We arrived “home” to our slip at Duncan Bay Boat Club in Cheboygan, Michigan a week and a half ago, deciding to get home while the getting was good. The weather forecast gave us a day of light, favorable winds before heavy winds on the nose were supposed to arrive. We managed to sail about two hours before the winds completely died and remained calm until we reached the head of Duncan Bay, when the promised northerly filled in and would have given us a wonderful sail the quarter mile to our entrance buoys. Oh well. And the promised unfavorable winds? Well, we would have had time to get back the following day, before they piped up. But piped up, they did. Over the next few days, we had strong winds gusting at times to 37 knots. It was comforting to be tied to our slip, even if we were hunkered below out of the wind the majority of the time.
Our sailing friends in Irene’s track rode out the storm well with no damage. However, other boating friends have been affected by the storm due to the extreme flooding Irene’s rains caused in the northeast U.S. We have good friends trying to get south with their boat, but the Erie Canal is now closed (see http://www.tug44.org/flood/hurricane-irene-2011/ for a pictorial representation of the flood damage) and though the Champlain Canal reopened earlier this week, it closed again after 30 hours with additional rains arriving with remnants of Lee. The U.S. Coast Guard is advising against boat travel on the Hudson River due to debris. This is essentially trapping Great Lakes boaters trying to get out to the east coast to travel south this fall. (The St. Lawrence Seaway is still open, but it’s late in the season for recreational boaters to begin navigating that far north.) Not good. Not good at all.