Friday, July 27, 2012

Finally gave up

A rare glimpse inside Brenda's mind as she attacks a project:

Too hot to work outside today (projected 100+ feeling more like 108), so time to work on the mainsail cover. There is still plenty of material left from the old boat cover after making the bimini, so today I start another project.

First challenge is to be sure I cut the first piece in a way that ensures there is enough material left for the second piece. This requires lots of floor space, so I have no choice but to take over the living room. It's too hot to do in the driveway as I did with the bimini. Using the old sail cover as a pattern, I find a spot that is long enough. There is a seam in the old boat cover that I am trying to avoid, but it is more important to get a sail cover made than stew about it being perfect. OK, time to cut. Whew, that wasn't so bad. Now for the second piece. Remember to flip the pattern over so the two pieces will fit together. And remember to add allowances for seams and turning in edges. Second piece easier than the first.

Now to the sewing machine. I hope the old girl still has it in her for one more project. She has really been a trooper - tackling jobs way beyond her expectations. I'll start with a simple seam fitting the two pieces together along the spine of the cover.

So far, so good. Boy this is a LONG seam. Uh oh....Looks like the machine is skipping stitches. OK, don't panic. Try a new needle. Nope, that didn't work. Try adjusting the tension. Nope, that didn't work either. Put it away for awhile and come back.

Same thing. Try on easier material. Shoot. Looks like she needs some outside assistance. Find a sewing machine shop. (The one I remember going to is long gone). "Six weeks....your lead time for repairs is really six weeks!" Sailing season will be over by then and I still have several projects waiting.

What to do now...


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Door County - Day Four

The beautiful scenery at Peninsula State Park
Our sailing partners pulled out early so we had the day to play on own. After we helped them put their boat on the trailer, we headed back to Wrinkles and motored out through the channel.

The winds were lighter, but looked promising. We kept the reef in the main and went to full headsail until we figured out what the winds were going to do. We didn't really have a plan on where we wanted to go and since the winds would let us, we headed south toward Fish Creek and the Strawberry Islands. We had sailed into Fish Creek from Egg Harbor before, but this would be the first time we had come in from the North. There are small islands and numerous shoals in this are which required us to hone our dead reckoning skills while allowing us to play with the iNavX software on the the iPad.We also had our paper charts along for reference.  Mike preferred the iNavX and Brenda preferred the old fashioned paper method.

Screen shot from iNavX on iPad
The winds were dying so we switched back and forth from sailing to motor sailing. We passed close by the Number 6 bell buoy. We haven't sailed close to one of these kinds of buoys before so we had to stop, listen and video.You can see the shoals in the background of the picture below.

We turned to the West following the shoals toward Chambers Island enjoying the beautiful scenery. To our naked eye we could see what appeared to be white posts sticking up in the middle of the water. It looked like a dilapidated picket fence. Through our binoculars we could see that this was actually the birds standing ankle deep on rocks in the water. It was a pretty cool sight, but if someone wasn't using their charts, they could very easily take the bottom out of their boat! So take your charts with you if you are going to sail this area folks!

The shoals in the Strawberry Islands
We sailed between Chambers Island and the Strawberry Islands which consist of Adventure Island, Jack Island and Pirate Island. Two islands even had what appeared to be private residences. How cool would that be??!!

Lots of room to sail here!
We were zipping right along and then the winds died again. We bobbed along for awhile (thank goodness for the bimini). When the wind cooperated, we played around a little bit with the loose-footed set up on the mainsail. It seems like it should offer better sail shape. We are anxious to get our new sail to see what a difference it makes.

Beautiful view during one of the calms
It was hard to motor in, but after six hours of sailing and about 20 nm, we were ready to get Wrinkles loaded up and start our four hour drive home.

Motoring into Eagle Harbor and our marina
When we got back to the dock, there were boats coming and going. There was no holding area there, so we ended up just killing time in the three foot deep channel waiting for a gap to open up.  The mast-raising system continues to serve us well and draw a crowd of observers. Tear down went quickly and easily, but it was still hot. We took advantage of the showers at the marina before we hit the road.

