Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Door County Sailing - 2011

Here is our final post from the past. We hope you enjoy!

This was our eagerly anticipated long weekend of sailing in Door County. Then we got the call informing us that our dear friend's mother had passed away. The wake was to be on Friday. Needless to say, we changed our plans to insure that we would be able to be there for this challenging day. 

Instead of heading to Door County, we put the boat on the water in Madison. After work we sailed over to the Edgewater to listen to the reggae music. As we bobbed on the water absorbing the island sounds from the shore, we sat in the cockpit and watched the other boats on the lake while we enjoyed a light supper and a glass of wine. It was a gorgeous night out, so we turned on the Nav lights and quietly sailed back to Picnic Point. (Have we mentioned how much we enjoy night sailing?)

Friday we woke up lazy so we had instant oatmeal for breakfast and then Mike "fished" while Brenda read. There wasn't much wind, so we just stayed put until we pulled out to go to the wake. It was hot and we were feeling grubby, so we pulled into a McDonalds, ordered a light lunch and then used their bathrooms to change and clean up. Our next challenge was to find a spot to park a boat on a trailer in a funeral home parking lot. Not to worry - our Door County sailing cohorts were already there with their boat lined up in the back of the parking lot, so we just pulled up behind them. After the wake, we had a four hour ride up to Door County. Since it was Friday evening, we expected lots of traffic, but we were rewarded with a leisurely drive. We saw signs for Culver's in Sturgeon Bay, so we saved our gas stop until then. We thought for sure that we would find Jim and Joni already there. But they had continued on and gave us a call from Shipwrecked, a bar in Egg Harbor. They thought we should stop there for old times sake. A quick glass of spirits there and then on to check out our new "hotel" in Ephraim.

The Anderson Municipal Marina is a small, quiet marina.

No one was out and about when we got there and we had been given permission to park in the lot overnight. It was a beautiful 80 degree evening, so we walked to Wilson's for ice cream. Even at 10 o'clock there was a half-hour wait. After a delicious treat, we walked back along the water front to our boats and once again camped in the parking lot.We woke up to a gorgeous Saturday morning. No harbor master in yet, so we walked along the bay to the Old Post Office Restaurant where we sat under an umbrella with a very picturesque view of the bay. After a relaxing breakfast, it was back to the boats to start rigging.

The harbor master was scheduled to be in at 9, so we decided to be water ready by then. When the harbor master arrived, he had to do a little rearranging on his chart to get our two boats together, but we ended up on the outside dock with slips perpendicular to each other. Perfect!

With all the paperwork taken care of, we were off to the water. There were 14-15 mph winds and 1-2 foot waves. After a short, careful motor through the channel (3 feet deep) we sailed out of Nicolet Bay toward the point of Peninsula State Park.

We were dumping wind so that we would not get too far ahead of our partners and we were still scooting right along! We played with some tacking and turns and had a wonderful two hour sail out toward Horseshoe Island and then back to the bay by Peninsula State Park where we dropped anchor, put up our awning for some much needed shade, and invited our sailing partners on board for lunch.

We had enough fixin's for turkey wraps for everyone and cheese, crackers, chips and fruit were shared between the boats. Ok, maybe there was a beer or two involved as well.

After our leisurely lunch we were anxious to pull the anchors and start sailing again. This time we went for our first circumnavigation - around Horseshoe Island.

Approaching Horseshoe Island

It sounds more impressive than it really was, but it was like a mini-adventure. Once you get out that far, there is nothing but water in front of you for 30 miles. It made us feel like big time sailors.

