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Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Other Side of Life - Bayview Yacht Club Team Race - yeah!

Now that we are home, Jim and I are settling into our "normal" life. We don't yet have Crawdad in her new home in heated storage (so we can work on her!), but we are enjoying our routine. Crawdad has a new galley countertop and the canvas on the bridge extends to the stern! Our next project is the swim platform. Our plan is to extend the swim platform to make it easier for Buddy to board the dinghy for his important duties.

This blog is - The Other Side of Life. What was life like before we left on the Loop and ...what has life returned now that we are home.

Racing sailboats at Bayview Yacht Club is my favorite past time. I have raced with Ray and Winnie Adams for almost 30 years on three different boats. First a Cal330, then a Beneteau 38 and for the last 10 years, they have owned a Beneteau 42, named Epic.

Epic is an extremely successful racing team and the crew is composed of a bunch of crazy people that have become my best friends. Nothing like racing in 30 knot breezes and for days and nights at a time to bring a people together.

Saturday, October 8th, was the last race of the season. Epic was representing Bayview Yacht Club located on the Detroit River in Detroit, MI. I hope if any of you are cruising up the Detroit River you will contact me and stay at Bayview Yacht Club. Bayview is a serious sailboat racing club, but we allow stink boats from time to time!

Bayview Yacht Club located on the Detroit River. Not fancy but a pretty fun place to hang out. Bayview actually has pretty tasty food!

Before we leave the dock, we removed anything we didn't need as it was a "light air day", which means we expect little or no breeze. Ray even inspected our bags and requested we remove anything we didn't need from our boat bags and return it to our cars. We also removed the boat cushions that Ray and Winnie had slept on the night before the race.

All that is left on board are the sails we expect to use on the day of the race. The sails you see here are the spinnakers. We have many spinnakers for different wind conditions and the varied points of sail. The spinnakers are carefully packed into bags, so that when they are attached to the halyard and by the clews, the spinnaker will come out of the bag without twists.

The cushions from the cabins and sails that won't be used for the day, along with the dehumidifier and stored in the "Epic Van". Dean Kuhn is guarding the van.

This is the Cookie Monster aka Bill Doyle. He looks like he needs a cup of coffee or a coke to brighten him up!
As we eased into the Detroit River, we watched the sculls on the calm water.  Jim and I watched a "Head Race" on the Chattanooga River. The teams were from large universities as well as small, private teams, including a few with "gray haired" ladies. Anyone know any gray hair ladies? Rowing with a team is on my Bucket List!
Bayview Yacht Club is located under the shadow of downtown Detroit. Note the Renaissance Center in the background. The building in the foreground is part of the Detroit water supply system.
More chit chat as we head to the course. Looks like Joe Lucas is leading the conversation. This race is held in the middle of Lake St. Clair, about an hour away from the Yacht Club.
Scenery along the Lake St. Clair's shoreline. Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

Air Force was the 2nd boat on the Bayview Team. They needed a tow, so we threw them a line and they "followed" us out to the start of the race.  Baron was the third boat on the Bayview Team.
Dean Waldrup relaxing and getting ready for action. Dean has been a buddy for over 25 years.
Phil Zykowski is my pal of as many years as Dean. Can't tell you how many Mack Races we shared, same shifts every time, including the - 2AM to 6AM shift. Lots of philosophical conversation in the middle of the night!  Note the knee pads. Knee pads have become more desirable as we age. Hey, those knee pads look just like mine!
Mit Goins and Winnie (other owner and superior sailor), enjoy the beauty of the day. Mit appears to need some of the same drink the Cookie Monster needs!
We passed the Grosse Pointe shore. Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Before Adrienne's birth, I kept a sailboat at GPYC.
Epic flew the Bayview Yacht Club burgee on the backstay along with the "class flag" for the race. Sailboat races typically have classes, or groups of boats segregated by their rating. The Race Committee attempts to put together classes of competitive boats.
The sailing instructions are critical to navigating, as the details of the course and instructions are outlined here. The race was postponed for one week as the winds were too fresh (high) for safe racing. Winds were up to 30 knots the previous Saturday.
Depending on the wind direction and speed, there are may options for the course. You can see from the diagram, the navigator has to really pay attention to the details of the race.
Ray is concentrating.....on everything and everyone!
Often when I race, Tom is my partner on the jib brake/trim. As you can see, he is a congenial guy!
Phil is working the "hotbox". The halyards, which raise and lower the sails are his responsibility on this race. His experience makes the foredeck work easy.
Joel and Tom are ready for action, but Ray, did you really mean that!
Diann is an incredible mainsail trimmer. None of us!! including the big guys want to trim the main sheet on a windy day. How does she handle that huge main by herself? She must weigh 90 pounds!
Our competition - too close for comfort!
Joel, Ray and Diann at a quiet moment. (Won't last!)
Mit is really enjoying the race. I am thinking the two babies at home may have something to do with his condition.

