06/18/2011, Put in Bay
After several weeks of day sailing we have worked out the kinks and gotten used to sailing and docking the boat, and we made our first overnight trip starting with Put In Bay. There is an event every year that is coordinated by a Columbus Ohio FM rock station, QFM 96, called the Put In Bay Breakfast Club. QFM 96 broadcasts their morning show from The Boardwalk restaurant on the upper deck and everyone starts drinking at 6 AM. It is usually well attended and always very entertaining. Some friends of ours from Columbus were staying on South Bass Island (where Put In Bay is) and we decided to meet them for the Breakfast Club.
Put In Bay has a history of drunkenness and debauchery that dates back to the late 1800's and it gets pretty crazy on the weekends at night. The main street downtown is lined with bars and restaurants and some small touristy shops. Beyond the main street there are quite a few residential homes, hotels, B&Bs in addition to other sight seeing things to do. It is actually very cool for Ohio. Ferry service is available from Port Clinton, Sandusky and at the tip of Catawba. There are public docks and mooring buoys for boats to tie up. It is affectionately called "the Key West of the Midwest". Below are pictures of some of our favorite stops.
The Boardwalk offers great waterfront views, fully stocked bars and pretty good food. They have excellent Key West Pinks shrimp and their own recipe for lobster bisque. Outstanding!
The Frosty Bar serves cold Labatt Blue drafts in chilled fish bowl glasses and there is always an interesting crowd in there. Their pizza is marginal at best, but somehow it tastes fantastic at midnight after some serious drinking.
Mojito Bay has a cool décor featuring swinging bar seats and a "beach like" sand floor.
The Round House Bar is actually round and has a big crescent shaped bar. They usually feature pretty good bands and there is almost always a crowd. It has an interesting history which you can check out at http://theroundhousebar.com/history.html
We attended the Breakfast Club and afterwards hosted a mid-day happy hour with our friends aboard the boat.
The day before, on the trip from Catawba to Put in Bay, we were getting a "low batt" message when trying to engage the autopilot. So we decided to dig in to that and try to get "Otto" working again. Anyone who owns a boat can attest to the fact that being a contortionist is a mandatory prerequisite for ownership, and this became a prime example in spite of the roomy design of Island Packets. We had no luck in finding any loose wires or voltage abnormalities so I will have to call Raymarine and figure out what to do next.
Some other very close friends who live in the Catawba area met us for dinner at Put in Bay, and afterwards we called it a night. Tomorrow we head for Vermillion.
06/01/2011, Catawba Island
So many people ask for more information about the boat, so here is a brief rundown:
Builder: Island Packet Yachts
Length Overall: 41' 6"
Beam (width): 12' 11"
Draft (depth): 4' 8"
Mast Heigth: 53' 8" above the water line
Displacement: 22,800 lbs.
Sail Area: 907 sq. ft.
Auxiliary Power: 50 HP inboard diesel
Water Capacity: 170 gallons
Fuel Capacity: 90 gallons
Year Built: 1995
Island Packet builds a very solid, blue water capable boat. The IP40 has a full keel and a heavy displacement, which makes for a comparitively stable and smooth ride at sea.
The boat is cutter rigged, which means it has a smaller "stay sail" between the main sail (attached to the mast) and the genoa (front sail). The cutter rig gives you lots of options about which sails to have up and how much of the sail to let out, and helps to accomodate a wide variety of wind conditions. We also have an asymetrical spinnaker (very large front sail) that is used in lighter wind conditions.
You can see the internal layout of the boat in the picture above. It has 2 master cabins, 2 heads (bathrooms) with showers, and a galley (kitchen) with stove, microwave and refrigerator. The saloon (living room area) can be configured to sleep 2 people on a double bed and one along the port (left side of boat) settee (seating bench). A table folds down to service people on both sides of the saloon and there is a place to store bottles and glasses behind the table when it is stowed. We call this our "bar"!
Island Packets are known for their ample storage and it is a well earned reputation. The interior is well trimmed with teak and the fit and finish is superior.