Then it was time to leave the big water and head back to Nicolet Bay and our awaiting slips. Loren (the dockmaster) did a great job of catching our dock lines and guiding us to our slips. After getting settled in, we were ready for some supper. We hopped in the truck and headed out to explore the nearby towns. We stopped at Husby's in Sister Bay for a cool one and to get some local's recommendations. The triathletes (who were celebrating with Jaegerbombs) recommended Fuzzy's. Who wouldn't take a recommendation from a triathlete who is doing Jaegerbombs!  So back to the truck and the GPS to see if we could find Fuzzy's. No listing. One girl had said that it was just as you entered Sister Bay. She didn't say which end of Sister Bay, but hey, there can only be two ends. No luck. No signs. We had heard that Fuzzy's was considered the Coconuts of the North (comparing Fuzzy's to the Coconut tiki bar in Cozumel, Mexico) so we had to find it! Sure enough, tucked back behind the golf course and among several lakeside cabins we found Fred and Fuzzy's.

Fred and Fuzzy's (Coconut's of the North)
You can only get there on foot or by water. There is only outdoor seating and the food and the view was fantastic. Ok, maybe an umbrella drink here as well. Even though the place was hard to find, there was soon a waiting line for dinner. Glad we came when we did.

As we ate, we made plans for the next day: sail out of Nicolet Bay over to Fuzzy's, drop anchor, eat and nap! It sure is a rough life! By this time it was close to 8 o'clock, so we headed back to the marina for our first sunset on the dock. We set up the lawn chairs and chatted and took pictures as the sun provided us with a spectacular show.

Jim, Joni and Brenda telling lies about what great sailors we were today.
The colors in the sky and the landscape in the background conspired to provide us with one of our more memorable sunsets. (This is the sunset pictured on the header of this blog!) Long after the sun set we were still on the dock, quietly listening to the music from our radio and reveling in the splendor of the day, not really wanting it to come to an end.

For our Com-Pac friends out there, you will be happy to know that we were approached by a couple who wanted to check out our boat, as they recognized it as a Com-Pac. They were looking to downsize from a 25 (not sure what brand) and were researching the Com-Pac. They were very excited when they saw our boat in the marina and even more excited when we invited them aboard for a look-see. There is just something about the Com-Pac lines that draw people in. After a quiet night's sleep on the water, we headed the other direction in the morning in search of breakfast. We found Good Eggs and their name did them credit. We had omelets made right in front of us that were rolled inside a wrap with potatoes. We dined al fresco at a table made from a surf board! Delicious. We wandered back to the marina, taking in a few shops along the way, and then back on the water.

It was 90 degress out and not much wind in the bay and the Hunter 22 was running away from us, so we switched to the genny. With our increased sail size, we were able to catch them on a broad to beam reach and we approached on the Hunter's leeward side. Just as we were able to pull ahead, the Hunter stole our wind and we slowed down.

This allowed us to sail side by side for about three miles, bantering back and forth between the boats. When we rounded the corner toward Sister Bay, we needed some extra ballast up front, so Mike volunteered to sit on the bow. He really just wanted to sit in the shade of the sails. What a difference it makes, though, when he moves forward. We were able to point much closer to the wind. At Fuzzy's we docked opposite a BIG powerboat. As Jim said, "We look like reasonable sized boats on Lake Wisconsin - not so much in Door County."  Brenda headed straight for the beach for a much needed cool down while the others claimed a table with an umbrella.

Umbrellas and ice cream drinks

No one was hungry, but we ordered lunch anyway so we could stay for the drinks. Was it a bad thing that our $70 bill only included $15 in food?  Boats were lined up waiting for the docks, so we untied and floated out a little, dropped anchor, and relaxed a little more. Joni, who is deathly afraid of being in the water, got so hot that she even went for a dip. Mind you, she had on her life jacket, floated on the throw ring, held on to the rope and had Jim holding onto her as well.

Joni at the helm of the Hunter 22
Anything to lower the core body temp. Did we already say it was hot?!!

Back on the boat the winds had picked up with flukey gusts and direction changes and gusts up to 27. We were on a close reach, but were still able to cruise at 5 knots. The winds were strong enough to heel us 20 degrees, but Brenda decided that 15 degrees was plenty. Jim and Joni headed back to the marina, but we wanted to stay and play a little longer and get a closer view of the bluffs. We also took the opportunity to video a Com-Pac 19 cruising along at hull speed!  Unfortunately we had to head back sometime, so we turned toward home and followed the channel markers to our snug retreat.

