Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In the V-Berth

Sailing in a Chinese restaurant (hehe)

Four days on the lake and no particular place to be. We were both anxious to get back on the water, so we were packed and ready to go right away after work on Friday. We arrived at Marshall Park by 5 pm and put the boat in the water. Rain clouds were looming, so we promptly tied Wrinkles up to the dock so we could start our sailing weekend off right - - by walking up the hill to the Chinese restaurant. As the rain came down we enjoyed a bottle of wine and an excellent meal. Then the laughing started. We don't know if it is just a midwestern custom or not, but when we read our fortunes found in our cookies, we always add "in bed' to the end. Being sailors, we decided we needed to add "in the v-berth" instead. Brenda read hers first and it was a ho-hum saying. Then Mike opened his and immediately started laughing. He could barely hand it over for Brenda to see. It read, "Take some time out for yourself". You add the ending. And that's how we started our weekend!

By the time we had finished dinner, the rain had subsided. After a leisurely walk back to the boat, we headed out on the water. It begain drizzling again, so up went the bimini and down went Brenda into the cabin. We were the only pleasure boat out on the lake. Of course, there were a few fishermen trying to cash in on the rain and the presumed better fishing. Can you imagine wanting to launch in the rain? We headed over to our anchorage spot while Brenda tried to organize the cabin. It's amazing how much stuff you load on to the boat each time - clothes, food, cooler, electronics. Add to that the general clutter that is associated with a launch, and you have a 20 minute project.

By the time we reached our anchorage it began raining in earnest. This gave us the perfect opportunity to see where the leaks were. We had brought along the port-hole gaskets that we had just received from Hutchins, so Mike put two in right away. He was sure the gaskets were the originals as they crumbled as he pried them out. We put the other four in later during the weekend. We lit the oil lantern to give us some light and dry out the boat. We went to sleep to the sounds of rain on the cabin roof and rumbles in the air.

Getting up a little late in the morning felt good as we were both tired out from a long week of work along with the gray skies through the portholes. A relaxed breakfast cooked on our little butane stove and it was time to become a sailboat again. We put a reef in the mainsail even though the winds looked to be pretty moderate. After rounding up on our last sail we were both ready to err on the safe side with too little sail up.

Within an an hour the winds were picking up just like the forecast predicted. 10 to 14 knot winds with some decent gusts gave us an opportunity to try different sail adjustments. Since we remembered to bring the boom vang this trip we put it to good use. Our sails are pretty old and tired which leads to bagged out sail shapes. The boom vang certainly helps to flatten the main out to handle the gusts better. We were glad we started with the main reefed as the winds continued to gain strength. We felt out of balance though as the full 110 headsail was out, so we took a few turns on the roller furler to match its pull with the reduced main. Brenda was a much happier sailor and felt much more comfortable at the tiller. (I'm always proud of her when she takes the tiller in rougher conditions and works on her sailing skills. - Mike)

The weather continued to worsen with a nasty weather cell approaching quickly from the southwest. We had planned on meeting our youngest son on State Street for supper, but between the chop in the water and the ugly skyline we cancelled our plans and sailed with just a partially furled headsail only toward a protected anchorage. We tucked into the farthest corner along with a couple of stinkpots to watch the scary lightning show. The whitecaps and rain just a few hundred yards from our anchorage didn't look at all inviting. Some hot soup, cheese and crackers along with a glass of wine in our cozy cabin made the evening worthwhile.

Storm cell as it passed to the north.  You should have seen the lightning!

Sunday brought some beautiful sunshine and calmer weather. We quickly ate our oatmeal and rolled out the sails. A few hours of nice 7 to 9 knot winds with very little gusting reminded us why we love sailing. We took turns at the tiller as usual and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We sailed into a few areas of the lake we don't get into very often and sailed casually along the bluffs looking at the lovely homes.

Much nicer sailing today!

Our son decided to join us for a few hours, so we sailed downwind to a sandy beach area and anchored Wrinkles up in 3 feet of water. Matt was able to wade out to the boat and we ended up joining him for a swim. At the same time some friends launched their power boat at the nearby ramp and joined us in the water. They took us for a ride around the lake which was a nice change of pace. By the time we returned to our sailboat the wind and chop had jumped back up. We took Matt out for a short sail, but it wasn't much fun as another front was coming in with switching winds and strong gusts. We headed toward shore to drop Matt off and Mike said it would be better to drop at the marina rather than sail into a lee shore in these conditions. Sounds reasonable doesn't it?

Mike lined our sailboat up perfectly between the red and green entrance buoys and planned a touch-n-go drop at one of the piers. Great plan Skipper! Well, since the boat came to a complete stop just as the bouys passed our stern, the good ship Wrinkles had obviously had her first grounding. How can a boat launch have an entrance that a shoal draft sailboat can't navigate? Send all crew to the bow, outboard in full reverse, nothing! Ok Skipper, swallow your pride and get in the water. With Brenda running the outboard and you know who in the water pushing on the hull, we sheepishly got out of trouble and hightailed it away from there. Another lesson learned.

After the full day of fun and stress we decided that instead of tacking hard for 4 miles straight into the headwind and chop that using the gas powered sail sounded pretty good. The Yamaha 8 HP - 2 stroke purred along and brought us to the calm waters of the southern shore right outside the UW-Wisconsin Memorial Union. Brenda crawled happily into the V-berth for a power nap as Mike rested in the cockpit quietly going over the grounding mess in his head with two cold Spotted Cow beers to heal his pride.

Wrinkles quietly waiting for our return.

The wind died out so we put our little dinghy Squint to work and rowed into shore to find a well deserved meal. Tutto Pasta was the restaurant of choice this time as they serve a really good Sangria along with great pasta dinners at their outdoor tables. The waitress actually remembered us from our previous visit last fall. We can't even remember if there is still milk in the fridge. A nice row back to our comfy sailboat ended a very busy day.

Brenda got out of bed before Mike (Say what!) and checked on the weather forecast for this Memorial day. She reported that the winds were going to be good for a couple of hours and then start cranking up again. OK, new plan. We skipped breakfast and quickly sailed off our anchor. We ghosted around and through the mooring field heading out into the lake. A sailor on a classy moored boat hailed us, "Pretty boat. Is that a Com-Pac 23?". That guy knows his boats as our 23 doesn't have any identifying marks on it at all right now.

The view from our cockpit

We enjoyed a great beam reach the entire way back to the launch. Having learned a little more about what sail combos work well in moderate winds sure made it a relaxed sail. A perfect kind of sail to end the weekend.

Once we got back to the ramp we executed a perfect landing and quickly put Wrinkles on her trailer. Having skipped breakfast we decided to leave Wrinkles on her trailer in the lot until we had walked down to a local restaurant for a hearty meal. We walked back hand in hand looking at the houses along this shoreline. When we arrived back at the boat we were met by a man who knew our names as well as our boat's. It turns out that Roy had come across our name in the Com-Pac Yacht Owners Association website and had been following us on this blog. Neat! We chatted with Roy as we slowly (and we mean slowly) started putting Wrinkles to bed. Roy was particularly interested in seeing the mast raising system used in person. He had just purchased a Com-Pac 23/3 and was planning on using the system as well. It is fun to chat with fellow sailors as they are always really nice people. We hope to sail with Roy and his 23 some time.

Geez, this is a long post. But what can we say - it was a jam-packed weekend. 

Happy Memorial Day and our personal thanks to all the men and women who have served our country.

No comments:

Post a Comment