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Mad Island Sailing – Adventures of the S/V Egress

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Madeline Island

Marooned!

“Stupid is as Stupid Does” – Forrest Gump

The forecast called for winds out of the NE 15-25 knots, waves 2-4 feet, with the possibility of a small craft advisory being placed into effect from noon until 2:00 P.M. It was supposed to calm down substantially after 2:00 P.M.

The boys (not the grandkids) and I set off in the 15 foot 8 inch 1965 MFG Westfield runabout, to do some fishing in the lee of Long Island in Chequamegon Bay as I knew this would be sheltered from the predicted wind and subsequent waves. I had been itching to get this boat into the water after ten years sitting on the hard.

Previous to our trip I had, with the help of a good friend replaced the impeller and changed the oil in the lower unit of the “tower of power” 1962 Mercury 850. The running test was a success and she sat in a rented slip awaiting her first adventure.

The old engine started up and ran a little rough as we set out at 9:00 a.m. but soon was running like a thoroughbred once she warmed up. It was indeed windy, and the seas were choppy as we entered the main channel that leads to Chequamegon Bay. I had thought to myself, this is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, as we rolled around in the building swell, but we would be safe behind the lee shore of Long Island and could indeed fish for a bit before heading back prior to the winds really strengthening.

In the protection of Long Island

An hour later the winds did indeed begin to pick up and even though we were protected by Long Island I though it best that we secure the fishing poles and head back to the marina on Madeline Island. So we attempted to do just that.

Upon entering the main channel we encountered waves of at least 3 feet with a heavy swell. We were heading directly into the waves and banging around quite a bit. The little boat felt stable but awfully small in the building waves and I thought it best if we sought a protected shore. The winds were not coming out of the predicted North East but were more North North West which funneled the waves straight down the center of Chequamegon Bay. I thought if we can cross over the the worst of it, we could hug the mainland shore until we got to Bayfield and wait out the weather before crossing to Madeline Island.

That wasn’t a good decision.

Upon entering the main channel we observed several other fishing boats quickly moving out of the main channel as they were really got rolled around quite a bit. We were definitely getting pounded, so I decided that we had to abandon the plan of going to the mainland and again seek the protection of Long Island. We began to turn around to head back, and just as we were beam on to the swell, the engine quit!

Pump it! Pump that b#$%! I barked to the boys in the back of our tiny boat as the swell rolled us at a 45 degree angle. She still wouldn’t fire! Expletives flowed freely and I thought that this is really bad… really really bad… and after what seemed like an eternity, the old engine miraculously sputtered to life! We turned the boat so we were stern onto the waves and motored quickly into the protection of Long Island.

Whew! That was close!

We had earlier seen a boat tied off at the lighthouse whom had earlier left while we were fishing and we landed the boat at the same small area. It wasn’t a dock per-say it was just a small area on the shore were you could nose in and tie off to the shore.

A place I had always wanted to visit!

We grabbed a beer out of the cooler for each of us, and took the boardwalk that led to the other side of Long Island where we could see what the waves were doing in the North channel between Long Island and Madeline Island. We promptly parked ourselves on the beach and had a reminiscence of our close call and decided to make the best of our situation. “Damnit” I said, “if we are going to be marroned on this island we might as well act like it”.

So we set about collecting driftwood and making a distress sign on the beach that said HELP and took pictures of us raising beers among our makeshift call for assistance. We then texted these photos to the girls so they wouldn’t worry!

After it had calmed down a bit we left the shelter of Long Island and had a long bumpy ride back into the safe confines of the Madeline Island Yacht Club.

The Lesson though has been learned. Never venture into a small craft advisory in a “small” boat. Back when I was 25, I had learned a similar lesson about driving on thin ice but that’s another story for another time.

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2018 Seasons Plans

I think I had mentioned this in a previous post. That we travel to the Island 2-3 times per year.

This typically leaves the Spring trip for boat projects and maintenance, while leaving the summer trip for a roughly 3 weeks splash and a fight for attention with us and the multitude of other activities outside of Sailing.