Once we were cleaned up, we decided to go marina shopping for our return trip next year. We traveled north by car until we reached Northport - the very northern point of the peninsula. We were contemplating a sail over to Washington Island, but the channel is named Death's Door. Don't think we will be taking that trip anytime soon. On the way back we stopped at marinas in Gill's Rock, Sister Bay and Fish Creek. Although those accommodations looked nice, we are very happy with the Municipal Marina we are in now. Another note for you Com-Pac'ers; there were two Com-Pac's in slips in Gill's Rock - one a 23 and the other a 25. They sure are pretty boats.

Back to Fish Creek for dinner at Bay Side where the service was lousy, but the food was great. We highly recommend the Broccoli Salad with creamy dressing! Once again, we had to hurry back to the dock for sundowners. Unfortunately there wasn't much of a sunset because of an approaching storm. However, the storm was preceded by a fantastic heat lightening show. With the radio playing some gentle music, we shared a slow dance on the dock. A perfect ending to another perfect day.  As the first raindrops fell, we picked up and climbed in our respective boats. We were not tired yet, so we had a private viewing of our sailing videos. Looks like someone was having fun!

Monday morning there was not much activity, so we went back to sleep. About 7:30 we heard something drop on our deck. Sure enough, Jim and Joni were up and out and had dropped off the shower key for us. We took the hint, showered, and met them at the Old Post Office for breakfast. While we ate we kept hoping for some signs of wind, but none appeared. We wandered back to the marina, admiring the several artists and their easels set up along the way. Evidently there was some kind of event going on where artists from all over come to Door County to paint the local scenery, enter them in a contest as a way to raise money for the communities. To our surprise, when we neared our boat, there were three artists set up and two were painting our boat!! Again, there is something about those Com-Pac lines.

Our Com-Pac 19 posing in the background
Unfortunately, the quickly approaching black clouds brought an end to our weekend. We packed up and were on the road back to Madison just as the raindrops began to fall.  

We enjoyed Ephriam and the marina there so much that we have reservations to return this July. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Com-Pac 19 Memories

Now that our Com-Pac 19/2 has been adopted by another sailor we have reflected on the wonderful times and adventures that she provided us. Overnighting on Lake Mendota, Com-Pac rendezvous at Lake Carlyle, exploring Door County with good friends and so many other memories. Here is a video of some of our favorites.



We are sure to add so many more memories on Wrinkles. Let's go sailing!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mast Raising System

One of the biggest drawbacks to trailer sailing is the fact that the mast must be raised and lowered every time you sail.  On our previous sailboats the mast was relatively easy to manually raise with one or two people.  The Com-Pac 23 has a bit heavier mast which can be muscled up by a two or three people, but it isn't something you really want to be involved in. 

So, I decided to see what other sailors with similarly sized sailboats were using to assist them in raising their masts.  There are some factory supplied systems and even one or two aftermarket units that I found while searching the web.  A good friend of mine had a Hunter 22 and he had devised a version of the gin pole system.  After watching him install the gin pole, raise the mast and remove the gin pole I felt it was too much work.  I hadn't found any good descriptions or videos of a permanently mounted post system (although I have read about others building such a system) so I took what I liked of several systems and used some spare metal , used line, a few hardware pieces and a cheap winch to make my own version.

I had a couple of guidelines in my head of what the system should be like.  First it should be CHEAP!,  Second it should be simple to attach and operate. Third it should not require much time to use.  Fourth it should support the mast from side to side during its entire travel from horizontal to vertical.

