Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caught a butterfly

From a few previous posts my luck with the boat shopping has not been the best. So after the Milwaukee debacle I e-mailed a guy in Michigan about his O' Day 25 asking if it was still available. It happened to be and we exchanged more phone calls and e-mails. He offered to knock $700 off the asking price seeing as I was traveling so far to the boat. 700 miles one way to be exact, from my place to his. I asked all the right questions and he gave me all the right answers. Sounds like a great deal so my son and I plan to travel the day after Thanksgiving.

We headed out around 7am and drove straight to the northern suburb of Detroit, Rochester Hills. Took us about 11 hours with a few stops for gas and food. 

The seller was a nice older guy and him and his wife were gracious enough to put us up for the night and even to have supper waiting for us when we got there. We went over a few things about the boat and the paperwork and all that. 

We got to the boat about 7:30 am and I did a quick once over on the boat and things seemed to be in order. Unfortunately the electrical connector was different on the trailer than on my vehicle. But, there was a trailer/RV store across the street so we headed over and I got an adapter. All the lights worked. The only other thing was that the Equilizer anti-sway & load leveling hitch I had purchased would not work with the trailer. The trailer had a long tongue on it and there was no place to attach the bars. We hooked up and headed to Michigan City, IN to spend the night. 

It was a decent drive, I took it very easy as this was the biggest load I had ever towed and I had no idea how it would behave without the load balancing and anti-sway hooked up. It did very well and we got in to Michigan City pretty early, around 2 I think it was. We drove the next day to Tomah, WI and that went good too. The pic below is of my Explorer and the boat. Looks like my truck is tiny in comparison.

We got up early the next morning, Monday, and made the trip home. It was the most difficult leg of the trip. I guess it was partly the hills in Wisconsin and me worrying about finally getting her home. There were some serious "pucker" moments too. The hill down to the bridge over the St. Croix was a bit long and steep and there is a bridge here in town that was steep, and had turns too. The trailer and my truck did fine though and we got her home.

So I really started looking over the boat, something I should have done days before in Michigan but, I was foolish and took the seller at his word on some things and let my head get caught up in getting a boat and wanting to get on the road. Needless to say she is not as dry as the seller led me to believe. I have work to do in the spring that I did not want to do or thought I would have to do on the boat. Very disappointing. In myself especially for not taking the time and letting other things get in my way. I am also very disappointed in the seller as well. If he would have been completely honest with me, I doubt I would have even made the trip.

But, this is what I have now and I will be able to remedy the issues that she has and it will be OK. So here she is in my driveway. 

She is called Papillon, French for Butterfly. Better than if it was in my ancestor's German, Schmetterling doesn't have the same ring to it.... She is a 1977 O' Day 25, and with all her issues, she is still mine.

Trip stats; 1445 total miles, 4 days, and a whopping 9.8 MPG towing....

You know I will be posting more on the progress of fixing her insides up and doing what I need to do to get her ready for the sailing season. Going to be a long winter, stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not for purposes intended....

"Not for purposes intended". Seems a rather trite legal term, something you would expect a manufacturer to put on a warning label or something. In my case, this is what you scribe on the back of a cashiers check when you didn't give it to the person it was made out to for the agreed upon transaction.

My son and I drove to Milwaukee over the weekend to look at a very nice Catalina 25. I had spoken with the seller the Friday before and the price I had offered was agreed upon. He knew we were coming, I even told him on the phone that I would call and let him know the Sunday before that we were for sure coming. I did my part. Called, left message confirming arrival and to let me know if anything would change. Got the check too. Made the hotel reservations for Milwaukee and for Tomah for the return as it was going to be a slower trip back and I wanted to take it easy.

We got in to Milwaukee around 4 and checked in to our hotel. Stayed at the Hyatt downtown, was pretty nice and reasonable I thought. Called said seller..... hmmmm, voice mail... well I will leave a message telling him we are here and to call me about meeting on Sunday. As the evening wore on I heard nothing. 

So my son and I went to the Safe House for supper. Fun place, based on 50's James Bond spy stuff. Entrance off an alley, passwords to get in, dial a secret number on the phone to get out, all that sort of stuff. Dinner was great, had fun. Still no call back. 

So by now I know this is not going to happen. No return call, I didn't bother with another as I knew he wouldn't answer. Who knows, maybe he got a better offer, maybe he was busy, maybe whatever... In my book, you make a phone call or something if you cannot make the arrangement work. Common courtesy. He just chose not to be a man of his word apparently.

So my son and I loaded up around 9am and headed home, no sailboat in tow. Just a bitter taste about the boat but, we did enjoy ourselves together which is something. 

