10-12nm out.

So we concentrate on sailing back, we do a couple of tacks to get on a course that we can just sail straight to the marina on. I take the helm for a while. We have 15kt winds, gusting to about 20kts, the boat is doing about 5kts, and the water is about 180 feet deep where we are. Its geting a bit darker as we sail along.

After sailing for a while longer the sun is nearly down so we fire up the motor and motor-sail the rest of the way back in. We get in about 7:40 or so, sunset I believe was 7:32 so yeah, it was getting dark.

But we made it OK and got Aerie tied up at the dock. About 8:30 we head in to town to go for pizza at Ethels. Great pizza, decent prices, nice atmosphere, and they had a local Wisconsin brewery beers. New Glarus Brewing, I had a Fat Squirrel. It is a nut brown ale and very good I thought. So I had 2.

After a lot of good pizza we walked down the street to the piers there and just looked out over the lake. Wind was blowing nicely and the moon was just coming off of being full. This was when I just sort of got lost in the moment and thought how much I missed the 2 most important people in my life (Sam & Stu) and how I wanted to share this with them. It was truly amazing what I was doing and I couldn't wait to do it with them.

So after waxing nostalgic, we walked back to my vehicle, headed back to the boat, and climbed in to bed. I still had a case of the "miss-you's" as I fell asleep....

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