So this year will be no different.

Boat work on the Egress in the spring will focus on checking out how she faired over the winter, and beginning a plan to re-bed the fittings.

Questions that will be answered this Spring are:

Did the solar panel keep the batteries charged up over the winter.

Did the boat leak and if so which deck fittings/ ports leaked. (This will help the re-bedding plan.)

It is doubtful that we will have anytime to actually accomplish any re-bedding do to our short time on the Island in the Spring.

One item that should be a priority to check in the spring are the condition and operation of the thru-hulls. It’s something I’ve neglected in the past, but will not any longer as this is something critical to check. I don’t want any surprises regarding thru-hull shut offs. Additionally I am going to tie plugs to each thru-hull so they are located where they will be needed rather than digging thru lockers etc to find them. So this is priority number one.

Other items I want to accomplish this season are.

  • Relocate VHF radio.
  • Purchase and install RAM 3 microphone for the VHF radio and install on steering pedestal.
  • Purchase and install auto-pilot.
  • Remove decorative rope on the pedestal.
  • Purchase and test life sling 2 MOB lifting tackle.
  • Locate and test the emergency steering system
  • Look at a way to permanently get the solar panel wiring harness into the battery compartment.

Of course the above list is not inclusive of normal engine maintenance. Change oil, impeller etc…

Hopefully Our August trip is not as busy as it was last year so that we can actually get out and sail!

The speed demon of the fleet.

A post about our classic 1965 speedboat.

Our little 16 foot 1965 MFG speedboat with its beautiful 1962 Mercury 850 Kiekhaefer that I purchased in Colorado for $1000 in 2005 hasn’t received much love from us since we took her to the island. And hasn’t been in the drink since 2009! I’m sure she is just as anxious to feel the water beneath her deep v-hull as are we. Is this the year? Stay turned to find out.

MFG or Molded Fiber Glass Corporation was formed in 1948 they produced boats from 1955 until the 1980’s although it was never intention of the parent company to produce boats. MFG boats have a unique Lapstrake design. All fiberglass models were produced 1959 onwards. You can find out more about the history of MFG boats and other classic Fiberglass boats at fiberglassics.com

Our 1962 85 HP Mercury 850 Kiekhaefer has a classic look and the iconic Phantom black cowl. She is truly a looker. Kiekhaefer history and roots are synonymous with Wisconsin and Mercury Marine. To find out more about these lovely old Mercury Kiekhaefer engines please visit oldmercs.com and also mercurymarine.com

 

We towed the old girl up to the Island in October of 2012. Fighting a 30-40 Mph headwind the entire way. We went through two boat covers and numerous straps, bungee cords and one busted up nose (from the straps, not the wife) to get her there. But I’m sure she will be worth it. I’ll keep you posted.

A big decision. Anchoring our roots to the rock.

A place to call Home.

Hello B-16!

I debated whether to write and publish this post. It may interest some of you and others it may elicit a “meh”.

We had been contemplating becoming members of the Madeline Island Yacht Club (MIYC) since we had purchased the Egress back in late 2014.

There were many pros and we couldn’t think of one con when contemplating the decision to become members.

Pro

  • Saves money
  • Limited amount of memberships given.
  • Guaranteed slip
  • Can put slip into rental poll when not using it.
  • Equity in the Club

We had been paying by the week when renting a slip for three weeks every summer. For our size boat it was darn near the price that a member pays for an annual slip fee. In addition, we payed separately for launch, haul out, and a monthly fee for storage. Normally other than a storage fee for members, the launch and haul out are included in the annual slip fee. Additionally, the price for shop work was about 30% higher for non-members. Becoming members would save us money, and more importantly guarantee us a slip. But most importantly for us, it would solidify our ties to the Madeline Island boating community, and make us feel like part of the family.

We are indeed Anchoring our roots to the rock.

For more information on the Madeline Island Yacht Club please click here.

A rebranding.

I enjoy making graphics and logos, whether it’s for fun, shirts, or my business.