Lesson learned is to be more diligent in dealing with sellers, especially out of town sellers. Not sure if I will hold off now on boat shopping or not. The snow will be flying soon and that means winter is very close by. Holidays are coming too, everyone will be very busy the next 6-8 weeks. Who knows, maybe there will be a boat that finds me before spring.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adventures in Boat Shopping

As some of you know I have been on the hunt for my own boat. I am looking for a 25 footer that sits on a trailer. Mainly so I don't need to pay winter storage fees but also as this is the land of 10,000 or so lakes, and there are a few I would like to visit and sail on. So I began looking intently a while back and I have had some interesting results. 

Where the hell is this "Buyer's Market"?. No idea where this glut of boats are but I sure as hell can't find them. Granted with my parameters it does limit my options a bit. Mainly to Catalina and O' Day 25's but, there is not many out there for sale. Or at least that I can find. I thought I found a couple of great prospects but, one got sold on me and another over in Wisconsin I thought we had a deal worked out but now I can't get the phone answered or a call back. 

Very frustrating as a lot of prospects are far away and I am not sure if I want to drive for 12 hours or a couple of days to find something that isn't up to snuff. Like one I found down south that come to find out has a mysterious leak and the trailer tires may not be OK. Wow, really? 

I understand that some boats may need some work but, let's not waste each others time here.  I am open to doing work, not that big of a deal but, I am not paying $4K - $5K for a project boat. Just not going to happen. I want to know for sure that the boat I end up getting is the right one for me and the sailing I want to do. I know how much I want to spend and I realize I have gear to buy too so that is part of my overall budget. Hoping to keep it all under, well under would be nice but this is a boat after all, $10K.

Guess I was a bit naive to think this would be easier than this. Just going to keep on plugging along and hoping that I can find something before there is too much snow on the ground around here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Life Changes

Due to some life changes I have decided to make some edits to a few posts and remove one. Life has a way of doing that some times. I found this quote on a blog of a sailor, not sure even where now.... but, it is fitting

There comes a time in your life, when you'll walk away from all the drama and people who created it. You'll surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

The boat shopping "adventure" has gotten a bit fluid. Crossing all that I can and hoping things work out......

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stepping up the single-handing

After my last two successful sails single-handed, never sure if that is one word, two words or hyphenated. Let's go hyphenated for this post... Anyway, after the last two sails on Nightcap I decide I would try single handing a larger boat. Yep, easier to sail as they can be more forgiving than a smaller boat but, a challenge to myself none-the-less. Adagio is a 28' O' Day sloop. She is the largest boat that the boat club has on Lake Minnetonka. Next from her is Strad, the 27' Pearson. Yep, that's the one that the infamous "gale" happened on and the jib got torn. As I have said before, possibly more on that event another time.

So I figured seeing as no one else had the boat reserved for a few days I would take advantage. I reserved Adagio for the Noon to 4pm slot on Friday September 30th, the Noon to 4pm & 4pm to sunset slots on Saturday October 1st, the 8am to Noon and Noon to 4pm slots on Sunday October 2nd, and finally the Noon to 4pm slot on Tuesday October 4th. Yeah, I used a little vacation time there. Oh and for those of you that are reading this blog in 2028, the year was 2011.... 

The winds were supposed to be between 12 &15kts on Friday and seeing as this was my first time to solo on Adagio, I decided to do it with just the main up only. There are no pics of Friday as the batteries in the camera were dead. It was pretty uneventful actually. I took my time figuring out how to get the thing out of the slip with a crosswind and not damaging anything. Rub rails are goooooood..... ;-) I sailed up the lake to the north end of Big Island and then back down again to Gideon Bay where I started. Took me a while as I only had the main out but, I got comfortable with the boat and that was the main idea. Got her back in the slip easier than I left too so all in all a good day on the lake.

Winds on Saturday were a bit lighter, nearing 10 but never going over 12. I got Adagio out of the slip pretty easily as the crosswinds were not as bad this time and headed out in the channel. I raised the main and sailed on just that for a few minutes and got my bearings with the boat. It was a damn fine day to be sailing. I sailed up the lake turned west and sailed the larger part of the lake for dang near 5 hours. Sailed with a boat that is next to Nightcap's slip. Kinda raced but I had 3 feet on him and more sail area..... It is true, you get a couple of boats near each other and one of you is gonna try to beat the other to some spot on the lake. I have pictures and a video from that day below. It was incredibly awesome, just me and the boat out on the water. I do wish I could have shared that day, and yes Sunday too but, that was not to be.I felt so "complete" when I got back in to the slip and had Adagio secured and the engine off. I had a snack or two, and a beer or two as well. Figured I earned them... what a day.... what.... a.... day...

Under Sail

View across the lake
Some Fall Color

The obligatory self-portrait....
End of the day

Sunset over the marina.

