Mad Island Sailing – Adventures of the S/V Egress

No more stinky Boat! 

My sincere apologies for the long delay in posting!

The install of the Airhead Composting Toliet.

Who wouldn’t want to poop in this?

I started this project during our May 2017 trip up to the Island.

I had ordered our Airhead in late April and it was waiting for me at the house when we arrived.

I say waiting for me, as it was my job to remove the old stinky head and replace it with the new Airhead, while Barb enjoyed her time spent with the Grandkids.

First things first was the removal of the old toliet.

The old stinky toliet

The good?

Wasn’t too stinky, since it was pumped out the previous season, and it hadn’t warmed up yet on the Island.

I knew that there probably would be some smell as I removed the hoses. So I pumped a little bleach/water mixture through the toliet, hoses and on into the holding tank.

The Bad?

The hoses.

Several of the hoses where very attached and did not want to relinquish their hold on the toliet or holding tank fittings.

So I had to slice the hoses down the middle and peel them open and pry until they came off.

I had put a dab of Vick’s under my nose and put a mask on for this task.

The holding tank.

The holding tank is fiberglassed in and would require a great deal of work to cut out, so I decided to clamp the holding tank connections shut with rubber clamps. The eventual removal of the holding tank, which is located port side under the v-berth will free up that much more storage. I will tackle this job our first winter on the Island.

The installation of the Airhead.

This took place in two parts.

I installed the toliet itself in May and it was easy to bolt the brackets t0 the floor of toliet. It seemed that the height of the toliet itself is fine for myself however I’ll have to make a foot rest for those that are shorter.

In with the new. It was easy peasy!

Where to vent?

My thoughts between the May trip and our August trip turned to where in the to vent the Airhead, as it is recommended to vent and provide constant airflow through the Airhead toliet. I researched where others had vented their Airheads, and weighed it’s appropriate application to my situation. My potential solutions were as follows.

1. Venting through the Anchor Locker.

2. Venting out the back of the boat.

3. Venting through the deck of the boat with a new vent.

4. Venting through the old pump out.

12 VDC vent fan
PVC vent tube through old pump out

After much thought and until a more permanent solution can be found, I decided to vent the Airhead out through the old pump out using PVC. The main advantages of venting through the pump out are the fact that at seasons end I can pull the Airhead and remove the PVC vent tube. The disadvantage is potential water infiltration when under way in heavy seas. For now she works great though.

So during our first, (very short) 3 week season it was a breeze to use and there was no stink!

I would highly recommend installing a composting toilet!


Oh sing to me sands of Stockton

One day before pulling the Egress out for the year we finally made landfall on our first Island of the 22 Apostle Islands Archipelago besides our home port on Madeline Island.

You can see our You Tube Video Below.

Stockton Island

Stockton Island is the second largest of the Apostle Islands. Madeline Island being the largest. Stockton Island is the largest island included in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The Apostle Island National Lakeshore encompasses 21 of the 22 Apostle Islands.The island chain is located off of Northern Wisconsin’s Bayfield peninsula in Lake Superior.
Stockton Island  is host to numerous trails and campsites. The island is also known for its high concentration of black bears, and a unique lagoon ecosystem with multiple carnivorous plants and low bush blueberries, as well as the singing sand found in Julian Bay. The singing sands are unique in that when  you run your hand or feet across them they actually sing.

Barb and I had decided on our drive up to the island that it was important to make landfall on one of the other islands. Stockton being one of the easier ones to dock at and actually wanting to experience Julian bay and the singing sands it made the choice of Stockton a no brainer. We had wanted to take my folks, brother and his girlfriend along but the day we choose for the trip turned out to be extremely windy and it would have made the trip uncomfortable and the docking uncertain. So after everyone had left Barb and I had one last opportunity to go for it and sail to Stockton Island.

Being late August we had the entire beach to ourselves. There were not even boats anchored in the bay. It was wonderful! Unfortunetly we did not have the time to explore as we needed to get back to the marina and prepare for the haul out of the Egress.

We know we will be back to Stockton again in 2017.

A slow roll to Chequamegon Point Light House

After returning from the Duluth Tall Ships festival we needed to take the Egress out for test run.

We decided to head for Chequamegon Point Light House, we hoisted the sails but the wind was so light and variable that we quickly doused them and motored slowly to get a good view of the Chequamegon Point Light House. We put together a brief video of our slow roll. You can view it below.