Cheap - about $20 worth of simple hardware including a steel pulley and $25 for a winch
Simplicity - well I can operate it which proves it is simple
Time of use - the bridles take about 2-3 minutes to attach and the permanently attached post saves time
Support - the bridles maintain the plane of the mast even if you stop at any time during the raising/lowering

How to use;

Attach the two bridles using some kind of quick snap shackles and attach the main halyard to them.
Tension the main halyard and cleat it off.
Connect the mast winch line to the jib halyard with connectors or a simple easily removed knot.
Make sure all running and standing rigging is clear and ready to allow for the mast to rise.
Tension the mast winch to take the stretch out of the jib halyard.
I stand at the stern rail and assist the mast in its first couple of feet of rise to take some strain off the lines.
The second person starts winding up the winch as I walk along to keep an eye on things.
If any rigging is twisted or snagged, just stop cranking the winch and reverse it a couple of turns to ease it.
You can stop at any point in the raising to correct any issues.
Once the mast is vertical the winch will hold tension while the front stay is attached.
Release the winch pressure and disconnect the jib halyard and the main halyard.
Unclip the bridles and toss them in the lazarette.

Note:  In the video (our first time using the system) we found that we should have covered the roller furler drum with a towel or padded bag to keep it from scratching the topsides.

Re-attach the jib halyard.
Clip on the bridles and connect the main halyard.
Tension the main halyard.
Put some tension on the mast winch.
Remove the front stay clip.
Run the winch in reverse and slowly lower the mast.
Again I like to assist the mast the last couple of feet of drop to reduce the strain on the lines.
Unhook the jib halyard.
Leave the bridle hooked up and leave the main halyard attached as well.  Then it is ready for the next raising.

Com-Pac 23 Mast Raising Video

I'd like to make sure that I have properly stated that I didn't invent this system.  All I have done is take the parts of other similar systems and make my own version of it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting the blues

Wrinkles came to us with her original name heavily painted onto both sides of the hull. Whoever painted the names really did a fantastic job. The paint was thick and solid. B went to work removing the old names after researching the possible methods available. Surprisingly several of the pros said to use E-Z Off Oven Cleaner (non-lemon scented) to remove the paint without harming the gel coat. B prepped the area and sprayed on a coat of the cleaner expecting this job to take quite a while. After just 5 minutes she wiped away the foam and most of the paint came with it. It only took a couple of applications to remove the paint and it required almost no elbow grease. She called it a Rice Krispy Treat job.
The old name just won't go away
Then it was my turn to try to get rid of the dreaded shadow. After trying the cleaners, rubbing compound and finally fine wet sandpaper I was willing to admit defeat. After 24 years the paint was going to leave a shadow no matter what.
I should tell you that when we started sailing Brenda only had one requirement on the boats I brought home. She said I could buy any boat I wanted so long as it had a blue hull. Our first real sailboat, a Com-Pac 16, came with a faded blue hull that I was able to buff back to a nice shine. Good husband! The next sailboat came home with a white hull and a brown stripe. Bad husband. So of course when I went out to buy a Com-Pac 23 it was blue right? Well, not exactly. Wrinkles came home with a white hull and a faded brown stripe. Bad husband who doesn't learn.
Ok, now you know why said husband is repainting Wrinkles with a white stripe and a shiny royal blue hull. At least I hope the blue will be shiny.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Slushie Mobile

The Slushie Mobile
Slushie Mobile in action
What, you may be asking, is a Slushie Mobile. Well, to answer that you need to know a little about Wisconsin culture. Here in the north country, brandy is the drink of choice. It can be used in brandy & 7, brandy old fashioned sweet and brandy Alexanders for dessert. A summertime favorite is brandy slush - which is the consistency of a margarita. At summer picnics and graduations across the state you will see quart ice cream tubs filled with brandy slush. Add a little 7-up and you have the perfect summer drink. So, to continue our summer traditions on the boat, we needed to find a way to keep cold and serve brandy slushies. After an extensive search on Amazon, we found what were looking for. It was a Kwik Tek Airhead Aqua Oasis Inflatable Island with an insulated center container for the ice cream bucket and numbered cup holders around the outside.
Add a floating line connected to the boat and ...voila! ... you have a slushie mobile. As you can see from the pictures, the slushie mobile is an integral part of a successful raft-up.

