Thursday, August 29, 2013

Great Weekend Of Sailing

We splashed Wrinkles on Thursday night to enjoy a long weekend of sailing before Brenda's school opened the next week. Mike got up early to go off to work while Brenda lounged aboard watching the boats come and go. She had a couple of things on her work list for the day (attach a flag to the staff and clean off our "junk shelf" in the companionway) and a good book to read. Guess which tasks she accomplished? Yup, no flag and the shelf was still a mess. In her defense, even the book was still unfinished as she enjoyed the view and the beautiful weather under the Bimini all day.

Com-Pac 19 George at the tiller


After work Mike arrived at the boat and gave a quick tour to some onlookers. The winds looked promising, so we headed out for a fine evening of sailing. The winds were as good as we hoped and the sailing was just plain fun. We sailed all over the lake until an outdoor restaurant was calling our names just before sunset. We docked at the new public pier off the Memorial Union and enjoyed an awesome sunset. On State Street we tried a new restaurant called "Roast" which had outdoor seating and some good food. Tasty food and a couple cold drinks make for happy sailors.


We wandered back to the boat to listen to the band at the Union while relaxing on our boat. The band wasn't the best, but we enjoyed the spirit and energy that the crowd was exuding. About 11:30 we decided to sail to our anchorage for the night. The winds surprised us by cooperating and giving us a nearly perfect beam reach. A 3/4 moon shining brightly, gentle winds, water swishing against the hull and a good boat made for a relaxing sail. We were both quietly enjoying the sail and watching the north shore line until we realized that we had passed our intended bay by over a mile. Laughing at ourselves we tacked and headed back. Sails down, anchor set, v-berth made up with too many blankets.......goodnight.

Saturday we awoke to find bigger waves and really good winds. Brenda cooked up breakfast and coffee to start us off right. We received a call from some good friends who wanted to go out sailing with us. We sailed over to the Union and picked them up. We knew we would have a fun day as Scott and Penny are two of the funniest people we have ever known. We sailed with a reef in the main and the headsail furled to match so they could get the feel of heeling without abandoning ship right away. They took to sailing like Mike takes to chocolate. The boys had the cockpit to themselves because the girls went directly to the bow to enjoy the breeze and view. Scott took over the tiller for an hour or so and looked right at home. We unreefed the sails and gave our company a little time aboard with the boat kicking up her heels.

Scott at the helm


Brenda and Penny

Back at the Union docks Scott and Penny bought us some drinks as we sat in the shade of tree enjoying Madison's beauty. Thanks for a great day guys, we sure had fun.

Memorial Union


Half an hour later we were joined by three couples from Marshall, WI that had just pulled into the docks on their power boat. Gee, more drinks at the Union anyone? After imbibing we all walked up to State Street to eat outdoors at State Street Brats. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying time on the docks with our little group listening to another band at the Union. We finally untied our lines around midnight to sail to our anchorage. We're too old to keep staying up this late! Once again the winds cooperated and we had a fun and memorable sail.

Sunday began with OUR bay full of boats. We are used to waking up to an empty bay or at most two other boat in view. This morning the bay had lots of tenants. The winds really picked up and the waves were white capping. So after reading, fishing and swimming we decided it was time to go play. With reefed and furled sails we ventured out and had a ball bashing around and playing the winds. Wrinkles is just plain fun to sail in these conditions now that she has her new sails. We watched some of the heartier souls out there with too much sail up having all kinds of adrenaline enhanced fun. Sorry, we prefer reefing down and going hull speed under more control.

Another really great weekend of sailing aboard Wrinkles. We are a little sad to realize that each sail on her brings us that much closer to trading her in for a larger cruiser.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Door County 2013

Once again we ventured north to the beautiful Door County area. The weather provided us with many varied sailing experiences.

Just launched in Egg Harbor


On Thursday we headed out for a shake-down cruise. Our friends beat us there and were ready to cast off. We quickly rigged and dunked at the Egg Harbor Marina. Winds were light, but steady. We didn't really have a destination, so we headed out toward Chambers Island about four miles and when the winds quit entirely, we motored back to the marina.


Oh shucks, we'll have to find someplace to go for supper. We decided to be adventuresome and tried Parador which is a restaurant that specializes in tapas (appetizers). They serve them much the same way as a Japanese hibachi grill. Your table picks several dishes to try and the plates are brought out for "family style" serving. Every few minutes another dish arrives. This was something entirely new to us and took some getting used to, but in the end we ended up loving it. We were adventurous and tried several new entrees. We were never disappointed! We'll have to try that again.

Jim and Joni's Hunter 235


For desert we went to the Chocolate Chicken for some ice cream. This store is just around the corner from the marina, so they saw us several times over the weekend. On our way back to the dock we were pleased to see that a band was setting up on the hill overlooking the marina. We pulled out our lawn chairs, sweatshirts and blankets (and of course Drambuie) and settled in for a relaxing evening of conversation with great music in the background. We even shared a slow dance on the dock. How romantic!

Brenda and Joni at Egg Harbor Marina
Wrinkles and her friend the Hunter 235

Friday looked like good winds, so we skipped the out for breakfast routine and had Brenda's coffee cake instead as we unfurled the sails and took off early. The plan was to go NNE to Fish Creek for lunch and maybe some shopping. What a ride it was! The winds were steady, but not strong. The waves were large enough to create a really fun ride! It was like being on a roller coaster - first we went up and down, then we went side to side followed by both at once.