Three lighthouses have graced Long Island. Though once an Island, Long Island is now part of a peninsula that stretches nearly eight miles out into Lake Superior, creating a natural breakwater for Chequamegon Bay.
The first LaPointe Light was constructed about one-quarter mile from the islands western tip. It was originally intended to guide ships to the old fur trade settlement of LaPointe on nearby Madeline Island. The first lighthouse was hastily erected in 1858 when it was found that the original lighthouse intended for Long Island had been placed on Michigan Island by mistake. After the focus of shipping had shifted from LaPointe to the bustling industrial port of Ashland located in Chequamegon Bay, authorities installed a steam powered fog signal and replaced the old lighthouse with two new towers spaced one mile apart. These two new lighthouse were built in 1897. Both Lighthouses were fully automated in 1964.

Of the three historic Lighthouses only one remains in use today. You can read more about the history of these Lighthouses at the links below.

Just call me Captain Crash… 

“I don’t want to be that guy” I told the marina Captain, as I explained why I was very apprehensive about backing out of the slip with a strong wind on the stern and a engine whose idle is set to low so that it dies whenever I retard the throttle. “Everyone gets to be that guy” he replied.

So I had adjusted the idle and this fixed the engine cutting out, yet I still kinda felt jinxed since I missed the marina guys stepping the mast and failing to put the traditional coin on the mast step. I had hoped this didn’t mean bad luck.


Barb, myself, my brother and his girlfriend set off and enjoyed a sail. We actually had some really decent wind (10-15 knots)  for a change and where able to hoist the sails and had an awesome day.

On our way in to the marina I phoned my Ma and told her to meet us at the dock so that she could take some pictures of us. luckily she wasn’t filming.

“Watch out kid”! Everyone yelled as we came barreling into the dock. Reverse is up! Not Down! Damn it!

Continue reading “Just call me Captain Crash… “

Tall ships in Duluth

A day after launching the Egress we headed 90 miles west to Duluth to attend the Tall ships festival.

You can find the video below and then read about our experiences below the video.



The Duluth TALL SHIPS Fesitval takes place every three years. It was held August 18th-21st  2016 and drew approximately 300,000 people. And man was it crowded! It included 8 TALL SHIPS. Since I’m a bit of a prepper. We had bought are fast pass tickets and booked our hotel in Canal Park a year in advance. The fast pass tickets allowed us to bypass lines to tour the SHIPS. That was the theory anyhow. No real need to go more in depth of the organizational problems of the festival that I had observed. I’ll just say again that being one who likes to prepare, I had us in line early for everything we intended to see. And we saw everything that we wanted to see and had a wonderful time. When the day sails were announced months before the event , we purchased tickets to sail on two of the ships as we knew they would sell out fast. We purchased a sail on the WHEN and IF, GENERAL George S. Patton’s personal Yacht and the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II. The weather forecast was perfect for the event and we greatly anticipated our time in Duluth.

It really turned out to be a wonderful event. Everyone we had met associated with the various SHIPS really wore their pride on the sleeves. Ah to be younger again and work on one of these magnificent vessels.

I need to mention a few specifically while still fresh in my mind.



The When And If



First of I wanted to say thanks to Captain Seth Salzmann from the WHEN & IF for the wonderful sail. Also a shout out to the two fine crew members Gray Meyer and Jonathan Drolet. Gray was on his last tour on the WHEN & IF and was just accepted to become a crew member aboard the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, which of course was our next sail. Anyhow briefly back to the WHEN & IF. When General (Then colonel) George S. Patton commissioned one of America’s greatest designers to conceive him a boat to be build by F.F Pendleton of Wiscasset, Maine in 1939, he had the ultimate ambition in mind:

“When the war is over, and If I live through it, Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.”

She is a magnificent Yacht! Absolutely stunning in appearance and very well cared for. To find out more and to help her fulfill Patton’s dream of his Yacht sailing around the world please visit




The Pride Of Baltimore II


The morning of our departure from Duluth we had the pleasure to sail on the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II.

Another amazing ship with much history behind her.

We wish to Thank Captain Jordan Smith for the wonderful sail and the witty banter. It was a pleasure to be on your ship.

Also a shout out to following:

First Mate, Chad Lossing

SHIPS cook, Philip Charles Keenan

Thanks for making our time on board memorable!