I arrived at the marina around 10ish I guess on Sunday, just hung out for a bit at home and seeing as I had the boat until 4pm I didn't rush. Much lighter air on Sunday, couldn't have gotten over 10 all day. But, me and some of the club racers from the marina and a beautiful Melges E Scow, I believe that's what it is, shared another wonderful day on the water. Check the pics and vid below for verification. Another great morning and afternoon sailing up and around the lake. Was turning in to quite the weekend. There were some gusts at times and I dealt with them nicely I think. Kept telling myself over the weekend not to be cocky, just confident and that worked very well. Got some help getting back in to the slip form the folks on "Oh Baby" next to me as those pesky crosswinds were piping up again as I came in.

Now that was a great weekend......

Melges E Scow

Morning Club Racing

Tuesday was pretty windy, didn't take many pics as I had to pay attention to sailing more than the scenery. I even pulled the jib in for a bit until the wind settled back down a bit then I took it out again, roller furlers rawk by the way, and sailed nicely "home" that afternoon..... Was pretty much just me out there... had the lake basically to myself. 

Yep, it's reefed.


That was a great string of sailing I put together somehow. Those of you that "get it" know what I mean when I talk about how incredibly satisfying it was to sail like that for those days. Even if I wasn't single-handing it, it would have been incredibly awesome. About as "Zen" as I could get.

From today on....
There are some more stories form this season yet to be told, some I may, some I may not. Who knows. One thing for certain is that this has been an interesting season of sailing for me. The last day is October 15th, forecast is for light winds and I have Nightcap reserved from Noon to 4pm. I sailed Adagio for the last time this season today, October 11th. Vid from that below, turned in to a Main only day after I shot that. Anyway, probably the last time I will sail Adagio as there is boat shopping going on for me too. Love the boat club but, it's time I had my own. More on that and season end and other tales and.... well, you know......

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Season of Firsts

This has been an interesting year sailing. I have been sailing the boat club's 28 foot O'Day "Adagio", the 27 foot Pearson "Strad" and the old stand by, the 26 foot Pearson "Nightcap". Sailing bigger boats with inboards and wheels is a nice step up I guess but the tiller still seems to be the best way to go. Well on smaller boats obviously.

So I have not been posting really this year as I have been busy doing things besides sailing, running around, dealing with life's ups and downs and all that. I haven't been able to sail as much as I would like, not sure what that really is. But I got to do some things that I had never done before this year.

  • Tore a sail. Yeah, that was embarrassing and sickening actually. Got caught by a lil squall on the lake and things got a bit nutty pretty fast and I ended up tearing the jib on Strad a little. There is more to this story and I may post about it later.
  • Sailed on Lake Michigan. A great guy by the name of Gary has a friend named David and he took me, Gary, and one of his friends out on his Catalina 30. Was a great time, well for me I know it was. I may have annoyed the hell out of them..... not sure. Might post on this too.
  • Single handed sailing. This is a goal for everyone who sails. sailing by yourself, just you and the boat. I decided to finally do it after some medical issues came up for my mother and I needed to just go sail, therapy if you will. I have done it twice now, first time the batteries in the camera were dead. Today I was out again and made sure they were fresh. Below is a couple of vids and some pics.

I know I am usually more "wordy" in my posts but, I am not really feeling the "writer" right now. I have some things listed above yet to post about and I probably will and some other things I am thinking on yet too. I will get to that stuff soon enough, just have some other things to concentrate on for now.

Club House at the marina.

The Boat - Nightcap
Some of the boats.

Motoring out through the channel.
Sails up!
Another single-hander. See video 2

Sailing back, end of the day.

It wasn't as cold as it looks but it was as cloudy.....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Almost here.....

It’s almost here, the start of the sailing season. It has been a long and “painful” wait to get to this point. We have had lots of snow this year, 4th snowiest season I believe. We got teased a bit back in early March that things were on the upswing and then, another week of snow and cold. But now it seems that spring has finally gained a foothold and the weather is turning for the better. Most of the snow is gone and the temps are definitely getting warmer.

Another sign that the season is close is that the yacht club will be having their open house on April 9th, a nice low-key event. 

I have found myself feeling the wind all winter and now in to early spring and “being” on the water. I guess I really do have the “affliction”.

I start a new class on April 12th, ASA 107 – Celestial Navigation. This has always fascinated me, finding one’s way by the stars, sun, or moon. This is a very intense course and is also about navigating the open ocean and what to do in an emergency when your GPS and/or plotter goes out on you. I am really looking forward to it. Another part of the “romance” of sailing I guess, doing it the way it was done in the beginning. I am not thinking I would ever need to solely rely on my sextant to find my way but, it is not a bad skill to have. Also, as I said, it is a way to connect myself with the “old days” of sailing, the tall ships, the great explorers of the world.  To quote John Masefield’s famous poem Sea-FeverAnd all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by….

I am hoping to find out when the boats will be on the water at the open house. My boat club membership is paid in full and I am, obviously, ready to go. So here is looking forward to an even better season of sailing. I am sure it will be as I have a year under my belt and I have someone very special to share it with.