I decided to come up with one that fits the name of the website rather than the just the good ship Egress.

The new logo is appropriate since we plan on adding another addition to the fleet in the not to distant future, and sailing her south to warmer climates in the winter. (Goodbye winter, you won’t be missed!)

I wanted to have the new logo encompass where we started our sailing journey from and where it will one day hopefully lead. Hence the palm tree.

I must say however, that sometimes in the summer, Madeline Island does indeed elicit a wonderful tropical vibe, sans the palm trees.

I will write about our little Lake Superior Island paradise in an upcoming post.

What do you think of the new logo?

Meeting new Sailing friends

Meeting the crew of Sailing Wandering Toes.

The crew of the SV Egress meets the crew of Sailing Wandering Toes

We had been in contact with the crew of Sailing Wandering Toes since we discovered them whilst searching Sailing videos on you tube. We enjoyed watching their videos and reading their blog posts. We had commented on their videos and blog posts and quickly struck up a friendship with them. We had learned that they were preparing to leave Lake Superior next year and sail on down the ICW to warmer climes. Exactly what Barb and I plan to do in a few short years. We were especially excited that they would be documenting the journey.

We had become fascinated with finding others who sail in our area and document their sailing via blogging or YouTube. We tend to watch our YouTube sailing video subscriptions during the winter months to catch up on everyone. Comparably speaking, not many on the Great Lakes blog or upload videos compared to the Ocean sailors and certainly very few on Lake Superior do. Not sure the reasons why that is. I don’t think it is the lack of sailboats. Maybe because the sailing season is short and it therefore limits the amount of good material to use? Maybe an older sailing crowd who isn’t interested in blogging or uploading videos? I know it is especially tough for us, as our sailing season is only three weeks long, coupled with the fact that we only can visit our boat only two times a year. It does make it hard to come up with relevant material, especially the videos.

Anyhow we had planned on getting together with David and Marge the crew from Wandering Toes in August when we were up in May and again attempted in August but it just didn’t work out. We were finally able to get together in November and they were nice enough to come over to the Island for lunch and drinks at the beach club.

We had a very nice time meeting them and talked about their big adventure, selling their house, buying an RV, and prepping the Wandering Toes for the trip to the Caribbean. It was fascinating listening to them and how they have made the transition to soon become full time live-aboards. We also talked about other sailing videos we follow. We found out we had followed many of the same. It was a fun time and a great afternoon. We made plans to drive up to Cornicopia (Corny) in May of 2018 to get together with them before they push off in July of 2018.

I highly recommend following and checking out Sailing Wandering Toes.

Fair Winds to them and to all of you who follow us.

Sail Fail 2017 and a taste of freedom.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Time: Mid-Late August 2017

Location: Madeline Island

Event: Busy busy busy and more busy.

Result: Sail Fail. Two days on the water out of 21 possible.

We arrived on the Island for our August 2017 Vacation and the next day headed immediately back to the mainland to tackle our shopping list as the day after we would be heading to Duluth to pick up Barbs Grandsons. We would entertain them for a week and then it was time to take them back to Duluth and have a two hour break back on the Island before our next batch of guests arrived. This time we would have a few more people than our normal summer guests. This summers batch (hatch?) of visitors consisted of my folks, my brother, his girlfriend and her daughter, my sister and her boyfriend, and a new 2nd cousin and his wife that I had never met before. It was going to be a busy three weeks.

And it was a busy three weeks!

We entertained every morning and evening. Now don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to spend time with family, but it put a crimp on the boat projects. So I made do with the time I had.

I arose every morning at 5:00, made coffee, grabbed a cliff bar and headed out the door with the promise to return in time for breakfast at 9:30. I was able to wrap up the installation of the Airhead vent fan, and the solar panel/charger installation. I also changed the oil in the venerable old Atomic 4.

So I guess I really did accomplish a lot with a limited amount of time. However we didn’t accomplish much Sailing at all, and that is sad.

Continue reading “Sail Fail 2017 and a taste of freedom.”

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”

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