Now you can see why we look forward to our Door County sailing trips. There is beautiful scenery, nice marinas, great sailing grounds, interesting boats to see, places to shop and eat, and maybe a bar or two. We will definitely return again next year.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Door County - Day 3

We awoke to good winds, but part of our deal with the crew on the Hunter 235 was to get some time shopping in all the neat little shops in the area. Joni thinks sailing is OK, but it isn't the only thing to do. We all know that a happy crew makes for a happy boat. So instead of heading out into the water we took off in a 4Runner and headed to Egg Harbor. Jim and Mike lasted all of one shop before splitting off in search of coffee and anything non-shopping related.

Brenda, Jim and Joni "shopping"
We found some caffeine and wandered down to the beautiful park overlooking the local marina. This is one pretty marina with wonderful facilities. We stayed here on our boats a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. The big sailboats were just coming into the bay for the final leg of a race. We watched them come in, furl up their sails and motor into the marina slips.

Egg Harbor marina
We caught up to the ladies and went off to find air conditioning, food and cold beer. We tried Shipwrecked, but it was over 85 degrees in there and decided that although we love this bar we really needed some time in A/C. Nearby is a Mexican restaurant called Moja Rosas which served cold beer in a cold dining room. Perfect!

We headed off toward our boats, but ended up stopping in Fish Creek to walk their marina and sample some ice cream and snow cone treats. We are eating way too much ice cream on this trip.

Brenda's snow cone
Brenda was getting anxious to get on the water as the winds were getting stronger. Off we headed again and this time we did make it all the way back to our boats.

We made up some tasty wraps and sat in the shade eating our lunch. Finally, we headed out in Wrinkles to play in the water.

Lunch in the shade of the trees
Our sailing buddies decided to play on the other side of Eagle Harbor in the lee of the south-shore.

Jim and Joni's pretty Hunter 235 under reefed sails.
We went out into Green Bay and were met with good gusty conditions. We are learning to trust our Com-Pac 23/3 and let her handle more of the strong gusts on her own without dumping too much wind. She handled it fine and our friends said they watched us heading out with the rail near water several times. We played on the water for a while until it was time to head in for showers in anticipation of our restaurant reservations in Gill's Rock at the Shoreline Restaurant.

The view and the food at the Shoreline was one of the highlights of our time in Door County. The friendly staff serves beautifully presented meals that are enhanced by the view of the bay at the foot of the hill. Anyone passing this way will miss a special treat if they skip this great place.

Back at the boats we served up the Drambuie and watched the last of the sunset. We didn't do a lot of sailing today, but the experiences of the day certainly made up for it. A little light rain ended our sunset and chased us into our boats. Brenda took this opportunity to slaughter Mike at Cribbage.

Since the cabin was closed up we tried out our new 12-volt fan and it ended up running all night to keep us comfortable inside. The Ultimate 747 model by Caframo that we bought at West Marine (Mike loves those 30 percent off coupons that WM sends out!) uses very little battery power, is relatively quiet and adjusts to different positions easily. Jim had purchased this model earlier and had recommended it to us. So far we are pleased with our selection.

We turned in early to the sound of gentle rain on our cozy cabin. Not a bad way to end another awesome day in Door County.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sailor Lingo - Ataunt

So who knew the meaning of this one?  It is used to describe something fully rigged or prepped and ready. Wrinkles is rarely ataunt.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Door County Day 2

The breakfast at The Old Post Office restaurant was awesome, as always.

We decided today's sail should be up to Fred and Fuzzy's near Sister Bay. The winds looked promising, the sun was shining, and both boats were rigged and ready to go. By the time we hit the end of the long channel to get out of the marina the winds pretty much died. We ghosted along together taking pictures and chatting until the wind completely quit. Eventually we motored into the docks at Fred and Fuzzy's. We forget how small our boat is until we pull into a dock where the average boat looks like a house.

Just the bow of the boat on the right is bigger than our boat!

Docks in Door County are designed for "big" boats. 
 Pulling into a dock in Door County is a humbling experience.  You might feel like a really big-time sailor until you have to get a boost up just to tie off.  The above picture was taken by Mike standing in our cockpit while Brenda secures the "big to us" boat.