Ready for a party!
Here is the recipe for a perfect batch of Brandy Slushies:

9 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 green tea bags
1 12 oz container of frozen orange juice concentrate
1 12 oz container of frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups brandy

Bring the water and the sugar to boil. Hang the tea bags over the side of the pot so they are floating in the water. Stir regularly to dissolve the sugar. After the sugar completely disappears, remove the pot from the heat. Add the juices and continue stirring until the juice melts. Remove the tea bags and add the brandy. (Ok, sometimes I might add a little extra). Pour into an empty 5 quart ice cream pail. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 36 hours.

When it is party time, scoop out enough slushie to fill half of your glass. Then add 7-up or Sprite. Enjoy!
Tell me you don't need one of these!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place - staying organized on a boat

I always thought it was Ben Franklin who coined the phrase, "A place for everything and everything in its place." But not surprisingly, according to Phrase Finder (, several early citations are from nautical contexts. Here's an example from Frederick Marryat's Masterman Ready or the Wreck of the Pacific, 1842: "In a well conducted man-o-war, every thing is in its place and there is a place for every thing."

I have my own version of this: "There is a pile for every thing and every thing is in its pile." I am a "pilot". I pile it here and I pile it there. However, on the boat that is not an option. We have to be able to put our hands on what we need quickly. So it is imperative that everything on the boat has a designated spot and is returned to that spot when not in use. We even tell each other where we are putting something new so that, hopefully, one of us will remember where it is.

Side berth storage 
Over the last several days we have been stocking Wrinkles. Storage on this boat is completely different from our previous boat. There is significantly more storage but in different configurations from the CP-19. We have shelves with doors along the port and starboard sides of the cabin that we didn't have before. There are also two long compartments under the side berths that provide room for the larger items. However, we lost the galley that Mike made for the CP 19 that had two pull-put drawers. Now we get to find the perfect places for all the things we carry. We need to remember that just because there is more room doesn't mean we need to carry more stuff. Well maybe one more ......

I'm sure there will be a trip to the local discount store to find containers that will fit the various shaped cubbies. The compartment under the side berths is long and narrow with only an 18" square opening for access. The previous owners used a system we had heard other sailors mention - rectangular plastic tubs hooked together by a rope in a train-like fashion. The tubs can be slid back and forth so that the needed item is positioned under the opening. I think this might be the perfect spot for canned goods, coffee press, pitcher, etc. on one side and water cannon, slushie mobile, flashlights, etc. on the other.

Train buckets under side berths
I've had to retrain myself for life on a boat. I try very hard to not just set something down - I take the extra couple of seconds needed to make sure the item is returned to its correct spot. Now if I could only accomplish this on my desk! (and my bathroom counter, and...)

Organizing the side berth storage shelves
Storage area under companionway steps

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wrinkles hits the waves

The weather forecast was not what they predicted, but so what. We needed to get Wrinkles back in the water. We were very anxious to see how she performed under our guidance. We pulled her over to Marshall Park where we had the whole staging area to ourselves. That was fine with us as we were looking anything but professional as we tried to find all the right places for the various pieces and parts. But we persevered and in about 1 1/2 hours we had her rigged and on the water. Next time shouldn't take nearly as long. Mike's mast raising system worked like a charm and we were off sailing on April 1st. That's unheard of here in Wisconsin.


The winds were 8-10 mph and of course they were right on our nose, but they gave us a good chance to see what Wrinkles would do. It's funny how different boats feel on the water. The longer water line along with the different hull shape (more wine glass than shot glass) made for a distinctly different feel than the Com-Pac 19. In low winds she gets up and goes and scoots right along.

Now that Mike had mastered the mast raising, his mechanical mind was at work on several other projects. Wrinkles is the perfect boat for him - little projects to work on, but nothing that will keep us off the water. Me - I just sat back and relaxed. The first time I had the tiller, I never even thought about adjusting the sails (yes, this boat and blog are aptly named). I was just enjoying being back on the water again.