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The Voyages of s/v Lucky Bird
The Last Chapter is Finished
08/04/2013, Back In Chicago

What a sail!! Racine, WI to 31st Street Harbor, Chicago and Mother Nature let us know we had paid all our dues. Winds 12 knots or so shifting from NW, to N, to NE to E driving us down the coast at 8 knots, fantastic just what sailors hope for and dream about.

Overall, just over some 900 miles and lots of sailing, TBTG!

So once again Lucky Bird pulled off a superior performance handling the rough and the calm even hooking a dead head. Yup she's quite a girl and Kody did just fine. Would we take Kody again, absolutely without a doubt. We played tricks on her when we wanted to leave the boat without her. We hid treats all around the boat and started her on her hunt and then quietly exited. It worked every time with no barking. Good ole Kody.

Would we do the North Channel again? umm, maybe, but quite frankly I'm getting bored with the trip up and back on Lake Michigan. Close to 700 miles just to start the Channel experience. Maybe I'm just getting too senior to look forward to the Lake Michigan portion, all-though yesterday's sail was worth all the other stuff you have to deal with sailing on the Great Lake Michigan.

So we're packing up and heading back to civilization, darn!!

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Scotch/Rye, Upsidedown cake, chips
08/01/2013

We're on a sail boat, right? So yesterday we sailed from Frankfurt, MI to Kawanee, WI, 8 to 9 knots broad reach, now that's not sexist, just a legitimate point of sail. Lucky Bird like broad reaches, so do Alice and I, Kody not so much too much healing and rolling.

A dinner at the local watering hole was a great experience. Local folks talked about themselves and we listened. Good stories, good people, real people.

Last night Kody slipped attempting to board the boat and went for an unexpected swim. This is the second time we've had to pull this dog from the water, this time she went completely under. Fortunately dogs have very short memories and she was back up and down to the dock.

Sailing today down the coast of WI, Alice decided to do some baking. She decided on a pineapple upside-down cake. I'm doing all the work sailing LB while she's baking. Actually LB was sailing herself with Vivaldi so I was actually just reading.

After docking in Sheboygan, WI we hiked to the liquor store to buy some dinner. Scotch, rye and some chips. So for dinner it was booze, cake and chips, now doesn't that sound lake vacation eating?

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Goodbye North Channel
07/29/2013

So our journey to the North Channel is on the final leg. We suffered a very long and tedious power/sail yesterday doing just what I've said I'd no long do, pounding into the wind and waves on our nose. Argg!! We had a reefed main to help slow the rolling and give a little boost in speed. Threatening clouds all day with warnings of water-spouts. Only saw the makings of a water-spout but it never touched down.

We were beat as we headed into Little Traverse Bay heading for Irish Boat Shop in Harbor Springs. And then the rainbows. I've never experienced a rainbow that started right at our boat and went up over us. Then another, a second bow, it seemed they were coming from Lucky Bird, quite spectacular a nice ending for a very long day. It's almost like Mother Nature was saying, OK you paid you dues today here's a reward. Nice.

As an aside, Kody is not very pleased with all the rocking and rolling, with the rain and the loud sound of the wind in the rigging. Quite a bit of shaking going on with the Kodster.

As always, LB did just fine, it's just us the old folks who have the problems with winds/waves on the nose. So now it's out into Lake Michigan for the trip back to Chicago. Wind forecasts don't seem to favorable, ah I remember those three gorgeous weeks we had in the Channel, more dues paying I guess.

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Vivaldi is the Best
07/25/2013, Meldrum to Drummond

Vivaldi is our Hydrovane self steering device and he, it, sailed us some 50 miles today while we played with Kody, read, drank some wine and enjoyed sailing the North Channel. The solar panel was putting out 2 - 3 amps, the wind generator kicked in another 5 to 8 and we were living well, all systems go. LB is a great home on the water and we are lov'in it.

