We ARE getting closer to leaving
06 July 2009 | Barker's Island Marina seawall
04 July 2009 - We are still at Barker's Island Marina but we ARE getting closer to sailing away. There is lots of work getting done - work that must be done for safety reasons. Other finishing touches will have to be done along the way or later in some other place. Saturday and Sunday are not shop days, of course, so that gave us and Rich and Marba Pogue (our friends who will be sailing with us until mid-September) a chance to get Eos out and check some things out and become more familiar with her and her systems.
We left for the week-end after lunch and a visit with the Seeger's - long time friends and fellow White Bear Lake sailors many years ago. We motored out the Superior cut and set the wind indicator up and coordinated the Maretron cockpit and cabin display units. Then we hoisted all three sails and enjoyed ourselves. Oh, how good that felt even though the winds were slight and we only got up to 3 knots under sail. But the key was that we were under sail. This is what we worked for all of those years.
After sailing for several hours and learning many things we dropped the sails at 1630 and motored along with the autopilot - another system checked out. At 1800 we motored under the Duluth aerial bridge. We were not sure we would make it even though we had requested 80 feet although we only need about 70. They certainly raised it high enough but this was our first time under a bridge and we aren't good at judging the heights yet. The operator saw us slowing down and looking up and must have realized we were unsure because he raised the bridge up some more. Just to make us feel good, we're sure.
At 1830 we anchored in the large anchorage area just inside the bay. The anchoring went smoothly. Then it was time to break out a little wine to celebrate our overnight anchorage. We were all very tired but also quite content with the day. The Duluth Fourth of July fireworks were predicted to be the best in Minnesota so we all fought sleep and stayed up to see them. And they were spectacular. We had a marvelous view since they set them off right over the bay. What a marvelous way to end a great day with great friends.
05 July 2009 - We slept peacefully in the anchorage, had a leisurely breakfast and then weighed anchor. This didn't go as smoothly as the night before but there were only minor issues that we all quickly assessed and took care of - more learning going on for all of us. We motored back out the aerial bridge with more confidence in the height clearance this time.
We sailed most of the day using several sail combinations - head and main sail then head, staysail and main and then staysail and main only. The winds were 5-10 knots from the NNW so we had better speed today. We hit 7 knots with the full set of sails at one point and got a steady 3-4 knots with just the staysail and the main. Steve Shick and Chris and Seth sailed out and found us and we sailed along with them for awhile. Having to leave good friends like them behind will be hard.
We returned to Barker's at 1630 having learned many things - the mast bail needs work, the autopilot steering lock is unlocking itself (NOT good - have to fix that one), the head sail hangs up on the staysail stay when tacking (expect that is something we have to learn to work around), the dinghy being towed behind is a real drag (glad to have the davits to use from now on), all of the lines are still confusing (marked them all with proper name tags as soon as we got in), some lines are much too long and can be shortened to lessen the line mess in the cockpit, the shrouds still seem tight, the main sail leach is loose (tightening the boom vang may help) and backing Eos under power in a cross wind didn't work out too well (more practice needed there).
Sorry for all of the sailing jargon for you non-sailors out there. But the bottom line is that we accomplished what we had hoped for this week-end. Experience and learning without adding any big items to the "to-do" list. We are hopeful that we will be able to head out the end of this week or next week-end. We will keep you posted.