Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Father's Day Sail 2011

Here's another memory from the past while we wait out another snow storm.

What a fantastic weekend! Mike got off of work early on Friday and we got onto Lake Mendota by 4 p.m. We sailed around for awhile and then anchored outside the UW Memorial Union to listen to the bands. Later we had a short night sail to a protected bay where we anchored for the night.

The UW Memorial Union
Night sailing is unbelievably beautiful. The lake is so quiet and the sailboat just makes small splashes in the waves. The lights on shore just add to the beauty of the scenery. We went to sleep on a dead calm night and even slept in a little late the next morning. The memory foam we added to the V-berth, along with the cushion on the galley counter greatly added to the comfort of our evening. We tried out our cheapo Gasone butane stove (we've used this stove for one season now and it continues to impress us. We heat water each morning for breakfast needs and have yet to use up one gas canister) and by golly it heats water for oatmeal, coffee and tea in a big hurry.
French Press and Gasone Butane Stove

As the morning broke, Brenda stayed on board while Mike took the little dinghy for a row and threw out the fish hook a few times. One more tiny bluegill knows who the boss is now. The wind never showed up, so we rowed into shore and took a nice three mile hike on Picnic Point.
Our landing at Picnic Point
It is a city kept park with lots of trails, fire pits (with free firewood), mechanical pump for drinking water and great views of the city and the lake. After getting back to the boat we put up our shade and took a relaxing nap.

Nice day for a nap!

We decided to motor over (no wind at all Saturday) to the UW Union again for supper. We anchored out near the other sailboats in a mooring field (the one they always show on TV during a Badger game), and rowed into the shore. We walked a couple of blocks to State Street and went to Chipotle for burritos and a really good margarita. Great place to eat and people watch - State Street is the perfect place for this hobby! We rowed back to the sailboat and decided that we would just stay anchored there for the night. Dumb move. We should have gotten a weather forecast and moved to a more protected anchorage. During the night we had a nice storm with rocky waves kicked up by the wind. Our dinghy ended up with 2" of water in the bottom of it, but our anchor held tight.

Sunday morning cleared up by 10 a.m. and we raised the sails for the nice breeze that showed up.

Sunset on Lake Mendota
We checked out some areas of the lake we hadn't yet explored and circled a bunch of sailboats in a race. It was a nice leisurely sail back to the dock where we put the boat on the trailer for the trip home.

What a great way to spend Father's Day weekend.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What happened to honoring our word?

We have our Com-Pac 19 / II up for sale as we purchased the Com-Pac 23/3. A buyer called and excitedly discussed every facet of the boat on a couple occasions. We came to an agreement on the price with the kicker purchase to be decided upon inspection. On Saturday he asked if I could arrange time off work on Monday as he would be leaving Sunday with cash in hand to buy the boat Monday a.m. I agreed to arrange the time off and went about prepping the boat for a 10 hour trip to it's new home. I washed some of the winter dust and grime off her even though it was under 40 degrees in the garage. I aired up the tires, greased the wheel bearings and hauled all the cushions, etc. out from the house and put them in their place aboard. I charged up the battery and felt everything was ready. Other interested buyers were left disappointed.

My wife and I had a special date night Sunday at a Brazilian restaurant that was hosting a wine tasting evening. We had been looking forward to this date since Christmas. About 5:30 p.m. When we were just walking into the restaurant, I received a call from the buyer that was supposed to be an update on their arrival time that evening. Instead he told me he noticed an older, cheaper 19 up for sale just before leaving to pick ours up and bought it instead! He said it wasn't nearly as nice as ours, but couldn't walk away.

Well, long story short, my frustration and disappointment really took a lot of the joy out of our special night.

What has happened to the honor of our word?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Is it spring yet?

We are sitting here in Wisconsin, looking out our window at the most snow we have had so far this winter - 2-3 inches - and what are we doing? We are dreaming of Spring. With our new to us Com-Pac 23 home and sitting covered in our driveway, it is hard to keep our attention on winter when all we want to think about is Spring and putting the boat in the water for the first time. So, we dream. We dream about the trips we have planned: the Carlyle Lake Rendezvous in Carlyle, Illinois, our annual trip to Door County, and possibly a venture to Lake Geneva. We dream about getting on our local lakes as soon as possible to enjoy the Thursday night reggae music at the Edgewater Hotel, anchoring off the Memorial Union listening to the Badger game on the radio while watching the fans and their revelry after the game, throwing the anchor out in our favorite little coves and "fishing", rafting up with friends, Aquapalooza 2012 (where a great local band plays from a barge and the dance floor is three feet of water), rowing in from our anchorage to explore all the wonderful outdoor restaurants and bars on State Street as well as the interesting people (everyone needs to experience this at least once in their life). Ahhh, that feels better now. Spring is right around the corner and we are ready! What are you dreaming about?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CLR 2010