Note to fellow sailors, the dockmaster at Fish Creek did not answer hails on Channel 16 or 9, you have to use Channel 12. There were two short term (two-hour) parking spots so we tied off and headed into town for lunch at Cooper's. Mike was very impressed with the bar - second story open air. After lunch we met our son's girlfriend's mom for the first time. They live in Door County and had a Hunter 35 that they lived aboard for several summers. After a fun visit with Kay on Wrinkles, our" parking meter" was running out, so we cast of the lines, hoisted our sails and headed back to Egg Harbor after a near miss with an inattentive overtaking sailboat.

Fish Creek Municipal Dock


Then the fun sail began. The winds picked up, the waves were larger and more consistent, and we clipped along at about 5.9 knots with one reef in the main and three or four turns on the headsail furler. We worried about our sailing partners as Joni's idea of sailing is flat water with the motor running. We were pleasantly surprised when we returned to dock to find that she had enjoyed the rocky sail. Go Joni!!!

Back on land our partner boat asked us if we wanted to go to Kitty's in Sturgeon Bay. Kitty's????? That doesn't sound very family friendly! Turns out it is Kitty O'Riley's, a restaurant and bar. We found a table outside with a gas log fire in the center. Perfect, since the temperature was falling rapidly. The food was great and their bread pudding was ...oh baby!!!!! It was big enough for all four of us to fill up. Believe it or not, next we were off to the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club for an Elvis impersonator show. Evidently Elvis has left the building. What we actually attended was a one-man band playing who knows what. He did have dark hair kind of like Elvis, but the similarities ended there. He didn't look, sing, act or dance like Elvis. He actually sat on a stool the whole time. Joni commented that all he needed was neck bolts and he would resemble Herman Munster. Oh well, Brenda got a slow dance with Mike.

Back to the docks for another round of chatting and Drambuie while admiring the big, BIG boats.
From the looks of the boats that kept docking up for fuel, our economy is doing well. We heard one skipper say, "I'll still need another 100 gallons." One after another these million dollar yachts came in to fill up. We saw a tanker truck deliver fuel to the dock on both Saturday and Sunday. We laughed as we noted that the gas pump handle wouldn't even fit in our 3 1/2 gallon gas tanks.


Jim posted a similar photo on Facebook with the caption, "When four 350 HP outboards just isn't quite enough."



Saturday arrived with no wind which worked out well since it was Marina Days. We stayed in the marina eating coffee cake, coffee and tea while watching the small boat and regular boats race with no wind. Kiddie fishing contest -Lunch at Fred and Fuzzy's and then later that evening we drove north again for a fabulous dinner at the Shoreline restaurant in Gill's Rock (that is the very tip of the "thumb" on Wisconsin's "glove"). We had eaten here last year and raved about the presentation and quality of the food. We had to return. We were treated once again to meals that were as much art as they were mouth-watering. We timed our visit to coincide with the sunset. The view from Gill's Rock is beautiful during the day and breath-taking when the sun is setting. So don't miss The Shoreline if you are ever in this area. It is well worth the drive!!!! Despite the fact that we were stuffed to the gills, Joni still needed her ice cream fix. We thought about Door County Ice Cream in Ellison Bay, but that was too soon. We drove on toward Ephriam and world famous Wilson's Ice Cream, but the line was about an hour long. Good thing - we were still full. So it was back to Egg Harbor and our nightly visit to the Chocolate Chicken for ice cream and hot chocolate.

Fred and Fuzzy's
Dinner at the Shoreline Restaurant
Pecan Encrusted Walleye
Sunset view at the Shoreline


Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at The Bistro and then Jim and Joni headed home thinking there was no wind again. We said we wanted to just bob in the water, even if we wouldn't be able to raise the sails. Very glad we chose to stay. The winds picked up to a steady 8-10 on a beam reach. We were able to play with our navigation skills as we headed over to Chamber's Island which is 7 miles off shore. Our goal was to circumnavigate the island, but the winds were not cooperating. They died down and we headed back to the marina. Just then, the winds picked up again and we had a brisk 5.9 knot sail that had us both grinning from ear to ear. We commented that it would be much easier to end our weekend and pull the boat after a sail like that.

But our motor had other plans. As we sailed into the bay we pointed into the wind to drop the sails. Our faithful motor, first pull all summer except when we were leaving Carlyle Lake, decided that it didn't want to go home from here either. It took Mike five or six pulls to get her started as we neared the marina for departure. I guess our 8 hp Mariner was as reluctant to leave as we were.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Face the fear

When you think about fear and sailing, most people think about big waves, heavy storms and pirates.  Me, I think about pressure cookers.

The pressure cooker is a scary gadget.  After all, it cooks under pressure.  I remember seeing cartoons when I was younger showing the contents of a cooker plastered to the walls, ceilings and cabinets.

But I am strong and overcame my fear.  After searching for a small, high quality, used pressure cooker, my sister-in-law came across one at a garage sale.  I pulled out some frozen venison, scanned the internet for recipes, and took the plunge.  It was with trepidation that I sealed the cooker and turned up the heat.  I jumped when the release valve first started to jiggle. Someone should have been taking a video of me as I cautiously approached the stove to moderate the temperature.  I really didn’t want to get any closer than necessary - just in case.

My fears were unfounded.  The pressure cooker worked like a charm.  The venison came out tender and juicy.  The entire process - heat, maintain, and cool - took about 45 minutes.  Sure beats waiting all day for a crock pot or 3 hours in the oven.  I can see where this handy method of "speed cooking" would be indispensable while cruising.  

Ahhh - one more item off our to-do list before we cruise.  Now back to sorting items for our next garage sale.