Fred and Fuzzy's at opening time.  We love the place!
The umbrella drinks and the good food at Fred and Fuzzy's were as good as we remembered. Their sweet potato fries are perfect!

After full bellies and a fun sail, there is nothing better than a dip in the cool clear water followed by a nap. The winds eventually freshened enough for us to pull anchor and head back to Ephraim. The gusts prompted us to keep in one reef. Strong winds are preferable to a wind that can't make up its mind whether to blow hard or stall. Makes for some fun and tricky sailing. We "raced" a big two master on the way and took pictures and videos of each other. You see all kinds of unique boats when sailing and sailboat watching is one of the fun things in Door County.

The Hunter 235 besting the big boy!
Once back in the marina it was a race to the showers and a chance to cool down. This record-breaking heat means you really have to keep a check on your core body temperature. Thank goodness for the bimini. Without it we would not be doing much sailing at all.  Dinner tonight was at Gibralter's where the outdoor dining in the shade of nearby trees was a relaxing place to recount our day's adventure. Of course we had to have some of their famous cherry bread pudding. We were not disappointed. The servings were huge and delicious.

Next up, a return to our marina for our traditional sunset viewing.

Back at the marina

More later.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Door County Sailing

We trailered up to Ephraim in Door County, Wisconsin for four days of sailing with our good friends Jim and Joni.

Jim at the helm of his Hunter 235
Joni checking out the scenery
We rigged and splashed the two boats by 2 pm and decided to take our friends Hunter 235 out for its inaugural sail as a foursome. The views, great winds, weather and friends made for a memorable sail. Well ok, the cold beer was good too.

Rigging Wrinkles for a Door County sail
Jim just got the boat and installed a new CDI FF2 furler and a new 115 genny from FX Sails. Amazing how that boat would scoot along even on just the headsail. The boat would tack easily as well with just the genny up. Our Com-Pac 23/3 with its older genny really doesn't like to tack that way.

Our "home" for the next 4 days
We pretty much have to have the main up as well to get good tacks. We can't wait for our new main to arrive next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ataunt - sailor's lingo

Let's try ATAUNT.

It could be;

  • Making fun of the crew on the boat you just passed?
  • A line stretched tightly?
  • A taunt that is better than a Btaunt?
Any guesses?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cabin cushions are done!

Who says procrastination is a bad thing? I got the cushions done in plenty of time for sailing last week. ....Ok, so we were spraying the Scotchgard as we were loading up the boat, but they were done.

Actually the sewing process wasn't really that bad. It just took me a long time to get psyched up to get started. As with any project, sometimes you just have to take the first step and then let the momentum build. Having some sewing experience definitely paid off and having the old cushions to use as a pattern made the project doable. First step was to rip one of the old cushions apart. That was really nasty since these were the well used originals! I was able to save the zipper as well as the stiff bottom vinyl piece to use on the new cushion. The foam was in good condition, so I was able to reuse that as well. Looking like the material and thread would be our only expense. Sweet!

Time to break out the 1964 Singer sewing machine that was well used by Mom on several projects, including the prom dress that I wore for my date with a really cool guy named Mike! Mom must have done a good job on the dress, we are still married today!

The first step was to sew the zipper onto the back panel. Then came the tricky part. We wanted the stripes to run from side to side, not lengthwise, however, that means matching the stripes across the front edge. In other words, a pain in the neck. We wanted to add the piping for that professional look, so Mike wisely left me alone for awhile as I sputtered and sputted my way through.

Then all that was left was to sew the top to the bottom plastic/vinyl piece. This was not the most fun part. That bottom piece was rather cumbersome. But I took it as a personal challenge, and soon one cushion covering was done. Hard part over - right!?

Not so quick. Now I had to turn the whole thing right-side out and stuff the foam inside. That process required an extra set of hands and fortunately our son was more than willing to help out. After pushing and pulling foam and material we finally had something looking like a cushion, but we still needed to get the foam and the material to agree play nice and stop twisting. Eventually we got it to lay flat and were able to pull the zipper shut. One done!! No problem, it's still only 8 pm and we weren't leaving until the next afternoon.