On-line dating. That is what it was like when we signed up to join the Carlyle Lake Rendezvous. See...we have been active participants in the Com-Pac Yacht Forum ( and talking back and forth with several of the members. Lots of information shared and plenty of joking around - enough to know that this would be a fun group of people to meet. So, when the call went out to see who would be able to attend the 2nd Annual CLR, we added our names to the list. Probably one of the smartest things we have ever done. We discovered beautiful sailing grounds and made wonderful friends. Here is our account of our first trip to the CLR in 2010.

Raft up fun!
Once the date was set, we started making plans. First of all, we needed a place to stay. There was a Microtel near the marina and a Super 8 about 2 miles away. At the time we were making reservations, we still had our Com-Pac 16, so staying in the marina was out of the question. There were also State Park cabins right on the shore. We checked them out, and though a little pricey, they had their own slips and were air conditioned (something we came to treasure). In addition, there would be plenty of room outside to host the group's barbecue after our sailing on Saturday. Getting our reservations in early proved to be beneficial as all cabins were booked for the summer by March.

The Rendezvous was set to start on Friday, but we towed our newly acquired Com-Pac 19 down on Thursday. We wanted to leave plenty of time for "just in case". Fortunately that wasn't necessary and we arrived late Thursday evening. What a beautiful place! Hazlet State Park was everything we were used to in Wisconsin - minus the fees. That's right, the park was completely free. We kept looking around for the ranger station or a post with a box for entrance fees, but found nothing. As we were checking out the dock and surrounding 200+ parking spaces and stainless steel fishing station, we asked three different people where to pay. Even the boat launch was free. We couldn't believe it.
Under our sun shade.
We weren't scheduled to be in the cabin until Friday, so we camped in the parking lot in our boat. All went well until the thunder and lightning started. Brenda was petrified, so we climbed out of the boat and into the cab of the S-10 pick-up. Not sure why that was better, but we got more sleep cramped in the truck than we would have gotten in the boat.
Inlet to our cabin and slip.

The next morning we woke to a beautiful day. After getting our keys for the cabin and taking a driving tour of the park, we launched our boat. Mike sailed it around the corner to our slip while Brenda drove the truck and trailer around to the cabin. We quickly unloaded our things from the truck to the cabin and then went for a sail. We were amazed at the minimal number of boats we met on the water. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Carlyle Lake is a man-made lake run by the Corp of Engineers. It is the largest man-made lake in Illinois with more than 26,000 acres of water and 11,000 acres of land. There are no houses along the shore and never will be. The original vision of keeping this a pristine lake has been honored. More information can be found at

Friday evening we were scheduled for a meet-and-greet at Bretz's Wildlife Winery. What, you might ask, is a wildlife winery? We were soon to find out. Hanging on the walls inside Bret's were a zebra, giraffe, and other taxidermy wonders. This was where we met the other Com-Pac sailors for the first time. From the beginning there was a sense of camaraderie and as we swapped stories we knew this was a group we would become very close to.
Lots of Com-Pacs to check out.

Saturday found us out on the water, using our vhf radios to gather the boats before we spread out again. After setting a raft-up point, we were off sailing and taking each others' pictures as we passed on the wind. The water level was still very high, so we had no problem finding a place to drop anchor and swim. Did we mention that it was in the 90's? Rafting up gave us a chance to check out each others' boats and to pass around a few snacks and share some beverages. As our chatting continued, we found that we had all, at one point in our lives, owned and ridden motorcycles. We also found that over 1/2 of our group were educators.
Hosts Steve and Sarah clipping along.  They are darn good sailors.

Enough time IN the water, it was time to get back ON the water for another sail. We quickly could separate the expert sailors (John J) from the amateurs (us). Even when there was not much wind, John was zipping around the lake while the rest of us struggled to find the right combination of sails.
A CP 16 and a CP19 enjoying Carlyle Lake.

