Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sailing in Door County 2010

Looking out our window, all we see is snow.  Good time to cuddle up and add some warm memories to our blog.  Here is a journal entry from a trip we took to Door County two summers ago.  We had so much fun we went again last summer and plan to go again this summer.  Enjoy - and think warm!

Pack your bags and fill the coolers - we are heading to Door CountyLucky for us, our friends for forever, Jim and Joni (Mike and Jim have been best friends since 7th grade), have also picked up the sailing bug.  They have a Hunter 22 and together we began planning this trip to test our sailing skills and to add to our treasured vacation memories.  As we were leaving from home, our 18 year old son called out, "You guys be good.  I don't want to get any calls from the marina, complaining about the neighbors."  We chuckled, never thinking we would need such a warning.

View of Egg Harbor from Main Street

Egg Harbor's New Marina
After an easy 3.5 hour tow, we set up camp in the Marina's parking lot.  Since we knew we would be arriving after hours, we had arranged with the harbor master to overnight on the blacktop.  As the sun set, we took a quick look at this newly remodeled facility.   Floating docks, lots of slips, nice ramp well lit, very protected, beautiful setting tucked down the hill behind the main street.  Nice showers.  Big parking lot.  Best of all, it is within walking distance of Shipwrecked, a  fun restaurant and bar.

Shipwrecked  Brew Pub
We decided we needed to be sure this was an OK establishment, so we sampled the food, wine and beer before turning in for the night.
The temperature had dropped as the sun set (40's) which made for a nippy night in the boats since we did not yet have access to electricity for our little space heaters. 

In the morning, we managed to set off the truck alarm at 6:30 a.m. by leaning on the key fob left in a jacket pocket. The joys of  trailer sailing, no room to move around in the cabin.  After emerging topsides, we expected our friends to ridicule us for winning the "bad marina neighbor" contest, but he said that at about the same time our truck alarm was going off, he was busy putting out a fire in his boat and considering calling in the fire department.  It seems he spilled a little alcohol when he filled his one-burner campstove and it ignited around the tank and on his cushions.  He woke up his wife Joni by telling her, "You might want to get up now, the boat is on fire."  Fortunately he was able to smother the flames with a pillow, so no fire trucks for us.  (Don't anyone tell our son!).
CP 19 and Hunter 22 "Campers"
Friday morning we walked about three blocks to the Bistro restaurant for breakfast and a captain's briefing.  We decided to sail north since there was an unusual east wind predicted.  After our bellies were full, we returned to the marina, rigged and dunked the boats to a beautiful morning sun which foretold a truly awesome day.  We were nervous about motoring out of the marina past all the 40-50 foot yachts worth more than our entire life's earnings. We had just picked up our 8 hp Mariner from the shop the day before for carb repairs and we hadn't had it out for a test run yet.  Mike normally takes care of our mechanical issues, but work and other commitments didn't leave enough time to get the repair done.  Fortunately, the motor ran well all weekend and we found motoring out of the marina to be quite easy.

We had a great sail in 7-12 mph winds with just a few 15 mph gusts.  The views of the shoreline, BIG sailboats, and the small islands dotting the area made for a pleasant, relaxing morning.  We found we moved along nicely near hull speed with very little heeling, but the Hunter 22 still pulled away from us without even rolling out all of it's 155 genoa.  All weekend we were impressed with how little sail he had to put out to move along so quickly.
Hunter 22 pulling away

Our plan was to sail up to Fish Creek Harbor, about 6 miles, for lunch and wandering around the neat old town.  As we were approaching the entrance to the bay a huge odd barge was overtaking us in a big hurry.  We couldn't figure out what it was.  It looked like an enormous upside down catamaran with the two hulls reaching high up into the air.  We continued to the far side of the bay entrance to allow the ship room to pass on our starboard side.  As he came cruising by we realized the barge was transporting two huge cement trucks (one on each side), two skidsteers and a mound of sand.  They pulled into the marina and started pouring out cement to repair a section of the dock.  You sure don't see that every day.
Cement truck barge

As we approached the harbor entrance, we knew we needed to hail the harbormaster for directions on where to tie up.  Brenda had the VHF radio in hand and was teasingly practicing her call, "Breaker, breaker..."  Mike, wanting very much to follow protocol, was a little leery that she would actually follow through with the very unorthodox old trucker call.  Not to worry, she did just fine and received instructions from the harbormaster to go to the metal wharf for temporary dockage .  He met us there to catch our lines.  They are definitely set up for much larger ships than ours.  We had to stand on our cabin tops and get a hand from the harbormaster to jump up to the pier.  We secured the boats, signed in and wandered around Fish Creek, shopping and enjoying the great company and perfect weather.
Little boats tied up

After a nice lunch at the Bayside Tavern and a little more shopping, it was time to check out and get sailing back to our slip.  The wind had picked up, which was a lot of fun for the two of us, but the Hunter 22 had some roller furler issues and struggled to make headway out of the bay on the tack to the south.  Once underway, the sail was fun and the slowly setting sun made for some beautiful views.  Some lovely older  sloops and schooners followed us out and we enjoyed watching them overtake us.

Once docked up back in Egg Harbor, the boys decided that they really needed to have a glass of Drambuie for our first official sundowners (not on our home waters) that night.  We enjoyed the view of the sunset from the dock and then moved into the Hunter 22 cabin for a while to catch up with our friends and continue to do damage to the bottle of Drambuie.  The party was going pretty well for the boys until Brenda decided to take away our bottle.  It was a good move on her part - the boys certainly didn't need any more.

Mike and Jim pre-Drambuie checking out the big toys.

Since Saturday was supposed to be rainy all day, we went out for a great breakfast at the Village Cafe ($8 for oatmeal - seriously?) and back to the boats to read/nap.  The Wisconsin Badgers football team played at 11:30 a.m. so we HAD to go back to the Shipwrecked bar to watch the game with an occasional toddy.  The girls lasted all of 10 minutes before leaving for a 2 1/2 hour shopping excursion.  The girls did lots of walking, shopping and laughing, but only spent about $20 while the boys might have managed to generate a bar tab slightly higher than that. A trip to Door County is not complete without visiting at least one lighthouse.  So, after the Badger win, we toured the 1884 lighthouse in Bailey's Harbor - Cana Island where they still have an original Fresnel lens in operation.  It is amazing that it is lit by one little 250 watt bulb.  This lighthouse is surrounded by some really nasty shoal waters.

Back at Egg Harbor Marina
Sunday morning arrived with fresh winds forecast at 10-15 mph which quickly turned into 15-26 mph actual winds with very strong gusts and small craft warnings.  We reefed down our mainsails and went out into Egg Harbor to play in the somewhat protected area.  We practiced putting in and taking out our reefs and experimented with different sail setups while the Hunter flew around with just his reefed mainsail.  We found our boat handled best with the standard jib up and the mainsail reefed.  We were thrilled with the improvement in tiller feel with the NACA 0014 rudder.  Even with 20+ mph winds, the tiller was easily managed with a very light grip.  Sweet!  After playing for a while, we led the other boat over to the protected shore of the bay in about five feet of water and rafted up.  We enjoyed a great afternoon of conversation, sun, cheese and crackers, and music while we bobbed in the water.  A wonderful relaxing way to end our sailing adventure.

We motored back to the marina and loaded up the boats.  Another easy tow home and our Door County sailing adventure was done.  We'll certainly be back for more next year.

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