Ron suggested we get underway by 0630, but we didn’t make it. Still, we cleared the Muskegon pierhead by 0800 and were met by a glassy Lake Michigan.
We motored north until Little Sable when we began getting a bit of breeze out of the south. The kite surfers were putting the 10 knots of breeze to amazing use. They sure do fly across the water, and make it look so effortless!
Our jib came out and a few minutes later, the engine was off. Ahhhh… We are reminded again of the reason we sail. (One difference between saltwater and freshwater was readily apparent: saltwater “fizzes” by the hull; freshwater does not!) However, as we sailed along, we wondered if the cigarette boats screaming up the coast and dune buggies riding the dunes at Silver Lake have any idea just how much noise they make. They make a lot of noise when you’re out on the water, riding on the wind alone.
The wind began to die when we were about 7 nm out of Ludington, but I asked Ron to continue sailing for another 25 minutes. Just 25 minutes more would put us sailing for 3 hours and 48 minutes: the total amount of time we sailed all of last winter in Florida. (Any more questions why we bought a trawler for Florida?). In one day–our first day out–we sailed 4 hours and 2 minutes, more sail time than 3 months in Florida. Oh yeah… Love these Great Lakes!
It wasn’t all fun today, though. Our head wasn’t working right and so Ron suggested I take a look at the new joker valve he’d installed a few days ago. Can’t say I knew what I was doing, but my hands are smaller and my fingers fit better in the tight spaces. I “googled” joker valves (yay for internet on the water) and went to work taking it apart and reinstalling it. And get this: I fixed it! Unfortunately, I’ve been told that this job now belongs to me. Ick.
Tomorrow our plan is to anchor in Betsie Lake at Frankfort. We have about the same distance as today so it will be another early start. Years ago, when our kids were small, we considered ourselves finally cruising once we reached Frankfort.
Our keel repair, you ask? Good question. Do we have a dry bilge? No. We are getting about 3/4 gallon of water that seeps in, that stops just below the threshold for the bilge pump to activate. And it stays at that level. Our bilge pump has not yet activated. I have sponged the bilge out to empty 3 times and each time it fills to that low level. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. At this point, I am wondering if the water is coming from the bilge pump itself. Ron doesn’t agree. But we’re not sinking. And we’re doing what Joe, the boatyard owner in Florida told us to do. He said to us last winter: “You guys are crazy. What were you planning to do this winter? Sail? Then go sailing!”