Then it was time to pack it in for the day and head to the barbecue. Remember, only 3 of the couples had met before (at last year's CLR), but we were able to produce a spread to be envied, due in large part to the hard work of Sarah and Steve. Everyone brought something to add to the table and soon we were eating, drinking and laughing like we had been friends forever. Some brought little gifts to pass out and we made anchor- and sailboat-shaped sugar cookies personalized with the CP logo and boat names. After a day full of sun and sailing, it was nice to sit and relax by the lake.
Let the feasting begin.
After everyone left, we took our boat out for a sunset cruise. We sure enjoyed being able to walk out the cabin door and jump on the boat without having to rig. The quiet on the lake was incredible. Even though there was not much of a breeze, there was enough to ghost along. A glass of wine, a beautiful sunset, and just enough wind shared with the one you love. Ahhhhh, life is good.
Mike and Becky aboard Island Time
Sunday morning found us up and on the water for another round of sailing. It was still HOT and there wasn't much wind. In spite of that, we managed to move across the lake and meet up with the other Com-Pac's. Some, unfortunately, had to pull out and head home, however we had the rest of the week to play. After saying good bye to our new friends, we sailed back to our cabin on the lake where we stayed for another 4 days. It was heaven (although it was hot enough to be the other place).

John J the best sailor in the lot and one truly nice person.

We got pretty good at making Walmart runs. Seems like every day we needed something. The first day the gas line needed a new part, so off to Walmart we went. The next day we decided to make a tent awning to help keep us out of the sun. We fabricated one our of a sheet, some grommets and carabiner clips. Another day we went back just to enjoy the air conditioning and pick up some more bottled water (remember it was HOT).
Our cabin viewed from the lake.

All too soon it was time for us to pull out and head back to Wisconsin. Boy did we have stories to tell when we got home! The sense of adventure of trailering to a lake we had never seen before, navigating on an unknown lake, and meeting new people made this a week to remember. Then, add in the feeling of satisfaction that we felt for having tackled such an undertaking and you have two confirmed sailors who can't wait to see what is next!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Com-Pac 23/3 Comes Home

 The new to us 1988 Com-Pac 23/3 is safely home.  My sailing buddy Jim was crazy enough to drive along with me about 1300 miles to pick her up, adjust a trailer to fit, and then trailer her home 1300 miles.  Well, it wasn't all work, we may have found a little time to enjoy Dunedin, Florida and it's many watering holes.

We visited the Dunedin Brewery and had a great supper along with some very potent beers.  We also tried out several establishments and gee, they all had tasty beers.  We really enjoyed Jolly Mons, as they had good fish tacos, cold beer and fun locals to meet.  We had lunch with a few beers, closed out our tab to leave...... then we opened a new tab and outlasted the bartender.
Local drinking establishment ( we might have spent some time here)
Brenda and I are excited about trying out the 23 this spring and continuing to learn more about sailing.  Bring on that warm weather.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Not every woman can say that they are getting a sailboat for Valentine's Day, but I can!!!  Mike is pulling home our new (to us) Com-Pac 23.  He and a friend left Friday evening to drive the 22 hours to Dunedin, Florida to pick it up.  They should be home by Tuesday - just in time to put a bow on it.  Can't get any better than that!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Unexpected Changes

Mike thought it would be fun to find a project sailboat for the winter. He searched endlessly online for a suitable project with a keen eye out for Com-Pac 23's. We had considered moving up to a 23 to use for the next two sailing seasons before moving to the south and purchasing the bluewater boat. Well, instead of finding a fixer upper for a cheap price he came across a beautifully kept 1988 CP23/3 at a very reasonable price. Long story short - Mike has purchased a trailer and is busily modifying it to haul the 23 home. Sadly, this means we will have to say goodbye to our wonderful CP 19/2.

We'll give you the details and more pictures when we get her home.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

AHHH! Sunsets

One of the great pleasures of sailing is to enjoy a beautiful day of wind, water and the sounds of it all.  Then at the end of a lovely day you get to pick out that quiet little cove in your favorite protected spot and throw out the anchor.  From the moment you know that the anchor has bit into the bottom securely, you are free to sit back and revel in the day you have had.  Then it is time to grab a nice glass of wine, some cheese, a few crackers and sit back to enjoy your greatest reward. 

Cuddle up next to your significant other and await the next gorgeous sunset.  AHHHH!  Sailing has treated us to many awesome sunsets while bobbing at anchor.

Dinghy floating behind.

Can't wait until we get to do it again.