Leaving for the North Channel
05 July 2009 | Catawba Island
0400, Mark, Ken, Roger and I were ready to cast off except for a minor glitch; a burned out navigation light bulb. Fortunately I had a spare - but even better Tim our dockmate and local West Marine rep was there and will be passing along a couple of additional spares to Kat who is leaving to meet us on Wednesday. Tim said he woke up at 3:30 to come down and see us off - or was he partying and never went to bed?
We had the usual formula for any sailor leaving for as specific destination: head winds and enough wave height to slow the boat down. On the first leg to the Detroit River, we saw a pretty cool thing, a 'Moon Set'. All of us have seen Moons rise but this was quite extraordinary. We had a full moon that was almost a bright orange set into the horizon, unfortunately with the boat rocking from the waves we were unable to take a picture of it.
We arrived at the Detroit river at 9:10 and with the wind now abeam we raised the main. This enabled us to motorsail all the way up the river. The normal current is 1 kt, but we encountered some areas with up to 2 knots. This current was offset by winds that peaked at 26. The AIS system performed well giving us plenty of notice on freighters transiting the river - although both pleasure boat and commercial ship traffic was down considerably from previous trips. Mark showed off his culinary skills with Ramen noodles along with peanut butter sandwiches, everyone is in good spirits and secretly hoping that the wind doesn't quit and flies that love sailboats can't locate us.
Lake St Clair at 1:50 and it's time to do some sailing - with a nice westerly breeze we were able to sail all the way to the St Clair river. Everyone quickly picked up the nuances of the boat's systems including Radar, AIS and Chartplotter. The watch schedule with alternating four hour watches is working well also. More to come on this extended first day.