We also had the pleasure of meeting Captain Jan Myles upon our disembarkation. I have followed him and the PRIDE since hearing a podcast interview he did with Andy Schell from the 59north podcast. (Andy’s podcast is now titled “on the wind”).

Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, which was tragically sunk by a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her. Both ships were built in the Inner Harbor as reproductions of 1812-era topsail schooners, the type of vessels, called Baltimore Clippers, that helped America win the War of 1812 and finally secure its freedom.
The other TALL SHIPS that we toured.


El Galeon Andalucía

El Galeon Andalucia



El Galeon Andalucía

We thoroughly enjoyed touring the GALEON. Wished we could have spent a lot more time on her but we had to make room for others to come on board. Unfortunately no sails were offered on this fine ship.

A little about her.

The Galeón Andalucía is a replica of a 16th-17th century galleon, the only one in the world that sails in present days. These ships were the type of vessel used by the Spanish Crown for maritime expeditions during the 16th through the 18th centuries. Galleons were intended to discover and then establish trade routes between Spain, America and the Philippines islands, and formed what was then called the “Fleet of the Indies”. For three centuries, these Spanish galleons crossed the Atlantic Ocean back and forth, sailed around the Caribbean Sea and the American coasts, and covered the Pacific route as well. They carried plenty of seamen, merchant traders and settlers, while their holds bore the fabulous loads resulting from American and Asian trade.this is a 500 ton galleon, with length overall reaching 160 feet and a beam of 32 feet. Four masts hold 6 sails which measure almost 11,000 square feet. She was built in 2010 and is presently based out of St Augustine Florida.


U.S Brig Niagara

U.S Brig Niagara

U.S Brig Niagara

We toured her right after touring the Galeón Andalucía. This is where we got a taste of the lines and the crowds. Wow! We waited around two hours in line. So many people in our line were confused as to which line they were in. Were they in the “fast pass line” were they even in the correct line to tour the Niagara? Lines snaked amoung each other and no one knew what line they were in. It was very very disappointing. Can’t at all blame any of this on the SHIPS as the festival organizers were woefully unprepared. But I digresss.

The Niagara was a wonderful ship to tour. It was amazing how open the deck was. Yet it was built for war. She is a replica of the famous Ship that took part in the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812.

The U.S. Brig Niagara is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel, 198 feet sparred length, 118 feet tall. The current Niagara, the third reconstruction of the original vessel, was launched in Erie in 1988, the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. Niagara sails the Great Lakes, preserving and interpreting the story of the Battle of Lake Erie, and acting as an ambassador in her capacity as the flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  To learn more visit the U.S. Brig Niagara site here.


William A. Irvin


William A. Irvin


William A. Irvin

We did to get to tour one ship that was not a Sailing ship during our stay.

We had the pleasure of touring the Great Lakes Iron ore and coal carrier the William A. Irvin.

Some facts about the William A. Irvin

Built in 1938 at the American Ship Building Company in Lorain, Ohio

Owned and sailed by U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes fleet for 40 years

610′ 9.75″ overall with a beam (width) of 60 feet and depth of 32′ 6″

Retired in 1978 because she was too small.

She (or do I say he)? sits in Duluth as a museum ship. She is in her original condition. A trip back in time that we recommend. For more information visit the William A. Irvin site here.



Abbey Road

One more to mention that we briefly had the opportunity to visit before we left Duluth.

The Abbey Road was built in 1989, she is a Vagabound 52 staysail Schooner based in Bayfield, Wisconsin. She was donated to Lake Superior TALL SHIPS which is a non profit organization that takes local area kids on sailing trips on Lake Superior.

The organization is also raising funds to build the a modern replica of the Alice Craig, a US Revenue Cutter that was based in Bayfield, WI on Lake Superior from 1859 to 1887. For more details on this venture and how to help please visit Lake Superior Tall


And yes lest we forget the worlds largest rubber duck.

The Duck

Splash… She fought the entire way

When I inspected the good ship Egress upon arrival, she didn’t look to bad, though, she had several “hangovers” from the flooding when we first saw her in August.

