A Tornado, a Storm, and a Hasty Sailing
15 July 2011 | North Point Marina
I have been telling everyone around "J Dock" at North Point Marina that we would have sailed months ago had it not been for my wife's unreasonable demand that we turn the perfectly serviceable ice box on our 30 foot family weekend coastal cruiser into a proper refrigerator. In vain, I pointed out that the traditional Lake Michigan sailor's fare of canned Dinty Moore beef stew and Hormel Chili does not reguire refrigeration. I put up a good fight, and lost only because everyone else in the whole world took Merry's side on this issue, including every person on our beloved J Dock besides me. Larsen"s Marine in Waukegan was going to give me an installation proposal in March, but I told them to "hold off", I had to talk to my wife! So we didn't order the darn thing until 3 weeks before we sailed, which is why our boat was still at North Point when the tornado hit! This happened on the Thursday before July 4th, in the late afternoon, and we were not down at our boat. To our good fortunate Frank, our longtime dock neighbor, was on his boat and ran to our boat when he saw that the back tube of our new Bimini had come out which was twisting with the canvas flapping all over the place. He saved the day by pulling it down and tightening a set screw. Others were not so lucky, 2 boats had their furling Genoa sails come out and were dismasted. Many boats lost all of their canvas and a big cabin cruiser had its fly bridge torn off. One boater was running to his boat to rescue his dog and the storm picked him up swirled him around and dropped him so that he broke his leg. We have a small rip in our canvas and the back tube in our Bimini is bent, but we were lucky.
This won't keep us from sailing. The new refrigeration arrived and Larson's did a great job installing it the following week. On July 10th we said goodbye to our family and our son Brad drove us down to our boat so we could spend the night prior to our departure the next morning. However, our departure was delayed by another a storm with winds of 55 mph and lots of lightening. I wanted to shield our new electronics with my own body! However, we were again lucky and our boat survived although a couple of other sailboats had their Genoa's unfurl and suffered damage. We finally departed from North Point under power around 2 in the afternoon. Our dock had no electricity or water and most of the boats had been moved, so it was mostly a lonely departure. Nonetheless, our adventure begins!