We have lots of electronic gear including stereo, VHF marine radio, chart plotter (nautical mapping with GPS), radar, autopilot (to steer the boat for us), wind instruments, depth instrument, and speed instruments. There is also a power managment system that keeps you informed about battery status, and makes sure the batteries are properly charged when under power (using the engine) or plugged into power at the dock. We also have 2 flat panel TVs with the ability to use a cable hookup or a digital antennae.
There is excellent access to the engine and all things associated with it (a major benefit, as there will be lots of time spent working in this area!).
There are also 2 air conditioning units that can be used when plugged into shore power at the dock. In addition, there are 12V fans located throughout the cabin to keep air moving, 13 opening ports with screens, seven deck hatches with screens, and 4 dorade deck ventilators to provide excellent ventilation.
We have 2 anchors in rollers at the bow and an anchor windlass to raise and lower the anchors and their 300' feet of chain.
There is a set of davits (steel arms for raising and lowering the dinghy) attached to the stern (back of the boat). When cruising, the dinghy is in essence "the car", and davits keep the dinghy up out of the water when underway.
Island Packet makes a very nice boat. It is very livable and much like an efficiency apartment.
Well...finally ready to get the boat into the water...not just yet - FOG. The fog was so thick you could hardly see six feet in front of you. Needless to say, we waited until it cleared, then made the drive to Sandusky.
The yard already had the boat in the water when we got there and the engine was running. We moved her over to a nearby dock and prepped for the trip to Catawba Island and our dock.
This was the first time piloting the boat and I was impressed with how solid and stable she was. Motoring through Sandusky bay and toward the tip of Cedar Point, I noticed the depth guage getting dimmer...and dimmer...and the visibility started getting worse. As we entered the Sandusky Bay chanel we lost all electonics and were enveloped with fog.
Now let me go back a few weeks to the decision to wait to replace the batteries. We knew the batteries needed to be replaced, but figured they would get us to our dock, and it would be much easier to replace them at the dock than on the hard (primarily due to the weight). Bad decision!
I always carry a handheld VHF and map GPS. Good decision! So I pressed on using the handhelds, but the fog just got worse. It was pretty scary hearing the sounds of engines and not being able to see where they were or what they were, but we kept a good watch and a slow speed, and the fog lifted completely to a bright, clear day as we approached Catawba Island.
The first time docking a new boat is a little intimidating to say the least! But we got her secured with no incident.
05/15/2011, Sandusky Ohio
I am not sure but I think there have only been 2 days during the whole month of April that it did not rain! The weather averages have been blown away...both for excessive rain levels and much colder than normal - GREAT.
We have been working away in spite of mother nature, and here is a summary list of what we have done so far:
- Thorough cleaning of the interior
- Stripped 1/2 of the teak cap rails for refinishing
- Painted the bottom with anti-fouling paint
- Sanded and painted a new boot stripe
- Removed old cove stripe and put a new one on
- Cleaned and waxed the hull (4 coats of wax)
- Re-bedded 2 of the port chain plates (fixing leaks)
- Painted interior port lockers
- Repaired minor gel coat damage on the keel
- Repaired keel heel where the heel strap attaches
- Painted the radar pole
- Reinforced the bottom of the propane locker by adding a layer of fiberglass
We racked up over 110 hours of labor on these projects and paid to have the fiberglass work done by the boatyard. We are completely exhausted and extremely sore, but the boat is looking good, and we are ready to launch.
04/01/2011, Sandusky Ohio
The winter in Ohio this year just SUCKS! It has hung on way too long with much snow and cold, and we need an escape plan.
We had been contemplating an extended voyage (cruising) via sailboat for several years and doing our due diligence. We narrowed the choice in boat brands and were actively looking for the right "deal", when we came upon a listing for an Island Packet 40 in Sandusky Ohio.
Since we dock in West Harbor on Catawba Island, which is only a 20 minute drive via car from Sandusky, the listing held great appeal. Always in fresh water and more than capable in blue water, with an easy delivery to our dock...excellent start . After initial inspection (in pouring rain which turned to snow) and professional survey, we bought the boat. We didn't even have to change the name or hailing port on the back.
So now we set out to conquer the long list of projects that need to be completed before we launch her.