The Bilge pump needed replacing as the existing pump shorted out, and would need replacing. She certainly needed a good thorough cleaning after having all that water. We also found that all electrical connections that run through the bilge areas never used marine grade connectors. They would have to all be replaced. Also the work on the mast that we thought would be completed upon our arrival was not completed yet. We didn’t have as much time as we thought to splash her as we were to leave for Duluth for the TALL SHIPS festival shortly after splashing her and we had family coming so we had things to do around the house. So we left it up to the marina to finish the mast work and install a new bilge pump, while Barb and I cleaned out the boat and replaced all electrical connections that ran through the bilge pump. 

In preparation for launch I removed the blanking plug for the triducer and installed the triducer according to the printed instructions. The insert instructions told me to install the thick yellow o-ring if we had a flapper type plastic housing rather then the thinner black o-ring. I followed the instructions, but it was tough to get the treads started on the cap nut. I wasn’t sure that this was right but the only way to tell if it leaked was to splash her.

Launch day arrived and I brought some bottom paint down to apply some paint to the areas we could reach because she was in the cradle when we painted her. The marina hoisted her up into the travel lift and I quickly applied some paint and they left her hang while the paint dried. Then the guys lowered into her into the water and sure as rattled goaltender the triducer leaked like a sieve. The crew at the marina fiddled with the triducer but she just wouldn’t seal. They then lifted the boat back out of the water and replaced the yellow o-ring with the black one, and then lowered her back into the water and the triducer didn’t leak. The instructions were wrong!  Being that it was late in the day, steeping the mast would have to wait until the next day.

Steeping the mast and the value of coins. Continue reading “Splash… She fought the entire way”

Nothing else to do but buy things (Old Post)

This post was orginally written way back in May of 2015. I’m not sure why I never posted it, but better late than never. So here she is….


Even though I write this post on May 13th 2015, the winter here in the high country of Colorado drags on and on and on. So, I’ve had absolutely no ambition to tackle any of the projects that need to be done here at the house in Colorado. So how to occupy my time over the long winter? Buy things for the Egress. So below are some of the items that have been purchased so far.

Lewmar ST 30 Self Tailing Winches

Enter a caption

The original Lewmar 25 non self tailers that are on the boat for the jib sheets, would still do the trick, but an upgrade to self tailers was in the cards someday. Might as well get them now, install and enjoy the benefits when single handed this summer.

I also downloaded and printed out the manuals for the existing winches.

Atomic 4 Spare Engine Parts

  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug wires
  • Points
  • Condenser
  • Distributer cap
  • Water pump Impeller

I know the venerable Atomic 4 is in need of a tune up and service. Be nice to her and she’ll be nice to you.


Dock Lines and Fenders

Not entirely knowing what is one the boat and what is serviceable, new dock lines and 4 fenders where ordered. I’ve been told that you can never have enough of both.

Galley dishes




Have to eat on the boat at least once. Glasses and placemats ordered too.


Magma Chefs Mate Grill


Since the Egress does not presently have a stove installed and we have to eat on the boat at least once, gotta have someplace to cook.

More to follow…

At least she didn’t sink.

I read about the torrential rains that impacted North Western Wisconsin during The period of July 11th-12th. The rains came hard and fast, bringing up to 11 inches in 24 hours, flooding local roads and wiping out major highways in Northern Wisconsin. 

Remembering the cockpit drains and scuppers plug easily with leaves I had wondered how the boat had faired. Leaving a message for Captain Scott to ask if he would check on her, I waited for the phone call. “Yep she is flooded pretty good” he said. ” hooked up batteries but the bilge pump is shot too” Captain Scott proceeded to get a garden hose and stick it into the bilge to siphon out the 2 feet of water that was inside the boat. We were told that she dried out pretty good after a few days, but would need one heck of a scrubbing! 

More to follow…

She’s a beauty!


Spring 2016.

During our 10 days on the island we accomplished the following.

Bottom painting

Scraped, sanded and applied new bottom paint. Since she is a fresh water boat (for now) we used Sea Hawk Monterey Blue.

The job turned out wonderful. I sanded while Barb scraped. I helped Barb apply the bottom paint though she did the majority of the work while I worked on the next project. She did a marvelous job. We now have an official bottom painter!

Have sails repaired.

We contacted the local sailmaker and met him in Bayfield at his loft and dropped off the sails for some minor repairs.  A week later the sails were done, so we took the ferry over and picked them up. I’m ready to bend and hoist! Is it August yet?

Install new Raymarine i70 instruments. Continue reading “She’s a beauty!”

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