Saturday, March 31, 2012
Last night we started the process of putting all of our stuff on the new boat. It is quite a process to get cushions, lines, bedding, kitchen utensils, maps, life jackets, etc. back in the boat and situated. As it started to get dark, we lit our Weems and Plath lantern and hung it in the cabin. The light gave off a warm glow and a cozy feel as we played with organizing our "summer home".
Come on sunshine!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
No better text for a sailing wife to receive than, "The winds look good for Friday and Saturday." My reply was, "Come sail away with me." This was on Thursday. Mike had to work on Friday and it was my last weekend before school started back up. When Mike pulled into the driveway, I looked out the window and saw him backing up to the boat. You know what that means - we are going sailing tonight! Quick - put some food and drinks in the cooler, grab some clothes and off we go.
We put in at Marshall Park and sailed, slowly, over to the Edgewater to listen to their outdoor band. However, since the winds were not being very cooperative, we arrived in time to listen to their final two songs. Oh, well. We pulled out our tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwiches and enjoyed our dinner on the water. Nothing happening at the Union either, so we sailed back to Marshall Park to anchor up for the night.
Mike had to work Friday so after we got up, he rowed the dinghy back to Marshall Park and his truck. I was left alone on the boat for the first time. This was a rather interesting experience. I am good at being lazy, but it took me awhile to adjust to the fact that I could be lazy on the boat. I slept in for a bit and then heated up water for instant Quaker oatmeal and tea. Hmmmmmmm, what next. I picked up a book and read for awhile and then watched the hard-working girl driving the weed eater as she read a book, smoked a cigarette, talked on her phone and tanned. Oh yea, she pushed the joy stick to control the straight line she was running back and forth across the lake. Made me look industrious. Up went the awning as the sun grew more intense. I pulled out the binoculars and was spying on one of the boats that was sailing by when I spotted Mike rowing up beside our boat. It was only 2:30. Happy lady!
Following a nap, we headed out into some strong blustery gusts and played for a bit. The winds settled down around 5:30 and we headed to Captain Bill's on the northwest corner of the lake. We dropped anchor, climbed into the dinghy, and rowed to shore. As we approached, we noticed that there were four public docks available. We'll have to check on that. We chose to sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning. Excellent food, but a little pricey. We were able to watch a few boats come and go while we dined. After dinner, we rowed back out to the boat and then slooooowly sailed over to Picnic Point, arriving after dark.
|Picnic Point on Lake Mendota - wonderful anchorage|
Saturday morning Mike got up first and took a blanket and a book out to the cockpit until I got up. Then we made our standard breakfast of instant oatmeal, coffee and tea. We did the dishes, read some more and then decided to sail. We wanted to try James Madison Park and surprisingly, it wasn't directly into the wind. We had a nice reach across the lake, dropped anchor in three feet of water and waded into shore. We sat long enough to watch a family head into the water for a swim and the new college freshmen playing a rather tentative game of volleyball. Back to the boat and a reach across the lake. We called our son Matt and he said he would join us for dinner, so we headed back to the Union, dropped anchor, and dinghyed to shore. A few minutes later we joined up with Matt and headed to State Street. It was move-in day for the UW freshmen, so Matt was enjoying the scenery. We headed to State Street Brats for their delicious brats while sitting outside by the life-sized fiberglass cow (yes, this is Wisconsin). As we were people-watching, we saw friends of ours coming around the corner. We hailed them and they came over and we chatted over the fence. They were dropping off their son for his freshman year at UW. Poor Matt, he was the last one to head off to college. We walked Matt back to his car and then returned to State Street to find a TV so we could watch the rest of the Brewer's game. Mike wanted to find a restaurant he remembered seeing, so we wandered around soaking up the State Street atmosphere with the new students and their families, street vendors, and one-man music acts scattered up and down the street. We made it back to our dinghy after dark, rowed back to the boat and pulled out a blanket so we could sit in the cockpit and listen to the band at the union compete with the music from the frat houses. The band at the union played 70's music and really had the crowd going. They outlasted us, however, and we went to sleep listening to the sounds we remembered from our earlier days.
