Thursday, July 24, 2008

Transiting Home

We apparently did well in the Chicago - Mac. We have not seen the official results. At the moment Ed and I are transiting Reboot back to Milwaukee.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chicago - Mackinac Race Tracking is up!

We have our transponder on board and operating. You can now track our progress until the end of the Chicago - Mackinac race. The link is: http://charthorizon.com/races/2008_chicago_mackinac/htdocs/ We are in Cruising Division - Cruising Section 1 with a start time of 10:10 CDT tomorrow, Saturday, July 19th. Our section is Crus_01. These are the boats that are closest to Reboot in performance. There are 23 boats in our section. Of particular interest to me are two boats: Final Diversion owned by Joseph Haas and Wejamin owned by Ron/Lynn McLaughlin. Joseph Haas was the previous owner of Reboot. He had named her Diversion III. Wejamin is an older Catalina 42 (a Mark I) of a slightly different configuration. The handicaps indicate that she should be a little bit faster than Reboot. Nigel has done a lot of great work tuning the rig on Reboot so we will hopefully see the benefits of his work starting tomorrow morning. What does one do the day before the big race? One would expect that we would be partying our little hearts out. But after spending all last night with one hour on watch and two hours off bringing Reboot from Milwaukee you can bet that what we are really doing when not blogging is sleeping! It is actually quite quiet here at Monroe Station (of the Chicago Yacht Club.)

Chicago Bound

It is about 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning as I write. We are on our way to Chicago with a crew of three. Ed foolishly called his office and got stuck fixing a problem He will be back with us tomorrow or Saturday for the race. We are motoring again as the wind is once more in our face and we are positioning the boat for the Chicago - Mackinac race. More tomorrow from Chicago!

Roger

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Transiting - Thurday Morning

After a long night of motoring we are back in Milwaukee for a couple of hours. We shove off for Chicago and the Chicago - Mackinac race later today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Transiting - Wednesday Morning

We have been working our way to Chicago from Mackinac Island. We started with strong winds in our face and 2 to 4 foot waves. When we turned the corner to head south in Lake Michigan the wind obligingly changed so that it could remain in our face. The waves also complied with the program! We stopped in Charlevoix MI for fuel, a pump out, and water. We only made it in as far as Round Lake as the necessary services were available there. Coming up the Pine River (Lake Charlevoix was once called Pine Lake until they denuded the area of pine trees) we had to wait for a scheduled bridge opening. With 20 knots of wind and 3 knots of current trying to push us onto the bridge we just tied up to the break wall and waited. When the bridge opened we proceeded thru and motored over to the fuel dock. Charlevoix is very pretty, the homes around Round Lake were beautiful. It shows its heritage as a big resort area starting in the 1920’s. Paying attention to the bridge schedule we only spent 50 minutes getting ready so that we could make the bridge opening again. When night fell (Tuesday) we got a new treat. The wind died completely. We have been motor sailing all night and have made it thru the Manitou passage. We are stopping in Franklin MI (we stopped here on our way up) for fuel and then it is a straight shot across the lake to Milwaukee. It remains to been seen what kind of weather we will have.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bayview - Mackinac Summary

We are here on Mackinac Island. We arrived at about 5:40 this morning. Our elapsed time for the race was about 41 hours which put us in 13th place out of 16 boats in our division. We had obviously hoped to do better but this was our first Bayview - Mackinac race. The race was fast, wet and cold. We started in a local squall and downpour and spent most of the first day with the main reefed and high winds. We would get Reboot set up with one or two reefs and then the wind would die. We would shake out the reefs and the wind would come back up. We are all pretty tired from the constant sail work. Two events reminded us that this sport has its dangers. The first night the foredeck guy from one of the boats was thrown overboard and dragged for about 1/2 hour. We listened to the radio transmissions and watched the Coast Guard first bring a helo and then a cutter to try to get him out of the water. They were ultimately successful and he is still alive and in the hospital in Alpina. The second event happened last night when we were about 20 miles from the finish line. Another competitor ran aground just about 3 miles north of where we were sailing. Scary. We are off tomorrow for Chicago and the Chicago - Mackinac race. We will keep you posted. Roger

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Going Dark

We will be heading down the Black River and up the St Clair River to Lake Huron to start the Bayview - Mac race in the next few minutes. By race rules we will not be able to receive communications "not generally available to everyone" until after we finish the race. We will blog you from the Pink Pony!

OceanGrafix Charts

We received our OceanGrafix print on demand NOAA charts for the race yesterday. They are beautiful. They have been updated to the last Notice to Mariners and printed on water resistant paper. We will use them as our master race plotting charts. Thanks to the folks at OceanGrafix and Jene Leiner of the Cypress Group for setting us up with such beautiful navigation and safety tools.

