09 August 2012 | 31st Street Marina, Chicago
We chose to get out of dodge, Holland, MI that is. The weather patterns have changed. Stability is gone. Every two or so days a new cold front passes west to east north to south. And recently these have been fairly powerful. From Beaver Island we made an overnight sprint to Frankfurt, then to Manistee, then Muskegon and then a nice easy sail to Holland.
All along NOAA radio weather was "boasting" about a severe cold front for Friday and Saturday. We arived in Holland Wednesday afternoon to give Alice a chance to hook up with her friends from Addison Trail High School who were vacationing in Saugatuck, just south of Holland. Our problem was we didn't think there was sufficient water depth at the entrance to Saugatuck so we chose Holland and it worked out perfectly. All the ladlies came to LB and then we all went to dinner.
Meanwhile back to the picture above. That is a screen shot of the wind forecast for Lake Michigan on Friday at 10:00. Dark red is 25 - 30, the purple color in the middle is 35- 40 knots. NOAA was predicting gusts to 40 and 14 foot waves. Not quite our cup of tea. So... after looking at a dozen or so weather web sites we decided that Thursday was our chance to split for Chicago some 85 miles to the south west. Noone in their right mind wants to be on one of the great lakes in 35 - 40 knots of wind, no way jose!!
So we were up at 06:00 and underway in the lake by 07:00. 12 to 13 hours to Chicago. We started out with easterlies at 15 knots, mov'in. Then about four hours in to the 12 - 13 hour trip the winds died as predicted so on with the engine and up with the sails.
All hell was predicted to break loose about 18:00 in the Chicago area. We expected to arrive around 19:00 so the anxiety level was going up as the winds shifted north and started to build. We pulled out the jib and we making 7 to 8 knots while squall after squall passed us by. Remember we have an encloser so we were dry and comfy.
Approaching Chicago, about 20 miles out, the skies turned not so pretty and the winds popped up to 20. Not bad, off our stern and we were again heading home at 8 to 9 knots, sweet.
As we passed the four mile crib the first lightening event happened, argg! And, Chicago sailors are well accustomed to the very strange wave patterns when it blows hard ffom the north to northeast.
So to make this long stoyn end, we found the 31st harbor entrance and rounded up into the harbor and now await the winds predicted above.
More to come in closing but for now I'm going up into the cockpit to watch Mother Nature's display.