Sunday found us up and back on State Street looking for a new breakfast spot. We found Cosi's to be just what we were looking for. Interesting food and a good view of State Street. We saw students up early and out for a morning jog and we saw students sitting on a bench, obviously still recovering from their previous night's revelry. Back on the boat and out to promising winds. However, they were just diminishing as we headed out. The sailboat race in the middle of the lake made it difficult for us to take advantage of what winds there were, so we put on some music and ghosted back to Marshall Park. The end of another great weekend.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Maiden Voyage is Tania Aebi's account of her solo circumnavigation on her Contessa 26 in the late 80's. She was a gangly little rebel of a teenager with minimal sailing experience. Her father gave her the choice of college or the boat with the stipulation that she had to sail around the world by herself. Tania chose the boat. This is a book about her adventure as she battled the lack of knowledge, inexperience, loneliness (no cell phone) and the unknown. She didn't even know how to navigate!
Maiden Voyage was one of our first reads about someone sailing long distances. We came out if it thinking that if she could handle her adventure, we certainly could cut the land lines and sail away from shore too.
Both of us have declared this one of our favorite books within the sailing genre (and we have read a ton!) When we got down to that last little 1/8" of pages (in a paper book) we found ourselves slowing down in order to prolong the enjoyment of sharing in her adventure. If you are looking for a sailing adventure, motivation to strike out on your own, love story, and coming of age story, then this book is for you.
Monday, March 19, 2012
My other job was to remove the name that was previously painted on. This was truly a "rice krispie treat" moment (looks harder than what it really is). We looked online and several people mentioned that they, as well as professionals, used Easy Off Oven Cleaner. (Note: They said to use the non-lemon version). So I taped off the area with painters tape and garbage bags and set to work anticipating the need for plenty of elbow grease. I was pleasantly surprised. After the foam worked for five minutes, all I had to do was go over the area with a damp towel and voila! no more name. It took longer to tape off the area than it did to remove the paint! There is still an underlying layer that Mike is going to have to compound or sand off, but as long as you don't look too closely, the name is gone! We'll have to do an official renaming ceremony to please the sea gods.
The lakes are still very low, so we can't put the boat in the water - yet! Close, we are so close!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
The 2011 CLR has not even started yet and we are already having a blast. We arrived in Carlyle mid-day Wednesday, launched, checked out the West Access Marina and then went for a much needed swim. The water is high and the water is warm!!! Then we met up with Steve and Sarah (a.k.a. Kickingbug) for an evening cruise. We started with cold beverages under the shade of our awning in our boat, went out for a nice meal followed by a sunset/night sail. The sky was clear, the wind was perfect and we sailed and chatted for hours. Mike motored us out and then we set sails and Mike found something to do on the front of the boat so that Steve was obliged to take the tiller. Since he hasn't been sailing yet this year, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Mike never did finish whatever he was going to do up front and Steve sailed the entire time. Nice to have a chauffeur! Our course back to the marina was marked by the moonlight trail. Very beautiful.
On Thursday, we sailed on our own for awhile awaiting the other arrivees. Carlyle Lake is a man-made lake that is ideal for trailer sailing. The sailing area is roughly 4 miles wide and 10 miles long (26,000 acres) with several beaches and lots of protected coves and inlets to explore. There are many access points around the lake, however, there are no residences allowed on the lake shore itself. There is a state park with campground in one corner and there are four marinas scattered around the lake. For daysailors, there is perhaps the best launch we have ever seen and it is free (Hazlet). There is parking for at least 200 trailers, a stainless steel fish cleaning station along with shelters picnic area and pottys.
At 6 p.m. we decided to return to our slip at the West Access Marina to meet Steve and Sarah to go out to eat. However, Carl and Joan arrived with Miss Adventures and we helped them launch. But that's another story. Once Miss Adventures was in her slip the six of us headed to Pizza Hut at 8:30. Island Time and Little Darlin' arrived and were in the hotel parking lot accepting ooooh' s and aaaaaah's from anyone who walked by. Everyone wanted to see the boat that was cut into quarters and put back together again and meet the couple who was crazy enough to attempt it.