Dean Kuhn on alert!
The Cookie Monster at the helm. I didn't know the Cookie Monster was a beer drinker!
Phil says it is fun to race, but more fun to win!
The head (bathroom) is spartan at best on a sailboat. Pump the water in and then pump out! The head is a small space that is difficult to use when the weather is cold, the wind is blowing and you are feeling like the Michelin man with layers of clothing!
Oh, I know her! Who stole my camera!
Every winning race brings out the champagne. Epic drinks champagne often!

Team Bayview, winners of the Team Bayview Race! Epic, Baron and Air Force.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How do you sum up the adventure of a lifetime?

We knew we were in for an adventure, but the Loop was so much more than an adventure.....

Here are the Buddy and BooBoo before we left on our trip. Joel had not yet completed the canvas for the windows. We were appreciative often of the fine work our friend Joel had done with the canvas and upholstery. Crawdad was ready to go!
Summary Loop Facts:
13 months
2 countries
21 states
114 locks
6704 miles
3404 gallons of diesel fuel
936 engine hours

Great friendships were the basis of our pleasure. We have made friends for life. Tonight a Looper friend called while we were at dinner. He saw my Facebook posting and had to call to congratulate us.  He said he was proud of us for completing the Loop. We are proud of him for completing the Loop!
Pete and Anna Gulick.

We learned about life. About how little we need to survive and thrive. We learned how to accept a problem and just deal with it....and go on! The next problem may be ours, or our friends and it does not matter. We will stop and wait and sort out the issue together!

Jim was an handy guy before the trip, but we have made a significant leap in our abilities and willingness to fix problems our own.

Manasquan Inlet, Briele, NJ. This was a problem that needed a LOT of help. Fortunately we were near our daughter Adrienne's home in Stratford CT, so a delay was.....well a good thing? (Maybe we have become Pollyanna....)

How does one live in a small space? Just fine! How does one live with few possessions? Just fine! We know now we don't need much to make us happy. We don't need "things", but we do need friends and family!

Charlie from Bama Belle took Joe, our son-in-law fishing a number of times. Joe loves to fish...and so does Charlie.

Adrienne and Joe visited while we were in Marathon.

Adrienne loved playing with the Parrent kids in Marathon.

Jamie and Aisha visited in Marathon as well, before their cruise to the Caribbean..

Jamie and Aisha loved the beach and investigating what was around and in the water.

Joe and Erica....oh, I mean Buddy and Erica in Jacksonville, FL.. Jim has all the pictures of their visit on his computer and of course, it isn't working!  Refer to earlier wedding picture! I'll repost more pictures later.
My beloved sister, Marcia and her wonderful husband, Andy (along with Nanner), stayed with us in St. Joe as we waited out the weather.

Winne and Ray Adams, owner of Epic. I have raced sailboats with them for 30 years! A visit from Ray and Winnie was like....home!
My cousin Jane and her husband Bill visited us in Marathon and Baltimore.

Jim, my sailing buddy of.....25+ years and his dear wife Judy. We visited with them in Beaver Island, MI and Marathon. Looks like three old gray hairs in this shot!
Pat and Ernie Myers from Hilton Head, NC are our friends from Dutch Connection bicycle trips. We have enjoyed trips with Pat and Ernie to Austria, Netherlands, Cape Cod, Vermont, Hilton Head & Williamsburg. Our trip next summer will be to Montreal and Vermont. They are an amazing couple and we love spending time with them.

We never met these two guys until the day of fishing. We were sitting in the dinghy (waiting for Jim......) and we started talking to two strangers. After a discussion of the Loop and a viewing of our boats, they asked to show us around Pensacola. We went.....and look at this! I had never fished before in my life! Bad news is the fish was too big. Had to throw him back.

