Monday, July 29, 2013

CLR - THE Race

The big race was a tale of two stories. Here is how we saw it, but there are many other versions being told. The start was modified to include a single horn blast as the 5 (5 Steve!) minute warning. All the boats except Geraldine (John J) waited patiently. Geraldine raised her sails thus being loudly disqualified by the committee on the radio. Mike decided to coat up with sunblock while waiting for the second air horn blast. He was at the bow about half coated in sunblock when the second blast rang out (that is not 5 minutes Steve). We later found out Steve didn't even have a watch, so he just guessed. Since Brenda was at the tiller she became the skipper for the race.

The winds were light and contrary, so it looked like a pretty hard beat to weather. The 19’s were all sporting big genoas and quickly pulled away from the the 16’s. Our 23 and Tool Man's Eclipse started at the back of the pack and worked our way past the fleet of 16's. The race developed into two packs. The 19’s and our 23 in the lead pack and the rest in the following pack. Occasionally we got stronger winds and the bigger boats pulled away. Three quarters of the way to the finish line we found the majority of the boats were heading for the wrong cove and then tacking back out to search for the right one. Salty, Lafayette Bruce and Greene were in a tight battle tacking within talking distance at times. Bruce was flying a brand new 165 headsail and wasn't able to point quite as high as Salty and Greene which made it a two boat race. Salty's 19 was flying a 140 headsail which pulled well and still let him point really high. Our 23 with a 115 headsail and longer waterline was slightly faster when the winds peaked up. We both tacked into the finish line area with Salty beating us by about 60'. Nice job Island Time.

Brenda did a great job skippering while Mike played with the sail trimming (mostly he just enjoyed the ride on the bow) which made for a great team effort. We aren't the racing types, but we must admit it was fun to actually pay attention to our sailing and make Wrinkles strut along.

CLR Raft-ups

​Raft-ups have become an integral part of the CLR experience. This year was no exception.

Everyone has their choice for the perfect floating paraphernalia. Some prefer the traditional noodle - which leads to comments such as, “Sarah, your noodle is showing!” or “Grab my purple noodle.”Some use life jackets the way they are intended to be used, and others (Brenda) use their life jacket like a diaper and float hands-free. You also have the horse shoe throwables which double as good drink and snack caddies.

This year Becky added an inflatable paddle board to the mix. That holds lots of drinks and snacks. We kept her busy delivering to all the thirsty and hungry sailors. The variety is only limited by the drinks of choice of the floatees. From beer to brandy slushies to mixed drinks to gatorade and even a box o’ wine. We kid you not, one guy from Texas had his box of wine floating in the water with us. Pretty soon the box became a bag of wine as the outer covering soon disintegrated.

We discovered that after we anchor, we can tie a rope between two or three of the central boats and use them as handholds so we don’t drift apart.​Regardless of the floating method chosen,the time spent bobbing in the water, chatting with good friends, soaking up their knowledge and experience, rafting up is one of our favorite parts of CLR.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why CLR?

When we were bragging about our trip to Carlyle Lake, someone asked, “Why do you pull your boat 6 ½ hours to go sailing? You can sail in Madison, right?” Well, here’s our answer:

Yes, it is a long way to trailer a sailboat. But Wrinkles pulls easily and the ride to Caryle, Illinois is the first part of the adventure. Where else can you see miles and miles of flat land covered in corn? It’s very entertaining (Yes, that is sarcasm). Actually we prefer to pull at night and early in the morning. That way we miss the hottest part of the day. Mike sets the cruise control and Brenda sets the radio and away we go. We do our best planning on these types of long distance car rides. So, for us, the traveling to Carlyle is not an issue.

Carlyle Lake is a beautiful lake. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Madison lakes, but Carlyle Lake has several advantages over the Madison lakes: size, remoteness, and cleanliness. Carlyle Lake is about 10 miles long and about 5 miles across at the widest point. That gives us plenty of room to spread our sails and fly (when the wind cooperates). It is owned by the Army Corp of Engineers and there is no development along the shoreline. That really limits the number of boats that use the lake. You either stay in one of the two marinas, or you put your boat in and take it out every day. That suits us sailboaters just fine. Even on the weekend you can count the number of power boats on your two hands. When we duck into a cove to drop anchor and swim, we don’t have to worry about being tossed about by the wake of others. The water, although not Caribbean crystal blue, is weed free and nice to swim in.


Despite all of the above, the real reason we pack up and head south for a week is the people. This group of Com-Pac sailors has quickly become like family. Sitting on the dock telling tales at the end of a day filled with sailing and swimming makes the trip one of the highlights of our summer. We have met some people who will be friends for life and created memories that will last a lifetime.


If this is even close to what cruising is all about, sign us up! Our only concern - this has shown us how difficult it will be to leave certain cruising grounds after developing friendships in a short amount of time. It’s hard to leave Carlyle Lake and our friends, but we know we will return again.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Carlyle Lake Rendezvous 2013

Here are a couple of pictures from CLR 2013 in Carlyle, IL. We are having a blast sailing, eating and telling lies. What a fun bunch of people to hang around with at a marina.

We'll share more pictures and tell a couple tales soon.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July Sailing

B and I launched Wrinkles on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of 6 days of sailing on Lake Mendota which was to be highlighted by the amazing Rhythm and Booms fireworks show. Our friends Jim and Joni were going to meet us on the lake Wednesday with their un-named Hunter 235. Fun!

The winds didn't bother to make an appearance on Wednesday, so we ended up motoring (yuck) all the way across the lake to get a great spot for the fireworks. We anchored in 5 feet of water just off the shore and had the Hunter raft up against us. Jim set out his stern anchor to keep us aligned for the best fireworks viewing. We spent the afternoon with our friends talking and sipping an occasional drink. Our son Matt and his girlfriend Kelly came out to watch spend the night aboard as well.

Rhythm and Booms is a 1/2 hour fireworks show choreographed to music played on a local radio station. It was so neat to hear the Star Spangled Banner on the radio while everyone aboard their boats stood and focused on the largest flag in the bay aboard a huge powerboat. The show was incredible and seeing it from the water just made it even more special.

The rest of the week and weekend were all sailing, eating on State Street and enjoying the sounds of music and laughter coming from the Union. We love the new public pier set just off the Union. We can pull in and walk up to State Street whenever we want now. We anchored each night in a well protected bay and slept like rocks. This sailing stuff sure is tough!


When we finally pulled into the ramp to retrieve Wrinkles on Sunday we were surprised to see another Com-Pac sailboat. We met Mike and his nice Com-Pac 16, "Clear Porpoise", and had a quick chat. Nice to meet you Mike. We like your taste in sailboats.

Now we have just two days to clean, load and prep Wrinkles for sailing on Lake Carlyle in Illinois. We stay in a marina for a week which is unusual for us. We are really used to just throwing out an anchor and bobbing all night for free. It sure will be nice to be able to take a real shower each day though.

Man we love summer!