Friday morning the crews of Island Time, Audrey J, and Geraldine joined the fleet. The ladies enjoyed a "Lime Bite" before departure. It was a calm day of sailing (and hot). Mike and Becky were ahead of us wing and wing and we followed suit.
|Island Time Wing and Wing|
|Bretz's Wildlife Winery|
After the dinner we gathered at the docks to continue the storytelling and camaraderie. It was neat to see all the Com-Pac's gathered together flying their personalized burgee's that Brenda and Mike's mom made for everyone.
|New burgee in the wind.|
Saturday morning saw some of us at the Lighthouse for breakfast and others at the continental breakfast at the hotel. Luke and Debbie on Knot Fast (a Com-Pac Eclipse) arrived from their son's wedding in Connecticut. How cool that they would come all that way to make it to the rendezvous!
Cal and Merry on Little Darlin' and Rich on his soon to be named 16 launched for the first time. It was great to add two more to the crew. Today was race day and tensions were high (haha). You couldn't get a more relaxed group. Steve said we should meet at Point 1 at 10:30 for our start....it might not have been exactly 10:30 by the time everyone got there. We all lined up in a perfect line parallel to the start point awaiting the starters horn - NOT! The actual start looked like a bunch of daysailors wandering around the bay, some still coming out of the marina, and some of us not really knowing where we were supposed to be or go. A perfect kind of race as far as our crew was concerned. Eventually we all headed off in the same direction. It was a very windy and choppy day. We all took our turn at pointing into the biggest wake we have ever encountered. The boats literally went bow straight up and banged straight down with water coming over the bow rail. Grins and giggles from most of us. It was quite a ride for us, we can't imagine how the 16's felt.
As the race continued there were nice whitecaps with the wind blowing the foam off the top. Heading around the turn some confusion arose because the yacht club also placed yellow markers out for their race. We all agreed to just head for the next point which was a good idea anyway because we were running into the race with the big boys. We all arrived safely at the raft up spot and jumped in the water for a much needed swim (it was HOT!). The "slushie mobile" (more on that in another post) made its debut appearance and there was a beer bucket sighted hanging off the stern of one of the other boats. Stories were swapped, tales were told, and body temperatures gradually returned to normal.
Next stop the marina. However, several of us took off for another run in the waves. When we got back to the marina Sarah had a grand dinner arranged. We had chicken, salad, potatoes, grilled corn on the cob, fresh veggies from the garden (thanks Debbie), potato salad, beans fresh fruit, salad and a variety of beverages. Lies and exaggerations flowed. Everyone had a great time. The marina facility was an awesome choice. It was air conditioned, clean, roomy, kitchen facilities available for our use, and a view of the marina. You couldn't ask for more.
Awards and presentations were made. Salty awarded Com-Pac hats, donated by Hutchins Co., to the most unique boat (Little Darlin'), one to Steve for coordinating the event, and one to Carl to show that not everything is a "mis-adventure". Steve presented a bottle of wine to the race winners, us, but really we won because we were the first ones to quit racing and drop anchor! Geraldine and Island Time were obviously the fastest boats out there, but they didn't quit soon enough to win.
|Looks like a good party!|
After cleaning up the galley, we wandered back down to the docks for, you guessed it, more beverages. Are you detecting a trend here? No one had to drive, so we were all good.
Monday we had to say goodbye to Mike and Becky C. as they headed back to Ohio and Luke and Debbie as they headed home. Sad to see them go. Joan was ready for a break, so Carl joined up with Rich. Audrey J and Miss B's Haven joined them for another enjoyable sail. We had fun tacking around each other, taking pictures, racing a bit, and chatting back and forth. That night everyone was on their own for dinner. We went back to Bretz's Wildlife Restaurant and Winery. Later we met up with Joan, Carl, and Rich on the dock for another round of sundowners.
