Beaver Island to Cheboygan and sailing under the Mighty Mac…

What a night at anchor in St. James Harbor at Beaver Island. I read until my eyes hurt, then tried to go to sleep. But the wind was howling and on occasion I was feeling/hearing waves breaking by the hull. I kept listening/hoping/praying for the wind to diminish, just enough so that it was no longer whistling through the rigging. But then there would be a sustained period of wind and it was so loud it was disconcerting. I could not sleep. It was after midnight when I got up to check to make sure we were okay, that our anchors were holding. They were. And the night sky was amazing. The night was totally clear; the sky was alight with stars. With that, I headed back to bed, began sensing the wind lightening a little… maybe… perhaps shifting, and talked myself into letting go, going to sleep, and hopefully waking to calm–even though calm wasn’t forecast. But in fact, that’s what I did. Woke at 0600 realizing the boat was quiet and basically still. I fell back to sleep until Ron woke me at 0700. Wind was W at 4 knots. We did a quick check of the forecast, it looked good, we got the anchors up and got underway. There were some decent swells coming from the south, with wind light out of the west. We put out a bit of sail to help steady us in the swells and motorsailed for the first 2-1/2 hours.

As we reached Grays Reef, we had enough wind to sail. The engine went off, a wonderful (non)sound. As we approached the Mackinac Bridge, waves (behind us) began building. We were sailing with jib alone and still making nearly 6 knots.  

    
   
Sailing under this mighty Bridge just never gets old!

Though the day began hazy, by the time we reached the Straits, it had turned into a beautiful day. And even though the forecast was calling for west winds at 10 knots, once we crossed into Lake Huron the wind began to build. Fortunate for us, we now had land offering us protection from the building waves as we made our turn towards Cheboygan. Winds became very gusty though seas were fairly flat as we neared Duncan Bay, sailing 7.2 knots on jib alone… we felt like we were flying! As Ron says, “This tub sails pretty good just off the wind.” Yes, she does!

We made it to our slip at Duncan Bay Boat Club in 8 hours. That’s pretty darn fast for us! Wind has been blowing stink for what feels like days. We’ve spent our two days here reprovisioning, trying to figure out an issue we’re having with our water system, and just very much enjoying having our boat back “home” for a couple of days (with all the creature comforts Duncay Bay provides). Forecast is calling for lighter winds tomorrow, then variable winds on Thursday and Friday. Frankly, it’s hard to believe the forecasts, they’re wrong so much of the time. These are supposed to be the dog days of summer! If the winds really do calm down overnight (not sounding that way right now!), we’ll head over towards Drummond Island tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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