Friday, July 11, 2008

At long last A/C

Ed finally decided that he was so hot that he would take another shot at fixing the air conditioning on the boat. And, guess what? Once he set his mind to it he found the fault, a blown circuit breaker that would not reset. We are now truly enjoying one of the major benefits of being on a cruising boat - air conditioning. As the world sweats around us the temperature inside is slowly dropping. The best part is that we are also drying Reboot out at the same time. Tonight is "boat night." We are parked right outside the Budweiser beer tent for what is supposed to be the biggest party night in Port Huron. We all pretty much expect to be in bed pretty early as we have an early start in the morning. It remains to be seen if the party people will make it at all possible to sleep. We got the Sailing Instructions today and found out that the Cruising "B" class start is 12:20 EDT tomorrow. The start line is about 4 miles north of the Blue Water bridge. Our class flag is purple so we can be in the Barney fleet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday

Today was sunny and quite warm. We continued to spend the day sorting the boat with a great deal of emphasis on getting the rig tune correct. Boats are starting to arrive on a constant basis, we are now the inner boat of a three boat raft and there are rafts both in front and behind us. Port Huron makes a big event of the race with Sailboat Days. We are tied up right across from the Beer Tent! We have not actually been over there, but they have a very nice and quite mellow band playing this evening. The quay was packed with people all afternoon and evening and there is a continuous stream of powerboat traffic up and down the river. A thunderstorm just rolled in so it is now raining but still quite warm. Not the most desirable sleeping conditions but we expect that the temperature will drop over the next half hour or so. Tomorrow we have to wrap up all our tuning and start focusing on race tactics - do we go up the center of the lake or some other path. We will be looking at wind predition charts and then make our best guess. It will of course be wrong but we have to pick some course.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Working things out

After about 500 sea miles over the past few days we have learned a lot about the rig - forestay tension, little wiggles in the mast that need to be made straight, stuff like that. It is a beautiful sunny day in Port Huron on the Black River and we have started the day working on the rig. Of course we did hit two (count them two!) swarms of flies while transiting so the inside of Reboot is filled with bug bodies. That means everything out of the boat and on to shore while we scrub and clean the inside. Sue is off to the Laundromat to get some cleaning done while we work on the boat. Clean clothing will be very nice for the race. It probably sounds pretty domestic, but the days before the race always have a lot of scrub, clean, and make last minute adjustments as the agenda. Then all that goes by the boards as we focus on going fast! More later tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On the Black River

We pulled into the Black River in Port Huron at sunset today. Some of the race boats are already in town but the city really rolled up the sidewalks by 10 pm. I was remined that I have been here before with my family in our Catalina 30. It does bring back memories. We now have a couple of days to recharge and get ready for the race

Last Legs

We woke this morning and refueled. We are currently heading down Lake Huron to the Blue Water Bridge and the Black River. The weather is a bit overcast but the wind is off the land and warm so I am in shorts and a fleece. The fleece is necessary as the apparent wind is blowing about 20 knots. Don't forget you can follow us at http://shiptrak.org call sign W2ZDB.

Roger

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long Day

We have been transiting the mouth of Saginaw Bay for what seems all day (it has been all day!) In fact we have been transiting the mouth of Saginaw Bay all day. The wind has been very variable. Thunderstorms have been parading thru. And we have been trying to go directly into the wind the entire time. Our English crew claim the weather is just like the channel (that would be the English Channel.)

We hope to make along the Michigan Coast late tonight and refuel and get some good sleep. We will let you know how it works out.

Roger

Slogging and the Nordmeer

We are slogging directly into the wind heading south toward Port Huron. We have a single reef in the main and can not fly the jib. We have chosen to use the engine rather than tack over to Canada and back as we are more concerned about getting in position for the race than the fine points of sailing.

I woke this morning (actually, several times during the night for ship sighting and course changes - the joys of being a Captain!) to see the wreck of the Nordmeer. I am now sure that 14 years ago it was a commercial vessel and not the Nordmeer that took down our forestay.

The one joy of using the engine is we have abundant hot water so we all took showers this morning. That is one advantage of being on a cruising boat.

Later.

Heading South in Lake Huron

We passed thru Mackinac today. We are southbound under motor in Lake Huron near Thunder Bay. The wind is very light and directly in our face with light rain and thunderstorms in the area. We will pass near the site where the our first Reboot, a Catalina 30, was hit by a commercial ship many years ago when my children were very young. We have a parade of commercial vessels coming north and passing us. About an hour ago a sailboat under spinnaker came ghosting by heading North.

Mackinac Bridge

We are in sight of the Mackinac Bridge. We will be in Lake Huron by afternoon! Looking good, but the forecast for tonight is thundershowers. Ugh.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the Manitou Passage

A beautiful dawn finds us half way thru the Manitou Passage on our way North. Most of the trip so far has been downwind with mild weather and cool but not cold nights. We have done about 200 nautical miles so far. Later today we expect to pass into Lake Huron. Last night about 2300 a larger sailboat ghosted by and was out of sight in 30 minutes. We think it must be another competitor.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Off Racing

We are off to do the Bayview and Chicago - Mac Races. You can follow our progress at these web sites: http://shiptrak.org – our call sign is W2ZDB http://www.byc.com/mack/ (For the Bayview – Mac starting July 12th) http://chicagoyachtclub.org/racetomackinac/ (For the Chicago – Mac starting July 19th) We will also try to do some blogging while on the way!

Underway

Underway to Beltung. 548 nm. 5 to 6 days or more dependent upon wind. 1 POB + 1 Cat Fair winds and following seas :)