Tuesday morning Joan and Carl pulled out. Rich set out to sail to the end of the lake and back. We sailed out shortly after him, but we never saw him to chase him down. So we decided to sail over to a beach for a swim. Steve and Sarah called us and said they were on the water and wanted us to sail with them toward Hazlet. It was another wing and wing run to catch up to them. We rafted up (yes we did that again!) and enjoyed a couple of hours bobbing in the water. We both had a close reach back - never catching sight of Rich until we got to the marina. It was Rich's choice for dinner so we went to the nearby Lighthouse Restaurant.. The all-you-can-eat catfish was really good.
Wednesday we said goodbye to Rich. What a really nice guy and accomplished sailor. His sails always seemed to be perfectly trimmed and pulling hard. Since we were on our own, we decided to head to the laundromat (phew!). When we got back, we walked the docks to check out all the sailboats. Mike liked the Bayfield 25 the best. Then we went out to El Indio for a Mexican dinner. We returned to the marina to a beautiful evening. We lit up our Weems and Plath lantern to give the cockpit a cozy feel. Even though we were beat, we couldn't help but sit out watching the stars.
Thursday was a no wind day so we decided to drive up to Keyesport to explore the town and the rural areas to the northeast. We had really nice chef salads at The Keyes Bar on their covered deck overlooking the marina and the lake. (We stayed in the best marina). We made our way back to our marina to meet up with Steve and Sarah. They brought dinner to cook outside on the grill at the Galley. It was an evening of good conversation with good people who are fast becoming good friends.
Friday Steve and Sarah returned to the marina for an all-day sail on our 19. Steve took the helm in moderate winds for a long lazy tack the whole length of the lake. Brenda introduced Sarah to the joys of riding the bow of a 19. We enjoyed the fresh breeze and comfortable temperatures.
|Brenda and Sarah enjoying the day on the bow.|
|Enjoying a break under our tarp.|
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Mike was in Madison today and drove by the lakes. The big dock barge is by the ramp, so hopefully docks will be in by this weekend. Guess where we hope to be!!!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
We headed over to Warner Bay early in the afternoon. We wanted to be sure to get a good spot for Rhythm and Booms. We were surprised to find only a few boats anchored along the park shore. We stayed off to one side of the swimming area and dropped anchor. We dove out of the boat into fairly clean water and headed to the swimming area. As we went under the rope marking the outer boundaries, the lifeguard approached us and said, "You can't come into the swimming area from there. You have to come into the beach and then enter the marked swimming area from there." Liability issues they said. We thought it would be safer to enter the marked area directly from the boat - but no - we had to swim around the outside of the markers, walk on the beach for two feet, and then go back inside the markers. And of course we had to reverse the whole process to get back to the boat. Oh well, it felt so good to swim in clean water that we didn't really mind.
|Relaxing after our swim|
As sundown approached, more and more boats entered the bay and dropped anchor. By dusk, the bay was full of boats. The shimmering navigation and anchor lights put on a splendid show long before the fireworks started.
|Boats settling in for the fireworks|
Then came the real fireworks. Rhythm and Booms is billed as the Midwest's largest fireworks display. It is timed to music that is broadcast on a local radio station. All the boats in the harbor were tuned to the same station. We were in the perfect seats. Fireworks blossomed over our heads in well choreographed presentation. One of the first songs was "Proud to be an American", followed by a few John Phillip Sousa marches. Again something was stuck in my throat and my eyes were watering. By the time the grand finale came around, both the fireworks and the waterworks were flowing freely. The "Overture of 1812", with the gun salutes and bells ringing, was an indescribable way to end the fireworks display.