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Dead Heads and Out of Control
07/25/2013, John Harbor and Meldrum Bay

We've turned west, had a great sail from Gore Bay to John Harbor. Logging was once a strong industry on John Island with people working, ships hauling and commerce commercing. That's all long gone except.......what did they leave behind? We we found out the hard way. The weather forecast called for strong NorthWesterly winds, 30 knots or so. We had anchored on the southern side of John Harbor and as the winds increased I decided we should move to the other side, the north side. Up came the anchor and off we went. We found a spot; down with the anchor but this time it didn't feel quite right, so we sat and watched and sure enough the winds were strong enough that we were dragging, not good. So up again with the anchor and OMG we had hooked a Dead Head, a cut log, about 20 feet long and about 1 1/2 feet in diameter. Oh crap, now what? The wind is 25 to 30 knots, and we've got this huge log impaled on our anchor, this is way not cool. If I can't get this log off the anchor we are in big do-do. So, I hoped that by dropping the anchor really fast, faster hopefully than the log would sink, the anchor would sake free; Yippee! it worked no log. The anchoring events weren't over for us though but too much of our problems gets boring, right? right!

Next morning after Kody's shore poddy break we were of for Drummond Island, USA. Super sail, making great time until the winds went forward and increased to 20 knots. Now remember these old folks don't like to pound into waves hard on the wind, that's sailing close hauled and the waves were getting annoying so we bailed. We turned left and headed for Meldrum Bay for the night. Now we were beam reaching at 8.5 to 9 knots, right on! So Meldrum Bay it was, we anchored, took Kody ashore for you know what and settled back aboard LB for cocktails and munchies. About this time we notice a sail boat actually sailing into the harbor, nice job, someone who is patient, a real sailor, wrong. This guy sail up too close only to tell me his engine wouldn't start and he didn't know what to do. This was a disaster in the making. He actually had no clue what to do and throw an anchor over with jib and main still pulling, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!! Holy crap, he's going to hit us. This was no time to be an observer. Into my dinghy and off to his boat. "My engine has no oil pressure" he told me. "Have you checked you oil level?" I asked. "You come and fix", was his reply. So up I went; down in the cabin, opened the engine access and discovered a Yanmar engine. The best. I checked the oil and guess what? It was perfect. I went to the cockpit and started the engine. Again perfect. He said when he turned the key he heard the low oil pressure buzzer. Dah, if the engine isn't running there isn't any oil pressure. By now two more guys showed up and with the engine purring we took down the sails, the other to guys pulled in the anchor while I drove the boat. Anchor up, motored to a safe place, anchor down, anchor set and all is well. This fellow, all alone, had placed Alice and I and himself in danger by being uninformed, irresponsible and lacking good judgement. I said to Alice, if you're in trouble don't make matters worse by putting yourself in and among other boats. Wow, Bottom line, his engine was fine and we got his butt out of a mess.

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Heading Back Out
07/22/2013, Gore Bay

So after our overnight at the dock in Gore Bay everything is charged, emails read, and all the other land based stuff that needs to get done, groceries, pump out, a dinner out, first of the trip, and now it's time to go sailing again.

Several nights back, we stopped in a beautiful harbor on Fox Island thought we might be alone but not to be. Six other boats spent the and yes most weather related fun happens at night. Thunder storms, close to 30 mile an hour winds and horizontal rain. Enough wind to push one boat onto the shore, not a serious situation, no waves just tons of rain and very high winds. I considered jumping in the dinghy and trying to help pull them off but my better judge prevailed figuring I could make things worse with all the lines they had in the water. Wind quit about 02:00 and they were successful pulling their boat off the rock ledge. When we got up I saw they were still having trouble anchoring so off I went to offer assistance. When I saw their anchor I figured the best thing for them was to take off and go back to their dock in McBean Harbor. Really, their anchor was smaller than the lunch-hook I use for Our Dinghy. Seriously, people need be more attentive to their equipment, fortunately this time no one was hurt. They did decide to leave and all returned to calm in the harbor.

We've been told that the Benjamin Islands are a must see so off we went the next morning. No big deal that day less than a 5 mile trip.

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