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!

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