We so appreciated the support early on from Present Moment. Sue and Darryl were experienced and happy to share their knowledge and friendship.
Sue and Darrel on the left with Barb and Greg from Goncruzin with none other than Fern, from Hoppies. Fern and Hoppie own the marina (really a barge to tie onto) and Fern tells all the Loopers when they stop, where to go and where not to go. Critical information as Hoppies is on the Mississippi. Fern and Hoppie have been doing this service for 40 years.

Sue from Present Moment woke up during the night and took this picture of a barge heading up the river. We were tied to a barge and not far from where the barge would pass. Such a great shot!

Here we are at Crawdad's! Cute little restaurant at the marina on the Illinois River. We had just had the adventure of a lifetime we didn't need as our shaft on one of our engines detached from the coupler in the lock with the tow engines churning. Doing 360's in one of the first locks was not what we had in mind. Darrel and Sue remained with us for two days while we waited for a new coupler to arrive.

Darrel and Sue with their daughter, Laura.

Negotiator and their three lovely children, Jaxon, Ryann and Morgan. We "ran" much of the way running into them and enjoying each moment.
We have new appreciation for home schooling. These are smart kids and are ahead of their classmates. On this day, the Parrents rescued us when we ran out of gas in the dinghy.

Blue Yonder, Pete and Anna, were with us the longest and we love them dearly as we do Mobey, their friendly feline. Pete is the handiest of handy and most willing to assist in any way - mostly to show us how to do it on our own.
Pete is the ever smiling, joking pal we all want. Anna, knows what is going on. Sorry Pete, she's got your number!

Anna is such a sport! The three of us ventured to visit the "creepies" (spooky canals with deserted vessels) and we ran out of gas. I was riding while Anna and Adrienne rowed.

Laura and Bill from Monkey girl live in Ft. Lauderdale. We anchored, investigated bayous and just had a lot of fun. We lingered in Ft. Lauderdale because we didn't want to leave them behind as they finished their Loop. Monkey Girl spent the summer in the Chesapeake with two weeks in Washington DC. Sounds like great fun.

Monkey Girl, Blue Yonder and Crawdad as they entered Clearwater Harbor after crossing the Gulf of Mexico during the night.

Bill is asking Jim if he is OK with the fact that we are illegally on an Air Force Base and the cab we called is over an hour late.  Laura, as you can see, is quite relaxed about the whole thing.

Laura Peters has just ridden miles on her bike and is contemplating the state of the world.

Thanksgiving with Blue Yonder and Monkey Girl.

Jim and Bill on the elevator after grocery shopping. Looks like a serious conversation.

Bill and Jim are skilled at setting anchors.

Sometimes Bill and Jim used trees instead of anchors.

We met Bama Belle at Marco Island when he came up to our boat and said he knew who we were by watching our blog! We traveled to the Everglades, Marathon and beyond. He is a character indeed and generous to a fault!
Charlie showed Brandy and us how to get a napkin into a wine bottle. Information for real living.

Many of our friends were in Marathon. What a great spot.

Charlie is the consummate fisherman and he loved taking us fishing on his boat.

High Spirits were pure Canadian pleasure. Cooking together and preparing meals was a joy of its own. We never knew how much we could love tractors! Wayne and Ruth taught us to notice how tall the corn is, or how many cows were in the field. Who would have thought!
We had a great time sharing meals and trying each other's favorite foods. We ate quite a few key lime pies!

Ruth and Wayne were willing to try anything.

Typical picture of Wayne and Jim. Two very curious guys who like the same things. Means a long wait for Ruth and me.

Grianan were having so much fun and eager to learn more. We appreciated Kate and Greg's good humor at Mediterranean mooring and anchoring together. 
Greg wanted to "med moor", aka Mediterranean mooring....tie to a tree. We anchored and tied the stern to a tree in Baie Fine.

Hiking up to Lake Topaz was such fun! Typical Kate, always smiling and laughing.

Riding our bikes around Mackinac Island on a perfect day.

Finally, not to forget our friends on the "Looper Train". Seemoore, Jeremiah, Bade Boomer and Dream Catcher. No matter where we would go - we would eventually run into the Train. What a joy! We will miss them as well.

Friends for life and an adventure of a lifetime. Never to be forgotten.

Jim and I talked tonight about our next adventure - probably the North Channel and Georgian Bay next summer. It feels good to look ahead and know we will be on the water again - meeting more wonderful people and perhaps running into some of our friends from this Loop ...... again.