The bay was silent, in awe, for several minutes. Then the cheers went up and the boats, with their red, green and white lights flickering, exited the bay as if carried out by the tide. We stayed put. We were in good anchorage and wanted to hold on the the magical feelings for as long as possible. As we settled in for the night, we both commented that this evening ranked in our Top 10.
|Boats drifting home after the fireworks|
But our weekend was not over yet. We awoke late Sunday morning to another beautiful day. The skies were a brilliant blue and the winds were a perfect 10-15. After a "shower in the lake" and some more fishing attempts by Mike (he has a lot of talents, but fishing is not one of them), we sailed back across the lake to the University of Wisconsin's Memorial Union. We set the anchor and then relaxed for awhile to be sure the anchor set. Then we pulled up the dinghy, gracefully (haha) boarded the dinghy and Mike rowed us to shore where we wandered State Street looking for supper. After walking up one side and then down the other, we settled on State Street Brats. We got a table by the window so we could people watch. And what a show we got. It is unbelievable how eclectic this area is. Anything goes! From couples pushing strollers to studded and black clad groups, to multi-colored hair to cute elderly couples, to clean-cut gaggles of teens. You can see it all on State Street. And where else can you have dinner with a cow. That's right - at State Street Brats there are outside tables that set around a life-size fiberglass cows!
After a stop for liquid refreshments and a bag of ice, we were back to the dinghy and a quick row back to the boat. Surprisingly one of the frat houses was playing our music from the 70's and 80's. We couldn't believe that we would be listening to some our favorites, one after another, coming to us clearly over the water. The same frat house, next to the Student Union, was trying to set off some fireworks. They got a "boo" from the Memorial Union crowd for their first fizzling attempt. Then it got comical/scary. They were having some "technical difficulties" setting off the remaining fireworks. Some went up well, but others went sideways or didn't go up at all. There were several "@#@'s and lots of laughter. No major mishaps, or at least no ambulances came. As the sun set, we were able to watch the fireworks going off from various communities around the lake. Calm night, good company, and the end of another great day.
Monday we decided to row back into State Street for breakfast. We had seen the Sunprint Cafe's advertisement for breakfast while we were wandering the previous night and had worked up an appetite for omelettes. The food was great and we got a second floor table with a view of State Street. Then back to the boat to start heading to the launch for pull-out. It was dead calm, so we motored along the shore checking out the gorgeous houses and a small harbor we hadn't explored before. The ramp was not busy and the tear down went smoothly. What a busy weekend. But no---we aren't done yet!
We pulled the boat across town six miles and re-launched on Lake Monona so we could meet up with our son and some friends on their power boat to view the 4th of July fireworks on that lake. Aren't trailer sailers great! Watching the fireworks on this lake has become an annual event. It is not as crowded as Rhythm and Booms and it is always fun to raft up, share snacks and drinks, and enjoy the show of lights around the lake. We motored to the ramp at 11:00 p.m. and were home by 11:59. That's using up the weekend!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Well, here is why we choose the sail.
- Accomplishment - when we successfully navigate a sailboat from Point A to Point B we feel this wonderful sense of accomplishment.
- Adventure - there is something more adventurous about exploring that neat little cove when you have to work with the wind, current and obstacles.
- Enjoyment of nature - you have to experience the feelings associated with silently slipping by a stone bluff and hearing the birds as you pass by to truly understand the interaction with nature.
- Pride - as you learn the skills necessary to move a sailboat efficiently about, there comes a sense of pride in your new found skills.
- Thrill - it is amazing how thrilling a sailboat can be in 18 knot winds. 8 knots of hull speed doesn't sound like much, but you have to be on a sailboat doing 8 knots to appreciate the fun.
- Fulfillment - a weekend spent sailing, fishing, rowing your dinghy into shore for supper, sitting in the cockpit with a glass of wine enjoying the stars, sleeping aboard a gently swaying boat and relaxing with nature make for very fulfilling memories.
Mike and Brenda
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Living in the Midwest (at least for now) we have to fill in the long winter sailing gaps with books and movies that center on sailing. We read just about anything and everything that even remotely relates to sailing and adventure. One of these books really entertained both of us as it contains sailing, travel, relationships and some great humor. How can a book that starts with these two lines not be entertaining:
"Somewhere fifty miles off the coast of Oregon I realize the skipper of this very small ship is an a#!hole. He also happens to be my husband."
Janna Cawrse Esarey's book, The Motion of the Ocean will make you laugh and marvel at a couple's relationship that goes through amazing peaks and valleys while having the sailing adventure of a lifetime.
The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife