Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Daisy" Transit

"There I was, no sh*(, thought I was going to die"
A sea story

 After my dental appointment on Tuesday morning we gathered up the crew and headed to the airport to pick up the rental car.  I drove into the rental car return lane and asked where I could park while we signed the paperwork.  A nice man gave us a parking place after which we were accosted by woman who told me that I should not have been in the rental return lane.  (Under my breath I suggested that next time I would rent from a competitor so as not to disturb her sensibilities.) We picked up a Tahoe and headed back to David's to load the car.  This was quite a trick but after tying a bunch of stuff on the roof we manged to get it all in (except for the fenders - which of course became a critical decision later.)  We then had a pleasant 8 hour drive to Charlevoix which included watching The King's Speech as the Tahoe had a built in DVD player.  After the first showing the front and back seats changed places and we ran it a second time.  It is a good flick.

Wednesday morning was overcast and cold.  We got Daisy loaded and David spent a bunch of time finalizing the purchase and repair documentation.  We made the 3:00PM bridge. Actually they held it to about 3:05. Since there was no other boat traffic they cut us a break and opened slightly late.  Thank you, nice lady Charlevoix bridge operator!

We motored out of the channel and set sail.  The wind and waves were as predicted, 10 - 15 from the NE with about 1 -2 waves.  We set up for a long and semi-pleasant (it was cold and would get colder) downwind run.  The first 12 hours were great.  Time for the crew to chat and catch up, the autopilot doing the steering.  In the early evening we started the Westerbeke engine to charge the batteries.  It started and ran fine, just as it had carrying us out of the channel.  After about 15 minutes there was a puff of black smoke and the engine died.  [FYI, our remote diagnostic from Mr. Smith of New Bern, a great diesel mechanic, is that the injector fuel pump spring gave up.]  We spent some time trying to see if we had clogged filters, whatever but were unable to start the engine.

Since we could not charge the batteries we went to hand steering and turned off all the electronics.  With another 150 miles to go we decided that we could not risk running out of battery power.  This turned out to be a very prudent decision.  Both nights underway we were in heavy fog and would fire up the radar every once in a while to check for other shipping.  Even in the daytime it was overcast and cold.

We arrived at the outer breakwall of Milwaukee harbor in very dense fog.  We had contacted the Coast Guard to see if they could give us a tow into the marina (there is a Coast Guard Station in Milwaukee) and were told they were not permitted to tow us as they would compete with local towing services (of which there are none in Milwaukee.)  They suggested that maybe the Milwaukee Marine Police could help us out but the marine patrol was not going to be on their boat for several hours.  We also called TowBoat US and they were willing to dispatch a tow boat covered by David's Boat US insurance but it would take them 2 hours or more to arrive.  So I picked up the phone and called Glyn Livermore.  He said "Hi Roger, where are you?"  I said "Outside of Milwaukee Harbor with no engine.  I called to make my problem your problem."  He said "Wild Goose is in the water, I will come out and tow you in."  So of course he called Joe Duehmig and explained that I had made my problem Glyn's, so Glyn was making his problem Joe's.

They came out in Wild Goose and waited by the north gap.  I of course missed the gap in the fog and ended up going into the main gap.  We got the boats hooked up (Glyn provided the necessary fenders) and Glyn and Joe towed us into McKinley Marina where we tied up on the face dock.  While cleaning up Daisy the Milwaukee Police Boat came by.  We asked if they could tow us down into the slip.  They said, "since you are tied up and safe we can't do it, if you were out drifting we could."  We offered to cast off and drift, we offered beer, but to no avail.

Once again local knowledge prevailed. David called the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center where he is a member.  They brought their launch over and helped us down to the dock.  A successful sail.

David mentioned that someone had suggested he get custom dock lines.  Ed and I rolled our eyes.  We forgot some stuff on the boat and David went back and could not open the companionway.  It turned out a screw had worked loose.  We got it open and Ed pointed out to David that this was the life of a sailboat owner.  He suggested David pass on the custom dock lines and save his money for the inevitable repairs.

I walked over to "F" dock, the Milwaukee home of Reboot.  I greeted old friends and discovered that Forever Young was on the dock with a genoa on the foredeck.  I called Tom and thanked him for putting out the sail for me. (You may remember that I split mine in half on the way into New Bern.)  This of course led to a promise to meet later for a drink.

The evening was pure cruiser.  I went down to McKinley to see Glyn and Laura (Wild Goose) on Joe and Caroline's new boat (Wanderlust) then over to the "Sail Loft" nee Riptide for a drink (dice and shots) with Tom (Forever Young) and his brother.  On to City Lounge to see "G", Bridget, Alex and spend some time with Joe the owner.  We then tried unsuccessfully to find Mad Dog Saloon to see Kelsy and say hi but didn't have good directions so got to apparently 1/8 of a mile of the place but didn't go far enough.

Back to Ed (Whisk) and Kristen's (ok, she has a horse but then again is an emergency veterinarian, suffers from mal de mar, and is a most wonderful hostess) new beautiful home in Mequon to bed down for the night.

A very satisfying transit.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Laura's Silks by Laura.  Very beautiful work with a nautical theme.  Check out her web site..

Fair Winds and Following Seas

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