Mad Island Sailing – Adventures of the S/V Egress

Solar power? Yeah Baby!

Yeah Baby! All the juice I need!

So with the  new Airhead now installed, it was now time to install a solar panel and controller to solve two problems.

How to power the Airhead vent fan without installing a solar vent and punching another hole in the deck, and how to power the bilge pump when on the hard. The bilge pump was especially important to us after the flood we had inside the boat in 2016 after the cockpit drains had plugged.

In the spring I had purchased a 100 watt semi flexible Windy Nation solar panel and a Go Power 30 amp charge controller of off Amazon for $300. With extra wire and deck hardware it came to $375.

I had thought about mounting options of the panel prior to making a purchase. I had two mounting options in mind.

1. Mount a rigid panel on the stern rail. Though this option appealed to me initially, most of the panels that were the right size were in the 30 watt range and quite expensive for their small size.

2. Mount a semi-flexible panel on the deck. This option seemed to me to be the best as I get get a higher wattage panel for way less then option 1 and it gave me the flexibility (no pun intended) of multiple mounting scenarios.  I could screw it or glue it to the deck. Velcro was also an option.

So I went with option number 2. You just couldn’t beat the price and much more bang for the buck when it came to wattage and mounting options. Of course there are some drawbacks of mounting a solar panel on the deck or on a dodger or Bimini, namely shading from the sails. However with a 100 watt panel I still should receive enough power when sailing for this not to be a problem.

Where to mount. And a temporary solution. Continue reading “Solar power? Yeah Baby!”

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. Continue reading “No more stinky Boat! “

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. Continue reading “Oh sing to me sands of Stockton”

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.

Continue reading “A slow roll to Chequamegon Point Light House”

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.

Continue reading “Tall ships in Duluth”

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

Gleaming winches!

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. Continue reading “Nothing else to do but buy things (Old Post)”

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…

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