The next morning I started right in on the second cushion. Fortunately all went smoothly and I also had time to finish the laundry and get groceries. Yea, I guess I do tend to put things off sometimes.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The heat won't keep us off the lake!?


Sometimes sailing isn't picture post card perfect and many times conditions are not ideal, but we still launch our boats anticipating the thrill of another sail. Although we were going through a serious heat-wave here in Wisconsin, we loaded Wrinkles up Friday evening planning on staying on the lake until after Wednesday the 4th of July. Friday evening we waited for the temps to come down to a bearable level before we hauled out the groceries and other essentials for the week.

It was nice to take our time, not worry about rushing, and still make it to the launch before dark. All was going well and we were on a record pace for rigging when a car pulled up beside us in the lot and wanted to talk about the Com-Pac line. Of course we had some info to share. Needless to say, we finished our launch in the dark. No problem, we are on vacation, and don't have to get up early in the morning. We set the sails and were once again reminded why we like night sailing. The water was calm, the moon was almost full and the lights around the lake provided a shimmering spectacle.

We found our favorite anchorage completely empty, so it didn't matter where we dropped anchor. One good thing about the hot and dry conditions - no mosquitoes. We were able to sit in the cockpit and enjoy the sounds of the critters on shore settling in for the night. We opened up the portholes and put the screen in the companionway, and wished we had a screen made for the hatch.

Like we said, we didn't have to get up early, so we didn't. To our surprise, we slept in until about 9:00. After a leisurely breakfast it was off to sail. Unfortunately, the wind was already done for the day. Try as we might, we couldn't find much wind. However, we did find that it doesn't take much wind to move the 23. Since our real goal for the day was to sail across the lake to get a front row anchorage for the fireworks, we headed straight across. By noon we were anchored and swimming in the water.

It was hot. Despite the bimini, we needed more sun protection, so we put up a bright orange sun shade that came with the boat. Hey, it's not always about looks. When it is approaching 100 degrees, shade is shade! The fireworks were unbelievable, again. We were here last year and vowed we would return as often as possible. We were not disappointed. The show started off with a fly-over and then sky jumpers with smoke trails marked the spot for the fireworks. The fireworks were choreographed and set to music. This year was a tribute to Whitney Houston and included several of her hits. To Brenda's delight there were also several songs from her high school band days, like Pictures at an Exhibition, Fanfare to the Common Man, and of course both of ours favorite, 1812 Overture.

Sunday morning we were slow to pull anchor, but were treated to favorable winds. We played around with some sail settings and got ourselves accustomed to the sailing characteristics of the 23. It is definitely a more tender boat and it took several gusts before we relaxed a little and started adjusting sails and turning into the wind rather than just dumping wind. We never fail to learn something new each time we sail. The 23 sure heels more than the 19. Maybe our new mainsail will help with this. We anchored up at the Union and went out for supper on State Street. Ok, so we were looking for someplace with air conditioning. We decided on State Street Brats again because we knew we could sit there for a long while without bothering anyone. On our way back to Squint and our dinghy ride back to the boat, several people commented on how cute Squint was (or as Mike refers to her, "Squint, the famous racing dinghy").

Monday was the best sailing day yet. We cruised back and forth, circling the weather buoy and chasing down a pretty boat with tan bark sails to chat with the skipper. Our youngest son was in need of a water fix, so we picked him up after work and dunked him in the water quickly to cool him down. Then we went sailing on the headsail alone and found that the 23 really doesn't want to tack on a headsail alone. Next it was off to dinner at Captain Bill's, a waterside restaurant. Friends called and joined us for a pre-Door County sailing trip planning session. Can't wait!

We anchored out because our son wanted to swim and take Dad on in a fishing challenge. The fish won! We stayed close to the launch so that we could drop Matt off in the morning so he could go to work (hehe). As it turned out we were not far behind him. The forecast called for another day of 100 degree temps and winds gusting to 30mph. We called it quits and pulled out while the getting was good!

Another successful adventure aboard Wrinkles.